Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
AMEN! (Oh boy, oh boy!!)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
You give your guests a feast in your house, and you serve a tasty drink that flows like a river. Psalm 36:8It appears I have managed to generate some interest - in my vast network of readers (tongue firmly planted in cheek) - regarding the details of this new approach to cooking here in the state-of-the-art kitchens at Maul Hall. So I'll indulge you today and offer some highlights.
- The food is awesome
- As of this morning, my beginning of the day weight has dropped from 180.5 (last Thursday) to 176.5
- This is not so much about losing weight as continuing my ongoing "Gourmet Initiative", but with more careful attention to balance than Epicureanism. A return to my ideal weight of 170--172 will possibly be a side benefit
- The plan is to follow the daily regimen for five days each week, understanding the impracticality of expecting a 100% performance
- The book we're using (and I only purchased it because I liked the look of some of the individual recipes) is called "The 3-Hour Diet" by Jorge Cruise. The endorsement from Emeril Lagasse - "Where great food meets great flavor" - is right on
- The idea of "3-Hour" means that we're supposed to eat something every three hours. The meals are pretty-much 400 calories, and the snacks are around 100 calories. That means somewhere around 1500 calories a day. I'm probably eating more like 1800, but that's still (best guess) only 60-75% of my normal intake
- I'm improving the book (and probably increasing some of the calories) by cooking from scratch where possible. For example, instead of frozen pancakes for the ricotta cheese/cottage cheese/peach pancakes, I use my Joy of Cooking pancake recipe. Instead of frozen spinach, I prepare fresh. Instead of canned marinara sauce, there's a great recipe from another cookbook to prepare my own.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Picture - me with my favorite nephew named Jared and my favorite niece named Sarah.
This morning I've been thinking about credibility in writing - and most specifically in the way stories are told via the news media.
Several years ago I made a conscious decision to adopt Philippians 4:8 as my "writing mantra". I write with the intention of "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things..." as an overarching theme.
"But what if the world and the situation you're dealing with really is an honest-to-goodness maelstrom of vile putrescence?" You may ask (And I'm sure you would use words like maelstrom and putrescence).
Well that's a fair question, but we should also consider this. Isn't there a sense in which the life we experience tends to conform to our preconceptions and our general philosophy? Aren't negative expectations and interpretations routinely met simply because that's the kind of energy we bring to the table? Isn't it true to say that our interpretation of events and of people is a form of direct leadership?
Belief is a powerful tool. As is unbelief. When the stories we tell and the stories we listen to become predominantly negative, then we have made conclusions - pre-conclusions - that contribute to the critical mass that makes a dark status quo so hard to move beyond.
Fact is, it's not so much the media that's the message as it is that the personal filter of the story-teller becomes the message. Truth is too often sacrificed in favor of "playing to the audience". Think for a minute about the way Christianity is often slanted. The dark joke is this: If you want your church to make the news you have to hope your pastor gets caught in some indiscretion!
However, for every religious leader caught in embezzlement, adultery, manipulation or child pornography, there are literally hundreds of good men and women building up families and living Christ-directed lives that rock the world for good. But who do we hear about on radio and television, or read about on-line and in the paper?
Fabrication: Then, if there's not enough negative news available, some commentators simply make stuff up! There's a huge controversy raging today over a racially charged "story" that was inaccurate and patently untrue. But the negative spin went viral because of our chronic addiction to bad news and the tendency of people to pass on anything that supports their own prejudices. Truth too readily becomes less important than the advancement of political agenda and our own prejudicial point of view.
But there's a huge cost when we go down this road. The stories we tell and then retell become the fabric of common consciousness. When we don't tell the whole truth then we're really not telling the truth at all.
That's why I have interviewed well over 300 local spiritual leaders and share their witness via the Tampa Tribune. That's why I tell stories about countless people doing good, and quietly living eloquent lives of transformational faith.
I don't do this because I want goodness to be true. I do this because I know that it is. There is so much in this world that is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise.
"Think about these things." I mean it, really... THINK about these things.
In love and in truth - DEREK
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
- The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what he has done. Each day informs the following day; each night announces to the next.They don't speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice. Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
- Less than 10% of Christians have an active, daily, purposeful devotional life where they worship and study and pray intentionally.
- The average American church has less than 35% of "members" in worship on a given Sunday.
