Monday, December 29, 2008

Jack in the (Cracker) Box

If you don't believe in divine intervention, you may want to consider the following story.

A lady went shopping in Tustin, California at a Whole Foods Market, where she purchased a box of Annie's Sour Cream and Onion Bunny crackers. When she got home, she found a lot more than she bargained for - an envelope stuffed with $10,000 cash!

Most people likely would have just been excited and kept the money. Not Debra Rogoff. She promptly contacted the police, who told her the money could have been part of a drug drop.

When Police contacted Whole Foods in Tustin, the store manager said that an elderly lady had come in just a few days earlier, despondent because she had accidentally returned a box of crackers that had her life savings inside!

In a "mix-up" (God can make it seem like a mix-up), the store re-stocked the box of biscuits, instead of sending it to the compost and destroying it!

I don't know about you, but there are way too many "coincidences" for this to have happened on accident. I have lost keys, semi-valuable items, and other odds and ends, and later found them miraculously. But, never $10,000 cash, and never through the odd circumstances in this story!

I guess there are a couple of things we can learn from this. The first is that there still are people in this world who are kind and caring, and put others ahead of themselves - even when it's cold hard cash!

The other is that, despite all the terrible economic news and financial mishaps in our country, we're likely better off depositing our money in a bank rather than a box of crackers!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Giving Big

I am so proud of being a part of a church who loves to give and serve. For the past six weeks or so, our church has given overwhelmingly to help others.

Check out how NorthStar people have given to others:
  • Gave more than $3,500 to purchase 400+ turkeys for underprivileged families for Thanksgiving
  • Gave 800+ grocery bags filled with side items (fruits, veggies, desserts) for these families
  • Gave $11,000+ towards Shop with a Hero, Shop with a Warrior, Shop with a Mustang, and Shop with a Buccaneer programs to help give children Christmas gifts
  • Adopted 300+ children in our annual Christmas Adopt-a-Family program
  • Gave $17,000+ to help provide fresh, clean drinking water to people all across the world
These are just a few examples. There's no way to tally the thousands of hours people have volunteered to serve others at MUST Ministries, Cobb Christmas, and many other great ministries in our area.

Thank you, NorthStar! You are a beacon for people who need love and hope!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Buddy Needs Your Prayers

I have a very dear friend who is hurting right now. In fact, I hurt for him as well.

He and his wife just lost a little baby boy who passed away only 18 weeks into the pregnancy. I will refrain from getting into more specific details, but suffice it to say it's a very difficult and painful time for them.

As I listened to him earlier today, my heart was breaking. But, I was encouraged that he has his eyes and heart open to God's voice while he and his wife travel down this tumultuous road.

My buddy and his wife have two beautiful little girls, and you can bet they cherish the precious moments with them more than ever before.

But, more than that, my friend said he and his wife have grown closer than ever before through this trial. He said they have both been incredibly lonely through it all on the inside, but they have been able to lean on each other as they take small steps forward.

Please pray for my friend. I love him dearly, and I know he needs your prayers - and mine - as he fights the sadness that is trying to steal away his joy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Presentation is Critical

I don't know about you, but when I see a 12-year old kid, a poorly dressed person, or fake celebrity or cartoon character costume (think Mickey Mouse, but gray fur and rat tail) holding up a poster or sign advertising a business on the side of the road, I am less likely to patronize that business than I otherwise would be.

I just passed a restaurant near my house that has opened in the past three months. There are huge handwritten posters hanging in the front window, they have small yard signs placed all around the small retail center, and now they have two 12-13 year old kids standing along Highway 41 (a very busy and dangerous highway) holding signs letting passerby know they are open.

I won't be going there. If the food was good enough, none of that would be necessary.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More or Less?

One of the great joys of the Christmas season is receiving cards, letters, and photos from friends and family. On the other hand, putting them together and sending them out can be a pain...and expensive!

But, I was thinking about something the other day. Amy and I are abundantly blessed to have so many great people in our lives - amazing friends and family who have touched our lives in significant ways over the years.

At our current count, we have around 145 Christmas cards we'll be mailing out. Each year we go through all the names and addresses, and each year we add more and more to the ever-expanding list! And, here's the question I want to ask you:

Does your Christmas card list grow LONGER each year, or SHORTER?

Are you building relationships with others, and continuing to expand your sphere of influence? If so, your list likely grows each year. If not, it becomes easier and easier for you to cross names and addresses off your list. Less time, sure. Less money spent on stamps. But, almost certainly less joy than you could experience relationally by getting to know others more deeply.

And, on the flip side, if becomes much easier for others to cross YOUR name off their lists.

Maybe it's time to take a closer look at your Christmas list, and maybe take a deeper look inside your heart. There are likely countless people who would love to have you speak encouragement in their lives...and maybe it can all begin with simply sending them a card this Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Close Your Eyes...and See

Today, I surprised a couple of my teammates at NorthStar by driving them down to Atlantic Station to experience Dialog in the Dark, an exhibition that brings your senses to life.

For an hour, we walked (actually stumbled) from room to room in complete darkness, with a cane to help prevent us from injuring ourselves - or others, for that matter.

I don't want to give it all away, because I hope you will take my suggestion and go check it out. Suffice it to say that, in many ways, by having our eyesight taken away, our eyes were opened to the world around us. Each room held new surprises and discoveries. We were forced to use our senses of touch, smell, and hearing to navigate our way through ordinarily common scenes from everyday life (there was a taste area as well, but none of us had cash to purchase any beverages).

But, let me assure you that there was absolutely nothing common about not having eyesight. I learned that not only do I rely too heavily on what my eyes tell me, but also that I have a tendency to not use my other four senses enough.

As incredible as the experience was, the part that will leave the greatest impression on me will be the few minutes we spent with our guide at the end of the tour. Our guide, Derek, is blind. He lost his sight two years ago when a surgery to help improve his vision actually took it away from him. He honestly explained that he was depressed and even thought about ending his life.

But, one day he "came to his senses," and God spoke to him. Derek explained that he lost several friends (a term he uses loosely to describe them in hindsight), but that he began to understand that God had still given him gifts to share with others. And, he openly claims that his personal mission is to touch as many lives in a positive way as he possibly can through his disability.

