Archive - July, 2009

Stuck on the Sidelines

907603811_9372af6d94Last night I went to the Des Moines 48 Hour Film Festival with my wife and a group of other friends. Hollywood it wasn’t, but I was treated to a wonderful batch of original short films by some of Des Moines’ finest.

Some were funny,
Some were touching,
Some were weird,
Some were just plain awful.

Before we left the historic Fleur Cinema, I was struck with a thought: “These people are making it happen. Regardless of the artistic merit of their film, they took a chance and created something that did not exist before. They assembled teams, all of various sizes and skill levels, picked a genre, and then made a film in 48 hours (or less.) They acted on their passions instead sitting on their haunches, waiting for the film to make itself.


The film makers had a dream (more than one of them mentioned pursuing a film career full-time would be a “dream come true“) and they did something about it. It left me feeling overjoyed (for them) and convicted (for me). I felt convicted because I couldn’t remember the last time I took a chance like that, putting all my skills, talents, hopes and dreams on the line without knowing the ending.

Without knowing what people would think.
Without knowing how the bills would get paid.
Without worrying if it was “Christian” enough.

I determined that I’m tired of being stuck on the sidelines. I’m tired of hiding inside of my holy huddle, pretending to close my eyes to all the beauty and light and life I see around me in the lives of people who don’t go to church. I’m tired of thinking in “Us” (Christians) vs. “Them” (non-Christians) categories. It’s not that I don’t want to be a teetotaler, it’s just that I can’t.

Some of the films last night were crude, lewd, and non-sensical. I blushed at a few of them. The filmmakers cussed. And I’m pretty sure that one of the film’s entire crew was high for most (if not all) of the process. But for some reason, I felt more “ministered to” by the passion of these filmmakers than I have anything else in quite awhile. How does that work? I don’t know.

Could it be that God works through people, powerfully even, who don’t know him?


Seeing this shirt:

Reminded me how much I love this video:

Man, I love pop culture. Check out some more YouTube-inspired t-shirts here:

For All Who Have Dreams But Never Follow Them

Watch this video. I dare you to not be inspired.

Want to get involved? Click here.

Steps to Avoid Becoming a ‘YES’ Man or Woman


Have you surrounded yourself with people whose vocabulary mostly consists of the word, “Yes“?

  • People who tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear.
  • People who think exactly like you.
  • People who won’t tell you you’re wrong because you can’t handle it.

I was floored by a passage from 2 Chronicles 18 the other day. Here’s the gist:

King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab’s prophets were prophesying there in front of them. One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!” All the other prophets agreed. “Yes,” they said, “go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give the king victory!”

King Ahab was surrounded by “YES Men,” and ultimately, it led to his demise. Ahab didn’t want to hear God’s words through the prophet Micaiah, he only wanted to hear “YES.” Ahab wanted his plans and purposes to go unimpeded and got cranky at anyone who told him otherwise.

  • YES, we think that your strategy is a good idea. (Even though it’s not.)
  • YES, we think this expense is a wise one. (Even thought it’s not.)
  • YES, we agree that we can accomplish this task in this given time frame. (Even though we know we can’t.)

This is why people who dissent against the “YES Man” mindset get shushed. Or marginalized. Or ostracized. Look at what King Ahab’s advisors told Michaiah, one of God’s messengers:

Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.

Ha! Can you believe that?! As my mentor says, “human beings are boring and predictable.” Why? Because not much has changed since Ahab’s day. Those who go against the flow are still being told to “agree” and “promise success” for the King Ahabs in their lives. Going against the grain doesn’t mean you push back on a popular viewpoint solely for the sake of challenge.

That’s insane.
And annoying.

That’s what makes Michaiah’s response all the more powerful: “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what my God says.” Bingo! That’s our task–to allow God to breathe reality through us instead of cowering to the thoughts and opinions of people. That may look like agreeing with what everyone else is saying. Often times, it’s not.


Most people (myself included) think they are right on any given subject, at any given time. God’s a lot smarter than everyone and wants more people to think like him. He chooses to challenge others through the minds and hearts that are submitted to him–submitted to saying “only what God says.”

