The Thoughts of Gunnar


Proof That God Likes You Volume 1…The Tempurpedic Bed
January 29, 2007, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Proof that God likes you Volume 1…The Tempurpedic Bed

So, for quite some time, Mrs. Gunnar Falk and I, Gunnar Falk, have been shopping for beds. We liked the Tempurpedic Deluxe model…and they cost a fortune, but thanks to Craigslist, we found a new one for WAAAAAAAAY below market price.

Man, it is worth every penny. If Jesus was born today, instead of gold, frankinsense and myrhh, I am convinced the wisemen would dump the myrhh and bring him a Tempurpedic. (Thus, proving their wisdom.)

So, it is made out of material they claim is used for astronauts, to absorb impact or whatnot. It is apparent to me that astronaut foam rules. Because you are reading my blog, my thought is you have a lot of extra time on your hands. You should use some of that time to go to a bed store and try out a tempurpedic. What a difference.

Ever since we picked it up, we have been sleeping so much better. And, moving from a queen size bed to a king size, that is so choice. I highly recommend that to anyone. If I could rule the world for a day, I would still share the same bed with my wife, but I would have my own zip code in it for where I slept. Having space is so cool, I can stretch my elbows out to my side without knocking her head in. (Unfortunately, that has happened before.) I don’t have to sleep on the very side edge of the bed to feel like I have enough room. It takes away so much previously unrealized stress from the sleeping equation.

To me, God was very real before I bought this bed. But now, owning one of these beds, it helps me comprehend God more, and how much He wants us to know how much He likes us. I don’t know how it all goes, but I can imagine Him up in heaven, laughing with glee and delight over us, thinking, “I sure do like those guys down there…I know what I will do, I will give them an idea for a tempurpedic mattress…that way they can be better rested, and if they are better rested, that can help them all get along better…”

I hope I can get along with all of you better now.
Gunnar

Advertisements


Building a company is hard work: My identity is humbled
January 10, 2007, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Building a company is hard work: My identity is humbled

For the past 5 months being in Portland, my man Nathan and I have been giving it a full time go making books. I really like Nathan…he is all out.
I have learned a great deal, transitioning into being much more entrepreneurial than I have been before. Grappling with giving up the security of the same paycheck every two weeks or so, and staying on edge, and getting creative have been the biggest rush. Realizing that being an entrepreneur is what I want to do, that has been tested repeatedly as ‘everything has not exactly seemed to go my way.’ Still, I wouldn’t have traded the past 5 months for anything. Not even a never-ending supply of hot carmel corn. (Hot carmel corn is SOOOOO good.)
Nathan and I are beginning to realize that in the mean time, we are going to need to have side jobs in order for the business to make it. Every time we pay ourselves, lately, it has been taking money out of our marketing budget. (Nathan and I have a marketing philosophy: Don’t do it to be cute or just be there…do it to increase sales.)
We are thinking of getting jobs waiting tables at the same place. Waiting tables, we figure, gives us the most flexibility to balance a business start up and making some income, time-wise. We want that flexibility to nurture our baby of a business, and not take from it in it’s infancy, but allow it to grow and prosper. My problem, and my main lack of excitement over the whole thing, is my ego.
My ego doesn’t want to wait tables, because of my college degree, and my top notch high school pedigree. (If you wonder what that means, please look into Sunset High School, in Beaverton, Oregon. The school flat out has produced the most insanely gifted and talented people on the planet…and I am not even talking about the ones that actually got good grades. Sunset ‘failures’ rock the house, so to speak. And don’t get me started on the athletic dominance of my alma mater…) Being married to an awesome wife who graces me to work some long hours makes this whole thing even possible.
My ego wants me to be known as successful in the eyes of others, in work, and in life. My ego doesn’t want me waiting tables anymore. Yet, my ego looks like it is going to get the dagger right in its gut.
Our publishing business tackles an exceptional niche in the marketplace, yet, I have learned, and am learning, that a great product is such a small piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle. There are legal setups, systems of production and marketing, sales follow through, communications, and wise and timely cash flow management to be in place. Working a side job, I believe, can help us fill in some having to pay each other in the mean time, which can be life-saving too.
What I am most concerned about is staying focused on our publishing business. Yes, I want to work wholeheartedly whereever else I work. But I want to maintain the energy, stamina, and passion for the publishing end too. I think I have been grown up for some time now, (at least, relative to myself.) The demands on me being focused and disciplined with my time are coming full steam ahead. Change hurts. In this case, I know it is good. I want to embrace it.
Attempting to grow in being focused, it has hurt the part of me that desires to be ‘king of socialites’ and ‘at every function known to man.’ I would say in time’s past, I have made those things part of my self-imposed identity. That is having to change now, and it doesn’t want to change easily. It is also hard for me to transition from coming home from the office and being free to do anything to coming home and needing to read or study the market to be the best we can be as a company. I have made progress…I guess I beat myself up for everything less than perfection.
Somehow, I will have to grip for the inner strength to handle it if I have to work a shift during a Duck game…which I can see coming. Oh, mercy on my soul. I am thirty, and one thing I ask…to have Duck season tickets, and just at least watch all of their games in the season. Getting paid money, no matter what amount, to work a job while the Ducks are playing, feels very dirty to me, as if I turned my back on my own soul, and on everything that is right. Maybe I can feel better if I read online gossip about shady characters who play for the Ducks, but as a true Duck fan, even though those things may be true, I choose to ignore them and instead read about all of the OSU Beavers who are totally screwing up. I am so open minded.



