Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top nine of oh nine (that i can remember)

1. Polar Plunge
Who doesn’t want to start the new year by jumping into Lake Michigan amid snow, 20mph winds, floating ice, and lake ice bergs.

2. 10 year anniversary in Lake Geneva
Vicky and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on June 5, 2009 with a small vacation in Lake Geneva. We enjoyed finding turtles, eating pizza, and big jacuzzi tubs.

3. 2009 Leadership summit
Wow. This was a great opportunity to spend time with our team from Veritas and hear some excellent teachings. The standouts were Wes Stafford, President of Compassion international, sharing his story of God using his pain to end suffering for children around the world. Also Tim Keller’s teaching on the story of the Prodigal Son was epic and life changing.

4. Berkley Community Church 90th
The church my Great Grandfather started in 1919 celebrated its 90th anniversary. I wasn’t able to attend any of the festivities but for me this was of the greatest highlights of the past year. I will do everything in my power to be there for the 100th anniversary. I can’t believe Caleb will be 12, ugh. I’ll be 41 UGH.

5. BVNA leadership Conference
This was a leadership conference hosted by the Bay View Neighborhood Association. It had good content and God used this event to speak to me about the future of Veritas more than any other thing this year. Main take away-Use your strengths to address your weaknesses. This changed the game for our church.

6. Caleb being potty trained
Four days of the Wilson Family Potty Training Boot Camp and he mostly got it. He is doing well with the process. I am so incredibly proud of my boy. He taught me so much in four days of us forcing a new behavior on him. He adapted well with much suffering but he got through it and is better on the other end. I have so much to learn from him.

7. Chill on the Hill family night
I was so proud of our people on this night. We had frogs, elephants and an incredible Ark all built and dreamt up by our people. LOVED IT

8. Veritas first baptisms
EPIC. It was such a joy to do our first baptisms as a church on July 26th at South Shore Park. We will always do them outside. I loved it. The stories of lives redeemed never gets old.

9. I got a hobby
I finally got a hobby. I spent much time down on the shores of Lake Michigan this year. While I was there I started collecting Sea Glass. This is glass that has been tumbled and worn down by the waves and rocks of the lake. Its fun but it makes it on the list because of what God has taught me through this hobby. Every time I needed to hear from God this year he spoke through this medium. Also it helped with making some cheap Christmas presents.

Honorable Mention
Seeing Matisyahu, No Doubt, and Paramore in one night at Summerfest for $8.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas, placentas, and evergreens.

I am into Christmas more than I have been in years. I usually don’t get into it. If I had my way I wouldn’t put up a tree, stockings, or lights. Well, maybe a few lights but thats it. I would still watch Elf just because its hilarious. I haven’t gotten into the whole Christmas buzz in a while. For the past couple years there has been some big things going on in life through the holidays. So the stress has kinda outweighed the joy.

This year though I am finding myself in awe of it all. I’m looking at this story of Jesus and his birth and just laughing. I am choosing to be more conscious about the story I’m listening to.

I was asked to teach about a movement called the Advent Conspiracy. It is a movement within the Church to not spend as much during the holidays but then to give more away and worship God more throughout the season. The main thing I came away from that teaching with was to be conscious of what story I’m listening to this season.

There is one story that is told to us by the marketers, other consumers, and massive corporations. This is the story being told to us that says that the house has to be decorated, cards need to get out, presents need to be bought, that we need to be busy and get caught up in the buzz that surrounds the season.

There is another story. This story is not glamorous. This story is about God becoming human. This is an excerpt from the teaching I did about the Advent Conspiracy: “The first breathe that filled Jesus’ lungs was filled with the particulate of manure and straw. He was born in a place that most moms today would make sure to bathe their kids in Purell after leaving. Through the contractions, screams, breathing, and pushing of young girl named Mary Jesus entered into this world in a way that showed a solidarity to the poor and the left out. The first announcement of the messiah, the person that would be the culmination of all that the bible was and is, was told to Shepherds. I know you have heard this before.

God entered this world just like you and I. His entrance involved screaming, pushing, blood, amniotic fluid, and placentas falling to the floor. The cord that he drew the foundations of his human existence from had to be cut. It was gritty, real, and messy. No one puts that scene on a Christmas card. It looked nothing like the nativity scene that was on my grandparents mantle with the slightly chipped orange lightbulb sticking through the back wall of the stable.

Then the first record we have of visitors to this scene are shepherds. Really God? You send the culmination of your plan for the redemption of humanity and you tell shepherds? You couldn’t come up with a better plan? Shepherds? I know when we had our child some of the last people I would choose to be around my newborn would be grimy, dirty, smelly strangers. Imagine this group of very rough around the edge guys who smell like they have been sitting in a field around a fire hanging out with animals (because they had been) knocking on your door, without warning, as your wife is nursing your newborn son. They say that angels told them to come here and see your kid. Then because angles talking to people about this kid seems normal at this point you let them in.

Christmas isn’t about what the marketers tell us it is about. Jesus was crammed into the middle of a bunch of pagan festivals and traditions surrounding the winter solstice. The Jesus story does not have anything to do with what Christmas is about because it never was until someone from the church crammed him into the middle of mistletoe, evergreens, and presents. The birth of the messiah. The birth of the culmination of everything the story of God is about has nothing to do with evergreens with lights and tinsel. It has to do with God coming for the not so good. God intimately involving the grimy, dirty, and smelly into his story. It is about God breathing my air so I could one day breathe his. It is the opening sequence of the last installment of the trilogy. Its the beginning of our story. Its about God becoming man so we could be his children.