I Want to Be...  

Posted by Matt

...a pastor someday. I want to use the talent God gave me--which is mainly the spiritual gift of running my mouth--to entertain, read, study, and preach to people.

I want to talk about Jesus and how we fit into Him for a living.

Who knows...maybe God's just crazy enough to tell me to help Him plant a church someday.

I've simply got to confess that, as an English teacher, the most important things I have to share with people don't end up on my test. While The Great Gatsby is important stuff, he stuff I want to talk to people about is ultimately and infinitely more important.

Pray for me...and pray for the people who end up with me in front of them, teaching. I honestly have no idea what God's timetable for this change in my vocation is, but all I know is that it's "not yet."

LoL cats can has a blog now?  

Posted by Matt

Humorous Pictures
more cat

Back to it...  

Posted by Matt

...yargh! Four days since I've last blogged!

Now that I'm back to work for the year--preplanning for teachers began yesterday--I need to get back into a cleaning the house, doing chores, writing type of rhythm.

First, a few links for you to take a look at, though, you can find these blogs on Kenny's site or on my right hand side links list.

Pastor Hacks: for the techno-savvy; I have very little idea of what this guy is talking about most of the time, but when I do understand, he's tremendously ingenuitive and insightful.

Orson Scott Card reviews Batman (which I have not done here, but need to!).

Perry Noble on establishing and leading a church--this is one part of my heart God's been chewing on. No idea how to get there, but I've been praying that my time at Avalon and with my friends and family might prepare and lead me to preparation.

A dramatic reading of a REAL breakup letter by a REAL person.

Finally, what I'm reading now (click image for link):

A Sparse Week...  

Posted by Matt

...but nonetheless, a busy one.

A GREAT band camp week at Ola High--the kids were rocking it and melting face (in the way only band geeks can).

I got to see some faces last night I haven't seen in a long time (sadly). I love hanging out with and talking with the Holmes family. Their daughters--former students of mine--Merril and Rachel are in town and I got to speak with mom and dad, too. Those girls don't know how to sit still, which is awesome. Both are beautiful, talented, friendly, and SMART.

God has been laying a few lessons on my heart this week, amid all the business. A few of those things:

--Jesus wants me to tell people about Him, not just so they can go to Heaven, but so He gets the sovereign praise He deserves. As we struggle to live our lives in a Christ-like way and as our evangelism suffers, God is being robbed of His glory.

--before I ever get to be a pastor or help plant a church or become a great volunteer at a church, I need to be the pastor of my first church--my family. I can't tend to Jesus' flock until I am a good pastor and leader for my own wife and daughter(s).

I'll leave you with a video I ganked from Lisa. I REALLY enjoyed this series (make sure to continue through all 8 or 9 from the YouTube site).

Good Enough...For Me to Poop On!!  

Posted by Matt

I have copied and pasted, in all of its splendor and glory, my recounting of the most heinous infant crap-crime in history. The perpetrator: my daughter, Maggie. The scene: my downstairs bathroom, 7:05 AM, random morning before school.

This is the unedited version, so spelling, grammar, and punctuational consistency may be questionable.

The facts are not questionable.

This is an unembellished version of what happened.


For real.

…as I picked Maggie up to take her out to the truck, I caught a whiff of the worst stomach-churning, acrid-sweet smell I’ve ever smelled. My left hand, placed under her bottom to lift her, apparently squished all the crap up and out of her diaper, over the lip of her pants and onto my hand.

I freak and gag. Maggie laughs and squeals.

I realize that I obviously have to change her, but anywhere I put her down will have crap on it…so, I put her in the downstairs bathtub.

Once she’s there, I see that there is crap up her back now, too. I try to get her shirt and jacket off, but they have crap on them and it streaks up her back and shoulders, making a faux-skunk stripe on her. I place them at the one end of the tub. I gag again and turn toward the toilet in case anything happens.

