#teamplank

             Bryan Callen & Hunter Maats

             Bryan Callen & Hunter Maats

For years I've listened to the Podcast The Bryan Callen Show which features comedian and actor Bryan Callen along with his co-host Hunter Maats. It is an intellectual playground grounded by the broad life experiences of both men as well as a constant desire to increase their knowledge. I truly admire both men for their unique talents and perceptions. They have taught and exposed me to much. 

They have had Quantum Physicists, renowned authors on numerous academic subjects, professors and bankers who have serviced financial institutions throughout the world (Bryan's Dad and my favorite guest). They compliment them in a sense with Adult Entertainment Professionals, Drug Kingpins and former Gang Leaders . Yes. You read that correctly. They also bring on staunch Atheists like Lawrence Krauss who believe teaching children religious doctrine should be equated to child abuse

While I personally gravitate to a specific type of guest I find it part of my personal reconfirmation of my faith and my own understanding to give each guest their just due and listen. This is regardless of the difficulty in the perspective of such guests as Mr. Krauss and advocates of the Adult Entertainment Industry. The great majority of the time listening has led to a greater understanding of many things internally speaking and has never once caused me harm of any kind.

I know neither Hunter nor Bryan are Christians so I had to take a step back on a recent article Hunter wrote about comparing Jesus to Neuroscientist Sam Harris and challenging the reader as to whether or not Jesus understood the brain better than the PhD educated current darling of the scientific community.  

The article is not short and no Hunter won't be seen in a Pew Near You anytime soon but I was truly taken aback by his embodiment of the Gospel despite him not being a Christian. He accurately quotes and represents the content of the words in Red and what Jesus has been trying to tell Christians for millennia. He talks of his transformation and going from being blind to being able to see. To understanding his own shortcomings and ensuring they get the proper acknowledgement.  

While many of my fellow Christians, myself included I have to admit, when unchecked become litigious, static and check-the-box focused when we do so we miss the opportunity to truly grow into the person God has set forth. If a person who is not a Christian can see the truth in not just Jesus' words but what they mean we need to do...why can't we? Why can we not be humble and internally focused members of #teamplank?

Here is a link to his piece.   

Full of It

I'm full of it and so are you.

The million dollar question is what that is...  

I want to thank God and David Bozeman for helping me begin to see this in a clearer manner over the last day or so. In our February Six-Sided Men event on Saturday David made a correlation to a cup being "empty". However, he pointed out that while it may seem empty it's not. The cup is always filled with something.  

I wondered what it would look like to see what I was made of during that entire day displayed in a clear bottle with ingredients listed for the world to see. Fear 25%... Anger 15%... Pride 35%... Love 10%. What was I full of yesterday? Who would be lining up to take a drink?  

We like to focus on Sin in regards to being definitive. Murder, stealing or some other action. Those actions aren't the disease they're symptoms of a greater issue. They showcase what fills our hearts and minds. What are we filled with and how do we go out into the world to show it off. 

The Good News and the bad news are the same. We can trust in God and let the Fruits of the Spirit be our ingredients or not. It's always been my favorite verse because of the last sentence... Against such things there is no law. We have the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us or take the wheel ourselves.  Nothing is truly in the way of it.  

We have to make that choice every second of every day. The picture above is from a note I created and stuck in our shower. I want and need to remind myself to set that tone first thing everyday. I know what I'm capable of being full of and I know what I want to be full of.  I can do both types quite well.  

What are you full of? What do you want to be?

Sean M.
Member, Six-Sided Men

Balance or Blend?

Have you ever had writer’s block? Like the kind where you know what you want to say, then you don’t, then when you think you have it, it’s gone, like you never had it? Maybe it came to you, but once you started typing it, the website kept crashing and not autosaving your work…yeah, that was me this time. I told Sean two Fridays ago that I would take the blog post for the week because “I had something to say.” I didn’t really…well, I did, but not sure what, and I was taking the opportunity to give Sean a break. 

