October 2008

“Real convictions are not controlled or changed by circumstances.”

What a declaration! I took note of this statement my pastor made Sunday. It was one of those moments when it seems the words echo in the room over and over. I’ve reflected on this simple, but powerful statement often the last few days and perceive that this world is in its current predicament because people have abandoned basic standards.


In a climate of shady business deals, ridiculous personal actions, declining morality, and an overall deterioration of principled living, people have allowed circumstances to alter convictions once held sacred. You will ultimately be known by your integrity. When personal “convictions” are weak, they will be compromised when convenient. I submit if one is willing to alter convictions, they were never truly convictions. Rather they were just good ideas.  So many people talk about character and integrity, but these traits are not true until you have endured difficult circumstances and remain unchanged.


Think about it today. Do you know your convictions? Are you willing to keep them in every circumstance? I pray for the grace and fortitude to always stay true to my convictions.


Striving for the Best! -mwr


Last night was awesome! We had over 600 people through Hell House at Calvary. Much love to the over 50 YOUTH who made it happen (who says all teenagers are just out for themselves?). Al and Jon are the best! I love working with these guys, even if one of them is my brother. Tonight is the last night and we expect BIG things. A funeral, house party, school, hospital, living room, car accident and lots of surprises – what else could you want??? See you tonight from 7-9 pm.

I’m stealing a page from Jon’s notebook here…. blogging when I don’t want to, but sticking with the commitment I made to keep it up. I have a CRAZY week, but I am determined to keep blogging mostly because of the wonderful emails and comments I have received from those of you who think I have something good to say! Keep them coming.


Drew Powell posted 5 vision questions a few days back. They rocked me and I have found my self thinking about them often. The first answer that comes to your mind is the most accurate reply to these internal examinations. The two that really got me were #3 If you can do only one thing, what would it be? and #5 What breaks your heart, keeps you awake at night, wrecks you? I am currently trying to successfully balance a demanding work week, a major production at CRAVE, my family, and a little bit of sanity, but I can’t get past these personal assessments.


I’ll get real personal for a minute….The one thing I would do is spend all my energy giving young people a positive future and showing them that a relationship with Jesus is the best way to have a fulfilled life.  I get “wrecked” and am awake at night a lot, thinking about my family, the impact I have on people and making a positive and long lasting mark on this world. Those are the things that most often race trough my feeble mind in the early morning hours.  Take some time to ponder these questions for yourself. The answers are your core values and will help you make decisions when the decisions don’t seem easy.


A huge shout out to my man Al Force and Tomas Greiner. I have spent a ton of time with these guys over the last few days, working on CRAVE’s Hell House. They both have a true servant’s heart and care deeply about our church and young people. It an honor to work along side them and I am expecting HUGE things over the next few days. If you are in the Central Florida area, come check us out on Wed., October 29th from 6-8pm and Thur., October 30th from 7-9pm.  1687 W. Granada Blvd. Ormond Beach, FL.


Striving for the best! – mwr

On of my favorite bloggers, Penelope Trunk, posted an interesting blog about the future. Penelope predicts the changes she foresees when Gen Y (1982-2001) takes the reigns of middle management. Rearden Translation of her first point basically says “Gen Y will work longer hours and not parent as much.”


Being squarely situated within Gen X (1965-81), today I am fulfilling her Gen X stereotype – leaving work early to be with the kids. Mackenzie has two major events in her  world today and I’m going. First, we have the pre-school “Teddy Bear Parade.” Not sure what to expect, but I’ll be there to take it all in.


Second, we are going to the movies. My wife went to Fandango WEEKS, not days, WEEKS ago to get advance tickets to see High School Musical 3 on the first day out. You would have to understand my 3 year old, but she literally knows every word and every song from the previous HSM movies. Heck, even I know the words and songs now, since they continually play in the back of our grocery getter. Mackenzie has been jabbering about this movie for months. No way would I miss the expression on her little face and sparkle in her eyes when Troy, Gabriella and the whole gang show up on the big screen.