When I look back, Maggie has done a barrel roll in the tub and now has a thin, smeary belt of doody on her torso and is trying to push into a crawling position. Crap on my hands, I grab her arms, turn her on her back, and try to remover her pants and then diaper. Pants come off quite easily when lubricated with dung. The diaper, however, was another story. The thing practically disintegrates and roughly one pound of grayish-green dooky spills onto her legs (she’s now shrieking and squealing with glee).

I get up to grab some wipes from my office so I can start trying to wipe the worst off of Maggie’s legs, I realize that there are many spooky little baby hand prints all over the inside of the tub. Maggie had decided to do some finger painting and had now given herself a sort of poop-scarf around her neck. I frantically tear off toilet paper and wipe the crap off her hands and neck and chest and come to the realization I should have had the minute I found the poop on her in the first place—she needs to be stripped and bathed.

So, without removing my little tar-baby from the tub, I turn the water on, which is freezing. Maggie gasps, cries, and then commences to pee in this odd little squirty arc, which doesn’t matter much since it can’t get much worse than the layer of pooh covering her legs (I had visions of Ross crying into the phone to Joey, “It’s formed a paste!”).

I slide Maggie up to the high end of the tub, where she decides it’s time to do gymnastics. Her head goes right onto the poopy part of her shirt and now she’s got diarrhea on her ear and matted in her hair. With one hand, I hold her down and try not to let her squirm in the crap more, while I use my other hand to adjust the water temp.

Father and daughter, locked in a deadly game of mud-wrestling and both cursing each other, fight for their lives.

I succeed in getting the water warm and, using the tub like a Poop-N’-Slide, maneuver Maggie under the faucet and steer the clumps of doody down the drain and the smeared feces off her body (down the drain, also). Luckily, this is where Shannon bathes Maggie normally, so the baby wash is handy. I rub her down GOOD with the soap, clear the crap from her hair, give her a good twice over to check for more fecal matter, and then…how do I, dressed in my teacher clothes, which, by the way, have stayed miraculously dooky free through the ordeal, lift a squirmy, slippery little monkey like this without dropping her, and where do I put her while I try to get a clean towel to dry her off?

Maggie gets strapped into her bouncy-chair in my office, naked, wet, cold, and screaming, while Daddy careens up the stairs and retrieves a bath towel. I return, toss the towel over Maggie to let her warm up, go to the bath, try my best to clear the remains of the dookie down the drain. Once most of it is gone (sorry, Shannon, there’s a little more to take care of tonight when we get home), I sigh with semi-relief now that the major portion of the disaster is passed. I wipe hand over my forehead and then scratch my goatee, as I’ve now been sweating profusely, and stand to go wash my hands…my hands…that just…touched…my face.

I stand before myself in the mirror of my downstairs bathroom, my daughter’s crap darkening my brow and beard, sweating, tired, and defeated. If I could survive a bath in steaming acid, I would have taken one right then. I go to wash myself in the sink…Shannon, can you pick up some more hand soap from Target on your way home this evening? We’re out…

Once I’m taken care of (in the kitchen sink, using dish soap), I return to Maggie and dry her off (she’s calmed by now and is now giggling at something—most likely, me).

Well…Maggie and I survived. She’s at day care, happy, safe, warm, and playing with her cousin, McKinley—I promise you, Krystal, Maggie is fecal-free—but she does look like a clown (vertically striped pink, green, brown Old Navy pants and horizontally striped pink and white shirt with a picture of Frosty the Snowman on the chest, black socks). I made it to school—a little late—without having to change my clothes.

I will cleanse the tub when I get home (the crapped-upon clothes are sitting on a box in the garage…I felt like burning them in the sort of ritual that holy-men use to destroy purely evil entities).

I just wanted you to know about my morning and why, Shannon, I bothered you this morning on the phone when you had kids in your room.
Thanks. I want to play some World of Warcraft now…and then sleep…but, it’s time to get back to grading some papers and teaching these high schoolers...and dealing with their crap.

Nothing Ryhmes...  

Posted by Matt

...with Nicaragua, except Managua--and that doesn't count because it's a city in that country.

Nonetheless, please pray for Ross Cooper (and along with him, Garret Donovan and several other folks). His independent ministry, The Outsiders, are in Nicaragua, doing some missions work.

