Soccer gets a bad rap for haircuts, but after this weekend, I’m nominating wrestling for “Worst Hair in Athletics”. Shaggy pink mohawks, green goatee (on a parent, not a wrestler, but still…), shaved lines, shaved head with raised lines of no particular design… It was amazing.

I sort of feel like I’ve done my boys a disservice. (I don’t mean by giving them somewhat normal looking haircuts.) Both of them lost both their matches and were finished early Saturday at their second wrestling meet. Both of them faced kids who’ve been wrestling 3 or 4 years, as opposed to their 6 weeks. When you’re only 7 or 8, that’s almost half your life! My disservice is in not starting them in wrestling when they were 3.

But wait a minute…

When my boys were 3, did they really need to be in wrestling? Probably not. The learning curve is steep, but is it insurmountable? Again, probably not. There’s a kid Siah’s wrestled 3 times now (in 2 tournaments), and each time, he’s scored more points, gained more control, and spent less time getting thrown around. He’s learning. They both are.

I like sports, and I’m competitive. If there’s a score, I want to win. I want to see my boys win, too, but yesterday I saw some parents that seemed to have way too much vested in the outcome of their kids’ rolling around on a foam mat. I can only hope they’ll be embarrassed when they hear themselves on tape, but I’m not that optimistic…

Leaving with some disappointment, I dropped the kids off at home and headed out to the church building where the feelings of let-down and loss were quickly banished.  I got to be there for the baptism of an eighth grade girl whose family is a part of WestWay. What a contrast in parents. These guys were celebrating something that really matters! Any disappointment in the wrestling outcomes was eclipsed with the joy of being able to bear witness to the beginning of a new life lived in Christ.

I don’t really care if my boys become great wrestlers – but to know Christ… that is something worth working toward. I’m glad we started early – and I pray our priority will always be to see them know and love Him. I guess that’s not a disservice at all…

More than Open Chords & Goosebumps

The last message for the series I’ve been doing with my students on Wed. nights is focused on worship. I want our students to live in a permanent attitude of worship – the way Jesus did. That doesn’t mean they walk around singing the doxology all the time. It doesn’t mean they sing loud and and proud at church gatherings every Sunday and Wednesday without fail. It means they consistently offer themselves to God for service in His mission to reconcile what’s been broken in this world.

I wonder if music has become a worship idol for us? Can you worship without it? Can you worship without your preferred style of it? Worship is more than open chords and warm, fuzzy feelings on a Sunday morning. I was looking at the site for Catalyst Dallas today (anybody I know thinking about going?) and came across a great quote from Michael Gungor that captures this idea:

“If leading worship is just about bringing a group of people into a room so we can get goosebumps and sing songs together, there’s not much value in that. But if leading worship is a means to an end, that we leave this place as a different kind of people, as part of a new humanity that God wants to create – the people that are caring for the widows and orphans, that aren’t bound by the systems of this world but becoming free, becoming fully engaged in our world – then that matters.”

Worship is about how we live our lives – engaging with God and caring for those He loves, offering our selves to Him to be transformed…

How have you been worshiping lately?

How will you worship tomorrow?

Sticks & Chisels 2.1

Yesterday, the groundhog saw no shadow on a day when a huge majority of our country is frozen solid, so we all look forward to an early Spring. Doesn’t really seem connected to me, but… whatever.

Today, I took a looked back into the shadows of this blog and found some of my favorites listed among the most visited posts here over the last 6 or 7 months. Not sure what it all means for tomorrow’s weather, but at least we’re above zero.

#10  Humility of a Half-Marathoner – Some humble, post-race reflection after the CO half marathon. I can’t even remember the pain anymore, but man that was fun!

  #8  Dear Youth Minister… – This is why I don’t quit – and I’m glad to be hearing outside this blog how this has been an encouragement to youth workers I’d never have had the opportunity to encourage otherwise.

  #7  A Question Regarding a Church Planting Mindset – Eric Bryant sparked a thought in me that hasn’t gone away. What if we were planting a church with a team as big as our current congregation and with the same budget? I’d love to have you go back and check this one out and dream together in the comments section, especially if you’re from WestWay…

  #4  Help Us Help Haiti – An invitation to a concert we hosted to benefit the earthquake relief efforts in Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. There is still so much to be done…

  #1  Leaders Who Don’t Know What to Do – An admission that sometimes, we just don’t know what to do – and that puts us in pretty good company, and causes us to depend on Someone who does know what to do. This one got picked up by YouthWorker (the online home of YouthWorker Journal) for their blog section, which bumped it up from sixth (or so) to first.

Sticks & Chisels 1.4

Aggregate is a pretty versatile word. Noun, adjective, verb. Aggregate hits the cycle. Aggregate is like a Swiss Army knife of a word – maybe not the one with everything, but at least the one with the micro scissors and a the toothpick in the side. Aggregate has a lot going for it. According to our friends at Merriam-Webster to aggregate is to collect or gather into a mass or whole.

One of my favorite apps so far in my iPad experimentation, flipboard, is essentially an aggregator of selected RSS, twitter, & facebook feeds. I like how it takes a lot of information, photos, videos, articles, etc. and puts them all into one magazine-like digital space. It occurs to me that we’re all aggregators – we all gather information, experiences, people, and stuff. Every day, something new is brought into the cluster of my life (and yours). I want to make sure that whatever the raw material is that I’m gathering, I am also faithfully caring for whatever God has seen fit to allow into my life.

  • What have you been aggregating lately? What kinds of people and attitudes have you been gathering & clustering around you and influencing? 
  • Into what have you been aggregated? What bodies or groups are you a part of that are influencing you? 
  • What kinds of ideas are you aggregating (and curating)?