So ask yourself, “What do I need to do today to not be a ‘YES man’ or ‘YES woman’ and be a ‘GOD person’ instead?

Top 5 Posts of the Week

Here’s a recap of the top five posts from this past week. These got the most traffic on the site, were shared the most, and had the most comments.

1. Is ‘No Sex Before Marriage’ a Realistic Expectation? This one was a heater. We racked up over 100 comments, shattering the previous record of 61. Check this post out and weigh in.

2. Dancin’ Down the Aisle If this video does not brighten your day, you have no pulse. These two lovebirds were on the Today Show to talk about their wedding–watch this video and you’ll see why.

3. Is Sunday School Failing? Why aren’t children raised in Sunday School staying in the church? Check this out to find one author’s findings.

4. Claim Your Facebook Fan Page Custom URL Today This one surprised me. You can add custom URL’s to your Facebook fan pages if you’re an administrator. Find the “how-to” here.

5. Do You Ever Feel Like an Outsider at Church? Well, do you? If so, Kem Meyer has some soothing words for you.

So there they are, your top 5 posts of the week! Recap, refresh, re-read, re-tweet!

Have you enjoyed today’s post? Would you kindly consider subscribing to our feed through RSS or email? That way, you’re never out of the loop! comes to you, how brilliant. Thank you!

Dancin’ Down the Aisle

In case you missed it, we had a lively discussion on marriage the other day. To lighten things up, here is a wonderful expression of the joy that marriage brings!

HT: The one, the only, Katy Kelley

UPDATE: Here is the lovely couple being interviewed on the Today Show the day after this was originally posted:

Is ‘No Sex Before Marriage’ a Realistic Expectation?


I was Skyping with a friend about performing marriage ceremonies for couples who were living together before they were married. “Where do we draw the line?” was the gist of our discussion. Do you:

  • Marry people if they are living together before marriage?
  • Ask cohabitating couples to live elsewhere before you’ll agree to the ceremony?
  • Have a blanket, black-and-white policy for all couples, regardless of how well you know them personally?

At one point in the discussion, I wrote:

I would rather people have sex before marriage than be alientated from the church for the rest of their lives.

I was shocked. By my own words. But I mean them. I am not convinced that the Church has the luxury of saying, “We won’t marry you because you are living together.” (To be clear, I am confident that most, if not all, couples who live together before marriage are not, in fact, “saving themselves” for the wedding night.) If the couple can’t get married in a church, they’ll go to the courthouse or find a friend who got ordained online and get married.

That’s the reality.

I would rather marry a couple who is living together and provide some sort of Christ-centered influence than let them go off and find a non-Christian alternative.

That’s me. What do you think?

UPDATE: This post was written strictly regarding non-Christian couples. It is written under the context of marrying people who do not go to church. Christians, to be sure, need to keep it in their pants.

Is Sunday School Failing?


Did you grow up going to Sunday School? In an article on, an informal study found that the tried-and-true Sunday School experience is simply not working. It’s not addressing the doubts of children and young adults and it’s not retaining those same children and young adults. Here’s some statistics from the article:

Among 20- to 29-year-old evangelicals:

  • 95% attended church regularly during elementary school
  • 95% attended church regularly during middle school >> 40% first had doubts about the Bible in middle school
  • 55% attended church regularly during high school >> 43.7% first had doubts about the Bible in high school
  • 11% attended church regularly during college >> 10% first had doubts about the Bible in college

The author then claims that failed Sunday School is a byproduct of failed churches. How does that sit with you? He also states:

If you want to reach and disciple children, you must reach and disciple their parents.

Translation: If parents rely solely on Sunday School for the discipling of their children, statistics show that it will not work. Parents need to “shoulder the load” of raising their children up in the ways of Christ, not rely on the church to do it.

HT: Jeremy Anderberg for the research!

Do You Ever Feel Like an Outsider at Church?

This interview with Kem Meyer should be required viewing for all church staff, everywhere. Kem is straight crushin’ it!

(Mega thanks to Terrance Crawford!)

Preachers Shouldn’t Pisseth on the Wall

Here’s a poor preacher:

What makes a good preacher?

Ready, go!

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