Plenty of things to think about and pray about, including their safety and our hope that God will create new hearts--that the name of Jesus (I'm pronouncing it, "hay-zoos," because they're in Nicaragua) will be on their lips.

Donkey-shins (that's "thank you" in German).

God's Synchronicity...  

Posted by Matt

...can be pretty disturbing.

I'm sure some of you have had those days or even weeks where some sort of image or symbol or theme continues to pop up in your life and you are no longer able to reject its presence as coincidental.

Carl Jung had this whole, convoluted, philosophical boulder of yarn in which he described the workings of and the nature of synchronicity.

Example of synchronicity:
Basically, you wake up in the morning and while showering behind your fish-themed shower curtain, you hear a news story on the radio about a record salmon catch off the coast of Oregon (or wherever the heck salmon are caught). As you leave the house that morning, your spouse suggests you have fish for dinner that night. Your kid calls on the cellphone right before lunch and invites you to lunch at Red Lobster, where he's pleased to announce he's got a new part time job. When you return to the office, you notice your buddy wearing a pink shirt which you give him a lot of crap about (I just accidentally mistyped "carp"). He becomes indignant and claims the color is "salmon." Throughout the day--or even the next several days--unignorable images and references to fish seem to dominate your attention. You start to wonder if God or the Universe is trying to tell you something.

Interesting, mystical, cool concept and one I really enjoy thinking about and discussing.

All that is provided to say:

I've been really interested lately in how Christianity should respond to and operate within and outside of contemporary American culture. After reading Blue Like Jazz, and as I am now working through chapter one of unchristian, I come across this insightful blog post and the article that inspired it.

So terribly true. Our contemporary culture, especially that culture which my generation and younger participate in, is an ever more diverse, hard-to-handle, hard-to-quantify mish-mash of brand/political/musical-genre/religious-sect/media/technology loyalty.

In other words:

non-conformity is totally in.

We, as the church, should be seeking to be relevant in the only way that is universal--that is, God yearns for us and wants us to accept Jesus so that we can be together in this life and the next, relieved of the guilt and debt of sin.

The way we express that is going to have to be diverse, adaptable, and predicated first on truth. Rather than seeking to tap into a particular cultural interest in Coldplay or NiN, Survivor or House, iPods or Zunes, we need to focus first on how to communicate the essential truths that link us humans up to God.

Am I saying we shouldn't try to tap into and communicate through contemporary culture? Uhh...no. I'm saying we should try to do it more effectively. What we've done too often is try to coopt and tame (all too often, five or ten years too late) what secular culture has created. Just walk into any Christian book store--you'll find ganked logo and icon after ganked logo and icon on most of the Christian tee shirts. Very few original Christian concepts for "fashion."

Don't know about you, but I think we've 1 or 2 pretty good logos to work with already. Do we really need to try to convince the World that we Christians are cool and hip with "Sonkist" tees?

Again, read the article. A lot to chew on (and a little hard to swallow for some, I'm sure).

Journey FTW!!  

Posted by Matt

I expect Lisa and Kenny to sing...and not only sing, but to pump their fists.

That Was My Big Toe...  

Posted by Matt

...testing the water.

Thanks first goes to Jesus. Thanks for getting me through my first talk ever and giving me your Word.

Thanks to Kenny and Shannon and Casey for showing up for moral support. You guys are my accountability partners and members of my small group. It was comforting to give that talk in front the very subject matter.

Thanks to my Shannon for giving me the space and time and patience to work on the message and for reading it over my shoulder and being my main accountability partner and for sex and for our kids.

A few thoughts:

--this was fun. I was a bit shellshocked after the talk, but as it all simmers and percolates in the aftermath, I found that I really had fun. All the fun of teaching and entertaining and offering things for people to digest and hopefully to be edified by...it was there.

--all of that fun is increased because I know that it's for the one thing in life that I'm learning is most important. I didn't have to hold back on what I thought Jesus was giving me because it was just band or public school. This was stuff that matters and that Jesus wants us to know and obey.

