Thursday, April 9, 2009

Check out my interview with Singer/Songwriter/Artist T Culler.
Ah Well I'm Dr. Spock I'm Here To Rock Y'All

Monday, October 13, 2008

Check me out at Transparent Christian Magazine

Hey folks. Check out my weekly updated blog/magazine/passion at

Love, Jason

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teacher's Rock!

In doing some research for a story for my magazine (Transparent Christian Magazine) I found this video about teachers. I remember my brother Jeff sending it to me awhile ago, and was just as blown away by it this time.

Because of the use of "G.. Damn" my friend Mike didn't want to include it in his article about his wife retiring from teaching. I was not upset in the least...However the video was so powerful that I wanted to include it here.

Feel free to leave a comment if you like.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Story behind the Brad Reynolds Song "Anyway"

This is an additional excerpt for the Transparent Christian Magazine interview with Brad Reynolds:

[If you ended up here before reading the interview with Brad Reynolds, click here to read the interview. This story is more detail on the inspiration for the song "Anyway"!]

The story behind the song is more about how my attitude began to deteriorate towards the people whom I perceived as not so easy to love.

I work a day job in downtown Nashville. I moved here in 2003 and quickly fell in love with the town. One of my favorite things to do is to take a walk at lunch time to grab a bite and just get out of the office for a little bit. As with any city, there are homeless people who will ask for help. The first few times I didn't think much about it and I actually found comfort in being helpful. I would never give them money but would buy them food if I could and if I felt God specifically leading me to do so on a case by case basis. After a while, I found myself becoming a little desensitized and more and more annoyed by their requests, and in turn I became less and less Christ like in my responses. This attitude that had encompassed me did so as a very subtle transformation, but I had become caloused. Then the Lord began to whisper to my spirit that if I am going to be effective for His Kingdom, I need to learn to love those that seemed to me as unloveable. That is what Christ did for me, I was just a selfish sinner with nothing to offer, but Christ loved me anyway. That is what He calls each of us to do... Then I started thinking about how that concept applies to more than just homeless people, it applies to the people we may not necessarily like being around too; People we don't have anything in common with, people like the academic who denies God's existence, or the abortion rights advocate who shouts you down as you walk by, or the flamboyant homosexual who hates everything you stand for... Christ died for all and responded in love to those who persecuted Him. That is His mandate for all of us. Love them anyway. So as I took that lesson and applied it to my life and my journey, the idea for the song "Anyway" was born.

Matthew 5:46-48
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So that is basically where the song came from... It all comes down to the greatest commandment... To love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself...all of the law and the prophets rest on these two things.

So what does that kind of love look like from a practical standpoint?

1 Corinthians 13:3-8a
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Brad Reynolds

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blocking Dummy-Ministry

We live in a society that recognizes achievement. We get credit for doing things right. It starts early with gold stars, report cards, and the coveted “classroom prize box” that my children get to raid if they have good behavior for a month. Who knew that a .75 cent orange-plastic yo-yo would be such a great motivator?! This continues on in life as you get paid for your expertise in a particular field, or in other ways such as having good relationships when you treat others well.

When I write my tithe check at church I am recognized as well…by the IRS!! I have the ability to write off the amount at the end of the year, the same as if I was giving to any other “non-profit” entity. There are obvious tax advantages to having many write-offs, so I pay my tithe with a check and add the total amount to my taxes as a deduction.

A few months ago, I had a day off of work. I decided to stop in and see my pastor, which I rarely get to do during the week. Pastor Andrew asked if I could help count the tithes from the weekend, and one of the staff members gave me the rundown on how our church receives the money. If it’s cash in the plate, it’s tracked as cash, all the checks are counted together, and cash in an envelope has its own category. I remember opening a blank envelope containing a large amount of cash. I said “Hey, this person just lost the tax advantage of paying with a check. They could have at least put their name on the envelope so we could have tracked their tax deductions this year.” My pastor replied, “Well, they must not be concerned about getting credit for their contribution. For that individual, giving is about their relationship with God and not about gaining approval from anyone.”

My pastor says things like that from time to time, in a matter-of-fact way, that stick in my head like super glue.

I was reminded of that discussion the other morning while talking with a friend. During the last several weeks he has been let down by several “Bible Toting Christians” (his term). My friend has been financially blessed. Not rich like some, but comfortable. His kids are involved in a successful, private school football program, and he wanted to bless them. He spent several thousand dollars on some new equipment for their team and was asked to go to lunch by the Dean of the school. My friend thought for sure that the Dean was going to thank him for his generosity, and what he got instead was a lecture on how “NOW the soccer and tennis parents want new equipment too.” Apparently the Dean received some angry phone calls from a handful of parents. The Dean suggested my friend should pay for some additional equipment for these other programs also. My friend pictured himself using the “church going” Dean as a Blocking Dummy.

