A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: July 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Sunday Night Unwind, 07.27.08…

Slee-py tonight! Been running all weekend…let’s keep this one brief, shall we?

  • The soundtrack for tonight’s Unwind is a mixed bag, all courtesy of Pandora. Switching between Nightnoise, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and, thanks to a suggestion from my buddy Gary Lamb, Piano Man (including the “title cut” live!)
  • Speaking of Piano Man, Billy Joel’s The Stranger was the first album I bought at the pseudo-socialist, but very cheap co-op in Tallahassee, Florida when I was a freshman in college. Good stuff!
  • I’ve also been digging some Harry Chapin this weekend, especially my favorites, “Mr. Tanner,”“WOLD,” and “30,000 Pounds of Bananas.”
  • A little better crowd this morning. About a quarter of our attendees were guests! Cool!
  • Any message that includes references to Randy Bohlender and Chris Elrod can’t be all bad, right?
  • I got just a tad excited this morning as well. Enough of that!
  • Oh, and we’re spending about $19,000. On freakin’ air conditioners! That stinks!
  • The lovely and gracious “Mrs. Just Charlie” is back to school officially tomorrow. She’s already been almost every day this past week, but tomorrow she “has” to be there.
  • Came thaaaaat close to going on up to NewSpring yesterday and blowing off the ‘Crest today. We were already in the huge metropolis of Commerce, Georgia, just down I-85 from Anderson. Decided against it. Did I mention that I wasn’t overly impressed with the outlet center in Commerce?
  • Finishing up some reading – Mark – and writing a bit in my Moleskine.

That’s about it! 4:00 a.m. will be here before you know it! Off to bed pretty soon!

When “They” Tell You You Can’t…

I was an innocent bystander in a conversation today that reminded me of a couple of quotes.

The first one, attributed to Vincent van Gogh, appeared on my old blog a little over three years ago…

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

And this one, attributed to some anonymous Chinese proverbist…

The man who says, “it cannot be done” should never get in the way of the man who is doing it.

And finally, one of my dad’s favorite Howardisms…

“Can’t” never could do anything.

Isn’t it funny – and rather tragic – that people who’ve never attempted something, or who have failed at it, are the first and loudest ones to explain why “that’ll never work”?

Not Really Ready, Am I?

Went with the lovely and gracious “Mrs. Just Charlie” to our favorite little Eye-talian place for lunch today. (I had just talked about getting back to the basics of church, and how the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost must be our driving passion, etc.).

So we pull up to Provino’s and there they were, in all their redneck-hip-hop-wannabe glory: about four guys and a girl,  all of whom appeared to be in their early 20s. Standing right outside the door, smoking, swilling Budweiser longnecks.

My first reaction was something like…

Crap! Why can’t they move it somewhere else so I can get in the door?

We went around this crew and headed in for lunch. Well, it gets better. As soon as we were seated, that whole crew came in and joined another very similar crowd at a large table across the room from us.

Another young woman joined them shortly, and it became apparent that this whole bunch was celebrating the first young woman’s birthday. (Or that they were continuing to celebrate her birthday might be more like it!)

I’d like to think that the language they were using would be offensive to the young woman (with the obligatory and very evident tramp stamp), but since she was the loudest and most obnoxious, I guess not.

Every third word from her mouth began with “f” and ended with “-kin'” and there was no “rea” in between. I had almost had all I could stand when she made this comment…

S**t! I was so f**kin’ messed up, I f**kin’ woke up with nothin’ but my f**kin’ bikini top on, and my f**kin’ bottle of Everclear was f**kin’ gone!

The rest of the table laughed and commented favorably.

And that’s when it hit me. Or I should say, that’s when He hit me. Right in the face. Hard.

My buddy, Gary Lamb, often says that most pastors who say they want to reach the unchurched really don’t want to, they just want to have cool, different ways of doing church for the already-convinced.

I know he’s right, but it hit home in a big way this afternoon over a plate of manicotti and garlic rolls.

I am not really ready to advance the Kingdom. I’m not really ready to storm the gates of hell and rescue people who are far from God. I’m good with nice, decent folks who just don’t go to church. But there were people, loved by God, created and designed by Him for a great purpose, people for whom Jesus lived and died, people being passionately pursued by God, and I couldn’t handle them. My anger and discomfort soon turned to great shame and I wept over my last bit of manicotti. Sitting right there in the restaurant, I wept over people far from God, and over my lack of passion for them.

God, help me see those who are far from You as You see them. Give me patience for the things I don’t like so I can have a passion for those You love. Help me be ready next time…

Great Quote on How We Read the Bible…

I’ve been fascinated by Steve McCoy’s blog series on The Big 5: Books That______________.

It’s been enlightening and inspirational to see some of the books that have influenced folks and their thinking. The latest installment is The Big 5: Books That Changed Your Mind. Drilling down through the comments, I came upon this response from Todd Bumgarner, which included this quote…

I have been using two markers in my Bible: a highlighter for the things I like, a sharpie for the things I don’t.

Thanks, Todd. And thanks, Steve!

Monday Night Unwind, 07.07.08…

Just about to call it quits after a pretty good day. Here’s what’s happened and happening…

  • Got a little Hillsong United playing on Pandora. Third Day’s King of Glory just wrapped up.  David Crowder’s Everything Glorious is on at this very minute. Two of my favorites, especially that Third Day song…it fires me up every time for some reason. Oh, now it’s Hillsong United’s For All Who Are to Come!
  • Did I mention we may have a chick leading some worship for us? And that she’ll be tons better than Darlene However-You-Pronounce-Her-Name at Hillsong?
  • Speaking of Hillsong, did you know that Perry Noble is speaking there later this year? Anderson meets Australia…oh, to be a fly on the wall! 🙂
  • David Foster twittered this great Lou Holtz quote: “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.” Wow! And ouch!
  • Personal best in the bench press today.
  • But I couldn’t lift the TV that got fried a couple of weeks ago to take it to the shop! Pretty weak! (No, pretty stinkin’ bulky TV!)
  • Oh, anybody want to pony up for a nice new HDTV? Just wondering…
  • The Message is rocking my world these days. Again.
  • This last cup of Sumatra is super!
  • Writing thank you notes to the VBS team. Writing…you do that with a real pen and real note paper. Then you put real stamps on them. And put them in your real mailbox, so the real mail carrier can pick them up and they get delivered. In a couple of days. And they still seem to have that little extra something in these days of Twitter and email and text messages. Just a thought…your mileage may vary.
  • Feeling real grateful tonight for my buds who are making a impact for the sake of the Kingdom. You guys know who you are, and you know I’m pulling and praying for you! Go get ’em, Tiger!

That’s about it…4 am comes real early in the morning! See y’all later!

A Couple of New Reads…

Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham incredible shrinking church

Went in one of our local ghettos yesterday to look for some supplies for church, and walked out with a couple of new reads.

My buddy, Tony McCollum, turned me on to The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham a couple of months ago. I’ve had it on my wish list since then. I finally picked it up…on sale! I don’t have a cool Kindle like Tony (but see my wish list again, in case you’re interested!), but I am looking forward to reading this book that made such an impact on my hero and friend.

Frank Page, the immediate past president of our tribe, put together what seems to be a helpful little book for guys like me, who find themselves trying to help turn a small traditional church around toward revitalization. I’ve already thumbed through it, and it seems to be worth my time as well.

BTW, if you have a LifeWay store near you, and if you can wade through the Jesus Junk on the sidewalk sale, you can find both of these – and more- at a pretty decent price!