How My Son Processes Spiritual Stuff

Being 17 is an awkward, life-altering, figuring out who you are time of life.  As parents we try our best to help them through these days, giving the best advice we know to give.  Yesterday was an example of one of those delicate times in the life of our 17 year old (formerly known as Nathaniel funny sometimes jerky son Nate, ). Let me explain. He was going to see a movie with some friends.  He was concerned it might sell-out before he got there, so he asked me to purchase his ticket online.  I was hurrying out the door for an event and so I quickly purchased the ticket.  This morning my accountant wife sent me this email.



I don’t know if you know but when you purchase tickets for the movie online they charge a few.  The ticket last night cost $9.50.  Don’t think they charge fee when you purchase it from kiosk.  I know he didn’t want to chance them selling out or have to stand in line, but just thought you would want to know how much those tickets costs.




I simply forwarded her email to Nathaniel so he would have it for future reference.  Here is his reply: (As the title of this post indicates, this movie ticket purchase mistake has caused him to deal with some very serious spiritual stuff.)

heeew, thanks for the heads up. Next time I’ll try and consult you guys beforehand. I’ve been thinking and praying, and I feel like God is telling me that yesterday I really just blew past a life altering decision without giving Him a chance to offer his insight. He says that my life is too short just to make every decision on the fly, and that a life that truly glorifies Him is a life that challenges me to live by the Word and see what the Bible would say about life situations. Obviously in 1 Cor 10 we are to do EVERYTHING to the glory of God, and I’m really sorry that God’s glory was sacrificed here because of the extra $1.50 we spent at the movie. I’m going to try and do so much better when it comes to online shopping because as you know I spend way too much time wanting to buy things online. This is probably the biggest struggle I’m facing right now and I just want you to be praying for me in that area. Thank you for your guidance as a parent and I
 understand if you think I should stay home the next few nights and think some more about what I’ve done. May the Word penetrate my heart and character!

Thankfully, the conviction of sin still leads to repentance.    

Wal Mart Changing its Logo…what does that mean for the rest of us?

News that Wal Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is giving itself a new image via its logo fascinates me.  From what I’ve been able to tell online the new logo isn’t much different than the last, but to logo experts, I guess it’s a pretty big deal.  The bigger deal for me is that they are changing it at all.  They remain Wal Mart.  The giant, mega-sized corporation that no one seems to be able to fully compete with doesn’t appear to need the help of a more modern symbol to represent its supremacy.  Or does it? 

The king of retail has faced challenges on numerous fronts in recent years from employee lawsuits and threats of unionizing to more challenges than ever to locating in certain areas.  Some don’t want the giant retailer in their neighborhood, and, not accustomed to being told no, Wal Mart is now losing the battle in some communities they have tried to enter.  Reports also indicate that Wal Mart hired an outside public relations firm several years ago to look at ways to improve their image among workers and consumers.  Perhaps this new logo is a product of their work. 

As a church leader, I think this teaches me more than just to be looking for a new symbol when I need bargain toilet paper (or whatever else I need).  I think it reminds me that if Wal Mart must continually evaluate things as simple as logos (really not so simple), then surely we do in the church. 

So, consider these questions: What does your organizations current logo say about you? Is it still saying what you intend it to say?  Does it adequately communicate your vision?  Is it warm, inviting and reflective of the organization you are today?  Is it time for a change?  More importantly, what about the image of your organization that your logo represents?  Could it use an overhaul?  Finally, and this is a hard question, if a fancy PR firm, the kind only Wal Mart could afford, told you that people think you stink, do you believe in success enough to humble yourself and change?   


Quotes I like from Most Admired Companies

I like these quotes and observations from Fortune Magazine’s article on America’s Most Admired Companies: (March 17, 2008) My question in reading these snipets about each company is what can the church learn from corporate America, especially successful corporate America?  You make your own conclusions, but to me some of the applications are very obvious.

Berkshire Hathaway

Said of Warren Buffet’s success: His key to turning today’s problems into tomorrow’s profits: “An absence of any regard for short-term results”


Google’s philosophy:  Google believes “what’s good for the web has always proven to be very good for Google.”

(That sounds like a Kingdom principle many churches should learn.)

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson responded to the uncertainty in the health-care markets by “narrowing their focus”.

Goldman Sachs

The company posted record profits in 2007, in a year when Wall Street was struggling to hold their own.  Reason: “Its results are a testament to its culture, and impossible-to-replicate mix of extreme aggression, deep paranoia, individual ambition, and robot-like teamwork.”


In a year when retail sales were in a slump, including at this retailer, they continued their tradition of giving away $3 million a week back to the community.


The company may be 100 years old (I had no idea), but they act much younger. They are known for their “ability to combine cutting-edge technology with its own brand of ‘human engineering’ to great effect.”


Known for being a mega-sized company ($24 billion a year), but still managing to generate new ideas each year.  William McKnight, Chairman, says, “Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative.  And it’s essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow.” The moral, according to Fortune, “Don’t tell employees how to do their jobs — let them innovate. “

I don’t know about you, but there are lessons here for me.  Thanks Fortune for a great article.

