Wednesday, August 22, 2007

If I left the zoo

Today I simply offer a “what if.” I’m typically not one to speculate on hypothetical circumstances that are beyond my control, but this one is a bit different. It’s not my attempt to play God, but maybe to hear his heart.

I was sitting in a church pew recently and began thinking about the future. This isn’t out of the ordinary. It really happens rather frequently in this wonderful “Hey, I’m actually about to graduate and hit the ‘real world” season of life.”

I began running through my options and thinking about all the different paths I could take. Literally, there are dozens. Then I started to feel pressured; thus, the conflict and reason for my writing here.

I’ve begun to realize that I’ve been inadvertently lead my entire life to buy into the American Dream. At one point I found myself convinced that “happiness” in life comes from a house, big money, 3.5 kids, a mortgage and a brand new car. Don’t hear me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this situation, but I would challenge that it doesn’t contain everything it’s sold for.

We who are in this, above mentioned, season of life are called to make big decisions. So, it makes sense that we take time to make sure that our priorities are in the right place. If we walk with no direction we’ll never end up where we intend.

It could be compared to a lion in a cage. If you’ve seen them, you can confirm that the beasts are intimidating, even from behind the steel bars. Small children won’t go near the exhibit and it makes even my insides a bit uneasy to stand behind what I know is an inadequate barrier. I wonder if this is how an enemy, who is intent on convincing a limitless generation to settle, views us.

I fear the lion because as I stand on the outside I know it’s potential. I’ve seen National Geographic; I know what these guys can do. I wonder if the enemy stands on the outside, sees the potential, and feels his insides shake at the thought this generation’s Pauls and Peters standing up and changing their world for the fame of Jesus Christ.

Culture desires to cage prospective potential with bars of convention and expectations. I’ve sat in churches that do the same. So my question today is “what if?” What if the ones who felt “called”, “marked”, and “scared” by Jesus really didn’t just sit still and settle for guaranteed comfort? What if our knees didn’t weaken at the thought of a risk; what if it makes our hearts race? What if a generation threw down their nets? What if, WE said “I don’t want to fund other people dreams? I want to chase my own!”

“Full life” requires that we step through the bars and look for more. When Paul penned the infamous words “to live is Christ, to die is gain” he was sitting in prison. I would offer that he was probably not concerned about his retirement plan, newest car, or designer jeans. These things aren’t bad, I enjoy them myself, but they simply aren’t worth planting a life on.

So that’s my heart as of late. Step through… and look for more.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It all started with a couple phone calls and a good idea. Add a big pile of wood, some freshly cut cedar trees and pick-up trucks to the equation and you get a night in the country with some good food, a nice fire and the best company anyone could ever ask for.

Yes sir, you guessed correctly, it was bonfire time at my house. Dunnahoo sat with his camera ready as Bob and I depleted the cedar tree population in Auburntown Tennessee.

"Don't you need a permit to do that? Forget the fire, you're cutting down trees!!!" No sir, it's not like we have a shortage and when you live somewhere in-between Woodbury and a place called Auburntown no body really cares what you do.

These pictures were no "disposable camera accident." They are the handywork of skilled photographer Mr. John Dunnahoo.

As the stray car drove by I'm sure they admired our masterpiece of a 15ft bonfire. Ladies and gentlemen that right there is a picture of a successful Royal Ambassador Alumni building a fire, minus the string and stopwatch, of course.

The reaction above is the result of adding 6 feet of Blackcats to a fire. It was probably the best idea I've ever heard of.

The above are from when we decided to do a Fire Worship Dance, Old Testament Style... or not; but they are the other half of the tree cutting duo and a chair we found... and burned after it served it's purpose for a short time.

And finally a conclusion to a perfect evening. Six hours of fire warmth, star gazing, and the entire Double Disc Garth Live CD. I don't think it gets much better.