This post was first published around two years ago.
Do you ever wonder who would be your pall bearers if you died? I don’t have a huge number of people to do the job. I imagine that some people from my church would take care of the job if called upon. However, I also wonder another question. Who would give my eulogy if I passed away? I’m not talking about my pastor or a family member. I’m talking about someone outside of the normal who would stand up and give an accurate telling of what my life was like. My choices, if left up to me, would be quite narrow.
I can think of possibly three people who could do the job. One is my dearest friend from before marriage, Chris. The problem with this is that I have really let our friendship lapse. I know that Chris would do anything for me if I asked. Last year he drove out and took a picture of a big chicken at a convenience store in Newport, Tennessee for me. However, I haven’t seen him now in 14 or 15 years. For a guy who I used to run around with for about 45 of 52 Saturday nights in a year, I haven’t done a good job of maintaining our friendship.
Another possibility would my friend, Matt Cannon. Check out his Seeking Pastor blog. I used to be Matt’s supervisor and we were friends for several years at our employer. I do better keeping up with Matt through Facebook, Twitter and his blog. However, I haven’t personally seen him now since he left our employer, unless you count, of course, a video he posted of himself. Again, I haven’t done the best job of maintaining our friendship.
My third choice would be my friend, David Anderson. David doesn’t have a blog, but we go on break together everyday. At this point in my life, David probably knows me better than anyone outside of my family. He knows all of the warts in my life. He knows what kind of jerk I can be. He puts up with all kinds of my “junk”. At this juncture of my life, he would probably be the best candidate to give my eulogy. Hopefully, there will be no need for his services anytime soon.
What is missing among this group? Someone from my community or church. Here is why that is so. I don’t spend any time with anyone to develop that kind of relationship. I don’t invest in relationships with anyone at my church or in my community. Here is how it goes down with the folks in my area. I see them for a brief time on Sunday. I might run into someone at the store. I might see them out running or walking on the bike trail. I might see them at a ballgame or a school function. But do I invest in anyone in what I now call my hometown so that they would know me well enough to give my eulogy. No, not really. It’s a failing of mine. I go to work. I come home. I do my thing. I do it all again. And again. And again. But except for what are really brief encounters, I don’t invest the time needed to develop the relationships needed for anyone to give my eulogy.
What about you? Have you invested in someone enough that they would be able to give your eulogy? I hope that you’ve done a better job than me.
UPDATE: Since this was first published, I still haven’t seen my friend Chris, though we have emailed some. I saw Matt a few months later when we went to see Jon Acuff speak in Knoxville. He has become a full-time pastor and rarely writes his blog anymore. My friend David no longer works at the same employer that I do, but we text, go to lunch occasionally and I ran into him while waiting to get gas the other night.
A post from a couple of years ago
At the time that I am writing this, I have just finished reading a guest blog over at Stuff Christians Like. My reaction to this is not what I thought it would be. I sat there thinking to myself, “Why can’t I write like that? Why can’t I be that funny? I want to write that kind of humorous blog.” I sat there for a while thinking back over the past few weeks of writing Deuceology. Several of my posts have been my attempt at humor. Others have been serious. Some have simply been about whatever I have on my mind at the time. A good number are doing my usual rant about what should change in our churches.
The point of this is basically something Popeye said a few years back. I am what I am. I just can’t force what I write about. I write what I write, even if I’m writing about my writing. Did that just make any sense to anyone but me? I mean, today I’m writing about my writing. Tomorrow may be a humorous take on something. The next day it may be about twenty-five things I love about my church and twenty-five things I don’t like about my church (thanks for letting me put that preview of an upcoming Twofer Tuesday in here). Basically, what I realize is that I’m just going to be me in this blog. And guess what?
