Five Things You Should Do at Catalyst

I am not at Catalyst Atlanta. I have never been to a Catalyst conference. But I have heard A LOT about them and I know several people who are there.

What is Catalyst? Here is what their website says:

“Catalyst Atlanta is a powerful gathering of young leaders, a movement of influencers and world changers who love Jesus, see things differently, and feel a burden for our generation. We seek to learn, worship and create together with a momentous energy passionately pursuing God.”

If you are at Catalyst, I hope you learn a lot and grow more in love with Jesus.

But while you’re doing that, I have a few things I would like you to do for me.

1. Give John Piper a bag of seashells. I have a feeling that he likes seashells, but he would never collect them for himself. However, he might accept some as a gift.

2. Ask Bob Goff to give you his wallet. When he refuses, say “But what would Love Do, Bob? WHAT WOULD LOVE DO?!?!

3. Pick Henry Cloud up, throw him over your shoulder, and shout, “I don’t believe in boundaries!”

4. Challenge Lecrae to a rap battle. When he starts, hand him a roll of wrapping paper.

5. Show Dave Ramsey an empty envelope labeled “Books.” Tell him you would have purchased one of his books, but…

And if you do any of these things, remember–pictures or it didn’t happen.

Really, though, if you are at Catalyst I hope you have a great time and I hope you get energized (or re-energized) to impact the world for the glory of God.

What are some other things people could do at Catalyst? What’s the last conference you attended?

I’m Suprised Teachers Don’t…

Last night was “Open House” at the elementary school four of my children attend. We were there for an hour and a half. In that time I came to a few conclusions. Here they are:

I’m surprised teachers don’t…

1. Quit. Every single day.

2. Slap someone. Every single day.

3. Go into the fetal position and cry for hours. Every single day.

4. Develop new twitches. Every single day.

5. Dream about having a less stressful job. Every single day.

Why am I surprised by all of this? Because of the noise.

To be honest, I think about this every time we eat lunch with one of our kids. The noise is deafening and the number of children all behaving in various shades of awful is jarring.

I’m not sure how much teachers get paid these days. Whatever it is, I don’t think it’s enough.

So, if you are a teacher who loves kids and does your best to teach and lead them….

THANK YOU!

What are you surprised that teachers don’t do? Who was your favorite teacher?

Ninety-Eight Socks

I love all the people in my family, but I’m not particularly fond of their feet. Let me explain.

There are seven people in my immediate family; me, my wife, and our five kids. I love all of them tremendously even on those days when they drive me slightly crazy.

However, having seven people in your family means there are fourteen feet. Don’t get me wrong–I’m glad everyone in my family has two feet. It is really our socks that cause the problem.

Having fourteen feet in my family means that we wear fourteen socks every day. Multiply that by the seven days in a week and you have….

98 SOCKS!!!

EVERY WEEK!!!

Guess who has two thumbs and hates washing that many socks and matching them every week? Anyone with two thumbs.

Which is why they rarely get matched. That’s right–we don’t normally match our socks.

So, what do we do instead? We put them in a basket. What’s this basket called? The sock basket.

Isn’t it aggravating to always have to get socks out of the sock basket? No more aggravating than it would be to match all of them.

Maybe you think this is weird and are silently judging me in your head. And if so, that is fine. Because no matter who you are, you do some weird stuff, too.

We’re all different to some degree.

Yet, we are all the same in some important ways.

We are all created in the image of God. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. We all need Jesus.

No matter how weird we are or whether we have sock baskets or even if you bite your toenails.

It’s a good thing Jesus loves weirdos–because that describes us all.

What do you do that is a little weird?

This and That — Vol. 5

*Remember how Monica Seles used to grunt whenever she hit a tennis ball? I think I’ll start doing that every time I use my stapler.

*You know how many times I have eaten pretzels and thought, “Man, I wish someone would make a hamburger buns out of these?” That’s right…never. I can’t wait until they make pizza crust out of rice cakes.

*I went to a conference on the Trinity that featured five of the leading scholars in the world on that particular topic. After hearing their presentations and their answers to the questions posed to them, it made me feel a little bit better about myself because even they had difficulty explaining it. But it was still amazing..

*Apparently Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade have gotten into a war of words/tweets about whether or not Wade deserves to be listed as one of the top ten players in the NBA. But if I were Wade, I would be more concerned with learning how to spell my first name the right way.

*A few days ago my wife said, “I made a new friend yesterday. I like making new friends.” It’s possible I married a character from Sesame Street. Really, though, I love her and her kind heart.