Which comment jumps out at you most from this list?

What Has Failure Taught You?

Much of the wisdom I have in life (not much, but the little I have) was learned by a mistake or hard circumstance in my life. I have learned a lot from failure and that experience has been used so many times to help others who are staring at failure. (2 Cor 1:3-7)

What are some lessons you have learned from failure? Are you allowing God to use the low points in your life to help others with their struggles?

I recently read these tips for dealing with failure in a FORTUNE Magazine article (June 9, 2008). These are worth repeating. (The article point in bold is from the article. Comments after are mine.)

1. Keep taking risks. Don’t give up just because you have failed. We all fail.

2. Don’t let the doubters get you down. Someone is always going to try and steal your joy. Many people love to kick you when you’re down.

3. Seek a purpose. We should never, ever, ever, stop dreaming. Have something to aim for and pour your best energy into it. (Obviously family and relationships should be tops on your purpose list.)

4. Visualize your next big win. Winners think like winners. Don’t let losing keep you from anticipating a big win. The mental attitude you bring to the game is 1/2 the battle.

5. Learn from your mistakes. Many people credit failure as the thing that drove them to seek more success. Failure, if you allow it to, can be your best friend by causing you to work harder, take a new risk, or go in a direction you might never have pursued.

6. Remember: Failure can be temporary. The best of the best have had tremendous times of failure. Research people like Abraham Lincoln and you’ll find many failures before they stumbled on great success.

Your road to great victory may be through failing greatly!

How I Got Hit by a Car Today

We are not in a good city for running. Most roads are too narrow and we have few sidewalks or running trails. I run down a main road near my house that does have a sidewalk. Cheryl likes that because she feels I’m safer. The problem on the main road is that cars are constantly pulling in and out of businesses along the busy stretch of road.

Today I was approaching a business entrance and a jeep was pulling out. The driver was on her cell phone but at the time couldn’t pull out because of heavy traffic. I thought we made eye contact, so I went to run in front of her. About that time an oncoming car turned on his blinker to turn into the same business entrance. When the jeep saw the blinker she took off quickly (The kind of take-off that would normally squeal tires) to pull in front of the other traffic. The only problem was that I was now in front of her car.

It all happened so fast, but basically as the car went to hit me I jumped up and towards the hood of the car. I don’t know what motivated me to do so, but had I not I would have been knocked backwards into oncoming traffic or run over by the jeep. As I landed on the hood of the jeep I obviously scared the driver half to death. She slammed on her breaks, I jumped off, stumbling to my feet and twisting my ankle, but I was able to somehow keep going.

I never stopped and neither did she. I’m sore tonight with a slight headache, but otherwise seem to be okay.

Invest, Invite, Inquire

I shared this challenge with our staff this week. I’m going to try to follow it myself.

This week try to:

Try to invest in at least one person in your ministry to help them be a better person.

Ask one person (maybe more) to join you in your work.

Try to make one network connection with someone who does what you do, does it well, has been doing it longer, and is in a place where you could grow or get better at what you do by knowing them. I usually find these type connections online. Find a like-minded church in the area and, if possible, meet these people for lunch occasionally, but this type thing works if even by email or phone.

If you choose to accept this challenge I guarantee it to change your life dramatically for the good. Just kidding, but it might help. Does me.

If Patience is a Fruit…Where’s mine?

I’m not the most patient person. In fact, I’m not very patient at all. Yesterday my patience was tested; and, for the most part…my patience failed. The trip home from DC took far longer than it should; in many ways we wasted a whole day; I got to do very little of the things I love to do in DC (It’s one of my favorite cities); and it was an expensive process.

So what did I learn? Reflecting on the experience today, as I sit calmly on my back patio, listening to the birds peacefully chirping; drinking some of the best coffee in the world; I learned that losing my patience yesterday was probably the biggest setback of the day. The inconveniences of traffic, lost wallets, and the waitress who forgot our food order making us almost late for the plane, probably were not huge deals in the scheme of my life. I have certainly had worse days. The fact that I was spending those moments with my near 17 year old son, who has a crazy summer starting tomorrow and this year enters his last year of high school and then will move away, should have been enough for me to enjoy the journey and time with him.

Hey, I’m only 44…. Who would have expected me to learn these things so soon in life? Perhaps with the grandchildren….

Moving People

I see my role as a person who moves people. Reading Ephesians 2 this morning I was reminded that I’m responsible for moving people from death to life. I understand that’s mostly referring to salvation, but I think it’s also referring to life. Sometimes I live more like a child of the world than a child of the person of God. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

So, my questions for today:

Am I “living” the full life of Christ?

Who am I helping today to move from death to life?

I think I need to be more intentional in that effort.

Next level thinking

We are at a new stage in the life of Grace Community Church. We hit the 1000 mark most every week now, but what's next. I'm not sure what got us to this 1000 people a week will get us to the next 1000. We need fresh ideas; new approaches.

Thankfully our vision and the basis of our truth stays constant.
Ron Edmondson
Grace Community Church