Quiet – The Internet Can’t Do This

Quiet – The internet doesn’t do quiet. It’s good for a lot of things, but quiet is not one of them. The internet overflows with information. It is loud and noisy. It’s a million voices. It’s full of people. (Many who would never be so obnoxious in person.) This can be a great thing. Sometimes, we need sensory overload and we need to fill our brains. Only then, can we sort through it all and make sense of the world around us.

Unfortunately, we need quiet for that part to happen. We can’t live our lives fully online, ’cause the internet doesn’t do quiet. When we’re online, we don’t see the long, quiet, thoughtful moments where people wrestled with themselves or with God or with other people. No one communicates the deep unsure quiet space where they work through things…..where they pray or where they seek guidance, but we need these times to sort through all the noise and settle in on the quiet where we find the “still small voice.”

I studied under Mike Ayers in college and he used to say, “A leader needs time to sit and stare out the window.” We’ve all got to have time to stare and imagine what life “could” be like and maybe more importantly, how it “should” be. Staring out the window gives us a chance to imagine and create a way to get to these new places, how build something new, to develop a new strategy. It allows us space to dream. Maybe daydreaming should be a bit of a discipline? When we need to make big/important decisions we need space and margin. We need quiet. Internet can’t do this.

Confession: Quiet is what I need. Soccer games, and football practices, and dance classes, and church responsibilities, and work, and family, and lifegroup, and, and, and. It all just overwhelms me. My life seems like a lot of noise. Then I come home to the internet……and it’s just more noise, more information, more, more, more. The stress builds and just piles on. I feel like screaming. I just want it to stop. I need quiet. I need margin and space so I am working on it. As a family, we are taking January off from sports – no soccer games or practices. We didn’t sign up for basketball. We’re planning to go camping. I’m also refraining from tv and much of the internet – planning to read more and write (on this blog) – to contemplate and sit and “stare out the window.” Pray for me.

I’d also encourage you to do the same – take a break from the internet. Disconnect and I believe you’ll find real connections – deep connections which the internet cannot provide. Get quiet. Listen to God. He is so much better than the internet. He has real answers without the booming voice – without all the sensory overload and confusion. He is the “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)

Believe Now

Colorado“Believe now.” ~ Bryan McKenzie

My pastor said this in a sermon a while back. He was referring to coming to Christ for the first time, but I heard it differently. It stuck. It’s been rolling around in my head for months now. If I could “believe now,” then I could make a Godly choice in every moment. You see, my failures and bad decisions are usually based upon some sort of unbelief.

  • I don’t believe He will provide for us, so I choose to worry about our financial situation.
  • I don’t believe that my body is a “temple for the Holy Spirit” (I Cor 6:19-20) or that God really cares about my health. I tell myself, “It’s not that big of a deal”, so I eat more than I should.
  • I don’t really believe sin kills, so I speak rudely to my family and my wife.

I could go on and on. . . . but you get the point. If I could “Believe Now!” I’d probably make better choices. I’d probably represent Jesus better and become more like Him. If I could “believe now,” I’d probably say “Yes” to different things and I’d be involved in new things. I’d probably say “No” to some other things as well.

Prayer: LORD, help me to “Believe now.” Keep this phrase in my mind. Train me to remember it in the moments that I struggle. Guide my heart to believe constantly, moment by moment. LORD I believe, but I want to believe more often, more consistently. “LORD I believe. Help my unbelief!” – Mk 9:24
AMEN.

Community is Messy

communityismessy

In spite of her gifts as a communicator and writer, Heather Zempel is truly humble. She admits her mistakes and paints a picture of stumbling through the maze of small group ministry and leadership, but her passion and heart are also very clear. She loves people and isn’t afraid of a little mess – and in some cases a lot of mess. She doesn’t try to prescribe any particular model for building community but rather draws on her experiences (sometimes very funny) to give the reader some helpful tools for gaining a better perspective on your particular situation.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“I decided a couple years ago to stop trying to strike a balance [in my life] and to pursue life in rhythm instead.”

