big m has gone global

matt tipton is on itunes!

matt was a student at our church growing up who joined our high school worship band after a radical conversion. i’ve had the privilege of seeing matt grow in Christ as a high schooler, college student, husband, and now father and i’ve been spoiled to work with him in ministry, call him friend, and stand at his side in his wedding. he now serves as pastor of music/production at the journey in the north seattle area. it’s always been amazing to see matt discover and create songs that i truly believe the Lord has blessed him with.

the worship “industry” needs more matt tiptons. guys with humble hearts and the gifts to usher others into the throne room for the purposes of exalting Christ and edifying the Church.

this link should send your itunes browser to the page for his album, today. buy it!

why freebirds pwns chipotle

pwn means own, right? maybe i should avoid gamer-speak.

anyway… many people believe you’re either a freebirds person or a chipotle person. i am a freebirds person. here is why:

the “economical” evidence: i like to trick out my burrito with sour cream and guacamole (naturally). i do not like beans or rice on my burrito (may be in the minority there). at freebirds, when i do not partake of rice or beans, the sour cream and guacamole are subbed free of charge. i also sub queso for shredded cheese at no extra cost. this convenient and customer friendly system saves me the $1.75 extra that chipotle charges for guacamole. (even if it wasn’t subbed it’s only $.75 at freebirds)

the “options” evidence: at chipotle they offer a few ways to get your food (burrito, tacos, bowl (i think)). at freebirds they offer 4 or so different sizes of burrito in 4 different flavors of tortilla! they also offer tacos, quesadillas, bowls, nachos and salads. again, i like to trick out the burrito a little, so let’s look at other options. chipotle offers a handful of salsas and lettuce. freebirds offers those, too. they also offer cilantro, onions (red or white), jalapenos, and roasted garlic… FOR FREE. after it’s all built i like to squeeze fresh lime juice onto it. not an option at chipotle. they only offer lemons, and i think they’re for your drinks. lame.

the “ambiance” evidence: chipotle looks like a starbucks for burrito lovers. the cold, yuppie flavor permeates the place. i’m just not feeling the wood and metal look with the chic aztec warrior on the wall. brushed metal, track lighting, yada yada yada. freebirds can come off a little pretentious with their “coolness”, but i much prefer their laid-back, “who cares, i’m in college”, blue collar aura to the ikea-latte-soccer mom haven that is chipotle.

the “customer service” evidence: the folks at freebirds are always pretty chill and personable. yes, they’re all tatted and pierced (that might not be your thing), but they’re good people. the staff (at our closest chipotle) are not quite as adept at speaking the english language as they could be, which leads to some communication issues. i understand that’s a reality at many establishments, so i can handle it (just wanted to add it to my compare/contrast)… BUT the staff at our chipotle on sunday weren’t even listening to me. i was pursuing the free rice ‘n beans for guac substitution (which chipotle awarded me ONCE) and told the first lady “no rice or beans, i’m gonna sub them out.” she said “ok” … then asked “rice?” finally i get to the end of the assembly line and the last of the three builders asks “cheese?” … “no” i say, AS SHE IS ALREADY PUTTING THE CHEESE ON MY BURRITO. k, guess i will then. then the whole substitution debacle played out… the manager finally informed me after two other people couldn’t make the call. at freebirds, one person builds your burrito from start to finish and they ALL know the subbing policies.

if none of those things factor into your burrito eating, feel free to choose chipotle… i guess.

one single mind on not minding being single

i’ve been contemplating a post on singleness for some time and thought it would be “appropriate” to publish on valentine’s day. as i write this, i’m not sure what tone it will take, let alone what tone will be received. i’m not out to be harsh, self pitying, too serious or too comical. if i veer into any of those areas, hopefully i’ll course correct and balance out!

as a single, 30 yr old i sometimes wonder if my perspective/experiences are normal or if i’ve been taking crazy pills. i, personally, think the life of singles in my age range is not easily grasped by those not in our shoes. i once joked on my (now defunct) myspace blog that early in my life as a single, people would say “just wait … she’ll show up when you’re not looking/least expect it” and things of that sort. then, as the single journey continued, people started asking things like “have you considered one of those internet dating sites?” and saying i needed to “put myself out there.”

