“The Art Of Being Wrong”

As I prepare to ramp up and start writing here at “A Holy Discontent” again I thought I’d do a few throw backs to some of my favorite posts from “the early days”. When driving to work this morning I had this peaceful feeling when thinking about how I don’t always have to be right, and how good it feels to just say to someone, “ya know what, you are right. I was way off, and thank you so much for pointing that out – I’m going to work on letting Jesus fix that in me.” Then, I remembered that I had written this post back in January of 2010! Whether you’re a long-time “A Holy Discontent” reader, or new around these parts I hope you enjoy…

“When we are wrong Jesus is right – it’s redemption in action.”

“You see, if we are never wrong about anything then that means Jesus isn’t having to make us right in any areas of our lives…we hinder His redemptive work in us.”

American culture (and human nature) screams that we must never, ever, ever, under any circumstances admit that we are wrong…about ANYTHING, ever. Whether it be a petty decision we made, statement that slipped out, or a huge life decision that did not go as planned, we seem to have an inability to recognize that we just might have been…WRONG. Is it really so bad…to be…WRONG?

I have determined that we, as humans, need to learn, practice, and perfect the art of being wrong; not when we are not wrong, of course. = ) Perhaps our default should not always be that we ARE right, and could not possibly be wrong. Maybe we could re-program our default to be that we quite possibly could have made a better decision.

“When we are wrong Jesus is right – it’s redemption in action.”

“You see, if we are never wrong about anything then that means Jesus isn’t having to make us right in any areas of our lives…we hinder His redemptive work in us.”

We allow our upbringing, traditions, and personal preferences to get in the way of being wrong all the time. These things cripple us from growing into the people we need to be; the people God desires to build us into. Over the past two years it has become increasingly freeing to let go of things I have done to realize they may be wrong, and could be better in. It hurts at first, but the end result is a more perfect you.

In marriage, our spouses have been placed into our lives to sanctify us by the Holy Spirit that lives within them. When we refuse to ever be wrong we disregard that truth, and hinder our own personal cleansing. In our lives as believers we are so certain we are right that we miss out on things God is trying to teach us.

This also plays into how we “do ministry”, church, etc. My friend Neil Cole directs an organization called CMA. In their organization they have what they call a “wall of shame”. On these shelves resides years worth curriculum, strategies, and plans that they had to retire due to their ineffectiveness. They were willing to accept that those things were…wrong. They put them on the shelf, and began striving for better. Of course, it was painful to retire the resources that took so much time, energy, and money to create. However, the end result was so much more beautiful than the tragedy that would have followed had they insisted on being right.

We could go on and on with examples of how this plays into our lives, and negatively affects us. I am not suggesting that we be ok with being wrong all the time, or become insecure in everything we do because we “might be wrong”. I am simply suggesting that we have a much looser grip on our pride that insists we are incapable of making a bad decision…otherwise known as…SIN. If I never realize, and accept the sin in my life because of pride or not wanting to be wrong I refuse to allow anything in my life to be redeemed.

“Jesus, continually reveal to us where we are wrong. Allow Your Spirit in us to more quickly recognize these wrongs so we may invite Your Spirit in to bring us back into alignment with Your Kingdom. If we neglect this longer we continue to shout with our actions that Your work on the cross was unnecessary, and that we do not need it. Set us free Jesus, and remind us of the permission you gave us to be wrong when you died for the fact that we are sinful.”

I leave you with two definitions…

Redeem: Compensate for faults, or bad aspects.

Redemption: The action of saving, or being saved from sin, error, evil.

Moolala.com

Many of you know my friend’s Tony & Felicity Dale of House2House.com. I have had the pleasure of knowing them for several years now, and have been so blessed by their friendship. I have a deep respect for the Dale’s because of the way they model a Kingdom Lifestyle outside of the context of vocational ministry. (More to come on this later, but I am convinced that until everyday lay people are equipped to do the works of ministry as a outpouring of an everyday Kingdom Lifestyle in the context of their job we will continue to see the spread of the Gospel stunted in America – The Dale’s are among few who have modeled what it looks like to do great things for the Kingdom while being successful business owners – I long for the day when every follower of Jesus believes they are in full-time ministry, and that statement has no direct correlation to their paycheck.) The Dale’s, & two of their son’s along with a team of other successful investors & businessman (Head of IT and partner in the 500 million dollar company Art.com, etc.) have joined forces to launch a new company called moolala.com

