Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Boy....

So today, my eldest son turns 20 years old.  Yep, it has been two decades since MacKieson Royal McCallum said "Hey!" to the world... aaaaannnnnd he pretty much hasn't stopped talking ever since.

The world calls him by many names.  MacKieson, Mac, Big Mac, Mac & Cheese, Kisu, and even MacKenzie (if you are hard of hearing).  If you are family, it's usually Kieson, but if you are his grandmother, MacKieson is the rule.  As for me, his father, it's usually Bud or Buddy.  And for Jesus, well, He gets to call my boy "chosen" (1 Peter 2:9).

Rarely does a week pass that my Buddy and I are not compared to one another.  People - complete strangers mind you - will see the two of us together; do that 'head tilted to the side' thing; and curiously say with pointed fingers, "is that your dad?" or "is he your son?"  Lately, even when Kieson and I are not out and about together, I will still have people say to me, "Don't I know you from somewhere... have we met before?" My reply calms their curiosity as I ask, "Do you know a guy named Kieson?  That's my boy."  It's fun to see their non-verbals as they connect the father & son dots.

Yep, he's my boy and I love him so very much.  We walk alike, we talk alike, we look alike, and often times, we think alike.  He has been called my 6'1" 'mini-me.'  People will even comment on our similar mannerisms and that we resemble each other with how we share stories.

It has been said that we have the gift of always wanting to help others in need and that we have a natural ability for making people feel at ease.  So, that's cool I guess.

We care deeply for those close to us and we can be fiercely loyal.  We tend to have our hearts hurt because we choose to be led by them.  We are problem fixers at our core and we ALWAYS have an opinion on how things should be done... or at least be done better (which mind you is not a gift when used at each other).

Often, Kieson will wear his emotions on his sleeve, while I tend to be more even keeled.  Regardless, you can always tell when something is wrong with him because the air in the room changes.  Like his older sister, Kieson can shift the atmosphere of where he walks by default.  I am kinda jealous of this.  I think it must be one of his Christian X-Men mutant powers.  When this power is used for the good of others, it is simply amazing to watch in action; but when used for himself and his needs, it is flat out dangerous and gutting to witness.  While he is getting better at honing this ability as he matures, more sculpting is still needed.  But, he will get there.

I love my boy's smile.  When Kieson flashes that grin, I have literally seen people change their moods right before my eyes.  He also is not shy... at all... as in never.  I have seen him take the stage in front of hundreds of people to give a speech and hold captive every ear in the house at will.  Whether it is a sermon or a speech, a microphone in his hand can become an extension of his arm and within a few moments everyone will be paying attention.  Before the switch occurs though, I say quietly to myself, "here it comes... watch this!"  And then BOOM, he turns it on.  It truly is a thing of beauty to see it in action.  People just listen to him and for whatever reason he has been able to do this ever since he was a kid.  It's just a gift.


I want the best for my boy, even if this involves letting him make mistakes.  In my opinion, this is the toughest part of parenting.  It is always very difficult to see your child driving into a clear and evident pothole of life, then proactively advise them to turn, but still see them stay their course.  Yes, insert a deep "sigh" here.  Like me, he is stubborn and thick-headed, which explains a lot.  As such, I just have to let failure be the best teacher for him sometimes, even though I just don't like knowing this instructor.  His mistakes have hurt, some very deeply, but with each misstep we are reminded of our dire need for Jesus as Savior.  Through it all, Kieson is resilient and I admire this that about him.

I have high hopes for my son, as I suspect most dads do.  Kieson is covered in a spirit of excellence and favor.  As such, I can only teach and encourage him towards the destiny that is upon him, while also waiting patiently for it to be fulfilled.  My father was tough on me and I suppose I tend to be tough on my boys.  My parenting is based in love and I believe they know this.  I know God gave them to me for a reason, so I hope to give them back to Him well used.

I have always been Kieson's biggest fan and I suppose I always will.  He overwhelms with his gifts, his heart, and his joy.  When I look at him, I see a prince among boys.  He has a royal priesthood of great destiny upon him... and I simply cannot wait to see what he does for God's Kingdom.  Until then, I guess I will keep trying to get him there... and get there he will.  But, until that happens, I am just gonna' love him.

Happy Birthday, son.  I am so very proud of you.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do You "Do Church?"

"Christ did not die on the cross so we can do church."  

I wish I was smart enough to have come up with this quote, but I didn't.  That brilliance goes to Bethel Redding's lead pastor, Bill Johnson.  

I encourage you to read the quote again, this time perhaps taking it a bit slower... allowing it time for more marinating.  I believe the words are powerful enough to change (or at least enhance) why you go to church.  I also encourage those in church leadership to say these words to themselves often; as well as over their flock.  It is always good to 'right the ship' and to steer from a direction not to be taken.  

