Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday Reflections

Worship was good, lots of positive comments about everything.

Sometimes, as a pastor / preacher, I wonder with all the positive comments that I may receive from the sermon, how much of what has been said is forgotten by Monday morning?

Just a rhetorical question, no need to answer!

I enjoy doing the videos and illustrations, I think they bring home some points better than my words. I even found another rubber band ball maker, we'll have to start a club.

I look forward to this coming Sunday as Tim Long a missionary in the Baja Penninsula will be speaking at our church. He's the featured speaker at the mission conference on Saturday at our church. Tim will also lead us in communion, doing it Baja style, using flour tortillas.

The Pacers

Talk about last minute gifts, a friend called and had 2 extra tickets to see the Pacers tonight. So, Joshua was the lucky winner and he and I ventured to Conseco to see the Pacers whip the Heat by 20 points.

The real fun was to watch Joshua's excitement knowing he was going, and watching his eyes light up when we walked down the steps to our seats, which were wonderful, 13th row behind the Pacers bench. A fun night, except for the drive home. The rain was torrential at times and the lightening seemed brighter than I ever remember it.

Thankfully, we're home and I'm exhausted. The drive did it for me.

NCAA TOURNAMENT

Well, I'm still alive. I have 3 of the 4 teams still alive, and my final two are still alive.

Remember, I have NC 78 - UCLA 75 in the finals.

I expect NC to beat Kansas. I did not expect Memphis to get this far, they are a terrible free throw shooting team, and figured that would do them in. But they are playing excellent, as is UCLA. That should be the good game on Saturday. I think NC will beat Kansas by at least 10. In fact, if Davidson made more than 50% of their free throws, it would have gone to overtime (5 / 12). That is terrible shooting.

Anyway, go 'heels.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to Treat Your Mugger

This is an amazing story. Click HERE to go to the NPR site and listen to the story, or you can read below -

This is Julio Diaz, a 31-year-old social worker who ended his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn. He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife. He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says. As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something.

If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?"

Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome."

"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says. Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says.

"The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"

"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'"

Diaz replied, "Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?"

"Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way," the teen said. Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. "He just had almost a sad face," Diaz says.

The teen couldn't answer Diaz ??? or he didn't want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you." The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I gave him $20 ... I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know." Diaz says he asked for something in return ??? the teen's knife ??? "and he gave it to me."

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, "You're the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch." "I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sonicflood

Wonderful conert and great intro for the boys. We had great seats, 4th row, just off center.


When it started Joshua and Zachary had these wonderful smiles on their faces. They played a number of worship songs, Here I am to Worship, Open the Eyes of my heart (we're singing it on Sunday), Famous One, Cry Holy, Lord of the Dance (the ending song and rockiest song), that one had everyone dancing.
This is a picture with Joshua and Zachary and band after the concert. The lead singer is with the blonde hair next to Zachary, and the drummer has his hand on Joshua's head.

It was just the right loudness level for Joshua and Zachary. I wish more people were there. This is a great praise music group.

concert

Tonight we are taking Joshua and Zachary to see their first Christian concert. We will listen to the group Sonicflood.


They have sung many classics, such as Cry Holy, Here I am to Worship and more. Should be a fun night for the boys to listen and worship in a new way. I am excited for me, but more for them, especially Joshua, he is really getting into music, and the louder and harder the better. He'll be our head banging Christian rocker.

Next on his list is Skillet.

Starbucks and Church



If you are a Starbucks fan, you may remember a few weeks ago all the Starbucks across North America closed shop for three and half hours in the evening.

Why? To hear from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz via video about the companies need to get back to it's original vision. Next, the store managers spoke about several strategic changes that the stores would make to give the customer better and more personalized service. And the evening ended by re-training everyone at that Starbucks store. one comment I read about was a 19 year old barista saying, "It's really weird, I know that I really work at a fast food chain, but they made me believe that it really matters."

So here is my question: If we were to close all the churches across North America for three and half hours some Sunday morning, and we had the chance to vision-cast and re-train every Christ Follower, what would need to be said and what would you do?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday fun

Needed to take time to spend with the boys on their spring break.

