The Bucket for my Bucket List

I went to Catalyst West back in April.  (For all church and ministry leaders who are wanting to make a relevant impact in your circle of influence, I highly recommend going.)  As we all walked in for the opening session I noticed that there were small, yellow buckets and two wooden sticks sitting on each seat.

Note: If you give a bucket and two sticks to 4,500 youth pastors, young adult leaders, lead pastors (most of whom have been youth pastors), and seminary students, expect a wild time.  That’s another story, another time.

At some point during the conference it was explained that we should think of something that we hope to do to make an impact in our world and write it on the outside of our buckets.  Call it a bucket list.  (cue internal groan)  When I got home I realized that it wasn’t too bad of an idea.  So I started writing.

Some of the things that I’ve written on it are pretty base things (ride an elephant, which I was able to do this summer).  Some other things are pretty high goals that may be much harder to accomplish (writing a book and getting it published).

I saw a supposed bucket list the other day and realized that of the 60+ items on the list, I had already done almost 50 of them.  Most of the items were pretty shallow (ride in a helicopter – cool but surface level).  So I’m trying to shoot higher because I want to do greater things, more meaningful things.

I keep this bucket in my office and look at it each time I’m there.  I’m not trying to be morbid with making a list  (I’m going to live to be 100 anyways). I’m making the list because I want to take every opportunity to live the fullest life possible with my Creator.

What are you doing today to make an impact and live the fullest life possible for your Creator?

Movie Trailer for Your Life

On Sunday night for youth group, we talked about what it would be like if there was a movie trailer for your life.

The green preview would come across with the viewer rating. Would your trailer be appropriate for all audiences? Would there be certain parts that would escalate your rating? That’s probably a safe bet. I know there are some parts in my life that I wouldn’t want the public to see.

After the viewer rating, the trailer flashes some text. What would it say? There lived a man who was…. Jake was an ordinary guy…  Rebecca had it all: the friends, the clothes, the car, the dream job… What would it say next?

Then it switches over to some video, maybe a skyline abstract shot panning down to a downtown city setting as you walk out of your apartment complex.  Or maybe it shows a quiet suburbia setting where all the trees have been bulldozed and the streets are named after them (Oak, Elm, Maple).  You walk out of your house ready for a new day.

Then the plot turns and a problem is raised.  Did you lose your job?  Did you wrong a friend?  Did life unexpectedly release a fury of bad events at you?  Maybe you made a series of really bad decisions.  Maybe you got involved with the cops.  Maybe you mugged somebody, ruined someone’s life, or even killed someone.

What has happened, or is currently happening, in your life that will define this moment for you? When you’re staring the problem right in the face, what happens next? Do you turn to Jesus for help to get you through this? He is the only One who can come alongside you and steer your life story into places you could have never dreamed of and out of places you never wanted to be.

This is the part in your movie where you have a decision to make. Will you let God lead you no matter what? Will you follow Him through whatever mine field you might have to navigate right now?

Are you anxious to see how the rest of your movie plays out? What will it look like? What are you doing today to make your life movie an extraordinary story?

Light or Dark?

It is amazing what type of changes people go through in a short period of time.  You can know someone from years ago (middle school, high school, college) and have a certain picture as you remember them in your mind.

You might remember them as being kind, giving, a person of integrity, maybe even someone who you aspired to be like at the time.

On the other hand, they might have been someone whom you remember as being a complete jerk, a drama queen, selfish, possibly someone whom you couldn’t stand to be around.

The funny thing is that years later, maybe only one or two, maybe ten or twenty, there’s a difference in them when your paths cross again.  Someone who might have been a total jerk to you in high school might have experienced a complete metamorphosis.  They’re kind, generous, caring, and not at all like their previous selves.  I don’t know about you but it is a struggle for me to begin re-working my opinion and perception of them, especially if they left a strong negative impression on me in the past.

Sadly the opposite change might have happened.  Someone who you remember as being bright and cheerful and full of life is now cold and cynical.  There’s spite in their words; maybe even a hatred.  What happened?  Did something come into their life that poisoned the spirit that they used to have?  In that type of a situation I’m at a loss as to what to think.

No one is beyond redemption by the grace of God and the love of Christ.  We all have a choice as to how our lives will be affected.  It’s the two natures that we have warring in us as believers, the same natures that we allow to dictate which mask will be infused onto our lives.

You have a choice today as to what mask you will wear.  Light.  Dark.  Make your choice.

Friday List – August 6, 2010

Thank God it’s Friday.  And no, I’m not just saying that.  Here’s to a long week that is finally over.  I’m heading to a water park today so enjoy the Friday List.

  • This is for all those days when your boss calls in sick.
  • Granted, being a police sketch artist has to be tough when you’re going off of eyewitness accounts (not the most reliable sources) but some of these sketches aren’t even in the same ballpark.
  • As if Twilight isn’t creepy enough:  Twilight Moms.
  • Rumor on the street is that Brett Favre is requiring a two hour special on ESPN to announce his upcoming decision.
  • Photo of the Week: Cake WIN.
  • Quote of the Week: “It’s ironic that a credit card is required to register for a Dave Ramsey seminar.” — John Crist

Trip to St. Mary’s Glacier

A few weeks ago I went to St. Mary’s Glacier for the first time ever (at least, to my knowledge).  It reminded me again why Colorado is the best state in the Union.  Thank God for mountains, lakes, pine trees, being able to throw around the Frisbee on the glacier, and getting outside during the beautiful Colorado summer!

Enjoy the pics!

It looks like it belongs on the front of a puzzle box.

The water was so clear, it was unbelievable.