From my experience, Johnson's quote speaks to a lie that many churches have bought into today.  Yes, a lie.  And don't worry, I use this critical statement with hesitation.  Why?  Because Jesus Christ is still the head of His church.  We must always be cautious when speaking about the Bride because of her one true Bridegroom.  And while Christ is no doubt without blemish, we as His followers do seem to be struggling to hear the voice of the Shepherd for how and why we 'do church.'  

Perhaps you should read the quote just one more time... "Christ did not die on the cross so we can do church."  By this third time, I suspect you have percolated a few reasons of your own for why you actually do go to church.  Perhaps these are a few:
  • The worship.  I love the worship at our church.  Our worship leaders are great and they play today's best worship songs.  It is like a concert at my church.
  • The programs.  My kid needs a youth group.  We would be lost without our support group.  My spouse and I need our small groups.  We just love our weekly bible study meetings.  
  • The preaching.  I just love our pastor's weekly message.  His teaching is so relevant to my life today.  His messages are the best that I have ever heard.  My pastor is amazing.
  • The people.  I love the sense of community at our church.  I just need to be around the Christ-loving people of my church.  I can sharpen them and they can sharpen me.

If this sounds like you (as it did me for many years), watch out and remember Christ did not die for us to just "do church."  While all of the above examples can be used for the good of His Kingdom, we must be careful not to let the product of the Church replace the purpose of the Church.  We must remember that we were created to glorify the Creator in and above all things (Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 5:15; 22:37-39; Romans; 11:36; Ephesians 4:10; Revelation 4:11;...).  

Be wary, brothers and sisters, if the pastor's message becomes more sought after than hearing the voice of the one true Author.  Be vigilant not to let a church program trump God's Presence.  And remember church, the worship is not for your enjoyment, it exists for His.  I suggest for you to stand alert to why you go to church... as you may just be making an idol out of what was always intended to be a relationship.  

Let's look at this often so subtle lie in a different way.  If you were to leave (or lose) your church, what is the one thing you would miss the most?  The people?  The message?   How about the programs?  Be real to yourself.  What would be the one thing you would miss the most?  If your answer does not involve "because God is moving there," then why go?  Why yolk ourselves to where He is not moving?

We as the Church have been given the Holy Spirit because we are called to host His Presence in all the things we do.  Yes everything.  The very intent of our own creation was for us to be with God at all times; together in relationship.  Being in His Presence has always been God's prime directive for us.  Even when sin was welcomed in by Adam and Eve and they were scared and sought refuge from His expected anger, our omnipotent God instead was without our relationship and asked in love, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9).  

We have a jealous God and He seeks our attention.  Being glorified by us is all that He wants.  Jesus died for this.  Christ even previewed how His crucifixion was for "our advantage" (John 16:7) in order for His Holy Spirit to be with us always.  Why was this needed?  Of course, in order for us to be in constant relationship with the Father.  Let us, the church, seek to be the attached branch we were designed to be (John 15:5).

If you are not hearing from God where you attend church, make sure to take notice.  If the Holy Spirit is asked to take a backseat at your church in order to provide a more timely structure for her programs, check to see if your church is attached to the vine.  Don't compromise on this.  Compromise can be the doorman to deception.  Having the Bride join together as a once a week item on a 'to do checklist' was never the plan; nor is the goal to 'keep the sheep busy with a church event planned for every night of the week.'   That is not the purpose of the Church.

Don't settle with your church.  Christ didn't die for that.  It is time for the pendulum of the church to swing back to where it was designed to be, which is to be in constant relationship with the Father through the gift of His Son provided by the Holy Spirit (John 15:5).  It is not about us.  It is about being with Him.

Press in and press on.  There is more.  Go get it!

To learn more about how to seek God's Presence; or Pastor Bill Johnson, I recommend the following:

Strengthen Yourself in The Lord.  Author Bill Johnson (Destiny Image Publishers, 2007)
Hosting the Presence.  Author Bill Johnson (Destiny Image Publishers, 2012)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Just when you think you know a movie....

Okay, you can probably guess the name of this movie:

Of course you can... it's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."  The 1986 classic coming-of-age film directed by John Hughes.  As you probably know, it's a movie that follows high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick), who decides to skip school and spend a serendipitous day in downtown Chicago.  Accompanied by is girlfriend Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) and his sheltered best friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck), he creatively avoids his school's Dean of Students Edward R. Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), his resentful sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), and of course, his own loving parents.

I LOVE this movie.  It is a personal favorite of mine that I still find myself quoting quite regularly.  It is one those movies that when it is on the television, it HAS to be watched.  A sort of television black hole of required viewing.  From saying the classic lines of "Anyone???  Anyone???" to wishing you were actually cool enough to pull off the "Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago" reservation bit, Ferris Bueller is simply one of the best comedies ever.