What God has used vs. What is God’s best for us Volume One
January 10, 2007, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Monday, April 24, 2006

What God has used vs. What is God’s best for us Volume One

Lately, pondering the question of ‘what I defend because God has used it’ while weighing that against ‘what does the Word of God say is the best thing for us’ has kept me thinking.

What I mean by that, is there are tons of practices we as Christians often do, and we ‘see’ or ‘feel’ that God has used them to touch us or others. Frankly, I feel that I am pretty gung-ho about such things. I love it when God does stuff. However, it does not mean that those things are the best that God has in store for us. Unfortunately, I think it is often that we settle for them, simply because we ardently defend how God used them. We then have a hard time pressing in to asking ourselves, “Well, why did the apostles or Jesus do it that way instead of our way?” Too often, I think I dismiss it as mere ‘cultural differences’ while not embracing something Christ and the apostles meant to make clear to me.

For example, how we may practice communion. To be fair, and more than that, completely honest, I believe with everything within me, God’s performed incredible changes in the hearts of people, performed miracles, (healings, etc.) in the midst of taking a cracker and juice to celebrate communion. For me to deny that should qualify me for serious professional help…I have witnessed too much.

But, where in the word of God does the cracker/juice thing come up as opposed to a meal? Let me submit this: never.

Depending on your translation, when Jesus takes the cup, He says, “Do this in remembrance of me…”

What was this?

Well, it was not only a meal. It was the Passover meal. In context, from the living Word itself, during a Passover meal, Jesus says, “Do this…” I also would also like to make note that in no translation do we see, “Contemplate doing this…” or “If you have a really large crowd, forget a meal, forget the passover, and once a month give them cracker and juice and say a bunch of pious words.” Once again, He says, “Do this…”

(Remember, I seriously praise God for things in my own life I have had happen in the midst of communion with cracker and juice, I have forgiven people, had great reflections, seen mighty works done, etc. What we are getting at is, “But is there something even more by living the Word as Jesus asked?”

Borrowing language from Dedrick Bonhoeffer, (whose name I likely misspelled,) I am going to use the phrases ‘cheap grace’ vs. ‘costly grace.’ (In context, cheap grace is bad, while costly grace is what we should aspire to live.) To me, I am convicted of settling for only practicing communion with the juice and cracker/piece of bread format, which, truthfully, costs me about zero. Almost always, someone else prepared it, I walk into a gathering, we transition into communion time, and I partake, and go on my merry way.

What if I had to set aside a serious block of time, prepare a meal with others,and be intentional about sitting down with them to do what we were about to do. When we ponder forgiveness, I have to look all of them in the eyes across the table, and really know in my heart I have forgiven. I can’t just generally scan over a crowd, and think, “I am cool with these people.” I may have to look a brother or sister right in the face who ticked me off recently, and come to a decision point before partaking. The whole thing takes at least an hour and a half if not more, as we practice communion together and with God. In other words, I may have to miss the early edition of SportsCenter to do it. Also, I know the other participants rather well…well enough that our little quirks have all rubbed against each other, etc…leaving plenty of opportunity for forgiveness and heart change amongst each other. I submit that is a picture more in tune with a real or ‘costly grace.’

