Monday, March 29, 2010

This List is So (Twenty) Five Minutes Ago

Last year, everybody on facebook posted a list called "25 Random Things About Me." I really enjoyed reading them. It took me a while to conjure up the energy to write one myself. I finally did. But by the time I was finished, I was too sick of myself to even post it. So I never did.

I found it as a draft somewhere the other day, so I thought I would post it here (coincidentally, Beth has a similar kind of list - and very funny - going on over here). As I read it, I came to the conclusion that I am pretty doggone strange. Not a new revelation to some of you. I understand that. But still. For some reason, the breadth of my weirdness was news to me.

So here goes. Welcome to the freak show.

- 25 Random Things About Me -

1. I've only seen one black and white movie ever. It was something like "Strangers On A Train," or something about a train. (AND, I've never seen a full episode of The Andy Griffith Show. I know...that's a travesty, especially being from NC.)

2. I spent more than half of my life requiring myself to end every staircase - going up or down - on my right foot. Growing up, I had all of my daily staircases memorized, and always knew which foot to start on in order to land on my right foot.

3. I love being a dad so much. I feel life most deeply when I am with my wife and kids.

4. My dad was a prisoner in WWII. He was in the army during the end of the war. He spent 9 months in a concentration camp in Germany, up until the war ended.

5. I am an incessant trash talker. I will talk trash about anything. I don't even have to care about the team, game or topic. I don't even know what compels me. Even when I know defeat is imminent for whoever's side I'm trash talking in support of, I can't stop myself. It's fun.

6. I will beat you down in a game of Nertz. Any time. Anywhere. I am the best. Yeah, I'm talking to you.

7. One of my life regrets is that I wasn't in marching band in high school. My school didn't make it easy to be in both chorus and band. So when I got to 9th grade, I pretty much had to choose. I don't regret choosing chorus. But I regret not making a way to be in band, too. My inner band nerd is alive and well.

8. I have a very strong affinity and connection with my growing up years in NC. I still stay in touch with many of my teachers and friends. I still talk to my 5th grade and 7th grade teachers on a regular basis. Sometimes when we go back to Boone, I will drive through old friends' neighborhoods and old school parking lots just to see how things have changed, and to reminisce. I am PAINFULLY sentimental and nostalgic.

9. On that note, I am an 80's pop culture junkie. Especially music. I love it. And I love the old feelings and emotions it conjures up. I can hear 2 seconds of Bill Joel's "Leave A Tender Moment Alone" and I am immediately transcended to 9th grade, in my cousin's car, pulling into the WHS parking lot early on a fall morning. I can't even hear "Hard Habit To Break" without thinking of Friday night sock hops (who can, really?). One more thing about the 80's: I never met an 80's duet I didn't like. The best? "Separate Lives" by Phil Collins and that girl who sang a bunch of 80's duets. I am trying to resist making this entry any longer, and doing my best to not tell you that my favorite 80's soundtrack is "Stealing Home."

10. One time in junior high, I rode the Meteorite at Carowinds 3 times in a row with my friends. After the 3rd time, I walked off and immediately threw up my cherry slushie. I had pulled my sun visor (why was I wearing a sun visor) down around my neck, so it caught all of the throw up. I spent the rest of the day with cherry slushie puke stains on my white shirt and visor. I think the memory still traumatizes my friend Teresa.

11. For our 8th anniversary, Angela and I went to NYC to see the women's final of the US Open. We saw the first ever Williams-Williams grand slam final. Venus won. We were planning on flying home at 9:00 am on the Tuesday after the final (9/11/01), but changed our flight at the last minute to Monday, because we were closing on a house the following Friday. So we flew home from NYC on 9/10/01.

12. I am a sucker for movies about the innocence of childhood...especially when there is a voiceover involved. Simon Birch, About A Boy, My Girl (can't remember if there was a voiceover in that one, but that movie killed me). And The Wonder Years narrator gets me every time.

13. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to Wheeler's Produce, buying a watermelon, bringing it home and putting it in the creek in our back yard to keep it cold.

14. My memory is very selective. I am embarrassed about how little I remember from what I learned in school (which is evidenced by how little I can help my fourth grader with her math homework). But I can tell you anything you want to know about Roj, Dewayne and Rerun on "What's Happening." Or pretty much any other sitcom from the 70's or 80's. Or any SNL sketch from 1987-1989.

