Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Last night I sat in a bar from 11pm to 12:30am…or at least that’s how it felt. I love the old TV show Cheers. You may not be a fan, you may never have had the pleasure of watching the show. The theme song totally encapsulates all I love about it though, so read this and tell me you don’t want someone shouting “Norm!” or “[Your Name]!” whenever you walk in to your favorite establishment.

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you got. Taking a breaking from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name (dum, dum, dum, dum). And they’re always glad you came (dum, dum, dum). You wanna be where you can see your troubles are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

The place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Tell me that’s not at least a little bit of why people come to a church?

How interesting too that this is what take me back to childhood. You know, most folks have Nickelodeon, or if they weren’t sheltered: Nick at Night. I have a show that takes place in the bar and the bar owners sexual exploits have at least a minor part in every episode. My favorite movie was Major League, which drops the f-bomb about as much as in The Departed (why did I watch that?). Recently
I had this strong desire to watch the movie Friday. Then I included a line from the movie in an email to some folks in church, only to realize as I wrote it that the next words were “I’m gonna get you high!”

Maybe what I don’t like about the idea of raising my kid to Veggie Tales all-day-every-day is that it lacks the sincerity of life that I experienced growing up. I saw the world in all of its comedy, longing for community, and gory detail. Yet, what if I could take out the f-bombs, drug references, and sexual exploits, leaving a childhood of sincerity in a home that is safe?

Does Blockbuster sell pre-viewed Veggie Tales DVDs?

This is probably why I am the Common Cup’s most faithful and least-profitable customer. I don’t have the money to live recklessly, but I long for that place where everybody knows my name. So, I go to the birthplace of Lutheran Coffee, buy the cheapest thing on their menu, get the free refill every time, and listen to their hip-music. I haven’t gotten them to shout out “Kevin!” when I walk through the doors, but I’m pretty sure they know my name since my frequent user card bring it up on their screen every time I buy my $1.48 coffee.

Maybe I’ll combine the best of both worlds and open up a coffee shop that looks like the bar from Cheers. Although, I think I get a little sentimental every time I think of saying quoting a good swear from a favorite movie in my backyard before stepping up to the plate to hit the tennis ball my brother promptly throws directly at me. Reconciling childhood.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


“But if I am doing the very that I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me”-Romans 7.20

Paul is such a philosopher, you know. This point that he makes is one of great simplicity but deep impact. Could it be that who I am is more defined by my desires than my actions? Now, what if those desires even have two levels. One is the desire that I have that is more present with my consciousness and the next is more the subconscious desire, one that is more basic or even primitive.

Here’s an example. I play Fantasy Football. I stink at Fantasy Football. Whenever I play these online sports competitions it seems that the more time I put into it the worse the result. So, when I got smoked by 30 points in week 1 I had this inner desire that my opponents, all friends of mine, would from that point forward loose miserably so that I could, with a small smile on my face, tell them my strategy that worked so brilliantly, and help soothe their little wounds. At the same time, I had a feeling that mirrors what Paul writes later in chapter 7, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Seriously, I am one messed up dude...but not me, the sin that lives in me. For real? Is that not just some cop-out? I actually do not believe in any part of me that is...any more. Since, if I did consider it a cop-out, I would be going back on the very thing Jesus did for me.

So, I am a good man...because of God rescuing me from my wretched self through Jesus Christ our Lord. What so many Christians consider basic, I think is the most profound truth I have ever experienced. This is reason turned on its head by reason. Think about it: the only way we don't feel utter guilt for our lives is by passing the buck, not taking responsibility for the hurt that we cause other people. It's the only way. Unless, we take responsibility, then we see how "wretched" we are, and we see our need for someone to save us. There's Jesus. The only way.

Profound, I tell ya. That is something, the only thing, worth giving my life to.

As one of my friends who was trying a little too hard said in middle school, "Straight up seriously yo!"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tell me some good stuff

As I fall more deeply in love with Meghan, I am falling in love with words. I’m not all that interested in using them with precision or having an increased vocabulary. I love sculpting a story with words, or maybe I just love it when other people sculpt with their words. To see the way words communicate the soul. The way they communicate the life. The way they communicate the heart. To see the story of a person and then to see the majesty that God has woven into the sinews of their soul.

