Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars

I Know How You Feel

Alli and I had the great opportunity to go see Rob Bell’s “Drops Like Stars” tour at the Uptown Theater tonight.

I’ve talked about Rob Bell on this blog before. Read my post from last week, Rob Bell vs. Joel Osteen, and my review of Velvet Elvis if you want a bit of a primer.

Bell’s “Drops Like Stars” tour is basically a two-hour multimedia sermon focusing mostly on the concept of suffering.

Suffering connects us in a way that health and wealth and money cannot.

His two-hour presentation covers four major issues:

  1. The Art of Disruption, or how we are very good at making plans on how our life is supposed to go, but never does.
  2. The Art of Honesty, or how pain has a knack for bringing out our truest selves.
  3. The Art of Elimination, or what can you let go of?
  4. The Art of Possession, which is not the same thing as ownership.

Rob Bell's Drops Like Stars

I loved every moment and every lesson and every story of his talk. Bell’s message is on point. His delivery is conversational. He’s funny. He understands people.

One of his true gifts is his ability to teach and present. He engages the audience in so many ways, not just through his content (although that is a wonderful start), he does so through his rhythm and timing, through his body language, through the tone of his voice. He is so amazingly talented, not just in his interpretation of scripture and spirituality, but also in engaging his audience in the challenge of his words.

Bell is phenomenal at what he does, whether it be teaching sermons at his home congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, or writing books like Velvet Elvis and Jesus Wants to Save Christians, or touring different cities and helping people to come to comprehend the purpose of suffering as he does on the Drops Like Stars tour or just inspiring regular folks like me.

If you’re the least bit interested in anything I’ve had to say about him, next time Bell is in Kansas City, I highly suggest going to check him out. You won’t be disappointed. And I will most certainly be there.

Thanks, Rob.

Give Your All aka “Crush It!”

This morning, I preached at my home congregation.

The theme was “Give Your All” and the focus scripture came from the 12th chapter of Mark — the story of the widow’s mite. And while I love that story, it was used enough in the service (including in my children’s focus moment right before my sermon). I wanted to bring something a little different.

So I talked a little about Gary Vaynerchuk‘s new book, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion. I met Gary at Big Omaha and we had a fun interchange during his Q&A. His passionate approach to business got me thinking about what a passionate approach to God might look like.

I guess that’s enough of an intro.

I will say this, however. For the five years that I’ve run this blog, I’ve never actually posted video of myself giving a sermon. I’ve posted partial contents before and I’ve given a bunch of sermons at different congregations, but never actual video. This is kind of a momentous. So please be nice.

You can view it at Vimeo, too.

Rob Bell vs. Joel Osteen

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

Religion in the United States has seemingly never been more polarizing. Christians have gotten a bad rap and in some ways it is deserved.

There are some big personalities speaking for Christians in America. Joel Osteen. Rick Warren. Pat Robertson. Glenn Beck? It’s just like different versions of the same voice.

There’s one voice that I wish was speaking a little louder.

Rob Bell.

From the Mars Hill site:

Rob Bell is the Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

He is the author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God, and is a coauthor of Jesus Wants to Save Christians. He is also featured in the first series of spiritual short films called NOOMA.

I was introduced to Rob Bell through his NOOMA videos and I’ve been listening to him since. Velvet Elvis is one of the best books on Christianity that I’ve read, not because it is cool, but because it is true.

He puts scripture into context (and man, is he ever versed in scripture), he uses wonderful analogies to make points and he challenges his audience to think critically about their faith. I like that.

This week, I listened to the audiobook Jesus Wants to Save Christians, the terrific book he wrote with his friend Don Golden. How can you go wrong with chapters named “Swollen Bellied Black Babies” and “There’s Blood on the Doorposts of the Universe”?

Bell is a voice of Christianity that is tolerant and aware, but also extremely well-versed. He uses scripture in a relevant way that puts it into the context of the age in which it was written to help us understand it and apply it today. Some of the voices I listed at the beginning of this post can be a bit extreme and some of the best intentions can get lost and they can drown out people like Rob, who really need to be heard.

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Graceland Sidewalk

Every few months I have to remind myself why I blog. Today, I’m here to tell you that I’m not sure I can answer that question to my own satisfaction anymore.

Last week, Alli and I had an amazing time at our church’s Congregational LIFE Workshop, a week dedicated to spiritual growth and helping leaders learn some tactics to implement in their own congregations. I’ve come back with a new look on a lot of things.

In sort-of-related news, I’ve been feeling a strange disconnection to my own blog lately and I’m realizing that I’m not doing it for the reasons I started it for originally. I’m not sure that I want to go back to how it was 4 years ago when I started, but I’m also feeling that I need a focus to my blog rather than it being all over the place. I’ve got some ideas, but nothing concrete yet.

I hope that helps explain my absence lately.