it’s almost as if, right when you become ok with being single, everyone else isn’t ok with you being single. (PLEASE NO COMMENTS ON HOW YOU’RE OK WITH PEOPLE BEING SINGLE. I’M NOT LOOKING FOR CONFESSIONS OR APOLOGIES, WHETHER YOU MEAN THEM OR NOT!) married people LOVE to set their single friends/loved ones up. they just want us to be happy, (because we obviously can’t be happy alone) yet single people are often “encouraged” with reminders of paul’s words on the benefits of being single. “you can do so much more ministry when you’re single … you’re not tied down.” i get that. i totally understand that. i mean, as far as i can understand that without being a married person looking back on single life. i’ve even heard people try to exhort with the phrase “it’s really better to be single.” almost as if they’re jealous or something. don’t step to me with that phraseology! if it’s better, why are you married? i don’t mean to sound bitter, because i’m not… really. i just perceive that sometimes married people don’t know how to encourage single people and some of the things they say aren’t what need to be said. you don’t feel bad about being married, and i won’t feel bad about being single… AND don’t feel bad about me being single, and i won’t feel bad about you being married.

i do believe there are blessings and opportunities specific to both lifestyles, but over time, somehow, the singles of our churches have become the “bless their hearts” gang. married folks want to fix us like we’re incomplete! i don’t have a problem with people desiring happiness for me or wanting me to find that special someone. i just want those people to be ok with my singleness in the meantime. i don’t want my singleness to be viewed as a handicap or obstacle to happiness and then face attempts to convince me that’s it a blessing.

i don’t try to cheer married people up by reminding them of the blessings they have in marriage (could get a lil awkward!). if i’ve conveyed that i do need to be cheered up because of my singleness then, by all means, have at it. but please don’t assume i’m miserable because i’m not experiencing what has brought you so much joy!

again, my perspective may not be shared by other singles my age, but if it is, i wanted to throw these ideas out there. i’m hoping my views just might help people understand the single p.o.v. (mine anyway). i’m not writing this in response to specific individuals, either. i’m writing in reaction to a, potentially, largely shared attitude amongst today’s married population.

most of us are “ok” with being single. (“ok” is a loose term! i know people who are “ok” with being single but are ready to leave it behind ASAP!) we’re (many of us, i’d say) aware of the blessings singleness brings while also aware that marriage offers many blessings, too. the problem may be that the blessings of being single for a long time are only theory to people who didn’t spend much time as a single adult. that may be why people often sound like they’re trying to convince themselves of said blessings while reminding us! it’s cool. i appreciate the kind intentions of the non-single population… i just want them to stop worrying so much!

oh yeah.. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! (or Discounted Chocolate Eve, as some might call it)

low sodium Christianity

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13

i’m currently attempting a series about discipleship with the high school students on sunday mornings. not habits, necessarily, but characteristics/expectations of followers of Christ. this past sunday i taught on Matthew 5:13 and what Jesus was calling us out to be as salt of the earth.

started off by exploring the preservative aspect of salt to prevent decay and rot. the idea that the influence of the Gospel in our lives as followers of Christ curbs the moral decay of the world is astounding. our world is broken and rotting, no doubt. but imagine what state it would be in if the salt of the earth had not been preventing more rapid decay for thousands of years. (the current state of decay is also pretty convicting evidence that there is not enough salty salt in contact with the flesh of the world.)

