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Lord, Save Us Some Of That Burrito
Cover of "Lord, Save Us From Your Followe...

Cover via Amazon

Lord, Save Us Some Of That Burrito

So, you may have picked up in some of my past writings that I’m a bit of a netflix documentary junky, and I’ve gotta say that I remember well when my neighborhood video store was going out of town I came across a movie called “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers” and was intrigued, but way more interested at the time in picking up that copy of the Friday the 13th remake, plus Jason was two bucks and “Lord, Save Us…” was like 8, and I was heading to lunch afterwards, so money (and burritos) were talking. Fast forward a couple months and the Jason flick had disappointed me (and made me cry everytime I heard the directors name attached to a remake of my fave franchises) and I was flipping through Netflix looking for something to watch when the bumper sticker covered jumpsuit caught my attention again. I watched it and immediately regretted passing up what is probably in my top 5 favorite movies ever, and discovered that there were more people than just me and my Holy Burrito Crew out there trying to start conversations for the sake of Christ. Fast forward again, and one of my Burrito Brethren challenged me to try to contact the filmmaker/bumper sticker guy for an interview, since he was evidently a kindred spirit in the cause of the Burrito. I reckon it was a good idea, because shortly thereafter I was talking to Dan Merchant and gotten the interview. So, without further pontification, what follows is the interview (my first interview) and a product of one of the coolest connections I’ve made in my Ministry career.

1 – Dan, first off, HUGE thanks for being open to an interview. I think the more we can spark discussion the better off we will all be, and that’s why I love “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers” so much. I think you did an awesome job at reinforcing the theme that conversation is what’s going to get us there. So, because of that, I have to ask, where has the conversation taken you since the film released, from the tour that ensued to where you are now?

The conversations that have sprung from Lord, Save Us have been really energizing and encouraging.  My favorite examples have been when disparate groups have come together to screen the film and talk about it.  For example, an Evangelical church in LaJolla, California partnered with the LaJolla Jewish Community Center to present the film and host the Q&A afterwards and the conversation was really positive, healthy and life affirming.  Next week I’ll be at Oregon State University with the film – a guest of the Rainbow Continuum (a Pride group on campus) and Campus Crusade.  Odd partnerships unless we remember that God made us all and loves us all – then it seems pretty obvious that we can be together.  Ha.  Also, the movie has aired on religious TV and the PBS station in Seattle in recent months – two ends of the spectrum again – and the film is received warmly and does it’s thing positively provoking thoughts, questions and conversations.

2 – I’m a big fan of social media (or you could call me an addict or a nerd, whichever) and I think it’s a great resource available to us these days, do you think it’s an important part of the conversation?

I think Social Media is inevitably going to be part of the conversation going forward but it’s not my favorite thing. It does a great job of connecting/introducing people to each other without requiring too much, but the face to face “I’m talking to a real person” thing can get lost pretty quickly when we are really interacting with a screen.  It’s a very different conversation to speak directly with someone, see their expressions change, hear their voice and so on.  It’s interesting to consider that person across from you as a fellow image bearer of God – it’s more difficult to dismiss them when they’re right there in front of you.  It’s not too hard to dismiss a goofy screen name which is banging out misspelled words and using ALL CAPS and lots of !!!!!!!!! to make their points.  Ha ha.  So, I think Social Media is limited but perhaps it will evolve or we’ll figure out a way to focus on it’s strengths.

3 – One of the big things that keeps coming back around in your movie, is that people perceive Christians as the people that are pointing fingers and calling other sinners. Is there a part of the conversation where we address sin, or do we need to keep trying to get rid of the plank in our own eye first?

