When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be Famous…

I am a country music lover.  I am also a Zac Brown Band lover.  Ever since my parents managed to score some free tickets to their concert at Arrowhead stadium a few years ago, they converted to country music lovers as well.  In the past, when driving in the car with my dad, the classical music station was the only station played.  However, since that night at Arrowhead, I have permission now to play country. And when the familiar tunes of “Chicken Fried” or “Colder Weather” comes over the radio, my dad will now turn to me and say, “Hey, that’s my friend, Zac Brown.” I knew the band had to be incredible live if they could convert my traditional father into a true fan.

For the two years after my parents raved about the concert, I sought out opportunities to see Zac Brown Band live. I knew they were great, but I wanted to experience their greatness.  So, you can understand my excitement when I heard they were coming to Red Rocks Amphitheater – no doubt, one of the most amazing concert venues in the world.  The venue is probably on every musician’s bucket list.  Past performances there include everyone from The Beatles to John Mayer to The Grateful Dead.

I bought my ticket and anxiously awaited the show. Of course, the concert beyond exceeded my expectations.  Not even the rainy weather that night put a damper on my happiness.

Red Rocks 2

The next day when discussing the concert at lunch, a co-worker was telling me that Red Rocks has underground passages and tunnels.  He informed me that there is a room under the seating area that is accessible from backstage.  Apparently, that room has the names and signatures of everyone who has ever played at Red Rocks.  Sitting there, I started thinking, “Dang. It would be so cool to go in there – to see all the names and to be in that space where hundreds of famous people have walked.” I was imagining being able to stand in a place where some of the most notable music giants have left their mark.  What an experience!

The next morning in my quiet time, I stumbled upon this verse:

“Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” – Luke 10:20

I let the words sink in, and I thought about what that meant.  I reflected on my desire to experience the Red Rocks “secret room” just the day before.  And then it hit me: as cheesy as it sounds, in heaven, I’m considered a rock star.  It is there that my name is written, not on the walls, but in the Book of Life.  My name is written on a page next to the names of my brothers and sisters that God loves and cherishes.  It reminded me that He is our fan and that He is for us.

In essence, we all have this desire to be significant. I often find myself seeking after the love and approval of this world.  I get caught up in making a name for myself — trying to make my own name significant.  However, just like my achievements here on earth, the names at Red Rocks will fade.  Being honest, that room has nothing but a bunch of scribbles that may last all of 200 more years. Through His death and resurrection, Christ offers us the opportunity of eternal significance.  The Gospel reminds me that my name will never fade from the Book of Life — and for that, I have far more to boast about then some of those names written at Red Rocks.

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” –Matthew 5:11-12.

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Posted in Gospel

The Mundane Moments

“If God doesn’t rule your mundane then He doesn’t rule your life, because the mundane is where we live” – Paul Tripp

“I can’t wait to get this off my chest. Just wait until my roommates hear about this!”

I thought as I slammed my car door. I was anxious to get inside and tell my roommates about my frustrating coffee date with a friend. Surely they would relate with my frustration and offer some support.

“It was just kind of annoying, because she’s already processed through this decision a million times. Yet she still felt the need to talk through it all again with me. I didn’t see the point of us even getting together! So I kept my advice short for her sake to help push her towards a decision”, I told my roommates as I started chopping some veggies for a salad.

Here it comes, I thought. This is where my roommates will agree with me that I have a right to be irritated. Surely they would be annoyed too if they were in my shoes! Besides, my roommates knew that I loved this particular friend. Apart from this passing moment, I am overall a really great friend! Who could blame me for some irritation and ‘vent time’?

What I received in return was not friendly validation for my own comfort. No, what I received in return was an opportunity to let God rule over the mundane moments in my life. To rule over the 10,000 little moments that make up my relationships. My roommates suddenly became God’s tool to mold my heart and to put me in the position to experience his sweet grace.

In a tender tone one of my roommates spoke up, “Maybe she’s feeling insecure about this decision and so that’s why she’s feeling the need to talk through it again. It seems like she really wants to do the right thing. When you feel unsure about a decision you talk with us about it multiple times. Don’t we all have those moments where we are hard to handle? Aren’t you hard to handle sometimes too?”

Heat dripped over my face. So many emotions were hitting me at once I couldn’t decipher one from the other. I felt my defenses rising. I looked back at my cutting board to hide my face and resumed chopping.

“Well yeah I see what you are saying, but my circumstances were different…”, I trailed off.

I felt a wave of embarrassment slap me, hard.

