Friday is Top Five Day

in honor of the coming of the simple service initiative in a couple of weeks, i was thinking about tools.  yeah, tools.

i love tools.  i have a lot of them and i know how to use most of them pretty well.  i have tools that i enjoy using and have sort of a euphoric experience when they are in my hands and performing their tasks.  if you don’t understand, don’t get a headache trying to figure it out.  just accept that i am kind of a closet “tim the tool man”.  if you don’t understand that…well, you’re probably too young.

here are the five tools that i own that are my favorites:

rotozip5.  the mighty “rotozip” – a more recent acquisition that performs a variety of cutting tasks.  loud, high-pitched and messy.

vice-grip4.  vice grips – the ultimate “all-purpose” tool that i have used in almost every type of building or repair project imaginable.

kobalt-screwdriver3.  the 6-in-1, changeable screwdriver – there is no question that this is the most used, most functional, most needed tool in my arsenal.  i understand the value of a powered screwdriver, but there is nothing like the torque of your own hand for handyman projects around the house.

sawzall-22.  the “sawzall” – the ultimate tool of mass destruction.  the tool that is the great equalizer.  there is almost nothing that this piece of machinery cannot conquer.  when all else fails…go get the sawzall!

shovel1.  the short, round-point shovel with a D-handle – you might be surprised (if you care at all) that this is my favorite tool, but it is.  years ago, when i spent my summers working as a laborer doing commercial construction, i invested hours and hours of my life perfecting the art of shoveling cement with this beloved piece equipment.  even to this day, i bet i can still “out-shovel” anybody on cement day in mexico!  talk about an awesome addition to my resume if i need to go job hunting someday…

what about you?  do you have a tool that you cannot live your life without?


Axioms…from my perspective

i’ve decided to dedicate thursdays to giving some of my personal life axioms…truth that, from my perspective, is self-evident.  sometimes practical.  sometimes philosophical.  sometimes whimsical.  but truth, no less.

“treat people well…whether they deserve it or not.”

we interact with people everyday. it takes just as much effort to be aloof, self-centered, rude, mean, or disinterested as it does to be a gracious, friendly, nice person. to be honest, grace is always better.

that whole golden rule thing comes into play here.  somehow, it is so easy to convince ourselves that we are better than others…as if we are never aloof, self-absorbed, crabby, cynical, short, smug, angry, unkind, impatient…need i go on?  on those days when we don’t have our “a” game together, we want…no, need, grace.  why wouldn’t that be true of others?

an old italian proverb says, “he that will have none but a perfect brother must resign himself to remain brotherless.” man, that is so true!  the list of those that are perfect is a short one.  why do we have such a difficult time remembering that?

a.w. tozer once said, “to treat an imperfect brother impatiently is to advertise our own imperfections.” i’m no ad man, but i am in the “pr” business…and there is no way i want my shortcomings broadcasted on a billboard in my world.  i know i’m imperfect.  so does everyone else.  but that’s no excuse for grabbing a megaphone and screaming, “look, i’m an idiot!!”

better to extend grace, love freely, and treat others the way i want to be treated…not the way i deserve.



there is nothing quite like this.

i can remember holding chris the exact same way chris is caressing holden.  how did he learn to do that?  wanda didn’t ever hold chris this way.  only i did.  it was my second favorite way of holding him.  i will be watching carefully to see if chris holds holden my favorite way.  i’ve never told him.  i’ll just have to wait and see…

there is something amazing…even mystical…about holding the life of our children in our hands.  both physically and metaphorically.  their little lives are full of hope and promise and they are totally dependent on our touch to lead them.  without us, they would die.  without us, they would be left on their own to figure out all that is important.

this is where it all begins.  somewhere in this touch, there is connection that lasts a lifetime.  at least it should.  in this touch, the essence of relationship is forged.  in this touch, the transmission of value and priority and the soul of ultimate significance takes place.

i never took it lightly.  i pray that i passed that on.

