my travel companions…

…for the long weekend.

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Here we go on a quick rundown, counter clockwise from the tope:

  1. Book that I’ve wanted to read for sometime – How the Irish Saved Civilization
  2. iPod Touch – Loaded with music, not movies, only music and the ‘soundtrack’ of my weekend!
  3. passport
  4. ESV Bible
  5. Water free hand sanitizer – say no to the swine flu!
  6. tissues
  7. Lonely Planet Austria Travel book
  8. Death By Love by Mark Driscoll
  9. My new Nikon D90, Christmas present, that I will snap hundreds of pics and even do some future zhtvs? I’m also taking the manual, I just need to get over my “I don’t want to read the manualness.”

So clutch… What are your ‘normal’ travel companions? Ok, I’m out the door! Have a great weekend! I will be on Twitter, so you can follow things there as I experience life and God over this weekend! Be a revolution!

the hills are alive?

soundmusic460

soundmusic460

Um…..? I don’t think I will be joining Maria (Don’t know what I’m talking about it’s called Sound of Music, you might have heard of it?!;-)) singing and spinning in the hills, but I’m gearing up to get some much needed time away! It’s been a long past few months and I’ve been going hard without getting much time to catch up. So tomorrow at 14:14 (2:14 p.m.) I will be hoping on a train to head towards my favorite Czech city, outside of Prague, Cesky Krumlov, and then to Salzburg, Austria for 3 nights! I’m going to be traveling solo for the majority of it, but I just found out that one of my best friends, Jason McFarland, here in Prague just decided that he would head down on Saturday. So it should be a good mix of some solo time and some time with a good, good friend.

I would ask that you that you please pray for me as I’m going. Not just that I would get some much needed physical rest, but something more. I’ve been asking God, and myself, some tough questions about life, ministry, my character, my leadership and more over the last few months, so my heart in this holiday is also to have God meet me in the midst of this. I don’t know that He will give me concrete answers, but I’m praying that He would meet me, change me, bring repentance where needed, encourage me, refresh me, give me some directions in some areas of life/ministry and lastly that I would love Him, others, and this city, Prague, more!

Thanks for being you! Here’s a little map to help you see where I’ll be over the next few days!

View Larger Map

head coach harrod…

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For most of my life I have known one “Head Coach Harrod.” His name is Doug, not Zach. Zach is the son of Doug. Doug has been the “Head Coach” most of my life and now tonight I will be the one Head Coach in the Harrod family, at least at the moment! Tonight is the first practice for the Junior team of the off-season. Tonight I’m no longer the “other guy” when it comes to coaches but “the guy.” To be honest, I’m a bit nervous and a bit reluctant. “Why?” I’m not sure, there are a lot of things swirling in my head. It could be because I’m nervous about my language ability. Or it could be because I really respect the man that was the coach over the last few years and I liked being an assistant to him. Those are two of the reasons. There are probably more, but I would ask for your prayers. Prayers that I would coach in a way that honors God and my guys. Coach in a way where my guys really wonder why I’m so different and they would realize that it’s more than just being an American. Please pray that I don’t sound too much like an idiot as I long to speak, and coach, only in Czech and not in English. Please pray that my guys would be receptive and respond well to the changes we are experiencing. More than anything, please pray that Jesus would be depended on greatly and lifted up in all of this! Thanks for being you! Grace….
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time lapse on the iphone

I, finally, switched from a prepaid phone plan, which was killing me financially, to a contract and it gave me a feasible way to get an iPhone, which I’ve really wanted since their release! One of my new past times is searching for new cools apps, a I travel on mass transit here. Recently, I was trying to find a time lapse app that would take pics/video from my iPhone. I finally decided on the “TimeLapse” app from Xyster. I’ve had it for about a week and have only looked at the settings. Last night on the way to practice I thought I would try it out. So this is 5 minutes of my traveling to practice with 2 second intervals, with that said, I should have done no more than a second interval. We will see how my future experiments with this app go. It’s still cool, even though it’s a little let down. Sorry I will try to redeem myself with the next one!


