Wall Notes

Writing, thoughts, ramblings, and what makes me laugh

Yes, a thousand times, yes.

We just finished our DiscipleNow weekend. Our theme was “Selflessness.”

Our focal passage was Philippians 2.3-4.

As I spent time with our Guest Ministers for the weekend, I shared some of my heart on these verses and those that followed.

Philippians 2.6-7 says, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing…”

Humility never looked so good. The idea of putting “you” before “me” never seemed so possible. The concept of others first, for the first time, has a chance of happening. Christ was the definition and standard of perfection. He was Deity in the flesh. He had the ear of legions of angels, ready to serve him (Psalm 91.11-12, Matthew 4.11, Matthew 13.41). He walked on water without doubt (John 6.19-20). He stood up to those with misguided influence  and saw through their intimidation (Matthew 5.20, Matthew 16.1-4). He loved without compromise or apology (John 8.1-11).

Christ stood with his perfection not as a bragging right nor as a badge that he used for special treatment. His life was led by God’s will. Jesus’ determination to live a life of obedience to God was his legacy. Jesus made a choice everyday once his feet hit the floor to live like a servant. The King lived with the peasants. He made the conscious effort that he would live a life that was nothing, so that God was seen as everything. He could provide whatever he needed, but instead he depended on God.

This carpenter cared more about God’s voice than his own. This Jew cared more about reaching out to others than reaching in for himself. This simple man made himself nothing every single day. No matter the weather. No matter his mood. No matter what others said. No matter where it took him.

How can I ever deny that? How can I ever look past this? Did Jesus Christ care about me ? YES. Did God sacrifice what he loved most for me? YES. Do I care about those around me enough to set aside myself? Do I crave God more each moment, because I realize how utterly lost and useless I am without him?

He was and is our constant example. Praise God that I don’t have to do life alone. Praise God for grace that will not let go and love that will not run dry. It’s no longer a matter of: Do I need him? That question can’t even be asked anymore. It’s a question of: Do I want him?

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Ministry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That’s what friends are for

It’s been a little while since my last update, so I thought I would take this time to promote my friends.

You can find links to all of their blogs in my BlogRoll. Take some time when you are finished reading this and click on over to their sites. It will be well worth your time. I guess the best way to see who goes first is to use the alphabet (it is in alphabetical order afterall).

Ben Finch:I’ve known Ben for quite a few years, but only recently have I had contact with him again. Ben is a worship leader as well as a speaker. He truly shines through is photography. He has an amazing ability to capture so much with his camera. His candid shots of people offer an almost Norman Rockwellish feel. When you have the chance check out his photography site for more details on his work: http://www.benfinchphotography.com/. It will be well worth your time.

Big Dreams:This is the blog of Bryan Gill. I met Bryan through another friend of mine years ago. He is a Christian Speaker who has been traveling for the last seven or eight years. He’s spoken in over a dozen states to thousands of teenagers. Bryan is a very talented writer and has a great sense of humor (why does this sound like an add on match.com….sorry Sarah). Bryan loves photography and chronicles a lot of the local wildlife through stories and photos. Make sure you check out the latest exploits of Roscoe. You’ll be glad you did.

Brittany Baker: Brittany is a great example to those she’s around. If you would like to see what’s going on for an about-to-graduate-soon-to-be-married-20-year-old-with-a-heart-for-Christ. Well look no further! Brittany has a love for her savior and isn’t ashamed to communicate it. Make some time to pour into her blog.

Jason and Kam:Jason has been a friend for quite a long time. I met he and his wife while they were still dating. He came to me for relationship advice constantly….(oh, wait, sorry, I was channeling a Lifetime movie Kati made me watch). Jason is a Youth and Education Pastor and Kam unfortunately has to put up with Jason. They have two lovely daughters (who I refer to as Kam2 and Kam3). You can see their life together and also their journey of adoption. It’s a a very exciting time for them. If you are interested in adoption or going through it as well, check out their site. They would love to talk to you about it.

Jennifer Pinkner:She was an intern for Tommy. I was her intern. She was the bottom of the food chain. There wasn’t even enough chain for me to hold on to. I was the intern’s intern. It was difficult, but she was a just and honorable dictator. She also is an incredible Bible Teacher. I don’t think any of that talent stuck on me.

SetApart Blog:This is the blog of my Student Ministry. I try to update it weekly (An often successful endeavor). It gives you a picture of where we go weekly. Well worth your time. Comment it out.

SetApart Devotions: If you are looking for a little encouragement during the week, check out our Devotions. They are written by my Youth Staff weekly. Live it out.

