Transformation, in more ways than one

September 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm (blog)

My thoughts on this book may not be popular review . In all honesty, I had a hard time reading this book. I did not agree with much of the ideas expressed.

Let me back up… I grew up in suburbia, attending a moderately sized Baptist Church just south of Atlanta. When my family moved to a northern, rural part of the state, we began attending a much smaller church, but I wouldn’t call it “rural” in the traditional sense of the word. I did, however, attend many of the “rural” churches in the area. You know the kind: one big room, a piano and a podium, seating for most (but not all), and a lot of loud preaching. When i set out on my own, I church hopped from moderate sized churches to mega churches and back to rural churches, finally landing in a moderate church that felt like I “belonged”. I have to admit, I was hurt, and did become somewhat jaded somewhere along the way.

It seems that if “transforming” and growing the rural churches is the main goal, then we are missing the point. Love the people. Teach them the ways of Jesus. Help to apply His teachings to our everyday lives today. Teach them how to love each other. Teach them how to love those that are not of the church.

That is the true transformation that really any church can benefit from. Some churches do this already, and do it well, but there’s always room for improvement. Until the day that we are transformed like Christ, then we can always step back and find better ways to let Him do the”transforming” in us.

There is a sweet charm to rural churches. In a photograph, they remind us of a simpler time. I think if we try, we really can have the best of both worlds. I do appreciate this kind of book and its potential in opening the dialog about change.

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Fresh Brewed, indeed

September 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm (blog)

I remember reading “Fresh Brewed Life” quite a few years ago.  Originally, the cover art is what drew me in, as hanging in the local coffee shop was my thing.  I enjoyed the references to coffee, and the allegories given to our favorite bean.  Nearly 10 years later, I picked up the book again, expecting it to be an easy read that would invoke fond feelings of past emotions that had been processed and worked through.  My, how I was wrong.  It challenged me just as much as the first time reading did, only this time with more experiences and mistakes under my belt.  This book definitely requires a slow reading, savoring each sip and anticipating the next.  It is a great reminder that in order to live a life full of meaning, we must consciously take the steps to get us there.  There are few too little reminders of that these days.

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Thunder Dog

August 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm (blog)

 

Each major event leaves us with emotions and memories that stay with us forever.  I’m sure most of us can vividly remember where we were on September 11th.  It was a day that no one expected and none of us were prepared for.  Suddenly, the men and women trapped inside those towers we our neighbors and friends.  We all watched in horror as the reality of the helplessness really sank in.

Thunder Dog gives us a first hand account of the horrors of that day not only from and insider perspective, but from the point of view from a blind man who had no choice but to depend solely on his guide dog to lead him down the endless sets of stairs and out of the rubble.  This book will surely stir up the memories from that day; The sorrow and the pride  of being an American and being there for our fellow man.  It is sure to grip your heart and keep you engaged.  Even though we know how the book will end, you will be driven to continue to turn the pages.

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Max on Life

July 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm (blog)

Well known, and much loved author, Max Lucado once again confronts us with honest truths in his recent book, “Max On Life”. With a writing career spanning nearly 25 years, Lucado offers wisdom and home among the trials that life may throw our way.

This book is more of a “question and answer” type of format than his usual work. Using material from the enormous amount of letters he must receive, Lucado takes the opportunity to reflect on his own revelations that he has had.

I found myself having to read this book slowly and thoughtfully, as too much at once was too much to really absorb. A short chapter or two at a time may provide the reader more time to internalize the questions and answers to how they apply to their own lives.

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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

March 7, 2011 at 10:46 am (blog)

Get your own copy of this book!

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Million-Miles-Thousand-Years-Learned/dp/0785213066/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299516218&sr=8-1″&gt;

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Book Review: Where is God

September 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm (blog)

We’ve all been there. We feel it as we sit in the waiting room at the hospital, waiting for the word from the Doctor about whether or not they were able to get all of the cancer. We feel it when we have to drive our child to their doctors appointment, so toxic radiation and chemo can be put into their bodies.

In times of personal trial and struggle, we ask ourselves “Where is God. Where is the God that supposedly loves me enough to die for me, yet he makes me have to face this situation. He has all the power in the world to change these circumstances if he really could, yet he doesn’t”. “What kind of God would sit up there and twiddle his fingers while we are down here barely surviving these heart-wrenching dilemmas we all face.

In the book “Where Is God”, author John Townsend discusses the mindset of these thought patterns. He articulately describes what most people feel at some point in their lives when they wonder where is God. It is in times like those that God’s true power and mercy are able to be felt more than just seen with our eyes. He intervenes on our behalf when we just don’t have the energy. He offers a safe place of refuge, even when life itself seems unbearable.

What a great reminder that our perspectives are often skewed so we can’t even see what is really right there all along.

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Nashville Rising: The Great Flood of 2010

May 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm (blog, helping, nashville, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures, reflecting, sadness, storm, struggle, suffering, support, tennessee, TN, Uncategorized, weather) (, , , )

AC-we-are-nashville

If you don’t live in Nashville, the recent flooding may be news to you. Unfortunately, it has been overlooked by much of the national media until recently. We are now a week out, and the level of devastation is really starting to sink in.