The way I read the Bible, it seems we all have been given our roles.  God the creator is the judge, the Holy Spirit can convict, Jesus is the reconciler and Christ gave us the job of loving one another.  Our job is assist in reflecting God’s love, living out his commandment’s for the purpose more fulling knowing him and sharing him with those who don’t yet know him.  So, that’s a pretty tall order for us without copping God’s duties or the Holy Spirit’s duties.  I believe that through relationships we create space for the Holy Spirit to work.  I love the story of the Adultering Woman where Jesus faces down the angry mob (who were “right” by the way, they had the law on their side) and he asks them, “Who here is without sin?  They may cast the first stone.”  Jesus was the only one qualified to stone the woman.  Why doesn’t he?  The mob disperses, “Where are those who condemn you?  Neither do I condemn you.”  Huh?  Wha?  If you are the woman, how do you feel right about now?  Thunderstuck, perhaps?  Loved, probably.  Only then does Jesus offer, “Go and sin no more.”  Which, in the context of this story feels like, “Honey, when you behave this way you are only hurting yourself, taking you away from God and the beautiful life he has for you.”  Then she leaves.  We don’t know what happens to her.  What does she choose?  Does she turn her life toward God?  We never find out.  But I think Jesus is giving us the blue print for how to address sin.  Stand up for the person in pain, risk your life before the self-righteous mob if necessary, refuse to judge or condemn this person, and give them a way to God.  Give them something to say “yes” to.  Give them a way out of whatever mess they’re in.  I believe when we approach difficult situations in this way we’re creating room for the Holy Spirit to show up.  Maybe we are given the right words or some certain act to do or maybe the Holy Spirit speaks only to their heart.  I don’t know.  Not my job.  I can tell you that when others have treated my with such loving kindness when I was in the midst of major screw up it absolutely helped me see how real and tangible God can be in my daily life.

4 – What do you see as the most important piece of the conversation today?

I’m not sure there is a single biggest part of the conversation today.  Certainly, the standard political hot buttons are an entry point for many but then so are the amazing outreach and relief efforts going on in the aftermath of natural disasters or whatever.  The most important part, I’d say, is that we need to be willing to have the conversation with those we are around and see what God has for us to do.  I just finished a screenplay about a church that has, in essence, adopted a struggling public high school – because they asked, ‘How can we help?’  I like that conversation.  It’s pretty tough to love our neighbors when we don’t even know them.  So the conversation is just a place to start and then see where God leads.  I see an awful lot of God matching up gifts with people who need that exact gift.  A church in a public school?  No preaching?  No tracts?  Just loving them and meeting as many needs as they can?  Yeah, that sounds like Jesus.  When it gets weird like that I tend to believe God is in the middle of it somehow.

5. Where do you see the biggest opportunity for progress in the U.S. Christian community in the coming years?

I guess I’m seeing some really encouraging movement of the church going from “a big mouth” to “the hands and feet of Christ”.  I see God appearing in the difficult complicated work that comes when we are truly willing to love our neighbors as ourselves.  More please.  This is a tough time in our country, socially and economically, and the opportunities to love and heal are as diverse as every personality reading this interview.  God needs all of us to be obedient and find the way he wants to use us to love others and make real his truth.  That’s a big opportunity for the church especially if we can realize that Sunday morning is 10 or 20 percent of who we should be as a church.  There is lots of work to be done and for so many who will never darken the door of a church this is the language that will communicate God’s truth.  Jesus said our deeds are to bear fruit – that makes sense to me.  If there is no nourishing fruit in your ministry but a lot of yelling and finger pointing then I’m probably going to have some hard questions for you.  Ha.

6. What’s been your favorite piece of feedback you have received about the project so far?

I’m just grateful, as an artist and a believer, that Lord Save Us appeals to virtually everyone.  People connect to the film on a pretty deep level because it’s about important stuff.  Even though I have some wild and light hearted ways to tell the story, people do take the subject matter seriously and seem pleased I made an effort to entertain them along the way and leave the conclusions up to them.  The feedback varies only slightly from group to group, but everyone could see it was sincere effort on my part to do a difficult thing: tell an honest and open story about this intersection know as faith and culture.  Everyone DOES have a dog in this fight and Us and Them are not the only options.  Most people, deep down, sort of like this notion of WE.  Ha ha.  So to learn that I’m not alone in this has been a great relief.  Ha.

7 – In what I can gather from watching the film a couple hundred times so far, it seems you’re a big U2 fan, what other sounds fill your soundtrack these days?