Stephanie Graves: Food. That’s all I need to say. Tons of fantastic recipes with even more mouth watering pictures. If you ever have a hard time trying to find something to eat, that problem is now solved. The Honey Bun Cake looks amazing. She is very exact in all the measurements and even gives all the nutrition facts on some of the recipes. I’m getting hungry just writing about it.

The Onawahs: This is the blog of my friends Matthew and Angela Amick. Angela updates it all (I’m not sure if Matthew even touches it). It’s the everyday story of their life together and their children. Each posts makes you feel like you are apart of their family. It definitely needs to be added to your favorites. Plus you can groove to the music as it plays(Not sure about the George Strait…I need to ask about that one).

That updates everyone I think. Now go. Check them out and make sure you comment, “Jason Wallis sent me.” Because they may send $.25 for every referral I give to a child in ASFAEIAFDAMWFAEMCAOIFVANIA who wants to start making you pay to send emails…and if they won’t, Bill Gates might.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Friends | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

When Sleeveless Shirts were cool

This is beyond impressive.

Thank you Shayne.

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s a word that rhymes with banana?

I enjoy reading. I really do. Ever since I was a small child. I remember some of my favorite books: Charlie The Christmas Mouse, The Runaway Bunny, I Wish I Had Duck Feet, and anything written by Dr. Seuss. I loved Dr. Seuss. I couldn’t get enough of it. If I had to pick a favorite it probably had to be Horton Hatches An Egg. I could sit and listen to that book for hours. I knew what was going to happen. I knew that rude bird was an unfit mother and would treat Horton like an underpaid babysitter. I knew that Horton was a man (or elephant) of his word. I knew that Miss-selfish-bird would try to take all of the credit in the end. I also was aware that the baby that hatched from the egg would choose Horton over her Uno-Mom (I’m sorry I should have said spoiler warning).

Even though I was aware of this I still empathized with Horton. I still rooted for the under-dog. I was sad when he was mistreated and cheered for him when he got the credit he deserved. It is a book that should be embraced by every child. Better yet, it should be consider literature. That’s right, from now on Horton Hatches An Egg is literature. This celebrated hardback was (and still is) a huge part of my childhood. It was read to me so much that I could recite it to you word for word. I took you down this waltz through storybook lane to make this point: IT WAS READ TO ME!

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO READ DR. SEUSS? Good gracious it’s difficult. It’s like trying to gargle with a mouthful of gravel and sand. You might be able to do it. But get ready for a dry mouth, a sore tongue, and the possibility of blinding your reader with a projectile. As a child I saw Dr. Seuss as a creative man who constructed fantastic worlds with opportunity for anything to happen. Now I see Dr. Seuss as a cruel man who was either bullied by a dentist or was mute.

I share this revelation with you because my worldview was shattered a few days ago when I was invited to reading day at one of our local elementary schools. It was actually called Dr. Seuss Reading Day. I was one of a few guests invited to read to some of the classes. The moment I arrived at the school I was taken to the library for my name tag and book choice. After talking to a few familiar faces and meeting some new ones I was left to my dellima. What to read? I stood in front of a table overflowing with books (only a small percentage of which were Dr. Seuss). There were books about Turtles learning the alphabet, little girls visiting grandma, birds trying to fit in with other birds, and books written by the man with a poison tipped pen (formally known as Dr. Seuss).

I did pick up a book that was about ten pages in length that gave facts about poisonous snakes and how to deal with getting bit by one. I turned it toward the Librarian and asked, “This a big problem around here?” 

“No, I don’t think so?”

“Oh, well is the How To Sew On A Toe After A Rat Bites It Off  here or another book out of the When animals attack series?

She stared at me for a moment and replied, “I don’t remember seeing that book.”

Back to the books: I had made up my mind before I got to the school that I was reading Dr. Seuss. It was read to me so I was reading it to the other children. It’s classic (or evil). I was told I was reading to two First Grade classrooms, so Dr. Suess seemed like a great idea. After a another careful search through the stacks I decided upon I Had Trouble Getting To Solla Sollew……how did I not see the problems coming. 

Once I arrived to the classroom I met the kids and the teacher. They all were very welcoming and excited about a little reading time. I introduced myself, played a few name games with the kids, and off to the reading area we went. I sat in the reading chair and they circled around me on the carpet. After a little instruction from them on how I was supposed to hold the book…off we went. I started to read I Had Trouble Reading This Dr. Seuss Book That Should Never Have Been Written. After the first two pages it was like a lobster was inside my mouth holding my tongue ransom while his girlfriend worked my Larynx over like punching bag. It was insane. There should be a rule that if you can’t rhyme a word, you are not allowed to make up one to plug in the story. 