also discussed the flavor enhancing aspect of salt. the taste. the “spice”. it’s kind of strange to think that we add flavor to the world, but i see truth to the idea when considering the flavor that the world offers. the Gospel of Christ in our lives should change the “taste” of life. the world offers all kinds of dreck and sells it as the flavor and spice of life. all too often, this enticement convinces us that the pleasures of the world really make it worth living … that satisfaction lies in fulfilling earthly lusts. BUT, i’ve never had a student, church member, or friend come to me in tears or brokenness over having too much Gospel in their life. it’s ALWAYS the “flavor” of the world that disappoints and destroys. people living under the influence of the Gospel seem to experience John 10:10 abundance through the blessing of the fruit of the Spirit. pursuing the spice of the world ruins marriages, creates emotional baggage, and brings addicts to ruin. there aren’t any cases i know of where someone has complained of being too peaceful, patient, joyful or kind. hmmm, wonder why that is.

salt also produces thirst. if we’re exuding the Gospel, it’s effect on others will produce thirst for more Jesus… so we need to be ready to respond when someone asks about the hope we have! i fear that we’re often surprised if someone wants to know more about Christ. surprised because a) we aren’t enjoying life in Christ enough to think it desirable or b) we doubt that the lost around us are “ready/worthy” for transformation. if we ever find ourselves jealous of the unbelieving, sinful life and bummed that we’re slaves to righteousness, we need to check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves.

Jesus questions (hypothetically, i believe) how salt can regain it’s saltiness. it can’t of itself. He’s pointing out that if saltiness leaves us, He is the only hope for re-flavoring. He also bluntly explains that if we lose our saltiness, as salt, we’re purposeless … useless … literally good for nothing. only by abiding in, communing with, and living for Christ can we maintain our saltiness.

salt in the shaker doesn’t do anything either. it doesn’t preserve or flavor itself… ouch. i need to come in contact with the decay-bound meat of this world to fulfill my role as salt. disciples are not called to exalt Christ only within the walls of our churches, the confines of our small groups, our prayer closets, or even our preachy blogs… ouch, again. we’re the salt of the earth, not the salt of the church.

what a blessing/responsibility!

oh, father

sylvester junior

remember sylvester jr.’s go-to phrase when his dad did pretty much anything? kind of a “bless his heart” sentiment. i had an “oh, father” experience the other day.

now, my dad is awesome. that’s no secret. and this story only adds to his awesomeness, even though he’s the foil this time.

i was hanging with the ‘rents the other day, as i am prone to do on occasion, and my dad is reminded of some movie he’s seen when a scottish terrier walks by. my mom and i don’t recall any movies featuring a scottie that fit his description and we’re a movie loving family. dad claims that the movie was called “scottie mcdougal” or something similar and that is was huge hit. “it was everywhere” he claimed, “it was disney.”

mom and i grow more perplexed by the minute. we ask if he’s sure we’ve seen it, too. he is sure we have (because it was everywhere). so we ask for more details. apparently this scottie was a perceived stray but kept being found sleeping at his master’s grave. the detail about the dog that made me laugh out loud was “everybody knew him, he had the run of the town.”

at that point i can’t, for the life of me, remember a movie that fits this description and i’m further confused that my dad has seen a “family” movie that i haven’t. mom is equally confused. she asks if maybe he saw it without us when he was working out of town back in the day. “no,” he claims, “that was pretty in pink.” (nice!)

so i start throwing out dog movies: milo and otis, homeward bound,etc.

they all get shot down. too recent, apparently. “scottie mcdougal” is from 20 years ago or so … my formative, family-movie watching years! i’m stumped. dad claims it will come to him in time… the name changes as he recalls more… now it’s “gray something” … “friar” this or that. (if you know the movie, you know where this is going)

anyway, mom and i go to deal with the glasses people while dad sits and thinks about it. finally, on the way to the car he states, “it’s greyfriar’s bobby.” mom and i have never heard of it.

so, first thing i do when we get to the house is pull up the ever-trusty IMDb and find this.

that’s right. a movie from 1961! “20 years” was apparently a rough estimate. this explains a lot. mom says she didn’t even see a movie in theaters til ’65. and the whole event has me thinking, “oh, father.” but some memory, huh?! pretty impressive and entertaining at the same time!

p.s. just found that they remade “bobby” a few years ago but it was only released on dvd here in the states. pretty sure dad was NOT referring to that version.