And The Winner Of The Car Is….

I have some news about the #GOSMALL car. 

Thanks to everyone who bought the book and shared about the book on a review or their blog or social sites. I appreciate it and hope you have enjoyed the book. 

Many of you don’t know but it is really hard to give something away “legally” We hired a company that specializes in sweepstakes to figure out how to do it legally. They prepared the “OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES

Many of you didn’t read the fine print so let me explain the highlights in the fine print and let you know how we are going to notify the winner. 

First of all, all entries online had to be in by Tuesday but you were allowed to mail in your entry and you have till Saturday for those to reach the PO BOX. 

We will draw the winner on Monday the 22nd and contact the winner and start the qualifying process.

The company we hired selects the winner. They take all the entries that we have received online and offline and assign a number to each entry. They take the total number of combined entries using a random generator to determine the winning number and the alternate.

They will send me those two names on Monday and we will personally email the winner but the winner MUST talk to the sweepstakes people on the phone. 

During the call the company  must not only qualify the winner but also explain the tax ramifications of accepting the prize. I think everyone knows that you have to pay taxes on the car. You will receive a 1099 forms in January of 2015 for the value of the prize selected. So, in some crazy case that you turn down the car, the alternate will be selected. 

The winner is not the winner until we receive back the signed affidavit indicating the prize selection and a copy of some form of ID.

The winner will have two options. They can select

#1 Receive a 2014 Smart Car Pure CPE (VIN# WMEEJBA4EK772492) that has an approximate retail value (“ARV”) of $12,620. Shipping expense to Hawaii or Alaska not included. Shipping anywhere else in the U.S will be covered.

or

#2 Winner will have the choice of accepting a 70% cash option of $8,834 in lieu of the Smart Car.

Will let you know MONDAY!


Thanks

Craig 

 

Hey Dad! Great First Half but Bad Second Half

*I wrote last night about becoming a 49ers Fan For One Night Only

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Hey Dad!

I know it’s 30 minutes from San Fran but you wouldn’t belief this new stadium. It’s pretty awesome.  It’s got wifi from every seat in the place. You didn’t know what wifi was when you were alive but maybe you know now.

I know you just like plain old hot dogs and nachos and a coke but the food here is way better then that.  They are going to host the Super Bowl here in 2016. Remember, when we went to the Super Bowl? That was something else in Indianapolis but I think this stadium is even better.

Your 49ers look good for a half but not sure if you know that Seattle team has gotten better. They won the Superbowl and started off this year killing my Packers. I don’t think you 49ers are going to get past them this year especially with this many penalties. I could only imagine how much you would be screaming at the officials and the play calling tonight. I tried my best to duplicate it but it didn’t help. 

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I brought my friend David Dean with me to the game. He is a die hard Bears fan and one of my best friends. It wouldn’t be the same seeing a game here and not having someone with me that cheered against the 49ers. I’m wearing your windbreaker and it’s a bit big and it’s hot here but I put it on and am cheering for your team because we were suppose to go to this game together dad.

It’s hard being here without you. It’s actually been a pretty rough year and a half since you’ve been gone. You weren’t suppose to go so soon. Remember you told me you knew you were going to live to you were 87. You were off by 17 dad. I miss you dad.  Man I miss you. I wish you were here with me.  

Love

Craig

49ers Fan For One Night Only

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I bought my dad this 49ers windbreaker at candlestick park for his birthday a few years ago.

He wore it to the 2012 NFC playoff game at candlestick when the 49ers played the Packers. That was the last trip my dad and I ever went on. It was a night I will never forget.

I surprised dad with tickets and we drove to the game. I was wearing my Packer shirt and I got heckled all the way into the stadium. My dad just smiled. My dad and I were close the last 7 years of his life. Not the kind of close that meant we had to cheer for the same team.

I shared some thoughts in the blog post called "Thanks Dad" about our relationship

That night was special. On the drive up there I heard about how my dad’s dad moved his family to San Fran when he was around 12. He started going to 49er games before candlestick was even around. Once candlestick opened my dad had season seats.