--of the material I prepared, I covered probably 60%. The 40% that got left out, happily, were not main points or essential concepts. A personal story was one of the main things I missed, which makes me a little sad, because I think it's a funny and terribly relevant story. The ONLY thing that honestly makes me regretful is that the really good, meaty scripture God gave me to prepare for...right out the window. Yes, I hit the passage in John and yes, I did make reference to the passage in James and I paraphrased some other specific passages, but offering the students scripture they can jot down and look at for themselves is an important thing to me...so...

--...not a gripe against what I did, but a mental note of how I'd like to improve: less expository. I can do expository well. I can talk off the top of my head. I think there needs to plenty of expository to provide the Spirit some wiggle room and get in there and mix things up and REALLY get through, past all the scripted junk. BUT...my thoughts and lessons need God's Word as credibility.

--I NEVER teach from notes. I'm used to knowing and being so familiar with my material that I can freely speak with knowledge and confidence and not worry a bit about notes. If I am going to have notes to use (just as a safety net or reference), I need to use simpler notes. I need the scripture in the order of the ideas I'm expressing.

--the rest of the worship team did a really great job of rolling with the punches tonight. Ron and the band sang and played well, covering mistakes and leading worship with no projector or words. I think Corey's testimony had slipped his mind for the week, but he wrangled his....unique...life story in and shared his salvation story. The skit this week was epic. Sure, random as hell, as always...but Brandon's keyboard skills and our rabbit and rabbit hunter's performances were...moving.

--I have a LOT to learn about speaking God's Word and managing a worship service (on the management end, mostly it's "How can I help you do what you do best, Ron/Kyle/Brandon/etc?"). I am, nevertheless, excited about learning it.

--thanks, Kirk, for taking a vacation for some quality time with the wife. I enjoyed and appreciate the opportunity.

One Verse Comes to Mind...  

Posted by Matt

...Luke 5:37-38

Okay, first things first--I'm making you a link for this pic for the sheer shock value of it and so you have time to consider the scriptural impact...kind of...so, first the verse...

...37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins."

...and now the link.

1, 2, Ready, COMMENT!

Jedi Gym  

Posted by Matt

Kneel to the awesomeness of this video, for it is full of win.

Can I Get a Little...  

Posted by Matt


Tomorrow night is my first authentic "talk" at church. Ever.

So odd to be nervous about teaching, when I've never been nervous a single class period of my entire teaching career and not a single moment in my time with the Drum Major Academy (where I've gotten to teach and play with ~200 students). But I am. Nervous. I think in a scary way nervous...and in an excited way nervous.

I suppose I realize that this is the first measurable step I've taken toward doing what I feel like and I hope God is leading me toward. I suppose I realize that this isn't The Great Gatsby, paratactic syntax, conducting music, or how to clean a drill set. I suppose I realize that I'm stepping up to the plate and asking God to speak through me about His Word to others.

There's some scary crap God says will happen to irresponsible and false teachers--I've tried to pray and read and prepare. I don't believe that what I've been given to say is false. I certainly hope what comes out of my mouth is coming from my heart (that's where Jesus lives, despite rumors that He lives in my stomach and likes burritos).

Pray for me for Wednesday night. I'll be speaking to the Uprising youth group at Avalon Church. The subject: Connecting With God...in Relationships." The gist is essentially that God doesn't want us Christians to try to do the "Christian Thing" alone. We are meant to live in community and be responsible to and for each other. I feel like God's offered me lots to chew on and discuss. Here's to good analogies, meaningful, relevant stories, and candid-honest-real expression.

If you see me fussing over whether I'll do a good job or not after this post, smack me on the hand, dear inter-web small group. That means I'm relying on my use of my talents and skills, and that I'm not relying on Jesus.

In the end, I really think that this is what God is, and has been, calling me to do my whole life--talk to, entertain, and teach people. My skill set involves being in front of people and trying to capture their attention with intelligent, fun, and inspiring ideas. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, just as much as I'm nervous about it.


Posted by Matt

Several things, very fast, changing every moment...change you can believe in (though change I refuse to define or explain, so don't rely on it...just believe in it....).