We all need to do that. Quit trying to be like someone else. Quit expecting others to be someone else. Manage your expectations of
others. I read another blog the other day where a Christian couple tried to share their faith, unsuccessfully, to a waiter. He didn’t want to hear any of it. They couldn’t understand why he didn’t jump at the opportunity once he was told the truth. Their expectation was that he would jump at the opportunity to be saved and Christian like them. They don’t realize that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (see 1 Corinthians 1:18 for the biblical reference). Their expectation is that it isn’t foolishness to them.
The great thing is that for those of us who know Christ, the opposite is true. For us, the word of the cross is the power of God. Our expectation should be that we would live according to this power. The expectation that I have of myself should be that I would live according to this power. What kind of should that be for us? A Great Expectation. Unfortunately, we have misplaced expectations.
My expectation should not be that I am a funny blogger like Jon Acuff all of the time. My expectation should not be that I live like the word of the cross is foolishness. My expectation should be that I live as though that word of the cross is the power of God. And that is transforming.
With what kind of expectations do you live your life? As thought the word of the cross is foolishness? Or as though it’s the power of God? Is your life full of a great expectation?
My friend, Jon Acuff, wrote a post recently about not being typical. That is one of the themes that those of us who like Jon hear. He encourages his readers and listeners to not settle for average and typical.
It takes, as he puts it, 10,000 to become an expert at anything. Think about that for a minute. I work somewhere around 2,000 hours each year. I will have been in my current position where I work for five years in October. That means that in eight months I will finally be approaching expert status in my job.
How can you become typical and average? Some kids have played 10,000 hours of video games before they get out of high school. Does that astound you? Not that there is anything wrong with playing a video game. But 10,000 hours may be excessive. Does anyone really want to become an expert at video games at the expense of more important things? I think the answer is no. You get there by being average and typical at everything else.
Let me put it where in a place where it might hurt you. I know because it has already hurt me. How many hours have you put into your relationship with Christ?
How much time have you spent reading the word of God?
How about your prayer time?
How much time do you spending worshipping the God that created you and saved you through His Son?
Do you spend time in fellowship with other believers?
I asked myself those questions too. I fell far short of what I think. For far too long I have been a typical Christian. I haven’t spent the time I needed to become a Christian who is above average. I haven’t become an expert Christian.
Tomorrow you will read about some changes coming to this blog. These changes are happening, at least in part, so that I can become an Expert Christian. I’m tired of being typical. I’m bored with being average. I want to be an expert.
Will you join me?
A couple of days ago, my friend Jon Acuff had this blog post. I agree with him on what he says about communication here. We speak in so many ways besides our speech.
If you didn’t follow the link, Jon says that our communication makes its way to our audiences:
55% of our communication comes from visual cues.
38% comes from our tone.
7% comes from what we actually say.
Again, I agree with him, but I have a couple of things to add. These additions are specifically geared for the Church.
We have the Gospel and we have the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Think about that for a minute. When we present the Gospel we have the power of God on our side. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. It is the same power that makes us alive and new creatures. It’s the same power that God uses to communicate through us to others. It’s a power that speakers that do not follow Christ do not have.
We also have the Holy Spirit to empower our speech. Think about it. We follow Christ and are filled with the Spirit. We abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit. When this happens, our thoughts and words are prompted and inspired by the Spirit. They flow to others who follow Christ, are filled with the Spirit, abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit.
Should we pay attention to our non-verbal cues and our tone when we speak? Absolutely. But we should not simply depend on them when it comes to our speaking. We must depend on the Gospel and the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us the power needed when we communicate to others.
What do you depend on in you communication to others?
I’m not sure when you are reading today’s post. It may be early and I haven’t left for work yet. Maybe it’s mid-day and I am wrapping things up at work. Perhaps I’m on my way to Franklin, TN or on my way back to Dunn Holler.
It doesn’t matter.
Today is the day I Start.