You wouldn't know it from looking at him, but Derek holds four Master's Degrees, is a CPA, and is a University professor. He uses his "gift" of blindness to fill others' lives with hope and joy, and a new-found appreciation for the things they often take for granted.

And, as far as I am concerned - mission accomplished.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How About a Little Perspective This Christmas?

I absolutely love Christmas. By mid-November, I am antsy to throw on a little Harry Connick, Jr. and get into the spirit of the season. I mean, I really dig everything about Christmas – the music, the lights, the great food, the family time, the festive decorations.

I guess there’s one exception: commercialization. I recently read a sobering statistic on Christmas consumerism. Each year, people in the U.S. spend $450 billion on Christmas gifts. $450 BILLION!

I was shocked back in early September, when some stores already had boxes of artificial trees and holiday decorations they were preparing to set out for display. It made my stomach turn.

Over the years, retailers launched the Christmas buying season with “Day After Thanksgiving” sales. And, they still do use that date as a means to forecast how successful or dismal the economics of Christmas will turn out to be. But, Labor Day Christmas sales? Yikes!

But, no matter how much I dislike the bombardment of radio jingles, TV commercials, sales papers, catalogs, emails, billboards, and pop-up ads, there’s only one person responsible for how I choose to handle it and approach it: myself.

Like all parents, my wife and I have to combat the junk to which our kids are exposed – the junk that results in the “I wants.” And, this condition weighs heavy on me. Because my kids lack perspective. They have no idea what it means to do without. And, quite frankly, neither do I.

To a degree, I am thankful that my children don’t know what it means to be deprived or underprivileged. But, as a parent – and more than that, as a follower of Christ – I want them to know that our security is not centered on the creature comforts this world offers. Joy and peace – the two things Christmas promises – are not found in a stocking or under a Douglas Fir. They were deposited at the manger, and were guaranteed at the cross.

Is there anything wrong with giving or receiving gifts at Christmas? Not at all. Gifts are one way we show people how much we love and appreciate them. But, it often gets out of hand. The most stressful thing about Christmas, for me, is not the money we spend, or the chaotic schedule we have to keep in going to parties and family gatherings during the holidays. It’s somehow finding space for all the new stuff we and our kids get.

Each year, Amy and I sit down with our boys and clean out all the toy areas in the house. We remove the toys they “just had to have” (that they rarely play with) so we can replace them with the new ones “they just had to have.” We choose the best “old” toys, bag them up, and give them away to children who do not have as much as we have been blessed with. But, I have learned that isn’t enough.

A good friend of mine recently sent me some information on a great opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of those who are in need – in countries that really need help. An organization called Advent Conspiracy is helping to unite people and churches by providing avenues to impact the world this Christmas season. I invite you to check it out, and join me and thousands of others who want to share the love of Jesus during this uniquely special time of year.

Please visit and see how you, your family, or your church can be a part of a worldwide effort to help provide for others…and gain a new perspective of what it means to truly be in need.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Quote of the Week

Never miss a good chance to shut up. - Will Rogers

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tree of Memories

About the time Amy and I got married, we decided to begin collecting Christmas ornaments. We decided that any time we went on an out of town trip together, we'd buy an ornament as a memento and reminder of that time together.

Now - 12 years later - we have quite a collection of keepsakes that is hung on the two Christmas trees in our home. Trinkets from places such as the Bahamas, Seagrove Beach, Disney World (multiple), Boston, Hilton Head Island, Jackson Hole, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Mexico, Charleston, S.C., San Francisco...and many more!

Each year we decorate our trees together, and I am reminded of all the amazing places we've been and time we've spent with one another.

And, now that we have two growing boys, we also see the ornaments they have crafted themselves, as well as the ones we have purchased on memorable vacations as a family.

I absolutely love Christmastime, and I thoroughly enjoy our staring at our Christmas trees, and revisiting the precious memories we have made over the years.

And, for those who know me best, you likely know we're getting close to needing a third Christmas tree...because the more trips we share, the more branches we need to hang these timeless souvenirs!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mixed Reaction

Amy and I made up our minds on the way home from Athens on Saturday that we were going to wear our red & black proudly to church on Sunday - despite the humiliating loss to the lowly (and very nerdy) bumblebees.

As I made my way across the cold, wet parking lot yesterday morning, I was immediately met with scorn. The first words uttered to me were from a guy who walked past me and said, "wrong shirt," referring to my bright red with black stripes button-up. "Nah," I replied. "It's still the right shirt."

Throughout the morning I received mixed reaction to my attire. Astonishingly, I got more positive comments from folks than heckles. When one guy saw my shirt, his eyes got as big as saucers and he said, "Wow! I have a whole new respect for you for wearing that shirt today."

Even the pastor's wife, who loathes UGA, told me I was bold for wearing the shirt, but that she was proud of me for sticking by my school and my team.

I have to say - straight up - that I despise Georgia Tech. I'd almost prefer to go 1-11, with the one "W" being against Tech, than to go 11-1 and lose to them. But, as low as I felt after getting our tails beat by them, I couldn't let them take away my Dawg pride.

Sometimes you gotta be bold and stand for what you believe in - especially when it's unpopular. Many times, the results (just like Sunday for me) will surprise you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off to Disney I Go

I know you will be disappointed, but I am taking a holiday from blogging, and will not be able to share more of my vast wisdom with you until after Thanksgiving.

We're kicking it down to Orlando for some Disney World action, then hopping on a Disney Cruise early next week!

Everybody have an awesome Thanksgiving, and be sure to thank God for all the incredible blessings He's provided.

I'll be chatting with you soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love My Boys!

I hope I never take my sons for granted. They are a special dynamic duo, and breathe life into me each day.

Over the past couple weeks, I have had the privilege to serve as "Mystery Reader" for each of their classes on Friday. Two weeks ago, I remember standing in the hallway at Lewis Elementary, when Chaz (my 8-year old) spotted me as he was headed to his classroom after lunch.

"Daddy!!!" he exclaimed, and came running towards me, with arms outstretched to give me a bear hug. What a greeting! My heart melted, as I was equally excited to see him.

The following Friday, I was in Chandler's class. I can remember rounding the corner into the doorway of his classroom, and I made eye contact with the little guy. Chandler is much different than Chaz. Instead of bounding toward me, Chandler had a rather perplexed look, as he was trying to figure out exactly what I was doing there. After about 30 seconds of me making goofy faces and gestures at him, he finally cracked a smile.