So, we went to Chuck E. Cheese to play games. Bring your child's report card and get 15 free tokens, that meant 30 free tokens for the boys. That's a good deal. Joshua and Zachary accumulated 178 tickets, they are saving for something special, not sure what, but they are saving and counting tickets.

Next it was on to Sights and Sounds and look at drum sets. We've been to Guitar Center, who has a bigger selection, but Joshua wanted to go, so it was part of the adventure. One cool thing was listening to the Christian music played overhead.

Then to the mall for a quick trip, which turned out to be an hour trip and time spent at the bookstore, along with a huge cookie for the boys. I did have a sample of a brownie (one bite) and it was fabulous.

Then we went to Texas Roadhouse. Good food, lots of peanuts, and full stomachs. I could only eat 4 ribs, I over did it, but didn't do what I would normally do.

Then a couple of quick stops before coming home.

Part of the treat for good behavior was play station time and the boys sleeping on their sleeping bags in Joshua's room.

What a fun night with the boys. They were fun to hang with.

It's almost midnight and time for things to wind down around here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Weight Watching

Nope, I'm not joining WW. On Sunday I decided Monday was D-Day, yup you guessed it, diet day. My diet is pretty simple, I am not allowed to eat sweets, period. That is my downfall. I must drink at least 32 ounces of water, not coffee laden water, but water. I have been floating lately, and I'm hungry!!!!!!!! I want to eat, but I'm holding off, using restraint, prayer and self-discipline.

It was especially hard when I was visiting Beulah P. in the hospital. Someone had just brought her a basket of candy . . . I mean Peppermint Patties, 3 Musketeers, Butterfingers and more. I didn't take one. I was good. I'm trying to eat healthier along the way. It's amazing to realize how much junk one person can eat. I have given up my nightly cake and ice cream, that should be good for 1-2 pounds per week right there. But I have to beware of substituting something just as bad.

You would think afte 3 days I would have lost 5 pounds, but when I put my suit on today, it felt tighter than last week when I wore it for a funeral. That is discouraging. But I'm not giving up. The boys had pizza tonight, and I had 1/8 of one piece, basically one bite. Instead I had a ham and red onion omelet made with egg whites - - umh - - yummy!

So keep me in prayer about this effort. I had a pounding headache yesterday, probably because I have not had sweets. I'm better today.

Joy and Grief

Tonight I experienced both ends of the spectrum as a pastor, all at the same time. I was privileged to lead the funeral for Nathan Pool. Nate was 48, leaving behind 10 and 20 year old daughters, a wife, parents and one sister.

I had to do all I could to contain myself from just weeping. No, I did not know Nate, and in some respects I don't feel bad for Nate, he's in glory, but looking at his daughters sobbing, along with his wife and parents, just broke my heart. It's one of the aspects of my calling I don't like. Last weeks two funerals for a 93 and 96 year old are okay, that's the way it's supposed to be.

I could not help but picture Joshua and Zachary sitting in the front row. Makes me want to take better care of myself, so I can stick around a lot longer. Read the next post for more on that one.

The joy is eternal life for Nate, the grief is picking up the pieces and carrying on.

So, pray for this family, pray for the girls who will miss their daddy. Nate's mom has been attending FBC for the past two months. Keep the Pool family in prayer.

NCAA

Well, as the men move into the final 16, I still have 8 teams left, and all four of my final four teams are alive. Not that I am a big North Carolina fan, they are the team to beat.

As for the women, sorry Purdue fans, Tennessee is too tough for just about anyone. It's between them and U Conn. I see Tennessee playing Stanford; and LSU against U Conn in the semis and Pat Summit winning another title. Sorry Geno.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

UnChristian Quote

A quote from the book UnChristian (it's about why the 20-35 y/o generation is not enthused with the church) -

"The real problem comes when we recognize God’s holiness but fail to articulate the other side of his character: grace. Jesus represents truth plus grace (see John 1:14). Embracing truth without holding grace in tension leads to harsh legalism, just as grace without truth devolves to compromise. Still, the important insight based on our research is that Mosaics and Busters rarely see Christians who embody service, compassion, humility, forgiveness, patience, kindness, peace, joy, goodness, and love."

That's quite a statement about the church. Why is this the case.