Yeah, I’m a big U2 fan.  Discovered R.E.M. right about the same time (end of high school).  Coming of age in the late 70’s, the hard rock hey day, I have a soft spot for loud guitars.  I’ve been rocking the new Van Halen disc lately, new Rush, live Tragically Hip and a live David Bowie disc from his last tour which is amazing.  Throw in a little alternative country from the Old 97’s and Kathleen Edwards and that new Black Keys disc and I think that fills up most of this weeks tunes.

8 – In the movie, you speak to Rick Santorum about a lot of the issues. Do you think he’s being authentic to those statements now that he’s been in the presidential race?

Yeah, I did receive a lot of email when Rick Santorum was winning primaries.  All I can say is that Rick struck me as a sincere guy, I believe he believes what he says he believes.  As a politician he probably thinks of things more in terms of policy than I have to.  I suppose I would err on the side of the relationship rather than winning a given issue – because regardless of the legislation it’s still a matter of God and an individual and that’s what I’m focused on.  That said, I don’t envy the way politicians have to shoe-horn their beliefs into that political paradigm.  I think Rick was also in the place of trying to differentiate himself as a candidate and so certain, very conservative positions were elevated into the conversation, given more weight than, I suspect, even he would’ve liked.  But that’s politics.  The whole deal is a man-made power structure.  I find it interesting Jesus just didn’t want to play that.  Billy Graham even expressed remorse about dabbling in “temporal issues” with political figures because that participation may have driven people away from God.  Tricky business, trying to do the right thing.  Let me also say I enjoyed visiting with Santorum quite a lot, and that a lengthy conversation (fairly represented in the film, I believe) leaves a very different impression than random sound bites hyped on the news or the odd competition that is a candidate’s debate.

9 –  What’s the hardest question you’ve been asked through this whole process, and how has it affected the way you’ve approached other questions in the conversation?.

The most difficult questions really come from truly conflicted Christians who just can’t quite wrap their heads around the idea that God made everyone, God loves them and the same deal is open to them as was to us.  Sometimes I’ll meet people who seem to feel people need to qualify for our friendship or for God’s love.  Stop doing those, don’t be that, just do this and THEN you can come in to the church or my home or receive my friendship or God’s love or whatever.  We do have a hard time trusting God.  And, at times perhaps, we don’t want to believe we’re really supposed to love one another the way he loves us.  My “proof” is that I can be right about everything WITHOUT GOD but loving the unlovable (my tribe) is something I can only attempt WITH GOD.  That seems like a pretty good clue to me.  Ha.

10.  Finally, I’ve gotta ask you – If someone were to walk up and ask you “Can God make a burrito, so big, and so spicy, that He Himself cannot eat it?” how would you respond?

Scratch that.  The hardest question I’ve been asked is your, “Can God make a burrito so big that he can’t eat it?”  Congrats Zach.  I’ve never been asked this question and I was actually getting comfortable that I’d heard all the questions.  Ha.  Hmmmm.  Yes.  God can make a burrito so big that he can’t eat it but I imagine he’d quarter it eat the massive burrito for lunch over the next few days.  I can probably back that up scripturally but you’ll have to give me a couple days…think there must be something in the Old Testament somewhere that covers this.  Ha.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions and help me further the conversation too. Any final thoughts, comments, or favorite burrito recipes?

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers – Deluxe DVD (bonus features, small group videos, music video) is available at http://www.lordsaveusthemovie.com.  The Lord, Save Us book (yes, I wrote a book) is available at amazon.com and most on-line bookstores.  The film is also on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.  Join the Lord, Save Us From Your Followers Group page on Facebook.  And you can follow me on Twitter at  LordSaveUs (I think, might be BumperstickerDan – I’m still learning – ha).

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Karis

 

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Shrimp Burritos…

Shrimp Burritos…

Mamma always said…

So this week, Ive been inspired by the greatest movie of all time, Forrest Gump. Now, I say it’s the greatest movie of all time because regardless of whether its your favorite movie or not (it’s actually not my favorite movie either, but I do love it), you at least like Forrest Gump, everybody does. Now it doesn’t hurt my opinion of it that Forrest played football for the tide either, but that’s not here nor there. The question today is all about moving forward, and looking toward the future.