*My 5-year-old got in the van after school a few weeks ago and told me some terrible news–“I have a boyfriend.” Apparently he asked her to be his girlfriend in the cafeteria and she said, “Sure!” This just last a couple or weeks, or as I like to call it “too long.”

*Saying “I’ll never go to a church with hypocrites in it” is exactly like saying “I’m never going to church.” There are hypocrites everywhere you look–even in the mirror at times. Actually, it is good when hypocrites are in church because that is where they (and we) need to be.

What are some tidbits that have been on your mind?

More Appropriate Shampoo Names

I use Suave shampoo. Is it because I am suave? Um…no. Sometimes when I use it, I feel like a fraud. I’m not suave.

I use Suave because it is fairly inexpensive compared to other brands. And because it is the kind my wife buys.

What are some more appropriate shampoo names for me? Here are a few suggestions

1. Forever the Same. See that picture to the right? My hair has been that  way since birth. Maybe even before birth. It’s possible that my hair has been that way since conception.

2. Prematurely Gray. Wanna make a joke about my gray hair? Go ahead–I’ve been hearing them since my early twenties. And you’ve been ugly even longer. Sorry–that was the gray hair talking.

3. Dork. With celebrity spokesperson Bill Gates.

4. N.T.H. Not televangelist hair. Because I don’t have televangelist hair. Or teeth. Or fashion sense. Or bad theology (I kid, I kid–mostly).

5. Not Quite. As in: Do I have good hair? Not quite.

I doubt any shampoo will ever be named any of these. So I’ll keep using suave even though I’m not suave.

The thing is, I’ve never pretended to be suave.

There are some people, though, who do pretend.

Some pretend to be caring. Some pretend to be kind. Some pretend to be Christians.

There have been times I have pretended to be these things. Maybe you have, too.

Thankfully, God’s grace was sufficient for me to overcome those times, to become what I sometimes pretended to be.

And His grace will see me home.

What are some more appropriate names for your shampoo? How have you overcome the desire to be a pretender?

I’m No Perry Stone

It happened again last week. Someone said I look like Perry Stone.

Perry Stone
Perry Stone
Me
Me

 

This time it was an older gentleman at the gym I frequent who said, “When I saw you on that elliptical machine the other day, I thought you were Perry Stone.”

You might be thinking–who is Perry Stone?

According to his website (www.voe.org), Stone is “a fourth generation minister of the gospel, directs one of America’s fastest growing ministries – Voice of Evangelism.  From its 70,000 square foot International Ministry Center, Voice of Evangelism is striving to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ through revivals, television, audio/video media, printed material and missionary sponsorship.”

You may have seen him on television like me, possibly preaching/teaching using some kind of prop. You may have seen him on the cover of one of his books. You may have seen him preaching revival services near you.

Or you may have seen him at Waffle House. He lives in Cleveland, TN and since everyone I know from there likes Waffle House, I’m assuming he eats there sometimes, too.

But I’m no Perry Stone.

We are different ages; he’s in his fifties and I just look like I’m in my fifties. I’m really just a couple of weeks away from being thirty-six.

We have different ministries; he does mostly revivals and prophecy teaching and I am a pastor.

We have different levels of fame; he is very well-known in some circles and I know how to draw a circle.

We have different beliefs about certain theological issues.

I’m no Perry Stone. And that’s okay.

I am me–adopted by the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m no Perry Stone; I am Matt Cannon–child of God.

Who do people say you look like? Who else do you think I look like (besides Matthew McConaughey?)

 

The Hulk and the Gospel

“Hulk smash!” is one of my favorite superhero sayings. It is so simple yet so devastating. It means the Hulk is about to get down to the business of whoopin’ up on someone or some thing.

But I wonder if he says other things like this when he is doing something other than smashing. Like…

1. Hulk splash! Stop for a moment and imagine the Hulk in a cannonball contest. If you aren’t smiling there might be something wrong with you.

2. Hulk flash! It’s a good thing he probably couldn’t find a trench coat his size.

3. Hulk ‘stache! The only thing that would make the Hulk look cooler would be if he had a killer mustache. It would be amazing.

4. Hulk cash! Hulk finally gets approval for that small business loan he’s been hoping for to open a quaint bed and breakfast.

5. Hulk rash! Even superheroes have dermatological issues from time to time. I’m guessing.

I don’t know if the Hulk has ever said any of these other things. It probably doesn’t matter–especially since he’s a fictional character.