What cool computer apps do you use? Kenny's gotten me onto a few in my life, and one of the new, terribly useful ones is www.netvibes.com. Have a look: it replaces your single site home page and provides a compact, cool looking jumping off page with links and pics and updated info from your bookmarked sites and widgets. So, again, answer me in the comments area: what cool computer sites, web-apps, or software do you use that makes you feel warm and happy?

Yes, Hellboy II did suck. I'm not even linking to the movie site because you might be drawn in by the evil spirits to see this dung. Not going to qualify my statements or defend my opinion. If this offends you and I lose you as a reader, that makes me sad...a little...maybe not...who knows...but I have to be me, and I'm charging myself with being honest with you: don't see Hellyboy II.

Currently reading Snipers: Profiles of the World's Deadliest Killers by some British writing duo, Craig Cabell and Richard Brown. Pretty entertaining--I'm sure "true history buffs"--by which I mean people who would knife your grandmother in her sleep over minor, quibbling minutiae you got wrong--probably have a field day with their reconstructions of legendary sniper tales of guys like Timothy Murphy (Revolutionary War "sniper) and the unknown dude who shot Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Nonetheless, the authors aren't pretentious and they aren't piling on me a gigantic pile of firearm and ammunition details; they talk just enough about that so I have a working knowledge and understanding of why a particular sniper did such a great job.

Their poetic descriptions of headshots are vivid, medically plausible, and mesmerizingly grotesque, especially of a hypothetical moment in WWII when Nazi soldiers are huddled in the cold of Stalingrad and one of their pals is capped by Vassily Zaitsev.

They break down their study of the history and vocation of sniping into three basic elements: the sniper (and his psychology), the weaponry (the rifle, itself), and the tactics (how he gets done what very few others can). While Brown and Cabell clearly value the art of long shots and are appreciative of the talent and craft sniping requires; and while they glorify the killshots a little more than your middle school language arts teacher would like; they repeatedly like to remind the reader that sniping is killing--it's more intimate and troubling than tossing a hand grenade, spraying a building with fully automatic weaponry, or watching a building get leveled through the grainy monitor on your AC-130 a few miles up. When a sniper takes the shot, they have to see the eyes of their target--their human target--up close. They see him blink, his ruddy nose sniffle, his mouth widen in a grin when listening to a comrade, and finally, the pink, misty cloud of blood, brain matter, and skull fragments as the back of his head erupts from the force of the sniper round.

That last bit of imagery is mine, roughly based on some stuff I read in the book. Man...what a great read. I'm about halfway through and then I have to loan it to Kenny.

Tonight is D&D. Heskan, my dragonborn fighter will be pwning nubs. Stay away, unless you want kobold blood all over your pretty, trendy Hollister clothing.

Dude...I totally recommend you download a podcast or two from Perry Noble (Newspring Church, Anderson, SC). Funny, passionate, candid, and southern. His message, "God, Make Us Dangerous" has my brain melting a little.

For those of you who know him, Garret Donovan is NOT, I repeat, is NOT as dumb as he looks. I know, I know...smashingly, knee-weakening looks normally indicate a brainless person...but, much like myself (ahem!), Garret is brilliant. Go read his comment on my review of Blue Like Jazz. Spot on and eloquent.

Please welcome my friend Lisa to the blogosphere. Feel free to drop by and check out her goods...er...check out her good thoughts. Check her out.

Finally, a video I'm sure you all will enjoy. Over and over again. Even when you turn it off, you'll continue to enjoy it. You won't be able to stop enjoying it. No, if you continue to have enjoyment of the video for eight hours after initial enjoyment, it's not healthy. Please see your local emergency room physician as soon as possible.

Book Review: Blue Like Jazz  

Posted by Matt

So, it's a rainy Sunday afternoon and I have to be back to Avalon by five to discuss with Kirk this week's message (my first "authentic" talk at church) for the Uprising. I'm pretty pumped and my brain's been on a high-percolate setting.

So, naturally, I need to blog, which is much better than the mind-stupefying activity that is "grinding-levels-in-World-of-Warcraft."

Kenny and I stopped by Barnes and Noble the other day and he mentioned Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz.

