"i was not sure if i was going to be able to eat today. weekends are tough, everything shuts down."

once a month, we go out to forsyth park, here in savannah to
try to intentionally impact some lives.
before you stop reading, i really mean impact lives.

we don't pass out tracts (ask me about that some time) or wear Christian t-shirts, or carry signs around.
we pass out hot dogs and cold water.
you see, we have come to the conclusion that we talk with our mouths entirely way too much. we want to talk with our conduct first. so we pass out food and conversation happens.
don't get me wrong, i am not suggesting that all the world needs is hot dogs and cold water.

"i was not sure if i was going to be able to eat today. weekends are tough, everything shuts down."

i have been studying the concept of sabbath a lot lately. this idea that we can stop doing, stop creating, stop striving and producing....and just be.

i learned something today, though.
i learned that we can bring sabbath to other people...we can bring rest, we can bring a sense that we do not have to keep working and striving.

we can assure them that it is not what they do, or earn, that merits love...it is simply who they are.
they are created in the image of God.

we cooked almost 120 hot dogs and fed a steady line of homeless and needy men and women, today. it was a great day. as we were leaving, a man came back to get some more water and he said:
"i was not sure if i was going to be able to eat today. weekends are tough, everything shuts down."

he ate today.
because of what he has done?
because he earned it?
because we fed him?

or simply because God can provide for us even when we cannot provide for ourselves.
sometimes, he uses us to bring sabbath to others.
even on the weekends...

when everything shuts down.

[my wife took these pictures...she is amazing.]



i am learning that we really should never stop learning. there are always new things to know.
new angles to see from.
the hard thing is that learning new things often exposes the fact that we did not know it in the first place. which for some of us, is a tough thing to admit. but the truth is, if we actually knew it beforehand, our lives would be a bit different.

i am learning the importance of character. its not as though i did not already know what character was or what good character looked like, i am just starting to realize the way it manifests itself in a daily, active, tangible sense. i have learned that even though we do the right things...we may not have good character....or integrity.

i can be a critical person. cynical, even.
but i am learning that unless i am being the change i want to see, i have no room to be critical.
there are things i want to change about our world, about our churches.
but i can influence no change there unless i can allow change in my own life, first.

i wish i knew how to communicate what i have learned and how that has impacted my life.
at first, it impacted what i said. i didn't talk about change or look for innovation.
but i am learning that it should inspire me to change my life. not inspire me to keep my mouth shut.

if we are inspired to do something, we need to let it affect our character.
especially as leaders.
our "passions" should come from who we are, not what we do.

some people think they have a "passion" for the homeless...but they wait for the church to start a homeless ministry before they act on it.
some people think they have a "passion" for discipleship...but they wait for someone to offer a class on discipleship before they actually disciple someone.

what are things that you want to see changed in the world?
let that sink into your character.
then you cannot help but to act on it.
but lets stop talking about it....while we do nothing about it.




i am growing more and more convinced that a lot of our struggles are grounded in our lack of ability to accept love.
i am not sure if it is an american thing or not, but we really have a hard time accepting love, and accepting grace.

we talk as though we don't struggle with it, but our actions say otherwise.

maybe we have been hurt too many times.
maybe we can't trust because someone has betrayed that trust.
maybe we have betrayed someone's trust.

we so desperately want to be loved. we want to be accepted. but when it comes down to it, we just can't take it.

you see, we have been trained to earn everything. respect. forgiveness. acceptance. friendship. trust. loyalty. love.
so we work.
for some of us, that means we spend 60+ hours each week at our jobs.
or we spend our days on the computer trying to earn friends.
or we spend our time proving our worth by what we look like and what we wear.

but in the end...it is never enough. we are never satisfied, never filled.
and our response to the emptiness is to try harder.
which only leads to more emptiness.

what if we just stopped?




i think if we all got back to the basic idea of sabbath, all of us would feel the impact.
if we all decided that we could just stop.
stop trying.
stop working.
stop creating.
stop earning.
and just accept.

i think if we all got back to celebrating rest, we would all benefit.
rest teaches us to let go. it teaches us that it is ok to not be in control.
rest teaches us to accept.

the power of sabbath to me is not in church, or not working a job...
to me it is in the strange, daunting practice of accepting that who i am is more important than what i do.

it is in that mindset that i can accept God's ridiculous love for me.

may we all prepare ourselves to rest.
may rest teach us more about ourselves and about our God than any act.

may peace be with you.



for the past few days, meredith and i were in florida with some of my family.
we were able to relax and just chill for a few days.
i got sick.
but i am feeling better.

as we sat and watched fireworks on friday, i thought of a few things:

- i really do not like loud noises...i am certain that hell is full of popping balloons.
- rocks and shells do not make for comfortable seating.
- i love my family.
- i love diversity.
and finally...
- our country has really weird traditions.

as i watched miniature bombs exploding i realized that no one talks during fireworks. here we all sit, decked out in our red, white and blue...and we stare...and stare...and stare. we adjust our necks for a brief second and then...stare.

if aliens were to invade our planet and watch our country on the 4th of july, they would realize how easy it would be to overtake us.

"this is what they do? they just stare at explosions? oh...this is good....real good."

and all of that to celebrate freedom? i mean that is how we choose to celebrate our freedom? by watching fireworks?

i may be the only one, but it seems odd.