Nice Nasty

Ever heard of nice nasty? It means someone is nice but their intent is not nice – its really just nasty. Kinda like getting a lollypop that is covered in hair. Oh that’s happened to you too?

It is really maddening though. How do you confront a compliment that, to you, seems to drip with venom?

In John 12:4 we see the story of Mary coming to pour a pint of expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus, anointing Him for his coming death. It was an act of worship that the disciples hadn’t yet seen and probably hadn’t experienced themselves.

And one disciple brought up such a noble objection. “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” Oh how his heart broke for the despondent! Oh how many sleepless nights this person must have spent thinking about the less fortunate! Oh the wisdom, the purity of heart, the essence of the Gospel that poured out of his voiced concern! What about the poor!!! I mean, Jesus was always talking about taking care of the less fortunate!!

But we see just one verse later that this disciple, Judas, had no concern for the poor. “He did not say this because he cared abou the poor but because he was a thief…” And, as always, Jesus found a way to counter this ‘noble and pure’ concern. “LEAVE HER ALONE!” His ‘nice concern’ was simply fruit of a ‘nasty heart.’

Just because you have people around you who say the right things, doesn’t mean they are the right people to be around. I recently heard Kevin Gerald say “just because someone is good to you doesn’t mean they are good for you.” 1 Corinthians says “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Evaluate the relationships in your life. Look past the words of their life. Look at their fruit – their actions – that show they have your best interest at heart and the heart of God.

It’s not easy. Feeding the poor was a really good concern. But Jesus saw the heart; one that was full of evil intent despite the pious words.

Allow Jesus to guide you in the God assigned connections in your life.

9 Ways to Improve Your Email

I use email all of the time.  We are in an email society.  And I’ve heard that email is going away to make room for tools like Twitter and Facebook…. we’ll see.

But I think email has the potential to be a very very bad thing.  In an email, it is almost impossible to ascertain the tone of the one writing.  Everything is very concrete, blank and white, and soulless.  Because of this, the recipient receives the message, “this person is mad at me,” “they are grumpy,” “they are so cold,” “why so terse?”

I understand this and do my best to swing the other way.  There are times to be business like.  But if I am emailing to people I have a relationship with, I do my best to make the email as happy as possible, especially with volunteers on my team.  I want there to be no question that I’m not in a good mood.  Here are some tips:

  1. This isn’t grammer school.  Lighten up.  It’s ok to use words like ‘ARGH’.  If Charlie Brown can say it, why not I?
  2. ‘!!’ is your friend. ‘Good morning!!!’ comes across a lot differently than ‘Dear Bob,’.
  3. Convey that you are in a good mood!  They say to smile when you are on the phone.  Somehow smile while you type.  Use emoticons if appropriate.  :0)
  4. Communicate internal dialogue.  “Hey Bob!  I was thinking the other day that the system we are using to setup might be outdated (sometimes I think too much – but I’d rather think too much than too little).”  People don’t know what your thinking unless you type what your thinking.  Maybe they’ll be able to hook that brain thingy to our heads and link it up with our computers – but we’re not there yet.
  5. Humor.  I always try to lighten the mood with humor.  Make sure you have a sense of humor before you try this.
  6. Type how you talk.  The best advice I ever received from a teacher is ‘type how you talk.’  That took me out of “how do I write this mode” into “just type how I would say it to them in person.”  In a fluid conversation you don’t just regurgitate facts.  Why then do that in an email?  You have side-bars, you have ‘by the ways’, you have almost a controlled rambling going on.  If that is how you talk, then email that way.  It portrays a more personable person on the other end.
  7. Match the email tone to the recipient.  I would never do any of these things if I was emailing the president of Bank of America.  But the more personable the relationship, the more you can use the tips.
  8. Read the email before hitting send!!!  Have someone else read it if need be.  Google Mail has an ‘undo send’ function that has saved my toosh many times.  It’s under the ‘labs’ portion of settings.
  9. If the email’s tone is one of rebuke or accountability, probably not a good idea to email anyway.  Pick up the phone.

I hope this helps free you to email in a more friendly way.  Of course, use common sense.  Probably not a good idea to sound that happy if you are emailing a friend who’s dog just died.