The kids were laughing. The teacher raised her hand and shouted “Amen” on ever struggle I had and I felt a little embarrassed that this book was kicking my tail. Not to mention that for some reason every time I ran across the word “Sword” I pronounced it “Swword” like Sean Connery on Jeopardy. That one will plague me for the rest of my days. Then the most frightful thing happened when I got halfway through the book. I realized….I WAS ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK! It was a cruel time warp that Dr. Seuss had created. Every word of gibberish stretched out to forty-two pages of dialogue. It was a black-hole of non-sense and I was being sucked in. The children sat there, laughed, and shouted, “More, More!” 

I finally finished reading and vowed never to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas again. I told the kids “bye” and I felt some relief. Dr. Seuss wasn’t that bad. He was like a nice roast beef. I enjoyed it as a kid and he never made me sad. Now how could I ever be so grumpy and mad. So I walked and thought and and I thought some more. I actually thought of something I hadn’t before. What if Dr. Seuss wasn’t such a chore. What if reading his books means a little be mor…Oh goodness now I’m doing it. 

I thanked the teacher and I was about to leave until someone shouted, “Don’t forget your other class in room 103!”  …….this could be habit forming!

dscn33773

The second classroom didn’t have a reading area…or a reading chair.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Ministry | , , , , | 6 Comments

The most important meal of the day

I can’t get this tune out of my head!!

I hope you all enjoy. It’s even funnier if you’re eating a bowl of Captain Crunch.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Video | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sleepy Saturday

Kara isn’t allowed on the bed, but Kati convinced me that on Saturday’s (since it’s laundry day) she could come up and lay down with us.

I’ve never known a dog who could differentiate between days of the week….she’s getting pretty good at it.

dscn33801

March 7, 2009 Posted by | Dogs, Wifey | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Revolution

Here is a new Comic Strip I’m working on. It’s rightfully titled: “Rocks Are Jerks.”

Hope you all dig it!

raj-issue-1medium

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Rocks Are Jerks | , , , , | 3 Comments

Gleaming the Cube

Well the support for me has been unanimous…I’m in trouble. Clearly I should never run for a political office against my wife. Kati has pulled the popular vote PLUS dominated the electoral college…and she didn’t have to say one word! 

Yes, I am here to update you on the status of Momma Dog and her baby. On Tuesday I went out to feed them after I walked home.  But upon my return to the church with a bag of food there were three little 6th Grade boy skateboarders (skaters, s8ters, skate zombie, and skate rat). For those of you whose skateboarding knowledge is limited to what Christian Slater told you in 1989, have no fear. I’ve played Tony Hawk’s Underground probably once or twice, so I’ll walk you through this. My first thought when I saw these champions of the Half-Pipe was, “Are they giving Mountain Dew to Momma-dog?” As I got closer they responded like most young teenagers would when an adult approached…they tried not to look guilty for something they may or may not have done wrong that day or past week. 

I was about 30 yards away when Momma-Dog and her baby saw me and started running toward me like I was Santa on Christmas morning. They knew I had food. I was just carrying a bag. I have no idea how they knew. It wasn’t a dog food bag. It was a generically unmarked bag with dry dog food in it. I’ve seen this before. It means only one thing…Kati has already gotten to them. I have no idea how she does it. I’m not sure if she texts them, sneaks out while I’m asleep, or clicks a little Morse Code with a flashlight. It’s quite remarkable if you think about it. I will say I was a little surprised when they both were wearing “I heart Kati” t-shirts. 

I’m trying to maintain a positive outlook here, so I led the dogs back around the church to the gym doors (where I fed them before). The whole time we were walking over there Momma-Dog and her baby were jumping up and down wanting the food in the bag. They were sniffing, licking their lips, and I think I heard Momma-Dog ask, “How’s Kati?” but I’m not sure. I look back and I saw Jr. Bam Margera and his two buddies perfecting their Ollies. We get over to the gym doors and I pour out the food. They are all over it! Eating like crazy. They were so excited, they got some dirt on their “I heart Kati” shirts, but I had a Tide-to-go pen so no worries. 

The perfect time to make a getaway is while they eat. I jog around the church and make it back to the main parking lot and our little skaters have moseyed on up the parking lot. 

“Hey what’s going on guys?”

quietly, “Um…nothing.”