In addition to parenting our children, my wife and I (along with other great people I know – Al, Jon, and leaders at CRAVE) spent countless hours “parenting” kids whose parents are too busy being middle management.  I have blogged on this subject a lot, but its time to invest in the lives of your children, regardless of your generation. Children are the legacy we leave. No matter how successful you are, your children will define you. I have a picture in my office I have had since college that says “PRIORITIES – 100 years from now, it will not matter the size of my house, the type of car I drove, or the balance in my bank account, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” I pray that my life is not defined by my career, but rather by my commitment to investing in my children and future generations.

I recently finished a tremendous book, “Facing Your Giants,” by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado. It chronicles the Biblical story of David & Goliath, applying grounded principles to our lives today.


One of the most profound chapters I have ever read is Chapter 13, entitled “Distant Diety.” Lucado digresses from the boy vs. giant story to highlight the difference between newly crowned King David and Uzzah, a priest. 2 Samuel 6 describes one dead priest and one king acting like he has lost his mind. As Lucado so eloquently explains, both men attempt the same task – moving the Arc of the Covenant. Uzzah, a second generation priest, grew up with the Arc, while King David had probably never seen this sacred artifact.


Acting complacent with what he had, Uzzah ignored the requisite requirements for moving the Arc by hand and threw it on the back of a wagon. As he rushed to complete this task, details were unchecked and overlooked. While moving the Arc, the cows pulling the “convenient” cart stumbled and to cover up his mistake, Uzzah uses his hand to try to steady the Arc. He is immediately struck dead.


After David questions why Uzzah was struck down, he determines to properly restore the Arc to its rightful place. Instead of rushing to get the job done, David carefully and meticulously follows the proper protocol and moves the Arc. David takes no chances in following the Law and going past the minimal requirements to move this treasure.


While the chapter was written to implore Christians not to take the presence of God (symbolized by the Arc of the Covent) for granted; I could not help but apply these same principles to my life and career. How many times do young professionals across the world take their job, title, benefits, equipment, boss, company, family and other things for granted? While those things certainly do not rise to the level of the Arc of the Covenant, overlooking details and getting too comfortable with these things will surely lead to demise. 


Look around you and be thankful for what you have. Even if you are just starting out, hit a low point, or at the pinnacle of success – don’t be complacent with the treasures that have been graciously bestowed on you. Take a moment and appreciate the things which are too often taken for granted.


I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this post, so comment below and let’s start a good dialogue!

Here is a family pic at the Pumkin Patch described in my last post. What a great day!

The Rearden's - October 2008

The Rearden's - October 2008

Last few days have been full of good times! Too often, I don’t take the opportunity to appreciate all the little blessings in our lives.  Here’s a quick recap….


Had a great night Wednesday when the City Commission passed a major project for new sign requirements at Daytona International Speedway. I have been working on that for over a year and a half, so, in the words of the A-Team’s Hannibal……”I love it when a plan comes together.”


Got up early Thur to drive up to visit friends in Raleigh. We arrived safe and sound, save the two puking episodes from Mackenzie along the way! Thursday night, I took off across town to see the NC Sate vs. Florida State game. I was dressed to support my Noles and bought a ticket right in the middle of the Wolfpack fans. I am glad my Noles pulled it out, because it would have been a tough deal losing in the middle of the Wolfpack – especially since I was by myself!


Got back real late and my awesome wife let me sleep in! My oldest daughter comes in and wakes me up around 9:30 (can’t remember the last time I slept that long) with a huge hug and kiss, followed by a “Daddy, I love you.” What a way to get up! I tagged around a shopping area most of the day, but it was cool not to have anything to do – for once.


Saturday, we head to the coolest Pumpkin Patch ever in Bunn, NC. (If you are in the area, you should go!) We spent the entire day on the farm and Mackenzie and I cut out own pumpkin!  Yesterday was a travel day back home, but it ended with Hell House practice at Crave with Pastor Al (great blog…check it out) and then a dinner and a Bible study with some friend. Got home just in time to see the Rays close out game 7.  We are so blessed and so thankful for the treasures God has allowed us to enjoy!


I’m working on a neat series for this blog (at least I think so), so check back soon!

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