Sunday Night Ramblings

• I’m pooped. Actually going to get to go to be before 9…. If I type fast.
• I feel for my wife. She has been through so much over the last few weeks and still has a great attitude. Always wants to be a good witness to the nurses.
• Oh if you didn’t know she got admitted to the hospital for an infection Friday.
• Good news is she’s on the same floor as Weston!
• Weston is eating like a champ! Took 2 ounces in one feeding and was still hungry afterwards!
• Actually getting mad at my iPhone because of wants to correct Weston into Weaton. That’s not his name!
• Dear volunteers- I still love my iPhone!
• Had a hammer dulcimer on stage today. Steven is amazing on it!
• Never heard our audio sound so good as it did today!
• So grateful for friends like Phil and Willie. They busted their tails working on my backyard. Love those guys dearly.
• Dreading another trip to the DMV to fix a title problem.
• Sold my Hyundai!
• Love my setup and teardown volunteers. They are selfless!
• Angie has been assisting Pastor Daniel on Sunday mornings. She is amazing!
• Love our new(used) van!
• Going to miss the Weiss’s. Can’t believe they leave in two weeks!
• Thankful I have family that is willing to make the trip from TN to help.
• Feels like a hundred people asked how they could help today. I wish I knew! Pray for rest!
• Feels like my family has a big bullseye on it. Need your prayers!
• Still humbled that God is using all of this for his glory!
• My wife started talking to Weston’s nurse today and found out that we have a connection. Amazing lady and hoping God can use us to minister to her.
• Thankful that God answered prayers for my Dad. He’s doing much better.
• Following Los’s twitters about his vacation is causing me to covet.
• I need a vacation!

Saturday Thoughts

Saturday morning is usually spent trying to find enough things to entertain a 20month old till nap time.  For now he is content with his Chick-fil-a cow and digging through my file folder.  So I thought I would give some insights to what is going on in my life…quickly before he comes back to fidget with the mouse.

  • Unleash was freakn’ awesome!  Perry Noble cracks me up with his blountness…refreshing and much needed!
  • The bus ride was a hoot!  Jennifer thought it felt like riding on the front of a roller coaster because we were in the front seat…all that was between us and road was a huge window!
  • Loved driving the bus nuts with the intercom….me love power.
  • The time at the end we got to pray over our pastor was worth the entire trip!
  • Half the bus ate Chipotle on the way home…not a good idea.
  • Next year I want to take 100!
  • I have a list 2 pages long on my cabinet in my office of books I want to read this year.  Yeah, you could call it over-ambitious.
  • Bathroom is almost done, just trim work and 1 more light to go up. Finally!
  • Bathroom is almost done, so P90x is back on the table.
  • Accidentally ripped out the wrong bathroom fan last night.  Things are confusing in an attic!
  • My ma-n-law and sis-n-law just left this morning.  A big thanks to them for coming up and watching Wyatt!
  • Wyatt has bouroughed himself underneath the stairs…guess I need to get him shortly.
  • How do you spell bouroughed?  Because that ain’t right.
  • Can’t wait for tomorrow!
  • I’m so pumped about what God is doing and what he’s getting ready to do!
  • I think Wyatt is eating a wreath.
  • Pray for our pregnancy.  Jennifer has Previa, which is not good.  Baby is fine though.  Just pray it moves.  Google it if you don’t have any idea of what I’m talking about.
  • Need…i….phone.
  • To sell my ipod or not?  My ma-n-law said she’d buy it, but 8Gigs on an iphone doesn’t seem like a lot of space.
  • I think Wyatt has done a number in his britches.  Time to go!
  • Nasty!

Changing of the Guard

So on Nov. 7th we elected a new president. And I bet most of us would say to ourselves, “Thank God that’s over!” I mean come on! A year of presidential politics is just too much – even for me.

I would also dare say that most of those who read this blog didn’t vote for Obama – simply because I am a Pastor, and most of the readers are Lifepointers, and most church goers statistically are Republican, and you can see why I deduct that. But here is what I hope we don’t do:

1. I hope we don’t spend more time griping about Obama than we do pray for him.
2. I hope we aren’t so cynical and partisan that we lose site of the magnitude that we just witnessed the swearing-in of the first black president.  Now that is amazing no matter who you are.
3. I hope we don’t wish for him to fail.
4. In contrast, I hope we don’t put all of our faith in him.
5. I hope we don’t miss the opportunity to thank God that we were able to transfer power peacefully – again.
6. I hope we don’t miss the opportunity to be grateful that we are Americans.
7. I hope we don’t miss opportunities to acknowledge when he is right and makes correct choices.
8. I hope we don’t stop being involved in our communities because our guy didn’t get it. That’s called taking your ball and going home because you didn’t like how the teams were picked.
9. I hope we don’t get so caught up in being Americans that we forget that we are to be Christ-followers.
10. I hope we don’t miss the opportunity to come together.