I spoke with a family today, who are grieving the death of their son, and because they left their former church, nobody from that church would call to offer condolences. Not only will I offer hope for their son's loss, but for the loss of friends ("Christian" friends no less). My funeral message will be one of hope. Because we have hope through Christ.

Is that how the world sees us? We need to examine ourselves to make sure we represent Christ with honor, glory and respect.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Anne Rice Interview

You may have heard of Anne Rice, a prolific author who has written extensively about vampires. Anne was an atheist, and in 1996, she became a Christian and has dramatically changed her writing style and subject matter. She was interviewed by Time Magazine and people asked her questions, her responses are enlightening. While I don't agree with all of her theology, many of her comments are thought provoking. Click this LINK to take you to the article.

Post Easter Thoughts

You will read this in the newsletter, but I wanted to put this out there for all to read, so here are my thoughts on the day after Easter ~

What a wonderful day Easter was! The celebration, the joy, the expectancy, it was all there. Yet, as I write this article, it is the next day. Jesus has risen, okay, . . . now what?! I say that not to be sacrilegious, but I believe this is how we approach most of life. That was yesterday’s news, what is today’s news? Today’s news is the same as yesterday’s . . . Jesus has risen!!!

We need to incorporate that into our everyday living. It needs to pervade our everyday prayers. Without this thought process, where does our hope reside? This morning I was reading in my devotional The Christian in Complete Armour: Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare by William Gurnall (a 17th century pastor) about the temptations satan lays before us, and how we so easily succumb to his temporary pleasures and offerings.

Gurnall ends the March 24 reading stating, “Would it not be wise, before you barter with the devil, to ask if his promises come with a warranty? Can he secure the bargain and keep you from a lawsuit with God? Can he guarantee that when you die you will not be left destitute in another world? Let the buyer be warned. Time will show how satan has cheated you. Yet the sinner says, “Oh, but I have already begun to collect on the pleasures he offers, I am enjoying them right now, and I would have to wait until heaven for most of the things Christ promises.”

It is the last line which we so easily accept. Christ has promised us the world, right now. It does not always come easy, it is the more difficult road, but it is the road which leads us to permanent and everlasting joy, peace, love, contentment IN THIS LIFE and in the life to come. Why do we think we need to wait to experience all Christ has to offer us? It’s there, it’s available for us today, we need to believe it.

So, do we? Do we believe in the life Christ offers us today?! Or are we just giving lip service to Christ, hoping we have our heavenly tickets punched, so we live and accept the muck and mire of life, just to get to a better place. How then does the world see you as a Christian? Do they see the joy of Christ in you? Are you the light of the world, the salt of the earth?

Dear friends, let’s journey together and embrace the good life, no, the great life Christ offers us, here, yes, here, in Northeast Madison County, as we serve the only Savior, our Lord and Risen Savior, Jesus the Christ!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

I must say, I am exhausted.

I thought all aspects of worship went really well today. The choir did great, the kids sang, and I even preached a little. From all I heard, people were moved by the worship. I also believe it was the right length of time. Not tooooooo long, not too short, but just right.

Kudos to all.

Tonight will be early to bed. I've already been working on next Sunday's sermon on Fellowship, while the boys watched a movie.

Have a week where you really share Christ's love with the world!! Let the world see Jesus in action.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Haircut city

The Deutsch boys got their haircut today, and by the time I left, the woman who cut my hair said she and her daughters would be at church on Sunday. How cool!!

Remember, there will be many, many guests, ignore, that's right, ignore your old friends, and greet these newcomers. Help them to feel welcome.

They say the first 7 minutes make the difference before worship, and the first 3 minutes after worship.

Let's greet our guests and help them to really experience the love of Jesus.

Easter Candy

Well, one person came closest, one person guessed $1.9 billion spent on Easter candy.

Can you imagine spending that kind of money? Especially in our economy!!!

Good Friday Worship

What a rockin' Good Friday worship. WOW!!

Seemed that all the pastors who were there were hitting on all cylinders. It was a great time of worship as we celebrated the sadness, yet hope of the cross. Damon started us off with great words of welcome to all. Doug led singing, Bob S. and Beth sang solos, Marilyn and Beth played organ and piano, respectively, and I preached.