For those who may think, “Man, that just gets a bit too close or crosses the boundary of legalism,” let me submit this. I believe Jesus is love, and I believe He is mega-passionate about us to the point that for each and every one of us, He wants His very best. Why then, would He have said things in the context and practices of which He said them, not having that in mind. I think because the ‘meal’ method and practicing the Passover are the absolute best things for us!

(While not the direct point of this writing, other than Passover, I would encourage folks to read Acts 2:42 and other passages in the New Testament where eating meals together was a very common thing.)



Exclusively Belonging to Segregated Christian Groups
January 10, 2007, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Monday, February 27, 2006

Exclusively Belonging to Segregated Christian Groups

Over the past several years, one thing that has been a strong, strong caution in my spirit, I believe, is what has too often been my practice and the practice of many others of exclusively belonging in segregated Christian groups, shutting out the other wonderful expressions of Jesus that the rest of His body has to offer.

What do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples:
I am a 16 year old who is an absolutely devoted attendee of my youth group. Lets also submit that I am totally nuts for Jesus. The youth group has every cool bell and whistle that youth ministry has to offer….video wizardry, a big budget for big events, fiery preaching, etc. But with school, sports, family life, etc, I go to church on Sunday morning and all, but the real main time I connect is on youth group night. But because we are a ‘youth’ group…unwittingly, others are excluded. Senior citizens certainly may feel like that is not a place for them. Married couples with kids…well, they are busy…those younger than high school, well, if the insecurities of the high schoolers and or youth leaders pop up and make them feel unwelcome, they are not going to stick around. Thus, except for a few ‘leaders,’ our youth group ends up being a gathering of 14-18 year olds. There is nothing necessarily ‘wrong’ about that, but I would like to submit it is a far, far cry from the best, and that, if it is the only connection to church life a 14-18 year old sees in their week, it is actually a horrible tragedy. Nowhere in the new testament does Paul, Jesus, or any of the authors of scripture lay out trying to segregate the gathering of the saints according to age, race, economic background, or gender that I know of. (To be open, when they fed the widows in need daily, they were feeding them, not necessarily ‘having the church gathering’ so to speak.) Why did the authors not do that?

I would like to submit that they saw the importance of the full expression of Christ being crucial, and that if we do such things, we hinder that from happening. To the point that it did not cross their minds to put it in ink! Even if you have the best group of 14-18 year olds on the planet, one thing that age group will lack, which all of us who have lived through that will know, is wisdom. Wisdom can come supernaturally from God, and also, is learned over time from God. Time is not on the side of youth, in this case! Yet, if our ‘youth’ gatherings don’t have those who can share and equip with true fruit-bearing wisdom from God, isn’t that scary? Don’t our youth need to be in contact with people like that before they make major decisions like get married, pay thousands for college, move out, enlist in the service, etc?
“Yes, but it could hurt our outreach if we don’t have that really ‘young person’s feel.” I am sooo sorry to hear that. But let me ask you this: who cares more about non-Christians, you or Jesus? And if you answered Jesus, don’t you then think that a true representation of His body is in order if the lost show up? I mean, isn’t it Jesus that we need?
Another point, lets flip it if younger than high schoolers don’t show up. Man, it grates me if we as the body don’t learn to appreciate the Body…that we are not a respecter of persons, but we highly respect Jesus sharing through ANY part of His body that He deems fit at the moment…and God, forgive me, for any time I did not heed You by ignoring You through a vessel that didn’t fit my grid of being pertinent at the moment. Would we want to even take a chance that the youth of our church could develop such thoughts? Or forbid, not realizing we may be training them to have those thoughts by our actions?
Now, just to be clear, let me say this: it is soooo not wrong to belong to a men’s group, a ladies group, a youth gathering, a senior citizens group, etc. In fact, that so often can be really healthy, and good. I belong to such gatherings. But what is best is when that is not how I exclusively meet, but even as I gather with those, I belong all week to a place where different ages, sexes, and races in the body of Christ can be heard and known, sharing together, welcomed and accepted.
I think that while most of Christianity woud agree and say ‘yes’ to my last statement, the hard, hard question I think we need to ask is personally, are we exclusively in ‘categorized’ gatherings, and do my practices back up that statement, in real life.
This line of thinking can be taken to many other gatherings….for instance, churches that gather in a racially mixed area but that predominantly gather with just one race, denominations as a whole, any gatherings with age perameters, and even focus groups with great motives, such as recovery groups, when those awesome saints never get to contact parts of the body that are not recovering in that particular area. (I totally believe in meetings that have specific areas of focus…what I am getting at, to be clear, is when that is all I gather around, and thus, become ignorant of the rest of the body. I believe in focusing. But I believe in accessing the greater body, as well.)
Does anyone else out there share a hunger like me to see Christ revealed in ways I never have before through His body? Does anyone else hunger to know the intimacies of Christ that maybe a group I have never given much time to or thought have tracked and come to know? Has anyone else ever had the thought, “I have never really taken the time to reflect on what God is saying through the female sisters of Christ in my area/the Hispanic lovers of God in my community that I know/the older saints who have lived life before God and seen Him provide/the youth of my area and the dreams and aspirations God is putting in them…etc.
It takes time. It takes deliberate acts. It may very well take change in me. I signed on to know God and His body…not just the side of God that is revealed in my economic/social/racial/gender-specific/age categorized background. How about you?
As a side note, I fully recognize and happily so, that God has used such gatherings. He certainly has in my life. I thank God for that! However, I am not afraid to come to a point where I recognize what God has used, and I still ask of Him, “What is Your best, God, and what do You want to do in my life and the life of others.”