Growing up my dad and I would go to a 49er game every now and then even though I liked the Raiders as a kid.

That cold night in January with the wind blowing in Candlestick they played a commercial for the new 49ers stadium. It would open in 2014 and the old candlestick which we were sitting in would be demolished.

My dad thought it was ridiculous to move the 49ers to San Jose but was exited for this new stadium.

I remember being at a MNF game in 2011 with my dad at candlestick when the power went out and there were no lights delaying the game. The stadium is old but the memories for true 49er fans in that stadium will never be forgotten.

My dad and I decided we would be at opening day 2014 when the 49ers would play their first regular season game in the new stadium.

A few weeks after that playoff game my dad and my family watched, in his apartment, his 49ers come so close to winning the Super Bowl. He was sitting in his recliner chair wearing this same windbreaker.

He died a few days later. I didn’t keep many of my dad’s things. A watch I gave to him and a 49ers windbreaker that sits in my closet.

I don’t know many people who have been close to me who have died. I know that when my friend from the nursing home Marie died I had a hard time ever going back to a home like that because it was to hard so I just stayed away.

*Read about my great friend Marie which I wrote about in the Gutter. Here is the full story. 

I decided that I am going to go to opening night at Levi’s Stadium Sunday night (tomorrow) when the San Francisco 49ers play the Chicago Bears. It won’t be the same. It won’t be what I am used to. Someone will be missing but I can’t wait to tell him about the new stadium. I don’t know if he can hear me. Heck, maybe he’s already got an arial view from heaven of this place and he would be smiling, shocked and surprised to see his son, me wearing his red 49ers sweatshirt cheering for his team. Go 49ers for this week only and only for you dad. I’ll tell you all about it on Sunday dad.

Craig

*Check back Sunday night if I can write it I plan to write something to my dad about the game.

I shared this talk at Southbrook Church called #GOSMALL. It is based off my latest book. I share 5 ways you can #GOSMALL in your life. 

Limited Number of #GOSMALL prints

I took some of my favorite quotes from #GOSMALL and had my buddy Ashton Owens turn some of them into some great prints. We have 19 or so downloadable images that we are asking people to share on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can download a zip file with all of the images HERE.

Here is what you need to do:

1. Post image on social

2. Tag it with #GOSMALL and www.gosmallbook.com and each day we will pick some random people and will mail you one of these limited editions posters that you see below. 

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The book is available is out now! Click here to buy.

How to Go Small, Part 5: Life Is Not An Emergency

My new book I wrote with Adam Palmer comes out this week. You can purchase it at www.gosmallbook.com and you will be entered to win the smallest car in the U.S. I have 5 blogs I wrote about going small. Here is #5.

How to Go Small, Part 5: Life Is Not An Emergency

Slow down.

Move out of the way.

Accept the ordinary.

Little things are big. 

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been spelling the word small this week. And so, as we wrap up our introductory lessons in going small, we add the second “l” to the word and learn that life is not an emergency. 

I’m borrowing that phrase from the author Ann Voskamp, who uses it a lot but I want you to think about those five words for a moment. Meditate on that phrase. Let it sink in. 

Now ask yourself: How often do I treat life as if it is an emergency? How often do I rush around trying to get from one place to the other? When I’m driving, how many times do I switch lanes in order to get around the next car, and then the next car, and then the one after that—all so I can beat that yellow light before it turns red? How many times have I rushed through the grocery store or the coffee shop or the wherever-I-go because I had to be somewhere

What would happen if you didn’t have to be there? 

What would happen if you scheduled some slow time into your day? 

Would the world stop spinning? 

Would everything collapse? 

Or would you just … finally … breathe?

Speaking of breathing: I am what many people would call an alpha male, so I’m not necessarily a giant fan of flowers; but I do appreciate the delicate beauty they bring to the world. Though I’m not going to learn how to grow roses in my backyard, for example, I will occasionally bring flowers home for my wife or notice them in the neighborhood as we take family walks. 

When you think about it, flowers are some of the most ordinarily extraordinary things we have on the planet. They make the place look nicer and smell nicer, for one thing, but then there’s all the scientific stuff we don’t notice—the business with bees and pollination that helps keep mankind alive. You know: no big deal. 