What great fun to hear the people "amening" comments. I need to make a tape of that and hit the "Amen button" when I say something I like.

Overall, a wonderful time of worship. Makes me look forward to Sunday.

Matthew 23

The Seven Woes
  • WOE 1 - (23:13) Addressed to the teachers and Pharisees. Read the preceding verses and you realize everything they did was for show. How about us, do we make sure others know about our good deeds, or do we know God knows and that is what counts?
  • WOE 2 (23:15) Follows the same vein of thought. When someone became a convert, they became a slave of the Pharisees. They made that person's life a living hell. The call is to encourage and mentor, not demean and discourage.
  • WOE 3 - (23:16) The Pharisees based much of what they did and taught according to money. Why do you think Jesus taught so much about money and possessions. What controls us? What is our god?
  • WOE 4 (23:23) Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, if we give away all of our money, but do not have love, we gain nothing and in essence we are nothing. Jesus' point is that the Pharisees were giving a tenth of spices, but what was more important was giving to those who had the real needs. I love his metaphor, "You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."
  • WOE 5 (23:25) Jesus is really referring to what is in our hearts. We can look all nice and pretty on the outside, but what is inside of us, our heart, is what will defile us.
  • WOE 6 (23:27) Basically a repeat of WOE 5. On the outside we look great, we say all of the right things, we impress people, but our hearts are full of anger, bitterness, conceit, etc.
  • WOE 7 (23:29) They proclaim how wonderful they are, they would have been better than the prophets of old, they have all of the answers, yet Jesus says, their testimony is really a self-condemnation. The blood of the saints will be upon them.

  • Jesus concludes by saying 37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Jesus is foretelling His death and what His heart longs for when it comes to Jerusalem - Jesus wants to save the people, just as a mother hen protects her young. He wants to do the same for you and I, as well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NCAA

Sure glad I didn't have Duke to go all the way. They got lucky, felt sorry for Belmont.

I have two wrong so far, USC and Kent State lost. Otherwise all is well for tonight.

Long day

Hey Folks -

I said I would get to Matthew 23 ' the 7 woes' but I am bushed. After a funeral and trip to see a member who is on hospice, digging a piece of wall out of my thumb (yup, playing basketball with Joshua in the hallway, I hit the wall and lodged a piece of the wall, a paint nugget in my thumb tip).

I'll do it in the morning. Right now I'm getting ready for the Good Friday worship.

Good job Marilyn and all who worked on the Maundy Thursday service. Lots of creativitiy!!

Easter Candy

How much money do Americans spend for Easter Candy?

NCAA - Mens

FINAL FOUR -

UNC
KU
Tex
UCLA

UNC vs. UCLA in semis

UNC 78 - UCLA 75

Womens to come later. I need to do more careful analysis :-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BHAG

What are BHAG's?!

Do you have them? Why don't you? You should and I should?

Most don't have them.

Our church needs them, and it will change us forever and ever.

Click on the word BHAG and read the definition.

Super Nanny

Got done watching the Super Nanny a little while ago, and I told Debbie, the reason we watch is to help us feel our kids are amazingly well behaved.

I wonder if Super Nanny ever really lets her hair down and gets a little wild? She's so prim and proper on the show, there's got to be another side of her . . . I think!

If she could go to every troubled family that wants help, she'd put the pharmaceuticals out of business.

NCAA Tournament


Hey all - It's time to pick your winners. Who is going to win the men's and women's NCAA tournaments. Get your picks in now. If you pick the winners in both categories, I buy you dinner! Let's have some fun with this one. I'll post mine tomorrow morning. You will note the time they are posted, so it will not be after Thursday night's games.

By the way, this weekend is my favorite weekend of sports - 32 basketball games Thursday and Friday and 16 more on Saturday and Sunday, and there will be a few upsets along the way.



Happy picking!!



