Thursday, May 25, 2006

If I Were a Rich Man...

Lately I have considered that question that high school career counselors often ask: If I was independently wealthy, what would I choose to do? In case some of you would answer "nothing" - here's another way of putting it: If I had however many millions of dollars at my disposal and the only requirement for accessing it was to put my hand to SOMETHING, what would that something be? For me, it is complicated because my heart lies in a variety of areas. So, just for kicks, I took a 50 hour work week and broke it down. Keep in mind this does not include personal time with God, personal time with family, hanging with friends, blogging, and fitness/rest/relaxation.

10 hrs studying the Bible on whatever topic, using a variety of resources, and preparing to teach, preach, or write
5 hrs writing book(s)
5 hrs songwriting
5 hrs organization & planning / administrative items
4 hrs recording music and/or leading a live worship team
2.5 hrs practicing guitar
2.5 hrs practicing piano
2.5 hrs developing singing voice
2.5 hrs teambuilding / developing relationships
2 hrs volunteering at a shelters/homes
2 hrs going to bars/casinos/concerts to witness
2 hrs designing/updating websites or databases
2 hrs creating ideas for video production
2 hrs teaching - whether live / taped / podcasted
1 hrs creative writing - scripts for kids' videos, puppet shows, jokes, jingles, poems, etc

The ultimate goal of everything listed above would be to share God's love with others and help them grow in Him. As I look over the list I am struck by the fact that it does not lend itself to a stable, regular-paycheck secular career. I was a music teacher for five years. I put hours of preparation time in, was very organized, and ran a classroom that made learning fun. The preparation-presentation items above were fulfilled, but everything else was not. Based on a teacher's paycheck in the area where I live, my wife would not have been able to be a stay-at-home mom. In my technology career I have used organization and planning as well an aptitude for logical thought, but I really prefer the front-end design more than the back-end programming. Yet, again, all the other areas of interest were hung out to dry. If I go down the line...nobody gets paid simply to study and prepare unless you are part of a R&D team - has to be some form of presentation or outlet. To my knowledge, being an author is not a regularly paying gig, nor is songwriting. Some kind of business administration is a possibility, but there again all the other items would be pushed out of the way. A career in musical performance is not necessarily regular pay, nor is sales (involving relationship building). I have considered something like a director of a nursing home or shelter, but that again pushes the other items out of the picture. Last I checked, nobody gets paid to witness, videography is so cut-throat and competitive it would take the fun out of it, and creative writing is certainly not regular, stable pay.

For several years, more in the past year, and even more so since October, I keep coming back to the possibility of pioneering a church and being a pastor who also leads worship. If I ever stepped out to do that, I definitely would not be the type who is shut in a study only to appear Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. I have to have face to face time with those who are lost and in need (i.e. streetwitnessing and shelter work). I believe in leading by example, and the last thing I would want is a building full of spiritually fat people who are nothing more than country club members. I would want my congregation to reach out to a hurting world and I would be the first in line. This is where my heart is, but I am searching for the proper path to get there. Maybe doors will open up and something will happen in the next couple of months. Maybe a couple years...maybe five or ten. I firmly believe that if one follows God's path for his or her life, He will provide each and every step of the way.

One thing I have learned over the years is not to make life-altering decisions when you are stressed. I have not been in blog world lately to read or write because I have been CRAZY busy. The company I was working for was sold to a company in Toronto and the software developers were not part of the deal. Tomorrow is my last paycheck. I know my God is faithful and He will guide to what He wants for me at this time. I have been scoping out companies, sending out resumes (for tech jobs), and have had two interviews that I think went well. I am playing classical guitar in a wedding on June 3rd. Cindy and I have been researching the quality and safety of various baby items. We have been to three Lamaze Plus classes (for those wishing to go as drug-free as possible) and have been trying to find time to read up on all sorts of baby-related info. I have been doing MAJOR work on the house - more on that in another post. The point is, my mind is occupied with many things, so for now I am taking care of the tasks at hand, seeking stable, secular work, and praying that God will prepare me for whatever else He has in store for me.

Hey, I just want to add that I deeply miss all of you and hope to catch up on your blogs very, very soon. You are all a blessing to me and I appreciate having you as my blog friends.

Just out of curiosity, if YOU were financially independent and the only requirement for accessing your wealth was to put your hand to SOMETHING, what would that something be? No need to break it down by hours (that was for the benefit of my own thought process), I am just interested in knowing what interests you...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Getting to Know You...

I do not watch secular television all that often, but when I do, here are the main programs that interest me (I realize this is quite the eclectic list):

Good Eats with Alton Brown
Planet's Funniest Animals
American Idol
UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships)
Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton

The last show fascinates me because I like to hear about how actors have studied their craft and how they got to where they are. No, I can't say I am interested in being famous, but I am goal-oriented and like to hear how people overcame adversity on the way to their goals. At the end of the show James Lipton asks 10 questions. The answers reveal quite a bit about the subject's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. I thought I'd ask them here to find out more about those of you who visit my blog. I'll also share my own answers for whoever is interested. I took out two of the questions (favorite curse word and what we want God to say to us at the pearly gates). Here goes:

1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
4. What turns you off?
5. What sound or noise do you love?
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
7. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
8. What profession would you not like to do?

Here are my answers:

1. love
2. can't
3. music, the Bible, laughter
4. people who mock others or limit their individuality
5. ocean waves
6. the squeak made by two pieces of stiff white styrofoam being rubbed together
7. pastor
8. proctologist

Your turn...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Baby and the Bathwater

In my lifetime (thus far) I have probably met 30-40 famous people, most of whom were in the music industry. I started going to a bunch of concerts when I was in high school and made a habit of waiting after the concert to meet whomever. I learned a great deal from those experiences. Many times I had a preconceived idea of what they were like as a person and then found out I was completely wrong. Some who appeared to me to be snobbish or arrogant in interviews or on stage were actually the nicest people. I learned that you simply cannot judge a book by its cover. There are far too many variables involved, like how tired the person is, the tone with which an interview is being conducted, their personality type (expressive, driver, amiable, analytical), and so on. The same is true of many preachers and/or evangelists who are on television these days. I used to have a tendency to look at what someone was wearing, how they acted, or even take bits and pieces of what they said and then decide whether I was for or against them. It took me a while, but I realized how immature that really was. I realized that even if I don't agree with 100% of what they are saying or writing, there is still much to learn from them. We have the Word of God, and that can help us discern what is wheat and what is chaff. I have Christian friends who mention this preacher or that and make it clear that they cannot receive from them at all, while I have received much. Don't get me wrong, if someone, no matter who they were, came out against Jesus being the Son of God or said He did not rise from the dead, I would have a big problem with that. However, in that case, I would question whether that person was even truly part of the Body of Christ. I am mainly saying that I have found I can learn a great deal from people who initially may have made me raise an eyebrow for whatever reason. We all make up various parts of the Body. What if a finger or a hand said, "Hey, check out that elbow! Isn't if funny looking? Rather dry at times, too." Maybe they are right, but it would be very hard to feed ourselves without elbows. We should celebrate the uniqueness of God's callings instead of trying to fit everyone into the "this-is-how-I-would-do-it" box. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. The more I learn, the more I realize I have to learn. The key is continuing to seek. I want to constantly be rising higher in God, and I am thankful for the variety of teaching and resources available today. I am excited about being alive in this hour.

More on this can be found here. I just found Cameron's blog recently and have been blessed by his posts.

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