Music from Czech group – Popnoise – click here to download their newest cd for free!

change is fun…

before_after_april09

…with that in mind, today, I said, “Why not,” and this happened….

before_after_april09

As my dear friend, and director (Billy), and I rode the 217 Bus back from the office today, he asked me, “So what are you going to do with my clippers?” The clippers that I used for what you see above! I smiled and said, “I like my hair, but it’s all going, why not, huh?” He said,”You kind of got the deranged, struggling artist look going.” Ok, he didn’t say, “deranged,” but I thought it was fitting! So in my opinion, I traded it, for “Deranged Convict.” What do you think? Make the world of zACHhARROD.com land marvel at your wittiness, what descriptions do you got? Share them, but make sure they don’t hurt my feelings too much!

By the way, I do like change. Sometimes change for the sake of change is great. It keeps people, and me, on their toes! Love it. Now I’m heading to bed. Good night world!

hope for the city, that I love, from the empty tomb

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” 1 Peter 1:3c

As Easter season was upon us, I returned to these words from 1 Peter once again for a fresh perspective in the midst of life and all that is going on for a large dose of hope. Especially in relationship to life here and also the prayer request of a dear friend of mine; it was simple – that God would give him HOPE in the midst of doing life and ministry here. Like my dear friend, I also find myself looking to God for hope in the midst of what appears to be a hopeless ordeal, situation, country, city and etc. After all, this country does claim to be the most atheistic country in all of Europe, and I would argue that per capita it might be the most in the world! In the midst of doing life and ministry, finding hope, and not just a plastic-wrapped, trite, pat super-spiritual hope, but a hope that is deeper than I could imagine. So here I am again, longing and looking for hope, in the midst of feeling somewhat hopeless.

I felt this sense of hopelessness once again a Easter weekend on our most recent road game (we are now 3-0) to the Eastern portion of Czech, Moravia. While on our way, we passed through the city square where there was a reading of the newest Bible translation in Czech. Actually, this is a very big deal. Let me explain this quick, as an aside of sorts. Quite, some time ago, I wrote about Sasa Flek and the new translation he was working on. Sasa’s work has been huge! This new Bible, Preklad 21. Století or 21st Century Translation, is in contemporary Czech, and it is very readable. Sasa’s heart is to get over a 1 million Bibles in the hands of his countrymen over the next 7 years! Please pray for this, please pray for him. Pray that God would use this to reach many Czechs, who might have never read the Bible before. From my understanding this is only the third translation of the Bible into Czech, in hundreds of years! Because of this, a Bible reading(s) commenced throughout the country and in many cities. While I’m excited that this took place, I also have a heavy heart about it, for the reason I’m about to tell you. While, it was admirable to set up Bible readings of the new translation in many town squares, I can imagine the challenge many Christians had with it. Christians and Christianity are very laughable to the average Czech, and from my understanding many of the churches, whom were asked to be part of this public reading were reluctant for several reasons, but the over riding two appeared to be – 1) this isn’t relevant to the Czech heart and/or 2) fear of being jeered at. It didn’t surprise me when a friend told me about the reactions of churches throughout the country; especially, when we drove past the square in Havirov and I witnessed this firsthand. As I said earlier, Havirov, is in Moravia, which is thought to be much, much more religious than Western Czech – Bohemia. This can be a debate for another time, but the scene in Havirov was very telling of the situation on a country-wide level. There were maybe four people on the big town square around the tent set up for the Bible reading – 4! All four, appeared to be there to help with the Bible reading. The square was so hopelessly empty, my heart sank for those four people and for other Czech Christians attempting to be faithful throughout the country, but my heart sank more from the reaction from within the bus.

Laughter. Jeering. And eyes on me.