Now, the way Forrest Gump inspired me, was, of course, through the immense wisdom of “Mamma”. We all know, that “Mamma always said stupid is as stupid does”, but in my own imagination, I feel like at some point “Mamma always said you gotta’ put the past behind you before you can move on.” Now, we are all faced with situations in our life that will alter the future course of your life based on the decision you make at that point. Of course, it can be good, or it can be bad, and we all make those “Bad” decisions now and again, especially in our youth years. I made a lot of those in my day. The challenge is taking the results and using them to fuel your journey in the right way. Its VERY easy to let these things push you farther down by dwelling on them, but if you take the experience, and use it as your knowledge to help others stay away from that mistake, the experience can be invaluable. YOU can be that person that someone can identify with and once someone identifies with you, they’re gonna listen to you a lot more and hear what you have to say. So make sure you tell them what has brought you to this point of your life, and what you owe to the Lord.

You probably hear the scripture all the time, but, it bears repeating for context, from 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new”. You’ve done all the hard work of screwing up in the past, but now they’re behind you, simple experience, but now you’re a new person with all the experience of forgiven sin with no work on your part whatsoever. So why aren’t we boasting in our weakness? SO next time you roll up on lieutenant Dan to give him some ice cream, let’s start handing out some burritos stuffed with the shrimp of Mamma’s wisdom and Jesus’ truth in love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Today, I will close with the scripture. It comes from Phillipians 3:13-14.

13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Karis

 

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The Chatty Burrito

The Chatty Burrito

blah, blah, blah…words, words, words…and what to do with them.

I can pontificate like no other. When I begin a good string of circumlocution it can get so sesquipedalian that even scholars stand back and question their personal vernacular and vocabularies. In my time spent in student politics I received training in virtually every method of public speaking, and I won medals for job interview, extemporaneous speaking, and all kinds of planned, delivered presentations. Right now, I’m pretty sure all you may be hearing is “HONK HONK”, but despite the rather proficiency laden intro, there is no tooting involved here. Centric to all of this, is an inquisition that I suffer privation to catechize, but first let’s go ahead and expound about the alternate side of my ability. In all of this wonderful loquaciousness, I find that the dark side is that I also have quite the sharp tongue.

It is so easy for me to come up with biting and stinging comebacks when provoked and furthermore, once I get going, I can escalate the situation quicker than that jacked up moving staircase at the mall. In Ephesians, Paul tells us that we need not tear people down, and that whatever words we may offer out, ought to be used for building up. Now, to be fully clear, this isn’t an argument against language that some consider inappropriate, between the prophets and Paul himself, it’s pretty obvious that provocative language definitely serves a purpose in our world. What I am asking, is how come it is so darn easy for us as believers to use the language we have inherited to latch onto as a tool for destruction?

Maybe you noticed, but I purposely used big honkin double word score, triple letter score, spelling bee finals type words in the first paragraph. I’d be willing to bet a couple of them frustrated you. What we tend to forget though, is that us believer folk have come up with our own language, full of wordiness, hidden meaning, and insane sounding concepts. Most people call it “Christianese”, and it’s got some real doozies. We sit around and talk about how our pastor or bible study leader really got their “exegesis” wrong on their personal view of “eschatology”. Layman translation being, we think they’ve got the wrong idea about the end times. We talk about things like “conversion” and “emergent churches” and all the “heresies” involved when people don’t believe like we do. How much of that allows us to connect to the dude down the street that only knows that those Christian people worship a guy named Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God and was born on Christmas, died on Good Friday, and then went all zombie and roamed around undead come Easter?

Then there’s the stuff within the church, like the folks that think that modern language translations are wrong, and the only true word of God was translated between the years of 1604 and 1611. So all you folks that don’t understand that word order, ya’ll got no hope either, because thou knowest truly Christ spake in such manner in territories unto Caesar of Rome, and yea I speaketh in such manner today. What? There’s no sarcasm there. People really do speak like that today…in time period amusement parks. So, words are pretty important really.

