Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…

Archive for July 2008

A little less crazy than before…

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“I don’t know why God won’t just spritz away our hardships and frustration. I don’t know why the most we can hope for on some days is to end up a little less crazy than before, less down on ourselves. I don’t know why we have to become so vulnerable before we can connect with God, and even sometimes with ourselves.”

Anne Lamott in “Plan B: Further Thoughts On Faith”

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Written by Ryan

July 31, 2008 at 3:57 am

Praise

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“Sometimes praise is impossible to contain. It is a violently full river for which there is no dam high enough or wide enough to contain it. He will be on the tip of our tongue. He will spill out. We will be standing in rooms waiting for others eyes so we can run with a smile that floods and drowns.”

David Crowder in “Praise Habit: Finding God In Sunsets and Sushi”

Written by Ryan

July 30, 2008 at 3:56 pm

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Josh Hamilton Story

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I don’t know how many non-sports fans know the story about Josh Hamilton, but after his amazing display in the Home Run Derby on Monday I figured this was a fitting time to post a clip of his mazing testimony.

Written by Ryan

July 16, 2008 at 12:03 am

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Seven Church Cliches That Need To Go

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The first few years I was a teacher I used to get bored during my summer break because the days were long as I was stuck home waiting for my friends to get off work. Last summer I found out a great way to spend my afternoons it is to sit outside and read. During the school year things are hectic between teaching responsabilities, coaching, writing responsibilities and keeping a social life so I now look forward to summer break and the opportunity it presents to kick back and enjoy a good book.

This spring I logged onto Relevent Media and purchased a dozen books and the first one I cracked open this summer was Mathew Paul Turner’s book “The Christian Culture Survival Guide.” Between the great insight combined with an amazing sense of humour that had me laughing out loud I’ve been able to read through this book in less than a week.

One of my favourite chapters was “The Worship Service” and here’s a quick excerpt where Turner talked about Seven Church Cliches That Need To Go:

1. Announcements in the middle of praise and worship – There is nothing more annoying than to be worshipping God in song one second and hearing about Tuesday night’s senior potluck dinner the next. Either put all the announcements in the church bulletin or don’t mention them until after the service is over. I can’t imagine Jesus stopping in the middle of His beatitudes and letting everyone know that Peter and John would be hosting a Saturday afternoon fish fry.

2. Praise and worship flags – Note to pastor or praise and worship leader We don’t like the pink, purple and blue “Hosanna” flags – especially when they’re carried and waved around during singing time. Let us do the praising: we don’t need any loud-coloured flag to do that for us.

3. “Visitor” time – Attention all churches: When you’re visiting a church, the last thing you want to do is raise your hand and let the entire church know that you’re visiting for the first time. We don’t want to wear a name tag. And we don’t want the pastor to come by and visit us. If you happen to visiting a church and you’ve been “spotted” by an usher as a “first timer,” try putting the little name tag they give you on the end of your nose and see what they say.

4. Praise and worship guitar solos – Praise and worship is a time of one-on-one intimacy with God. We don’t ever need to have an early-90’s-styled, power-guitar solo in the middle of “Lord, I live your name on high” – ever.

5. Interpretive dancing – I know David danced before the Lord – and I’m sure he was great – but fourteen-year-old wannabe ballerinas displaying their dance-recital moves to MercyMe’s “I can only imagine” during a church service is always awkward.

6. Five-minute sermon prayers – Usually it’s the head deacon who stands beneath the pulpit and delivers the very long, drawn-out, prayerful pre-sermonette. No matter who it is, people who pray church prayers that last longer than two minutes in length are probably bringing glory to themselves and not to god.

7. Any mention of sports by the pastor – Okay, I’ll let pastors slide on the retelling of the story about the guy in Chariots of Fire, but that’s it. All other sporting events and stories should be declared off limits. I knot it makes you feel cool and relevant to talk about your love for a particular team, but no one cares that your team won or lost the day before. We don’t want you to wear your team’s jersey on Sunday mornings, and to be honest, we’ve never thought you were really masculine enough to even like sports.

If you’re heading away to a cottage for a weekend or if you want a book to read this summer, make sure you check out The Christian Culture Survival Guide.