Easter Reflections

Reflections from my Bible reading this week ~

Matthew 21:13 - may God look at our church according to the former, not the latter. . .
Matthew 21:14 - and may this be what happens in our church. . . to the glory of God.
Matthew 21:19 - May my tree and yours prosper, not wither.
Matthew 21:21-22 - Can you imagine having this power in prayer?! It’s there and available, so why don’t we have it?
Matthew 21:24 - I love the way Jesus answered questions with questions. There is a leadership principle there.
Matthew 21:44 - Have we really fallen on the stone and been broken to the point of repentance and true faith in Jesus?
Matthew 22:3, 5- when invited to the feast of Christ, do we make excuses to not attend.
Matthew 22:14 - and when we attend, how prepared are we? If not, the image of what happens is very sobering.
Matthew 22:46 - After taking question after question, they finally stopped, because the wisdom of Jesus far surpassed what the enemies could imagine. May we gain the wisdom of Christ for our lives.

Tomorrow - we look at what is called the “Seven Woes" from Matthew 23.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Doctoral update

Last week I received a photocopy of the first 60 pages with a great deal pencil markings. They not only review your work for content, but for spacing, headings, margins, quotations, references, etc., etc., etc., Everything has to be exact. We are supposed to use a book by Kate Turabian, which is a handbook for writing major projects, theses and dissertations. Trinity also has their handbook. I tried to follow the Trinity way, but missed some points. You can also hire people to proofread and correct punctuation, etc. I am leaning in that direction since I don't want to put Debbie on the hook and I do not pay enough attention to the details. I will be emailing the two main readers to inquire about cost, etc.

I also spoke to my main reader for 30 minutes on Saturday morning to review his comments. There were 17 main comments or criticisms for me to correct / revise. Most were not to major, some had much more meat to them. So, we spent the time going over 4 main areas, one of which I had no clue where he was coming from, until he commented about a different book I didn't read and of course do not have by Dallas Willard. So, I will have to get it so I can interact about the Sermon on the Mount vs. Romans 6 as being the locus of sanctification. Most of his comments centered on sanctification, and our view of it, especially as it relates to 'forensic justification.'

Overall, I am more pleased than displeased with how it is going. The next month will be crucial as I revise and continue writing. I am hoping for an end of May submission of the entire project. This way, I can make further revisions and he feels I would be ready for my oral exams in the summer, as opposed to the fall. It makes my stomach tingle to think about the oral exams. Being grilled for 2 hours, not only over Spiritual Disicplines, but over the theology - past and present which has shaped our understanding of the disciplines is a little daunting. But, I am becoming more and more psyched about it.

Remember to keep me in prayer about this.

Sunday Reflections

Fasting is not the most popular subject, but I heard some positive comments about God's call for us to fast.

Some said my pictures of food was very enticing and they left church hungrier than ever. It's amazing to think about the power food has over us. Even dark chocolate proclaims health benefits having antioxidants. I guess I'll go have a candy bar to hold off that oncoming cold.

I am sure Doug was glad to get day 1 under his belt. It's great to have him onboard, leading music and helping set up visitation and assimilation plans. It was cool to see Doug's passion leading worship singing. I look forward to his ideas and visions for worship. We think alike, but come at things differently, so we should stretch each other, which ultimately helps the church.

It's also been fun to sit and talk with Damon and Doug on some mornings, catching up with ideas, dreams and visions for the church and our personal lives.

Wondering why Easter is Early

Happy Day after Palm Sunday,

Have you ever wondered why Easter is sometimes in March, and then the next year might be at the end of April? I did a little research here, and it turns out that you can blame Pope Gregory the 13th. Greg, and a couple of his buddies (Lilius and Clavius), decided the current method 424 years ago.

Evidently, the aim of the Easter Dating Method is to maintain, for each Easter Sunday, the same season of the year and the same relationship to the preceding astronomical full moon that occurred at the time of Jesus' resurrection in 30 A.D. A good goal, but very confusing. Maybe we can contact the current pope and suggest that Easter always be celebrated on the first Sunday in April.

Until that happens, you'll be glad to know that there are limits. Easter can never be before March 22 or after April 25. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives, since it won't happen again for another 220 years. Oh, and the last time it was this early was 1913.

Here are the dates for Easter for the next four years...

