Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2 Day Conversation w/Len Sweet

 Who is Leonard Sweet
Theologian, professor, author, preacher, scholar, futurist.

Last Thursday and Friday I had the honor of sitting with about 30 other people in an intimate room, having a conversation with Len Sweet.

Let me first share who he is to me. Some 20-ish years ago I decided to take this fledgling faith of mine seriously. Having no history in church whatsoever, I had catching up to do. That meant there were books and the Bible to be read.

At this time I was finding myself asking the question, "Do I really fit in this faith? Does a guy like me with a bent towards intellect and the arts actually fit in, in Christendom?"

Along came Sweet's book, "A Cup of Coffee by the Soul Cafe." My soul relaxed. "I DO fit! There is a place for someone like me!" This may appear like a shallow statement, but I assure you, none of us will sign up or show up to anything unless we can see ourselves mirrored there.

His writings helped ground me in spiritual disciplines and in theology. His book "Learn to Dance the Soul Salsa" helped me lead the most fun and interactive small group--it marked all of us. 

In a lull I got to share the essence of those last two paragraphs with Len. (And yes, we're on a first name basis.) And when the 2 days came to a close, I got into his space with a hug. A handshake seemed too linear--too Gutenberg ;-)

So how did I get in a little room of thirty people hanging with this spiritual uncle of mine? Via the generous staff at Westwinds church in Jackson MI. 

Their senior pastor, David McDonald was a student of Sweet's in seminary. Westwind's student journey designer, Ben Redmond, (Comfort of Vengeance: Nahum) is good friends with Oakbrooker David Horine who was invited, who then asked me, since Mark Malin was on grandbaby birth watch. 

I can't say enough about how God moistened my soul in those two days. I've been to so many great seminars with thousands or hundreds in attendance. But to be in an intimate room without microphones. Just voices. Natural interaction. Breathing. Talking. Together. So good...

I've put together a Tweet-style PDF that reflects my interpretation of our two day conversation. 

So thankful for:
the staff @ Westwinds
Len Sweet
Dave Horine
a creative loving God

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Occupy the Y wk 11: My Dorky Workout

So this week was a milestone for me: I've lost 30.5 lbs since last fall and 4.5 lbs in the last 2 weeks. Needless to say I was pretty pumped and excited.

I haven't been focusing on my total weight loss because it had been going slow for a while; I'd just focus on the weekly numbers. But after DeAnna at Dr. Haendigas' told me I'd lost 4.5 since my last weigh-in I was curious. When she said 30.5 I got a serious case of perma-grin!

After I workout today or tomorrow, that will wrap-up 11 straight weeks of working out and will leave just one more week with our trainer (and life to go)!

Thursday and Friday I was out of town for a cool experience (I'll blog about later). We stayed at a hotel and I learned an important lesson: ALWAYS TAKE YOUR WORKOUT GEAR. I didn't think I'd have time for it. Thought wrong.

Turns out I had time and they had a nice little room with an elliptical, recumbent bike and treadmill. "Oh well." I shrugged it off and headed out to dinner. I had an ale with my lobster pizza and in a moment of weakness took down a couple complimentary cheddar bay biscuits.

As I was walking the block or two back to the hotel I wasn't feeling too positive. I'd sat all day, eaten more food than usual and I was feeling kind of blah. I knew what to do.

I left on my black dress shirt, along with my sexy calf length black socks, threw on my sleeping shorts and hit the workout room. I looked like a class-A, USDA prime DORK! But hey, nobody knows me here ;-)

Another important lesson learned: drink an ale AFTER you workout ;-) "Ok , here we go--15 minutes on each machine, you can do it!" It was hard going. Every 5 minute increment felt like a battle. But I pushed through it and felt MUCH better the rest of the evening. The blah feeling was chased away.

The third lesson learned? Better to workout looking like a dork than be a well dressed blah-feeling sluggard ;-) If I can do this, anyone can do this!

Posts in this series:
The Tres Hombres are at the YMCA gasping for breath Mon-Fri 4-5pm.

