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Put A Face On Them

We all know how divided our world is. Not surprising for anyone.
But how to navigate this context does seem foreign for most.
I have many thoughts on this, but here I will issue one in hope of providing help for someone.

For now I will simply say this: put a face on the person.

It is so easy to talk about people that hold a different position than you do as some sort of "category." But these are real human beings we are talking about. People who have a history that informs and shapes their views - just like you and me. These are people who are created in the image of God and loved deeply - regardless of belief or creed - and therefore have dignity and deserve respect.

It's funny. The people that tend to criticize others over an issue tend to be those who don't have a loving relationship with someone holding the view being criticized. This means there is no empathy. It means the practice of listening is almost impossible. With no relational contact the argument is at …
Recent posts

5 Of The Coolest Things You Can Buy On Amazon

The last post showed 5 of the weirdest things you can buy on Amazon. So I thought I would do a post with 5 of the coolest/interesting things I found you can buy. They are not necessarily the most practical things in the world, but worth checking out.
A 3D food printer! Make a pancake in any shape you want. See it here.Ever had a Dip 'n Dot? This makes them...my girls would love this. See it here. Pour a bottle of wine...without removing the cork? Easy and keeps it fresh longer. See it here. Never drop something between your seat and console again. Super practical. See it here. Unicorn meat. Yeah, you read that correctly. Might be a gag gift?  See it here

5 Of The Weirdest Things You Can Buy On Amazon

I can't believe some of these things really exist...but they do! They are real and they are actually for sale. Incredible. If nothing else, check them out and if you want a real kick skim through the reviews and check out the "Frequently Bought Together" section...pretty funny. Enjoy.
A life sized stick-on wall mural...of a woman using an inhaler (what?!). See it here.25 recipes...for cooking a placenta. What in the world?!! See it here.Did you know gummy bears have skeletons? Yeah, this 4D puzzle will teach you about it. Ha!Wanna buy a dozen Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches? Welp, here you go. See it here.Need a 6ft tall, 147 lb Bigfoot Yeti Statue for your garden? Well, now you can get it here.

Spiritual Exercise We Should All Practice

I rarely set an alarm, but I wake up early. On a typical weekday I am up between 4-5:00 am and it is my favorite time of day. It's the quiet and stillness that I love.

But it's what I start my time with that is so life giving.

I sit in my chair and close my eyes and I verbally say, "God, I acknowledge your presence right now." I then sit quietly. Sometimes I sit for 10 minutes, but other times I can for about an hour or even more. It's a way I enjoy the noise of my silence. I say it that way because after engaging in the this practice for a while there are a lot of things that can occur in this time of stillness. I may elaborate on this in another post.

For now, I'd like to offer some thoughts on this exercise for those who have never tried it:
This is about embracing good theology. Scripture says we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. So, we don't have invite God's presence. We just have to acknowledge it and live in light of that reality. This practice …

4 Practical Thoughts On Being Efficient

I'm convinced we don't really understand how much time we waste.
Everyone tracks their money (at least they should), but very few track their time. We reconcile our bank account on a regular basis, but few reconcile their calendars to assure they made the best use of their time.

It's interesting. Money comes and goes, but if you lose your time you can't get it back. This is partly why I recently challenged my staff to be more efficient. It's something hard to address because most people don't see themselves as being inefficient. That said, I think all of us can be encouraged in this way.

It is not infrequent for someone to ask me something like, "How do you manage to do so many things?" I'm always growing in this area of my life, but trying to be efficient is one thing I have put a lot of thought into.

Cutting out distraction is the first step. So, these may or may not be helpful thoughts for you, but here are four daily things that tend to limit…

Middle School Terminology

We can say it a number of ways, but trying to describe the middle school ministry can be tricky. Most of us say things like:

Middle school ministryMiddle school studentsMiddle schooler'sMiddle school kids But I'm beginning to think our terminology can make a difference. My oldest daughter is wrapping up her 5th grade year, the last of elementary school where we live. She has grown up a lot the past few years and it is exciting to see. But I don't feel comfortable referring to her as a middle school kid - although "kid" is not inappropriate at this stage of life. That said, how we refer to my daughter and her friends can make a difference. I have begun to say things like: People like my daughter, who are in middle schoolPeople who are in middle school Notice the difference? It's not that we deny them being people in the first phrases above, but I have seen dignity extended and received a bit differently when I refer to my daughter and her friends this way. Time …

Amsterdam

Well, as most of you know we have an international strategy for our church. At Colossae we are focused on 4 cities and specifically focused on church planting in these cities. This is why I am in Amsterdam.

Before I get more into that, a little fun cultural insight for Amsterdam...



This is true for Europe in many cases as well, but words don't mean the same thing here. For instance, Even though I'm here I still have had a bunch of work to do for our ministry at home, so my plan has been to go to different coffee shops during my time here and work from those places. However, "coffee shops" here are not the same as home. Here, they happen to be where you can purchase hash, marijuana and alcohol. In fact, most sell coffee but some don't.

So, the question is: why do they call them "coffee shops"?

I'm not sure exactly but here is my only conclusion because nobody here seems to know: Coffee is a drug. In our culture we don't think of it that way, but …