"I heard this is pretty good." As long as the cover hasn't got any pictures of fantasy swords, or if the title doesn't have a reference to "magician," "sorcerer," or "assasin," I take Kenny pretty seriously.

Miller's Blue Like Jazz is the confessional of a writer who was dead in the water. Often, he seems to feel like he's experienced deadness in faith--solitude, if you will. Honestly, who hasn't felt like they were all alone? Like God was at everyone else's party but mine?

Clearly a well-read and writer-educated writer, Miller lays down a heavy Great Gatsby / John Updike - esque foundation at the beginning. I'm not complaining. There is something plaintive, poetic, and lost in the introductory chapter, especially in his description of his dad.

It's subtitled as essentially non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality. As I've been reading and observing and learning, I honestly feel like Christianity is in need of, and indeed, is going through a paradigm shift. Christians, as a corporate entity in America, have not only lost resolution in their vision of who Christ is, but they've failed largely to keep their hearts broken for non-Christians. The new church of the 21st century--pastors and church planters and regular, everyday Christians--need to desperately rejoin with Christ and His broken heart for the lost--this is a book that I've desperately needed to read (and I didn't even know it).

Miller's development as a Christian seems like the passage of a leaf blown in the wind, rather than a geometric, step by step process. He speaks of rough, poor, lost (truly lost--as in, I wandered around the country, living in the forest without any money and ended up in Portland...wandering), and troubled times. This is a man who claims to have very few snazzy, tidy answers. Throughout all of the conversations with people he's had in his life, related to us in the book, he is self-deprecating, open, candid, and unassuming.

His tales of brokenness, loss, wonder, drunkennes, stonedness, redemption, and learning demonstrate a man's untamed life guided by an untame God. This is a Christian's story, surrounded by people motivated not by money or personal glory, not for people interested in building up the name of a particular church or program or mission--the poeple populating Miller's story are dirty, liberal, intelligent, broken, talented, inspiring, conservative, flawed, and, in Miller's eyes, lovable. It is often through the salvation process of someone who seems diametrically opposed to Jesus that Miller is changed most--hello? Perhaps this is where Christians are really supposed to be "fed." Not sitting in the pews of their Sunday morning "service," but sitting on a couch, speaking with someone who is lost and believes they hate or don't need God (this "hello?" is an admonition to myself, by the way!).

I see a guy who in many ways, has yearned to receive the heart of Christ.

Through his largely autobiographical essays and stories, Miller develops his own personal revelation--a revelation that liberal and conservative, Christian and nonChristian can probably identify with: I say a lot about loving people and helping people, but in reality...where the rubber meets the road, I'm essentially useless and non-functioning.

As he develops, walking with Jesus, he shows us the flaws in focusing on culture as the measurement for Faith and Holiness. He shows us that Christianity isn't about what songs are on your mp3 player or how many camps or retreats you've been to. It's something much more challenging: Miller claims that Christianity isn't a meant to be a dialectical argument, menat for consumption by philosophers; it's not a perfect, clean experience; it's not convenient; it's not safe; it's not comfortable.

If I were to have any qualm with the book is that there is very little scripture-based commentary. While I'm confident that Miller reads his Bible and would identify it as the Word of God, much of the book is predicated on emotionality and mystic revelation and very little credit is provided to objective, reason (which, by the way, I believe God likes reason and objectivity and logic--he invented it). Miller doesn't, I believe, try to deny this, either. In fact, he outright claims to be a "mystic." I can't say I disagree. I can't say that, after reading his definition, I'm not a mystic either. How can you not be a mystic if you claim to believe that Jesus defied all that we know and understand about gravity, the molecular surface tension of water, the creation of matter in the universe, and the biological laws of life and death?

Nevertheless, the lover of logic and reason in me would have liked to have seen a bone tossed to scripture. I suppose that's why Miller candidly tells us before reading the book that his thoughts are "non-religious," i.e. not based off of stuff you'd learn at seminary.

