Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Brand Jesus

These days in marketing and sales circles there is more talk than ever about “Brand Awareness”. What image or impression does you logo, trademark, or product carry and what can you do to nurture and protect it. Most celebrities are very aware that they themselves are a brand. Aston Kutcher conveys a very different image and cache than Bill Cosby. These impressions are carefully cultivated and they fiercely protect the image they want to maintain.

When a brand fails the results are dangerous and potentially long lasting. Usually a brand fails when the desired public image fails to meet up with the private reality. Safe, reliable Toyota has cars that accelerate uncontrollably. Squeaky clean Tiger Woods has a string of torrid affairs.

The original propose of a brand was to show ownership. Animals and possessions had the owners mark literally burnt into them so there was no questions about who they belonged to.

As Christians we carry a brand. We are stamped with the image of Christ...we are brand JESUS. What should it mean for us as carriers of this brand? What does that look like and more importantly what should that look like? For me the “what should it look like question” is answered with words like LOVE, GRACE, JOY and PASSION. The reality of “what does it look like” is much more troubling. In reality our human weaknesses and failings are seen all too often and His love, grace joy and passion are hidden. Brand JESUS is often represented loudly by people who show hate, judgment, bigotry and intolerance. Brand JESUS is co-opted by those with with political agendas who need Christians to support their cause. Brand JESUS is confused, distracted and divided amongst itself.

I humbly submit the following for those of who make up brand JESUS.

Love is everything.

We must first start by loving other Christians. Christ himself told us “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

We must love those we disagree with. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44

Love your spouse. Paul tells husbands this in two separate passages. In Ephesians 5:28-29 he says, In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church. and in  Colossians 3:19 he says Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Paul sums up the need to love this way in Romans 13:8-10 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

JESUS himself said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

The reality is that we live in a fallen world and there is a Deceiver prowling and devouring all he can. He is on a mass smear campaign to dilute and destroy brand JESUS. It is our mandate to fight him one heart and soul at a time. Our branding campaign is truly a grass roots movement. To be effective it cannot happen from top down but must be heart out. It is should be viral in nature spread friend to friend and neighbor to neighbor and its mantra is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

In With The Smokers

Note - The following was written by a friend of mine and I thought it was worth sharing. - Thanks for keeping me sharp Stephen D.

- Dan

At Bunker’s funeral, I found myself sandwiched between two men who smelled strongly of smoke. As I listened to the stories about Bunker, his family was confident that he was in Heaven and that they would be reunited some day.

Heaven or Hell? Either one or the other is our destiny after death. One is delightful “Paradise” and the other insufferable fire and smoke.

I pondered what funerals would be like if those heading for Heaven sat on one side of the isle, like in weddings, and those heading to Hell sat on the other side? One side would be pleasantly perfumed while the other would carry a heavy stench of smoke from the pits of Hell.

As one enters the church, there may be a sign that reads:

“Non-smokers please sit on the left.

Smokers please sit on the right.

If you’re not sure, sit on the right.”

It would be curious to watch people determine where to sit.

My itchy nose and eyes brought me back to reality and to another question. Would I chose to sit in with the smokers if I knew they were smokers - or thieves, gossips, slanderers, liars, adulterers, druggies… Would I choose to be uncomfortable with being in the midst of the self-destructive habits of others so that a few may discover God’s forgiveness and freedom? Do I have compassion for those who stink of smoke? Or do I simple sit with my other pleasantly perfumed brothers and not even notice those who are lost?

PS – I am using the terms “smokers and non-smokers” as allegories. So if you smoke tobacco, know that I am not labeling you a smoker heading to Hell. If you are offended, then I suspect the Spirit is putting his divine finger on something else going on in your life.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


images felt more than remembered

flashes of memories drifting through the dusty corners of the attic of the mind

the hard newly fallen log under us

the smell of fresh sawdust

the thunderous calm of a just silenced chain saw

oily blue exhaust hanging in the air

this man, gentle, old yet strong beside me

loving me like he had such a long line of young boys

not always with words or touch but with time

working beside them, unknowingly molding them

the wagon is loaded, the tractor started

adding its own darker puff of exhaust to that of the chain saw

the ride back

feet stuck through the rear of the buckling seat

his strong back supporting mine – loved, wanted, safe, free

I stand beside another driveway now

the same tractor puffs into view and I see his son with mine

I know what he is feeling and smile

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just a reminder that your kids could be worse off......

Someone passed this to me in an e-mail - couldn't pass it up!

A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to 'Dad.' With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad:
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice. But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion...Dad she's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone.. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy. In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it. Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.

Love, Your Son Cody,

P.S.. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the report card that's in my center desk drawer. I love you. Call me when it's safe to come home.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Return of the 17 Year Cicadas

As a kid I loved hearing my dad tell me about the "17 year locust". The cicadas nymphs live underground for 17 years before they come to the surface to mature as insects. I love to hear the cicada song on those warm summer days. This year my kids found about 30 shells in our back yard and it was my turn to begin to tell the story. "God made this magnificent insect..."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Important Story

I read the Ethos blog by Randy Elrod regularly and he recently had a awesome post on a young man's conversion from Islam to Christianity.

This Is An Important News Story-Why Have We Not Heard About It????

Mosab_hassan__yousef_hamas_son Son of Hamas Leader Turns Back on Islam...

Mosab Hassan Yousef is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary story. He was born the son of one of the most influential leaders of the militant Hamas organization in the West Bank and grew up in a strict Islamic family. continue on his blog here