You’ve heard of sites like groupon.com, livingsocial.com, etc. Moolala.com is a similar site that will provide subscribers with daily deals (via email) saving them tons of money on everyday purchases. Obviously, there’s no cost to join these sites unless there is a coupon you’d like to purchase. Moolala works the same way, however, the main difference is that 2% of every coupon purchased by you, and any of the friends who joined moolala.com after hearing about it from you goes straight back to you! This is the genius way moolala hopes to spread rapidly throughout the country – they are passing along some of the revenue produced right back to the consumer – all you have to do is sign up to get daily deals & tell your friends about it! (Groupon & other similar sites rake in TONS of dough – moolala passes some of it back to you, the consumer as a means of effective/inexpensive marketing/advertising as they grow.)

Currently moolala is building subscriber lists before they begin releasing daily deals. They want to be fair to every merchant/business that offers a daily deal. So, we get to join, tell our friends about moolala, start getting great deals in the near future, AND even earn a small percentage back to support our coupon purchasing addiction! Haha!

CLICK HERE to join moolala today so you will be sure not to miss great deals when they are released! (There is no cost or commitment to you at any time unless you purchase a deal, or would like to take a few minutes to share the link with your friends)

Also, there is a great aspect to the business model of moolala.com for those of you interested in sharing the moolala strategy with your networks of friends to earn a bit of residual income on the side. This is also a great way for non-profits, ministries, and bi-vocational ministers to earn some extra income as well. CLICK HERE to check out how…

Advent Conspiracy…

It’s that time of the year again. For the past three years we have pushed for change during Christmas and all throughout the year. We seek for a more simple lifestyle that “requires” less in order to give more. This does a lot of things, but we won’t get into all of that at this point. For now we’ll focus on Christmas. I do not need to say much; the video speaks for itself. Share the video with those around you. Step out of the norm, and your comfort zone to bring change to potentially dangerous “traditions” that may hang out around your family…it may be difficult at first, but it will pay off in the end.

“Acts Of Sharing”

I want to introduce you all to a friend of mine here in Austin named Brian Boitmann. He is the founder and “chief sharer” of “Acts of Sharing“, an online sharing tool to help you and your friends reduce waste and save money! (There’s a LOT more to it than that, so I encourage you to visit www.actsofsharing.com to learn more !) Brian lives here in Austin, and is a UT graduate with big dreams for the Kingdom. We sat at a coffee shop while he shared the vision for AOS with me. He has dreams of seeing people all over the country and world collaborating to share their possessions with one another in an effort to model Biblical principles – after all “there’s enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed”! Basically, you create a profile at AOS, build a collection of the things you own, begin lending them to friends you trust/those in your “circles”/community, and borrowing things you may also need. This might be DVD’s or books that sit on your shelf, a lawnmower that your neighbor needs while he waits for his to get fixed, or for all of us parents out there – BABY stuff that sits in your attic because your kids have gotten older! Something like AOS would work perfectly among faith communities, missional communities, and simple churches! One of my favorite functions of the site is that it shows how much $$$ you have saved yourself, as well as money your friends have saved by borrowing things instead of going out to purchase them. After all, why should the same book be on the shelf of you, and several/all of your friends!?

A great example of this is when we lived in Las Vegas. Morgan and I were getting ready to go backpacking with some friends to the beautiful Havasupai Indian Village. We started buying gear from REI when we realized that a neighbor already owned several items we needed. So, he let us borrow his sleeping bags and pads. A little while later he was going backpacking and was able to use some of the gear we had purchased! It saved each of us hundreds of dollars! I just wish we had AOS when we lived in Vegas! Who knows how much $$$ we would have saved ourselves and others!?

AOS was launched in Austin, as well as DFW, and possibly some others. Contact Brian today if you think something like this would benefit you and your city!

A Few Things…

I have been working on an article to be posted on the homepage of www.shapevine.com in the next couple weeks as they push through a “new look”, so I haven’t had a ton of time to post here. Shortly after the article comes through on shapevine I will be posting it here. In the meantime I wanted to share a few random things with you all…

My incredible wife recently started a blog. You can access it HERE. Morgan is an extremely passionate wife, mother, and follower of Jesus. Her blog will encompass everything from following Jesus as a natural outflow of everyday life to natural child birth, and  organic/healthy eating. She has yet to post anything from this past Easter weekend when we got some sweet photos of Eliza taken, and went to the Zoo. So, I’m gonna beat her to it…

And from the Zoo…

And she’s OUT.

