Turning Good Intentions Into Great Actions

I wish I could tell you how to do this, but it is honestly one of my greatest struggles. It is hard to get the feel of momentum when I do manage to get started, and I am both easily distracted and a procrastinator. I end up talking about a lot of things, but starting much less. Then I start several things, but end up continuing only a few.

Like right now, I would like to be working out, writing songs, growing the music and youth ministries at my church, working on my masters degree, doing a benefit concert with friends, learning the mandolin, reading the entire bible, and becoming a more consistent blogger. In the past, I would probably have started five of those things, and finished three. I am no longer willing to settle for that kind of result. The only problem is, I don't know exactly how to live differently.

I haven't started working out yet. I haven't played the mandolin in a while. I am on pace to finish the bible sometime next decade. The songs aren't coming, and the blog posts sometimes feel forced. I even fell behind on the concert stuff... Luckily my friends are incredible musicians!

I know that if I were to tell you I was working full time, going to Grad school, leading music and youth, and doing the benefit concert, you would probably think my life was busy. The thing is, I also spend about 10 hours a week watching TV or playing video games. I sleep too much on Saturday mornings, and every morning for that matter. I know I could do so much more.

So instead of a "how to" post, this is more of a "have you ever felt the same" or "how do you deal with this" type of post. I know so many of you are flippin amazing, raising entire families while doing enough to make me look downright lazy. How do you keep yourself moving? How do you stop yourself from staying still for too long?

The only time I want to "be still" is when I'm "knowing He is God" :-P.
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Something For Nothing

In my day job, I work in an industry where the customers expect something for nothing. We work with federal money, and we get people who seem to believe that should be their primary source of income. The welfare culture has created a generation that believes in participation trophies, a generation that can't bear to call anyone below average. People expect their mere existence to be a rewardable achievement.

I am disheartened, therefore, to hear about that same mindset plaguing the church. I hear about churches with otherwise amazing people, being shuttered because of a lack of giving. Ministers with years and years of training end up working at fast food restaurants to keep their families fed. And yet, everyone bristles at the thought of being asked to give more, sometimes leaving churches because they were "all about the money."

Yet, I think this is merely an educational issue. We have been conditioned in one way of thinking. That way isn't correct.

Hear me, Texas and Arizona friends... Nothing is free. In the case of federal money, the price for the handout for some is paid by the taxes of another. There should be a gratitude there.

The situation with churches is different. The price is not going to be paid by anyone else. We are all called to sacrificial giving countless times in the Bible, and this sort of uncomfortable giving is a show of faith. Even ministers do this. In fact, they give more than you may ever know.

Nothing is free. The price for a "something for nothing" attitude in the church is nothing short of closed churches, broken hearts, and a generation of disillusioned pastors. I am annoyed to see this attitude in my day job... and brokenhearted to see it in my spiritual family.

Because of the life I've lived, chances are you know me from some sort of ministry. Wherever you are attending right now, be a cheerful giver. If you know the joy that come from faithful giving, teach others. If you don't... don't come to God with your money in a clenched fist. Have an open hand and a cheerful heart, and do something out of faith. An open hand is the only way for money, or anything else, to come into your hands. God doesn't promise to bless a clenched fist.
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To The Guy Who Puts Massive Wads Of Toilet Paper In The Toilet

Nobody thinks you're cool. You arent being funny, or ironic, or rebelling against "the man." The man has a private toilet, fashioned from the bodies of underperforming sweatshop workers from overseas. Instead, you just made a mess for the janitors, and ruined the afternoons of people stuck in the same job you apparently hate.

However, I would like to meet you. In fact, I will gladly bear the burden of your friendship, and the stories of your jerkness, for simply one golden opportunity. You'll be happy that day, when I come to your house and watch an inevitably horrible show with you and your family. We will laugh, and then I will excuse myself to your restroom. You will lead me to the guest bath, but that isn't my objective. Oh no, I will move quickly to your bathroom, and your children's bathroom, and drop off payloads that require hazmat suits to approach and flush. I will cover the presents with copious amounts of toilet paper, like the Poop Santa wrapping his presents, and exit without saying goodbye.

The next day at work, you'll approach me in a state of disbelief, but in your heart you will know that you have gotten what you deserve. As a look of horrified understanding crosses your face, I will smile and laugh. It will be a beautiful moment.
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Everybody Should Listen To Me

Whenever I read a story, I am asked to comment. Even status updates of long lost acquaintences demand my immediate feedback. The people on the TV screen and radio station insist that I text, call, or otherwise share my obviously important opinion. Restaurants ask that I rate them, and websites ask me how they are doing.