I know some parents say that their kids are "their life." I wouldn't go quite that far. But, they certainly add joy, laughter, and fun to it (as well as frustration), and I honestly couldn't imagine what it'd be like if they weren't in the picture.

I cherish the moments I spend with them, and pray that they will always be as excited to see me, and spend time with me, as I am to see and hang out with them.

Love you buddies!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When Your "We" Becomes "They"

Have you ever been around a sports fanatic who boasts about his favorite team’s accomplishments? By their mannerisms, their words, and their enthusiasm you’d think they were actually on the team!

I’ve been there. Or, maybe I should say I am there. You see, I am a die-hard Georgia Bulldogs fan. But, not just an ordinary fan. I am pretty vested. I went to school at the University of Georgia, worked in the Athletic Department for three years, and have been a season ticket holder for 13 seasons running.

I am more than a fan. I am…as they say at the poker table – all in.

But, what about when things aren’t going well? What about getting whipped 31-0 in the first half against Alabama earlier this year? You see, I was at that game. It was brutal. ESPN’s College GameDay was there for the big matchup, and before the game, all the Georgia “faithful” were saying things like “We’re gonna roll the Tide.” Or, they’d say, “We’ll definitely be Number 1 in the nation when we win this game.”

But, we didn’t win, and we were the ones who got rolled. And, you know what happened in the stands and on the radio after the game?

Our “we” became a “they.”

We no longer spoke in the first person. Instead, we said things like, “They got their tails handed to them.” Or, “I don’t know what they are going to do in the second half, but they better get their act together.”

I recently had the opportunity to hear marketing guru Seth Godin speak at a leadership conference. He has a new book out entitled Tribes which talks about this phenomenon.

Here’s what Godin had to say (paraphrase): “When people go to a sporting event and get all fired up and cheer, they aren’t really cheering for that team. They’re not even cheering for the players in the uniforms. They’re actually cheering for themselves. All these people in the stands are connected by their affinity for this team – they are a tribe – and they are all cheering because it makes them feel better about themselves.”

I had never thought about this before. Let that sink in for a minute.

But, this makes perfect sense. When our team scores a touchdown, or wins an election, or accomplishes a monumental task of any kind, we celebrate with them – because we are part of that tribe, and we want to be identified with that success. It makes us feel good.

So, it should be no surprise that when our team (or tribe) fares poorly that we want to distance ourselves from them. We wave our arms in disgust, become critical of what they are doing, and bring out the boo-birds. We don’t want to be identified with failure. Their failure. Not ours.

Sports analogies seem to make the most sense, but the very same thing can happen in any group. Your company. Your church. Your family.

And, in a culture with so many choices, people can easily jump from one ship to another to try to avoid sinking. Instead of being a part of the solution, they prefer to point a finger and latch on to the flavor of the week.

The fickle world of college football is one thing, but when a spouse withdraws from the partnership of marriage, or a volunteer starts to gossip about a leader in your organization, or when fingers are pointed at others across the conference room table, you’ve got real problems on your hands. It’s called disunity. There’s not a universal “we” anymore. And, that spells trouble.

So, what does that mean for you and me? It means we have to be honest with ourselves and closely examine the level of commitment we offer – to our spouse, our families, our companies, our places of worship, and any other group with whom we identify.

Loyalty isn’t a word we hear much about these days. But, there are few things I value more than someone who is dependable and will stick by my side – not just when we’re winning, but in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

Is your “we” starting to fade? If so, you’ve got some tough decisions to make, and some difficult conversations to initiate. But, whatever you do, please remove the word “they” from your vocabulary. Speak the truth – in love – and help provide solutions, not create dissension.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bury the Hatchet

I had the opportunity to meet and listen to Allen Hunt this morning. Allen is the host of the Allen Hunt Show on WSB Radio in Atlanta, and is in syndication on 55 radio stations across the country.

He shared a story this morning that really spoke to me.

In Sussex County, Delaware, they will celebrate "Return Day" on Thursday, November 6. This is a 200-year tradition in which the winning and losing candidates from the election parade through the city streets, riding together in horse-drawn carriages and antique automobiles. The entire county is pretty much shut down!

After the parade, the citizens gather around the historic Sussex County Courthouse, and the Town Crier (how would you like that title?) reads the official returns from the courthouse balcony. After the returns have been read, Sussex County's party chairmen engage in a dramatic burial of the hatchet - quite literally - which ends the political season in Delaware.

If you don't believe me, read it here:

We can all learn a valuable lesson from the humble folks of Sussex County, Delaware. What a great picture of what we all need to do - not only with the election, but with one another when we have differences. Bury the hatchet, and "ride together" and help create an air of unity rather than dissension.

Because even if you are certain you are "right," and things didn't go your way, you have a choice to make. You can be a sore loser and continue to alienate people, or you can get on board - even if it's someone else's carriage - and work together to create solutions.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pray - and Vote - Then Pray Some More

Never before has so much been on the line in a Presidential election. It's been an all-out war. A war in which the media has played a larger role than ever before. And, one that - despite all pre-election poll results - McCain has yet to concede.

I have prayed more about this election than in other elections in years past. I think God's sovereign hand was on the last two elections - no doubt - and I am confident His hand is on this one. I just don't know exactly what the American people have to say about it.

I will tell you - straight up - that I am voting for John McCain. Is he the best the Republican party had to offer for this election? Personally, I don't think so, but I support him nonetheless. There are hundreds of reasons I choose to support him over Obama - and I am not going to list them here. But, I honestly feel that our country will suffer in innumerable ways if Obama is elected.

So, I am praying. I am voting in the morning. And, I will pray some more.

Either way, I believe America will continue to be the best place to live in the world. But, I think patriotism will take a hit, and family values and the moral climate of our nation will be further compromised if Obama is elected.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Foul Tips

I don't profess to be some marketing guru, but a thought occurred to me today. Many of us spend hours brainstorming ways to communicate our business or organization's wares, only to see that a particular "stunt" or campaign his virtually no effect.

