A few weeks ago, I pointed out that everyone who reads my blog should be reading Kevin Haggerty’s TheIsleOfMan dot net. I stand by that statement today and up the ante. Why? Kevin’s been a busy boy.
Kevin released his first e-book on Monday. It’s called An Idiots Guide To The Galaxy. I read it in about ten minutes, but I’m a speed reader. It will probably take you about ten minutes. Do yourself a favor. Get it and read it.
Kevin discusses how to be an idiot in several situations, such as driving, parenting, going to the movies and church. One of the great things about this book is that it’s all about someone else. You will not recognize any of your own behavior in this tome. If you do, obviously, you are reading the wrong book.
Now, how do you get it? What does it cost? Can you read it at the beach this summer?
First, it’s free. Not sure what Kevin was doing. He could have probably sold it for, like, fifty cents or something.
There are a couple of ways you can get it.
Go to his blog and subscribe. Kevin will send you a copy.
If you already subscribe, send him an email and he will send you a copy.
How else can you help Kevin?
Climb up on your roof in front of your neighbors and threaten to jump if they don’t get a copy.
Buy a PA system, attach it to your car and drive through random neighborhoods telling them to get this book.
Tweet the following: “Get a FREE copy of @kevinrhaggerty’s new e-book: ‘An Idiot’s Guide to the Galaxy’ // http://tinyurl.com/d2m9rzv #AIGTTG”
Go ahead. Get it. Tell Kevin Larry sent you.
Must I go to church?
I don’t have to go to church. We live in the United States where I don’t have to do much of anything. I have to pay taxes. Evidently, according to some, I must buy health insurance. I suppose the Supreme Court will decide if I must do that.
But must I got to church?
The answer would have to be no. Plenty of people who claim to know Christ do not go to church.
They say that they get just as much out of going to the lake or river and fishing as they do going to church. They say that they would prefer to go hiking or go to brunch or play golf. There are multitudes of other things.
So, must I go to church?
Some preachers would say that I do. They would claim all sorts of reasons. They would reference the cross and say it’s the least I could do. They would reference Hebrews 10:25 and say that I should not forsake assembling. They would say that Sunday is the Lord’s day where the Lord’s people gather in the Lord’s house.
So, must I go to church?
Really, when it comes down to it, what matters is what I say, not what anyone else says.
So, must I go to church?
I must go to church. But it’s not the kind of must that you may think I’m talking about.
Before I got to bed every night, I must kiss my wife, Jan. But it’s not out of a sense of duty. It’s because I am so compelled by my love for her. I must kiss her every morning when we wake up.
I don’t kiss her out of any law or duty. I kiss her because I am driven by my love and desire to kiss her.
It’s the same thing with going to church.
I want to gather with fellow believers and worship the Lord.
I want to be stimulated to good deeds and encouraged.
I want to experience a community of believers.
So, must I go to church.
Must you go to church?
I was on my way to work the other day. I had the radio station on that plays music from the 80’s, 90’s and now. After listening to some songs I didn’t recognize, I heard U2’s It’s A Beautiful Day. I rocked to it for a few minutes just before turning toward my company. I felt great and energized. There’s just one problem.
I don’t always feel that way.
I don’t always think it’s a beautiful day.
Some days, I think it’s a mundane grind.
And I don’t like it.
I think most of us are this way. We get up, do our thing, go home and do it all over again.
Life isn’t always a beautiful day to us. Life isn’t always a vacation. Life isn’t always a mountain top. Let’s not pretend it is.
Rather let’s embrace what God has given us. A job. A family. A house. A home.
But let’s also look for what He is showing us and telling us in those “mundane” things.
I live in the mountains. I get to have a mountain top experience every day. I drive into the valley to go to work. The bonus? I get to drive back looking at the mountain every day. Sure, I don’t like leaving the mountaintop. But I get to drive back to it every night. I see the good and joyful in that experience.
It’s that way in most things. Like the theme song from the Facts of Life when I was a kid, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.”
How do you face the daily grind? By looking and seeing God’s goodness and grace in the midst of it.
Do you get fed up with the daily grind? How do you combat it?
I read the book Blue Like Jazz several years ago. When I think about it, I find it odd that I found it in a Lifeway Christian Bookstore. It just doesn’t feel like something that a good, Baptist bookstore would sell. Or that a good, Baptist boy would read. Since I’m not a good Baptist boy, I guess that makes it alright.
I would have never dreamed that Blue Like Jazz would have been made into a movie. That never entered my mind. I was just enthralled with the journey that Don Miller took and the odd characters that he ran into.
Now that it has been made into a movie, I have read several reviews. A lot of my fellow bloggers have been to see it. Alas, I cannot find it anywhere near me through Fandango. I live in the mountains of East Tennessee and, if correct, Georgia has the nearest theaters showing it.
So, I will have to wait. I know that there are people buying tickets to support Don and Steve Taylor (Hey Steve! I want to be a clone). I will buy it on DVD when it comes out.
I’m sure that Blue Like Jazz will face its fair share of critics within the Christian community. If you like your Christian movies all neat and tidy with a happy, predictable endings, go see this movie. That won’t be what you get, but go see it anyway.
If you don’t mind your Christian movie being full of odd characters, a bit of bad language and questionable themes, then go see this movie.
Buy it on DVD when it comes out.
Tell your friends about it.
Watch it early and often.
What will happen is you will experience a real Christian going through what a lot of real Christians go through.
Have you seen Blue Like Jazz? Did you read the book? What did you think?
This is an odd First Church Year in that I am writing it several days ahead of time. I try to do that will almost all of my posts, but I usually wait until the church week is over for First Church Year. This one is different.