  • 2009 - April 12
  • 2010 - April 4
  • 2011 - April 24
  • 2012 - April 8
You can also learn how to calculate the upcoming Easters with a calculator and really impress your friends.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fasting - Part 1

This Sunday we will take a look at the Spiritual Disicpline of Fasting. It's the least practiced discipline, especially in a world where we super-size everything. So, with that in mind, some thoughts and questions to consider ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you ever schedule your day around eating?
Have you ever left an event or gathering to fulfill an urge for food?
Are you more likely to attend an event where there is free food?
Are you more likely to attend a pitch in, church dinner, or an hour of prayer at church?

Church bulletin bloopers you can find was the following National Prayer and Fasting Conference announcement: "The cost to attend the Prayer and Fasting Conference includes meals."

Ask yourself these questions ------
Do you ever eat or drink to calm your nerves?
Do you ever eat or drink to alleviate fear?
Do you eat or drink for comfort?
Do you eat or drink to find joy?
Do you ever look to food in order to feel better about your day or life?
Do you ever eat, even when you are not hungry?

How would you answer these questions?!?!?!?!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Weekend thoughts

I wanted to go back to last Saturday for a moment. There was a breakfast at our church on Saturday which featured a great deal of praying and a speaker named Kojak Fuller. Kojak was a former Mr. Indiana bastketball player who ended up in prison due to poor choices and since his imprisonment has come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

There was singing, a great deal of praying for the community, schools, pastors, along with a number of men rededicating their lives to Christ. It was a time of worship and celebration. Something which is needed on a regular basis as we hopefully band together as brothers and sisters in Christ to win our community to Christ.

I liked the praise teams song "Breathe." It's one of my favorite meditation songs, a great call for each of us to be desperate for God, for He is the air we breathe.

Thank you to Kevin Thompson for his filling in after Ernie's retirement, leading choir and worship. Also, thanks to Kevin for his strength to hold me up when I jumped on him at worship. I was just trying to jump up to match his height, I didn't expect him to catch me and hold me.

Remember this Sunday we talk about Fasting. It's a good week to talk about it, since we are entering Holy week. Have you ever fasted? There are many different styles of fasting, which we will talk about on Sunday and in the study guides.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Cool Prayer

A member of our church called me today and asked me how they could pray for me.

WOW!!! May I say it again . . . WOW!!!

Thank you for asking. Please pray for me and my family.

I'll blog later about ways to pray for your pastor.

Bill Kapoun information

A Fund Raising Spaghetti Dinner will be held Saturday, March 15, 2008 4:30-6:30.
Zimmer Hall, St. Mary’s Church, Alexandria, IN
Early morning on Feb. 24, 2008 Dan & Judy Kapoun who are members of St. Mary's parish Alexandria, IN, received the ultimate nightmare, a telephone call informing them that one of their children had been the victim of a tragic fire. William "Bill" Kapoun an English teacher of 14 months in Seoul, S. Korea has burns covering 64% of his body from a fire while sleeping at his apartment. He is now fighting for his life, facing many surgeries and a lengthy recovery.
Dan & Judy's financial situation is no more promising. They have left four children, an exchange student, and Judy's mother who is undergoing cancer treatment at home. Along with Bill's accumulating medical expenses Dan & Judy are off work while taking care of their son in S. Korea. Money is needed to get Bill back to the United States and the medical care he needs. Donations can be sent to:
Help Bill Fund,
St. Mary's Church
820 W. Madison St.
Alexandria, IN 46001.
Please make checks out to "Help Bill Fund"
Bill attended St. Mary’s School, Graduated from Alexandria High School and Indiana University with double Bachelor’s degree in History and Economics.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Mission

Anyone have a copy of the movie, "The Mission" I could borrow?

Michael

Confession Quote

This Sunday we will be taking a look at the Spiritual Discipline of Confession. Below is a wonderful quote from martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book "Life Together" ---

"Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy . . . He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Prayer Methods

From the Sunday evening worship. Here are some prayer methods ~
Please ask if you have any questions on any of these. I went into detail on them, but for the sake of space will not, since I didn't write out all my info.