Other people have learned this before me. How small I am, but my significance is found not in me. That same majesty that I see in others God has revealed to me in me for me.

Now, I am free to give up myself more easily. God, you can change the fiber of who I am because your majesty seduces me, pulling. pushing. showing me majesty and showing me life is found when I lose it.

How many people accept God with conditions? “I can only believe in a god that…” Those people have not been seduced like this. I trust Him, even when I don’t understand Him. Life is full when I suffer and struggle. Life is more vibrant than it ever was when I was saturating myself with pleasure after pleasure that I worked so hard to find for myself. We want to go our own way. Some do it out of rebellion. Some simply don’t know the peace and joy that God is when life is lost. He fills. Often times it seems that our life is lost first, we feel the peaceful ecstasy of hearing “It’s gonna be OK” from the only one that can mean it, then we choose to lose it.

Paul says the same thing just using different words in Philippians 3.

I want Meghan to have a new Kevin. I want patience, sacrifice, giving, loving, steadfastness, consistency, humility, strength, self-control. I want this to give to Meghan. What a gift. She deserves every part of it.

Words: our way of expressing a world and life. They must pull us deeper than the words themselves to a reality that we can’t explain with words. That’s exactly what John does in Revelation.

I want to give up my life.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I heart NLC

I love New Life Church. This is one phenomenal group of men and women, and I need them. Perhaps the biggest reason that I need them is how screwed up they are, and therefore, how screwed up New Life Church is. Funny isn’t it? We all see that there is something wrong in this world and we experience that in our relationships. We all have broken relationships don’t we? That’s why we love stories of reconciliation, because no matter how overwhelming a situation might be, there is a place inside of us where we want that relationship to be redeemed. That is why I love this church so much. For the most part, we seem made up of people who are OK being where they are at, but not OK staying there. So, we have the brief opportunity during the college years, or, for some as fortunate as me, even longer, to pursue God together.

This will rock your world…are you ready? I am divorced. Wow! How excitingly scandalous…but not really. My heart was broken by a woman who didn’t know who she was or what she wanted. She left me for a man who became “her best friend,” a man who made up for my inadequacies. I loved then hated then despised then resented then missed then resented then despised then forgave her. I don’t talk to her, nor do I ever think I really will talk to her again…frankly, it wouldn’t even be all that appropriate right now. I have no desire to be in a relationship with her ever again. Yet, there is still a part of me that longs for reconciliation. Not because of who she is or who she was, but because it’s just good. How much hurt God must feel for all of the broken relationships out there.

This has got to be a part of me really finding this “becoming free.” I’m not even talking about making reconciliation happen…that is God’s work, not mine. I need to find myself in a good enough place where I can continue to make myself vulnerable to those whom God would have me love as He loved me. How in the crap can I do that? I need to begin by coming to my Father to find my comfort. An introspective friend shared this verse with me about 30 minutes ago:

“But now, this is what the LORD says-he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Dawg, just be free."

Taking the time to think about yourself can be a trying experience it seems for most men. Frankly, I think some of that is good. The amount of diversion and perversion that can happen in the male mind is quite amazing, so developing a habit of keeping busy with worthwhile tasks is a good discipline. In fact, discipline is a good discipline. Titus 2.6 is really it in context sometime. "Encourage young men to be self-controlled." Period. How great! That really is half the battle for young men nowadays. Which is actually quite interesting. We are saturated with the idea, probably developed from the need for men to be providing for their family, that weakness is not for men, thereby eliminating most emotions. Today, young men have little that they have to do, yet deep emotional introspection is often not kosher. Now, World of Warcraft is the solution to all their problems...

So, I am learning to really be free to be who God created me to be. I am understanding my personality in the context of my call, and I am excited about the limitless world that God is calling me to serve Him in. Yet, I have to learn to go from excited to devoted. Devotion is a willingness to to be committed to something in the deep heart of one's will. That takes learning to be zealous for God's chosen path for me even when I am not excited. Ultimately, I just want to begin to understand myself, see into the depths of my ups and downs, and learn to be OK with all of it because of the stability of being provided for by the vine of Christ.

Colors, smells, sounds. I see, feel, and hear them all more clearly. I want to walk with myself as I walk with God and find the freedom for which Christ has set me free (Galatians 5.1). My new life let's figure out what it means.