In baseball terms, sometimes when we are at the plate trying to hit 'em out of the park, we just swing and get a foul tip. We don't get a base hit, and we don't strike out. We just manage to make contact, which has little or no effect on the outcome...except that we earn the opportunity to take another hack in the batter's box.

It can be frustrating to implement new ideas, and share your vision with your audience, only to revisit the drawing board because nothing sticks.

As it pertains to ministry, we can generate some pretty amazing graphics, sing amazing worship songs, deliver sermons with passion and fervor, and give people the warm fuzzies. But, unless we have given people ways to apply what they see, hear, and learn it's pointless. It's a foul tip.

At NorthStar, we have more meetings than you probably care to know - specifically designed to help equip people and provide relevant ways for them to apply their faith to real life. Sometimes, we flop. Our hours of creative brainstorming, mind wrestling, and debating don't always translate into practical and easy paths to the life change we so desperately desire to see in the hearts of God's people.

But, when we go through each sermon series and tie in ministry opportunities, ways to connect with God, ways to serve others, actions to display God's love - then we all win! That's when the foul tips become seeing eye singles, ground-rule doubles, and the occasional stand-up triple. It's about getting runners on base, then letting God "knock 'em in."

And, when we get a Home Run, we know it was God - not us - who was in the batter's box. Because no one wants to see positive life change, and His word applied in peoples' lives more than He!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mixed Messages

If I had only been able to reach my digital camera in time. We were driving down to Florida's gulf coast earlier this month, and I saw something pretty funny - and quite confusing.

We were in Alabama (where else?) and parked on the side of a hill along Hwy. 331 was an old conversion van.
The van stuck out like a sore thumb (remember, not too surprising since we were in South Alabama), so I had to look at it. As we neared the van, I was able to read the white shoe polish writing on the front windshield:

$1,000 Firm OBO

Now, it could just be me, but when you say something is a firm price, that usually means that you are not willing to negotiate. So, basically, the seller of said van was wanting to be up front with potential buyers that he wanted to get $1,000 for the van - that he was not willing to yield on that issue...well, unless of course the buyer didn't really want to pay that price, in which case he'd consider a lower offer...your BEST offer.

Plain and simple, this is a mixed message. Confusing to the passersby because the sign paints two conflicting messages.

We live in a world where we see this all too often. The tragic thing is that it's not 1978 conversion vans. It's people. Men and women who send a mixed message to those with whom they come into contact. People who, on the surface, are kind and pleasant and well-meaning, but who, in reality, are just as self-centered and rotten as the "average" person.

And, I am no different many times. I can easily get caught up in the emotion of the moment when things don't go my way and completely erase any positive witness I can provide for those around me. For example, missing flights really tends to bring out the hidden beast within - just ask my wife!

Even as followers of Christ, we can often be so blinded by our own circumstances that we fail to see the myriad opportunities we have to show someone who Jesus is through our words and actions. It's in those times of adversity that we really have the chance to make the longest-lasting impact on someone else - good and, often times, bad.

But, responses to circumstances is not the only mixed signal we can send. We do it in many other ways. It can be someone who claims to have a "servant's heart," but who always takes the best for himself - the best parking spot, the best place in line in the grocery store, the best seat at the table in the restaurant.

It can be someone who claims to love the Lord and her family, but who dresses inappropriately to attract an inordinate amount of attention to herself. In fact, I recently read a t-shirt that read "Modest is Hottest." You don't see that too often. And, as a married man, I resent women who reveal too much. I mean, it's impossible for a man to not notice these things. But, women often complain that guys gawk and stare too much. Here's the truth - we don't plan to gawk. We'd prefer not to. OK, enough on that subject - you catch my drift.

The bottom line is that we have to work hard - and work constantly - to make sure our hearts, words, and actions line up. That we are not sending mixed signals to a world so desperately seeking truth and authenticity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wicked Cool!

Last night, Amy and I went to see Wicked at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. What an incredible show! Totally blew me away. Amy and I have had the privilege to see many of the best Broadway shows, and Wicked ranks at or near the very top of the list!

If you have not seen this incredible show, you need to try and get some tickets. It's playing at the Fox until November 2, then - POOF - it's gone. Even if Ticketmaster doesn't have tickets available, check out Craig's List - you will find plenty of tickets for sale on there!

Anyway, so I was reading in our playbill last night about the story behind the story. The author of the novel (which was adapted into the Broadway production), Gregory Maguire, was intrigued by the subject of evil - how someone - or something - ends up being labeled as "evil" - or wicked. Maguire recalls a time back during the first Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein was compared to Adolf Hitler in a newspaper headline. And, based on the headline, he was already influenced to think about Hussein in a certain way - before he read a line of the article.

Maguire continued to ponder the nature of evil - what caused it, and the fact that behind every evil person or deed, is a story. In essence, there's more to who someone is than what appears on the surface.

He had been searching for a way to explore the questions he was raising, and wanted to find a universal figure with whom many people could identify. So, he determined that next to Adolf Hitler, the scariest person of his generation was the Wicked Witch of the West.

“The more I thought about it, the more I thought how perfect she was because everyone knows her, but no one knows anything about her. I mean, we know she’s a lean, green, flying machine, but we don’t know her history.”

And, although he was apprehensive about tackling such a predominant figure in literary and cinematic history, he forged ahead with the novel that would ultimately become Wicked.

“The story was appealing from the beginning,” Maguire says. “I would tell friends that I was writing a book that would tell Wizard of Oz from the witch’s point of view and they were very interested."

Interesting is an understatement. The story is fascinating. And completely unconventional. It stirs the soul in so many different ways - through humor, romance, anger, mystery, and the expression of freedom.

In the end, Wicked struck a chord within me. When confronted with evil - whether on TV, in the news, or with people around me, I will have a tough time simply chalking it up to "they're bad people." There's a story behind the story. There are factors involved that we don't see, and don't know.

And, I'll be reminded that what (or who) is wicked today, wasn't always.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Worship Ain't Just Singing defines the word worship as follows: reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

As far as I can tell, and correct me if I am wrong, the words "singing" or "song" are not mentioned here. I mean, singing is certainly one way we can worship. But, it's merely one of many ways we can do it.

I was listening to a podcast, and the speaker made the following comment: "Song guys have hijacked that word (worship). It is not theirs. When they say 'Join me in worship,' I say, 'nuh-uh...I'll join you in singing, and maybe some of us will worship.'"

