RANTING & RAVING: Just a rave this time about @GungorMusic & their unique, engaging, disturbing, glorious music. NEW RELEASE 9-20-11.

I first heard Gungor at a conference in Atlanta. They sang five songs in a row, if I recall correctly. Their album was downloaded onto my phone by the end of the third song. It was one of the most engaging, worshipful, haunting, beautiful musical experiences I have ever had.

When I saw this EPK about their upcoming release “Ghosts Upon the Earth,” I was eager to watch it and share it. So, here you go.

You can learn more about Gungor at GungorMusic.com.

RANTING & RAVING: so, who should I vote for in 2012? Why Pres. Obama? Why one of the Republicans? Anybody else? I am very curious if you are willing to share…

Political blogging and soap-boxing is not normally my thing.

I have to admit, though, that I have been a lot more opinionated as of late. More than ever before, the purpose and influence of government has become important to me. And it sure seems to me more than ever before that the office of the President has influence on the everyday of our lives in this country.

Up front, let me say, this is no bash on Pres. Obama. Although I registered as a Republican when I was 18 and just have not changed the registration, I have voted more like an independent over the years. So, this is a sincere call out to anyone willing to share their opinions on who to vote for in 2012 and why.

Please follow these stipulations, though:

  • base your reasoning on what the candidate you are supporting believes and will do, not on what an opponent has done or not done.
  • give as honest and open an opinion as you can. Don’t play party politics here. Understand that party ties are becoming less and less important as people are becoming less and less confident in the current structure in DC.
  • please share at least one insight into the proven leadership of the candidate, the displayed character of the candidate, the counselors whom he or she listens to and why that strengthens that candidate, and a specific way that the candidate will help to keep us safe, secure, and economically strong.
  • please tell me what this candidate plans to do to balance the federal budget, if he or she has a plan to do so.

I am curious to see if anyone even comments. And if they do, I am eager to read them and interact. And trust me, over the course of all that goes on between now and November 2012, I assure you that I will be asking for more and more opinion on this issue as well as giving some of my own.

This political blogging could be fun :)

RANTING & RAVING: Here’s a brief rant for those against big families and a rave to declare my gratefulness for mine!!!

I don’t get it. We only have FIVE kids. We have not been called by TLC. Not yet, at least. And yet my wife and I both get those comments when we are out and about with our kids.

“Wow! You got your hands full.”

“So, you think five is enough?”

“You aren’t gonna have anymore, are you?”

To the first comment, we have tried to reply with something like, “And our hearts are full, too.” At least when we don’t think it is too much of a smart-aleck response. To the second comment, we confess there are some days we end the day with a sigh and a YES, but there are many days we end the day wondering how fun it would be to have more. To the third comment, the answer is we don’t know. While we certainly have a part in that, and a fun one at that, we are just praying for wisdom and provision as God sees fit.

For all of you who make comments, we actually don’t mind them. That much. We would just encourage you not to knock it until you’ve tried it :)

The rave in this post is simple – I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY FAMILY!!! My beautiful bride and my wonderful five kids are such a blessing, encouraging and exhorting and sharpening and making me smile every day.

Check out this video that my brother’s wife put together of some time that we and our five and they and their five were able to vacation together in early August. Sweet stuff.

http://vimeo.com/27320006

 

For now, we will have to wait and see when Jason and Jen Plus Ten will air. Seriously, your prayers more than your criticism would be appreciated. And more than anything, any wisdom you wanna share with us as to how to love these five more deeply and to shepherd their hearts with grace.
-jason

RANTING & RAVING: so grateful for 13 yrs with my bride. Here’s some lists, quotes, & videos to encourage u along in marriage.

My wife and I celebrated 13 years married this past Monday. I meant to write and post this note the next day. Been one of those weeks catching up from being out the week before and busy with the now.

SO, without further adieu, and in celebration of 2 becoming 1, here are three sets of “twos” that I hope will encourage you in your own marriage (that’s if you’re married, of course).

First, two lists to inspire you in your marriage from FamilyLife:

Next, two quotes to consider as you grow in your marriage:

“It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
~Bonhoeffer

 

“Human relationships easily become possessive. Our hearts so much desire to be loved that we are inclined to cling to the person who offers us love, affection, friendship, care, or support. Once we have seen or felt a hint of love, we want more of it. That explains why lovers so often bicker with each other. Lovers’ quarrels are quarrels between people who want more of each other than they are able or willing to give.

It is very hard for love not to become possessive because our hearts look for perfect love and no human being is capable of that. Only God can offer perfect love. Therefore, the art of loving includes the art of giving one another space. When we invade one another’s space and do not allow the other to be his or her own free person, we cause great suffering in our relationships. But when we give another space to move and share our gifts, true intimacy becomes possible.”
~Henri Nouwen

 Finally, two videos to encourage you in your marriage: 

An Andrew Peterson song called “Dancing in the Minefields.” The key line in this one – “that’s what the promise is for.” Enjoy.

