Here is a great video I stumbled across yesterday.  I love to find stuff that I believe gets "the story" right!


"That's what it means to be on a team..."

Four weeks ago, I had one of the hardest weeks of my life.

It's taken me this long to simply recover from that week and gain enough perspective to reflect on what I experienced and what the 'take away' was from the whole thing.  I won't be boring you with all the details of what went wrong since -- in hindsight -- all of the details were pathetically trivial for me to deem it "one of the hardest weeks of my life".  It just wont have the same effect.

I'm hoping that you [the reader] can resonate with what I'm trying to express.  Have you ever had one of those days/weeks where every single little situation seems to implode and everything you touch both literally and figuratively seems to be destroyed?  I had one of those weeks.  I was wondering when my stretch of bad luck would stop and it just kept going.  Whether it was my family's vehicles or my schedule or alarm clock or... or... or...

I will share one of those details with you, however, as it leads to the reason I'm writing this post.  It may have been the capping 'mess' of the whole week -- the pinnacle of crappy days.

I left the espresso machine on.

No, not just on.  I left it on on a Friday and it stayed on over the weekend until Monday.  And I'm no espresso machine expert, but I can tell you this from recent experience.  If you leave the espresso machine on, it will eventually pop the pressure release valve.  I can also tell you that when that valve pops, water will begin running nonstop.  This water will eventually flood the office building.  I can also tell you that if you happen to have an office on the top floor, this flooding will affect all offices that happen to be located below you who, of course, also decide to take the weekend off.

It was a bad, bad week.

I came in that Monday to the sound of running water.  I walked down a wet hallway and peered into what I affectionately have come to refer to as Kitchen Lake (I'm almost able to laugh at it now -- almost).  I got the water turned off and called the pastors to inform them of the tragedy.  At this point, I had not yet realized that I was the culprit of such an offense.  I mean, I had had my lapses in memory; I had this horrible habit of leaving the espresso filter in the machine.  But that was the extent of my stupidity.

The pastors said they would be there quickly and as I waited for them to arrive I thought about who could have possibly been so absent-minded as to leave the espresso machine on and cause this huge mess.  I thought about how much trouble that person would be in.

The pastors arrived and started to assess the situation.  They were pretty calm considering the situation.  We were all trying to figure out who the last person or group could have been to use the machine.  Somebody's head was gonna roll.

That's when I saw it.
The espresso filter was still sitting in the machine.

As all the pieces fell into place in my head, I felt as if all the life in me was falling to pieces.  I was the culprit.  I was responsible.  I was the one.  It was me.

I felt horrible.  I couldn't sleep for a couple nights.  I remember the next day at the office, I was trying to communicate my twenty-seventh rehearsed apology in hopes that if I just said I was sorry enough, it would make the problem go away.  I had been assured that mistakes happen and that we would deal with it.  And yet, the pain and the frustration seemed to be getting worse the deeper it seeped into my soul.  During that apology, Aaron Couch, the lead pastor at the church, said with the slightest chuckle:

   "Marty, it's OK.  That's what it means to be on a team."

The statement hit me like a thunderbolt.  I played it cool and then went into my office and cried.  I've heard a lot about teams; and I've heard a lot about what it means to look out for everybody else on the team.  I worked hard at trying to make sure I'm always bringing something worthwhile to the table -- for the team.  I had never considered that I would encounter a day where I would experience what it would mean to let the team do something for me.

I've thrown a lot of stones at the Church over the last decade.  There's lot of stuff to be upset about and a lot of things to critique and deconstruct.  But every now and then, the Church has these brilliant moments where we actually look a little like the Christ we're supposed to incarnate.  Sometimes those moments will come in the form of caring for the oppressed.  Sometimes they will come in a broken espresso machine.  But in all of those moments -- we will learn about grace.

Needless to say, I'm the brunt of a lot of jokes around here these days.  And the espresso machine is still broken.

I'm kind of glad that it is.  I've come to know that machine really well and she serves as a reminder to me every time I walk into the kitchen of a lesson that I'm still learning -- every day.

I've given her a name:  Grace.


A Day in the Life of a Campus Minister -- Saturday

If you were looking for my Saturday video, you wont be finding one - and here's why:

My Saturday's are a day that I take off from work.  At Impact, there is a very large value on making sure that we are pursuing intimacy with God.  Part of what that looks like for us is to make sure that we are taking part in rhythms of spiritual health.  We make sure that we work with intentionality; we also rest with intentionality.  The rhythm of sabbath rest is a invaluable component to my work as a campus minister.

While my intent was still to make a funny video from the apartment where I'm staying, I must confess that my sabbath rest got the better of me.  Just as well, the visual of me in my pajamas may have kept many from ever visiting my blog again...


A Day in the Life of a Campus Minister -- Friday

Here is my Friday. I wanted to let's the students speak a little bit before I was done with my week's video blog... And here is a fun video that includes a fun moment (or three) on camera with the students; we have a lot of fun!