But what Jesus said does matter because He is real and spoke about hugely important things.

What was the most important thing Jesus ever said?

I was asked that question recently and, I must say, it is an impossible question to answer. Everything he said and says is important.

However, I don’t suppose any verse is any more important as possibly the most well-known verse in the Bible:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Why is this verse so important? Because it, in a very short and sweet way, proclaims the Gospel.

It isn’t as short as “Hulk smash!,” but it is infinitely better.

What other phrases could the Hulk use similar to these? What is your favorite Bible verse?

 

The Most Interesting Pastor in the World – Part 2

He once wrote himself an anonymous letter filled with criticism just to see how it feels.

The only baby he has dedicated who didn’t become a mega-church pastor? Tim Tebow.

When he goes out to eat after a church service, the waitress gives him a tip.

Chickens fry themselves just to be eaten by him.

John Piper saw him collecting seashells once and said, “You know what? It’s okay.”

Microphones write him thank you notes for the privilege of amplifying his voice.

He quit giving altar calls because no altar is big enough for all the people who respond.

Morgan Freeman is making a auto-biographical documentary and wants him to narrate it.

When he prays before a sporting event, both teams win.

When he preaches at a funeral, everyone cries–including the deceased person.

No married couple he has counseled has ever gotten a divorce. Neither have their children.

When he moderates a business meeting, the church uses HIS rules of order.

His teeth make Joel’s Osteen’s look coffee stained.

His congregation has never complained about the temperature in the church building.

A rabbi, a priest, and a Muslim cleric walk into a bar–to talk about how awesome he is.

He is….The Most Interesting Pastor in the World.

“Drink of the Living Water and never be thirsty again, my friends.”

What other facts can you think of for the Most Interesting Pastor in the World?

(To see part 1 click here!)

When Jackie Chan Dies

I have seen the posts on Facebook again and again and again. You probably have, too.

Jackie Chan has died while filming a movie. Or while trying to perfect a stunt. Or by a severe paper cut he received while counting his money.

The only problem is that Jackie Chan isn’t dead. Actually, that really isn’t a problem–I’m glad he’s not dead no matter how disappointed I was with Rush Hour 3.

What I mean is the problem with the posts is that he isn’t dead. Every post declaring that Jackie Chan has died is a hoax.

So far

One day, if I live long enough, Jackie Chan will die and I will see the news of his demise mentioned on Facebook or Twitter or some as-yet-to-be-invented social media site. And when the day comes that I read about his death on one of these sites….

I won’t believe it.

I have gotten so used to not believing Jackie Chan has died that when he really does die I will think it is just another hoax.

But regardless of whether I believe it or not, he will be dead.

And whether you believe it or not, one day you will be dead, too.

I didn’t mean to get all morbid with you, but I’m not really sorry about it. We must think about our deaths if we are to live for what is truly important; for what will last forever.

What will last forever?

The Kingdom of God.

Not our bank accounts, houses, athletic achievements, romantic relationships, blog posts, books, or anything else.

But the Kingdom of God will last forever.

And ever.

And ever.

I hope you are living for that which will last forever. If not, it isn’t too late to change.

How will you feel when Jackie Chan dies? How are you living in light of the Kingdom of God lasting forever?

 

My New Shoes

Here is a picture of my new shoes:

new shoes

Do not adjust your monitor; they really are that big and bright.

At this moment your head may be filled with questions regarding my shoes. Here are the answers to your questions.

1. They are size 15s.

2. No, they aren’t clown shoes. Clown shoes are big and bright, but they aren’t that big and bright.

3. Yes, if you get kicked out of your house just let me know and I will let you live in one of them.

4. No, I won’t ever have to worry about losing my shoes again. Smart-alek.

5. Yes, I know that playing Hide-And-Seek is now out of the question. As a 6′ 7”, 300-ish pound man, I’m not very good at that game anyway.

I done answering questions. It shouldn’t make any difference how bright my shoes are or how big they are or if buying them is a sign of pending mental instability anyway.

What matters more than the clothes on my back or the shoes  on my feet is the content of my character.

Too often we seem to focus more on style than on substance when God does just the opposite.

He is more concerned with the contents of the heart.

So, go ahead a wear bright-colored shoes or skinny jeans or a toboggan in the during the hottest days of summer. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is what is in your heart.

Let’s focus more on that instead.

What other questions do you have about my shoes? What’s the weirdest piece of clothing you own?