Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Brave, The Committed, The Christmoustachees

This December I was, shall I say, inspired...inspired to let the space between my nose and upper lip sprout in a tangible and visible way the Christmas joy I felt in my heart. I invited friends and family to join me in the Christmoustache project. If you are wondering, "Why a Christmoustache?" read here. Here are the pics of the brave, the committed, the 2012 Christmoustachees:

And just as Christmas has come and gone, so has the Chrismoustache. Do your moustache a favor and give it a proper execution.

Rest in Peace, Christmoustache!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Like all of you, I have had a hard time wrapping my mind around Friday's events. In fact, I try to stay away from the news, because part of me is not tough enough to hear the details. I'm not naive. I am well aware of brokenness. I have seen it! I have caused it! But, when helpless children become the victims of a fallen world, it is almost too much to bear. I don't really know what to say or do.

But, I believe God says, "NO!"

"NO! This is not what I designed!"
"NO! This is not what I want!"
"NO! This is not acceptable!"
"NO! I will not let Creation do this to itself!"
"NO! This is not "How it is!'"
"NO! I did not make children to be shot!"

Today, God says "NO!" to the events in Connecticut just like he said NO to the Fall in the garden, just like he said NO to a world gone mad in Noah's day, just like he said NO by raising up a light through Abraham, just like he said NO to slavery in Egypt...

Just like God said NO in the resurrection of Jesus!

The empty tomb says "NO!" to death! The resurrection doesn't repair the shattered souls of parents, spouses and friends grieving today. It doesn't make the horrifying reality any less real; it doesn't explain how God works exactly; it doesn't erase the difficult questions. But it does say that God will not stop until all children are safe, violence a forgotten memory, and shocking headlines simply myths.

So I pray Christ-followers in Connecticut will join God is saying NO, not by offering solutions or suggesting simple theological fixes, but by surrounding the families and community of Newtown in love. I pray Jesus people will say, "We will not leave you alone. We will love you as long as you need us too. We will struggle with you. We will scream with you. We will question with you. We will rebuild with you. We will not leave you. In Jesus' name we will not accept the current state of things."

God says NO.

This gives me hope in what appears to be hopeless times.

I want to say NO too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jesus Ad

The Followers
Sometimes we force discipleship into an unfair dichotomy between the the prosperity gospel and a suffering gospel, but could it not be both/and? Jesus offers his followers full life (John 10:10) and he also demands sacrifice (Luke 14:27). The problem often comes in our understanding of "full life" as the "easy life" - life without hardship. In reality, the "easy life" is a half-full life at best. Jesus invites you to follow him into a life of adventure: a life where you will experience things you never would without him, a life of wonder, of risk, of uncertainty...and yes, there will be suffering, pain, and struggle. But in the end, you will look back on your existence with Jesus and know you drank deeply from Life. Perhaps, the Christ-following Life parallels Sir Ernest Shackleton's invitation to join him on the 1914 Endurance expedition:

Sir Ernest Shackleton
The early 1900's had its own moon - Antarctica, and many countries and explorers sought to make a name for themselves by reaching the South Pole first. Sir Ernest Shackleton, an Irish-born polar explorer, obsessed over conquering the South Pole. In 1901, as a member of the Discovery Expedition, he, along with two other team members, came within 745 miles of the pole but had to turn back due to deteriorating health and dwindling supplies. Shackleton narrowly escaped death. In 1908, Shackleton returned for another attempt, this time turning back only 97 miles from the coveted destination.

Despite all his effort, Shackleton would not be the first to stand at the southern most part of the planet. The Norwegian explorer, Ronald Amundsen, claimed the title in 1912. After the South Pole defeat, Shackleton knew of only one other glorious Antarctic adventure left: a transcontinental expedition. In 1914, Shackleton assembled a crew of 28 explorers, sailors, and adventurers with plans to trek across the frozen continent, a continent with a record low of 129 degrees below zero.

The Endurance
On August 1, 1914 The Endurance set sail from London with Sir Ernest Shackleton in charge and a crew of hopeful adventurers. Little did they know their polar expedition would become one of the greatest survival stories of all times. The Endurance would never reach Antarctica.

Before reaching Antarctica, vessels must navigate through the ice pack, the frozen ocean surrounding the continent. On January 18, 1915 The Endurance unintentionally wedged herself in the ice pack just in time for the antarctic winter. The 28-member crew waited through three months of Winter darkness on a floating sheet of ice. They hoped with Winter's death the Spring sun would melt the ice enough to set The Endurance free. After drifting over 150 miles that winter the pressure of the ice crushed The Endurance.  The crew abandoned their sinking ship and set up camp on another floating piece of ice. Three row boats served as their only means of transportation.

Hiking Through the Ice Floe
At Mother Nature's mercy and by God's grace, Shackleton and his men braved the elements for months, hoping and praying the ice floe would drift close enough to an island for them to row ashore. On April 16, 1916 Shackleton's team made it safely to the uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton knew their only hope was to reach Georgia, the closest inhabited Island.  Shackleton set sail from Elephant Island in a 22-foot row boat along with 5 of his crew to make the 800 mile journey to their last hope. Four months later Shackleton returned with a Chilean rescue crew. The expedition came to a close after 633 grueling days!

A mind-blowing story, but one of my favorite pieces in the this tale is Shackleton's recruitment method. He found his crew of 28 by posting the following ad in a London newspaper:


Sir Ernest received over 100 applicants. Why would anyone take such risks and endure such suffering? Because, there was a group of men who knew there was more to life than sitting on the couch with a bag of Doritos, yelling at teenage boys fighting over an egg-shaped piece of leather. They knew a full life did not necessarily mean an easy life!

There are days I want to put Shackleton's ad in the Trenton paper, or on the slide presentation at Church with a few modifications:



Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Why Christmoustache?
  • The same reason little boys throw rocks
  • The same reason you put chili on a hotdog
  • The same reason you Super Size
  • The same reason you use the tree rather than the port-a-potty 
  • The same reason you lick your plate when no one is looking
  • The same reason you laugh when people fall down
  • The same reason you flex in the bathroom mirror before your shower
  • The same reason you shadow box when you are alone
  • The same reason you give it the "3-2-1" before you shoot the final driveway shot
  • The same reason you are secretly proud of your son's gift in controlling bodily noises
  • The same reason you think you can "take" guys who are clearly bigger and stronger than you ("Yeah, but I'm scrappy!")
  • The same reason you order "Medium Rare"
  • The same reason you wash quiche down with a cheeseburger 
What are the benefits of Christmoustache?
  • Your wife will fall in love with you all over again
  • You will connect with a decade when men not only refused to shave their upper lip but their chest hair as well (Reference Magnum P.I.)
  • Even your lip deserves a snuggie
  • You'll walk taller
  • Storage for a quick snack
  • Everywhere you go your face says "I Can!"
  • Your dog will be proud of you
  • It draws your wife's attention to your lips
  • Like cat whiskers, your tactile perception increases exponentially
What is the Christmoustache?
Put simply, it is a moustache for Christmas. Let me give you a simple equation:


 I'm inviting you to celebrate the season of Christmas and facial hair by growing a moustache during the month of December. On Christmas Day, take a picture of you with your moustache  and post it on Facebook or Twitter. Tag me in your post so I can put your Christmoustache on my special Christmoustache blog post. There are several who have taken the challenge, who have dared to ask more of life. You were born for such a time as this.