The sad reality, that was the reaction inside the bus, was obviously very similar to the reaction outside the bus. Was it hard for me, personally? Of course, but that isn’t why I was torn up. I was torn up because of the sad reality of this country – apathy and indifference. Apathetic and indifferent are two words that most of my Czech friends would use to describe this situation/problem here. It is as if this apathy, or indifference, is so thick, so prominent, that you can just feel it, it’s palpable. As we drove past the reading and I listened to the laughs and the things said of the Bible reading, it was once again palpable. One of my teammates, looked at me and said, “Muses byt trpelivy tady.” (“You must be patient here.”) I nodded in agreement, but in my heart, my response to the indifference was hopelessness.

Palpable hopelessness. So thick I could cut it with a knife. I sunk into my seat and felt as if I had the weight of this country of 10.6 million pressing on me. Due to my personality, I often find my self swimming in the deep sea of hopelessness that can be found here in response to the person of Jesus, but this day, this day I speak of was different. I opened my Bible for encouragement and found it once again in 1st Peter. First Peter has been my source of finding hope, again and again over the last year or so. One reason is because of the very, very obvious verse from chapter 1, verse 3, but also because the churches that Peter was writing to were surely in very hopeless situations. Peter talked about suffering, submitting to authorities (whom were only adding to the suffering), living in community in the midst of suffering, and, um, did I say suffering?

Needless to day, the churches of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia certainly needed someone to convey the hope of the resurrection and the hope of Christ to them. Granted, I’m not fearing physical persecution and, by no means, is the jeering I receive anything on the level that the earliest Christians experienced, oh no, but I find hope in this book. I found hope in this book two weeks ago, while in the bus to our game.

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” 1 Peter 1:3c

No matter, how bleak, no matter, how palpable the hopelessness may be, it will never be more than hopelessness expressed on the reverse side of the resurrection, the side that appeared to be only one of death, abandonment, ugliness, blood, scorn, and desperation. It is in this side, in this situation, that God moves. It is in the ugliness that God brought life, beauty, and redemption! As I read, 1 Peter 1:3 and reflected on things here, I felt a tidal wave of hope wash over me. Hope that the apathy and indifference, someday, at some point will find an end and God will bring beauty, life and redemption to this city and country I love so much. So now, for about two weeks, I’ve been praying ‘resurrection hope’ for my teammates, Czech friends, Prague and the whole of this country. I would encourage you to reflect on this ‘resurrection hope’ for your city, and for the ‘tribe’ (of people) that God has called you to.


May, as we plead for this hope, God bring resurrections to our cities, friends and countries, and when things are hopeless, may he fill our hearts once again with hope to love the city with all we have for His glory and the city’s good!

those who do nothing…

Just read this as I walk out the door for Czech class. (Warning yet another thought from Seth Godin. Keep them coming Seth!)

Do nothing is the choice of people who are afraid. Do nothing is what you do if too many people have to agree. Do nothing is what happens if one person with no upside has to accept downside responsibility for a change. What’s in it for them to do anything? So they do nothing.

Very interesting in light of some things going on in and around my life. Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? I’ll hold my thoughts for now, and we will see if the comments feature works on my blog! ;-)

i’m watching you….

g_a_usa

Ok, I know I’m a dork, but I find this interesting. When Clint did my redesign (THANKS AGAIN CLINT!), we made sure to get Google Analytics kicking with my blog so I can track and see who is reading my blog and etc. For what reason? I’m not sure why, but like I said I find it interesting. So I’m going to share 3 maps with you. Three maps of where I am getting my views from. I’m getting absolutely ZERO love from Africa, South America, Asia, or Antarctica! Sadly… But I’ve been thinking about some unique strategies to get my readership up in Antarctica, while I’ve been on mass transit here in Prague. We shall see…

The first is the good ol’ U.S. of A. (the darker shades of green indicate the highest amount of readers)

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I’m not getting much love in a few States, but I was surprised to see that most of the States are some sort of green….
g_a_europe

No surprise, I get more love in Eastern Europe than Western.
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Here is what Czech looks like. Obviously, I would have far more hits in Prague, than else where in the country. But here is a shout out to the peeps who read my blog in Cesky Tesin, Brno and Ceske Budejovice!