He said “Jason, I’m going to get a tee shirt printed that says Jesus, protect me from your followers”. (He is one). He talked about how this situation left such a bad taste in his mouth that he was considering not giving anything to anyone ever again.

In this instance, my friend wasn’t seeking unjust recognition. He was hoping for a simple “thank you”, and felt like he had been slighted. We talked about the spiritual aspect of giving, and much like I am tied to the tax advantages of my tithe, he is tied to the recognition and approval of doing a good deed for his community and his kids. We talked about how much more satisfying it would be if we gave without expectations.

Gave for the sake of showing Christ to others.

Instead, many times the act of giving is tied to the idea of getting something in return. Even the expectation of “thank you” that was not received can cause significant frustration.

Recently our LifeGroup was challenged to do a micro-mission to give our time or money to someone that couldn’t pay us back. This could be something that we do for someone anonymously, or doing something for someone with no means of repayment. This task has proven a bit more difficult than we all imagined. Our LifeGroup has a tendancy to want to help each other, and there are certainly some people in our group that could use some help.

As we move forward with our micro-mission, my challenge to you would be to do the same. As Pastor Andrew challenged my thinking, I would challenge you to not be concerned about getting credit for your contribution. This week, give to simply strengthen your relationship with God, and not to seek approval or credit from anyone.

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Neighbor Lady

One of my favorite authors (speaker, pastor) is Rob Bell. I finished his book Velvet Elvis the other day, and was discussing one of the concepts with a friend of mine last night. He said “Rob Bell is unique because his messages are so simple, and yet they are very deep--all at the same time.” The concept we were discussing deals with evangelism and getting the true message of Jesus out into the world. Rob talks about how as Christians, many times we are taught that our greatest achievement will be to get someone else to become a Christian. However, Rob states that not all people will become Christians no matter how hard we try, and if we love people with the sole agenda of “leading them to Christ”, then it isn’t really true love…it’s love with OUR agenda attached, which somehow cheapens that love. He then uses an analogy of a Christian living on a street with a Hindi neighbor to the left, an atheist on his right and an agnostic across the street. He says that if the Christian simply loves their neighbors the way Jesus did, that Jesus and Love win regardless of the beliefs of the recipients of that love. When I think about what that looks like, I see it as; a cup of sugar here, a mowed lawn there, a kind word, an ear, a fixed deck, a prayer or getting the stray cat down from a tree…You get the idea. Just simply loving your neighbors like Jesus loved. Forgive quickly, be more available, be encouraging, and help those who need it. Rob says “and anyone can be your neighbor”.

A week ago I was back-to-school shopping for my 9 year old daughter and 7 year old son on a Monday morning. I had taken the day off and under normal circumstances, wouldn’t be caught dead in mall, especially on a ‘vacation day’… but alas, the kids needed clothes for school and my wife’s mother who was in town, wanted to contribute to our shopping expedition. She blesses us in this way from time to time, and as always the timing was perfect.

I was in the boys section, and after finally finding a pair of pants that fit Logan (not an easy task) I decided to go back to the rack, and get one of each color. I was pulling five pairs of pants off of a rack and I heard a voice I didn’t recognize, hurriedly talking to Shelli. I looked over and saw a very anxious, tall and very pregnant woman. She had a panicked tone and was obviously upset about something. She was wearing a pretty blue maternity dress and was saying “I just don’t know where it is, have YOU seen it!?” I asked Shelli what she was missing and apparently she had lost a ‘gift card’. I found out later that it was worth $65. I ignored the lady in blue, and walked away from the situation. Over my shoulder I heard Shelli say to the woman “oh, honey what color is it? What aisle were you in, when was the last time you saw it?” I made a quick decision to not get involved and made a hasty exit over to the boy’s shirt section to round out Logan’s outfits.

That’s when I felt that voice. I say “felt” because I did not audibly hear anything, but I had an immediate and STRONG feeling that I was supposed to help out. I had this quick argument with myself about this not being MY deal, and that I didn’t need to waste my time for someone I didn’t even know, and that maybe this was a scam or someone looking for attention.

And then the feeling/voice got more intense. I reluctantly turned around, walked back to where I was standing, quickly walked 10 steps down an aisle and made a random left hand turn and it was right there.

On the floor.

Upside down.

The lady-in-blue’s gift card.

I smiled, bent over and picked it up and walked back to the area where Shelli, the lady and our kids were standing and Shelli said “did you find it Jay?” I said “yup, here ya go” as I handed it to a very happy women. The next minute of time is a blur, I think she thanked me, but what I remember is that she seemed VERY relieved. As I walked away, I was reminded what our obedience means to others. Prior to turning around and helping out, I was so wrapped up in what I was doing, that I almost missed the opportunity to bless someone. This small gesture of kindness took me all-of-about 11 seconds.

There are passages in the bible that say we do not get into heaven through our actions. We get there through developing a relationship with Jesus. I am learning that as our relationship with Jesus grows, we can’t help but act different!

Your neighbors are waiting!