An Interview about Sacramental Leadership

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Just what changes when "sacramental" is added to "leadership?"  Here is an interview I did recently with R. J. Grunewald, a great pastor in Michigan.

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Stetzer Interviews Metaxas

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

This time, Eric Metaxas is on the receiving end.  This interview, conducted by Ed Stetzer, is also worth the watch.  

Eric Metaxas on #TheExchange with @EdStetzer from Ed Stetzer on Vimeo.

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Metaxas Interviews Gladwell

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

This rather lengthy Eric Metaxas interview from earlier this year is an intriguing look into Malcolm Gladwell's spiritual journey. Definitely worth the watch.

Malcolm Gladwell: "David and Goliath" from Socrates in the City on Vimeo.

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7 Ways to Celebrate Easter Like It’s 1999

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Blog | 9 comments

I’ve celebrated Easter for 53 years.  53 years of Easter baskets and Easter eggs, of Easter suits and Easter lilies, of Easter Jesus outside an empty Easter tomb.  Being a conscientious Easter celebrator, I’ve gathered what I think are seven of the best ways to celebrate Easter like a mad man.  Like a crazy fool.  Like it’s 1999

Here you go.  Feel free to repost and tweet away.  No credit necessary.

1.     Attend a really dark, depressing Good Friday service.  Counter intuitive, I know, but it works.   You need to get divinely bummed before you can be divinely surprised.  Find a church that leaves the depression in Good Friday.  No smiling.  No happy-clappy.  Jesus didn't clap on the cross.  There were those nails, remember?  Lots of wailing, black, and depravity – that’s what you want.  Coffins of depravity.  Rumination is good for the soul.  To get your head there, consider a world of only Good Fridays.  What if funerals were all she wrote, if cancer had the last laugh, if rape and abuse and divorce and desertion were your life’s defining stroke?  What if the story ended there?  How often have you lived like it did?   Wallow here until you smell like pig mud.  No one wants to live in pig mud but wallowing on the Friday before Easter makes Easter more fun.

2.     Hide Easter eggs in your neighbor’s yard.  Their front yard.  By their garage or wherever they come in and out the most.  That way they’ll find them.  Fill them with wrapped Easter candy so their three year-old doesn’t get an egg of ants.  That wouldn’t be good.  Put them in their mailbox.  Gift wrap a box full of them and place them on their front porch and ring the bell.  (Be sure and run.)  Hang Easter eggs from their trees.  Go crazy like these Germans.  Rather than expect your neighbor to go to Easter, take Easter to her.  Make her smile.  Make her feel like a kid again.  Bring that Easter ‘Aha!’

3.     Read all four crucifixion and resurrection accounts in one sitting.  Over-the-top crazy ambitious, I know.  Probably take you a whole hour and with your busy schedule…  Ok, that was sarcastic.  Sorry.  Most of us have heard of Good Friday and Easter but have never read word-for-word what the Bible says about them.  Matthew 26:47-28:15; Mark 14:32-16:8; Luke 22:47-24:48; John 18:1-20:22 provide eyewitness accounts to these events.  Think USA Today.  Read them.  Mark them up.  Take notes.  Let them soak in so that when you show up in church later this week, your worship is framed in truth.  Take your time with them so when your equally ignorant friend says, “The Bible doesn’t really say Jesus rose from the dead,” you can lovingly redirect him.  (If you don’t have the hour to read all four accounts at once, read one a day.)

4.     Serve Peeps instead of ham.   Ham?  Seriously? Can’t you do better than that?  Where’s the joy in ham?  Ham puts you to sleep.  Peeps pep you up.  Easter is about up.  Rise and shine.  You can get ham any Sunday.  But Peeps, they only happen once a year.  (Ok, Amazon has ruined that.)  Make this a festive meal.  Memorable.  Peeps with gravy, that’s memorable.  Ham with raisin sauce…I’m not sure what to say.  If you’re Peeps challenged, go here.  

5.     Thank those who taught you about “Jesus” Easter.  As opposed to “bunny” Easter.  A friend of mine tells of memories of her mom teaching her about Jesus while giving her a bath as a child.  Bath-time was Jesus time.  Who told you about Jesus and the reason for the crucifixion and the hope of the resurrection?  Who reframed elves and eggs so that they were a part of the celebration but not the center?  How old were you when you realized Jesus died for your sin and rose so you’ll rise?  Who was the Who who taught you?  Dial the number, click “send” on the email, buy a stamp and send a card.  And if the “who” is no longer here – like Leona Elenora Renatta Richter Fischer (now that’s a name), the grandma who taught me – then thank the Creator who keeps her in paradise.  Easter means you’ll go there, too.

6.     Set off those fireworks you saved from New Year’s Eve.  What, you didn’t save any?  What were you thinking???  Imagine this: Easter Sunday, sunrise, 6 am, and “boom.”  Stone rolled away sound effects.  The neighbors might not be totally thrilled but when was the last time someone shot off fireworks on Easter?  Never!  This has your name written all over it.  If fireworks aren’t an option, try party poppers, party horns, and party hats.  Key word: Party!  (If fireworks are illegal in your neighborhood…then find another neighborhood.)