Plus, the car... yes the car, it was so "choice."  We must not forget that beauty:

As Cameron quotes, the car was a "1961 Ferrari 250GT California."  Continuing with, "less than a hundred were made.  My father spent three years restoring this car.  It is his love, it is his passion...."  Only to be finished by Ferris who interrupts with, "It is his fault he didn't lock the garage."

Released by Paramount Pictures, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" had a budget of only $5.8 million, but went on to gross more than $70 million at the box office.  The movie was widely accepted then by both audiences and critics alike and it still remains popular today.

Yes, the movie has stood the test of time, but I have a question for you.  What would you say the movie is truly about?  Like me, I bet you have never seen the true point of the whole movie.  I had never caught it before, but a a few nights ago it was revealed crystal clear to me and now I feel like an idiot for not seeing it for all this time.  Is your interest piqued?  Read on.

"Scott, what are you talking about?" Is Ferris Bueller not a movie about a kid thumbing his nose at the "childishness" requirements of high school and the authority in place who make him go.  Is it not a hilarious movie about a high school senior, his girlfriend, and his best buddy who conspire to have a glorious day off from school in order to best the system, to out-duel those in power, all in order to win the day in the end?  Is it not all about a clever kid, albeit a tad spoiled and a wee-bit full of himself one, who is able to pull off the perfect skip day all the time making us all wanting to be more like Ferris?  Yes, it is.  But, I argue the point of the movie has nothing to do with Ferris at all.

Ask yourself, what was Ferris' true goal?  Why did Ferris actually need one more day off, his "ninth sick day" of the semester?

Cue to the 3:49 minute mark of the movie for a clue:  "This is my ninth sick day of the semester.  It's getting pretty tough to come up with new illnesses.  If I go for ten I might have to barf up a lung.  So I better make this one count."

Why is this one so important?  Why did it need to "count"?  If a kid could pull off eight previous days, as it was inferred, why couldn't Ferris just pull off another one?  Why is this one different?  The answer resides in fully looking at the situation.  Ask yourself, who else didn't go to school that day?  Yes, Cameron, Ferris' best buddy "since the fifth grade."  Cameron was home 'sick' too and little did he know that Ferris was about to rescue him in more ways than he could have known.

As it turns out, the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" - beyond all it comedic fun and fluff - is actually a tender hearted hero movie down at its core.  Beyond all the antics, it is a movie about a good friend risking it all (in this case graduating on time) to save his best friend.  In the end, it is a movie about Ferris saving Cameron from himself.

Like all hero movies, there is the protagonist (Ferris), the bad guy (Rooney), the one in need (Cameron), and the heroic victory (Cameron ultimately confronting his unloving father).  And likewise, with most heroic story lines, there needed to be a heroic sacrifice.  In this case, it was... insert a tearful *sniff sniff* here... the car.  Yep, the beautiful, without blemish, 1961 Ferrari became the perfect sacrifice.  As we all know, Cameron ultimately "killed the car" in his state of 'enough is enough' in order to start being seen as a man in his father's eyes.  Yep, the car gave its life so Cameron could stand up and start living his.

Need more evidence. cue to the 1:29 minute 32 second mark of the movie where the 'day off' is coming to a close, the car is dead, and Ferris is saying goodbye to Sloane, his girlfriend:  Sloane: "Do you think Cameron is gonna be okay?"  Ferris:  "Oh yeah... yeah sure.  For the first time in his life... he is gonna be just fine."  (Cue the long pause as Sloane clearly gets the full revelation as to Ferris' true motive for the day off.)  Sloane:  "You knew what you were doing when you woke up this morning, didn't you."  Ferris:  "Me???  Nah."

Still need more proof, cue minute mark 5:23, which is very early in the movie.  We are actually told why Ferris is trying to take the day off.  Again, I just never saw it:  Ferris:  "Cameron this is my ninth sick day.  If I get caught, I won't graduate. I'm not doing this for me, I am doing this for you."  

I know, I know.  "Scott, aren't you spending a wee bit too much time focusing on some old 80's movie?"  Well, maybe, but I ask, did you ever realize it before?  Did you ever notice the soft hearted mission Ferris was on before?  I didn't and I am kinda surprised I have never caught it before.  After all the times I have seen this movie, quoted this movie, recommended this movie, I simply missed it.

The whole movie... all the antics... all the perfection... is just a movie about a guy setting out to rescue his best friend.  "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in the end has actually nothing to do about Ferris Bueller and everything to do with his buddy Cameron.  The movie isn't about a kid seeking to have fun who ends up helping his buddy.  It is a movie about a kid who seeks to save his friend and uses fun to do it.  Who woulda' thunk?  

So, I guess Ferris was right in the end, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it."