Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

Go with the Flow

Every morning, without fail, the kids ask me if we can walk to school.  The problem has been that they ask at 7:55 a.m.  School starts at 8:05 a.m. and is between a third and a half mile away from our house. With all of that considered, I would regularly say “Not today.  If you can get ready by 7:30, then we’ll try to walk to school.”

At 7:30 this morning, they asked if we could walk to school.  They were pretty close to ready, so I reluctantly agreed.  I was planning on going to a lecture at Anderson University this morning that started at 9.  My original plan was to drive them to school and then head on to AU, since it’s about a half an hour drive to the school.  I’ve been determined to become better at  “Leading with a ‘Yes'” both in leading our church and in raising our kids.  I’d rather say ‘Yes’ much more than ‘No.’ I think my reflex is more ‘No’ than ‘Yes.’  So, trying to say yes more than I say no to our kids – which means I told them we’d walk to school today.

We didn’t get out of the house until 7:45, which is usually pretty good. Cutting it close when you’re walking to school, though. Long story short, we got to school on time.  It was around 8:00.  This delayed my departure for AU by about 15-20 minutes.  Long story short, I didn’t get to AU until 9:00. Couldn’t find a parking place right away.  I finally arrived at the chapel about 10 minutes late.

Now, the chapel at Emmanuel is pretty good sized.  I figured AU’s School of Theology would have a similar sized chapel and I could sneek in the back and find a place without causing much disruption. 

I was wrong.

The chapel was approximately 1/4 the size of ESR’s.  And it was packed!  So much for not causing a disruption. I quickly decided to abandon my plans to attend the lectures today.  Although I like the topics, I wasn’t planning on attending tomorrow’s sessions.  Maybe I’l go anyway.

But that’s OK, though.  I happened to bring our new laptop with me (did I mention we bought a new laptop? It’s sleek, lightweight, and it was cheap – the most important quality in a laptop right now), so I walked over to the Library and decided to do some research for the new sermon series I’m starting this week.  I’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit this morning.  I’ve signed up for lending privileges at AU’s Library, downloaded several sermons dealing with the topic we’ll be discussing the next 6 weeks or so, and found some more resources online.  It’s such a busy week for me this week that this will probably turn out to be a very good thing.  It’s funny how plans can change at a moment’s notice.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

And this morning keeps getting better.  In a few minutes, I get to go to Ci Ci’s and have lunch with my lovely Bride!  Man, I’m so lucky!

Chapel and Tattoos

In honor of today’s Chapel message, in which the only thing I will probably remember is a man being embarrassed that he did not remember the correct Hebrew rendering of “Courage” for his daughter who wanted said Hebrew word tattooed on her back (why did she want “Courage”? Maybe she wanted to be like Dan Rather…?), I give you this link:

More Hebrew Tattoos You Don’t Want

Oh the seminary humor is like a freight train that keeps going and going…

Chapel part II

There are very few songs that make me cry. In fact, I think there are only two. I don’t always cry when I’m singing them, but it is not unheard of for a tear or two to fall during these songs:

Blessed be Your Name
This song carried a lot of meaning before this Summer. It always used to make me think of my friend Greg, who died suddenly last year.

Then, we sang it at Jaron’s dedication and funeral services. Now, I can’t sing the song during a worship service without weeping. It’s not that I don’t believe the words – I do with all my heart. There’s just so much more power to those words now.

Give Thanks
I had forgotten about this song until we sang it in Chapel today. It’s old-school contemporary, if that makes any sense. I remember singing the song in church (back when it was Cullen Avenue – not Crossroads, like it is today) a lot right after my Grandpa died (over 15 years ago!) of a massive heart attack. Needless to say, it was unexpected. I remember thinking, How can I give thanks when something so terrible has happened to me? Can I honestly say that I am rich and strong because of what the Lord has done for me? I don’t think so. Of course, I know now that I can sing those words with conviction, but that’s what I remember thinking at the time.

I don’t know how long it has been since I sang this song as part of a worship service, but I do know it has been a long, long time. As we sang it this morning, all of those emotions and questions and struggles I was wrestling with after my Grandpa died flooded my memory and I wept. I almost had to leave the room because I was concerned about making a scene.

It is amazing to look back and see how far my faith has come. At the same time, I wind up asking the same questions from different perspectives. Have I really grown that much, yet learned so little? I think that is part of the journey of humanity.

Chapel part I

“She told me she cried all night when she was told that I had been called to be their minister. I was 25. She was 60. I figured I’d outlive her.” ~ Dr. Phillips

I don’t think I’ve ever heard an 80 year-old preach. When I saw that Dr. Phillips was scheduled to preach in chapel two weeks ago, I had a strong desire to continue that trend. There was another part of me that figured I probably wouldn’t have too many more opportunities to hear someone like Dr. Phillips preach. He is struggling with Parkinson’s disease, after all.

I’m glad I chose to go. I don’t remember very much from last year’s Chapel services – especially the sermons. There are bits and pieces – I especially remember David Fulks wiping his nose during the middle of his sermon saying, “I’m allergic to good preaching.” That’s about it, though.

Dr. Phillips was memorable – for all the good reasons.

He spoke about his experience leading the same church for 32 years. He spoke about how he was cocky and arrogant when he arrived and more compassionate and loving when he left. The woman in the quote above was still alive when he left that church to become president of Emmanuel. During their final meeting, she told him that she loved him, even when they didn’t agree on things – which was a lot of the time.

He said that moment was special to him. He challenged us to worry more about loving the people in our churches, not on outliving them.

That’s something we all need to remember.