Friday is Top Five Day

i thought i would finish up this “top five” discussion on music at north point with one more list.

i’ve spent over 36 years of my life with a guitar, leading kids in worship.  sometimes with a band, but most of those years it was just me.  that was the way we rolled back in the day.

in the past year or two, since my guitar has been sitting on a stand and collecting dust, i don’t talk much about how much i miss teaching kids how to sing as part of their worship experience.  yeah, i miss it a lot.  but that’s for another post on another day…

i really believe that if the day were to ever come when my friends at north point had to tell me to go find a new day job, i think i’ve got a plan.  i’ve told logan’s dad (he’s a famous preacher in memphis) that he might have to hire me to be his kid’s worship song leader…since that job is already secured at np by pastor mitch!

anyway, all this thinking has caused me to reminisce about some cool fun songs we have sung with kids through the years.  i love to have fun going to ball games and going out to eat with friends and bowling and playing kickball in the auditorium and i think there is room in god’s economy for having fun when we sing (as long as it is full of truth and the fun never turns to disrespect of the holiness of god…a fine line with kids, sometimes!).

here are some of my favorite fun songs that we have done through the years:

  • Big House
  • Undignified
  • So Good To Me
  • King Jesus
  • Mercy is Falling
  • Celebrate Jesus
  • His Banner Over Me
  • Where Do I Go?

but here is my top five…

5.  The Happy Song – by Martin Smith and Delirious (crazy fun song…i really miss doing this song!)

4.   Shut De Do – by Randy Stonehill (island song that’s been around about thrity years…)

3.   Your Everlasting Love – by Brian Sites (highest “high energy” song we ever did with the youth group…pushed the limit of respect, tho.)

2.   No One Like You – by Crowder (my absolute favorite crowder song to lead…and sing…with kids)

1.   When I Think About You – by Jeff Moody (for all the joking we have done at his expense through the years, this song was not only a homerun, it was a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth!  this was the signature song of our youth ministry in the early years…the first fun song of real substance that layed the foundation for what music at np has become today!)

how about you?  do you have any memories of fun songs we have done…or currently do?

Axioms…from my perspective

i’ve decided to dedicate thursdays to giving some of my personal life axioms…truth that, from my perspective, is self-evident.  sometimes practical.  sometimes philosophical.  sometimes whimsical.  but truth, no less.

“don’t let the sun go down on your anger…don’t go to bed angry.  nothing good can happen from that.”

i’m not really sure where this lesson truly sunk in.  this is one of those commands of god that is easily dismissed as a little proverbial saying that was never meant to be taken literally.  here’s what it says in the bible:

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,  and do not give the devil a foothold.  Ephesians 4:25-27

to me, this is one of those commands of god that is so clear, so unmistakable, that to ignore it is gross disobedience!  the problem is that most people who claim to be followers of jesus live as if god doesn’t always really mean what he says.

the command not to let the sun go down on our anger recognizes that we are human and that will react emotionally to people and life events that are difficult or unfair, but that what have about 24 hours to deal with it.  after that, it needs to be history…for their good, and ours.

it’s not easy. it goes against our nature. it’s certainly not the way we have grown accustomed to doing things in our culture. but where are you going to get your truth?

i love baseball. i really do. but…

arodi’ve got a whole lotta opinions about this a-rod thing.   there are few people who have a greater love and respect for this game than i do.  i’m not saying i have more than others…just few that have more than i.  that’s just the way it is.

baseball, as i was raised with it, is dead.  it has been for years.  a 162-game season changed it.  the designated hitter changed it.  pete rose betting changed it.  steinbrenner’s wallet changed it.  technology changed it.  replays changed it.  and i’m a guy that’s not against change!

i love change.  i love change for change sake.  change keeps things fresh.  change moves us from good to better…and sometimes to best.  but not for baseball.  but i’m a realist.

i still love baseball.  i love the purity and the mysticism of the game.  i love the unwritten rules.  i love that you can look at the way a guy stands or holds his bat or adjusts his cup or how he takes care of his glove…and know whether he is a real baseball player or not.

the zen of baseball is ulitmately unexplainable, but absolutely knowable.  you’ve either got it or you don’t.

but baseball, as we know it, has changed.  it’s a business.  it’s entertainment.  it is the perfect sport wrapped in a contract.  we need to stop thinking it is more than that.  ballplayers are not role models.  they do not live for moral perfection.  we shouldn’t expect it from them.  they shouldn’t use steroids, but they shouldn’t be playing for ungodly amounts of money either.

in a sport driven by greed and not by the love of the game, why are we so picky about other sins…like cheating to get a competitive edge or betting on the side.  why are we not as uptight about the blatant racism in management or ballplayers who cheat on their wives with baseball groupies at away games or the heartless disregard of a young player who no longer performs as expected?  hypocrisy is everywhere.

i say leave a-rod alone.  he cheated.  he got caught.  he apologized.  he probably won’t do it again.  let him collect his bizillions and pay his alimony and drive his bentley and find a new supermodel or rock star to date.  sheesh.  he’s been through enough already…

real baseball is alive and well.  you just have to look for it carefully.  but it’s there.