THANKFUL FOR THE WHIRLWIND

So, I had all these plans for how I would go about this whole book release thing. I don’t think even one of them has panned out. The last two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of interviews, video recordings, and late nights on the computer.

I have a friend who was published by Tyndale about a year ago, and he told me that he felt immense pressure to market his book and make it go. He hinted that a whirlwind was coming. I’m now experiencing this whirlwind. Add all this book stuff to the endless list of edits that need to be done yesterday for my 9-5 job, and it can be a bit overwhelming.

But I shouldn’t sound as if I’m too downtrodden. I set a goal a few years back to be published by the time I was 35. That goal was achieved this week. And that feels amazing!

I gave my first national radio interview this morning. It felt alright, but I’m sure I can do better. I have another one next week, maybe I’ll be a bit more calm. I like radio interviews. They can be done from home, which means I can sit on my couch and relax while talking. I don’t even have to wear pants if I don’t want to. (But I DID have pants on today, fyi.)

If you’d like, you can listen to it here.

I shared a bit about my journey with my co-workers this week in our chapel service, and I realized as I spoke that there’s nothing better than knowing you’re in God’s perfect will for your life, even when things get hectic. So I’m trying to rest easy even in the midst of the whirlwind, because I know I’m right where God wants me to be.

Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you feel the same way. If you don’t, you can. God has a calling and a purpose for us all. I know I’m called to preach and teach—words are my calling. And I never feel more fulfilled than when God uses me in those giftings. So what has God gifted you to do? Are you using your giftings regularly?

If not, I would encourage you to take a few steps toward your own spiritual goals. There’s no greater feeling than when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re right where God wants you to be.

Even if it’s in the middle of a whirlwind.

Why Millennials Shouldn’t Leave Church

My post today appears on www.charismamag.com. Here’s a preview:

I recently turned 35. I was raised on Saturday morning cartoons (DuckTalesShirt Tales, lots of stuff with tales), cordless phones with extendable four-foot antennae, and Pop Rocks and Coke (they don’t kill you!). While I undoubtedly have a place in Generation X, I often share similar views with the millennials, particularly when it comes to all the church stuff. And it grieves me that so many of us have walked away from church.

Everybody has a different response and reason why our generation and those after us are leaving. They typically point to what’s wrong with the church. It’s not enough Jesus. It’s too much Jesus. It’s not enough holiness. It’s too much holiness. It’s not enough justice. It’s too much justice.

I get the concerns with church in general. But I’d like to offer the flip side of this coin: If the church isn’t what we want it to be, it’s not all the church’s fault. At least part of it is our fault. We can’t talk about the church as if it’s some abstract entity disconnected from us. We are the church…. (to read the rest of the article, click here, or simply head over to charismamag.com).

THANKETH YOU! (in the King James Version)

Thank-you2You know when someone starts speaking in the King James Version, it’s gonna be full of sap. And today I feeleth full of sappeth.

My book, Dear God We Need To Talk, released last week, so it has recently felt as if all eyes are on me (which freaketh me outeth just a little). But I feel like these eyeballs should be fixated elsewhere. First and foremost, to God for opening these doors despite me, and also to all the people who made this happen, I need to say THANKETH YOU.

So many people have intervened to help make this a reality. My publicist, LeAnn Hamby, deserves a HUGE shouteth outeth. She was the first person I ever talked to about my book, in hopes of simply getting some insight into how I might go about finding a publisher. But she liked it so much, she acted as my book agent immediately and found me a publisher. Her faith in the book made all this a reality.

So many others have helped along the way. My boss, Gene Browning, has been a great help to me over the years. Many around our office have helped with things when needed, Kirk Rising even has a page he personally created in the book! And so many others have helped with websites and emails and reviews and all the things that go along with a book. DeWayne Hamby, Renee Rodriguez, Mike Luithle, Abigail Velazquez, Diann Stewart, John and Cathy Payne, Randy Howard, Shaun McKinley, Ed Stetzer, Paul Smith, Lance Colkmire, Richie Hughes, Jeremi and Amy Richardson, Warren Barfield, Nate and Dawniel King, Jeff and Kimmy Jones, the Fletcher family, and soooooo many others have helped in some way or another along the way. All of you and so many more have been a great blessing.

And of course my family members, Kristi, Jake, Abby, and Alli. My brothers Mike, Dustin, and David. Morgan, Mom and Fred, Rick and Martha, and all the extended family. Thanks for the wonderful support (and for being great sports about all my storytelling).

And all the folks at Charisma House who have worked so hard and been so fantastic to work with. I can’t begin to express my gratitude fully. Jevon Bolden, Althea Thompson, Woodley Auguste, Susan Simcox, Leigh Devore, and again, so, so many others! Charisma House has been a true Godsend.