Thanks to all you read my blog! I apologize for being quite this spring. As things get chaotic in my life, this is the first place where you see it played out (and me not folding laundry). Thanks for sticking with me! Here’s to more posts, ZHTVs and etc! Oh, I also have been told recently that my lovely sister’s blog (ZMENA) is more entertaining than mine! I’ve had to pray about this, but after much thought, it’s true her blog is more entertaining. Shoot. Should I begin a Sibling Blog Feud? Hmmmm… We shall see… Muhaha…

UPDATE Before clicking publish, I checked Google Analytics once more and saw that Germany popped up on the grid since yesterday! Hallo aus der Tschechischen Republik und vielen Dank! So here is a shout out to you peeps in Aachen and Halle! Ok, now back to trying to be productive….

praying for a first ten or five or two?

For those of you that read this blog regularly, you know I’m a fan (past blog posts) of Seth Godin and his thoughts about marketing, leadership and etc. Three weeks ago he posted an article entitled, First, ten, and I’ve returned to it many times since then. Here is the gist of his thought about “First, ten“…

Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…

Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.

If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.

Is this ground breaking or new? Heck no. It’s a basic principle. It can be found in the movie Pay it Forward and it is pretty much the principle of “Spiritual Multiplication” – that is pouring ourselves out for the Glory of God, for the sake of others, so that, Lord-willing, they will enter a dynamic relationship with Jesus, and then pour themselves out in the same way. Furthermore, it’s also obvious that Jesus practiced this; however, he happened to have the “First, Twelve” in mind, instead of ten.

So if this isn’t something new, then why is it messing my head up so much? I’m not sure, that’s why I’m writing this. I know that I’m not trying to sell anything, and I’m certainly not trying to peddle something. I’m, with the aid of God, attempting to live, love, and speak in such a way where those around me are going to long to have what I have. No selling. No peddling. No convincing. But a lot of living, loving, laughing, crying, speaking, and more together, in hopes…. In hopes, that something, anything will happen. I guess, it is in this thought, that I’ve been troubled by this blog post from Godin. I pray for ten. I pray for five. I pray for two. I pray. I hope. I’m not trying to win, as Godin mentioned in the post, but in the midst of a culture that is very cold to things of God, it would feel that I’m on the “losing” end more than the “winning” end. That’s it. There it is. That is why this post has been haunting me! That connected with, the last sentence I quoted – “start over” and “find a new product.” While I believe in being a constant learner and always being willing to change our methods, I’m left scratching my head, because it would appear some days that I need to take that last sentence to heart. Especially, as I look at our work here in Prague. I think we have adjusted our methods (“start over”) and we are still praying for ten. Five. Two. Hmmm… Much more could be written, but I will leave on two things – 1) please join in praying for us/me as we/I live, love and speak here in Prague. Pray that God would raise up ten. Five. Two. 2) Be encouraged because Jesus said,

“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18b

amen.

czechs’ thoughts on easter

I meant to blog this right after Easter, but it slipped through the cracks. I did still want to share it with you. I read this survey, Czechs regard Easter as a symbol of spring, from the Czech News Agency, and found it very interesting. Here are two quick portions of the article, that I thought you might find interesting:

Czechs consider Easter rather the symbol of spring than a significant Christian holiday, according to a poll conducted by the Median agency for the daily Lidove noviny (LN) and released in its issue Saturday.

Over 60 percent of them connect the holiday with the Easter whipping of girls with a birch switch, and slightly fewer people connect Easter with decorating eggs. {to read more about Czech Easter custums, i.e. whipping girls with a birch switch, click here.}

Most of the survey wasn’t ground shaking for me, but confirmed what I thought was the case. I do, however, find it interesting that even in a country that claims to be around 90% atheist, there is still a “fairly” (is this word is relative) large majority of people who still connect the holiday with some religious significance. That is somewhat encouraging, I guess. Needless to say, while reading this, I realized I have a measure of job security as I read the results! Much work and love to be done here!