Category Archives: Bo\'s Blog

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

I could tell that my mother was nervous. She didn’t need to say anything; it was evident by the amount of food she made when my brand new girlfriend, Melissa, came home with me to meet the parents. There were only four of us, not forty.

For many years my mom was the only woman in my life. She changed my diapers and taught me how to read and write. She taught me how to share, except of course, when it came to large baskets of fries from McDonald’s; those little adventures we shared together were sacred. But, most importantly, she was the first to tell me about Jesus. And today she was about to meet the person who would do the same for her grandchildren. She was nervous, and rightly so.

But I was equally nervous. My dad had a secret weapon and fully intended on using it.

The photo album was strategically placed within arm’s reach. I could tell that my dad had it planned out, meticulously plotting my demise. Apparently it was humorous for him to show my future wife images of me in the most awkward stages of life; from chubby pre-pubescence to acne-laced teen. I wasn’t laughing.

But beyond the embarrassment, my dad had a goal; to show Melissa an image of me when I shot my first deer. He takes pride in that picture, mostly because he was proud of me, but also because he’s passionate about hunting.

Let’s face it, men like to shoot things. We like to pack our rifles, dress up in camouflage, and hide out for hours waiting for the perfect opportunity to suck the life out of the season’s biggest prize.

Men don’t cry when they see blood. We join the NRA and put the sticker on our truck – not for proof, we simply like the way it reflects off the sun.

Men like to watch movies where the good guy wins. We thrive when men like William Wallace stand up in front of other men and proclaim their independence, shouting, “They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

Men hate the mall. We’d rather clean the garage or watch NASCAR.

Men want their daughters to grow up and do girly things. Like play with dollies, put their hair in pigtails, and not date anyone until the age of forty two.

Let me also mention (boy who wants to date my daughter) that men use knives. Remember that buck we shot last season? Yes, we skinned it. Take note.

And when men use the phrase “last season,” we’re not referring to American Idol.

Equally, men want their sons to grow up and do manly-things. Like watch football on Sunday, eat beans straight from the can, and grow a mop of facial hair in the winter. We commission them to protect their little sisters. And if that means we have to teach them how to jab with their left or perfect the Karate Kid swan kick, so be it.

Men are men. We’re often uncivilized. We’ve been known to eat steaks raw and pick the leftovers out of our teeth with large sticks. That’s what we do.

But most importantly, real men love God. We want to experience God the provider, God the protector, God the inventor of Ultimate Fighting Championship, not the God of pastels.

We don’t like the lack of manliness that often accompanies those promoting the gospel. We’re manly men remember? And we operate on manliness. It’s programmed within us.

Or at least it used to be.

The Barna Group recently released a study called, “Women are the Backbone of Christian Congregations in America.” In it they noted that more than 90 percent of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians. But only two out of six attend church on a given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church. They also concluded that midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants.

It begs the question: Where have all the cowboys gone? Or rather, why have we pushed them out of our churches?

For too long, we’ve developed programs that cater mostly to women. For too long, we’ve replaced boldness and aggression with passivity. We’ve forgotten that Christianity was founded by a man, followed by a dozen other men. And for some reason, it doesn’t bother us that 70 percent of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it during their teens and twenties and many of these boys will never return.

There are 25 percent of married, churchgoing women who will worship without their husbands this Sunday. It’s my guess, that if we were to ask these women to lay down their lattes, remove the flowers that fill the sanctuary, and exchange it for a bow and arrow, they’d gladly do so.

Bo & Melissa Lane have two beautiful kids, Benjamin and Bella Lane. Besides having the privilege of printing this wonderful magazine, they enjoy long walks on the beach, listening to Hillsong United, and will pay virtually any amount for a quality babysitter.

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My Rose of Sharon

Just because I fail to put my wallet in its rightful place or because I leave my bag in the middle of our living room floor, doesn’t mean I’m lazy. In fact, my socks belong right where I left them – on the floor next to the chair in my office. I keep telling Melissa that but she doesn’t seem to believe me. Regardless, I stand by my argument: I’m not lazy, I simply forget.

Let me digress.

Several months ago, when moving into our new place, our new neighbor stopped by to drop off a welcoming gift. Unfortunately, we weren’t home at the time but she was kind enough to leave it at the door. The following day, in my normal hurry, I sat it in our garage, hoping for the chance to plant it in the near future.

It was a rose bush. The kind that comes in a plastic bag and has a handful of branches sprouting from the top. You know … the kind that should be planted shortly after its purchase? Or rather, the kind that requires water at least once in its lifetime … Yeah, that kind.

Now, it’s imperative that I remind you that I’m not lazy, I simply forget. Like the time I drove a flat bed truck for an equipment rental company I worked for who rented equipment to contractors, it wasn’t laziness that caused the truck’s boom arm to stay extended up to the sky only to rip down two electric poles, it was forgetfulness. And forgetfulness was the root cause as to why I didn’t get around to planting that beautiful rose bush our neighbor bought us.

