Ragamuffin Soul

Ragamuffin Soul…ragamuffintops unite

Yep…this is me in my kitchen.

For those of you who don’t click through to my personal blog, for the last two months I’ve been half-heartedly taking part in Carlos Whittaker’s ragamuffin top challenge: an online weightloss support blog carnival. How’s that for a description? Every week we have to post a picture of ourselves and update the group on how well or how poorly we’ve been doing toward our goal. I haven’t really been working at the challenge..I’ve been busy playing on the lake. Although I did find that playing on the lake works a little bit towards weight loss! Since I rarely get personal on this blog (in a sense), I thought I’d let you all see this week’s picture for the challenge. Plus I apparently have nothing to say at this particular moment! Maybe it’s time to actually work at this challenge thing. I’ve got the eating down, but it’s time to move the backside — and not on a jet ski.

Gobena Coffee

Gobena Coffee supports mission work in Ethiopia. Organic and Fair Trade!

I know it is kind of pointless to post about something after the Blog King, Carlos Whittaker, posts about it. But on the off-chance that there are a few of you out there who do not read Carlos’ blog, I’m going to pass on an interesting find. Carlos tells the story of his friends Steve and Danae, and the adoption of their Ethiopian daughter. In the process of adopting their little Eva, Steve and Danae found their lives changed by the conditions they saw in Ethiopia. They started a coffee company to raise money for work in Ethiopia. 100% of the profits are invested back in the work. On the Gobena site you can see an orphanage that is being built. Anyway, watch their trip to Ethiopia, and then head over to Gobena Coffee like I did and buy some coffee. You can read more of their story on the Gobena Coffee site and on Ragamuffin Soul.

Ragamuffin Soul Looks Foolish

Ragamuffin Soul, Carlos Whittaker

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day – Chapter 8

It has been awhile since I’ve posted a Snowy Day post. Life has been busy! But tonight I was drawn back to Mark Batterson’s book, and we are now on chapter 8: the importance of looking foolish. Let’s start with a quote:

We try to look like everybody else. We try to talk like everybody else. We try to dress like everybody else. And the end result? We become like everybody else. We hide our idiosyncrasies and insecurities behind the mask of who we think we’re supposed to be. We stop being ourselves and start being who we think everyone wants us to be.

But something invaluable and irreplaceable is lost when we cave in to conformity. We lose our personality. We lose our originality. And at some point we lose our soul. Instead of becoming the one-of-a-kind original we were destined to be, we settle for a carbon copy of someone else.

Here’s the deal, as Mark Batterson says: if you aren’t willing to look foolish, you’re foolish. I’ve been praying lately for God to take me to the end of myself, to get me to the point where all I want is what He wants. A big prayer, but life is a journey. And then I pick up Snowy Day and realize the chapter is about looking foolish while we are dreaming the big, limitless dreams that God gives us.

I don’t know of anyone who more exemplifies this kind of holy foolishness than Carlos Whittaker, a man I’ve actually never met (yet!). Read his blog. Carlos is willing to be childlike, creative and unorthodox in his never-ending quest to be an authentic Christ Follower in this world. This week alone the Ragamuffin Soul was willing to show us his Ragamuffin Top as he begins a fitness quest. We’ve seen him dancing with his daughters, playing ping pong with his co-workers in a riveting live-stream. We’ve seen him interviewing leaders, riding the bus, fast-forwarding through his day, and leading us in worship. He opens his world and is willing to be transparent to show us the real world, a real dad, real ministry. Yeah, Ragamuffin Soul looks foolish. I wish I could, too.

Mark Batterson, who knows Carlos by the way, and would probably agree with my assessment, tells the story of riding in the van with his wife and kids, music blaring. Mark and his wife Lora get all jiggy to the music they have going. Their kids think they are crazy, but the people in the car behind them really think they are nuts. He writes:

But who is crazy? Is it us? Or is it the people who can’t hear the music? I’d like to think the crazy people are the ones who aren’t dancing because they can’t hear the music.

There is an old proverb: “Those who hear not the music think the dancer is mad.”

I’ve been praying for God to take me to the end of myself, and this chapter of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (please, Mark…can you think of a shorter title next time?) reminds me that perhaps the fears I am facing really result from my fear of appearing foolish. I’ve been praying this prayer, but I’m a little afraid God is going to take me up on it.