I am part of Jon Acuff’s Start Launch Team. Start is Jon Acuff’s new book that releases today. I also happen to be going to Start Night where Jon will be presenting much of what is in the book. I look forward hearing about:
Punch Fear In The Face
We all fear something don’t we? Often it is fear that prevents us from starting….anything. Whatever our dream is, whether it’s becoming a public speaker, starting a business or writing a novel, fear likes to cuddle up to us and keep us comfortable. Starting is not comfortable. Once we start, though, is when we will find our reward.
Too many of us simply settle for average. We have average lives with average families and average jobs. Average wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t just average. Escaping average requires something. it means that we have to start.
Do Work That Matters
One of the worst indictments we may face is that we come to the end of our life and it simply didn’t matter. We have no made no impact on the world. We didn’t affect anyone else’s life or our community’s or, gasp, the world. Where will we find the beginning of the answer? When we start.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That single step requires one thing. It requires us to start.
Are you ready to Start?
I may be talking to two different people today here at my blog.
The first are the normal folks that stop by and read. Well, I call you normal. Who is really normal? I’m talking about the folks that stop by on a regular basis and check out what this blog is all about. I don’t have a normal post today. I’m actually guest-posting for Jon Acuff over at Stuff Christians Like. In case you don’t know who Jon is, here is a picture of the two of us together. He and I met once just over a year ago and now we are best friends. Here is a picture of the two of us last year in Knoxville, TN.
Check the post out. It is totally different from what I would normally write over here. You will see the silly, funny and, hopefully, satirical side of me. Here is a link over to Stuff Christians Like. If my guest post isn’t up yet, Jon will have it come soon.
While you’re there, read Jon’s work. It’s brilliant and you will love it.
If you are tracking back over here from SCL, welcome. I am honored that you would read my post over at Jon’s and check my normal stuff out. It’s normally quite serious. I talk about God and the Church a lot. Throw in some other stuff and there you have it. Please come back again and visit.
Thanks again for stopping by.
Normally on Monday you tune in to find the First Church Year series. Don’t worry, that will be back tomorrow. Today, however, I have something different. Way different.
After last year, they said it wouldn’t last. The powers that be said it couldn’t be done again. What happened?
Rob and Ricky upped the game.
It’s time for the 2nd Annual Blogging All Stars Challenge.
What is the Blogging All Stars Challenge? It’s only the most awesome contest in the history of the internets. It’s Team Rob vs. Team Ricky. It’s Rob’s team of heavy hitters, with a small time guy vs. Ricky’s team of great guys and gals that we will soon call losers.
I am honored to participate in this. Honestly, I was taken by surprise when Rob contacted me to participate. Then I saw who was on our team. Here is the rundown of Team Rob.
Tyler Stanton — C’mon, dude is a legend with all of the great videos he makes with Tripp. Average’ is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
Tyler Tarver — Tyler is, well, like the only rapping math whiz I’ve ever seen. He has revolutionized the To-Do List. Plus, he has one of the greatest accents ever.
Jon Acuff — What can I say about my boy that I haven’t already said. Best friends? Check. Forever memories? Check. Unicorns and rainbows? Check.
Carlos Whittaker— I don’t know Carlos very well. I may be one of the few that don’t follow him on a regular basis. That is to my detriment. Carlos is a ragamuffin soul pursuing the Lord with all he’s got.
Leanne Shirtliffe — Yes, the Ironic Mom herself. I don’t know her all that well either, but she is Canadian and I love her bacon. We had a Twiter conversation once where we shared our love for the old days of SCTV.
Tamara Lunardo — Tamara is the only person I know who has actually made it to Freshly Pressed on Word Press. She has a few tattoos, uses more colorful language than many of us, and love the Lord. I also submitted a guest post to her, didn’t make it and created my own non-guest post about the experience that worried her for a few days.
Bryan Allain — This guy has the mojo. Blogging mojo, that is. And he can show you how to get it in 31 days. Plus, he’s got a Killer Tribe just for you. Bryan lives in Amish country and never fails to disappoint.
