Today was one of those days when all day long, you’re not feeling like you’re getting anything done, but then at the end of the day you look back and realize you actually got a lot done.

So you walk into the Fellowship Hall kitchen on a Monday afternoon and see an assortment of flower arrangements. And you remember there were some pretty flower arrangements on the tables for the College of Elders dinner the previous night, and these flowers are going to go to waste in this kitchen. And then you get an idea - you pick up as many as you can carry and take them to the staff offices, because you appreciate all their hard work. The Financial Secretary and front desk volunteer are pleasantly surprised, and you leave two more on the desks of staff who aren’t in their office at that moment. You go back to get more flowers for more staff, and it’s then you notice a lady in the Fellowship Hall setting up tables. With tablecloths.

And that’s when you realize that the flowers weren’t really from last night, and they’re really not yours to give, and this very nice but puzzled lady would really like her flowers back, which she arranged just that morning for this event tonight. And that’s when you realize that you’re going to have to go back to your pleasantly-surprised staff and surprise them all over again.

It was a good solid five minutes before they stopped laughing. I guess I should be glad they were laughing. #stupidthingsministersdo #notyourflowers #sticktowritingsermons

(Disclaimer: the following comes from a self-acknowledged U2 fanboy. Take that for what it’s worth)

There are three reasons why I have a hard time understanding some of the “outrage” about U2 dropping their new album in our iTunes accounts for free:

1. The album itself is not on your computer, and can never be on your computer, unless you click the download link. Lots of folks have misunderstood this because Apple does a great job with the iTunes app of bridging the perceived gap between what’s actually on our hard drive and what’s “in the cloud,” so to speak. The only exception is if you’ve enabled automatic downloads (and if you have, this may be a good time to reconsider that).

2. Remember those iTunes Terms and Conditions you didn’t read when you first downloaded the iTunes software? Me either. But someone did go back and read it, and lo and behold, it says Apple can do this. This is the trade-off for using a free service that allows us to engage music the way we do.

3. And speaking of free, so is the album. It costs you nothing to download or to ignore. The real outrage would be if they put it in your iTunes AND docked you $9.99.

A new step in the ever-changing big-band music biz? Absolutely. Possible hubris on both Apple’s and U2’s part? I can’t argue that. But outrage? I don’t see it. How about you?

#NettaJuly14 Well, all good things must come to an end. And this has been a very, very good thing. I am so grateful for the opportunity to keynote the Massanetta Middle School Conference these past two weeks. But much more than that, I am overwhelmingly grateful to have served with an amazing team of adult and youth leadership who are now good friends. As I said in my sermon today, in the Presbyterian church we never really say “goodbye” but “see you later;” and every person we come into contact with in our life becomes a part of who we are. I can promise you I’m telling that to myself all the way back to Charlotte. Thank you for you.

Why yes, I like parking in long term airport parking, taking the shuttle to the airport, going through security, getting lunch at the Salsarita Express, hanging out in customer service, and then going home. #itsthewayiroll

Mar 2

Had my first practice this afternoon with the new acoustic group at Trinity, getting ready to lead a few hymns at the Open Mic next week. We need a name, and “H2O N2 Wine” is already take. Suggestions?

This morning at 5:30, one of the homeless staying at our church for Room In The Inn came up to me. “I have something for you,” Lisa said, and she handed me two quarters. She said she found them in the corner on the floor beside her mattress, probably left there the last time we had an event in there. I told her she could keep them, but she insisted. “No, I want you to give this to support the church’s mission. Put it in the offering plate on Sunday, please.”

Day absolutely made. In the offering plate it will go.

I know of people who consider themselves Christian even though they don’t go to church. But I just conversed with someone who said they’re not a Christian even though they go to church. Not that that’s wrong or anything; just trying to wrap my head around what that means…

Just skyped my Dad at the hockey venue in Sochi - where it’s sunny and 60 degrees - from Charlotte, where it’s snowing like crazy on top of ten inches and 30 degrees.

Just when you think you’d never meet someone else who has the ichthys tattooed on the inside of their left ankle, they wind up in the lap swim lane next to yours.

Jan 2

#LeadLikeJesus “Jesus spent significant time interacting in positive ways with people who disagreed with him. He did not isolate himself from those who disagree; he embraced those who disagreed.”

Jan 2

#LeadLikeJesus “If a leader has self-serving perspective, people will only toward him her for as long as their own self-interests are met.”

Jan 2

"If God speaks anywhere, it is into our personal lives. God speaks not just through the sounds we hear but through events in all their complexity and variety, through the harmonies and dis harmonies and counterpoint of all that happens." #buechner

Dec 9

While it kind of saddens me when I hear a new church member say, “The senior minister never came to Sunday school to see the kids before,” I’m also glad that I get to be the one who helps to change that.

Relaxing after a great Thanksgiving day with the parents and brother. Our first holiday in the new home and new city. Feeling mighty grateful for what has been and what is to come. All is well.