Many people have completely lost their homes. Much of the downtown area was underwater. The famous Opryland Hotel has had to decline visitors at least through October to get the cleanup process underway after the 10 feet of water that swept through and left a thick layer of mud after the water receeded.

When you drive through the suburbs, you see endless piles of trash and debris that was once the makings of people’s homes. It’s a sobering reminder of just how easy life can change in an instant.

The great thing about this tragic event has been the action of countless volunteers. People are driving in herds to the other side of town to help people they don’t know. It’s an amazing thing to see, and it says a lot about this grand city we call home.

You don’t have to live in Nashville to help. There are plenty of ways to make monetary donations or item donations to those who lost so much by this event.

One thing I love about Nashville is the graphic design community. In a matter of a day or two, multiple graphics were created for tshirts and posters all to benefit the flood victims. Here is a list of some of the items available.  I did not create any of these… just passing it along for the greater good

Click on the image to be taken to the purchasing site:

mattson-poster2

poster

nashville-flood1

ilovenashvilleblue_largeh2010_brown_large

we-are-nashville-bumper-sticker-3x11-5_large

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The Face of Jesus

April 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm (blog)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC1GyB6Id4Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdmNd8LsYPY&feature=related

I’m skeptical by nature, always questioning and analyzing everything to death.  I don’t accept things as fact until I am really convinced of it.

The Shroud of Turin is no exception.

I’m a history lover.  The relics and items that have withstood years upon years of time and still exist in one piece are nothing but extraordinary.  To lay my eyes on something that someone that lived thousands of years ago also gazed upon is nothing short of a spiritual experience for me.  It stirs up so much emotion and awe.

For years scientists have tested and retested the Shroud of Turin, trying to either confirm or deny the validity of the theory that it’s the actual burial cross of Jesus.  I have a hard time believing that something so controversial back then was allowed to be passed on to future generations.  Isn’t that part of what the Crusades were about?  And eventually the Crusaders were executed and killed off, leaving no organized group to be in charge of assuring any item was protected and kept from destruction.

However, I’m not sure that’s really the point.  Reflecting on this Easter season, the mental images of the Cross and Resurrection are on the minds of countless believers.  Watching this video brought tears to my eyes, not because it convinced me that the face I was looking at was actually Christ, but because it took the guess work out of the cross.  No longer are we left with mental images the crucifixion paints for us.  We do not need to pour over the texts to understand how sincerely brutal every act of crucifixion was.  To see that and realize that this is what the end results were for many people made my heart sink.

Then came the realization that this was not the end result for every case.  There is one case in particular that affects all of us on a deep, personal level.  Whether you believe it or not… whether you accept the Word as true or not, the shroud eliminates the need to theorize.  What we now have the advantage of looking upon is what took place, as part of factual history.

How this affects you personally is your own journey. On this Good Friday, take time to reflect on this, regardless of where you are on your spiritual path.

Thanks be to God.

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New Beginnings

March 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm (blog)

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that each day is a new beginning.  We are all given that simple, yet profound gift of a clean slate each time the sun rises.  It it my hope and prayer that we can each realize this and find comfort in that gift.

With Easter coming up, I’m taking time to reflect and look at myself and at the sacrifice that goes far beyond anything I can say or do.  It’s not about us.  But then, it’s all about us at the same time.

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Book Review: The Liturgical Year

January 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm (blog)

I’m a lover of History.  There are few historical stories that do not leave me with a sense of awe, and a longing to be back in that simpler time, if only for a moment.  Reading about the history of the Church is even more fascinating to me.

To many, church is simply a time to enter a building designated to be a place of worship.  They show up, hoping to earn a gold star for their attendance.  There is little recognition of the true impact of the historically significant details that brought us all to today.

Coming from a Southern Baptist background, I had little knowledge of the corporate church, and the rituals and traditions that have been passed down through the ages.  After attending an Episcopal, and then an Anglican church, I felt somewhat more connected with the different ways of worship that we all choose.  Just like choosing what shoes to wear, we are given the ability to choose a preference of how we worship… what truly moves our hearts and makes our souls sing out in praise.  That may look different for everyone of us, but that is the beauty of freedom.

The book, The Liturgical Year, mentions some of these differences, explaining a little more about the origin of where they came from, and the modern-day significance.  As a person who enjoys tradition, I have been particularly drawn to the Liturgical form of worship, though I understand it very little.

This book was helpful for me by helping me accept the differences that we all bring to the table when it comes to worship.  The literal times and dates are not the importance, but it’s the recognition of them that makes all the difference.  At first, the read is a little “heady” and it will probably take another read to truly grasp.  I look forward to following the Church calendar a little more closely and trying to fully experience the tradition that has been carried out for so long.  It allows us to connect with all of the others before us that have stepped into this same tradition of worship for our God.

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