“People can find legitimate community and be discipled outside our structures.”

“Most people come into groups looking for social space; we encourage leaders to aim for taking their groups [beyond that] to personal space; and we hope individuals will look for intimate space opportunities with a select few inside the group.”

“We need to ensure that our routines don’t become routine.”

This is the best book I’ve ever read on small group ministry! If you’re a part of a small group or want to be, you should read this book!

Heather is actually a family friend, (As a child, Miranda played football with her every Thanksgiving. Mike was the all-time quarterback.) but. . . . well, nevermind – I can’t deny that I’m biased to this book, but it’s still the best I’ve ever read on community groups.

Pick up a copy here: Amazon Link

Kesleigh’s Words

I did a similar post about my kid’s command of the English language a few years back. This one focuses on Kesleigh’s words. I love listening in as she discovers new words and I want to capture these moments here so I can remember them later. I’ll never get these years back and once she learns to speak these words correctly, I know I’m gonna long to hear that cute little voice of hers saying things wrong again.

Anyway, here’s the list:

Quored = scored – “Kasen quored a goal.”
Lemalade = lemonade – “No root beer daddy, I want lemalade.”
Tab = crab
Fink = drink – “Get me a fink daddy.”
Peep = pee pee – “I need to go peep daddy.”
Chic a lay = ChickFila – “Let’s go to chic a lay daddy.”
My doggy = Peanut – She never calls him by his name, Peanut. She just always refers to him as “my doggy.”
Angee buds = angry birds
Fry = Cry – “I was fryin daddy.”
Bana = banana
Tookie = Cookie
Dirt = Dessert – “I ate all my dinner Daddy. Can I have dirt?”
Uh-hind = Behind
Birthday party = Birthday cake – “Daddy I want another piece of “birthday party.”

The other day, we were going by McDonald’s to get Kesleigh a sausage biscuit. She sang “Old McDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O, and on this farm he had a paper E-I-E-I-O.” (She never really sings about animals on the farm, just random things she happens to see while she sings.)

Kesleigh also recently told me she wanted a sausage biscuit no biscuit. When I asked if she just wanted the sausage, she adamantly said, “NO daddy! I want a sausage biscuit with no biscuit.”

This is a side note, but last night Kasen told me he was ready to “rock and roll.” I have no idea where he learned that phrase, but I started singing the KISS song, “I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!” After a few times, he joined me singing, “I wanna rock and roll all night and POTTY every day!” Ha ha!!!

Quote: Success includes Play

“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein

I love that Einstein includes “play” in his formula for success.

Play = work + play + keeping your mouth shut

I think our culture doesn’t value “play” enough. Although I’ve always believed play was important, as a father, I’m beginning to recognize it even more. My children are becoming who they are as they play. They learn how to interact with each other as well as how to interact with the world around them. When they play they develop their creative sides and grow their imaginations. They become inventors who search out solutions to problems and discover how things work.

If adults valued play more, I wonder how many would become innovators? If we “played” at our jobs instead of “working” at them, I believe our attitudes would be different and we’d even be more productive. We’d also have more friends at our workplaces.

If you’re interested, here’s another article I wrote on this subject: http://stevecorn.com/2008/03/play/ 

Blazin’ a Trail

I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve climbed around that tree.

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  ~ Unknown. (Sometimes attributed to Emerson & McAlindon)

Meridian State Park (Texas) is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s where I first understood the cross. (I guess I’m actually still working on understanding it’s magnitude, but. . .) Anyway, one of my memories of Meridian was a time when my friend Shayne Hackworth and I went exploring. We blazed trails all over that park. We found natural springs and uncovered fossils. We saw and experienced things the rest of our group missed. We’d take turns leading each other. We waved big sticks in front of us as we traveled in order to clear the spiderwebs from the trail. In spite of our efforts, I still remember getting covered in those webs. Cuts and scratches all over our legs were common as well as the occasional poison ivy rash.

