Sunday, January 31, 2010

Anthem Song Writing Retreat

Here's a video from our Anthem song writing retreat that James P threw together. It's the footage of our "play time"- we actually did some work. We made good progress on 7 songs (that makes 10 total) for an album we're planning to record this spring. The track you'll hear is one we worked on this weekend- "Good Life" by Ryan and Clint. It's one of my faves.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This is probably a post you'd expect a middle schooler to write.

But it's really about parenting in a non-King James English world and the quandary Christian parents find themselves in.

My kids are memorizing Exodus 20 in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. It's a long story why they're doing it in the KJV, but that's not the point of this.

Leatha was going through it with the kids when I heard from the kitchen, "You shall not covet your neighbor's...ass." It's a natural reflex to laugh when you hear that from your 7 year old child. But I quickly got my composure and decided to interrupt the verse with a conversation about this vocabulary word "ass."

"What's an ass?" I asked.
"I don't know." Cameron said.
"It's a donkey, but in our day, it... [cut off by Leatha]"
"It's a donkey" Leatha interjected.

I pressed the issue because our homeschool kids need to know what they might be missing on the playground.

"It's a word that's inappropriate for kids," I said. "It's a mean word to call somebody."
Cameron jumped in, "Yeah, it would be bad to call someone a donkey because donkeys are kind of stupid."

Leatha clarified that it's also an inappropriate word for adults, too.

Well, I wouldn't say it that strongly.

If there's one word I would take off the Christian contraband list, this would be the one. It's such a handy and versatile word. (I've already written briefly on this topic- click here)

We should never do something stupid, and yet we all do. What's wrong with referring to yourself as a stupid donkey every once in awhile? Sometimes other people are stupid donkeys, too.

You tend to see a lot of them in traffic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Iowa State Daily writes about IA City...

Check out this article (click here) on the front page of the Iowa State Daily newspaper.

Torey, thanks for your willingness and desire to do the story- you really did a great job! It was accurate, informative, and well written.

I hope ISU doesn't take it too hard, losing 50 Cyclones to the Hawkeyes...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Conversation with Beck

Beck: "I don't want to go to Iowa City."
Leatha: "Why not?"
Beck: "I don't want to learn Mexican."
Leatha: "Mexican? What do you speak now?"
Beck: "I speak White. Trey [Nesbitt] doesn't speak English, he speaks White. He's black, but not that black."
Leatha: "Beck, you and Trey speak English."
Beck: "I guess I could learn Mexican."

For some context: I think Beck is troubled by stories of his aunt and uncle, who are currently in Central Asia and in the arduous process of learning another language. Turkish, Mexican, English... to him are all foreign languages you have to learn when you go to another place to tell people about Jesus.

He prefers his native tongue...White.

But for the sake of the Mission, he's now open to learning Mexican.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Dreaded Call

It happens to all of us, but especially pastors in college towns.

It was my day off when I got The Call, "Hey, Mark, this is ____. I was supposed to have a bunch of guys helping me move today, but they all bailed on me..."

I texted all my pastor friends who also had the day off just to make them join my dilemma. I was all set to play ball and get some much needed exercise when The Call came.

I knew what I had to do. After all, I'm supposed to be a professional servant. "Sure, I'll be there."

Why do I broadcast this story of my good deed? Self-righteous boasting?


But it got me thinking about a couple things.

First of all, I've had many conversations with people wondering, "How do I know I'm called to go to Iowa City?" When Christians think of The Call, they think of God calling them to some sort of occupation or location. Like the call to be a missionary, youth pastor, worship leader, lead pastor, engineer, or ____. Or the call to go to Africa, Asia, or Iowa City. But I've found that God's call is most often not to an occupation or location, but to love and serve people right now.

The Call is most often a literal call from someone saying, "Hey, I need some help."

It's not always someone who needs help moving. That's easy to help with. It may be someone who needs someone to walk with them through their loneliness, brokenness, bitterness, hatred, lust, anger, or greed.

Those that are going to Iowa City are receiving The Call. Not just the call to go. But the call to love and serve lost (and found...) people. As we live out the way of Jesus, it will be compelling. It's the Church, the hope of the world.

But the second- and primary- reason I tell this story is because you may be getting the same dreaded call from me sometime late May..."Hey this is Mark. Some of our friends bailed and we need your help moving..."

It will probably be on your day off. You probably won't want to help.

Please say "Yes."