“Aren’t you skateboarding?”

confused yet still quiet, “Um………………..yeah?”

I walked up and introduced myself and shook their hands. They opened up a little and told me their names, but still looked guilty for something (got to love those teenagers). I turned to leave and left them with the salutation I leave almost every teenager I’m around, “Great talking to you guys. Be careful and don’t break anything.” I was probably five steps away when one of them said:

“Hey, them your dogs? (yes we live in the South)

“No, I’m just feeding them….you’ll understand when you get married.” 

“Oh, but they’re not yours?”

“No sir.” Then without my control my lovely bride’s thought process sprang forth from my mouth. “Have you been mean to those dogs?”

“N-no sir.”

“Are you lying to me? Because I can tell if you’re lying. It’s part of my job. Plus I can find out who your parents are and call them. Do you want me to do that?” (Thank you Kati. I just gave these 6th graders a ShakeDown like Ice-T on Law and Order.)

“No, we promise! We were petting them earlier and gave them something to drink. They were thirsty!”

Sighing “………..Did you give them Mountain Dew?”

“It’s all we had!”

By this time I knew Momma-Dog and her baby were almost finished eating so I had to run. I sprinted away and got to the house safe and sound. I went into my office in my house (there is a window that faces the church). I opened the blinds and the Three Amigos were skating around and Momma-Dog and her baby were running around them. They all went to the road and Skated over the hill toward the sunset together. Hand in paw scratching their fleas as they went (I’m not telling you who had the fleas). 

I spoke to one of the Skaters at church last night and he is keeping both dogs and is feeding them well. Mamma-Dog and her baby have a home and food (at least for now). Once again, Kati is Happy. The dogs are happy. Little Christian Slater is happy. And I am happy that God’s sense of humor didn’t give us two more dogs.

God Bless us everyone.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Dogs, Wifey | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No means no…I think

Well, here I am. I seem to have the same thoughts that most people have when they start up their blog…”I’m starting up a blog?” My goal is update this weekly.

My wife loves animals…let me repeat that. My wife adooores animals, especially dogs. That’s called foreshadowing…it will help you out later on in the story. We live near the church where I work. Actually we live across the parking lot from  the church. It keeps things interesting. Well for some reason this Sunday, every dog in a 40 mile radius decided they wanted a little more information on Church membership. Maybe a cat forgave them for trying to eat it. Perhaps hitting that mid-life crisis of 6 has forced them to reflect on their choices. Whatever the reason, the dogs have been let out (tasteless pun, I know).

There were dogs jumping. Dogs barking. Dogs sniffing. Dogs playing, but no dogs fighting (sorry Mr. Vick). They were here all day! Our music minister handed them a hymnal, but alas, they prefer that contempary worship with the projection screens. Parents rushed out to avoid the dogs, while children rushed out to pet the dogs.

While the rest of the south was blasted with snow, we unfortunately were missed. *grumble-grumble* But being overlooked by snow does not mean we are left out of the single digit temperatures. We get the benefit of snow-like weather minus the snow and day off work. We thought all of the dogs went home to escape the cold weather. Well that would be a very wrong assumption. A momma-dog and her baby stayed behind to brave the cold outside of the church. They made their way into the courtyard to avoid the cold wind. They apparently were abandoned and left to fend on their own.

Now my wife (remember the foreshadowing?) saw them in the church parking lot on her way home. She circled the parking lot looking at them. I saw her as I fed our two cats (because only one would be lonely). The garage door raised, she pulled in her car, and….”Dear, did you see…”

“Yes dear I saw the dogs. No we can’t keep them.”

She paused, a little surprised that I saw her investigation. “Well can we feed them?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

So, off we go feeding Momma-Dog and her baby. We found them behind the church before visitation started. We tossed a couple of bowls of food on the ground and they ate it up like crazy! Kati was happy, they were happy, and I was happy to help out a couple of God’s creatures.

As we walked back home my wife’s desire to keep these two additions was pouring from her face. My response was a constant “No.” Kati wanted to look for them last night so they wouldn’t be cold. She has class tonight and I told her I would feed them if I saw them. My hope is that they will be gone. God of course has a grand sense of humor. They both came running as soon as I got back to the office. Kati wants to take them to the vet to get them checked out to make sure they are healthy and safe. I of course do not want anymore dogs, at least not two outside dogs.

I have to end this story because I must keep my word to Kati and go feed these two dogs. But I don’t want anymore dogs. I really don’t. Did I mention my wife loves animals. She adooooores animals, especially dogs….boy, I’m in trouble.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Dogs, Wifey | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments