Oklahoma: The Gods Must Be Angry

twister shot

We have really been through it as a nation lately. Last month, Boston. Last week, a massive twister set down in Texas, and yesterday, the brute force of nature devastated the people of Oklahoma. To be honest, this is destruction like I’ve never seen.

When things like this happen, it’s natural to jump to, “If God were real and good then things like this wouldn’t happen.” Again, we ask, “Where is God?” but to that we add, “If God is in control of all things, why would he do this?” Any minute, I’m expecting to hear some half-witted statement about about sin that God sent his personal whirlwind to punish.

Already, I’ve seen some perplexing tweets. Earlier I saw that Jay Bakker tweeted this:

Actually, while I think I understand his meaning, I believe that it’s far tougher to have faith in nothing when we witness natural disasters like the one in Oklahoma today.

The Gods Must Be Angry

In ancient cultures, many gods were worshipped. These gods were ornery characters that prayed upon the weaker humans. When something like an earthquake or a tornado happened, “The gods must be angry,” was the immediate assumption. In order to appease the gods, blood was spilt. Things and people were sacrificed. Any and everything was offered to make the gods feel better. It’s like they were a collective of toddlers in need of blood pacifiers and fear blankets.

But Jesus is not that God. God is not angry. Tornadoes do not fly from his hand. One of the prophets, Nahum, who was quite a poet, described God’s power like this: “The LORD is very patient but great in power; the LORD punishes. His way is in whirlwind and storm; clouds are the dust of his feet.” Out of context, some take this and twist it to mean that God uses weather to punish whoever he wants to punish. The terribly harmful theology that comes out of this can be aimed at things like what we witnessed yesterday, and probably will.

But this is wrong on two counts: first, Nahum is speaking to Nineveh, the capitol city of Babylon; the nation that enslaved Israel. The degree of their injustice was incalculable, and Nahum describes what a future event would be like. Second, a prophetic word like this one describes God’s power, not his attitude. “His way is in the whirlwind,” the force of it, the power. It doesn’t say anything like, “He sends tornadoes to kill people he doesn’t like.”

The Danger of Darkening Counsel

When something like this happens, I am reminded of Job, the persistent sufferer. I am also, and quite unfortunately, reminded of his three friends and Elihu, the stranger, who say the most ridiculous of things with intensity, conviction and sincerity. Their words are so sincere, in fact, that they are almost believable.

Toward the end of Job, Elihu appears as the consummate “know-it-all:”

“Wait a little while so I can demonstrate for you that there is still something more to say about God. I will draw from my broad knowledge, attribute justice to my maker. My words are certainly truthful; one with total knowledge is present with you. [36:2-4]“

Everyone likes to feel important, even if they don’t know what to say. If only they would stay silent.
Elihu tells Job, “He overturns the circling clouds [tornadoes]; by his guidance they do their work, doing everything he commands over the entire earth. Whether for punishment, for his world, or for kindness, God makes it all happen. [37:12-13]”

OK, Elihu has a point, God makes it all happen. But how? We don’t really know. However, Elihu claims he does. He’s sure and makes a strong case that when someone goes through what Job has, God has done it. Now, we as the reader know that it was Satan, and not God, that caused Job’s suffering (which I’ll come back to).

Regardless, God (who, ironically, is approaching in a whirlwind to restore Job) responds to Elihu’s words. Elihu who has sounded so intelligent, so knowledgable he tells us so himself, receives this from the Lord, “Who is this darkening counsel [idiot] with words lacking knowledge [and what is this idiot talking about]?” I’m sorry, what? But Elihu told Job all the stuff I would have told him: You’re all powerful. You’re strong. You make the BIG decisions. What did we miss?

Nature Red In Tooth And Claw

Paul addressed moments like yesterday. Like us, he was aware that things that happened in the world, in nature, didn’t add up to our over-idealized imaginations. I’m sure he worked his way through earthquake rubble and twister damage. He saw the savagery of nature first hand. His experience would have confirmed the mystery of God, the theology of nature.

“I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now.” [Romans 8:18, 20-22]

We live in a fallen world, a world that doesn’t act as God created it to. The natural world exists like humanity exists: in a state of rebellion against God, contrary to the way we were created. The whole creation groans. All of it. When a tornado destroys, creation groans. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. When a hurricane drowns, creation cries out. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. When children lie beneath fallen structures, creation cries out. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. The world is broken. It’s not how it’s supposed to be; not how it’s going to be. That day is coming, but until then…

Beware Of Darkness

Years ago, I feel in love with this cover of a George Harrison classic. The lyrics are fearsome and the melody is mesmerizing.

“Watch out now, take care,
Beware of the thoughts that linger,
Winding up inside your head,
The hopelessness around you,
In the dead of night”

This song reminds us that there is darkness that is beyond us, darkness that we cannot control. Like Peter warns in his letter, “Satan prowls like a roaring lion, seeking whom he will devour,” there is darkness that leave us hopeless in the dead of night. That’s what today is: Darkness.

We have to be careful not to give credit to God that is due Satan. Like Elihu, we jump to God’s power to control, without thinking about Satan’s lust to destroy. We don’t stop to consider that death, chaos and destruction is not God’s plan for the “world that he so loved that he gave his only Son.” In the Job story, it’s clear who the instigator, who the villain is: the one who subjected creation to frustration. Redemption is God’s plan for creation. The death part, that’s something else entirely. That’s darkness.

But as Harrison reminds us in the chorus, it’s always darkest before the dawn. Light is coming! Or as he puts it:

“Beware of Sadness,
It can hit you,
It can hurt you,
Make you sore and what is more,
That is not what you are here for.”

We Are Meant For More

A few minutes ago, my wife posted this on her facebook page:

Rebecca's fb status tornado

We were meant for that reality. The reality in which, God doesn’t throw tornadoes, but enters into their devastation. The reality in which God doesn’t punish the innocent, but upholds them, comforts them, heals and restores them. The reality in which light has defeated darkness, life has defeated death and peace has calmed the whirlwind.

That’s the reality we wait for.
That’s the reality we hope for.
That’s the reality that is on the way.
That is the reality that is already here.

“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [Rev 21:3-4]

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Changing The World With Four Sticks Of Gum

True Story:

The other night before my daughter’s youth group,
I brought her and her BFF to In N’ Out for some pre church grub.

In N Out Double

While I was waiting in line, my daughter’s friend turns to be and asks if I have 29¢.
I scour my pockets and realize that I only have a pack of gum,
so I said to the awesome customer service representative
(who shall remain unnamed),

“I don’t have 29¢, but how about four sticks of gum?”

I was about to bust out my debit card to cover the damage when he said,
“Sounds good to me!”

I thought he was kidding.
He wasn’t.

Four pieces of gum went into the till.

Wouldn’t it be great if more people solved things like that?

Like when countries line up for war,
One side says, “How ’bout free ice cream for everyone?”
Devastation averted.

Here’s to you,
Super Awesome World Problem Solver
In N Out Customer Representative!

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For Those About To Snog, We Salute You

From the annuls of GoDaddy Super Bowl Super Fame

I thought this interview was crazy.
It’s a kiss, people.
Why should we be surprised that a dude kissed a girl?

Oh, wait!
It’s because he’s a dweebus maximus, geekius majorus.
Real people who don’t conform to the norm of “beauty,”
they can’t be kissed by a beautiful girl, right?
That’s sexist.

The stir resulting from this commercial points to huge issue:
What do we do when beauty and beast mix it up?
I remember when my brothers met my wife.
They said, “Sure, she’s beautiful, but what is she doing with you?”

And who defines beauty?
The same people that define beast?

Jesse Heiman grasped the brass ring
and I’m not talking about the kiss.
He was fearlessly himself.

Be fearlessly you.

And check out this song…

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Modern Family: Another Year…Older

Growing up doesn’t just make great TV, it makes some great people!

modern family new years eve

The long awaited return of Modern Family hit this past Wednesday with a strong ode to: Getting Older.

I wish that I could say I couldn’t relate to this episode, but as a husband of seventeen years, father of three, from fourteen to three, oh…and right just on the other side of forty, it resonated deep within. Add to that the fact that I’m just now feeling recovered from staying up until New Years 2013, I’m the target audience.

In this episode, Jay Pritchett (the patriarch) invites his kids and their families to join him in Palm Springs for New Years. He wants the whole gang together. In itself, this wouldn’t be so funny, but since I just got an email from my Dad asking for all the kids to get together for his 60th birthday, I laughed myself silly.

Jay invites his family to join him in the Starlight Room for dinner and after they all bail out on bailing out, they all have to sit and listen to Claire tell the same story she’s told at the last two hundred family gatherings. Which wouldn’t be funny, except, when my family gets together we do the same thing. It’s like we have to wade through all the things that unite us before we even get to ‘Hello.’ It’s charming and endearing, and annoying and crazy. It’s like…family.

Our recurring storytelling involves quoting Fletch and Annie Hall. You know the way dogs sniff each other? Fletch and Annie Hall are how we make sure we know who we are.

The kids, who are babysat/sitting at home, are going through their own ‘growing up’ realizations. The Dunphy’s are fighting the affects of aging and an aging marriage on sexuality. Where this theme gets the funniest, and most real, is in the Mitchell/Cameron storyline. Mitchell is tired of feeling old and tired and wants to go to a ‘young’ gay bar. The trouble is, he’s too ‘old’ to even get noticed. So they leave, and like Goldilocks, go in search of another bar. The second one is to freaky, but in the third one, he gets his wish. The third bar is a lounge full of old gay men who could be their grandfathers.

billy dee wms At the comedic core of the Pritchett family is the age gap between Jay and Gloria. It’s hysterical to see Billy Dee Williams, Jay’s hero, cop to the fact that Gloria has absolutely no idea who he is. That’s funny…don’t care who you are. I mean, who hasn’t seen Empire?

For the Modern Family, getting older is difficult.

Just like it is for me.
Just like it is for you.

You can’t stop it.
Getting older is something each of us has to find a way to accept,
even Lily, who got worried about the fact that she wasn’t being watched.

In the Bible, one of the Proverbs says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is found on the path of righteousness [Pro 16:31; CEB].” I think what this means is that “Growing Up is a great thing; you do it well when you pursue the things that create a life that is good.

How do you pursue the things that create a life that is good?

Do you take time to rest/reflect?
Do you enjoy the moment when you are in it?
Do you say the kind word when you have the opportunity?
Do you value everything God has given to you?
Do you work to see wrongs righted?
Do you see the people around you as worthy of love and grace?
Do you create space for prayer and gratitude?

Growing up doesn’t just make great TV, it makes some great people.

Growing up reminds us that there is a horizon in life and today matters more than we think.

Things change like crazy, but the fact that today counts stays the same,
regardless of your age.

So, it’s a new year and today is pretty special…
What are you going to do with it?

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U2: I Believe In Father Christmas

As of right now, February 6, 2012, I’m pre-posting this video because of it’s sheer awesomeness.

That moment where Bono jumps up the octave is stunning. For me, this song contains the mystery and sadness of the Bethlehem drama. Greg Lake, the songwriter (and of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame) really finds the blur between what we celebrate and how we celebrate it.

Lyrics: “I Believe In Father Christmas

They said there’ll be snow at christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
’till I believed in the israelite
And I believed in father christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there’ll be snow at christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The christmas you get you deserve

…I can’t wait ’til Christmas.

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Advent: Wonderful Counselor and Bad Advice

Ever feel like you get advice from the E*Trade baby? It’s cute when it’s on T.V., but not when it matters. Where do you go when you need advice?

I love this commercial! However, that’s not where I’d start when I needed advice.
Advice…we all need it.
We’ve all given it.

Here are three types of advice that I run into on a normal day.
How about you?

Bad Advice

The trick with bad advice is that is doesn’t always start off sounding bad. In fact, it starts off sounding brilliant! With notable exceptions: “I’ll protect your savings,” “You can be rich as early as next week,” “This will make you sexy with no diet change or exercise!”

Most bad advice falls under the Sheryl Crow Law:
“If it makest thou Happy, It canst not be that bad unto thee!”

Bad advice means that your debt, like your blood pressure, is going to go up. It means that while you might get what you think you want, no one else does. If your relationships are a mess, chances are you are Sheriff of a world that exercises the Sheryl Crow Law like Miranda in L.A. County.

Good Advice

When we get good advice, we benefit from the wisdom of human experience. Good advice is good. The thing with good advice is you have to take it, and generally, you have to take it in the way it was intended. Good advice must always come with question: “Who is this advice good for?” For instance, you are love and want to get married and some wizened mother says, “Son, don’t marry her. I don’t think it will work out.”

It’s going to be good advice for somebody.

Good advice is sometimes difficult to take. Someone wiser than yourself might understand the consequences of a choice and be honest. Taking good advice often means that you are going to something difficult, something that will cost you. Good advice can be like…well, taking investment advice from a baby.

* This is one reason I love counseling. You pay someone to keep their best interests to themselves. Genius! Genius! Genius! But it’s not:

God Advice

God advice is the best possible option and the first advice we don’t want to take. God advice is always good for you and good for God. While good advice relies upon the wisdom of human experience, God Advice relies on the wisdom of Eternal Experience. God Advice redeems. God Advice restores. God Advice reconciles and with all due deferrence to Ms. Crow, it won’t look like it’s going to make you happy.

But it will.

“I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go.
I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.” Psalm 32:8

For Advent, I’ve begun to preach through the names of the Messiah

mentioned in Isaiah 9:6

A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

What does it mean that God is Wonderful Counselor?

1. Jesus is the first best place to look when you are wondering what your next step is.
2. Jesus is the only voice that can speak to you with human and eternal experience.
3. Chances are you’ve tried everything else…how’s that workin’ for ya? (via Dr. Phil)

Where do you go for good advice?
How do you decide what to do next?

If you have a moment, here’s the first sermon on the Isaiah passage.

Here’s an Wonderful Counselor Devo Sheet…goes with the talk.

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Sometimes I Don’t Blog It…Because I’m Afraid

Writing blog posts is difficult for me.
I worry about things too much.
In fact, sometimes I’m afraid to write about what I want to write about.

I’m afraid of what you will think if I’m honest.
I’m afraid of what you will think if I’m not.

I’m worried about what you will think if I share too much.
The same for if I share too little.

I’m just as afraid that too many people will read it,
as I am that no one will.

Because…I’m afraid that no one cares.
“No one cares what you think!”
Aren’t we all? A little bit?

But that’s not the real fear…
The thing behind the fear is actually that you will figure out that,
well, that you will figure out that I’m…me.

And that’s all I’ll ever be.

If you’ve never heard of Steven Pressfield, it’s time to learn, Grasshopper.
Pressfield is creative motivation on steroids.
In his book, Turning Pro, he writes:

turning pro steven pressfield

“Turning Pro” is just another way to say, “Man Up, Cowboy!”

When no one cares what you think, Turn Pro.
So, might as well Turn Pro and be honest.
Man Up, Cowboy!

So what if someone doesn’t like it?
Turn Pro and it’s a guarantee.

don miller tweet

Share what you share.
Say what you are thinking.
Talk about what how you feel when you look at the world around you.
Turn Pro!

Allow people to find out that you are you.

It’s about being yourself.
Be you.
I’ll be me.
It might be rough around the edges,
but hey…that’s how this life thing rolls.

Thanks for letting me talk to myself in public.
I feel better.
Saying it out loud like that.
Man, I really went to town on me.

In what way(s) do you need to “Turn Pro”?
Leave a comment.
C’mon…don’t leave me hangin’

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Six Books Every Preacher Must Read In 2013

What if I told you I could make you an even better preacher?
Well, the truth is I can’t.
BUT, here are some resources that will get us well on the way.

If changing the game is what you are after, you have to start here. Stanley gives the preacher a simple (not easy) format to adapt your content to.
(Me- You – God – You – We)
Like some of his other “how to” books, Communicating for a Change is written in a narrative. It tells a story first and then gives you the meat and vegetables. If you are looking to engage your congregation or audience away from the pulpit and manuscript, I highly recommend this book. Some do not…appreciate Stanley’s approach to ministry at North Point. I find it challenging and engaging. But Be Warned!

This is a kind of companion to the Stanley book. They both stand alone, but say the same thing differently. Obviously, this book addresses the TED style communication specifically AND that’s why it’s so good for preachers. Ever notice that you watch the whole TED talk? Ever notice that you don’t really drift while they’re talking? Ever notice that after they win your 18 minutes, you generally want to give them 18 more? What if your sermons had that impact? They do already? Good! Then the TED folks ought to be calling any second. I found it very useful and managed to construct an outline as a how to. Nice thing to walk away with.

Preaching That Connects is hugely relevant little book. In it, author Mark Galli (managing editor of Christianity Today Magazine) makes the preacher look at the sermon like an editor would a print article. There are three elements that have to be there: 1) a title that says it all, 2) a byline that describes it all and 3) a body that unpacks the title. In order to flesh out the body, Galli presents a very generous model: heuristic. I got to learn a new word, cause I was like, “what is that?” (subtle heuristic joke). Like the Robinson text book, there are a lot of questions, but these somehow feel new and fresh and opened up the scriptures I was thinking of in new ways. Easy Read, Heavy On The How To’s! Pick it up.

So this is the new How To Read The Bible For All It’s Worth the way that black is the new black. There’s not a new rubric for exegeting Scripture in the book, but Strauss introduces four questions that unite the whole of Scripture thematically and yet highlight its literary distinctions. Got your attention? Good. If you are a new preacher looking for a few new questions to ask while you are doing your sermon prep. I wouldn’t call them exegetical shortcuts, but they are. I’ve not only enjoyed the book for myself, but look forward to teaching a class on the book. This is formation type content that congregations will benefit from. If you read the Fee book, this is the next phase in the evolution of how to read the Bible books. I’d recommend The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read The Bible, but I haven’t read it yet.

Of my recent homiletic/hermeneutic binge, this might be my favorite. The Preacher as Storyteller engages preaching, story and how to create story for preaching. If you have been wondering how to begin crafting illustrations that are original and captivating, look no further. This is a how to on that kind of thing. Austin Tucker, the author, has really created a helpful resource for preachers. There’s way more in this book than you could ever use. The moment I started to use some of what I learned from this book, I began to get a whole new kind of response to my sermons. This book actually turned me on to two pocket resources on famous Christians (one and two). Their stories have inspired my congregation. One member has even embarked on an Amy Carmichael reading binge as a result of using her as an illustration.

While we are on story, we ought to know how story work. But we are busy, right? So we don’t have the time to read the big McKee book or take the seminar. Well, this is the next best thing. I loved Save The Cat. I didn’t even know what Save The Cat meant when I bought the book (even though it was a pretty sure deal that I’d find out). This is a book specifically for screenwriters, but translate to all story tellers who are looking to understand and develop their sense of story: how it works, what it does and what it doesn’t do. I moved through the Kindle version, probably too quickly and will need to go back, however, it’s a very real, down to earth how to, full of tips and shortcuts (of course, there really isn’t such a thing as a shortcut, is there?). If you don’t have time to read this, then you at least need to watch Nancy Duarte’s TED talk on The Secret Structure Of Great Talks).

As a bonus, it’s not a book, but the resource that helped move my preaching from one level to the next more than any other was Shane Hipps’ talk on preaching at the Poets, Prophets and Preacher Conference. You can get the video, called “Peanuts, Beer and Letting Go” here. I promise, it’s worth every bit of it’s $9.99 price.

That’s all for now…enjoy.
Next up, the other one’s I haven’t read yet.

What am I reading right now?
What did I just finish?
What am I reading while I read those other two?
What am I re-reading?

BUT most importantly, what are you reading?

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The Streets May Not Have A Name, But They Have Music!

Content Warning

I’ve included the warning above because I’m going to blog about humanity and humanity in its current state needs a bit of a caution for readers. Humanity isn’t the squeaky clean, TV scripted version we watch between commercials. In reality, it wouldn’t play on the CW or NBC. Especially, the new show

I say that because it’s a post-technopocalypse, meaning there’s no electricity or anything of the fruit of electricity and yet everyone looks clean showered in every scene. Maybe there’s one storyline where the dude is a bit ‘day old underwear,’ but they’re all largely fresh washed. That’s not dystopian. Dystopia stinks. We read it in books. We see it on TV. We watch it on the big screen, but it’s out there in the world right now. Right now, while you are checking this out on an old Mac (or PC), thinking about the new MacPro that just came out and wondering whether this would look better on it, all hell is breaking loose in someone’s life. But it’s a world away. All we have to do is literally change the channel — or surf to another site.

This is Lebanon. Last week.

Last week a car loaded with 150 pounds of TNT exploded next to a car with a husband and a father, a son and an uncle. There were nine others who were killed. Unintended consequences of being there.

It’s easy to say, ‘Well, that’s Beirut! They’re always fighting.’ ‘Those Arabs are always trying to kill each other’ (or something equally callous) You might be saying right now, ‘You don’t understand naive blog boy!’ Yeah, we’ve read the same books, watched the same network and cable reports. We’ve listened to the same podcasts and radio shows. And we do this because we want to understand. We want to understand how something that we only experience in media can happen for real.

Here’s what I understand: Someone in Beirut painted music on these stairs. They could have painted anything, but they resorted to a Universal Medium that you and I both understand on levels so deep, it makes us relatives of the artist. When I see something like this, I can’t change the channel, I can’t surf to another website and I can’t imagine that a passive acceptance of violence anywhere, at anytime, is good.

Often times, we Christians like to say that God Is Love™. Recently, I was reminded that God’s love has teeth; God’s love is an enemy loving love (nobody trademarks sayings like that). The worst thing to do in this situation is to think that they are enemies. Whoever painted these stairs isn’t an enemy, they are a brother from another mother, a sister from another mister. They know about what goes on in my soul, because it goes on in there’s as well.

I cannot sit and watch the fiction on NBC, when Revolution is right in front of me. Real revolution. An anonmyous artist is living in a world where things explode, meanwhile, I watch a world of fiction that plays pretend in front of a camera.

This stirs my soul.
I feel it in my blood.
Apathy is unacceptable.
What story does apathy tell about us?
About you?

A long while ago, I heard a Persian professor discussing a prominent Persian poet. She said, “You mustn’t judge a country by its politicians. Judge it by its poets.” Walt Whitman wrote something similar in the preface to his Leaves of Grass, “Their Presidents shall not be their common referee so much as their poets shall.”

Someone took the time to show the soul of Lebanon on some stairs.

How do you use time to show yours?

Will you join me in praying for the me and you of the Middle East?
You know, the people who want a good life for their kids?
A life where cars don’t explode as you walk past.

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why this guy is a better preacher than you

[DISCLAIMER: He's right...this is actually better than the original. However, he is very generous in his use of obscenities to keep things, um, fluid. I did not tell him to do this, nor do I suggest that you add these colors to your sermons.]

This dude would make a heck of a preacher. I listened to this twelve minute ‘homily’ on Star Wars and was wrapped the whole time. Minutes passed like seconds, I remember the point, and could even re-tell several of his points if someone asked. What did he do?

First, he began by asking a hypothetical (“What If”) question that I have asked before. Since he asked it, I figured that he was actually going to answer it in the next 11 minutes and 50 seconds. Promising beginning.

Second, he spoke quickly and confidently…like he knew what he was talking about and like he had talked about this before. His speed and cadence gave him an air of professionalism. I imagined that if he knew what he was talking about, I was in good hands listening.

dip my finger tips in the water Third, he took a story I care a lot about, something that has a lot of problems in my mind and talked about how to make it make sense; how to make it better. He made a familiar story better. Imagine if you could take a story…like one Jesus told. One where something happens that makes little sense, like…the parable of the Lazarus and the Poor Man…and retold it in a way that was familiar, a way that made me care and agree with you.

Fourth, when it was over, I wanted to be a part of the reshoot…it’s a justice thing.

Fifth, he didn’t talk about anything else: Star Wars Episode One sucked. It did. He told me he was going to fix it and he did. He didn’t talk about Star Trek. He didn’t talk about how noodles are made. He exegeted the story and characters and then told me what he found. Watto, what a great thought! I never imagined that the Empire could have made an evil legion of Wattos. Genius.

This guy is a master of the story.
He was ready to preach the good news: Star Wars can be redeemed!

Ok, so maybe he’s not a better preacher than you are,
but these five things he does so well?
We should all know how to do them.

For some great preaching resources, which I plan to review in short order, these are along the same lines (without the vibrant linguistics).

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