In short, I am very important, and everyone should listen to me.

What's that you say? You are very important too? Awesome! We can totally change the world by simply talking and sharing our opinion. Unless...

Unless everyone is getting the same message. Unless this world is giving everyone a false sense of the scope of their influence. Unless all of those comments, ratings, and opinions create nothing but a cacaphony of white noise.

But surely this isn't the case! I mean, why would the entire world perpetuate a false sense of power in all of us? It's not like we're all so easily satiated, like we all are satisfied with the illusion of progress instead of a truly changed world.

No, that can't be the case. I'd better go ahead and post this already, so that I can get back to telling the world how to turn.

I mean, what would this world do without me?
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Google is Your BFF

I've recently notices that Google knows me a bit too well. It seems to know what I need, when I need it. It keeps me updated on the world around me, and is almost always interesting. Google recently even started finishing my sentences for me.

I mean, even the ads on the side of my blog are usually, though not always, something I think is awesome. It's my shopping buddy, my source for movie info, and the place where I keep some very personal matters (password protected in gmail, so it can keep a secret).

Now I like every one of these facts individually. However, I've come to a very disturbing realization...

Google is becoming my BFF.

Is this how nerdy I've become? Does Google really know more about me than my closest friends? Soon, I'm afraid, Google will expect me to reciprocate, to sit and listen to its problems, and to cover for it when it has something else to do. I think that's a lot of pressure...

Look, Google... maybe we need to slow things down.

Please stop crying, Google. It will only make this more painful.
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Time Off

A little bit of time off is a good thing. The chance to decompress, to unwind from the daily grind, can be refreshing and uplifting. Some extra sleep, maybe catching up on your favorite shows or going for long walks... I could go on.

But too much time off can be destructive. I see this every day with the people I talk to. They have been laid off for so long, living off of government checks, that they just lost all drive and motivation. Their can-do attitude has been replaced with a lethargic string of excuses. It is sad, that our generation has so much talent being wasted on the couch or in dead end jobs.
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Choosing Sides

We are often happy when two of our friends start dating. We are even more excited for them when they prepare for marriage. We have pictures from their wedding, and invite them to double dates and game nights, and all is right in the world.

Then it starts. You see one of them constantly dejected, or the other constantly unavailable. You see less love and more obligation. The tension between them is palpable. The effort becomes more one sided.

And then we pick sides. Inevitably, one person becomes the obvious choice, the other a pure villian. I am okay with this in certain situations. If one person gives up on a relationship, or cheats, or simply leaves, and the other person hasn't been abusive and has tried to reconcile a situation they didn't create, the answer is obvious. The villian has chosen their path.

But what do you do when the answer isn't so obvious? What do you do when both people have hurt the other, when neither has been willing to compromise? What do you do when your long time friend is the obvious villian?

Is it ever really that cut and dry?

All I know is that when I pray for my couple friends, the prayers always have a small selfish element. I don't want to have to choose sides. I like you both! Besides, Kristen and I need good double date partners for the next 50 years or so.
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Missing The Point

I was reading the yahoo report about Obama's speech at the memorial service in Tucson. I had listened to the speech earlier this evening, and was impressed with his leadership in the situation. The way that he spoke to the polarized political factions who are attempting to pin the blame on their opponents was perhaps the most poignant message he could have delivered, in the midst of what could still be an explosive situation. I don't agree with everything he does, but that hopeful and triumphant tone is what was needed in this time of knee-jerk politics.

Imagine my surprise when I scroll to the bottom of the story, and the first two comments are complaining about Obama "taking advantage of the situation for a political rally" and calling for him to apologize. Another proceeded to place all of the blame for the situation on "liberals" or something. Essentially, they completely missed the point.

People, this is a democracy. We elect a leader... and we need to let him lead. Obama was there to eulogize, but also to play an inspirational role, and he did quite well. He is right about the need for civility in our political discourse... and it is sad that the only people who don't get that are the ones who need to hear it the most.
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All it takes is a little imagination to make your world more interesting. For instance, today the breakfast vendor at my office had drops of water on the tray toppers. The water on the stainless steel reminded me of the liquid metal in the Terminator movies. I imagined the droplets coming together and forming a tiny terminator. Except, this Terminator would serve you breakfast instead of ruthlessly eliminating you. It would terminate your hunger with eggs and bacon.

I don't know about you, but i would be happy if a tiny terminator gave me breakfast.
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More thoughts on aliens...

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to find out i was from another planet. Would I want to stay here because it felt like home? Would everyone treat me differently? Would I have super powers? Would Sheriff Joe still try to deport me?
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