This isn't a pleasant Chicken Soup for the Christian [insert sport / job / thing]. This isn't a Step by Step Read the Bible devotional. This probably won't really leave you dreaming of Angels and wanting to take the war to the Devil. In fact, I'm not sure what it will do to you.

In all honesty, what it's done for me is show me that a guy can be terribly flawed, broken, and guilty and come crawling back to Jesus--and it's okay.

As a lover of literature and storytelling, I enjoyed and identified with Miller's blending of personal quest with Christian introspection. While I find that much of Christian inspirational literature errs in providing too many easy and tidy little answers, Blue Like Jazz leaves with you a healthy sense of wonder, curiosity, and a bit of peace. Beyond that, I'm left with my own questions. After reflecting on Miller and God's walk with him, I can't help but reflect on what direction God is blowing this little leaf of mine.

I recommend this, especially those who've lived safe, calm, sheltered lives in the church (like me). There is a hungry, untamed world out there that Jesus loves and desires. Pick up Blue Like Jazz.

Quasi-Intemperate and Ten Thoughts Being Chewed On In My Brain...  

Posted by Matt

There we go. The longest titled post in my blog thus far.

...I've only been quasi-intemperate, lately. I don't believe I've pushed my personal envelope of intemperance in the blogosphere lately.

So, in the name of intemperance, before sharing some random thoughts on Jesus and leadership, I shall tell an intemperate joke or two:

Q: What was Hellen Keller's favorite color?
A: (highlight the invisible text) Courdoroy

A Brit, a Frenchman and a Russian are viewing a painting of Adam and Eve frolicking in the Garden of Eden. "Look at their reserve, their calm," muses the Brit. "They must be British." "Nonsense," the Frenchman disagrees. "They're naked, and so beautiful. Clearly, they are French.""No clothes, no shelter," the Russian points out, "they have only an apple to eat, and they're being told this is paradise. They are Russian."

Hmm...those are pretty tame. Perhaps I should make fun of those people who handle snakes in church or think they really do need to buy a Kirby vaccum cleaner. Maybe later...

Alright...time for a random thought or two:

Non-Christians won't learn that Jesus loves them until Christians love them.

God doesn't reveal information to you until you're ready to act on it.

More than sacrifice, than getting your masters in divinity, than tithing, than going to church, than going on a missions trip to China or Botswana...God wants your love. "But the Bible says obedience is more important than sacrifice!" Yeah...what do you think it looks like when you show your dad love? You obey him...

Never let guilt over not reading your Bible or praying keep you from returning to those things.

Stop looking for the magical moment of mystical, earth-shattering revelation when you read or pray--not that it can't or won't happen, but God would rather be Father, than David Copperfield. He'd love for you to get to know Him through consistent prayer and reading, rather than intermittent shows of magic (i.e. rearranging the letters on a billboard to tell you yes, indeed, I want you to do such and such a thing). Miraculous actions and communication by God often bring Him glory and renown, but they aren't the foundation of the sort of relationship He wants with you.

God won't listen to your prayer if you're unkind and unloving to your wife. What Bible verse is that? It's there...go look for it!

We glorify and share with others what we love most.

If the church is the body of Christ, the world sure hears a lot from His butthole. Can we try to get the helping hands or the kind face better represented to the non-Christians in our lives?

I need to be the church for my wife and daughter(s) before Avalon is. Avalon is where we serve other Christians and non-Christians--but my first church is my family.

God wants me to tell Him what I want and how I feel--not because He doesn't know, but in saying it out loud and sharing it, I move out of the realm of unspoken, vague and cloudy feelings to a real and honest, unlying place where I give things up to God. Basically, if I don't say it and admit it to God, then it's like I'm convincing myself that I can hide it from Him and ignore it. Think of the toddler who thinks that if he covers his face with his hands, then his dad can't see him. Of course Dad can see him!

I'm Allowing...  

Posted by Matt

...comments from non-Blogger subscribers. So, for all you nubs out there who aren't members and are too lazy to set up a crappy fake account, you can now post comments.

I want your comments, g'dangit!

My Christmas Present...  

Posted by Matt

...this year will be a little girl.

Molly Deborah Ford.

