I didn’t even know I was looking for it, but now that I’ve found it I feel as if a vast chasm in my soul has been filled.
MY NEW -SIGNATURE- KARAOKE SONG:
People often ask me why I look at my phone so often.
The answer is simple.
This is my background:
Recently a friend of mine asked me, “What six books have changed your life?”
This question sent me down a rabbit hole of nostalgia, and instead of a simple list, I ended up with something more like an article.
(Note: I chose to exclude all fiction from my list, so even though Hatchet, The Harry Potter series, and the works of Stephenie Meyer have changed my life, I’ll have to save those for a different list).
This was the first time I ever picked up a book for the sake of learning something. Becoming a better person became a priority in my life, and John Maxwell lays out clear and succinct ways to grow. In many ways the concepts in this book have been the foundation in my life on which all future growth as a leader has been built.
“Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley
In all honesty, I don’t remember much about the content of this book. Instead, it was the context in which I read it that made an impact on me. My pastor met with me and a few of my friends every Wednesday morning at McDonald’s, and we read through this book together. Sitting around a table with your peers as you grow together; learning from someone you look up to; This one hour every week left a lasting impression.
“Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis
I still can’t believe how many times I opened this book to read and had to close it again after a page, or a paragraph, because my mind was too blown to move on. This book was an awakening for me. For the first time, Christianity became a thinking man’s game, and I loved it. “Mere Christianity” introduced me to the world of C.S. Lewis, whose mind and work continue to challenge my thinking.
“The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom
No other story–book, movie, or heartfelt email forward–has ever made me tear up as many times as this one has. The autobiography of a woman who smuggled Jews out of Holland during World War II, this book reveals the best and worst that humanity has to offer. Seeing both in contrast evokes both a restless anger and a profound hope. The setting of such darkness makes the existence of the light of Jesus in this story seem all the more incredible. This book caused me to understand the value of that light, and it gave me a hunger to always have it in my life.
“The Barbarian Way” by Erwin McManus
This is a book about courage. Its about a bold, passionate pursuit of Christ and his calling on your life. This book came to me at just the right time. I had just graduated high school, and a number of momentous, critical changes were about to take place in my life…or not. Like most people, I had the choice to prevent those changes; to stay where I was comfortable. This book pushed me out of the nest in my journey with Christ. Life has become an adventure. It started with “The Barbarian Way,” and I have never looked back.
“No Perfect People Allowed” by John Burke
Shortly after opening this book, I realized it was going to help me rethink some things about Christianity. My entire worldview had shifted by the time I closed it. I already knew who Jesus was, and I don’t think my relationship with him was inauthentic, but this was something new; something much deeper. It was like a business relationship turned romantic. Christianity was replaced in my life by Jesus.
So, I really do want this to be a blog and not a diary, but I’m going to post this anyway.
Every once in a while, I journal my prayers. They are personal and intimate: perfect for the world wide web. Most of the people closest to me tell me that I don’t share my feelings often enough. In reality, I just don’t have a lot of feelings, so I figured when I DO have feelings, I’ll post them here. Then when my friends and family complain about my cold, calculated, emotionless nature, I can just say, “go read my blog.”
Ps 25.7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
When you created the world, you said that it was good. Then we ruined it. This world, and the humans who inhabit it, are corrupted; distorted. “Good” can no longer be the primary descriptor of your creation.
I am no exception. You created me as a beautiful reflection of you, with great potential, and talents, and passions. And I have messed it all up. I have ruined it. I am corrupted; distorted. I am not good. And yet here I am, with a wife, and a ministry, and a future. You have not taken these things from me, even though I have not lived up to the responsibility of caring for them. You have chosen to remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
God, I pray that I would live in that reality. I pray that I would rise to the occasion. Every moment that goes by where you do not take my wife, my ministry and my future from me is a moment undeserved; a moment of mercy. They keep coming. Thank you. I pray that I would live with an attitude of humility, and of gratefulness, and of joy at a life that is more than I have earned.
If this were a real post, there would be interesting content. Repeat: THIS IS A TEST.
I tried skateboarding once.
It didn’t go well.
I was 20 years old when I first gave it a shot. I didn’t count on it being too difficult; I’m pretty good on a bicycle, and that has half as many wheels… so I should be twice as good at skateboarding.
I was at the skate park, and a 13 year old boy was teaching me how to “drop in,” a foundational skill of any real skater. I stood at the top of the ramp with my skateboard hanging off the edge. My goal was to fall down the ramp, onto my skateboard, and ride down. In other words, my goal was to sustain only minor injuries. I remember the feeling I had at the top of that ramp, wondering why sports like Oklahoma Noodling and Skateboarding even exist. I remember asking myself the question, “Why am I doing this??”
I have that same feeling right now, and I’m asking myself the same question. Blogging is cool just like skateboarding is cool, but its also awkward to get started. The mental image I have of me writing a blog is awesome… like me on a skateboard, zipping between traffic and awestruck observers; ollying over curbs and small children; sticking it to the man with my mad skills. Actually pushing myself off the ledge–hoping I hit the ground with the wheels and not my face–is a different feeling altogether.
So now that I’m actually sitting down to try and make this image a reality, I’ve got to answer the question: “Why am I doing this?”
“Because I need to.” is the simple answer.
There’s something wrong with my brain. It’s tough to say if my problem is uncommon, since I can’t read minds, but I tell myself it is. An episode of spongebob helped me figure out what my problem is. It showed the inner workings of spongebob’s brain, depicted as an office filled with workers, organizing information into file cabinets. I imagine that for most intelligent people, this is an apt metaphor. Their thoughts show up to their brain as if it were an office. They clock in and get work done. There is a sense of order, and they talk politely to one another, and they work together to achieve a common goal.
My thoughts, on the other hand, show up to my brain and throw a house party. They turn up the music, and they break things, and they stay up way too late accomplishing nothing in particular.
Writing is the best strategy I have for making sense of my thoughts and my life. I think best when I’m writing, so the more I do it, the better handle I tend to have on the chaos in my head. I want to grow. I have a lot of thoughts and opinions to a thousand different things, but they’re all vague and scattered. They don’t organize themselves. I’m hoping this blog will help me develop my thoughts into something coherent. I want to have a voice worth listening to.
So I’m just gonna go for it. I’m gonna start blogging. Maybe it’ll catch, and I’ll end up with a group of people that actually read this blog… or maybe it won’t. A blog that no one reads is really just a diary… I don’t know if this will ever develop into a real blog. It might just be my diary, but I’m ok with that… for now.
There’s no way to know until I do it.
Anyway, here’s hoping that I’m better as a blogger than I was as a skater.
I am so thankful for our last two years together, both the good times and the hard times. Loving you has shown me so much about God’s love and desires for his most precious creation, and has forced me to grow in ways I never could have without you in my life. This blog is my gift to you on our anniversary, in hopes that you recognize just how valuable I think you are to God and his mission to make the world right again.
You have so much to offer the world – knowledge and insight for those seeking something deeper, encouragement and strength for those weary and feeling hopeless, conviction and motivation for those experiencing apathy, and so much more. I believe in you so much and I’m excited to witness the impact you’ll have on our world via this new medium :) can’t wait to start following you! Happy blogging!