So as you can imagine, weeks passed and it sat there. Months passed and it sat longer. In fact, it sat there up until a few weeks ago when I went in search for the occasionally used yet invaluable tool in the garage: the plunger.

Now, just because my garage isn’t as tidy as it could be, doesn’t make me lazy. The unorganized look is what I’m going for – or at least that’s what I keep telling Melissa. She doesn’t seem to believe me. Nevertheless, the story must go on.

In my desperate search for that invaluable tool, I came to what I call “The Corner.” You know what I’m talking about right? The dark, mysterious corner in every man’s garage where things just seem to congregate – the same place you store those nearly empty cans of paint you want to get rid of but for some reason you keep them forever. And it’s the same spot you hide those important thingamajigs that, if put anywhere else, your wife would “accidently” throw away.

That’s where I found it. Tucked into the dark corner, sitting next to the plunger was the rose bush that had long escaped my memory. Except this time its contents had noticeably changed. The stubby little rose bush that we were given had started blossoming right there in the corner of our garage – still in its original packaging.

I wasn’t sure if its growth was attributed to the fact that it sat for months next to the family plunger or if people were sneaking into my garage in the middle of the night, secretly spraying it with some miracle rose-growing chemical. Either way, this rose bush had experienced a radical transformation and I was pleased with the outcome.

After seeing what that rose bush looked like in the beginning and then, despite its lack of water and sunlight, seeing how it started growing into a beautiful plant, really got me thinking. Especially about all the times I’ve been through dark and dry seasons in my own life – or how Melissa and I have seen those moments of emptiness or lack of water being poured into in our marriage or ministry.

That little rose bush caused me to rethink the way God works in certain areas and times in our lives. How, despite the heaviness of going through dark times, situations or even hurts, we can grow… And not only can we grow, we can flourish and bloom into something more beautiful than we were in the beginning.

So, maybe it’s in those times we should start asking more questions; start asking how we can grow or how we can be pruned. Maybe God is faithful enough to meet us where we’re at, even if it’s not in the place we need to be. And maybe, just maybe, for some of us it’s time to get out of the darkness where we hide, push the smelly plunger out of the way, and show the rest of the world how we’ve been transformed.

The next day our neighbor, Sharon, was outside planting flowers of her own. I asked if she would like to plant the bush she gave us in our yard – since I’m not quite the green thumb. She gladly accepted.

Now, every time I walk out my front door, I’m greeted by what I call my “Rose of Sharon.” I was going to add something else to the end of this article … but I forgot.

Bo & Melissa Lane have two beautiful kids, Benjamin and Bella Lane. Besides having the privilege of printing this wonderful magazine, they enjoy long walks on the beach, listening to Hillsong United, and will pay virtually any amount for a quality babysitter.

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Petition: Bring Stryper to Salem

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Soldiers in a Line

This is a message from Jim Moore, director of the Salem House of Prayer (SHOP). Please find out more about SHOP on their website, www.salemhouseofprayer.org.

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They are positioned at arms length from one another – watching and alert – with their weapons in hand. They rest in shifts. They cover for one another as they eat. They are frequently shot at and attacked. It is far from a life of ease and comfort. Their mission is to hold the sacred ground they have been given, and they would rather die than quit.

They are the Watchers.

Before they lie down to sleep, they must make sure the ground is secured for the night. The Night Watch has just come up to report for duty. They are fewer in numbers for a variety of reasons. Some have jobs. Some have families. Many do not have the physical capacity to live as though day is night and night is day. These are the elite. Though they are few in number, they excel in dedication, sacrifice and determination. Many of us are not even aware of the debt we owe them.

I have just described to you the intercessors who daily stand in the place of prayer every day, 24 hours a day, at the Salem House of Prayer.

This is a cry for help. This is a plea for additional soldiers.

This is the captain of one platoon writing to his fellow companions in battle, to come and send reinforcements so the line can be held a little longer. We are in desperate need of intercessors for the Night Watch. Let me explain why.

Imagine that line again. The enemy forces always seek out the part of the line that has the fewest soldiers, or where they are the most spread out. For this line, it is the night watch. We currently have three people who are covering 18-25 prayer shifts a week at night. They have time and time again come under serious assault. One of these brothers had a rare stone in his appendix suddenly appear and after months of inability to properly diagnose it, finally had it surgically removed. This has left him susceptible to various afflictions, and he is still trying to recover…all while he is still praying.

Another young lady again had abdominal pains that the doctors could not seem to understand. She was just recently told that she had a cyst that ruptured, and now she is unable to stand at her watch while she is recovering. This leaves just one brand new recruit who has come with fresh passion to help – to come and stand with the recovering brother in the night watch. These are real people who are making real sacrifices because they believe in the extreme value and the nobility of night and day prayer.