I gotta say that I agree. Just because you are singing does not mean you are worshiping. I am A-#1 guilty of this. I find my mind wandering all the time during "worship." The worship leader may or may not be worshiping, but his primary goal (or job or calling) is to direct people towards God's holiness and love and forgiveness through song.

Worship takes many forms. If you want my honest opinion, we ought to worship the Lord in all that we do. Does that mean I have to walk around throwing out Bible verses and exhortations ad nauseum? No. But, it means I need to point people to Christ through my attitude, my actions, my words, my expressions, my everything.

Tough to do.

I distinctly remember a worship leader making the comment one time in a service that his prayer was that we (as a church body) would worship God and be as enthusiastic about Him as we are about our favorite sports teams. In fact, he made reference to a huge victory just the night before by the Georgia Bulldogs (my team of choice).

That comment has stayed with me because I want the same thing. Not just for our church, but for ME! I want to be more excited by what God is doing in my life, and in the lives of those around me, than I do about the SEC standings or an acrobatic Knowshon Moreno touchdown dive. But, the truth is that it doesn't always happen that way.

The verb tense of worship is: to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).We have lots of idols in our lives, don't we? We may not sing about them or bow down to them, but they are things we worship. Things into which we pour the best parts of our beings. Things to which we give ourselves away.

We were, in fact, created to worship. Not things. Not other humans. But God, and God alone.

It's OK to get pumped about your favorite team, or your favorite actor's new movie, or a new song from your favorite band, or a new book from your favorite author. It's not a big deal if you appreciate the finer things in life. But, we've got to put it all in perspective. Those things will not last, and those things cannot sustain you when you are at the bottom of the pit.

Lavish words of honor and praise on your Maker, your Savior, your Redeemer. Be kind to others because He loves you. Give because He has so blessed you. Serve because He serves you. Worship Him, and watch Him transform you from the inside out!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Uncommon Courtesy

One of the things that really irritates me is being in a meeting, or at a lunch appointment, and the other person excuses himself or herself to answer their cell phone, or to return emails on their PDA - or worse, takes the phone call at the restaurant table.

What it tells me (even if it's not true) is that the phone call is more important than the time you are spending with me. It makes one feel somewhat insignificant.

Now, I am not getting onto the guy whose wife is 8.95 months pregnant, and he could get "the call" at any moment to head to the hospital (or home to get his wife!). I'm talking about pretty much any other scenario, however.

You may say, "But, I HAVE to answer my phone or return my emails - at any given moment! My job - or my life - depends on it!"

I say, "Wake up! Reality check!" Even though you may THINK you are that important, you're not! Or, if you think every phone call you receive it the MOST's NOT!

And, here's some inside info: that person who is waiting for you to come and sit back down at the table - the one you want to impress with how "needed" you are - is actually put off by your actions.

Now, before you get all huffy, I am not saying that you should never answer your phone during your meeting. I'm saying you shouldn't even bring your phone to the meeting. Leave it in your car, or in your office. That way you're not tempted to answer it when it rings (or dings - with a text or email).

You may say, "the horrors!" You think there's no way you can pull that one off. But, maybe you need to try.

I made a personal rule a couple years ago that I would not bring my phone with me to a lunch appointment or a meeting. If I am just going out with friends or co-workers that I see every day, I allow myself to bring it on occasion. Or, if I ride to lunch in someone else's car, and I don't feel comfortable leaving it in their vehicle, I may take it inside. But, I still rarely answer it if it rings.

For the love of Pete, I implore the "Crackberry" and cell phone addicts to please...step away from the phone! Be present - fully present - with those with whom you are spending your precious time.

It's an uncommon courtesy, and a choice you will rarely - if ever - regret making.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hang in There

The instability of the financial landscape over the past couple weeks has been rather unsettling, but it should really not be a huge surprise to anyone. Things like this happen.

I mean, a year ago, the Dow was over 14,000 points, and everyone was thriving. But, we all know that the stock market has its ups and downs, and after a prolonged period of artificial highs, the market always adjusts to correct itself.

That means down times. Slipping prices. And, at times, plummets in your 401K or portfolio.

I have listened to both Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey this past week, and they are in complete agreement on how to handle our current "crisis": just hang tight.

Howard and Ramsey each have said that everyone should continue (or start) to contribute to their retirement plans and mutual funds. The low times are the BEST times to buy!

Remember, if you have stocks or mutual funds, you own shares. Your shares hold certain values at certain times, depending on the market. You have not "lost" any money UNTIL you sell and "cash out" at a lower rate than what you initially paid for your shares.

So, here's a good question: Why in the world would you sell stocks and funds now? Why would you cash out at a time when stocks are 35 percent lower than they were a year ago? You don't! You buy!

Even if you are no longer contributing, Clark Howard says to stay the course. He points out that despite the volatile nature of Wall Street, we really only see a handful of huge gains throughout the year. And, we can rarely predict when these dramatic spikes will happen. So, Howard strongly advises people to keep their money where it is, because if you take it out, you are likely to miss the GREAT days that really create those big jumps in the value of your funds.

Here's a headline that I just read from today's news:

Dow posts big gains in early trading

If you were one of those who pulled your money out last week, you missed out on the 311 point surge the Dow had immediately after opening this morning (we'll see where it ends up at the end of the day).

Here's some advice: do not look at your 401(k) statement more than once per year. Especially if you are under 50 years old. You will have your money there until you are at least 59 years old, and perhaps until 63 or 65. So, it doesn't matter what happens right this minute.

Just hang in there. And buy-buy-buy!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Impressions of Catalyst '08

OK, so I just got home from my second Catalyst experience. For those of you who have never heard about Catalyst, it is an annual leadership conference, primarily geared for today's Christian leaders in ministry and business. It's a three-day deal held at Gwinnett Arena in NE Atlanta.