CLICK HERE to go to the facebook album & see all of the Easter photos taken by Keri Duckett – www.keriduckett.com

On a last note, I NEVER talk about politics or anything like that on this blog. However, I received one of those forward emails today from my aunt and HAD to share it. It’s a mixture of funny & REAL. It’ll get ya thinkin’. Disclaimer: this does not in any way reflect my personal views on politics or healthcare…does it?

Private Enterprise Vs. Government, you decide…

1 . Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.
2.. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
than Target sells all year.
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco +
K-Mart combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private Employer,
and most speak English.
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in
mind they did this in only 15 years.
8. During this same period, 31 supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.
9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.
10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super
Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 Years ago.
11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur At a
Wal-Mart store. (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)
12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.
You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work
for suggesting that MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to Fix
the economy.

This should be read and understood by all Americans Democrats, Republicans,
EVERYONE!!

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature, It is now
official you are ALL corrupt morons:

*   The US. Post Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to
get it right and it is broke.
*   Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it
right and it is broke.
*   Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it
right and it is broke.
*   War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right;
$1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the
poor” and they only want more.
*   Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to
get it right and they are broke.
*   Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it
right and it is broke.
*   The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on
foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24
billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to
get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our
throats while overspending our tax dollars
AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN
HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??

=/ Don’t get mad… =) I couldn’t help myself. Stay tuned for when I get “back to my regularly scheduled broadcast”.

Normalcy, The Great Seducer…

The issue of normalcy has been at the forefront of my mind for many years now. However, it has only been recently that these things have begun to work themselves from the place of mere thoughts in my mind into reality. It has been a goal of mine since I was about 15 to “be different”. I have come to discover that God has wired me to be a bit rebellious, which can be a very dangerous thing if not harnessed for the Kingdom & His purposes (Something I struggle daily to grasp). Being normal has always seemed so boring to me. Why would I want to be, do, look, act, work, perform, & love like everyone else does? Where is the adventure in that? There may not be adventure in it, but it is much “easier” to be “normal”. Therein, lies the seduction…

By nature, I suppose, we choose what is easier over what is “right”, or obedient. I mean, it is much easier to go along with the “flow” of the majority, or “status quo”, right? For example, it takes much more effort to eat organic & prepare meals at home than it does to swing by Subway to grab a $5 foot long. It is SO much “easier” to mentally & physically “escape” the busyness of the day by watching hours of TV on the couch than it is to engage those we love in healthy conversation about life. It is much “easier” to fit in with the “crowd” by having a “real job” (9-5, vacation time, set hours, health insurance, nice salary, retirement, etc.) than it is to do what you love doing – even if it means less money, or the risk of “appearing” unsuccessful. We could go on and on with examples…(I’d love to hear some that come to your mind as well)

The more places I go the more encouraged I become. I meet people everywhere who refuse to be seduced into the normal life. They are insistent upon pursuing what they feel are the important things in life. The beauty of that is we all must choose for ourselves what is important to us, and what we value based upon the activity of the Gospel in our lives. Then, we mustn’t judge the things others choose as important so long as they have heard God’s voice and are in His will for their lives. There is much freedom in this, as well as a lot of room for Jesus to move in our lives as we make ourselves available to Him for obedience.

Perhaps Normalcy is the enemy’s great tactic in keeping the Bride of Christ too busy to ready herself for the return of Her Groom? It is what robs us of the Joy we could have in Christ through our pursuit of what is in line with His kingdom. It is what causes us to live a life of doubt and fear, unfulfilled. This Great Seducer grabs us, and pulls us in early on. It conditions our minds against TRUTH, and the things of God.

I do not find anything normal about Jesus and those who followed Him in the scriptures. In fact, they were quite the opposite of the rest of their fellow man. However, they did not choose to be abnormal for the sake of being different. They chose to be different so as to fully surrender their lives to Jesus, and be completely available to Him. Does normalcy reduce our availability to the Holy Spirit’s leading? There have been many attempts to pull God, His Kingdom, and His purposes into our “Normalcy box”. There are a lot of “normal Christians” out there. They all look alike, dress alike, talk alike, do the same activities, drink the same beverages, follow the same laws (scary – see Galatians), keep the same traditions/rituals, follow the same “leaders” (Often times not Jesus), spend their money on the same things, have similar “time cards” of availability, and have the same lifelong insecurities that Jesus longs to set us free from. As believers, we should be set apart from the world. I would submit that very few, if any, of the above things are on the same list Jesus holds in how He desires His children to be “different” from the world. There are also similarities we should share with our brothers & sisters in Christ. Again, I feel that very few on Jesus’ list can be found in the above. I have no desire to be normal in any sense – worldly, or Christian – both are a far too incomplete picture of what Jesus paints when He speaks of life to the fullest, for the purpose of His Kingdom, as an adopted Child of God.