15. I'm so ashamed to say this, but when I see someone fall, it's like flipping a laugh switch on in my head. I can't NOT laugh. I don't want the person to be injured. But I can't stop laughing. Youtube has changed my life.

16. I remember going out of town with my sister when I was 9. She was 21 or so. It was just the two of us. We went swimming at a big pool complex in the closest big town to Boone there was. And then we went to the mall. The souvenir I bought with my spending money was a Kenny Rogers songbook. It was titled "Kenny." I still have it. And I occasionally sing a song I learned from it as a lullaby to my kids. And, no, it's not "Lucille." Or "Coward Of The County."

What 9 year old buys a Kenny Rogers songbook for a souvenir? Sheesh.

17. Inside me is this weird mix of feeling like I know how to do what I'm called to do, and fearing failing miserably at it.

18. I can't walk by a Galaga game without playing it.

19. I number my socks. As soon as I buy a pack of socks, I number the pairs on the bottom of the foot with a sharpie. That way, they can stay with their correct mate forever. And when I am wearing them, they will have the same level of wear and tear. I'm wearing the 5's today.

20. My wife continues to amaze me with her depth of beauty, grace and wisdom in regards to all facets of her life. Ask anyone who knows her; she is stunning on the inside and out.

21. My computer homepage is I spend probably 30 minutes a day reading there. I am a sports junkie. A life highlight for me has been getting to meet one of my all-time idols, David Robinson. I got to meet him twice last year. And I was a big goober both times. I took vintage trading cards I had of him to sign and everything. But I did NOT talk trash with him (see #5).

22. I love the beach. Everything about it. The salty air, the tight, slightly sunburned feeling on your skin, the freezing cold room you walk into coming inside for lunch, digging to the bottom of a sandy beach bag for a room key, the happy scent of sunscreen 24/7. My memories of going to the beach with my family as a kid are still so vivid and so happy. And creating those same kinds of memories for my kids puts me over the moon. I love it so much.

23. I hate having to pick one favorite thing when asked. This makes decisions challenging. Favorite food? A delicious steak. Oh, wait...maybe some sort of asian chicken with fried rice. Or maybe some barbeque something with slaw and beans and texas toast. Favorite color? Blue. Or green. Or maybe red. Favorite sport to watch? Either NFL football or NBA basketball. Or tennis. Favorite Starbucks drink? London Fog. Or a soy vanilla latte. See what I'm dealing with inside here? I can't even drive through McDonalds without praying about what to get. Weirdo.

24. I can tell you decidedly my single favorite pop song ever. "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins.

Or "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson. Or "Missing You" by John Waite.

25. I am hopelessly sanguine. I love being with people all the time. But even in the context of always wanting to be social, I want to be with people where the relationships are meaningful, caring and safe. And fun. Fun is good.

26. I have so many OCD issues (see #2 and #19). One of the worst is that I am so picky about t-shirts. The neck of any t-shirt I wear has to be really tight. If it's loose, I won't wear it. The sleeves and the shirt tail both have to be a certain length. And it can't be too big around OR too tight. I can look at a t-shirt and know in 3 seconds if it's going to work for me. And once I pull a t-shirt over my head and then take it off, I can't wear it again until it has been washed and dried and shrunk back to its original size. I know. Strange.

27. Autumn makes me crazy happy. I love it. The leaves, the cool air, football season, that first day cool enough to wear hoodies and play outside with my wife and kids. When I turn onto our neighborhood road and the leaves are changed, it's so beautiful sometimes I tear up (tear rhymes with "we're," not "where"). And NOTHING is happier than being in Boone, NC in the fall. Mmmm.

28. I love to lead people who love to worship God in worship (does that sentence make sense?). I literally lie awake at night thinking about songs and scriptures and transitions and moments and putting them all together in a (hopefully) authentic way. I ponder song orders and key changes and band parts throughout my days...most often at random times when I probably should be giving something or someone else my full attention. It is what makes my heart tick, and what I am thankful to be on this earth to do.

29. If you had asked me when I was 20 to script out my life for the next 20 years, I would not have scripted anything close to what has actually come to pass, because I would have been afraid it was too much to ask for. I feel so thankful for everything and everyone God has given me the privilege to share this journey with. And on that note, as I look back, it's the people...not the places or things...that stand out the most and that have had the most impact on me.

I'm an oversharer. I couldn't get this list down to 25. I tried. Oh well. 29 is sort of the new 25, right?

