Monday, May 26, 2008

The News

I don't watch the news. I don't read the news either, and now that I don't drive to Crown Center every day, I don't listen to the news. I have my homepage set to gmail, so I don't even see the top headlines of the day. (I'm excluding Sports Center right now as I do watch that almost every morning thanks to Mike.)

I've been overly proud that Mike nor I keep up on the news and have seen some good effects: I'm not as scared. I haven't been exposed to the horror stories of last night's midnight shooting or kidnapping. I can actually drive through Kansas City's Mid Town and appreciate the old stores and history of the city. I am working on forming my own opinion of the political candidates. And I don't get down about the weather forecast because I have no idea what's happening. It's always a surprise when it rains.

But today, I had some bad effects and some big-time humility. My family was hanging out at my brother's house and started talking about a Mormon polygamist colony in Texas and some guy in Europe who locked his daughter up in his basement and had kids with her. Mike and I hadn't even seen traces of jokes about these things on SNL, so we had NO idea this had happened recently. And everyone at the table replied "Don't you watch the news? It's been all over it for weeks!"

A professor in college used to encourage us PR students to read/watch/listen to the news because it makes us conversational. I saw what he meant today. But I was convicted because it also is what makes us missional. Not only can talking about current events help me find common ground with someone for a discussion, but it also helps me find ways to show my friends how needed Jesus is today, and with real-life examples. (I could not have come up with a crazier story than a polygamist colony in Texas to demonstrate our desperate struggle with sin and need for a Savior.)

So friends, today I'm convicted. I am currently looking through good news source websites to decide which one will get the glorious position of my homepage. I'm going to make a more concentrated effort to stay on top of what's happening. I am going to start reading the news.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kind Regards,

Dear Readers,

Sorry everyone, I warned you this would happen. Here's a tangent that has me side tracked for the moment.

Does it bug anyone else as much as it bugs me when someone signs off their emails with "Kind Regards"? or how about "Warm Regards" - that's even worse. But today, I'll focus on the Kind.

What is that supposed to mean? Kind regards - even though I've never met you in person. Kind regards from right now on - but not for the rest of my email? What if the entire email was about how much you had screwed up lately - would you still send it signed "kind regards?" Kind regards because if I don't sign it "Kind Regards" I'll be sending "You Suck Regards?"

And what are Kind Regards? I've never heard anyone say "Hey Mom, it was great to see you on Mothers Day! I'm going to go home now - Kind Regards!" Yeah, I don't think so. Or "Leah, I thought I'd send you some Kind Regards today and hope you have a good day." Doesn't make any sense.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, here are a few suggestions as replacements that get across the same message, but in a little less freakish, yet still unique way:

  • Hope you're having a good day,
  • Eat a big piece of pie for me,
  • It's been great working with you even though we've never met,
  • I'm really nice,
or really - and old-school Sincerely or Thanks! will do.

Appreciating your readership in a really nice and kind way,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Behold the Power Of ... The Vacuum

I don't know if it's the same around your house as it ours - but the vacuum has power. Mike and I equally enjoy using the vacuum, and love it even more after it's been used by the other person.

As much as I love it when Mike surprises me by a quick sweep up around the house, he loves it just as much when he comes home and sees fresh lines on the carpet. It's a small, easy way to show your spouse you were thinking of him/her and helping out.

It seems like something so small and obvious, how can it be missional? First, it's serving one another. If you both get a kick out of having a vacuumed house it's a win-win. Second, it could lead into a conversation where you tell your spouse thank you and how it's just one of the many Christlike actions you've seen in them lately. A lot of times things go unsaid because there's not a comfortable situation leading to those conversations. So get out that vacuum and start talking!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lunch Box Notes

I want to theme our blog and have it be a bit more focused. Because God made me sporadic, I'm sure there will be an occasional unrelated post, but I'm going to do my best to keep it on topic.

At The Avenue, we say "missional" a lot, but I'm finding that many people aren't sure about what it means, or really care. I don't have all of the answers, but I have a lot of ideas about what it can mean, and why it's really awesome and important. And then I thought Mike and I could use our blog to showcase an easy, everyday idea. He and I both are all over this missional thing.

Because it's our "Love Week" (AKA our 3rd wedding anniversary was yesterday and we make a big deal out of it for about a week), I thought we'd kick this thing off by ways to be missional to your spouse. Thus,

Idea 1 - Lunch Box Notes
This practice isn't just reserved for the moms who pack soup in a thermos for their elementary school kids and find ways to tell them hello in the middle of the day. No, this long going expression of love and thoughtfulness is great for your marriage too. For starters, you're actually serving your spouse by packing his or her lunch (which everyone loves), and two - you're able to express your heart in a way that you might never say the thoughts in person.
Here are a few tips on writing notes:

  • Don't let them see you writing the note. Slip it in there as a secret. It's best when it's a surprise.
  • Place it near something tightly sealed, and try to keep it away from something frozen that might sweat on it and make your XOXOs run together.
  • It's fun to put it on the same paper each time so when they see the bright orange sticky note, they know exactly what it is.
  • Make sure to sign your name, or your nickname.
Here are a few suggestions for what to put on the note:
  • Just a really big "I Love You" or "You're the best _______" (fill in the blank)
  • A thank you for something specific.
  • Something you've learned from them recently.
  • A bible verse you read and are praying for them.
  • Some sort of inside joke.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Come Dwell With Us

I am extremely burdened tonight in what feels like every area. I have situations going on with my friends, my family, my church and my culture that have caused my heavy heart, and the only thing I can reason is that God has something to say.

I just finished a 10-week Bible study from Beth Moore that taught the history and significance of the Old Testament tabernacle. The point of the study was simple: God created us so He could dwell with us, and Christ is how we experience that today.

Our generation is missing that point as a whole. The simple truth that our job as humans is to be in God's presence is lost in the midst of a mess. There's a lot of problems going on, and several things that aren't "right" at this moment. We've got severed relationships, false idols, misguided focus, unforgiveness, financial issues, bitterness, and much more that's getting in the way - all Satan's attempts to get our eyes on this world and not on the one to come - and especially not on Christ.

Tonight I'm humbled as I find myself in a boat that's been floating on top of things of this world. I've been numb to the emergency that Christ is not being made known to our culture because of the sin issues that I've been trying to personally deal with, or help others walk through.

As I look back on the words of encouragement, support and hope that I find for myself and others, the only anchor I see that's going to keep all of us afloat is repentant hearts joining in unison chanting "Jesus, you are enough. Come dwell with us."