In teaching leadership, one of the workshops I have constantly led is on having a conversation, and in the presentation, I tell a ridiculous story, with wild imagery, and then pick volunteers from the group to retell what they just heard. What ensues is always a quite funny and unique experience as different folks have picked up on different pieces of the story, and inevitably, little details get left out by the person retelling, but others in the crowd almost never let them go as they chime in and contribute to ensure the accurate retelling. Why can’t our Faith be like that? Why can’t all of our conversations be like that?

So, to wrap this all up in a burrito to bite down on, we’ve got to step back and look at how overly serious we take language. We need to stop from taking language so lightly too. Most of all though, we need to ask questions of each other, and in community, ensure the answers are given. We need to use those words to start a conversation.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Karis

 

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The Fugitive Burrito

The Fugitive Burrito

So, why are you running away?

Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. In the church that I am a member of, we believe in the call to Ministry for all, which means, wherever you are, whoever you are, God has a plan for you to minister in some shape or form, He has a plan for you! Maybe, you’re a preacher, maybe you’re a musician, maybe you’re a sports star, or maybe you’re a volunteer to take care of “the least of these” type folks. Regardless of what that looks like, it’s a ministry.

This can be a scary thing, of course, to know that you have a job to do for God. I mean, come on, not too many bosses out there that could be that intimidating right? I mean it’d probably feel better to hear The Donald say “You’re Fired” then if we were to hear the Good Lord say that right? Well, here’s the thing, He will not fire you, but as a famous story in the Bible tells us, if He calls you, and you run from His call, He will find you.

God told a guy named Jonah, to go to Nineveh and tell them about God. Jonah was nervous and afraid, so he ran in the other direction from God to a place called Joppa and jumped on a boat to head towards Spain. Next thing Jonah knows, he’s being woken up by all the other folks on the boat. They’re in a complete panic and fearing for their lives because the boat is doing all kinds of rocking and tossing in a huge storm. Jonah realizes that this is God’s way of showing that He isn’t all too happy with Jonah since he decided to run. Jonah still isn’t too keen on the idea of going to Nineveh, because that place isn’t exactly known as a hospitable place for followers of Yahweh, so he tells the folks on the boat to just go ahead and toss him in the ocean to save themselves from the wrath that is really just intended for him. So splash and sink arrives and all of a sudden he’s in the belly of a big ole fish, of course Jonah now realizes that this whole running from God thing probably isn’t gonna work out too well for him, so he prayed to the Lord and told Him he would follow His command. Immediately, the fish spit Jonah out, and he high-tailed it to Nineveh.

I can’t personally say that I know of too many folks that have hung out in the belly of a fish or been chased by a huge rainstorm these days, but I do know plenty of people that run from God’s calling on their lives. Maybe they’re afraid of rejection, or feel they’re not educated enough, or whatever the case may be. A lot of people, when faced with adversity, are fully content with sitting down and just praying and telling, if not just asking, God to take care of it. A lot of these same folks get discouraged when nothing ever comes of these prayers and they continue to watch bad things happen all around them. I’d be willing to wager that after asking God why He won’t fix it or do something about it, if they would take a couple minutes to listen to His reply, they’d be surprised to hear Him saying something to the effect of “I DID do something. I made you!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely think we should ALWAYS start with prayer, and not just a brief little blip, but true, honest, earnest prayer and meditation, but if we look at the world around us and see things that are wrong, we should ask God to fix it THROUGH us, not just FOR us. We need to reach a point where we can become the answer to our own prayers, because chances are, if this thing is truly laid on our heart that much, He probably put it there for us. So, what’s the question I’m asking today? I guess, that’d be “Should we really expect God to do it for us?” Moral of the story? God has assigned you a job, He may or may not have told you yet, but when He does, It would probably be a good idea to start heading towards your Nineveh.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Karis

 

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The Soapbox Burrito

The Soapbox Burrito

I jump up on the soapbox this week. Comments/Feedback appreciated!

So, I’ve been active with my Ministry for about three years now. One thing I’ve learned through it all, is that there are so many divisions among us that it gets to be quite the minefield as you encounter other folks in Ministry. I’ve been called every name in the book as far as my approach and my basis goes. Heretic, liar, pervert, candy coated preacher, and then they start getting mean. In my question today, I guess I want to ask why we feel it necessary to do these kinds of things?