Written by Ryan

July 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm

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NoiseTrade.com

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I stumbled upon a great website this weekend called NoiseTrade.com which allows you to download an entire album from an artist by posting a widget on your website or by emailing the URL of the site to three people. I’ve recently gotten hooked on a new Christian artist called Alli Rogers through a couple MP3’s The Blah Blah posted earlier this month. When I saw Noise Trade allows me to download her album for free I jumped at the chance and her album has been on repeat all weekend.

If you want to try out some new Christian artists I would highly recommend you click on this link and give Noise Trade a chance. I know I’m going to try out some other artists on the site like Derek Webb, Micah Dalton and CJ Bergman later this week.

Written by Ryan

July 7, 2008 at 7:49 am

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Life or Death?

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“To live how you were intended, to interact witht God’s creation in ways that were His breathings, brings life. Real life. Not just tedious existence, but life that breathes like a tree by a cool river with the grass of Eden stretching broad and embowering under limb. It is beauty. It is bending in the breeze, arms wide, leaves dancing. And to live in ways that twist and distort His creation brings death. Real death. Not just redunant (none of us are getting out of here alive) burying of corpses, but the walking around kind that tastes of dust rather than the Maker’s exhale of love. It is repulsive. It doesn’t hold together. It is not the genesis-shape imagined for a human.”

David Crowder in Praise Habit

Written by Ryan

July 7, 2008 at 6:32 am

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Inspiration For This Summer

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As a teacher I look forward to having two months off each summer to kick back and relax. However, during the past five summers without fail I’ve let this time to spend with friends and family slip away because I took it for granted. This weekend I spent some time checking out new blogs (see, once again wasting too much time online) and I came across a gem called Alex The Girl.

In one of recent posts she wrote:

Please go out there and do. Live. Don’t be the same as yesterday. Don’t live vicariously online. Don’t use language that has no meaning or talk ideas you don’t really live. Don’t hide. Don’t copy others or live their ideas or life. Don’t fear doing your thing. Don’t fear doing. Instead of reading a decorating magazine, paint that room. Instead of thinking of baking, do up a cake. Run, walk, bike. Put that self help book down and pick up yourself.

Let go of the snark, your worries, your anger and fear and give into possibility, action, joy and life. Do. Do some more. Stop thinking about you. Stop blogging about just you and your kid and your pet. There’s a world out there to connect to, really connect to. Being of use is more important than being popular. Think about the lady down the street, the person at the drive through, the man fallen in the street, about politics, the environment, healthcare, another country and then do something about it. Never stop at thinking.

Dream big, work harder. Have lots of fun, lift a finger, do something for someone else. Cheer your friends on. Cheer yourself up. Celebrate as much as possible. Enjoy everything. Right now. It’s OK to want more and do more but be present with where you are or who you are with. Don’t rush the situation – even if it’s bad. Move on when you can. Don’t settle. Try everything you can and get over everything holding you back.

Go outside. Go outside yourself. Make a difference, make some change. Don’t complain about someone unless you’re talking to that someone. Don’t complain about a situation you’re not willing to make better. They don’t have it better and you don’t have it worse. Don’t make excuses. You’ll never see possibility if you do. And you’re smart and worth more than settling for a life of complaining and limitation.

Hope. Hope more. Give someone else hope. Get healthy and contribute to a healthy environment. Think about everything you do, you buy, you say. Only be lazy on Sunday and even then, be conscious. Rest is useful, giving up is not.

Play. Remember what it’s like to be seven. Remember to listen to a seven year old because you just have more words and life experience, not necessarily more wisdom. Have more questions than answers and don’t put everything into words. Sometimes just feel things and be. Be quiet more often, listen harder, talk exactly as you mean to.

Strive for your best and not what you think someone elses’ best is. Follow through. Don’t let others’ down. Don’t let yourself down. You are better than your circumstances. Ask for what you’re worth. Make magic happen don’t wish for it. Don’t envy others’ lives, envy yours. Live it fully. Teach by example how to live well, how to be treated, how to be kind, how to be alive.

Do. I can’t stress that one enough. Take action on your life. Make the change. No more sulking, waiting, thinking, reading, talking about. It’s time. You’re ready.

In past summers I’ve worried about spending too much money by going out too much, not getting enough rest and basically I’ve “wasted” the summer. Reading this post was a great reminder to embrace the next two months and make the most of them.

Thank you Alex, this post was greatly appreciated.

Written by Ryan

July 6, 2008 at 12:32 pm

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