This one is the result of overflow. It’s the because of the excess time I spent at church over the last week preparing and performing in our Easter musical.
There probably hasn’t been one thing that was more valuable in getting to know more people in my new church than working in this performance. I don’t know everyone, but I have a better idea of who several people are now.
How did I get to know these folks?
Obviously, I spent more time with them than I usually can or get to. But it’s deeper than that.
How did I really get to know them?
It was through their stories.
I heard bits and pieces of their stories throughout the week.
Do I know their full story? No. Neither do they know mine. But the stories build something. They build a picture that grows larger and larger.
And that’s how we come to know God, isn’t it?
We have part of the story in the Old Testament.
We have the rest of the story in the New Testament with Christ.
It’s through these stories that we get the picture of God.
So, when we see and hear the picture of others, we see a faint, incomplete picture of what God does for us in the Bible.
Now, when I got to my church, I have a shared story with more people.
When I go to church, I get more of the story of God through His church.
How was your church week? Did you listen to people’s stories? How about the story of God?
Most of us that grew up or have been in the church for a while probably just take it for granted that Jesus is God. We have heard about him all of our lives or for so long that He seems perfectly normal to us.
However, how about to other people around the world? I doubt it and I think we can get a glimpse of that in the Bible in Acts.
In Acts 17, Paul is preaching in the marketplace in Athens. The philosophers told him that he was bringing strange ideas to them.
Did you catch that?
The idea of Jesus is called strange.
Jesus is a strange god to them.
Let’s be honest. He really is.
If I was going to create a god, he sure wouldn’t be like Jesus.
I would create this god who would be served by everyone. Paul preaches that God is not served by human hands. Instead, He serves us. He gives us life and breath and everyone else.
Jesus said the same thing, didn’t He? He said that He did not come to be served, but to serve.
The One who we worship does need us to serve Him. We cannot add one thing to His life. He serves us. Everything we have and need comes from Him.
What a strange God Jesus is.
Have you ever thought about how strange God is?
I’m beginning to love Saturdays on my blog as much as any other day. For a while it was just a throwaway day. Now, it’s a day that I get to share in a way that I don’t normally through the week. My perspective on the title even has a new perspective. I get to share other bloggers with you. Bloggers that I enjoy that you might want to check out. So, let’s get on with it.
You really should read Ken Hagerman’s Rambling With The Barba. Ken is a missionary in Paraguay. He has a great sense of humor and the greatest beard in the history of Christendom. Doubt me? Check out someone this post that agrees with me.
I discovered Joseph Lalonde through Michael Hyatt’s blog. Joseph is a community director for that blog and helps answer comments. He also runs his own blog that inspires us to be our best and be the leaders we should be.
Keith Jennings has an outstanding blog. He is a writer, wanderer and wonderer. He usually blogs Tuesday through Thursday and helps many of us get our creative juices flowing.
What blogs have you read this week that the rest of us should check out?
I was a Roman soldier last week in our Easter musical. It was a long week. I was at the church house seven of eight nights.
Here are the benefits of participating in my first ever Easter musical.
- I got to hear some outstanding music.
- I got to see a picture of Heaven by worshipping with fellow believers constantly.
- I made a new friend.
- I got to hear stories of people I came in contact with.
- I got be a small part of a big production.
- I saw multiculturalism take place when I didn’t expect it.
- I became more a part of the faith community that I joined.
I’m sure there were more benefits that escape me right now. I’m excited more each week as I continue to assimilate into this group. It isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun.
What are some benefits you have noticed about being part of your faith community lately?
I don’t read the fiction one can find almost exclusively at Christian bookstores.
That is not an indictment on you if you do. I don’t really want you coming after me or hounding me because you think I am getting on to you. I’m not.
I have read books from there. I found some of my favorite fiction and one of my favorite authors in a Christian bookstore. It just happens that what I found isn’t easily described as Christian fiction.
If you are reading at all, I’m tickled to death. I’ve been reading for forty years or so now. Reading takes me places that I will never visit and expands my mind and vocabulary.
The problem is that too many of the stories don’t seem real enough.
The aren’t messy enough.
Life is messy. People are messy. Our stories are messy.
The Christian fiction I have taken a look at just doesn’t seem messy enough.
When I get to know you, I want to know about more than just the good stuff. I want to know about the messes.
I want to know about all the sordid details. I want to hear about all of your junk.
I want to see how the Lord has redeemed it.
So, I don’t read Christian fiction.
What I would love to see are more Christians writing fiction that is messy, sordid and full of junk.
Just like all of our lives.
How about you? Do you read Christian fiction?
Most of my posts are based on questions that I ask myself. I don’t consider myself all that different from most people, so I believe that these questions are applicable to everyone else. Here are three questions that I think we should all ask ourself from time to time and perhaps ask others.
Do I want to be saved from my sins or the penalty of my sins?
Too often we trample the gift of salvation that God has given us through His Son.
We accept His free gift of salvation, but we don’t want anything to change in our lives. We want to say, “Thank you, Lord. Now, I’ll go about my business.”
We want to be saved from the penalty of our sins. However, we don’t want to be saved from our sins themselves. After all, we’re forgiven, right?
Do I love God or the life He has given me?
Which is more important to us? God Himself? Or the life He has given us?
Do we simply want this special life where we are blessed by marriage, family, job and whatever else we can think of? Or is God our ultimate aim?
Do I love life or the Life?
There is an old Country song that says,”Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
Jesus said that He is the Life.
Paul said that to live is Christ, to die is gain.
The question is are we holding so tight to this life that we don’t want to truly know Life?