Here are my thoughts on Catlyst 2008, while they are fresh in my mind:
  • The place was packed out! There were more than 12,000 people who crammed in this year. Any time you get that many passionate people together for worship and teaching, it's pretty amazing!
  • As always, the worship experience at Catalyst was incredible. Say what you will about "concert-style" worship, but when you have 12,000 voices in unison praising God, it is powerful.
  • Steve Fee and his band were top-notch! If you have never heard about Steve Fee, or have not yet picked up his newest CD, I'd say it's a "must."
  • We got a unique surprise on Thursday, when Switchfoot lead singer John Foreman came out and shared one of his original (yet to be released) worship songs. Great stuff!
  • My favorite speakers this year: Steven Furtick, Dave Ramsey, Matt Chandler, and Seth Godin. Of course, Andy Stanley was outstanding, but he speaks every year.
  • Perhaps the most moving experience at this year's conference was when TNT's Ernie Johnson, Jr. interviewed William P. Young, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Shack.
  • Learned that the most analytical authors make the poorest oral communicators. They have great information to share, but reading their books is preferable to hearing them speak.
  • The "sick" popper from Fox's So, You Think You Can Dance? came out and worked the stage with his amazing skills. His name is Robert Muraine, and he is sensational!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Being Tardy isn't a Party

I gotta be honest. I debated as to whether or not I was going to write about this subject. But, it’s a subject I see becoming more relevant each and every day. It’s not just something that concerns me, but a habit or behavior that has consequences far beyond just aggravating someone.

It’s called chronic tardiness. Always being late. Making people wait on you and for you. For everything.

In my younger years, I would have a tendency to be late from time to time. Never a habitual problem, but I would often fail to give myself ample time to arrive at my destination in a timely fashion. And, even when I did, I was getting there at the exact time – never giving myself a cushion.

What are the consequences of constantly being late? Well, if you are the one who is always running behind, then there are several things that result. First, you are likely always in a rush. And, because of this, you cannot help but cut corners – relationally, professionally, and emotionally.

You are never able to slow down to invest in the lives of others. You are working on hyper-drive to complete tasks that warrant more focus. And, you cannot possibly develop the necessary passion for people or endeavors that are the most meaningful to you. There’s a ripple effect here.

Second, you damage relationships. As if hurting yourself professionally isn’t enough when you are always late, you lose credibility with others when you constantly hold them up. Once or twice in a blue moon is certainly not a big deal. But, when you cannot honor others by being somewhere on time, it’s rude. And, it’s selfish.

Look, I am not talking about getting caught in an unexpected traffic jam. And, I am not talking about arriving late because of an unforeseen family issue. I am speaking specifically about folks who are not only late all the time for everything, but those who refuse to make necessary modifications in their schedules or behaviors to begin to kick the habit.

There is an old saying that goes, “Better an hour too soon than a minute too late.”

If we all began living this way, the changes would be remarkable. You see, for some reason we believe that we are only making the most of our time if we are cramming more and more into it. But, this isn’t true. If I have three things going on in my day, and I add three more, what happens? Each of the six tasks suffers. My plate becomes heavy, and the investment I can make into each agenda item becomes more watered down. And, on top of it all, I am forced to hurry, compromising my ability to effectively complete each one.

If, instead of running around like mad, we began to value others’ (and our own) schedules by arriving early, we would increase productivity and lower our stress. And, we might even be able to slow down enough to catch the things that truly matter to us - the things that we are flying by when we are only concerned about our destination, and not the journey.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Common Problems, Uncommon Faith

We have a series that begins this week at NorthStar that is centered around one of my favorite characters in the Bible. He's a guy whose most extraordinary trait was his unwavering confidence that God was always near no matter the circumstances in which he found himself.

This is a dude who, as far as we know, did nothing wrong. No, he wasn't sinless, but we never read about any immorality or poor choices in his life. He loved people. He thought about others. He planned ahead. He was forgiving. He was compassionate.

Despite his loving nature, his life was marked by wrongdoing - and he was the one who was repeatedly wronged! He was thrown into a pit and left for dead. He was sold into slavery. He was framed for rape. He was thrown into prison. He was forgotten by those he helped.

But, this man never lost hope. He persevered through constant misfortune. What separated him from the rest of the world at that time was his unshakable faith in his God.

By the world's standards, he was average. There was nothing outwardly about him that suggested he was - or ever would be - anyone who would ever amount to much of anything. But, while others may not have noticed anything special in him, God was at work developing the person who would save an entire nation from a devastating famine.

Who was this guy? He was the oldest son of Jacob's beloved Rachel, and he was favored by his dad over all of his 11 brothers. He was a dreamer, and he was the ultimate model of integrity. His name was Joseph. And, though we regard him as someone who was larger than life, the fact is that he was just an Everyday Joe.

He was a normal guy who was the victim of some pretty incredible injustices. But, it was his uncommon faith in an omnipotent God that changed his life - and the entire nation of Egypt - forever.

Join us beginning October 5 at NorthStar for a four-part series called Everyday Joe, and find out Joseph's secret to finding peace and claiming victory in some of life's most desperate circumstances.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marriage, or "Convenient" Arrangement?

I was driving home last night from a church function, and was listening to the Allen Hunt Show on the radio. Allen's producer read a story recently that custom home builders receive many requests from married couples to put two master bedrooms in the home. Apparently, there is a trend today for married couples to sleep in separate beds.

Anyway, I find this story fascinating - and, I gotta admit - tragic. This is not about a spouse snoring, being sick, or tossing and turning. These are married couples who "co-exist" in the same household with their children, and are making the choice to sleep in separate rooms.

One lady called in and said that she didn't necessarily see the big deal. After all, she commented, she and her husband had no passion in their marriage, and the intimacy they experienced earlier in their relationship was extinguished. As discouraging as this sounded, what alarmed me most was how long they had been married. You would have thought they had been married for 15-20 years. But, no! They have only been married for six years!

I cannot imagine having an empty marriage - one without excitement, joy, friendship, and intimacy. But, the longer I live, the more certain I am that the great marriage relationship Amy and I share is the exception - not the rule.

The woman I mentioned a moment ago stated that she typically reads for a little while, then goes to bed early - around 9:30 p.m. Her husband, on the other hand, stays up watching sports and late night talk shows, and comes to bed around midnight. So, her argument is, "Why would having a separate bedroom be any different?"

And, if this is your marriage arrangement, then maybe there's not much of a difference. But, I would implore you to begin thinking about your spouse and not yourself, and try to begin seeing things through their eyes.