But while flowers in general are some of the best small things we have, there’s one particular flower I want to focus on right now, one that botanists have given quite the mouthful of a name: Selenicereus grandiflorus. I’m not even attempting to provide a pronunciation key, because from here on out I’m just going to refer to it by a more common name, which, in the interests of full disclosure, it shares with a couple of other types of flowering plants: “Queen of the Night.”

This is a fascinating plant. A species of cactus originally found in South and Central America, the Queen of the Night exhibits very interesting behavior, especially for a flowering cactus. The Queen of the Night only blooms—at the most—one night per year. 

For 364 days of the year, the Queen of the Night is just a plain old cactus, sitting there, doing cactus-y things like being green and having sharp spikes and being a special nuisance when the kids kick the soccer ball into the shrubbery by the front of the house. 

But then comes the night—the one night—usually in late spring or early summer, when the Queen of the Night stops being ordinary and becomes extraordinary. On this one special evening, this unique cactus will put out any number of tremendous white, royal-looking flowers during the night, while no one is watching, usually fully blooming around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. By the time dawn arrives, the flowers are wilted and withdrawn, gone for another year. 

We could look at this another way, saying that on this one night of the year, the Queen of the Night reveals itself for what it truly is. It shows its true nature. 

It does what it was created to do. 

The rest of the time it sits dormant, looking—in all honesty—pretty darn plain. I mean, maybe you have a thing for cacti, but I’m not a big fan of the look. There’s not much of what the majority of us would consider inherently attractive in a cactus—and yet, on that one special night, the Queen of the Night comes alive with delicate beauty and fragrance. This is the extraordinariness that was there all along, that we just couldn’t see because it wasn’t time yet. 

My favorite thing about the Queen of the Night is that it doesn’t bloom during the day. Ever. If you don’t know what Queen of the Night is or looks like in its nonflowering state, you could have it around your house for years without ever knowing what it was doing in the secret, quiet stillness of that magical, special evening. Even if you happened to get up in the middle of the night for some reason—to go to the bathroom or to get a drink of water or to let the dog out—the odds are 1 in 365 (that’s a 0.27% chance, by the way) that you’ll get to see the Queen of the Night for what it is, for what God created it to be. 

Those flowers don’t bloom for us. They don’t bloom for the people who keep the cactus in their yard. They don’t even bloom for the wildlife that might happen to be around. They won’t be added to anyone’s garden or make their way into a bridal bouquet or into a centerpiece on the cover of Martha Stewart Living magazine. 

Those flowers bloom because that’s what God had in mind for them. Though no human would naturally see those flowers without making a substantial effort to notice them, God does see them, and He rejoices in their beauty. 

The Queen of the Night doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition from humans. 

But God sees it. And He loves it. In fact, He delights in it. 

The Queen of the Night does what it does for the glory of God, just like it was created to do. 

Everything else is just ordinary buildup to that extraordinary moment, when the glory of the Queen of the Night gets to be revealed for an audience of One. 

This is the role of that flower; this is the essence of going small. Life can happen on its own time, and as we slow down, move out of the way, accept the ordinary, let little things be big, and reject the notion that life is an emergency, then we are going small ourselves. And when we go small, Jesus can be big. When we decrease, he can increase. And isn’t that the whole point?

[This post is adapted from the new book Go Small]

How to Go Small, Part 4: Little Things Are Big

My new book I wrote with Adam Palmer comes out this week. You can purchase it at www.gosmallbook.com and you will be entered to win the smallest car in the U.S. I have 5 blogs I wrote about going small.  Here is #4.

How to Go Small, Part 4: Little Things Are Big

Slow down.

Move out of the way.

Accept the ordinary.

These are the first three things we’ve learned so far as we’ve learned how to go small. Today, we’re going to add another thing: we’re going to talk about how little things really are big. 