May we pursue Him, and obedience to Him. Let us not swing the pendulum back over to the other end, allowing our “rebellion” or rejection of what’s normal to become our idol. Both are dangerous, and not pleasing to Jesus. This is a mere plea with myself, and you all to insist upon removing the “normal” things in our lives that steal our uniqueness in Christ. May our hearts cease to lust after what is easy and normal, and may we be seduced by the one true lover of our souls. May that love set us free, and cause us to come alive. May this be what “sets us apart” as those who follow Jesus. Thank you Jesus.

A Kingdom Paradox {one of many}

A quick thought from my personal worship time with Christ this morning…thoughts?

It seems that we have pursued (Been taught to pursue) personal fulfillment, comfort, “self-help”, & our own happiness in our religious pursuits. Because of this we do not know how to actually hear God’s voice and be obedient. Even if we learn to hear/know God’s voice (based upon scripture, prayer & other disciplines) we don’t seem to have the capacity/faith to obey it because it usually is not what is easy/comfortable. (Most of what we have been taught in our Christian pursuit is how to manage our personal relationship with God, avoid sin, and be “happy” as a Christian) Everything we’ve pursued in our Christian life was in pursuit of comfort and an “easier” life. If something “hard” does come along we write it off as “persecution”, and the enemy trying to attack us.

“Lord, continue to teach me how to hear your voice, and obey even if it goes completely against what seems logical at the moment. Grow my faith to trust what you’re up to. I can say it all day, but I want you to give me opportunities to act out those tough decisions in real life. Thank you that there is grace for it all.”

What Matters More?

Those of you who frequent this blog know that I am a fan of singer/songwriter Derek Webb. On his latest album there is a song called “What Matters More”, and it is INCREDIBLE. Take a few minutes to watch the video while reading the lyrics. Some of you may feel that Derek has a wonderful way of putting words to feelings you have had…

What Matters More – by Derek Webb

You say you always treat people like you like to be
I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
You love when people put words in your mouth
‘Bout what you believe, make you sound like a freak

‘Cause if you really believe what you say you believe
You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak
Wouldn’t silently consent when the liars speak
Denyin’ all the dyin’ of the remedy

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
Then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin’ the wind while the pendulum swings

‘Cause we can talk and debate until we’re blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he’s comin’ to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin’ today

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

“On Becoming Homeless…”

A couple friends of mine, who’s names I will not mention until a later date, are writing a book together. One of them asked me to do a short write-up about our (Intentional Gatherings) time with the homeless on the streets of Ft. Worth for them to publish in the book. It was so reminiscent to think back two years ago and write out our story. Hope you enjoy…

On Becoming Homeless…

For a group of white, middle-class, suburban kids the journey we were about to embark on would prove to be quite shaping. We had been exploring what life as a follower of Christ should look like based upon what we found in scripture. It was not long after that we “broke it off” with our beloved pew, and said “goodbye” to the church as a building. While we stayed closely connected to the Body of Christ as a people we refused to allow that to hinder us from intentionally spending more time with non-Jesus followers than we did followers. From Starbucks and other “third spaces” to our neighborhoods, schools, and jobs we began exploring a life on mission outside the context of the bubble we had so unknowingly been seduced into previously.

As we devoured the scriptures communally it was not long before we noticed a theme throughout Jesus’ ministry of service to the poor and needy; not to mention His commands to us, as His Body, to take care of them. At this time in our lives ministry to the homeless was not the “hip-&-cool fad” it has become today. As we began seeking ways to live out these Gospel principles found in scripture we learned about what we would soon label the “modern-day leper colony”. About 20 minutes from our comfortable suburban homes, tucked quietly under the intersection of several major highways near the downtown area, we found what would soon become a place our souls longed to be. The majority of Ft. Worth’s homeless population called this area just off East Lancaster Boulevard “home”. For the most part they went unnoticed, and were ignored by society. Those who knew they existed steered clear of the area, or pointed down from the overpass as they attempted to teach their kids a lesson about “responsibility”.

