"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Sunday, November 27, 2011


The effects of sin run rampant through the rivers and tributaries of society.  Infiltrating even the farthest reaches of the world, evil is the motivator for nearly all that we do, and then we spend our careers trying our best to curb its effects.

We entertain ourselves with television that sometimes leads us to desire the lives and possessions of a character who isn't even real.  Then we use our credit cards (money we don't have) to buy those things, only to find that they don't make us happy.  We subsequently either become employed by the companies that produce and market said merchandise to equally envious people, repeating the cycle, or we work in the financial realm to make more money from what they have left, paying off their debt, but accumulating more and more money to satisfy greed and the selfish, worldly tendency to hoard.

Even the seemingly all-positive-and-helpful social services field is meant to lessen the effects of sin.  Social workers strive to make homes and families the safest environments possible, while doctors fix our bodies that get sick and broken (Amazing, however, that there are specialists for each and every part of the body.  It says a lot about the intricacy of our bodies and the omnipotence of our creator.  Another topic for another time...).  Counselors work to help us process and heal from events and people in our past and human resource departments intervene in inter-office conflict and help manage the relationships that shouldn't be broken in the first place.

All to "fix" the effects of sin in our world.

Oi.  Today as I drove from Green Bay back to Missouri, this is what kept going through my mind:  "Is my life really just meant to help curb the effects of sin?  Really?"

Each billboard I saw was either trying to get me to buy a product I don't need, go to a store nobody should ever go to, or watch a show/movie that assists is the dissolution of a biblical worldview.




The Kingdom.


These words are what provide an ending to this cycle of misery.  God is here.  He isn't just coming in the future, but He is here now.  Christ came to bring life in abundance.

Rather than live in cycles of sin,
Live in light of the redemption that restores,
And help others to have that same wholeness that comes from an unmatched Savior.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Manifest Destiny:  The 19th Century American belief that the United States was meant to expand to the western shores of the continent.

While this idea was devastating for Native Americans and Mexicans, the expansion itself was pretty incredible.  The settlers had a dream (albeit a selfish one) and they pursued it even when it meant giving up everything they had, leaving behind everything they've ever known, to explore a land that was unknown to them.

Thousands of covered wagons lined the streets of Independence, Missouri, waiting for their turn to leave for the west.  They set their eyes on the vast, open land before them and saw not an empty field in foreign territory, but a land of opportunity, a new beginning, endless possibilities.  They had courage and were willing to make sacrifices to make their dreams a reality.

Dream great dreams and find the courage to live them.

The quote lining the top of this blog is one that I've kept at the forefront of my mind for years now.
It's the second half that now gives me pause.

I guess I've just stayed in the dreaming phase for too long.  I've had plans, had goals, had ideas, but never could muster the courage to pursue them.  Instead, I would accept defeat before I even began running.  I didn't run after my dreams because I saw them as an impossibility.  The open land set before me was intimidating rather than inspiring.

Recently, however, I took steps to make one of those dreams real, to pursue a desire of my heart.  Instead of backing down for fear of failure, I took on an active role in its potential realization.  And dang, it feels good.

Why, then, are we such a timid people?  Why do we not pursue with vigor the desires that God has placed in our hearts and the promises that He has made to us?

We serve a God bigger than our fears and doubts - a God of second chances and a God of endless possibilities.  Let us rest in that truth, but let it inspire us to run after that which is important to God, and thus to us.

Monday, November 7, 2011


A common phrase around these parts is that people feel "unsupported."
As a fixer, a problem solver, I'm trying to figure out what it means to be supported, and what it looks like to support others well.

When I think of support, I think of a skyscraper.  Probably because I miss living in the city a whole lot, but nonetheless, I think of a skyscraper.
The weight and height of a skyscraper is extraordinary.

Before the 19th Century, the tallest buildings were tediously built, brick by brick.  Despite the amount of labor put into them, they did not rise very high.  Starting in 1891, however, skyscrapers were generally built with a steel framework, and more recently have become even stronger and taller with a new "tube" structure that dominates the construction of new high-rises.

This structure puts the strongest support on the outside of the building, and fills in the rest from there.

It doesn't usually matter what kind of hidden infrastructure there is if there isn't visible, tangible support.  I think that's what brings people to feel unsupported - it isn't visible.  That doesn't mean that support isn't there, but until it becomes felt for that individual it perceptively doesn't exist.  So what does it look like for a person to be and to feel supported?

I think it looks different for different people.  For some, they need verbal affirmation and agreement with their decisions and actions.  For others, it comes in the form of physical touch - when touched, they feel as if where they are in that moment is right, is good, and it reminds them that others are in it with them.  Yet others need to have the logical and the systemic, in place underneath them to know that they are strategically and missionally supported.

While the most prominent of those may be different per person, I think they all play a part.  For me, I feel supported by physical presence.  Be with me, and I'm more confident in what I'm doing because you're by my side in it.  At the same time, I appreciate the verbal so much, because it creates a memory, a line of encouragement that can be replayed over and over.  What I do know is that we all must work together and support one another in whatever ways we can so that we can create a structure that can withstand any kind of crisis.

If an architect can figure out how to make buildings 2,700 feet tall (Burj Khalifa - Dubai, it's a phenomenal structure...), we can, through the power of God, develop a support that will support these 22 girls and 9 big sisters.  We can.

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
- Ecclesiastes 4:12