If you want to follow us on the Twitters we're
@GraphicsKing209 (Chad McCarter)
@DuBeeDuBeeDoo (Dave Dubois)
@peel_nicole (Nicole Peele)

   Morgan of the Tres Hombres

Monday, March 5, 2012

40 Days in the Word: Science (point 2, wk 1)

click here to view a PDF of point 2, in week 1 of 40 Days in the Word: 
The Bible is Scientifically Accurate

Friday, March 2, 2012

In America We are So...


We are scared of public restrooms and germs even though virtually every soap we use is anti-microbial and a simple hand-washing now is akin to a surgeon's pre-op scrub-up 20 years ago.

We are scared of what's going to happen to our kids while they are away from us at school, or wherever; even though we live in one of the statistically safest communities.

We are scared the next president is always going to take away our guns even though no president has ever done it and it would be instant political suicide.

If it helps, I am tempted to be scared sometimes too. Just last week I watched as Slater drove away from our home alone, legally licensed. Fear crept in, "What if?..."

If it helps, companies spend millions of dollars to scare us into their products. Insurance companies, investment companies and every home cleaning product company, spend 30-60 seconds to remind us of the horrible things in store for us without their product. Cleaning product companies are single-handedly creating a nation of germaphobes.

Just for fun, every time a commercial comes on, see if you can see the fear-motivation of it. It's rampant.

The Problem.
Rational fear is fine. A few weeks ago there was a crazed gunman who shot 4 people in the vicinity of downtown Kokomo. I was scheduled to be downtown for a workout. The shooter had yet to be apprehended. No workout that day. Rational fear.

The problem is irrational fear takes our mind off of things truly worthy of our attention and diverts it to trivialities. Oh, and also gets us worked up. Stress. Blood pressure.

And it robs us of today's blessings. When Slate drove away I had a choice: fret about what could happen. Get tense. Furrow my brow. Breathe seriously.

Or I could celebrate that a great responsible kid with solid driving skills just embarked on a new phase of his life.

Every day that nothing is wrong is a gift! (Even some bad things bring gifts, but that's another blog.) And when we worry about things that could happen, we're spitting on today's blessings. Instead of being wrapped up in smiles and all that is right, we tie ourselves up in fruitless knots. And it's a choice.

The Solution.
Be thankful. Give thanks. Maybe the reason we often say, "Where was God?" when something bad happened is because we hadn't given Him any thanks the other 364 days of the year. If today's got no emergencies, no real problems, dance! Smile! Hug someone! If you're so inclined, thank God!

The difference between living in fear vs. thankfulness is right between our ears. It's a choice. Fear only has the power we give it. The solution to a fearful existence is a thankful spirit.

The next time you're driving, or standing in line somewhere, see how many things you can notice that are going RIGHT in your life. Everyday is full of gifts. We just need to see and appreciate them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go wash my hands after typing on this germ-filled keyboard ;-)


If You Wear TOMS, You're a Y Person

Why the Y? Why should I workout at the YMCA?

It could be because the staff is warm and friendly. It's actually a place where customer service is not an oxymoron.

It could be because a family can workout ad nauseam for $47 a month. (more prices)

But maybe a more profound reason to choose the Y is your membership pays forward to help others in our community. As a non-profit, I bet you didn't know:

  • Because they don't want to turn away anyone, they gave away 412 memberships in 2011 totaling $219,108. Part of your membership makes it possible for people to pursue health that can't otherwise afford it.
  • They waived $58,090 in program fees in '11 so 270 children could participate in YMCA childcare, youth sports and aquatic programs.
  • Bridges Outreach meets four times a week at the Y in its own dedicated space free of charge. This ministry feeds, tutors and mentors at-risk youth in our community.
  • CAM, a downtown resource for homeless people, uses the Y's shower facilities free of charge.
  • Bona Vista staff brings clients to workout free of charge.

I could go on, but you get the picture. It's clear that the YMCA's mission statement is,

"...Put Christian principles into practice through programs 
that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all."

They are living out their mission statement and I am thrilled part of our family membership goes to people in need in our community.

To say it, another way, if you're a TOMS shoe person, you're a Y person.