I and Myself vs. Us and We in Worship Music
January 10, 2007, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday, February 17, 2006

I and myself vs. Us and We in Worship Music

Well, here is something that could cause deep thought I hope, but it may cause weird reactions unless I am clear…so hopefully, I can be clear!
There is NOTHING wrong with the book of Psalms, (obviously.) In fact, the Psalms are great! What they do, I have noticed, is given us many a tune to sing where the words “I” and “Me,” etc are used, and what they don’t do is give a lot of examples of songs where groups sang together over one another as unto the Lord, using words such as “Us” and “We.”
Contextually speaking, I think one has to keep in mind, that for many, many, many of the songs, David wrote them from a perspective of being alone. He was on the run, or raising sheep in the fields, etc. Nothing wrong with that when it is true. Also, I believe he wrote many of them in the ‘tabernacle of David’ a.k.a., a tent with the arc in it. While others were in there, many of them were written, rightfully so, on his personal experiences with God. (Thus, “I” and “myself”, words like that, etc are going to come forth.)
However, today, when we gather, we have the INCREDIBLE honor of singing songs together unto the Lord. Not only that, it is one thing for me to contend for the faith required to sing a phrase such as, “I love the Lord…” but it is a completely different experience, while in the midst of a group, to sing “We love the Lord” when I am singing to God while with my brothers and sisters. Perhaps a brother earlier in the week stumbled, and I took his confession that he gave before the Lord, and we look at each other as we sing, “We love the Lord.” I think massive life-giving faith is infused in such a circumstance. Or maybe there is sister in the crowd, and do to my own ignorance, I have not thought very highly of her as a full sister in Christ before. But I am looking at her while singing and recognizing her highest identity; as one who loves God! Perhaps different cultures are worshipping together, and because of prejudices I harbor, I think what they do is a little funky. But if I think about singing the worship songs while using the words “We” and “Us” in stead of “I” and “Me,” I have to address those ingnorances and prejudices in myself. I think examples like those given give us a way to have more depth during our musical worship times.
Furthermore, I don’t think it is any kind of stretch to submit that if we replaced our completely personalized songs to reflect a body worshipping together more, we are really expressing serious faith and singing life into one another as we sing our tunes. I, for one, would be all for that.
Now, once again, for clarity, using the words “I” and “Me” is totally biblical. In fact, if I am alone in the car, that is the route my own singing is going to take. But in the midst of groups, having taken personal forays into the ‘We’ and ‘Us’ words instead, I honestly believe my faith has peronally soared, simply because I am contending while singing/praying for much more than myself and my own relationship with Christ, but with/for my imperfect brother and sisters (I include myself in the imperfect) that all be part of the body of Christ perfected in His image. Oh, the joy and release of getting free of myself and singing to my wonderful God and over my awesome brothers and sisters!
Ephesians 5:18b-19 says, “but be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. (ASV). Paul, here speaking to the Ephesians saints obviously with the context of when they are together, encourages them to speak to one another in song. Note this just does not say, “encourage yourself and your own spirit-man” but one another.
Minimally, one could make a strong appeal for more “We’s” and “Us” words in our musical worship practices.