I knew my roommate was right. I came face to face with ugliness in my heart that I too often deceive myself into thinking isn’t there. I knew I had a decision to make in that moment. I could either keep my defenses up or I could let down my image and allow my roommates to see the real me. “How could I fail to give her grace when I do the same thing?”, I said, as tears began to fall.

My roommate, sensitive to the conviction and the guilt that was washing over me, moved towards me and said, “Hey, this is why we need the gospel. You and me, Cru staff after all! We’re not perfect. This is why Jesus died on the cross. He died for this moment right now.”

While it was so painful to have my “I’m not that bad” image crash to the ground, I was so thankful that God used my roommate to forbid me to pass over my irritation like it was nothing. This moment challenged me to look at the significant depth of brokenness beneath it. Amidst it all, God was there waiting, just waiting for me to respond to His convicting prick and let down my defenses so He could jump in with His transforming grace and lavish it all over me.

I was reminded of this pivotal gospel moment a couple weeks ago while listening to Paul Tripp speak on relationships. He opened one of his sessions saying, “If God doesn’t rule your mundane He doesn’t rule your life, because the mundane is where we live”. He went on to explain how our relationships are made up of 10,000 ordinary little moments (Which, honestly reminded me of that song from Rent, “Seasons of Love”, anyone else know what I am talking about?). We often quickly pass over some of those moments thinking, “That was just a little slip up, but this person knows I love them so it doesn’t matter”. God wants to rule over these mundane moments of our lives and use them to shape and refine us.

Hebrews 3:12-15 says, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’”

We are so blind, aren’t we? We desperately need help to see our sin. Without my roommates that day I would have gone on living unaware of my sin and thinking, “hey I’m really not that bad, everybody gets irritated sometimes!” Paul Tripp described the type of community we need to tell us about our sin as an “Intentionally intrusive, Christ centered, grace driven, redemptive, community”.

He left us with the three things he prays each day.

1) God I am a man in desperate need of your help today.

2) I pray in your grace you would send helpers my way.

3) And Lord please give me the humility to receive the help when it comes my way.

Before I go I just wanted to give you all an update on the count down, 275 days left! 275 days until what you might ask? DCC 2013! Think about how many mundane moments you are going to live until then. Let God rule over your mundane moments and pray that He will send you helpers and that He will give you the humility to receive that help when it comes.

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Spice Up Your Spring Break Road Trip

ZZZZzzzzzzzzz… This doesn’t have to be the sound that fills your car during your road trip. Maybe this happened during your DCC road trip as finals were over and you reached that after Christmas ham and potato coma. However, as you were snoring away you missed some great liver exercise. Remember that scene in Brother Bear when the two moose are playing I spy?

You will never know how many trees you missed while you were sleeping! So Rutt and Tuke aren’t the most creative game makers, but you could be! Here are some ideas of games to make your Spring Break road trips more enjoyable:

Alphabet game: For this one you use road signs. Look for a sign that has an “A” like an Exit for “Arapahoe Ave.”  The letter can be anywhere in the word on the sign. I.E. the “X” in Exit would work. The first player to Z wins.

20 Questions: One player thinks of a word and after the first question, “Animal, Vegetable, mineral?” the other players take turns asking “Yes” or “No” questions to figure out what it is. The player who guesses it right gets to choose the next word.

License Plates:  There are a lot of ways you can play with license plates. One way is to try to find the farthest out of state plate from the state you are in. For example if you are in Colorado and one player sees a Nebraska plate, but another sees a New York plate then New York would win. Another way is to use the letters on license plates to come up with a phrase. I.E. BCJ could be “Bringing Christmas Joy” or “Blue Cherry Jug.”

Name That Tune: One person thinks of a song and hums or whistles the tune, then the rest of the players get to guess what song it is. The person who gets it right gets to hum the next tune.

Team Story Telling: One person starts with a sentence such as “The blind hat maker woke up one day with a toothache.” Then the next person continues the story with a sentence like “His toothache caused him to create some very strange hats.” The crazier the story gets the better.

Fortunately-Unfortunately: In this game a person comes up with an unfortunate event and then the next person counters it with a fortunate event. For example: “Unfortunately a bolder is going to crush our car” could be followed by “Fortunately I have Superman’s number on speed dial.”

Who Am I?: Think of someone everyone knows such as a teacher, actor, singer, or friend then give clues about that person without saying their name.  Everyone can ask you “Yes,” “No” questions and the person who guesses right gets to go next.

If you didn’t sleep during your DCC road trip, what games did you play? Even if you did, what other games could add some flavor to your Spring Break trip?

 

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A Cru Staff Man’s Take On The Bachelor

As I type this it’s March 11th. This means one thing and one thing only.

