From our family to yours, may you truly enjoy the blessings of the season!
From our family to yours, may you truly enjoy the blessings of the season!
TWENTY YEARS AGO on this date, I stood before some of the most important people in my life and made the best decision I could ever make: to marry the girl who captured my heart.
I would not be who I am without her constant love, her consistent support, and her wonderful companionship. I'm blessed beyond measure.
Happy 20th Anniversary!
Last night, I made a mad dash to our local SuperTarget to pick up three things. Only three. And for a guy like me, that means I can be in-and-out in three minutes. Unless something happens.
And it did.
I was spotted by an elderly Korean couple who was having trouble deciding on a grill. They wanted the black one, but the only boxes on display were green, red and some horrible sand color. When they waved me over to ask for help, I figured it would be an easy task. Until they started speaking. In KOREAN. At least I think it was Korean. Since I don't speak Korean, I'm guessing a little bit here….as far as I could interpret, it could have been Klingon or Hopelandic. (I think I would've recognized the latter…thank you, Sigur Ros.) I quickly recognized that my English would be a HUGE barrier to my helping, so you know what I did? I started speaking…in SPANISH. Yep. I'm that guy.
"No mas negro…pero solo rojo y verde…. Que quiere?"
There was no response from the couple. To make things worse, when that didn't do the trick, I resorted back to speaking English. Only this time, much more loudly and slowly. Because that always helps.
"THERE…IS…..NOOOOOO MORE……BLACK……….ALLL GONE…..THERE….IS……RED……AND GREEN………REEEEED…….AND…..GREEEEEEN….."
Yep, again. I'm that guy. How embarrassing. I am the stereotypical goofball making rookie mistakes. After almost ten minutes (which I learned later, in Korean space-time is sufficient to realize the Awkward Anglo is absolutely of no use whatsoever…and still leave just over 9 minutes to figure out how to get away from him), a Target employee came to help, so I graciously tapped out. "Good luck, bro….I hope they figure it out…………if not….well….that's too bad, I guess."
Then I drove home thinking about The Church.
Week after week, people outside of our church culture visit our services, come to events, or strike up conversations at the lake. If we don't speak their language, we just start speaking our own….trying to superimpose our cultural jargon into their experience….hoping for osmosis. "What? Oh….it's about the blood……yeah, justification…..salvation……..sanctification……….it's all good. You know, a personal relationship….with a man who's been dead for 2000 years….but he's actually still alive. Huh? No, you can't visit him. Until you die…then it's too late. No, he's not a zombie…He's in Heaven, living forever and he can give you eternal life, too. Oh…'eat my flesh and drink my blood'? That's another discussion……"
Not that we shouldn't be having those conversations. But without investing time into a relationship, I'm afraid we blow it like I did with the Korean couple. And I've gotta take the speck out of my own eye first….
As Christians, where are we blowing it? What do you see us doing that makes as much sense as speaking Spanish to an elderly Korean couple?
Almost a year ago I asked my movie-star-song-writing buddy what the secret was to writing a great song. His answer?
"Tell the truth…they're dying for the truth."
For me and the rest of the Second Mile gang, the truth is we live in abundance. We don't really worry where our next meal will come from. Or if we'll die from malaria. Or if we can get clean water to drink. We worry about getting a new iPad. Or new shoes. Or updating my cell plan so I can have unlimited data. Instead of worrying about starving to death, we worry that we're too fat.
But our friends in Kampala, Uganda have different worries. They actually NEED clean water. Food. Mosquito nets. So our plan is simple. From now thru the end of May, ALL of the proceeds from CD sales will go directly to Rafiki Africa Ministries, so Joseph and Sara can care for the children in the Rafiki orphanage. Every time you download a song or purchase a $5 CD, that money will go directly to the care of the children pictured above.
Psalm 82 tells us to "Defend the weak and fatherless…the poor and oppressed", and you can participate in that! For $5, you not only get your hands on the debut Second Mile CD, you can also help feed, clothe, immunize, educate, and take the gospel to the children of Kampala!
WOW. It's really been a very long time since I've blogged anything new here. And, yes, that needs to change. In the midst of computer upgrades, never-ending email issues, and life full of, well…..living, things are as crazy for me as they are for you.
And in case you missed it, here's the testimony video I did featuring a couple in our church community. Enjoy!
2012 is just around the corner. What are your plans? Dreams? Goals? Aim at nothing, and you'll hit it every time. I'm reminded that there are only two kinds of pain: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Choose wisely, my friends.
With a tough economy, everyone could use some great gift ideas. And, while we don’t really do Black Friday around here (who wants to get trampled and pepper-sprayed?), we’ve got the next best thing: $5 CD’s and books for everyone on your list! Here’s how it works:
Until December 25th, you can pick up our latest Second Mile CD, as well as a paperback copy of ‘My Beautiful Idol’ (regularly $12.99), for only $5 each. (I know. Crazy, right?!?)
You can hop over here on iTunes and give a listen to it!
And you can check out some reviews of ‘My Beautiful Idol’ .
Then you can simply click the PayPal button below and order while supplies last! (And if you have any special requests with your order, just let me know in the comments of the PayPal page…)
This past Sunday, our worship team used this video to intro Matt Redman's song, Never Once. If you haven't heard it, it's a beautiful declaration of how God carries us and walks with us through victories and battlefields alike. Rather than just sing it over the congregation, I decided to put together some scriptures, with video clips of our own people who have walked with God through some dark times. Although it's just the tip of the iceberg, we are surrounded by believers who have first-hand experience of this truth: Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.
My wife and I were having a conversation about reconciliation. Making things right. But not just relationships in our lives or with people we know. We were talking about what it would looks like when God makes all things right. That would be nothing short of awe-inspiring. Awe-filling.
In the most literal way…that would be awesome.
But, of course, that has to start with me.
So in the week that followed, we wrote a song titledLove Wins and the band recorded it on our latest CD. If you haven't heard it, you can listen to it below. (And you can order it by going here.)
Be encouraged. When we surrender, when we tap out, Love wins.
In case you missed the big news this weekend, we were able to debut our new (original) worship CD at our show with BarlowGirl on Saturday. It's a self-titled worship project, with some great tunes. A huge thanks to all those who helped in this process, especially @jeffinaustin, @rosskingmusic, and @theshaeman.
Curious? Listen –>Love Wins
You can purchase it via PayPal by clicking the 'Buy Now' link below, or
pick it up in the mall of our worship center each week!
Or you can email me at tom (at) tomcottar (dot) org and I'll snail mail you one!