Amy and I agreed years ago to try and go to bed at the same time - together - every night. It doesn't always happen that way, but 95 per cent of the time it does. And, that's a big deal. It demonstrates a mutual love and respect, and it lets your spouse know that you actually want to be with them!

In the end, how convenient is a loveless and lifeless marriage? Even with a fancy separate master bedroom, the perks of vast personal space cannot possibly make up for the fulfillment you get from making your spouse a priority!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Escape Predictability and Embrace the Adventure

I just started reading a new book by Mark Batterson called Wild Goose Chase. I can already tell that it's one of those books that will be on my "must read" list that I share with others.

On page two, Batterson goes ahead and hits you over the head with a mallet with some words that may hurt your feelings. Here's what he says:

Intellectual analysis usually results in spiritual paralysis.

Ponder that for a moment. It may sting a little, but it'll wear off...eventually. Actually, I hope the sting sticks around to remind us of this deep truth.

Some of the most exasperating people are those who fit the mold of Batterson's words. They would prefer to debate than to take action. They are those who want to make sure they are absolutely certain they are correct before getting off their collective duffs.

Now, I am not advocating carelessness. In fact, I would say I am one of the most cautious people I know. But, you can be cautious and still move forward. You can tip-toe through wisdom rather than plunging into recklessness.

I believe God does expect us to wrestle with deep spiritual truths, and he wants us to meditate on scripture. And, he certainly hopes that we consult others when struggling to make important and difficult decisions.

But, at some point, the rhetoric has got to stop, the questions have to be silenced, and we have to free fall (metaphorically speaking) into God's arms, being certain that He will not only catch us, but that He will equip us for the journey. And, at the end of the day, He gives us an incredible story to share with others about His faithfulness.

It all starts with (as Batterson says) stepping out of the cage of comfortable Christianity. It means that you do more than think about things and talk about things. It means you do something.

It means, in many ways, that we go on a "wild goose chase" of sorts. It entails trading our boring, mundane lives for an exhilirating adventure in which we have no idea what's in store for us.

So, are you paralyzed by fear? Do you spend too much time thinking and questioning, and not nearly enough time doing? If so, I encourage you to pick up Batterson's book and begin to seek out the adventure God has prepared for you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sad But True

I went for a long walk Saturday morning. Man, the weather was just perfect. About 65 degrees with a slight breeze. Birds chirping, lawnmower engines revving up, sprinklers showering newly seeded soil. Welcome autumn.

So, anyway, when I go walking, I always take my iPod. I mean, I love the sounds of nature and landscaping, but I gotta have a little sumthin'-sumthin' to keep my legs moving and keep the adrenaline pumping.

On this occasion, I sauntered to the soothing tunes of Metallica (the Black Album from 1992). This is arguably their best album of all-time. Lots of great hard rock tunes filled with cynicism and angst. But not only that, there is actually truth in many of the lyrics that accompany these heavy riffs.

Perhaps the most gripping lyrics are those to a little ditty called Sad But True. The song is written from Satan's perspective. Read these words, and you'll see exactly how "on the money" these sentiments are when viewed through the enemy's eyes:

You, You're my mask
Youre my cover, my shelter
You, You're my mask
Youre the one whos blamed
Do, Do my work
Do my dirty work, scapegoat
Do, Do my deeds
For youre the one whos shamed
(view all the lyrics here)

Is this the kind of tune I want my 8 and 4 year old boys listening to? Well, no - not exactly. But, the underlying truth - a hard truth - is this is exactly who Satan is. He's behind the scenes, yet we are the ones who wear the mask, we're the ones who are made to suffer needlessly when we make poor choices.

The fact is that we are all mirrors. We can either reflect the glory of our Creator, or we can wear the mask of the enemy and get caught up in the current of what the world values as important.

Let those lyrics sink in. Stew on them. Ponder those deep truths.

Then fight tooth and nail to avoid falling into the enemy's traps. Refuse to believe his lies. Because Satan's fate has already been determined. His reputation and future are not on the line. It's yours. And often times it's those who mean the most to you who suffer.

Sad but true.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parking Perks for Pastors? Preposterous!

I tend to be pretty easy-going. I don't get too riled up very often (only when the Georgia Bulldogs football team enters the season #1, wins three straight games, and drops two spots in the polls).

But occasionally, I'll come across something that flies all over me. For example, when I come across an inconsistent message, or someone or something sending mixed signals about who they are or what they are about.

I refuse to name names here, but I went to a church earlier this week that I had never been to before. I had heard about it, and had seen the billboards, but really knew nothing more. And, I learned all I needed to know when I pulled into the parking lot.

Smack dab in front of the main (and only) entrance to the church was a parking spot labeled "pastors." So, being a pastor, I parked there - even though I knew the spot was "reserved" for the lead pastor of the church.

I immediately thought to myself, "If I was starting a church, and I wanted to completely alienate my congregation, and send them the message that the pastor is the VIP, I would put a Pastor Parking sign in the spot absolutely closest to the entrance."

Talk about mixed signals. As the leader of a church, a pastor should demonstrate humility through serving others and setting an example by placing others' interests before his own. By putting something as trivial as a reserved parking spot for pastors - literally front and center - the leaders of that congregation immediately have a "sacred cow" and an obstacle to reaching lost people.

You may be thinking, "Well, it's just a parking spot. The church just wants to honor its leader. No big deal." The problem is not the parking space itself. It's what people see and perceive. And, Jesus warned against this repeatedly when he met with the spiritual leaders of his time on earth:

"You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You're just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under." Luke 11:43-44 (Message)

Are pastors with privileged parking frauds? Most of them probably are not. Nonetheless, the shepherd should be most concerned with the health of his flock. And their collective health can be compromised over something as silly and insignificant as a parking spot.

In the end, what good can come of it? Can more harm come from having a reserved parking spot, or not having one?

And, lest you think I am just ripping churches, I feel the very same way about privileged parking for corporate big wigs, or even Employees of the Month. Customers (and the "little people" in those companies) see these signs and immediately feel ambivalent - perhaps a loyalty or a respect for the organization or employer, but disdain for the privileged few.

Again, it's sending mixed signals. The church or corporation says, "You are the most important person to us...except when it comes to getting the best parking spots."

Ultimately, it's a heart issue. And, I am by no means perfect. Believe me, I want that primo parking spot at the mall or ball game, too. But, sometimes I'll catch myself being a little too selfish, and I'll choose to park further away, so someone else can be closer.