And that's one of the reasons why Colorado is the best state ever.

We used trash bags as sleds to go down the glacier.

Friday List – July 30, 2010

Happy Friday everyone.  I’m finishing up the week at camp and I am dead tired.  Can’t wait to get some rest after HeavenFest tomorrow!  Enjoy the Friday List!

  • Hawaii 5-0 makes a return this fall.  I never watched the original (too young and it’s not on re-runs) but I hear that if it’s anything like the original, it’s going to have quite a following.  The theme song is required, no matter what.
  • Apparently a woman in Australia is a being not of this world.  At least, that’s what she told the traffic cop who pulled her over.
  • This must be a crushing blow to all of you who want to bring your catapults as carry-ons for British Airways.
  • A bear took a car for a joy ride south of Denver.

…sometimes I’m Edmund.

Yesterday I mentioned how I identify with some of the characters in C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, specifically Peter. There are also times when I feel like Edmund: the younger brother, the black sheep, the redemption story.

Edmund betrays his own family.  He is blinded by his own selfishness and the White Witch’s lies and deception.  He is so focused on the false promises of the White Witch that he’s willing to risk the lives of his family to get his way.

The beautiful part of the story is how Aslan sends a rescue party to bring Edmund back to safety.  Edmund doesn’t know the extent and the severity of his betrayal.  The forgiveness and closure on Edmund’s sin is so much greater than even he realizes, especially when it eventually costs Aslan His own life.

For all of the sin, the fickleness of our hearts, and the selfish pride that we give into, it amazes me how ignorant we are of the cost.  In my mind, I feel like Edmund a lot of times.  I see myself betray the people around me.  I see my pride become my driving force; it’s “all about me”.  I don’t realize the depths of my rebellion and the effect that it has on my Savior.

The picture above is probably one of the most impacting pictures that I have ever seen.  I have a framed copy of it at home.  Each time I look at it I’m reminded about how easily I run in and out of following Christ.

For all the times I realize how I’ve turned away from Christ, I usually catch a glance of this picture.  It reminds me that redemption is for everyone, including the selfish, deceived, and wayward.

Sometimes I’m Peter,

The Chronicles of Narnia is probably my favorite book series.  Confession time, I’ve read through the series eleven times.  No lie, I’ve been half-way through my twelfth time for well over a year now.  I believe the Chronicles of Narnia are C.S. Lewis’ greatest collection of work.  Some might disagree with me, that’s fine.  If you’ve never read them before, I would highly recommend them.  They’re easy reads and they’re books that will change your life.

My favorite book in the series is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  If you’ve never read it, then the rest of this won’t make much sense at all.  The reason that this book appeals to me so much is that I see myself a lot in Peter and in Edmund.

In Peter I see how in my own life I can be afraid of being the leader God has called me to be.  When I see the tools that God has given to me, like Peter’s sword and shield, I wonder if I’ll be able to use them when the time comes.  Ever feel that way?  Ever feel that you doubt your own gifting from God?  If you’re in any type of leadership you know exactly what I mean.

Like a frightened schoolboy I sometimes feel like I have no chance against the wolves who are coming to attack the people I’ve been called to lead.  Sound familiar?

Once the fight comes though, I have a choice to make.  Will I stand my ground and fight for what God has called me to do?  I need to step into the leadership where I’ve been gifted and called by God.  There are times when I am Peter.  If you’re a leader, you are also Peter at some point in time.  Use the tools that God has given to you.  Run to the fight.  Run to protect the people you love and have been called to lead.

Stefan Sagmeister and Time Off

Last week I mentioned TED Talks and the unique approach that TED takes in communicating fresh ideas.  One of the best TED Talks that I have heard was given by designer Stefan Sagmeister about the power of time off.  I won’t give away too much of his talk, he does an excellent job of explaining his approach and reasoning in the video.

It is interesting how Sagmeister decided on taking a sabbatical year once every seven years.  In the Old Testament God introduced the concepts of the Sabbath Year and the Year of Jubilee to the people of Israel.  During the Year of Jubilee (every 50th year), all slaves were released from their bondage.  All squandered inheritances were returned to their original owners.  The land was given rest and everything was reset for the next 50 years.

A regular time of rest was built into the rhythm of living.   One Sabbath day a week.  A Sabbath year every seven years.  A year of deliverance, a Jubilee, every 50 years.  It was needed.  It was anticipated.

I struggle to take time off in my own life.  If I don’t take time off to rest regularly, I’m failing to enjoy the renewal that God intended for me to have.  Enjoy your Sabbath once a week.  It doesn’t have to be Sunday, it can be any day.  If it’s your Sabbath, don’t call it your off day.  Call it your Sabbath.  Turn off your phone.  Don’t check email for a day.  Do whatever it takes to release your hold on the pressures of today.  It changes your perspective and gives you the rest and renewal that you need.

How do you find your Sabbath rest?

Friday List – July 23, 2010

Happy Friday everyone!  I’m heading up to a Men’s Retreat from today through tomorrow then leading worship at a camp in the mountains until next Saturday.  I will post when possible.  Until then, enjoy your weekend and the Friday List.

  • Picture of the Week — Bad Timing Towing.
  • In case you missed Peyton Manning’s movie debut, check out the trailer here.
  • As if BP had any latitude for making more mistakes, they admit to using Photoshop.
  • Mercy Me covers Eye of the Tiger.  Where did they get a suit that big?
  • LifeChurch.tv’s Tulsa campus turned their campus into Toy Story.
  • Quote of the Week —  “Why is Starbucks trying so hard to sell me Via? Why would I want coffee that looks like a condiment?” — Ben Arment, History In the Making