At least I’ll be in good company.

Purpose Driven Network Summit

Talk about places we’d all like to be! Rick Warren called a “Stealth Summit” calling together top pastors to talk about ministry. In addition, he had top bloggers come to cover the event. Go to Ragamuffin Soul to see the list of speakers and bloggers, or go to the ustream live broadcast by clicking this link. They literally sit down some of the nation’s top pastors and start asking them questions over the net and in person. Awesome.

Even Coffee Can’t Give Me Enough Energy Tonight!

I am conviced that the only thing between you and your destiny is one small act of courage. One courageous choice may be the only thing between you and your dream becoming reality. And it may be as simple as placing a phone call, downloading an appliation or sending an e-mail. But you’ve got to push the first domino.

— In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

It has been a long day here getting ready for graduation on Saturday and a family wedding in Oregon the week after. When we are tired, none of us keeps their temper very well. Except David…he’s always the same day in and day out. I’m trying to organize us all for the rather intense days ahead, and feel like I’d rather crawl in bed. So I am rereading this chapter in “Lion” to “screw my courage to the sticking place” (Beauty and the Beast quote…very eclectic tonight) and do the next thing on my list.

Pray for us all over the next few days! And look forward to some fun posts as we travel around the country a bit! Nothing like Carlos and DJ Chuang and some of the others headed to Saddleback and then WiBo, but still fun!

Some Fun Links

coffeebags.jpg

Maybe staying up until 4 AM last night was a mistake. I’ve been sick all day, and I can’t string two words together. So I decided to share some links to some of the cool friends I’ve met lately, and fun sites I’ve explored. I know…kind of lame, but I’m a dragging puppy.

This is Big John’s blog. John was the official bouncer at Q, and he took the time to read so many of our blogs and make great comments. I love reading about his church, and his latest post on his trip to Orlando was very interesting for those of us who live in South Florida.

My friend LT is an American-born Chinese pastor. His blog is really interesting to read since he is working in such a unique culture. He was at my first table during Q, and we had a great time sharing ministry stories and insights.

Everybody in the blogosphere (it seems) knows Ragamuffin Soul, aka Carlos Whittaker, a worship pastor at Northpoint. Lately he had some issues with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and he wants us all to link to him and get his message out. Whatever you think about his rental car experience, his blog never ever fails to entertain and educate. With 4000 readers + a day, Carlos is a superstar.

Scott Hodge is a pastor in Illinois. Go to his site and read the story of how his church got going. It was amazing. I know him best as a fellow blogger at Q, and now at other conferences. You follow these guys enough and you begin to feel like you’ve been to the conference!

My friend Jenni Catron has a great blog where you never know if you will find her guest bedroom wallpaper or an insight into women in ministry that makes you stop and think. I love seeing her link in my google reader go live because I never know what she will have for me!

If you are following my blog you know I really enjoyed Pop Goes the Church. Follow author (and pastor) Tim Steven’s blog here.

Now we need some fun stuff…

Collide Magazine deals with culture and the church. Sometimes irreverent and always interesting, they are great late-night reading. Check them out.

decor8 is a fun site devoted to…ta da…decorating. As you know, I enjoy thinking about the interaction between our environments and how we view the world. On decor8’s site, i get to view the world as pretty colored, hip, and always clean. A little fantasy can’t hurt!

These guys at Third Place Consulting don’t update their blog as often as I would like, but when they do I enjoy hearing their perspectives on life in the third place. Check them out.

Terry is lead pastor at a church in Pittsburgh (remember my Bill Strickland, Manchester Bidwell post?) He has some great perspectives on life in the community, and I’m enjoying getting to know him over his blog, Thinking Out Loud.

Finally, welcome a new entry to the blogosphere, my husband David. He is writing a blog called OfficeCafe…about working and thinking away from the office. Kind of works with Coffee Shop Journal, huh? Go give him a comment and make him feel at home.

So that’s it for tonight, folks. I’m going to risk it all and go to bed early tonight. Wish me luck on that one! If you want to know why that’s a risky statement, head on over to Dancing Thru Her Daddy’s World to see our family in action. I’ll be back tomorrow!