The most common question I get asked is why I don’t talk about sin enough. I guess when it comes down to it, I see my goal as a person involved in Ministry, is to follow “The Great Commission” and my goal as a Christian is to be like Christ to as many people as I can, as best I can. The term Christian translates to “little Christ” so I reckon that’s what we should aspire to if we decide to take on that label. So, let me go ahead and clear a few things up so we don’t get confused or agitated as I move forward: Sin is real, Satan is real, Hell is real, and without Jesus all three are what will consume us both now and in the ultimate end. Are we good with that? Great, now, here’s where my approach comes in, when it comes to sin, we’re ALL guilty. Yep, don’t care who you are, that is unless the big guy Himself is reading, you’re all just as guilty as I am, and vice-versa. Jesus broke it down pretty simple for me when He said that whole thing about not worrying about the speck in my brother’s eye, when I’ve got a plank in mine. I see my job as showing people that they are loved, regardless of the fact that they’re broken and imperfect, I am too, and it’s all because He loved us first.

It boggles my mind how so often we point out each others flaws so quickly before we can own up to our own. It seems to me that our greatest weapon in showing people that they can get on the same boat we are is that whole “boast in my weakness” thing, because if people know how broken you are, and you still feel good about your salvation, that’s awful enticing. I know Jesus points out in Matthew 18 that if a person keeps on sinning we should go to em in groups and so forth and end up “treating them like a tax collector”, but if you know anything about Matthew, you know, the guy that recorded that whole talk in the book, which is why it’s attributed to him, his name used to be Levi, and his vocation prior to hanging out with Jesus was tax collector. Seems to me that between Levi/Matthew and Zacchaeus, we’ve got a pretty good example that Jesus treated tax collectors pretty well when it all comes down to it. So, let me repent of my pride, and go ahead and let you know that this kind of thing really gets me going, and quite often leads to prideful/vindictive thoughts of taking these people who use this “point out the flaws” method down a few pegs. I’m only human, and sin is what we do, but thank God, He sent His only begotten Son to die on that cross, so I, and you, and you, and you can all be forgiven of those sins.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Karis

 

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The Dilapidated Burrito

The Dilapidated Burrito

I’ve been reading a lot of psalms lately, and recently stumbled across Psalm 89 while winding down from my weekly meeting with my Burrito Brethren. In Psalm 89 the author is actually questioning God. How crazy is that? It’s IN the Bible. I should point out though, that in the questions, the author never uses an accusatory tone, he even Praises God for all he has given throughout the psalm, but he still has some questions. What he is speaking about is that he knows certain things. He knows that God promised David that his line would carry on the throne of Israel forever, and he knows that God is always with them, loves them, and never breaks a promise. What we see from the recount here, as well as in stories leading up to the exile, is that the family of David has broken the promise. They have strayed from the teachings of God and the promises they made him in exchange for the continuation of their line and the author of this Psalm wants to know how long they must suffer in the meantime.

The Psalm switches from the voice of the author to the voice of God himself, and in it we see that God is upset that he has had to take these things from his chosen people, but he knows they will prosper in the end. He will never leave them, but they have to grow and realize their shortcomings from the error of their ways. If we keep reading on through the rest of the Bible, we know that the line of David does eventually lead to the final and ULTIMATE king, Jesus Christ, but the Israelites in this period don’t know that. They are asking how long they will have to endure this exile and hardship, and when glory will be restored to the line of David, because in the case of some of the people in this time period, suffering is all they know. If you look around you, how many people are like that today?

There are a lot of people in today’s world that only know suffering, even this many years after Jesus died on the cross to save us, heal us, and make us whole again. That doesn’t sound right does it? We’re not in exile anymore. The saving action has already taken place, so why are people not safe? I know that I said this in my last post, but I’ve got to touch it again. Jesus Himself taught us to pray that God’s will might be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We’ve got a lot of repair to do if people are still suffering today, and we shouldn’t be surprised when we hear groanings and grumblings of people questioning God as to how long they have to suffer.