Long Sermons that Bore
January 10, 2007, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Long Sermons that bore…

I had this thought that for the last 2 years, has been mindboggling me. Matthew 5-7, the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, in which, at the end, Jesus basically says, “Hey, this is the key foundational stuff here, if you get it, you are building on the right foundation, etc. Anyway, using my most excellent wife as a listener, I read it outloud, and, trying to be fair, read it REALLY, REALLY slow. It took less than 19 minutes. So, the most foundational message, the ‘sermon’ that uncountable 45 minute and above sermons have been preached on, was likely shared in less than 20 minutes.
Did Jesus perhaps have a different view of how long it takes to preach a message than we do? Did He get consumed with ‘preaching’, per se, and did all of our ‘need’ to prolong and glorify our expositions actually come from historical Greek thought and not our Lord Himself? (In the Greek, what is often translated as preach can simply also be translated as proclaim. I have a feeling that I can proclaim something without having to wax eloquent for 45 minutes.)

Those are some fair questions, I think. I have heard many GREAT sermons, and benefitted from them. But I wonder if more benefit could be gleaned in my life and the lives of others if we looked at structures and habits we have in our practice of following Jesus if we went about some things in a different way.
In I Corinthians, Paul gives great insights into how the church should meet. It seems very different than the way believers often gather today. And it sounds MUCH more interactive.
Allow me to quote from 1 Corinthians 2, with a few sidenotes. “No eye (singular) has seen; no ear (singular) has heard; and no mind (singular) has conceived of what God has prepared for those who love Him. But He has revealed it to us (plural) by His spirit. (Thank you for allowing me to borrow some of your insights into this verse, Frank Viola!)
Do you have any hunger to find out what God has prepared for you, assuming you consider yourself amongst those that love Him? Yet, do you also feel that you are lacking in relationships and mutual sharing in a healthy Christian community? Can I submit you need Jesus, and to find Him, you may need to find an ‘us.’ It is not necessarily ‘negative’ at all to listen to sermon after sermon…but if that is the totality of our Christian life and gathering, then we will suffer. And I believe we have. We all need to be a part of a community where all can share as the body of Christ coming together. Christ is the head, not a series of sermons from one member of the body of Christ. Christ has decided to express Himself through the whole body, and not just one part on 90% of our Sunday services. (Personally, I leave a ton of room and grace when an out-of-town ministry experience comes in…they are, if you will, a part of the body that really hasn’t been heard from in awhile, and it can really catapult the local body to good stuff.)

In 1 Corinthians 2, (and the whole book, really) this concept of everyone’s part being essential and important, sharing during gathering times, is found all over the letter.
It makes my constant habit of only hearing one or two people share whenever I gather with other saints seem empty and void of the fullness of life that I believe Christ wants to express.
I Corinthians 14:26…read that verse. What does it say? How is your/my life different from that?



Books I have been reading (from Feb, 2006)
January 10, 2007, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday, February 03, 2006

Books I have been reading….

Hello there peoples. For my first practice blog, I will be writing out my latest reads.

True Fellowship by Art Katz. (This book can actually be read for FREE by going to http://www.benisrael.org.)
Anything by Frank Viola…I have recently read them all, for like, the 5th time. His website is http://www.ptmin.org. Two of my favorites, although it has been hard for me to choose, are Knowing Christ Together and Pagan Christianity.
Books that have the most riveting stories you have EVER read are at
http://www.goodcatchpublishing.com, and you can see some of the books GCP has available. They are fine reading.
Anointed for Business by Ed Silvoso rocks the planet as we know it.
To Train A Child by No Greater Joy ministries. This book has made me think to no end! Priceless work, and it has inspired me for sure to be a better parent!
I Corinthians and Galatians. Galatians is supposedly Paul’s first letter, and I am trying to go through the apostolic writings in a more chronological way currently, while doing history reading along side of it, to get a clearer contextual picture than I have had before. I Corinthians has always been a returned to again and again favorite, and in the midlater chapters, Paul really draws out, to him, what it looks like when the church gathers.