Saturday, November 19, 2005

Project New Year

The year is almost over. Hard to believe that the human race has made it to the threshold of 2006. Soon, people will be mulling over prospects for New Year's resolutions. Deciding whether or not to commit to lose weight, stop smoking, go back to school, or have a baby. Some will resolve to go in a new direction, while others will undertake a new project.

I know a guy who gets excited about new projects. He's like me in that way. But one thing is very different between the two of us: When he wants to add something to his schedule, his wife asks him, "So what are you going to be replacing?" That's right, if he wants to put something IN, he's gotta take something OUT.

I like that. Imagine how our lives would look if we did that. We'd never be excessively busy again. And only that which was most important would make the cut.

I was thinking about that the other day when I realized that, after ten years and three months of teaching through the New Testament on Sunday mornings, I am going to be finished just before New Year's. Of course, come January 1st, the journey will start again. The NEW project will simply be the OLD project starting over again. That'll be a pleasure, and will always be a top priority for me.

But other, less necessary projects have taken priority and made my life overly busy. Stressfully busy. Needlessly busy.

Fortunately, it worked out that - in the identical time frame - I will be finishing my year-long "History and Future of the World" study.

If ever there was a perfect time to change my schedule, this was it. And so I did. "New year, new schedule" I concluded.

I have come to the realization that I don't want to be so busy with non-essentials that I live from deadline to deadline. I want to be able to lead worship more. I want to be able to finish my wife's bathroom remodel. I want to have the freedom to have lunch with people in the church without thinking, "this is costing me an hour I can't afford." I want to feel free to get new vision without being afraid of the time a new vision will consume.

Wanting to be a better pastor and a better person is, unfortunately, going to mean teaching a little less. But it is time. New year, new schedule, a new leaf turned over. (I've never understood what "turning over a new leaf" means. But it seemed to work quite poetically there.)

So, I am moving my Old Testament study to Sunday nights. No longer will I be held captive to a Thursday deadline, telling me I'm woefully behind as soon as each Tuesday starts my week. Many of the countless hours previously spent researching facts for "History & Future" will soon be devoted to New and Old Testament Bible Study, as well as prayer, marvelous prayer... listening for God's heart to share it with God's people.

The extra few flexible hours I gain each week will be devoted to priorities formerly neglected: things like relationships, ministry, music, and vision.

I can hardly wait for 2006 to arrive. And if my friend's wife asks me, "So, what are you going to be replacing?" I know how I'll respond: "Just enough... And even a little more."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Regarding Hair And Commercials

The problem with having a blog, of course, is that the people who begin reading it then expect you to write in it on a fairly regular basis. However, while Sunday is a deadline which never moves, more flexible demands continually cry out to be postponed. But considering that I haven't written anything in about three weeks, I figured I'd throw the faithful readers a bone.

I hope you appreciate this. After all, in a desperate attempt to finish tonight's study in Isaiah, I didn't run at the gym today. And yesterday, test-printing CD covers turned into a five-hour, time-eating session that prevented me from weightlifting. But I'll be back on track again tomorrow (figuratively speaking. Literally speaking, I'll be back on treadmill tomorrow).

Speaking of the gym, I usually make fun of the fact that some ladies put on makeup, jewelry, and do their hair before going to the health club in the morning. I figure, if you're gonna sweat, what's the point? And if you're not going there to sweat, then I again ask, "What's the point?"

Me, I just put some water on my hair and encourage my orange locks to point in any direction but up. Usually, they are willing to accept this compromise. In the rare instance they prove stubborn, my head is sentenced to a few seconds under the faucet. That variation of the Chinese water torture always does the trick.

So, that's really about all I have time to write today. If you're looking for something on the internet to read, check out my new "News of Interest" page, or the Christmas CD that I finally finished. Both can be found on the Calvary Chapel Cheyenne website.

Sorry to sound like a commercial. We certainly get enough of those, and none of us wants any more of them. Please accept my apologies. They are sincere, especially when you consider the fact that I really do have a deep hatred for commercials. Except when they make me buy something. Like when I saw the commercial for Hulk:Ultimate Destruction. That didn't just make me buy the game. It made me buy the XBox to play the game. People like me are why commercials continue to be aired.

On the other hand, there are some commercials that make me angry. For example, the commercial I DESPISE more than any other currently on the air is the guy who brags that his Liqui-Gels "have REAL liquid" in them.

REAL liquid! Gosh, what will they think of next?

Forgive me if I sound a little harsh, but come on...

"Liquid: any substance having a consistency like that of water or oil, i.e., flowing freely but of constant volume." How does this cure my cold or relieve my headache? Or are the product's competitors producing liqui-gels with FAKE liquid in them? "Hey Martha... I just cracked open one of these liqui-gels, and found only gasses and solids... not a drop of liquid!"

Alright, so maybe I had a little extra time to vent. If I've given you a headache, I'm not going to try and sell you on any product. I'll simply recommend a nice nap. And if it messes up your hair, well, I've already covered that too.