Knox McCoy — Knox loves the Batchelor. And the Batchelorette. I’m not really sure why, but hey, I’m sure he would question some of my TV choices too. On top of his own blog, which brings the meatloaf on Mondays, he runs TV Asylum with the aforementioned Tyler Stanton.
Stephen Haggerty — Stephen is bearded and an idealist. He brings us other great beards on a monthly basis and great humor every time he puts character to screen. He leads worship and will soon call Chik-Fil-A his office.
Then there’s me. I look at this list of heavy hitters and I’m just glad to be riding their coat tails in this whole shebang.
If you want to know about the competition, you will have to visit Rob’s site and check them out. You will be checking out the losing team of the contest, but you need to go over there anyway. (Note: I love everyone on the other team. I just love to trash talk.)
Now, about this contest. I need your help. Follow the link and head on over to Rob’s place and vote. Vote for Team Rob. Vote early and often. If you have a dog or cat, get them to vote. If you have a cemetery nearby, get those folks to vote. Retweet this blog post and share it on Facebook. I want to win. Because that will make me a winner. And I don’t want the consolation prizes like Turtle Wax and Rice-A-Roni.
Will you vote for Team Rob? A vote for Rob’s team means you love puppies and order in the universe. And go visit the blog sites for all of the great bloggers in this contest.
Lately, on the weekly round-up, I have been sharing other bloggers I like. Today, since I’m finishing my first year, I will do a yearly round-up and share three bloggers who have influenced me more than any others. Most of my blogging friends know who these guys are, but if you don’t blog you may not have a clue. These guys have taught me more about blogging and writing than anyone else.
How could I do a list like this without Jon Acuff being on the list. He writes two successful blogs. He has the original, Stuff Christians Like. He also has his Jon Acuff blog, where he gives great advice and inspiration for pursuing your dreams.
Jeff Goins is a guy who decided to be a writer. He has written for most of his life, but in the past year finally decided to call himself a writer. That is how he basically introduces himself now. He writes a blog that focuses on writing. He is writing books. And he has added speaking to his resume’.
Michael Hyatt is the chairman of Thomas Nelson and now is a full-time speaker and blogger. Michael writes a blog that will teach you how to be more productive, be a better blogger, and much more. He has recently added a podcast to his repertoire.
Is there anyone else you would add to this list?
What a week in Deucology land. Let’s get right to it.
The new look seemed to go over well. Several people commented that they liked. I have also continued to explore the idea of going to a self-hosted blog. I learned a great deal about it. My friend, Jon, did this recently and has offered to share his experience with me. (Jon, I’ve got to give you a call and talk about that.)
Here is a rundown of this week’s posts:
I Never Had “A” Salvation Experience started the week out on Sunday. I conveyed how salvation is not just an experience in the past, but something that is present in my life every day.
First Church Year #2 on Monday continues our adventure of settling in at our new church.
January ended on Tuesday with me sharing Random Thoughts At The End Of January.
On Wednesday, I asked the question What’s Your Story? I got some great comments from several of you.
I shared one of my favorite posts on Thursday, Wave Your Hands In The Air.
I ended the work week yesterday with My Quitter Experience.
Let me just say a word about yesterday. Friday was one of those rare days that hasn’t happened very often. Does the way I just said that make it double rare? My college friends, Tony and Gretchen, kicked off the day by discovering my blog on Facebook. They read several posts and got my traffic off to a great start. Then it got really crazy.
I tweeted to Jon Acuff about the post, since his Quitter book inspired it. Later, I commented on his blog and he replied. He even asked if he could write a post about my experience, and, of course, I said yes. That little exchange seemed to have driven about 25% of my blog traffic yesterday. So, in a very public way, I want to thank Jon Acuff. I met Jon once and he is someone who is truly interested in helping others achieve their dreams.
Another thing that happened this week was that there were more comments than any other weeks. I passed 1,000 total comments. That is something that truly makes this experience special. I appreciate everyone who takes a few minutes to engage in the conversation.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
How was your week? If you blog, how were things your way?