And, quite honestly, the feeling of giving up something for someone else is far greater than the temporary satisfaction of saving myself a few steps on my way in.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Today's Yutes

Around 6 p.m. Sunday evening I decided to take Chaz to the ball field to practice hitting and pitching. He moves up to "kid pitch" next season, and he'll be playing with 9-10 year olds.

So, as we're walking to the field, I can see and hear four kids playing on the field next to ours. It's certainly not unusual to see kids playing on vacant fields. In fact, it's a great thing to be able to do that as a kid!

But, what I heard out of these kids' mouths aggravated me. They probably ranged in age from 10-13, and all they did was argue with each other and put one another down. Further, the comments were not along the lines of "you stink." These were far worse cut-downs with language that would make a sailor blush.

I attempted to tune it out for a while, but it become too much. I finally walked over to the field and asked where their parents were. I immediately felt eight eyes shoot daggers at me, as the collective response was, "Why?"

I asked these kids if their parents would appreciate the language they were using, and if they'd like the way they spoke to one another. I asked them to stop using foul language, but you would have thought I asked them something completely insulting by their replies. They said things like, "I can do and say whatever I want to" and "I know someone who owns this park, and he lets me do what I want (it's a city park, so that was definitely not true)."

This went on for about a minute, when a gentleman playing tennis behind the field hopped the fence and ran over. He said, "I have little kids over here, and I am tired of hearing the cussing. It's gotta stop."

I then picked up a glove and bat and told the kids that they were either going to leave the park, or I was going to take the equipment over to my field until they decided to clean up their act.

The oldest kid said, "You can't make us leave." The other man (the one who hopped the fence) said, we may not be able to make you leave, but we'll take this equipment and toss it in the dumpster, and you won't be able to play."

At this point, I was just beside myself. Not really angry. More disappointed than anything else. I mean, when I was 10 or 12 years old, I would have absolutely loved to be able to play baseball on a REAL field any time I wanted to. And, I certainly would have respected any adults who talked to me. But, these kids didn't have respect for anything - for each other, for adults, or for the very park in which they were playing.

I came to find out that these kids are living a pretty rough life. Their family situations are not good at all. Their homes are infested with bugs. Sometimes they don't get enough to eat. One or two have fathers rumored to be in prison.

I told the kids before I left that I had no problem with them playing ball on the fields. In fact, I told them I was glad that they were out there having fun. But, I explained that they needed to show respect to others and watch their language.

I wonder if any of them will look back one day at their interaction with me and the tennis-playing fence-hopping guy. I hope they do, and I pray that for them it may have been the wake-up call they needed to turn their lives around.

Because at the end of the day, we're all responsible for our own actions and words, despite the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

I hope those kids make something of their lives, and can remove the reputations they have already established for themselves as troublemakers.

As one person already told me today, "You can only earn so many chances for yourself; but, at some point, your chances run out when people are trying to do things for you."

I wish today's youth could somehow see how things like disrespect shape their character, and can cause irreparable harm to their futures.

Only time will tell.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

OK...I Surrender

So, a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog entry about the whole Facebook and MySpace deal, and how silly it all seemed. Well, much to my own chagrin, I have broken down and become a part of the Facebook generation.

Click HERE to view my profile

Within two minutes of joining, I had all kinds of messages from people "congratulating" me and welcoming me on board. It was strangely invigorating. I mean, everyone likes getting attention, so when you get messages and wall posts from people, it makes you feel good.

And, you can connect with people you haven't seen in 15 years (or longer). And, if there are people you don't want to see or hear from again, you don't have to add them as friends. The choice is up to you.

You can jazz up your profile as much as you want. Join groups. Add photos. Post messages. Create "flair." It's wild.

But, as opposed to it as I was initially, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Really, the only negative is that you can spend hours on the darn thing, and it'll seem like just a couple minutes. It can seriously curb your productivity if you are not careful.

So, all you Facebook people out there, go "wall to wall" with me. Send me some smack talk about your college team. Throw some flair my way.

Cuz I'm in, baby!

Monday, September 8, 2008

You, Too!!

Have you ever responded to someone's question or comment with an response so asinine that you looked and felt like a complete dork? Of course you have (I feel better already)!

Before I defame myself yet again, I gotta tell you about my favorite comedian. His name is Brian Regan, and he is absolutely the funniest dude I have ever seen perform live. Tim Hawkins is a close second, but Brian Regan takes the cake with his facial contortions and over the top goofy mannerisms.

Anyway, Regan does this entire bit on making completely idiotic responses when engaged in everyday conversations.

For example, when people say, "You, too!" at the wrong time. Regan tells of a time when he took a cab ride to the airport. As he was exiting the taxi, the driver said, "Have a nice flight."

Regan's response: "You, too!" He goes on to say how foolish he felt as he stood at the curb with his hand waving back at the cabbie. "You, too! You have a nice flight too! If you ever fly someday!"

He also talks about standing in the line for popcorn at the movie theater. The person behind the counter hands him his bucket of popcorn and exclaims, "Enjoy the movie!"

Regan's reply: "You, too!"

Well, you get the point.

There are many times when we just say ridiculous things to people - usually thoughtlessly and unintentionally.

So, back to my moment of sheer genius. It was after church a couple weeks ago. I was heading into our office building to put away a couple of items, and someone approached me with a question.

"Excuse me, C.A.? I was you know if our church (NorthStar) offers any type of ministry for deaf people?"

My complete bone-head response: "Not that I have heard."

OK, it is pretty funny, I have to admit. But, as soon as I uttered those words, I realized how terrible of a response that really was. I uttered an awkward little chuckle, and apologized for my insensitive response. But, it was too late. The damage was done - mostly to myself.

There are countless other times when I have tripped over my own tongue. Things I have said, words I have typed that marred my reputation for a lifetime. Things that are hilarious to look back on, but things I would change if I could do them over again.

I'd love to hear from you!

What's YOUR best, "You, too!" moment?

P.S. - You can catch a clip of Brian Regan's comedy bit HERE. This particular clip is about 15 years old (you can tell by the mullet). And, he has a couple hilarious DVD specials you should check out! (he's a clean comic, FYI. No foul language)