Living Proof Live Tucson

Living Proof Live - Tucson AZ from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Little Something To Do In My Free Time

A few months ago, a book publisher called. They had an idea for a book. And they felt the Lord directing them to call me to see if I might be the guy to write it.

Um, excuse me? know I barely even read books, right? Um, you know I say 'um' a lot, right? I mean, getting a song out of me is miracle enough. What makes you think you could squeeze even one chapter of a book out of this mountain boy? Seriously, I don't think Dostoevsky ever listed American Idol as one of his hobbies on facebook, if you get my drift. I don't think Chaucer would have counted Galaga as one of the great inventions of the last century. Know what I mean?

Well, the short version of the story is this: I am in the middle of writing this work. I have no idea what I'm doing. But I'm doing it anyway, somehow. And I can't wait to tell you all about it. It's about something of which I am very passionate. And when you hear the title and premise (soon), you will laugh at how God orchestrated the recent great adventures of our lives to fall right smack dab in the middle of writing this book. Sometimes God is subtle. This was not one of those times.

I will tell you more details about it later. But I wanted to share the news with you now because we need prayer. Our crazy life just got a lot crazier. And I would be really grateful if you all would cover my family and me in prayer as I finish writing this book...while moving...and while our travel schedule ramps up for a busy spring. Thank you so much.

I never saw this coming. I never even had the first thought that God would call me to put pen to paper for something like this. But I am so happy to be doing it. I'm excited to tell you more about it soon.

Thanks for your prayers. Gonna go get to work. And then...maybe a quick game of Galaga.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Search Has Begun

So, here we are...getting ready to move. We are getting our house ready to put on the market. And we are looking for a place to live in Jackson, TN. You all know how daunting moving can be. But I really don't mind it too much. I think it can be kind of fun.

For some reason, as I wrote that last sentence, I found myself looking over my shoulder to see if Angela was seeing what I had just written...even though she's in Franklin and I'm in Toronto. She might take issue with the 'fun' part. :-)

Even though all three of our kids are really excited about the move, I know there will be some feelings and fears to process with them. This past Sunday, God gave us the coolest word out of the devotion called Daily Light On A Daily Path (it's a great devotional). We read it as a family. It opened up a great discussion with the kids, and they began to talk about some fears and some questions about moving that they had. We got pray together about those things, and I think it was in that little moment that the excitement they had about moving collided with a deeper peace about it.

The Word of God. So perfect.

Anyway, here is the devotion for that day. I hope it will encourage you, too.

Daily Light on the Daily Path
March 6

Watching over the way of his saints.

The Lord your God . . . went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.—Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him.—The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.—Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.—For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.—And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.—“With us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.

Prov. 2:8; Deut. 1:32, 33; Deut. 32:11, 12; Ps. 37:23, 24; Ps. 34:19; Ps. 1:6; Rom. 8:28; 2 Chron. 32:8; Zeph. 3:17

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random Pics Day

It's time for what we like to call Random Pics From My Phone Day. Riveting, I know.

View from the front door of my in-laws' place in Jackson, TN. It was so breathtaking when I stepped outside, I had to take a pic. You can't see that it was snowing the most beautiful snow in that moment. But it was.

The first Sunday I led worship at Englewood, I had my very own folder with my very own name on it. I liked it.

My favorite meal. Picture-worthy. Always.

This is Lici on the bus during one of our Jesus Saves Live weekends. Nobody can tell a story like Lici.

She becomes one with the story.

I wish I had a video of this one.

I promise you everyone within earshot is always captivated when she is telling a story. Apparently, she thinks it's pretty funny, too. :-)

Living (finally) Proof (finally) Live (finally) 2010

Our last Living Proof Live event was in November. Who makes these crazy schedules anyway? I have missed our Living Proof family so much these few months. It's about dadgum time we ramped it back up.

Beth, the LifeWay peeps, and my team and I start off our year this weekend with Living Proof Live Toronto. Can't wait. If you are anywhere close to Toronto, I hope you can make it to the event.

Hey! And guess what? I have two tickets that LifeWay has given me to give away for this event, if anyone needs tickets. Just send us an email to First one to email us can have the tickets.

The list of reasons why I love being a part of this ministry is infinite. But what I'm thinking about this week as I am about to salivate over jumping back in is the fact that God's most profound work isn't just about crowds.

It's about the one's.

May God bring full redemption, restoration and revelation this weekend to every ONE. After ONE. After ONE.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Some Glad Morning

Cindy Morgan + Hymns = A Happy Day.

