PASTOR, PACKER FAN

Ode to Chick-Fil-a

A poem by David Ciske

How dare you, o Chick-Fil-a

You took a stand

And now you shall pay.

Though in America,

Land of the free and home of the brave,

You are to keep quiet,

Take your thoughts to the grave!

 

So some will boycott

And stand against,

While others will balance

On their white picket fence.

Still some will not care

Not saying a word

While a group will rise up,

Chirping, like a bird.

 

From the Word of the Lord

They will show their support,

Pointing to Psalm eighteen

Verse twenty through twenty-four.

 

So do not fear

And do not sway,

Oh sandwich maker of chicken breast filet.

The Lord God Almighty

Will reward you some great day!

 

PACKER FAN

I’ve been away from the blog for almost three weeks…you’d think I have a ton to say, but I’ve got other outlets for release so I won’t make you read half a novel in this blog post.

What a week this is turning out/going to be!  First, I painted our kitchen and my office.  Second, the Packers start training camp this week, technically Thursday (physicals and what not today).  Third, the Olympics start Friday.  All of these things have one thing in common-preparation or prep time.

Painting the kitchen and the office took quite a bit of prep time.  In the kitchen, there was a layer of wallpaper and then two wallpaper borders over that at the top…not cool.  At the office, I have a wall of wall board with four layers of wallpaper.  Because it’s wall board, scoring and spraying glue remover was out of the question.  Lots of scraping, elbow grease and sweat on that wall.  Couldn’t get it all off, so now I have what I call a “textured wall”.

Packers training camp is prep time and I’m telling you what, there’s not a single U.S. Olympian competing over the course of the next couple of weeks that did not put in a ton of prep time.  There was a Snickers commercial a few years ago…shoot, it might have been 15 years ago…with a soccer player kicking around a soccer ball talking about all he had to do for practice.  He ends the commercial with the line, “I hate practicing, but I love to win”.

The interesting thing about prep time, though, is that results vary.  Not every U.S. Olympian is going to medal.  The Packers aren’t the only team heading to training camp this week and only one of 32 teams will win the Super Bowl (that one will, of course, be the Packers).  You should see my “textured wall”.  Prep time doesn’t guarantee perfection or even winning results, but it does help a team, athlete or painted wall look formidable/presentable. 

We can all fool each other for an hour or two and make it look like we “have it together”.  That was a common message preached in church on Sunday mornings when I was a kid.  How many families were like mine frantically getting ready, looking for shoes, yelling at each other to get out of the bathroom or out of bed or into the car or whatever?  Then we get to church, and everything was “perfect”.  No problems at all…our clothes, smile and hair looked nice and we treated each other like angels.  I’ve come to learn that many people do this…not just church going folks.  Married couples going out to dinner with each other, moms at play groups, guys heading to the golf course…they all seem to “have it together” for the time that they are hanging out and some do, while the others are completely “messed up”.  Maybe the couples argue all the time, maybe a mom constantly berates their kid, or maybe one of the guys struggles with alcoholism.

I guarantee you, though, the difference between those who actually “have it together” and those who don’t is prep time.  Those who “have it together” in public are working on their marriages throughout the week.  Whether it’s having a date night alone, calling each other during the work day or just talking to each other every day (you might be surprised at how many married couples don’t do that).  Those who “have it together” in public are working on their relationship with their kids through out the week.  Playing with them and giving fair and productive discipline at the right time. Those who “have it together” in public practice self-control and don’t let occasional pleasures become horrid addictions.  I can go on and on with examples, but I think you get it.

Do you want to actually “have it together” instead of just playing the part around your friends?  Take a lesson from a professional sports team, Olympians and a painted wall…put in the prep time during the week when no one else is around.

PASTOR

Ever since I’ve been in ministry, I’ve been inundated with various marketing.  You’re sanctuary should look like this.  Your youth ministry should do this study.  Your children’s ministry should sing these songs.  You need to come this conference because you’re probably lacking (fill in the blank) skill.  It comes in all forms: e-mails, phone calls, junk mail, and my all-time favorite, they actually send the product with an invoice that states, “Preview this and if you do not like it, just send it back.  If we do not receive it in 2 weeks we’ll send you a bill.”  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve forgotten to send those things back until I got the bill.

