Captain America, Uncle Bruce and Character Formation…

Have you ever had one of those weeks where several unrelated things have happened and then at some point, as you reflect on them, they coalesce into one thought?

It has been one of those weeks for me… an action movie, the passing of a family member and an offhand thought from a sermon…

The action movie? Captain America: The Winter Soldier. A great flick – it is a super hero action film, an espionage thriller and lots of stuff blows up! An all around good time that leaves you wanting to grab a shield, throw on a cape and go be heroic. (OK, I know that Captain America doesn’t wear a cape… just go with me here…)

The family member? My Uncle Bruce. I come from a fairly small family so Bruce was my only uncle. Even as an adult I still see him through the eyes of my childhood – a big man who smoked a pipe (at least he did back in the day), a military man who served in the Navy as a submariner (how cool is that?), a model railroad enthusiast, a ‘techie’ (before that was even a word) who always had his thumb on the pulse of what was coming in computers, and a guy with a job that took him all over the globe. I would only see him a couple of times a year, so I know that these recollections only scratch the surface of his story.

The offhand thought? In the course of a message out of Esther about stepping into the role of your life, our pastor said something to the effect of “people who step into their role in the big moments of life do so because they have been stepping into it in the small moments all their life.”

How does it all coalesce together? Simply put – the heroics of a movie, the brevity of a life, and the influence of small moments on big moments… For me, personally, I am always pulled to the dream of being a hero. So, if it is true that being heroic in a big way is made likely by being heroic in a lifetime of little ways then I need to get started because life, however long we live, is brief.

What calls you? What lights a fire in your soul? What character do you want to play on the Big Stage? To be kind? Than start being kind today in any and every small way you come across. To be creative? Then start creating in the spaces of your life. To be faithful? Then act on your faith, even when no one will ever see it. To be brave? To be generous? To be a hero? Then today is your day. The opportunities are there and not a one of them is too small.

Why We Need Community – Reason #48

When I was a little kid I was always losing things. I would complain to my mother that I couldn’t find the lost item and she would always respond by asking me “Have you looked under your bed?” I would say yes, stomp around some more and return to the complaining. Finally, she would come upstairs and immediately find said lost item… under the bed.

I swear that woman spent her days stealing my stuff and hiding it under my bed.

Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.

Being Insignificant Takes All My Time

This past week at our Sunday Gathering we started a new sermon series entitles ‘The Role of a Lifetime’ based on the book of Esther. As he was laying the groundwork for the next few weeks Doug (our Senior Pastor) said,

“You don’t have to do something significant in order to be significant to God.”

I will admit that the first thing it made me think of was this old joke…

Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.

Beatles, Bullhorns, and the Messiness of Entering In

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

The last three weeks have been crazy in my world.

Three weeks back I was enjoying all the festivities surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

There were TV specials, radio shows, repeated listenings to my own Beatles albums, watching ‘Hard Day’s Night’ with my son and I quoting the lines back and forth in our best British accents (it’s comforting to know that I am passing something of worth on to the next generation! ;-) ), not to mention playing the songs with my band

Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.

Yours, Mine or… Ours?

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment

This past weekend at our Gathering we started a new segment called ‘Our Story’. The concept is simple:

If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. (1 Cor 12:26, MSG)

Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.

We All Have a Story – Do You Remember Yours?

Everybody has a story. Do you believe that?

Sure, famous people do. Interesting people do. But everybody?

My mom recently told me about the woman who lives across the hall from them – a nice, old lady with an accent. That summed her up until they shared a meal and swapped stories… Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.

One of the Favorite Parts of My Job

How many of your remember Walkmans? Way back before iPods, before MP3 players, before CD’s or digital anything we had cassette tapes.  Somewhere along the way someone at Sony came up with the mind blowing idea of creating a cassette player that you could walk around with.

Walkmans.

Now for those of you who can recall these magical devices, how many of you remember this one?

Sony WalkmanIt was a beautiful yellow plastic and had seals, covers and plugs to make it waterproof. Not sure why, probably couldn’t have taken it swimming… maybe for those times at the beach when you got ocean spray on you? Whatever the reason, I got this for a present (my birthday, I think. Or maybe Christmas…) I took it everywhere with me and listened for hours – sometimes out walking, sometimes laying in my room, riding in cars and buses and (shock America!) even planes. When I was at school and couldn’t listen to it, I thought about which tapes I was going to listen to the moment I got home. I took it with me to college and remember going for walks along the railroad tracks in the autumn and blasting my favorite albums – I would let music fill my ears and color my days. Each moment was a music video and everyone I saw seemed to be in time with the music in my headphones.

But, in time my Walkman broke. I bought cheap-o ones to replace it but it wasn’t the same. Then cassettes gave way to CD’s and the Discmans were glitchy, the CD’s skipped like a record when you moved. I moved on to grown up stereos and the CD players could hold more and more discs and that dreaded ‘shuffle’ function turned albums into background music… little by little, without even noticing it, life became louder than the music.

That may sound like a strange statement coming from a guy who has always played music and has always made his living playing music. But somewhere along the line music became a soundtrack. It became a scrapbook. It became a tool. It became a commodity. It became a job. Or maybe more accurately, I put masks on it. The music never stopped, it just got covered up.

Fast forward to the present – I recently asked a group of people with diverse musical tastes to suggest some new music for my Worship teams to play this year. Having gotten a hefty list of songs from them and knowing there was no way to give these songs a fair listen without actually listening – I left the office and went to my favorite coffee place and hunkered down with a cuppa-joe and my modern day cassette player (my iPhone – certainly NOT waterproof!) and some ear-buds and hit the ‘play’ button…

Today I remembered a yellow waterproof Walkman – today I found music to be louder than life – I was once again filled with sound and vibration and color – the afternoon moved to the beat rather than running over it – and remembering that again is truly one of the favorite parts of my job.

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