We began taking regular trips to the streets in pursuit of being obedient to what we felt God was instructing us to do. We became students of those who had “worked” there for many years, as well as the homeless individuals we sought to “serve”. We learned very quickly how ignorant we were to the real needs of these people based upon the real reasons they were there in the first place. It did not take long to realize the abundance of tangible resources available to the homeless on East Lancaster. From churches to various non-profit, and government organizations the basic needs of the people on the street were met with excess. They did not need our Wendy’s dollar menu burgers, or our hand-me-down fashion from the closet.

A man named Michael Hatcher became our close friend and mentor. Michael had been “ministering” among these people for years, and taught us everything we know about working among the homeless in Ft. Worth. He and his family had moved into the “hood” several years before, and were dedicated to seeing lives transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus. Michael was known on the streets as “The Rev”. He was someone the people trusted, respected, and would give their lives for. Michael walked the streets during the week ministering to these people. He helped them get their ID’s, jobs, bus passes, but most importantly he gave them himself as a friend. We naturally followed in the footsteps of our mentor. We made a commitment early on: while countless others brought material goods to hand out to the people of the streets we vowed only to bring ourselves; a “hand-up” not a “hand-out” if you will. While others handed out food and clothes we sat on the curb to listen. Conversations led to prayer, topped with hugs, and a side of comfort knowing they had made a new friend. You must understand that many of these people had not engaged in conversation with another human being in years.

Things were going well, and we were seeing fruit from our labor. However, there was still something missing. While we had close relationships with our new friends on the street they knew we came from our comfy suburban homes, and would return there after our short time with them on the streets. We could not truly relate to them. Around that time several twenty-something’s from our newly formed “organic” church community felt a strange pull to move in, and “set up shop” among our new friends from the streets. We all began praying that God would provide a house for communal living among the poor…

By the grace of God our little crew of 15 broke college-aged kids began to make quite the impact on East Lancaster. We had organized the annual “Art-n-the Park” celebration, birthed the “Unity in the Community Network” of organizations who served among the homeless in Ft. Worth, and had the attention of many in the city. We still felt we had so much to learn. After all, we were in this for our new friends on the streets, and God’s ultimate glorification, not our own narcissism. Michael Hatcher decided that we needed to know what “life on the streets” was really like. He and his wife put together “Ghetto 101”, and about 10 of us agreed to a weekend we would never forget; a weekend our parents would not be happy to hear about…

We knew that we had to “be in their shoes” to really know how to best serve them. We had no idea what it meant to sleep on cold cement without a wallet full of plastic, or a cell phone to call mommy and daddy when things got rough. Our weekend began with turning in everything we had come with, a cold shower in the Day Resource Center, and a hopeless search through a box of clothes that would be our only possessions for the next two days. For those two days we were on our own in this place we had deemed the “leper colony”. Luckily, we had made many friends who “showed us the ropes” and “had our backs” if things got weird. We ate what they ate, walked where they walked, begged where they begged, slept where they slept, collected cans for money, and endured life disconnected from the rest of the world. The weekend was incredible. We learned a lot, gained the respect of our homeless friends (Who now saw that we were “for real”), and scared the mess out of our parents.

After eight months of praying God decided it was time. We found two duplex’s on the same property. Two of the four units were for rent, and they were cheap. By this point our organization, Intentional Gatherings, had gained its non-profit status, and donations were coming in from people who believed in the vision of the “I.G. House”. We moved two guys into one unit and four girls into the other. It was then that we truly began to learn the in’s and out’s of homelessness, and how to attack the problem at the root. We were in a neighborhood about a mile from the “leper colony”, which was full of the “working poor”. (Those who are not-yet-homeless, but hanging on by a thread) The primary focus shifted from the already homeless to the almost homeless; the work among the already homeless continued, and the relationships that had been made were fostered. The “I.G. House” crew grew close as they lived in tight-knit Gospel centered community, and sought to make a difference in the neighborhood in which they resided. As the crew grew they eventually took over three of the four units on the property. From weekend kickball tournaments to front porch after-school tutoring & Saturday morning breakfast in the yard this group of immigrants was serving Jesus in a way previously foreign to us all.

We had finally learned that in order to make a true impact among a people we had to “incarnate” ourselves among them. We had to put ourselves in their shoes, eat what they ate, sleep where they slept, and live life in their context. It was then that we truly gained a door into their lives. We refused to simply come from the outside bringing in the “answer” to life. We brought our lives to the inside of their lives, shared life, and discovered what the “answer” was with them. Thank you Jesus for “incarnating” yourself among us, sharing in our lives, and teaching us of yourself, the answer.