Cindy's new Cd, Hymns: Some Glad Morning, released yesterday. Everybody go and download it. You can get it at her site, or you can get it at or iTunes.

I've always been a hymn guy. I love me some hymns. And this collection of hymns is so good. I predict it will be Ang's favorite Cindy CD of all time. It has an appalachian/folk flair that she digs. We both dig it. There's a version of Sweet Hour Prayer that she combines with Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring that is 47 kinds of awesome.

Go make your day better and go worship Jesus with Hymns: Some Glad Morning.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Great Adventure: Lessons Learned

I want to thank all of you who have been so encouraging to us about this great adventure we are in. Those of you who actually made it through that whole long story - wow. Thanks. I think I could've cut the word count in half and still have been able to tell the story. Sorry about that. Thanks for persevering. :-)

As I wrap up this blog version of the Great Adventure, I want to share with you a couple of things that the Lord taught us through all of this. Of course, our lessons were many...some easy, some painful...some funny, some brutal...some to share, some to hold quietly. I imagine that God is going to continue to teach us things that are directly related to this calling and this season of searching. But there are a couple of huge lessons that wave over all of the other smaller lessons like a big banner, and that is what I want to share with you.

1. There is always something next with God.

Listen to me: You have not been disqualified, overlooked or undergifted. You may be in a season of life where things seem questionable; maybe they even seem desolate..hopeless...over. Your circumstances may be trying to dictate to you that God has not come through, nor will He. But guess what? That is not true. It just isn't. Not only is it not true, but what actually is true is the very opposite. And if you will free Him up to be God in your life by giving Him your surrender, He will give you beauty for your ashes. Strength for your weakness. And He will turn things around more quickly than you can say MAYDAY.

Your gifts (or lack of) are a non-factor. Your geography? Not a factor. Your past? Only gonna feed into God's redemption, if you will let it.

You know what really took me by surprise by this fact that there is always something next with God? The fact that there was something next for us, and I didn't even know we needed a 'next.' So, the question is not is there a next. The thing to do is just be in a posture of surrender for when it comes. And it will.

2. There is nothing God cannot do.

I'm a church boy. I know churchy stuff. I'm sad to say that I was sort of "religious" before I ever loved Jesus. I mean, I pretty much always loved the Lord, but I didn't really know Him until I took up my faith for myself sometime around college and began to try to know Him for myself.

I knew in my head that there was nothing God couldn't do. I had been told that. I had read it in the scriptures, and I believed it. I could quote all of the powerful verses, like Jeremiah 33:3 and 29:11 and Zephaniah 3:17, to name a few. I had seen Him do the impossible in other people's lives. I had seen Him work in ways that were undeniably Him. He had even done amazing things in my heart through the years...answered prayers...brought direction and revelation for my life...mended fences and healed wounds. I had experienced His power.

But this time, He did something I didn't expect. He not only changed my heart. He changed my mind. He literally changed the make up of my thoughts. He altered my dreams. He did a complete overhaul of my understanding of my calling, my purpose, my hopes. I never saw it coming. But, man, oh man, am I so thankful for how He moves and how He loves. I thought I had my life figured out. I had written the ending in my head. But by the grace of God I found myself in a season of surrender, and He swept in and reconstructed.

I am a strong-willed man. A strong-willed man who likes control. And I would have never prescribed a mind-overhaul like this for myself. But God knew best. And here I am on the other side, sitting in a sea of gratitude that has overwhelmed my life. There are so many miracles interwoven in this story. But in many regards, one of the greatest ones is that God took not just the heart of this stubborn, change-fearing guy; He also took his mind...and changed it.

There is nothing God cannot do.

So in conclusion, please hear this: Fear not.

Fear not.

God has not left you. God has not chosen you to be the one who has circumstances or mental and emotional make-up that is beyond change. Your struggles, your mountain, your pain is not beyond Him. Who are we to ever be so presumptuous to think that we would actually be the ones who have issues beyond the reach of God's power?

Seek the Lord. Immerse yourself in His Word. Submit yourself to good, godly teaching and counsel. Ask for prayer. Ask for help. Open up your heart to the work of the Holy Spirit in a deeper way. It's time for us to stop walking around bound up with hurt and fear, and start giving God the canvas of our lives to paint some redemption.

Fear not. There is nothing that God cannot do. I know it to be true. He did the miraculous in me.