- The average American church has less than 20% of its membership involved in regular activities (study, mission, ministry teams, small groups) during the week, between Sundays).
Friday, July 16, 2010
- The idea
- The proposal - and selling the proposal
- Writing the book (this is the best part!)
- Editing and production
- Talking about the book (another best part)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
- Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
It’s not mutually exclusive. There’s this idea that we can’t be spiritual giants, we have to leave that to the professionals. But we can be involved in all these other things and still have a sense of full-time faith. We can be the presence of Christ in this world. Christ said that we were going to continue his work; literally, he wanted us to be his presence. It’s not as if we have to drop out and become monastic; it’s the opposite. Jesus wants to be invited into the everyday world. God wants a permanent seat at the table of our consciousness. We can think of Jesus as a filter through which we can pour the contents of every single day.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Initially that concerned me, because I don’t want to do any writing that doesn’t have the potential to tie in with what’s going on in my life, and yours, on any given day. If I don’t write with a sense of immediacy, then what’s the point?
But then I realized that I had completely crawled inside my book world yesterday. It’s almost like working on a 50-story building: I was two-thirds through and immersed to the point that everything I was thinking and writing was tied in to the Big Picture of the entire project. I simply couldn’t leave for a few minutes to blog (back down on the sidewalk) and then try to climb back up to the 36th floor and pick up where I’d left off.
So today I’m making this short post at the front end of the day, then I’m climbing back into the book and I’m not coming out till it’s done.
Everything today hinges on the final chapter. I’m almost afraid to give anything away but I’ll just say this – it’s the “So What” of the Easter story:
- Jesus died… well so what?
- They say he defeated the grave… well, so what?
- You say/I say/we say everything about our faith hinges on Easter… Well, so what!?... It’s Monday, and it’s the day after Easter. How is my life any different? or do I even want it to be? So What.
All righty then, it looks like I started work in the book – time to change hats for the remainder or the day…
Peace - DEREK
Monday, July 5, 2010
The manuscript is due on my editor's desk July 15. The purpose of these next few days is to put all the pieces together.
It's kind of like a quilt at this point. Imagine a hundred or so elements, all fairly complete, scattered all over a huge work table. My job over the next few days is to sew them all together so they make sense and work as a whole. Then, once that's done, I need to write the introduction and the last chapter. It's a short book, around 40,000 words or 160 pages, but it's very dense in terms of content.
It's a book about Easter, and I'm really enjoying the process. I don't feel pressure so much as opportunity - and responsibility. "What can I say," I'm praying every day, "that will contribute to renewal and spiritual growth for the people - believers and seekers alike - who find their way to its pages?"
My approach is similar to my recent Advent book (In My Heart I Carry A Star, 2008). There's a short chapter for each day of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday and finishing on Easter Sunday. There's a surprise at the end, an extra few pages that serve as an epilogue of sorts, that I pray will "knock people's socks off"!
I'm inviting people to take a journey to Easter, through the time known as "Lent", so we don't arrive at Holy Week unprepared for the enormity of Christ's Passion. It's too common an experience for us to jump in for the excitement and celebration of Palm Sunday, return to life as usual, pay scant attention to Maundy Thursday, listen to a few arguments about "should kids have to go to school today?" on Good Friday and then wake up Easter morning with the vague understanding that we should be wearing something extra nice to church today....
My invitation is to enter the sacred rhythm of deliberate observance. I aim to inspire, to provoke thought, to encourage the spiritual walk, to put life-changing scripture in the every-day, to blur any lines of distinction between the sacred and the secular, and to provide a sure pathway that will lead participants into the most profound, meaningful and challenging Easter celebration they have ever known.
That's what I'm up to this week! I feel enormously blessed to have this opportunity to lead others into the presence of the Master - DEREK
Saturday, July 3, 2010
There is so much I could write about this weekend. The nieces and nephews, the World Cup, "taco night" at Maul Hall, why I enjoy the heck out of mowing and edging, July 4th...
- We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
- If you build an access road far enough into a jungle then one day the jungle is gone...
- If you build enough stuff on a barrier island then it's no longer a barrier island...
- If you build too many houses on beachfront property, then one day you wake up and there's no beach.
- If we insist on making it too easy to build new homes and businesses in Florida, and with scant regard for what makes Florida unique, then one day we're going to find that all we have anymore is businesses and homes... and that Florida has simply gone away.