Leadership was not glamorous or easy. It was a sacrifice. It was a way to honor those behind you. The leader may have been out front, but he served his followers. He was in the lead position, but he placed himself underneath them. He believed they were more important and understood that they could travel further and accomplish more if he served them by taking the lead position. He got more dirty, more bloody, and more sweaty than the rest of the group.

Leaders serve.

Servers lead.

 

Look

Check out Charles Spurgeon’s conversion story in his own words.

I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache.

The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last, a very thin-looking man,* a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed; but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was,—

“LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.”

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus—”My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pains. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just, ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Ay!” said he, in broad Essex, “many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some on ye say, ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin’.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.'”

Then the good man followed up his text in this way:—”Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin’ at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!

When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, “Young man, you look very miserable.” Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, “and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.” I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,—I did not take much notice of it,—I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.” – Taken from Charles H. Spurgeon: His Faith and Works, H.L. Wayland, 1892.

God used a snowstorm to keep a pastor from making it to a service so that another preacher would be there for Spurgeon to hear the exact words that He needed in order to be saved. “Look.”

John 3:14-15msg

“In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.”

Numbers 21:4-9msg

They set out from Mount Hor along the Red Sea Road, a detour around the land of Edom. The people became irritable and cross as they traveled. They spoke out against God and Moses: “Why did you drag us out of Egypt to die in this godforsaken country? No decent food; no water—we can’t stomach this stuff any longer.”

So God sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit them and many in Israel died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke out against God and you. Pray to God; ask him to take these snakes from us.”

Moses prayed for the people.

God said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live.”

So Moses made a snake of fiery copper and put it on top of a flagpole. Anyone bitten by a snake who then looked at the copper snake lived.

Look my friends. LOOK upon Jesus. In Him, you will find everything. You will find salvation. You will find peace. You will find truth and light and life. Look upon Jesus and be saved!

Father’s Day Surprise

If you’re reading this on Facebook, please go to the actual blog post. The audio will not work on Facebook. http://stevecorn.com/2011/07/fathers-day-surprise/

Miranda helped Kasen and Kesleigh record an audio book for me for Father’s Day. It was a big surprise. It’s actually a book that Miranda bought that was set up for the recording process. Anyway, I took the audio and put it here ’cause it’s so cool. My kids (and bride) are AWESOME!



Father’s Day 2011.mp3

Miranda says that she didn’t coach them at all, but some of their answers are pretty perfect. Of course my kids are pretty perfect too.  (I’m not biased either.)


Transcript:

Miranda: Where do you like to go with dad on a Saturday and why Kesleigh?

Kesleigh: The beach

Miranda: Where do you like to go Kasen?

Kasen: Go to . . . play volleyball.

Miranda: OK. And what game do you like to play with dad?

Kesleigh: I play a game

Kasen: That’s me.

Miranda: Would you and dad have more fun on a boat, a dog sled, or a spaceship Kesleigh?

Kasen & Kesleigh: A spaceship.

Miranda: and where would you go?

Kasen: to the moon and jump.

Miranda: You would go to the moon and jump Kasen?

Kasen: Uh huh.

Miranda: Where would you go Kesleigh?

Kesleigh: to the moon and jump.

Miranda: You would go to the moon and jump too?

Kesleigh: Yes

Miranda: What else would you do when you were there?

Kasen: Uh. . . not slide down.

Miranda: Not slide down?

Kasen: No, because it’s too far.

Miranda: Too far. Kasen, if you and daddy were superheroes, what powers would you have?

Kasen: Fly super high. . . fast.

Miranda: Superfast. And what would your names be? What would you call yourselves?

Kasen: My name would be Batman an daddy’s name would be Superman.

Miranda: Those are good names. What do you think Kesleigh? What would your superpowers be?

Kesleigh: My daddy o Superman.

Miranda: He’s Superman?

Kesleigh: Yes.

Miranda: Well, what are you?

Kesleigh: I’m SuperBatman.