I'll never be able to afford a Lamborghini if I have to pay for TWO weddings.

Pray for my wife (a healthy pregnancy--we don't want another bed rest trimester).

Pray for my fetus to stay healthy and crawl out of that ole' womb there safe and sound.

Pray for Maggie that she'll know that her baby sister isn't supposed to be fed crayons, turpentine, and/or belly button lint.

Pray for me that I won't be entirely drowned in the pool of estrogen that will be my house...and that I won't have to destroy a future daughter's boyfriend.

Soooo Much...  

Posted by Matt

...to say.

It's late at night...or...just 11:44 PM and it feels late because I'm still sleep deprived from teaching at DMA for the last five days and I have a moronic combination of beer and coffee in my blood stream at the moment...and I've stared, comatose, at World of Warcraft for two hours without blinking.

Suffice it to say, I've got stuff to say, just not a lot of motivation to get to it at the moment.

I plan to see Hellboy II with Kenny tomorrow; never saw the first one (because it looked uninteresting), but I'm looking forward to this one (because it looks very interesting). The visuals are stunning--here's hoping the story and the and characters are worth something.

I've been listening a lot to Marc Driscoll and watching his youtube posts--the guy pulls no punches and speaks with a.) the kind of authority most pastors wish they had and b.) the kind of authority most pastors aren't ready to receive.

What are your thoughts on Flickr? Kenny and a few others are fans of it. I just don't see a lot of use for it, unless you are a.) stuck at a computer all day and have to keep in touch with people (that neurotically and that often) via mainly the internet b.) wear a lot of wi-fi wearable tech and keep in touch with people via mainly the internet or c.) are nuerotically in need of knowing what someone is doing every few minutes of the day (which describes a few ex-girlfriends, a friend's mom's attitude toward him, and the NSA).

I always have the sneaking suspicion that I don't take full advantage of the cool options on my cell phone, my mp3 player, my email, and Blogger. What cool things can I do that I'm not doing already?

I finally checked Facebook for like, the first freaking time in an assload of ages. Several people from high school found me and asked to be friends. If any of you old friends are reading (now that I shamelessly asked you to come here and read), what the hell are you doing, spending even a nanosecond of your valuable life thinking of Matt Ford, some oddity from high school? Wait...forget I questioned it. I'm flattered. Welcome to my blog and thanks for being a friend again, even if it is only over the interweb.

Finally...Jesus has been chewing on my brain a lot lately--and my heart. Thins are looking pretty confusing and scary, especially if I'm looking in the direction He wants me to look. Confusion can be pretty healthy, since it leads to curiosity, searching, praying, faith, and revelation. As always, pray for me. Pretty vague prayer request for those of you who aren't intimately acquainted with me in real life, but just a quick PPC (prayer post card) to God would be helpful.

Thanks, doodz.


I'm just a suburban guy. I wish I were hardcore, I wish I were tougher, I wish I listened to cooler music, I wish I weren't a lush, I wish I had big muscles, cooler hair, and some rad tattoos, I wish I were smarter, cooler, and sexier, I wish I knew how to play guitar. Instead, I'm just a band geek, power-nerd wannabe, WoW gamer, 30 year-old dad and husband. I play french horn, I read the Vampire Chronicles as well as the Chronic-WHAT?!-les of Narnia, I like movies, but not all the snobby-artsy ones I'm "supposed" to see, and a good meal to me is Miller Lite with chicken patties topped in barbecue sauce. ...oh...and I have a big mouth.


My Inter-Web Small Group

I'm totally pumped you stopped by. Please, I urge you to comment on the blog postings here. Obviously, do what you can to be polite to your fellow inter-webbers, but also feel free to be as honest as you can.

Honestly--this is a true statement--I pray for you, my friends/readers. Whether I know your name or not, whether I know you actually read today or not, I talk to Jesus for you.

Subscribe to the "Intemperate RSS" so you can find out what we're talking about here, computer or not.

I'm sharing with you stuff that God's put on my heart and stuff that I know my mom and dad are probably embarrassed to see me write (trust me, they trained me to be farrrrrr better than this!).