Can I let you in on a dirty little secret from the world of organized religion and nonprofit ministries? This isn’t usually said out loud in the church world—and many, if not most, church leaders may not even realize this is how they think—but it’s subtly understood that numbers determine outreach “success.” How many people “got saved” versus how much was spent to reach them. No one would really put it in this kind of terminology, because it sounds coldhearted, but it’s true. Many churches and ministries look at people coming to Christ as a return on their investment. That’s how they determine success. 

Once you write it down, though, the ridiculousness of that type of thinking becomes universally clear. Because Jesus doesn’t play by our rules or restrictions. I heard on the radio recently someone say that you should be able to share Christ with anyone in under three minutes. Really? This is how we’re representing the gospel, as an elevator pitch that you would use for your business or screenplay idea? People who don’t know Jesus are skeptical and want to see how you’re living this out, and they likely aren’t going to be convinced in a three-minute conversation—it may take three hours, or three months, or three years, or more.

Let me tell you—I’ve talked to a lot of lost people, and many of them already know the basics of the gospel. There aren’t many people—not in the Western World, anyway—who don’t know who Jesus was, who don’t know about sin and redemption and the story of the cross and the resurrection. It’s an integral part of our culture. 

No, what lost people want to know about is not some big, gigantic Jesus rally or whatever—they want to know how you’re living. How you function as a Christian in the everyday world. They won’t care about Christ if you’re a jerk to them because of their beliefs or their occupation or their sexual orientation. Or if you only invite them to your church’s Easter service but don’t ask about their kids. Or if you won’t have them over to your house for dinner because they might use a swearword in front of your dog. 

They want to know if you’re consistent. If what you do matches up with what you say. And those things you do? Those are the ordinary things that don’t make it into the ministry newsletter or get thousands of retweets. 

The truth is, everyone who volunteers alongside XXXchurch.com can spend thousands of dollars to go to these porn shows to hand out Bibles and tell people that Jesus loves them, and it’s usually a mind-blowing time of interacting with people who desperately need Jesus. The conversations we have and the seeds of the gospel we’re able to plant are genuinely humbling and magnificent. It’s impossible to go on one of those outreaches and not come away changed. 

And yet one of the most deflating things that can happen is when we come home and begin sharing the stories of what Jesus did in our lives while we were at the porn show, only to have someone ask, “So how many people did you rescue out of porn?” or “How many people got saved?”

They want a number. 

And the true answer—“I don’t know!”—is not good enough for many of them. People want to know results instantly. They want the numbers and they want them now. 

Which is the great thing about big, extraordinary events—you can get those numbers right away, and trumpet them in social media and on your website and in a press release to all the major news organizations. You can feed the meter and show a return on your investment.

But is that what Jesus did? 

Yes, Jesus spoke to some big crowds—huge ones that would get Him a lot of publicity and airtime today—but the people in those crowds didn’t gather because He advertised some huge event. Jesus didn’t buzz-market the Beatitudes or platform-release the Sermon on the Mount. 

Jesus did incredible, miraculous things during the course of His ministry—which was only about three years of His life, I might add. He probably spent most of the time leading up to that doing ordinary stuff like studying and mystifying His parents, but if you look over the Gospels, you’ll see that Jesus spent quite a bit of His time hanging out with His disciples. 

Twelve people. 

He went small. On purpose. 

And what do you imagine Jesus talked about with His disciples? Those guys did a lot of walking around from town to town, so they obviously got into some discussions. I know when I go on road trips, while I can have some pretty heady conversations with my wife or friends, usually we wind up talking about random things. Stories from childhood or fun memories. Quoting movies or singing along with the radio. 

Ordinary stuff. 

Can you imagine Jesus—during the all-important, history-changing course of His ministry—hanging out with His disciples and just cracking jokes? Or telling a funny story about growing up as the son of a carpenter? I doubt Jesus was a nonstop joke machine, but I also doubt He spent the majority of His time as the self-serious wisdom-spouter that we often imagine Him to be. 

Jesus spent most of His time interacting with only twelve people, and though much of what He did wouldn’t make the news, it changed the world. 

Nothing is too small for Jesus. 

Nothing can be so big and important that it impresses Him.