Miranda: Kesleigh if daddy were a king, what kind of food would he have at his feast?

Kesleigh: Ketchup

Miranda: Ketchup? What else.

Kesleigh: Just ketchup.

Miranda: Just ketchup. Kasen, what kind of food do you think daddy would have at his feast?

Kasen: Uh. . . . sausage and biscuits.

Miranda: Sausage and biscuits. That’s a good food. Do you think your favorite food is the same? What is your favorite food?

Kasen: Grilled Cheese.

Miranda. Grilled Cheese. What is your favorite food Kesleigh?

Kesleigh: Cheese.

Miranda: Cheese. Just cheese huh? OK – What kind of animals would daddy have at his castle Kesleigh?

Kesleigh: I don’t. . . some ketchup. . . some ketchup.

Miranda: What animals?

Kesleigh: some ketchup.

Miranda: Kasen, what kind of animals do you think daddy would have at his castle?

Kasen: Sheep and uh . . .  uh. . . a king.

Miranda: He would be the king?

Kasen: Uh huh.

Miranda: Kasen, where do you think daddy’s favorite spot in our house is?

Kasen: . . . . in the bathroom?

Miranda: <laughing> In the bathroom? And what do you think daddy does there?

Kasen: Potty.

Miranda: He goes potty. OK. Kesleigh, where do you think daddy’s favorite spot in the house. . .

Kesleigh: He goes to get ice cream.

Miranda: When he goes to get ice cream?

Kesleigh: Yes.

Miranda: Where does he go to get ice cream?

Kesleigh: At. . . at Chick-a-lay. (Chickfila)

Miranda: At Chickfila? OK. If daddy could be the same age as you Kasen, for just one day, what do you think you would do together?

Kasen: Swing.

Miranda: You would swing? What else would you do with him?

Kasen: Umm. . .

Miranda: What else would you do with daddy? What do you like to do with him?

Kasen: Potty.

Miranda: You like to go potty with him?

Kasen: Uh huh.

Miranda: OK. What else?

Kasen: Um. . .

Miranda: If daddy won a gold medal for doing something incredible, what do you think he’d win the medal for?

Kasen: Loving.

Miranda: Loving. For loving who?

Kasen: For loving me and Kesleigh.

Miranda: For loving you and Kesleigh? That’s a nice one. OK Kasen, look here. If daddy gave you a big trophy for doing something amazing, what do you think you would be doing that was so amazing for him to give you a trophy?

Kasen: ?????? <distracted>

Miranda: Kesleigh, what is it that you like about daddy?

Kesleigh: Kisses.

Miranda: His kisses?

Kesleigh: <whispered> Yes.

Miranda: What else?

Kesleigh: and his birthday.

Miranda: And his birthday? Kasen, what do you like about daddy?

Kasen: For playin’ baseball.

Miranda: Cause he plays baseball with you?

Kasen: Uh huh.

Miranda: What else do you like?

Kasen: Uh. . . eating ice cream.

Miranda: Eating ice cream with him?

Kasen: Un huh.

Miranda: That’s a good one. OK. Let’s say we love you daddy.

Kesleigh: I love you daddy.

Kasen: I love you daddy.

Miranda: We love you daddy.

Miranda, Kasen, and Kesleigh: Happy Father’s Day!

Jesus: True and Better

Love this video.

True & Better from Peter Artemenko on Vimeo.

“Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

The Bible’s really not about you—it’s about him.”

The Mystery of God

“I have observed the power of the watermelon seed. It has the power of drawing from the ground and through itself 200,000 times its weight. When you can tell me how it takes this material and out of it colors an outside surface beyond the imitation of art, and then forms inside of it a white rind and within that again a red heart, thickly inlaid with black seeds, each one of which in turn is capable of drawing through itself 200,000 times its weight–when you can explain to me the mystery of the watermelon, you can ask me to explain the mystery of God.” ~ William Jennings Bryan, famous for his role in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial

Thanks to Mark Batterson for this post.