They believe, as many of you do, that Salem must have a “corporate altar” of unceasing prayer if we are to truly expect to have a habitation of the Lords presence. That alone will transform our cities. They believe it so much they are laying down their lives for it.

Let me make it clear what we are asking you for:

We are asking you to come and sign up for daily or weekly prayer: specifically between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. We need pray-ers. We appreciate all the wonderful e-mails. We greatly value all the words of encouragement and the pats on the back that have over and over kept us going. But now we need you. We need your human body in the prayer room, coming and praying on a predictable schedule. We need you to literally sign up for prayer.

Our troops are thin. They are tired and weary, but they are more determined than ever. With respect I ask you, please do not call or write us to say that we simply need to quit. You will not be doing us any favors. But please do call or write to say you can come and pray.

We love you.
We need you.
We appeal to you.
Please come.

If you absolutely cannot come, then please pray that others will.

www.salemhouseofprayer.org

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Shane Claiborne Litany

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Golden Arches

I get in my car, close the door, and turn the ignition. As the engine roars almost as loud as my empty belly, I look toward my wife Melissa and begin the process; an endless conversation that has grown notorious amongst the Lane family. “Where are we going to eat?” I ask.

She hates when I ask and, truth be told, I hate asking. We’ve already made the decision not to leave the house until that question has been answered but, impatiently, we’re already in the car. And, of course, were ravenous.

“Whatever sounds good to you, wife,” I say politely. “No honey, I’m fine with whatever you want,” she responds. Deep down I know that isn’t quite the truth so I do what every good husband would do; I push a little more. “Melissa, beautiful Melissa, whatever you want to eat is what I want to eat.”
Back and forth we go. “Bo, I always decide. This time it’s up to you.”

I thought to myself, why is a decision that’s so easy become so difficult at times? In many areas of my life, I find myself asking that same question. But there are also times when decisions to be made are overwhelmingly complex, leaving me at a loss. This was the case on November 4th, 2008, when it came time to fulfill my civic obligation.

I knew exactly what (and, for the most part, who) I wanted to vote for and which measures I wanted to see collapse in front of Oregonians eyes. Filling out the ballot took less than five minutes. It was rather easy; easy until the time came to make my decision regarding the 44th president of the United States.

So I did what any other God-fearing, Christ-like person would do; I left it blank. Well, at least for the entire twelve minutes it took to get to the County Clerk’s Office. The ballot sat impatiently on the passenger seat and as I looked down, those six names stared vigorously back at me. They were forcing me to make yet another decision, one of countless magnitude and one I was not looking forward to.

As I found one of two last parking spaces available, I turned off the car, took a deep breath, and called my wife. “Melissa, who should I vote for?” I pleaded. “Pray about it,” she said, “and then you’ll know what to do.” I heeded her advice and mustered something short. I looked back at the ballot and thought that writing in Chuck Norris might be a better decision after all. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first time that thought invaded my mind. But listening to my better judgment, I decided against Mr. Texas Ranger and chose something more Christ-like: an elimination process that has been around for more than 150 years.

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers make him pay, fifty dollars every day. My mommy told me to pick the very best one and you are not it.”

Cynthia McKinney was the first to go. Then Nader. Ironically and unintentionally, the last two candidates filled the Democrat and Republican slots. Needless to say, this didn’t make my decision any easier.

Sitting in my car that rainy Oregon afternoon allowed me time to think about the transition we as Americans are facing. I thought about the election and how it was bringing so many people together yet at the same time ripping so many others apart. I thought about all the difficult decisions and the sensitive issues presented. And I realized that we, regardless of popular opinion, have ultimately landed in the place God had preordained for us. And in that place lies yet another decision. Do we choose to hold fast and trust in God’s faithfulness and unfailing wisdom? Or do we set our minds on the distractions and fears instilled in us from our enemy?

In a world where it appears that all hell has broken loose, let us be reminded that where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. Knowing this, let us choose grace over condemnation. Let us choose Christ’s love over our own personal agendas. And let us choose prayerful dedication for leaders, rulers, and presidents over the lament of frustrating outcomes.

Let us choose according to the desires God has placed upon our hearts, even if they’re the hardest decisions we’ll ever face. And in this season, let us be thankful that God has everything – even our country’s financial and political positions – under control.

Ultimately, Melissa and I made a fruitful decision. Our teamwork landed us in a pleasant little restaurant on the north side; one with a great view and stunning golden arches.

_______________________________________________

Bo & Melissa Lane are the publishers/editors of Rethink Monthly. You can chat with them here: bo@rethinkmonthly.com and melissa@rethinkmonthly.com.

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