And a Civil Wars song entitled “Poison and Wine” that highlights the diverse unity that comes between a husband and wife all the while confessing that “I don’t love you [like I should], but I always will [love you].” Gripping tune.

 

And there you go. A rant to challenge you to endure, because marriage is definitely hard but so very worth it. And a rave for my beautiful wife who has journeyed with me now these 13 years since she became my bride up many a tall hill and down into many a low valley, and yet she continued to look at me as though I am her man and she would go with me anywhere.

I love you, Jen.

RANTING & RAVING Series: “Maybe we should ask @DaveRamsey to be President or Czar or CFO of the USA (& a few other thoughts).”

My wife and I went to Glacier National Park for our honeymoon exactly 13 years ago this next week. It was amazing. It was incredible. It was romantic. It was breath-taking. It was paid in full with a credit card.

I didn’t know any better. I just knew I wanted to take my bride on an adventurous getaway to one of the most majestic locales on the face of this now-there-are-tons-of-countries-threatening-to-go-bankrupt planet. And so I went all out. All out in debt that is.

Instead of going all out to save for our honeymoon the year prior, during which I made an ample amount of money, I went all out on the charge card. I could have at least saved enough that we could have driven three towns over and stayed in the honeymoon suite at the Super 8. But seriously, I actually could have saved enough to take her to Glacier, but instead I gave her the gift that keeps on taking – a $4000 debt on our wedding day!!!

And she loved me for it.

Ludicrous isn’t it?

Now you might say, “No, no, no. It is not ludicrous. You only get to honeymoon once. And you paid it back right?”

It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. And the answer is yes. Within a year we had it paid off and have since tried to live credit-card and debt free (except for our mortgage).

Dave Ramsey would be so proud of us (we actually really dig Dave and his awesome co-worker Bill Hampton).

So why doesn’t this work for the US Government?

Simple. Because they don’t have a plan to quit spending what they don’t have while paying off what they borrowed.

We did. That’s why it worked. They don’t. That’s why the S&P today dropped the US’s credit rating from AAA to AA for the first time in history.

Come on guys in Washington. You are smart leaders. I am not going to be ugly and critical of you in this post. I am simply suggesting a very common sense plan, regardless of your political philosophy or party-line:

  1. commit to operate within the means of what you take in from taxes paid
  2. create a tax system that is simple and fair and easy and prosperous without crushing entrepreneurialism in the process
  3. make a plan to then actually operate with those means including a plan to pay off the debt with those funds in a reasonable amount of time, like 10 to 15 years
  4. pass a law that says any President or Congress or Senate that leads us to anything ever again above $10,287.62 of debt will be impeached

Some might say, “You are so naive Jason. That won’t work. The government is not your household budget.”

I get that. I assure you I do. But the government is also not outside the basic budgetary rules that every living human must abide by or face dire consequences if they do not. If I had not learned that it’s not good to spend what you don’t have just because you have credit available to use, then it most likely would have wrecked my marriage and family financially.

And so we are facing dire consequences – wreckage financially.

You might also say, “It’s not that simple Jase. What do you cut? It affects people you know!”

I get that. I have many friends in executive leadership roles who, over the last three years, have had to set difficult spending priorities that have forced some very hard cuts that have affected real and hurting people. They had the guts to do it, as hard as it was, some of them taking cuts and making personal sacrifices. And it’s time for our elected representatives at the local, state, and national level to have the guts to do the same, even if it costs them reelection.

Listen. This isn’t about being insensitive to anyone who needs help, and it’s certainly not about disliking President Obama. I honestly get frustrated with the “Christian Conservatives” who degrade as though some idiot lunatic.

Politicians need a lesson in unity. It’s not unanimity. That’s what makes the USA great. We can be unified even though we often disagree because the cause of living as we thought our Maker intended us to live as a free and united people is worth coming together for.

No, this is not a bash Pres. Obama or Pres. Bush or Pres. Clinton post.

But I would suggest that the move to allow the Federal Government to encourage / elbow in the back banks to lend for mortgages on homes to people who couldn’t afford them was a bad idea (which happened under Pres. Clinton). And I would suggest that cutting taxes without a plan for a balanced budget was a bad idea (which happened under Pres. Bush). And I would suggest that continuing to borrow and borrow and borrow and borrow without changing spending habits or creating pay-back intentions, which is happening under Pres. Obama, is a bad idea.

The government leaders need to take the 13-week Financial Peace University course from Dave Ramsey. Then there would be hope for a balanced budget one day.

And it would be hard. On all of us. Probably for a long time.

But it must be done.

Like Dave says, “You have to live today like no one else in order to one day live like no one else.”

Or something like that.

And we could all celebrate at Glacier National Park in 2025 and have a credit-card / $14-Trillion-Debt-is-gone-party!!! There’s a cafe there called Cafe Max with some amazing Tomato Bisque Soup that I would give anything to taste again. I bet Dave Ramsey would like it.

 

“If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.” ~Dave Ramsey