With Jesus, everything is one size fits all. And that size is the size of His kingdom. 

[This post is adapted from the new book Go Small]

How to Go Small, Part 3: Accept the Ordinary

My new book I wrote with Adam Palmer comes out this week. You can purchase it at www.gosmallbook.com and you will be entered to win the smallest car in the U.S. I have 5 blogs I wrote about going small. Here is #3.

How to Go Small, Part 3: Accept the Ordinary

In our quest this week to go small, we’ve now learned to slow down, to move out of the way, and today, we’re going to learn to accept the ordinary. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of New Monasticism, but it’s a fairly recent resurgence in communal living—sort of a modern, updated version of living in a monastery or convent, but without all the separation from society. It’s generally a bunch of good-hearted Christian believers living together in the same house with a strong spiritual intentionality. These people generally have a rhythm of communal and individual prayer, Scripture reading, meals, and community service, among other things. 

One such community was fairly well-known in the new monastic movement. How, exactly, they became well-known is a story I do not claim to know or understand, but they famously posted http://thewell.intervarsity.org/blog/courage-ordinary  a sign on one of their walls that very succinctly sums up all I’ve just been talking about. It read:

Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.

A revolution? That’s the type of big thing people like me—and maybe even you—are looking for, are trying to bring about. We’re hoping for a revolution of God’s love and grace to envelop the world with the wonderful message of Jesus’ sacrifice and redemption. That a better, more fulfilling, more peaceful and wonderful life awaits those who would give it over to the Lord. 

That’s the big idea behind what we do at XXXchurch.com, and it’s the big idea behind countless other nonprofit, church, and parachurch organizations. 

We all want revolution. 

But boy, we do not want to do the dishes. 

The boring, bland, everyday tasks and chores, the foundational material of just living life? That stuff is so far away from the excitement of the revolution that it almost feels like a step backward to do it. 

But it’s necessary. And it’s good. 

It’s part of the revolution. The three-times-daily work of doing the dishes to make sure everything is clean and orderly at mealtime. To ensure no one gets sick from eating off dirty plates. To develop the discipline of routine and organization. 

Doing the dishes—the ordinary, small stuff—is the raw material that the revolution is built out of. Without someone doing the dishes, you wouldn’t have a revolution in the first place. 

This is why I’m encouraging you to go small—because we need far more small works than we do big ones. And there’s really no single thing that is too small or ordinary for God to use. Want an example?

Here’s a sobering one: 

The Golden Gate Bridge, connecting the city of San Francisco with Marin County by spanning the Golden Gate Strait, is one of our world’s most recognizable landmarks. Its red, wiry structure is a remarkable symbol of connectivity, of the feats that humans can achieve through collaboration and intelligence. 

It’s also the second-most popular destination in the world for people to kill themselves. 

Roughly once every two weeks, a person caught in a dark web of isolation, depression, and hopelessness chooses to climb over the protective guardrails and jump, plummeting a total of 250 feet down, down, down into the cold waters of the strait. When they reach the bottom, they’re traveling roughly 75 miles per hour. Most people die upon impact. 

There was once a suicide note, collected a few years ago, written by an anonymous person as they made their way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The writer remarked that they were walking to the bridge with the intent of ending their life; but one sentence of the note immediately leapt out at me. 

“If one person smiles at me on the way,” this person wrote, “I will not jump.”

They jumped.

Suicide affects men and women of all ages and races, and since it is an ultimate choice, it is not something that anyone embarks upon lightly. The person who wrote this heartbreaking and tragic note hadn’t decided on the spur of the moment that life was no longer worth living, and likely they had people in their world—family, friends, coworkers—who may have been able to provide the hope or welcoming arms that they were obviously missing. It’s also worth remarking on the very real possibility that this person wouldn’t have been able to recognize a hopeful smile if anyone had given them one. 

But what if someone had? 

What if, as this tormented person made their solemn way to the Golden Gate Bridge, some stranger had seen them—really seen them—and offered the smallest, simplest gift we can offer another human being? 

Is it possible that something as simple as a smile can save a life? 

[This post is adapted from the new book Go Small]