Cool story

Posted by Max02 | | Posted On Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 9:42 AM
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So there's this new family coming to my church. They might've been coming for a while, I just might not have noticed? Anyway, the whole family is pretty cool. The dad, RW2, is a general contractor and owns his own business, I don't know if the mom works, and the kid, RW3, is in high school.

Long story shorter, I invited the kid to join the student band after I found out he could play the guitar. Since I play guitar, I told him I could help him out learning the songs. We met a couple of times and he played in the band.

Yesterday, RW2 was going to shoot a video for the church this weekend. I went along with the house techie to help out. He greeted me and told me how thankful he was for the positive influence I was making in RW3's life. I was kind of like, "Ok, thanks." I mean, I could of said it was a privilege and all, because it is. I used to be in the high school ministry and I loved it. But at that moment, I was kind of surprised. I couldn't think of a decent enough reply except for to nod and smile.

We got on the roof, shot the video, and were kind of looking around and stuff, and then RW2 told us this story. It was about his grandpa. He said that his grandpa grew up with parents who didn't go to church. They were normal people with normal problems. When the grandpa was 13, he and some friends decided it would be fun to break into a local warehouse. Unfortunately for them, the town gossip lived close by, heard/saw them breaking in and called the owner of the warehouse. The owner and his 19 yearold son (Sonny-this isn't his name) went over and snuck into the building. They could hear the kids roaming around, spray painting, and having fun playing hide and seek. The owner and son split up and went looking for kids. The grandpa, unaware that other people were now there, ran around a corner right into the owner's son. The son grabbed him and didn't let go. The kid screamed and flailed, but couldn't get out. His screams alerted his friends and he was the only one who was caught. The owner took the kid home and told his parents that they could press charges, send him to jail, charge him for damages, etc. , but, if they agreed, he could work off the damages at the warehouse every day after school.

When the grandpa met Sonny at the warehouse the first day, Sonny told him led him down to the basement. Halfway down the steps Sonny stopped and sat on the side wall. The grandpa sat on the other side and watched as Sonny took out a plank of wood, some fish hooks, thread, and bagan to make flies (for fly fishing). The grandpa was, understandably, perplexed. He thought that he was going to be working, not watching as this young man tied flies. Every day Sonny taught him about flies. Eventually, the grandpa would begin to tie flies while Sonny read scripture to him.

RW2 told me that his grandpa became a Christian because of what Sonny did. Because of that, RW2's dad was a Christian, and so on and so forth all the way down to now (4 generations). He said he told me that story because he wanted me to know how much one person's influence can be.

Yet again, I didn't know what to say. I can only hope that I've made those kinds of connections, that kind of impact with the people I've come into close contact with in the past few years of ministry.

If it was the last time...

Posted by Max02 | | Posted On Friday, November 21, 2008 at 9:39 AM
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I was reading Worship Leader Magazine yesterday and came across an article by Gordon MacDonald. It was really good.

In the article he talked about how one conversation transformed how he viewed the Church, what people from their 20's, 30's, to over 70's feel, think, fear, and hope and how, as worship leaders/pastors we have the opportunity to lead them and speak into their hearts. It was all very insightful and eye opening.

But the last thing he spoke of impacted me the most. He told the story of the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

"Bonhoeffer taught at Union Seminary in New York in the mid-1930s when Hitler came to power, and when things began to boil in Europe, Bonhoeffer made a very deliberate, strategic decision to return to Germany and resume his pastoral responsibilities in the German church."

This man returned home to a war zone. Although he was German and had no fear of imprisonment due to his race, his life was still in danger. He knew and understood God's view about the war. His American friends begged him not to return. They knew the message he was going to take to his people. Three years later the SS arrested him under the accusation that he was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler. A few days before he died, his fellow prisoners asked him to lead them in worship. After some reluctance, he agreed to. He led some hymns, read from the Bible, and gave a message of hope from Isaiah.


That's beyond me. I can't even come up with the right words to describe the kind of impact that makes in my heart.

MacDonald left the readers with these questions:

"...if you knew you and the people you were going to lead in worship were going to die within days, what songs would you sing? What presentation would you make? What tone of voice would you use to speak into their hearts and minds? What would be the content of your prayers? And if you were invited to preach from the Bible, what text would you select? How would you nail it home into their souls? And what kind of benediction would you offer to people that on this side of time and space you would never see again?"

Wow, again.

Seriously, tears came to my eyes when I thought about this man leading worship for a group of people who were all facing imminent death. And then to think about what I would do if I was in the same situation. Crazy.

Honestly, I don't know if I could hack it. I've led some pretty intense worship times. Intense in the fact that I could feel the presence of God in the room so close I could reach out and touch Him. In those times I've had to stop singing because the tears and emotions just wouldn't let me continue. I imagine that, if I were to lead worship for a group of people days away from their deaths, that it would be like one of those times. The fact that we're all days, hours and minutes away from meeting our Maker face to face would be so profound, how could we help but to be completely abandoned in worship?

It's hard to think of the songs I'd sing, of the words I'd say, of the scripture I'd read.

I'd sing Home, by Hillsong United. "Into Your courts I run with praises flowing from my heart...Home is Heaven, one day, Lord I will live in Your courts, You'll find me in worship at feet. Hide me now, in the shadow of Your wings, where I will be home." My church first did that song after one of my students from the High School ministry died in a car wreck.

No Sweeter Name, by Gateway Worship. "You are the life to my heart and my soul. You are the light to the darkness around me. You are the hope to the hopeless and broken. You are the only truth and the way."

You Never Let Go, by Matt and Beth Redman. "Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Your perfect love is casting out fear. Even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life. I won't turn back I know You are near."