In the Psalm it speaks of how David built a house for God (the temple), but in turn God built a house for the family of David, not physical house by any means however, it’s a dynasty of sorts, that will last forever. Unfortunately, the tenants of that house have allowed it to fall into disrepair here. Thus, the exile and all of the struggle these people are facing. Have we neglected our house and watched the boards rot, the foundations crack, and the walls peel? That house nowadays is the church of course, and one of my favorite sayings is to the effect of “calling a building the church is like calling ourselves two by fours”, so what do we need to do to get the church looking pretty again?

I’ve got some friends that work in construction and some friends that work in some of those big box home repair type stores, and all of them will tell you that simple maintenance could have kept the house in good shape, but now that it’s in such disrepair we’ve got a lot of action to do. Some commercials talk about saving your weekend by taking care of home repair jobs quickly, but I think we might just be able to save more than our weekend if we go after these repair jobs everyday. To add to all that, let’s not forget that a Burrito is a messy thing when it falls apart, so let’s try to keep it wrapped up tight too.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Karis

 

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A Big Hairy Frog Burrito

A Big Hairy Frog Burrito

So here you are, it’s the day after “one of those days”. You are beyond tired, you still have the lingerings of that stress headache, and not everything is quite resolved yet. The easy route would be to sit there, do nothing, and veg out. The best route, however, would be to jump up, get ready for the day, and “Eat that frog”. Now, right now you’re probably thinking I’m advocating some sort of culinary adventure, or that I am just plain nuts. While culinary adventures are quite therapeutic, and can give you that “high” that thrill seekers are all about, what I’m really referring to an old proverb that says “If the first thing you do, when you wake up in the morning, is eat a frog, nothing worse can happen to you the rest of the day.” Its expounded upon pretty well in one of my favorite leadership books, “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy, and its a short read, so if you’re looking for some quick inspiration and development, check it out.

  It’s a pretty radical concept, and one that goes against the grain of everything we are naturally programmed for. We want the easy way, we want the path of least resistance, but what I’m suggesting is getting up and tackling the biggest thing you have in front of you that day, first thing. While eating a real frog may be slightly more tempting than taking on that “big thing”, I’m fairly sure the residual effects will be much better.

Now, I know that you’re thinking right now, “Where does God come into play here?” That’s simple, if you’re recovering from “one of those days” and you choose to talk to God about it, he will show you which way to go. You will KNOW, what your “frog” is for that day. From there, it’s your choice if you want to eat it or not. The next step from there is seeing if we can’t make these frogs any bigger, and maybe even hairy.

When I was still in retail leadership with some of my Holy Burrito Crew friends, we loved to throw around the term “beehag”, which was actually the acronym B.H.A.G. and came from a book called “Built To Last” that was pretty popular in the business leadership world in the 90s and early aughts. The acronym stands for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” and was typically meant as something we would give each other and our subordinates to challenge and develop them. Since boiling down all the leadership I’ve lived over the past couple decades and digesting it into who I am as a whole, I’ve come to realize that BHAGs are something that we should probably be putting in front of each other as members of the Body of Christ. The only way for us to grow and keep a momentum is to keep challenging each other to do more and live better. 

Now, don’t take that as a reason to call people out on stuff by any means, what I want to know here, is how do we continue to invite people into the fold to do what Jesus taught us when he taught us to pray the line “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven.” How often do we just kind of glaze over that part of the prayer these days? Shouldn’t we be trying to show people the awesome love and community that Heaven is all about? Shouldn’t we be trying to remove the hell’s that exist on this earth and replace them with Heavens? I think that’s a pretty audacious goal, and the process of getting there is definitely big and hairy, and more than likely entails doing the kind of stuff that isn’t easy to do when we wake up first thing in the morning.

So what’s your frog today? Is it big and hairy and audacious? Maybe it’s something as simple as walking across the street and chatting up that neighbor that you haven’t spoken to in years, or maybe it’s jumping on a plane to a third world style country to start digging wells and feeding the hungry to love those that the rest of the world may have forgotten, but either way, I bet it’s going to bring a little more Heaven down to this earth so that His will might be done.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic traditon, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Karis

 

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