And still there are so many more that I can’t even begin to write all your names, and I hear the band beginning to play over me, so I should stop here. But you definitely know who you are. You’re all very near and dear to our hearts.

All your names, and many others, may not appear in the book necessarily, but your influence is seen on every page.

And in the classic King James dialect:

Thou All Rocketh!

I thanketh all thee, and theneth some.

darren

5 Reasons I Haven’t Left the Church

crop headshotMy article today on charismanews.com:

I recently read Frank Viola’s thought-provoking article, “10 Reasons Why I Left the Institutional Church in Search of the Ekklesia,” and for that reason, I suppose I should give a description of what I mean when I say “church.”

When I use the term “church” I mean that thing we do when we sit down with other believers weekly and typically stare at the back of everyone’s head, except one—the orator—whose face we get to see for 30 minutes. (60-90 if you’re Pentecostal or Charismatic like me.)

And since Mr. Viola had 10 reasons and I only have 5, I guess that makes his argument twice as effective as mine.

It’s widely popular to talk about how young adults, from my generation on down, (I’m 35, ouch, that hurts to write) are leaving the church. It’s a mass exodus of immense proportions (is that redundant?). I’ve recently seen many talk about their reasons for walking away from church, so I thought I’d share the other side of the coin: 5 reasons why I haven’t walked away from church. (For the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.)

NEWSFLASH: 2-12-14

NEWSFLASHNEWSFLASH: 2/12/14

1) It’s still snowing…everywhere
2) Fashion Week says bathrobes are the new coats
3) Massachusetts HS bans yoga pants (but can they wear bathrobes?)
4) ACHY BREAKY HEART IS BACK!

They’ve remade it, complete with rapping. This is excellent b/c every time I heard it back in the day I immediately thought to myself, “If this song broke into rap at some point, it would be epic.”

NEWSFLASH: 2-11-14

NEWSFLASHNEWSFLASH: 2/11/14

1) Missed out on Flappy Bird? Try Flappy Plane or Flappy Bee
2) COMING SOON: new Doritos Loaded! (a strange, mozzarella stickish, triangular, cheese thingy filled with a dash of awesome)
3) the Bitcoin is crashing like a fallen downhill skier
4) Costas now has two pink eyes
5) Today in Weird Beer Flavors: try beer flavored jelly beans and/or beer flavored ice cream.

Please don’t go for a sundae drive afterwards. (pun)

NEWSFLASH: 2-10-14

NEWSFLASHNEWSFLASH: 2/10/14

1) Flappy Bird’s creator pulled it from all app stores
-You should be outraged
2) Katy Perry changed the lyrics of a Beatles Song
-You should be outraged
3) You can now drink “Dumb Starbucks Coffee” for free
-it’s art, seriously
4) Translators find Snowboarder’s “bro speak” hard to translate
-”stoked” is apparently not in the Russian vocabulary

PLEASE DON’T READ MY BOOK (but do buy it)

Picture9I had an epiphany recently, and it wasn’t a pleasant one.

I have a horrible habit of crawling up into my head to see what’s there. More often than not I merely notice what’s missing, but that’s another story.

I’m slightly introverted, so I often find myself lost in my thoughts. (Does that phrasing even make sense?)

WARNING: TMI in 3…2…1…

This happens most often while I’m in the shower.

My wife likes to point out that I sometimes take long showers. I do this because I literally forget I’m in the shower. I get utterly lost in my head, like that dude in the movie Hook who couldn’t find his marbles.

On one of my recent head trips (pun) I realized that my head is a place no one should ever visit. It’s filled with ridiculous ponderings about strawberry jelly, Jesus, duck-billed platypuses, time travel, and Teletubbies, although not necessarily in that order. (Unfortunately the Teletubbies are usually first, followed by the time travel, which is usually my attempt to escape the Teletubbies, who are the thing of nightmares.)

And this life-changing epiphany was followed by another, more horrifying epiphany: My book is a literal trip inside the mind of Darren. The previous paragraph shows why this is so horrifying.

Continue Reading →

How To Have An Awesome Life Even When Life’s Not So Awesome

calmpanic

Sometimes life isn’t all that awesome.

I was reminded of this awful truth when I woke up to a house without power this morning in 4 degree temperatures. Oh, and my pipes were frozen, so no heat, no water, and no power.

Normally this would send me into total-Darren-freak-out-panic mode. My wife says I’m a bit of a pessimist when it comes to these types of situations, or any situation for that matter.

My brain tends to see everything that’s not there. I like to see what’s coming, so I analyze every possible scenario before any of them actually play out. I’m always looking past what I see and trying to see what I can’t see.

Wow, just writing that makes me realize why my wife gets so annoyed with this trait. Continue Reading →