I don't know if I'd make it through the songs instrumentally, much less vocally. I don't know. But I would definitely thank God for the life He entrusted me with, hoping that I made an impact on someone, somewhere. That my life would leave a legacy of love and kindness. That the wrongs I made were made right and perfected by God. That I didn't waste the time He'd given me. I imagine I'd be a little excited also. Nothing morbid. I just think I'd know that, when I closed my eyes for the last time, the next thing I'd be seeing is Jesus' face. I'd finally meet my Savior and God face to face. That's exciting no matter what way you go.

My message wouldn't be one of fear, despairation and hopelesness. I'd want it to be filled with love, strength, and hope. Filled with the knowledge that God loves us and is calling us home.

How would you answer those questions?

Twilight the Movie

Posted by Max02 | | Posted On Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 2:03 PM
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Twilight is upon us!!!

Ok, so some of you aren't as excited as I am about the movie Twilight adapted from the vampire series by Stephanie Meyers. Too bad.

I love it.

My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, started reading Twilight earlier this year. I love fantasy books. Give me the Force, vampires, werewolves, magic, sci-fi, horror, drama, dragons, Tolkien-esque material and I'll eat it up. So, when Leslie, my then-girlfriend-wife said she couldn't stop reading and laughing because the characters reminded her so much of us, I was, of course, interested in getting my hands on it.

The book is great. I started reading and immediately thought to myself, "So is this what goes on in her head when...???" It was as if Stephanie Meyers studied our relationship and wrote it down on paper. Bella, the heroine, was shy but strong, insightful, clumsy, and caring; much like my wife. Edward, the hero, was intelligent, good looking, could read people's minds, and immortal. Okay, so I'm not a whole lot like Edward in that sense of the description, but I have been known to finish people's sentences before they do. It's fun.

As Edward and Bella meet and fall in love, Leslie and I couldn't help but see the common aspects of their relationship and ours. Questions Bella would ask, feelings she would experience, were all mirrored in Leslie. And vice-versa for Edward and I. I'm sure a lot of it can be chalked up to the fact that people will go through similar feelings, emotions, etc. when falling in love.

It was definitely a learning experience for me. It was like I had a direct line into Leslie's mind and heart.

I learned that clumsy people are born clumsy. You cannot learn to be clumsy. You cannot train to be clumsy. It is a talent that is bestowed upon you from birth. I learned that women operate on an entirely different wavelength than men (okay, so I knew that before, but it was a fresh reminder).

I love reading, it's one of my most favorite things to do. Reading a story that not only seemed like my life at the time, but had viampires, special powers, AND werewolves in it made these books that much cooler to me.

Have you read the Twilight Series yet?

(I didn't ruin anything, I promise)

The blog that almost wasn't

Posted by Max02 | | Posted On Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 11:01 AM
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Ok, so as I was reading over all the people's blogs I've followed, I came to the conclusion that I needed to finally post an actual blog of my own.

Naturally, I began to think of something(s) I could talk about. I didn't know if I wanted to post something deep and serious or light and funny, or weird and strange, or something in between. This is what I came up with.

How this blog almost wasn't:

I decided that I would blog after I walked over to the church building for my guitar and some CD's. (FYI: I work for my church as an intern worship leader). So I left the office, walked across the street, got my guitar and was about to leave the building when I went to turn the light off. Thanks to my absentmindedness or the fact that I try to rush through things, I tried to flip the light switch off without looking at it. This resulted in a few failed attempts. I didn't actually get the light off until I looked back at the switch to find out where it was, a good two inched from my blind, groping fingers. This got me thinking, I need to keep my eyes on the prize, so to speak. It reminded me of the many, many times I've attempted something, spiritual or otherwise, and halfway through the project I'm looking at something else, getting distracted, or losing focus. As I was thinking of a few instances to relate to you, the world at large, the thought occurred to me, you don't know anything about me, really.

I then began thinking of the possible, allowable things I would want to tell you about me: how I work at the church, I'm 24, live in Brownsville, TX, I'm recently married, my wife is awesome and feeds me wonderfully awesome food. All good things you might not have wanted to know, but would have read anyways.

This train of thought led me to wonder, how many times do I actually tell my wife she's wonderful and amazing? I have this problem: compliments don't come easily to me. I blame my father, in part; he has the same problem. Because of this, I make it a point to have something nice to say (I of course always want to mean it, sometimes I don't, is that bad?).

Anyways, so as I thought of this new idea for a post, it hit me, we're so A.D.D. I've never considered myself truly A.D.D. Sure I get distracted sometimes and can't focus, but I'm still able to function regularly. This thought then made me wonder how many people around the world, specifically Americans with our media saturated lives, struggle with semi-A.D.D.

We're all so used to camera angles that only last 30 second, music that ends in 3 minutes, and hundreds of radio stations, TV channels, and the web to keep our attentions. It was a pretty exhausting thought process.

Images flashed through my mind with all these thoughts; my guitar, the light switch, my life, my wife, my bible was in there somewhere, food my wife has made recently, clips of Heroes, Eli Stone, Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty, you get the picture.

So I sat back down on my computer and decided that, instead of posting about one of these topics in any depth, I'd settle for giving you a glimpse of how my mind works sometimes. Hope you had fun.

Do you ever have thoughts like that? How does your brain function?


Posted by Max02 | | Posted On Friday, November 7, 2008 at 12:14 PM
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This is my first blog on here.

I actually only got it so I could subscribe to other people's hilarious blogs I've found on here.

I hope that's a good enough reason to have something like this. I'd hate to be kicked out of the "blogger" community because I didn't aspire to write actual stuff on here from the very beginning...