I’d be a liar if I said marketing is of the devil and should be banned.  I’m in the marketing “business”.  Our church has a website and ads in the local paper and Christian radio station, and chances are at some point in the next few months, maybe weeks, we’ll send out a flyer for some event.  I want people to come to my church and discover God just like the above mentioned companies want me to buy their products or attend their events.  The most training I’ve really had in marketing was in a class in high school.  Most advertising I’ve received in my life have followed most of the basic concepts I learned in that one class.  Make sure you reach your target audience; make the pictures look nice and modern; make the wording easy to read and understand; use bright colors that attract people; limit your use of negative words and phrases, etc.

While I was reading the Bible the other day, I thought to myself, “Christ would have failed Marketing 101.”  When we choose to follow Christ, there is freedom, there is hope, there is joy, there’s a crown, there’s heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem (talk to your pastor to learn more about these things).  But, seriously, look at some of these phrases Christ uses when describing what we need to do or what will happen if we follow Christ:

“Everyone will hate you because of me” (Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17)

“You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death” (Matthew 24:9)

Christ’s response to a guy who wanted to bury his father before following Christ, “Let the dead bury their own dead” and then to a person who wanted to say good-bye to his family first, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-62)

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26)

After challenging a rich person to sell all they had to follow him and that rich person refusing to do it, Christ says, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!  Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:18-25)

This doesn’t even include all the things he said to the religious zealots of the day.  Seriously, this is anti-Marketing 101!  This would be similar to a company putting out complaints against them with the testimonials in an advertisement.  Yet Christ had many followers.  What was the secret to Christ’s success?  It’s not a secret…it’s the truth.  He told the truth.

People love the truth.  For me, personally, I would love it if companies came out and showed me everything about the product before I purchased it.  The good, the bad and the ugly so I can truly decided if I want this product.  Christ did it…he laid it all out there so we could know everything it would take to follow him allowing us to make the decision completely on our own.

The cost is shown above in black and white…you buyin’?  If so for the first time, click here.

HUSBAND

Stevie and I have been married for over 11 years now…and it really has been great.  Those 11 years didn’t just happen as many of you “marriage veterans” know.  There are a lot of little things that went into the building of this marriage: love, prayer, comfort, encouragement, deep discussions, sex, arguing, crazy situations that just make you laugh…that’s the one I want to talk about today.

The musician Seal came out with a song some time ago called “Crazy”.  I read the lyrics and being that I’m not very poetic, they didn’t make much sense to me outside of the line, “We’re never going to survive unless we are a little crazy”.  I think there’s some truth to that line when it comes to marriage.  I think marriages need some “craziness” to survive.  And by “crazy”, I mean things spouses do to stretch each other and “spice up” the marriage.

The level of craziness within a marriage isn’t all that important, as long as long as there is some craziness at least a couple of times a month…but for giggles, let’s say you measure craziness on a scale from 1 to 10.  One would be encouraging your spouse to try something else at Taco Bell besides the Burrito Supreme, minus onions, tomatoes and red sauce, add sour cream; soft taco supreme minus tomatoes and a Mountain Dew and a 10 would be skydiving, cliff jumping, climbing Mt. Everest or going on vacation in August with all the kids to Florida in a station wagon with leather seats and no a/c.

This last weekend, Stevie and I performed what I would say is about a three on the crazy scale.  We bought paint for our entry way, living room and dining room on Friday at about 10pm.  Drove the 40 minute drive home and started painting…yes, at 11pm-ish and refused to sleep until it was done at 9am on Saturday…which meant we didn’t sleep until a brief nap on Saturday afternoon because the kids were up in the morning.  Why did we do this?  Two reasons…first, it really is the only time to paint the main living areas of your home when you have four children ranging in ages from 9 months to 7 years old.  Second, “Because we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy”!  No, this is not a date night I would have actually planned out, but it was a great time and Stevie and I laughed a lot…so what if it was because we were slap happy by 4:30am…we laughed!  To top it off, we have one more thing in the coming years to look back and say, “Remember that time…what were we thinking?”

What crazy things have you done recently or are planning to do in your marriage (seriously, leave a comment below…I would love to you know)?

I leave you with the immortal words of Jack Buck, “Go crazy folks, go crazy!”