Now, here I am, nine days later, and I finally have something to say. Life has been so busy, that I have not had time to spend on the blog. I have a balance issue, and I am not talking about stumbling around and falling down. I mean balancing all the things I am involved in between family, church, baseball, and work. It is exhausting thinking about it sometimes. But I am blessed. I enjoy all these things, and there are people I deeply care about in each piece of my pie of life. 

It wasn’t until this past week that I heard something that started my thought process and led me to this point. Kandy and I attended an evangelical event Wednesday night. Yes, I said evangelical.  I have a man crush on this pastor from Montana named Levi Lusko. He and his wife Jennie pastor a multi-site church, named Fresh Life Church, there, and they also conduct these outreach and gospel message events called the O2 Experience. Grace Church in Humble hosted one of their events this past week. The O2 Experience is geared toward teenagers, and the pastoring couple discusses topics like Life, Death, Sex, and Romance. The Life and Death is the evangelical portion, and the other encourages abstinence and a biblical view of sex. 

I’ll be honest. I didn’t go because I need a Life and Death sermon (dead to sin and alive in Christ – If you haven’t figured that out yet), and I didn’t go to learn how to practice abstinence because I have been happily married for fourteen years and 361 days. I went because I had an opportunity to listen to one of the greatest preacher/pastor/Gospel message throwers that you can find. I even paid an extra $20 per person and attended the “more intimate” leadership Q&A before the main event. 

It. Was. Awesome. 

Kandy and I were in a small room with Levi and Jennie, and about 30 other people. They discussed church planting, church leadership, birthing and growing ministries, and other topics. I took notes, as usual, and heard something that I wish I’d heard many years ago. 

“Balance is a bad word.”
— Jennie Lusko

You see, balance means you have to sometimes add something or take something away in order to even out. Levi and Jennie were answering a question about church planting, and family life, and how they make it all work. Someone asked how they “balance” it all out. Her answer was simple, you can’t. She encouraged to find more of a “blend”. 

A blend? Are you serious? This sounds so much easier than balance. But is it?

Blend is good. When I was at basic training, we only had a few minutes to eat our cafeteria meals, so I found myself just mixing it all up on my plate. You know the plates I am talking about – the ones that separate everything and show even portions of everything. I didn’t have the time to examine, enjoy, and document each dish the cooks prepared because if I had done so, I may not have finished my meal. So, I would pile it all up and eat it as one dish. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not so much. 

Are you confused here? How do we blend everything together that we do, so that we can remain sane, likeable, and still enjoy life? How can we be Christians and friends with our other church members? How can we be social, and engage in activities outside church? How can we go to work, and participate in water cooler talk? How do we coach or dive in to further involvement in sports leagues where people (dads) get way too involved and relive their twelve year old glory days through their seven year old son?

Simple…Be the Church. Let Christ be the center of everything you do. This sounds cliché, but you must be the same person, all the time, everywhere you go, in everything you do. Put Christ at the center.

The blend was described as a wheel with Christ as the hub rather than balance with a scale that usually tips to one side or the other. With this hub as Christ, all the things you do, the things your family does, and the things you are involved in and actively participate in are the spokes of the wheel. Oddly enough, spokes balance a wheel. If you keep Christ at the center, and all your spokes connect to him, then you find balance. 

Remember, Christ died for you and me. All the sins of the world couldn’t outweigh Christ as he hung on the cross. He commanded his spirit to Heaven, not the weight of the sin. Nothing is too heavy for Christ, and therefore needs not counterweight to balance. If you keep Christ at the center, and be the same in everything you do, then you will achieve the blend that is much easier than balance. By doing these things, you will also be a reflection of Christ in everything you do.

One more thing to remember – God gives us grace in pursuing what we are called to do. Don’t fret over imbalance. He is constantly placing people and things in our life to aid in achieving our calling. If we fail, miss an opportunity, or just turn one down because we are overworked or imbalanced, He meets us with Grace.

David Bozeman
Member, Six-Sided Man