MARCH MADNESS!?!?!?

Well…almost…

SEAN WILL PICK HIS MATE TODAY!

“What does this mean for us?” you may ask? Well nothing really other than the fact that America won’t know what to do with their Monday nights for a while until Monday Night Football starts (same demographic right?).

But for heaven’s sake people love this show. We text throughout the week about what Sean said in the newest US Weekly. We post on Facebook about what he put on Twitter. We tweet about what he put on Facebook, and we tell our friends about what we heard on which blog. We say things such as, “Can you believe she wore that dress?” or “Dang girl, you wearin’ too much makeup” or “that Chris Harrison sure is a sweetie to set all this stuff up for these girls” or “wouldn’t it be awful to be the driver that has to take the ‘unchosen’ to the airport every week”?

But why do we love this so much? It’s “reality” tv!

Oh the irony. We love to tell ourselves that this is REAL right? It just makes sense for a man to take 15 girls to the Canadian Rockies to polar plunge in a freezing lake as a “group date”. Has anyone in their life EVER been on a group date before? And if so, did it turn out to be something like THIS? A 15:1 girl/guy ratio? But we just say, “it’s reality TV”.

According to “The Bachelor”, Sean has a wonderful house. He respects the ladies (that’s arguable in my book). He’s good looking (obviduh). (Can we get some more shots of him getting dressed in his HUGE walkin closet?)(Can we get some more shots of him coming out of the pool in slow-mo?) He has a great job. He has a great family. He’s perfect. Oh and also, he’s perfect. How does ABC find a perfect guy every year to be on this show? Unbelievable!

It’s pretty easy to criticize from a distance. Why is it easy to criticize? BECAUSE ITS ABSOLUTELY THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING I’VE EVER SEEN. The show fits the niche though right? It’s not Hollywood. We aren’t watching a scripted play or movie where we KNOW that the ending will be “happily ever after”. No, we ARE watching a show where girls WILL fall down the steps for no apparent reason. We ARE watching a show containing a man who will pick you up blindfolded to display his unwavering trust during your free counseling session ***SPOILER ALERT – Geez that backfired didn’t it?*****. We ARE watching a show where you will hear these words screamed aloud “I can’t help it! That’s my face!”…You just can’t write this stuff.

Because it’s a show that we enjoy, we choose to switch our moral compass to another cardinal direction. Things that were once black and white suddenly become a bit more gray for the sake of entertainment. If you find a guy LEGITIMATELY dating just TWO girls…telling them that they are SO important to him….telling them that he thinks they are SO incredible…telling them that it’s fun to dream about having a family with them…telling them that it’s fun to dream about being married with them and start a life with them then you would think that that person is one of biggest manipulative low lifes living on earth. But let’s up it shall we? Let’s add MORE girls to the plate and play some tongue wars with every one of them…repeatedly.

Not to mention that he honestly asked for a blessing to marry these women from each of their parents. FOUR DIFFERENT PARENTS FOR FOUR DIFFERENT DAUGHTERS. HECK NO– I would not give you my blessing. You are going from town to town with 3 other girls asking for blessings. You’re creating a freaking blessing factory! You have to be out of your mind. You wouldn’t get my blessing to marry my daughter unless you knew what you were going to do with it. “Yes sir…I don’t know if I want to marry your daughter. I don’t know if I love her. I don’t know if she is the one for me (she thinks so), but I’m just not sure. BUT JUST IN CASE, would it be ok with you if I marry your daughter? You know, if I’m ok with it later?”

THIS IS NOT REALITY. The rose has turned into our generations glass slipper. But is there the “happily ever after” at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know…ask Emily from last season. I’m shocked at how many people come onto the show who “believe in the system”. Give me a break. How many seasons do we need to understand that the system is broken?! Hopefully the system gets fixed before I have children that is old enough to watch TV.

But goodness the show can be fun. As a guy you may think that this would be the typical “review” but in all honesty…I like the show. Maybe not because of its heartfelt love boat mission, but because of the ludicrousness of it. And that’s ok. Everyone can like it for their own reasons (i.e. fancy shoes, exotic travel, cute outfits, Chris Harrison). I wouldn’t go as far to say that the root of the show is inherently evil because really the message is we all want love. We want to be loved and to love another. And that is wonderful.

Are there better ways to go about? You probably have better odds of finding your mate at a 7-Eleven but…well, there are better ways. Sean…cheers to your happiness and thanks for letting us watch.

On a final note, let’s hope Sean’s proposal goes a lot better than this one did:

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Posted in Culture