7.     Party with a group of other Jesus crazies.  Partying alone is a drag.  Find a local Christian Church (no such thing as an un-Christian Church but sometimes I feel like not everyone knows that)…find a local Christian Church and join them on Easter Sunday.  Try to sing all of the songs, even if you don’t know them.  Listen to the Bible readings.  Count how many smiles you see on the faces.  Hopefully you’ll count over 100.  Consider that your true, real, life-defining moment wasn’t the crisis or the failure that pinned Jesus to the cross in your place, but rather the empty tomb and Risen Savior promising “Empty tombs for everyone!”  Easter defines you.  Your flawed body is on borrowed time, but one day it will be on Easter time, restored, renewed, and never to die again.  That’s why you can celebrate like there’s no tomorrow.  Because when Easter defines you, there always is.

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10 Valentine’s Day Gifts Women Say They Want

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

It's Valentine's Day.  What's a guy to do?  Standard fall-back on card and roses?  "That will do, pig.  That will do."  But what if she's allergic to pollen?  What if thorns give her nightmares?  What if red only reminds her of the blood drive where she fainted?  That's what I mean.  And that's why I decided to help needy Valentine's Day men everywhere.  

I conducted a totally non-scientific Valentine's Day poll and asked a bunch of women to tell me the best Valentine's Day gift they ever received.   Mind-boggling, eh?  Thus this blog, complete with real wives' testimony in italics.

Men, leave a dime in the till and take the credit.  These are virtually fail-safe.  Virtually.  Because nothing's guaranteed when it comes to women.

1.    Babies.  This one’s a little tricky and definitely requires advance planning so if you're just now doing the shopping for Valentine's Day gifts, you're a little late.

·      I had a baby. 

·      I got my first born Feb 19th so that was my favorite Valentine’s gift.

2.    Dedicated Alone Time.  This Valentine’s Day, give her the gift of focus.  Just you and her.  No texts or tweets.  Please.

·      Turn off the technology, have a nice dinner, and find a quiet place to talk and dream together.

3.    Flowers.  They still seem to work Valentine's Day magic, but are rarely a stand-alone.  For instance try pairing them with breaking and entering.

·      One Valentine’s Day Mike left roses in my car when I was at work. I am not sure how he got off work to get to my school to do it but it was so sweet. It was very early in our relationship and he left flowers for Brenna too. So sweet!!

4.    Handmade crafts.  I know—limited clientele, for you artistic fellows only. My handmade paper Valentine’s Day flowers would look like crumpled meteorites on a stick.

·      Handmade paper flowers in a jar of vintage buttons. Hands down.

5.    Household Chores.  You can give a Valentine's gift of rolling up your own sleeves and getting those dishes done…or pay someone.  Either way seems to work magic.

·      I am an "acts of service" person so I would have to say something like cleaning the house or making dinner or something like that.

·      A quiet evening in a clean house with the man I love – no frills.

·      Molly Maids – deep cleaning of the house! Baseboards, fans, windows…..Yeah!!! All the things I hate doing

·      No dishes to wash.

6.    Heart-shaped flower bed.  This was above and beyond from a guy named Wayne.  Someone put a leash on this man.

·      Wayne dug out a heart shaped flower bed in our front yard. He lined it with stones and planted a tree and some flowers in it. He got a LOT of grief from the other husbands in our neighborhood, but they all ended up pitching in to dig a little up and help out.

7.    Jewelry.  Gold. Pearls.  Rubies.  Emeralds.  Choose your weapon.

·      A pair of Mikimoto pearl earrings and dinner with my sweetie.

8.    Massage Plus.    Nothing says Valentine’s Day romance like massages…and crème brulee or wine or…

·      Foot and shoulder massage, biggest bottle of Lambrusco there is.

·      Spa or massage gift certificate, night out (really out!….dinner. hotel, etc)

·      Couples massage . We get a 2 hours massage and it’s nice knowing my husband is in the same room with me.  Gives us time together and time to relax . After the massage we like to have a quiet dinner.

9.    Momentos.  These received huge “Likes” by ladies on Facebook.  Give this gift this Valentine’s Day and you’re set for at least five years.

·      He gave me a personalized music box.  It played our wedding song with a note written in it for our unborn daughter!  She is now 13 and has the music box for herself. 

·      I had a blue security blanket as a small child. Rob saw a picture of me clinging to it. I loved that blanket. On Valentine's Day 8 yrs ago, Rob gave me a blue blanket just like the one I had as a child. "When you are tired, stressed, or feeling sad, and I am not there to hold you, wrap this blanket around you and know you are loved." I cried. Other than my two girls, this was the best gift he has ever given me.

10. Singing Quartet.   If you can’t carry a tune, let someone else do it for you. (And what’s with this Wayne?  The name must come implanted with Valentine’s DNA.)

·      Wayne has sent me the Houston Tidelanders for about 15 years and I still look forward to them. They are an amazing barbershop quartet and usually sing four songs. We also started sending them to both my mom and mother in law. Whether singing in the middle of the bank lobby to me, or in the middle of the dining room at the ALF/nursing home to the moms…they are a huge hit and if you don't have a specific time, at $60, they are a much more affordable Valentine’s Day gift than roses!

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