  • Five fingers of of Prayer
    Praise (for who God is)
    Thanksgiving (for what God has done)
    Confession (of our sin)
    Petition (requests for ourselves)
    Intercession (praying for others)
  • Simple Prayers
    We bring ourselves before God just as we are, warts and all.
    We do not try to sort out the good from the bad.
    We simply talk to God about our lives, the good and the bad.
  • Flash Prayers
    When meeting people, ‘flash’ prayers at them. Ask God to give them joy, to experience God’s forgiveness, help them to feel tapped on the shoulder and told "I love you" by God.
  • Meditation Prayers
    Read Scripture and meditate upon what you have read. Consider what God is saying to you. Ask God about what you have read. Now personalize the passage as you consider its impact upon your life and use the passage as a means of prayer.
  • Breath prayers (using breathing techniques)
    "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
    This is an ancient prayer started around the 1300's.
    Can be confused with Eastern or New Age meditation.
    Breathe in "Abba," breathe out "I belong to you."
    Breathe in "Jesus," breathe out "restore my soul."
  • Scripture Prayers
    Read the Scripture and use it as a guide to pray. For example -
  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • Philippians 4:13
  • Ephesians 6:11-18
  • Acronym Prayers
    P
    raise - Repent - Ask - Yield PRAY
    Adoration - Confession - Thanksgiving - Supplication ACTS

Other ways to learn more about prayer would include

  • Listening closely to others as they pray and learn from them
  • Ask someone about their prayer life and how they approach God.
  • Read books by people who have been known historically as prayer warriors. For example, Andrew Murray, Thomas Merton, E.M. Bounds, Brother Lawrence, Teresa of Avila, to name a few.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Spiritual Renewal

Our church is supposed to host a Spiritual renewal seminar tomorrow for the region and I have a feeling it may not come off. So, just keep the seminar, those driving and planning, etc. including some of our folks who are supposed to cook . . . in your prayers.

I hope the seminar comes off, the speakers are good, I have heard of them and think it will be a good day for those who attend. It is about spiritual renewal for pastors. Something pastors sometimes neglect as they do the busy work in the church.

It's a good reminder, we all need spiritual renewal.

Remember to pray Ephesians 6:11-18. It has become a daily prayer for me.

Election Central

Here's an election joke a friend sent me . . .
. . . Enjoy it.

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. "I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning . . .
. . . Today you voted.”

Monday, March 03, 2008

Comfort Zones

It is always great to hear about people, churches and organizations that are stepping out in faith to achieve things that most people would think were impossible. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve found numerous examples of people jumping way out of the ‘comfort zone’ to attempt huge things for the Kingdom. Here are a couple that come to mind ~

Liberty University recently announced an initiative to plant 500 new churches in the next five years. Imagine 500 brand new churches, with fresh vision and vitality to help a world desparately in need of Jesus to experience Jesus in new and fresh ways!

On the other coast, Pastor John Bishop and Living Hope Church in Vancouver, WA recently announced plans to start six brand new campuses ON EASTER. That’s six brand new churches starting on one day! (Living Hope already maxes out SEVEN weekend services at their main campus). This God-sized vision will become a reality in the next few weeks. . . and many people will come to faith!

Naperville Community Church started two new multi-site churches yesterday, with a total attendance being about 1100 at the two services combined.

What have you and I done that caused us to step out of our comfort zone lately? I love this quote from Perry Noble, pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the US: “God couldn’t give a RIP about your comfort–He simply wants you to be obedient, and at times that means facing things head on that scare you and completely take you out of your comfort zone.”

Has God given you a dream that scares you to death. (I hope so!) Maybe you’ve been staying in your comfort zone for too long. Maybe God doesn’t want you to start 500 hcurches in five years; or six new campuses in one day . . .

. . . but what DOES he want you to do?

Pastor Michael

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

I have had a number of positive comments about the Spiritual Discipline series. I am still trying to figure out how I am going to follow it up. Keep me in prayer on that one.

We had a better than usual crowd for Sunday night, maybe the teaser about ganing more prayer methods helped. Which is really all we spoke about tonight. I'll blog all the items we spoke about tomorrow, if I remember.

I sensed people more into the singing today,not sure of the reasoning, but glad it was out there. Maybe warmer weather has something to do with it. The song "In the Secret" was a good fit for today.

Remember to keep Pastor Doug and family in prayer as he plans to arrive on March 10 and as they seek housing. Later this week I'll send some thoughts about our next topic, which is confession, then fasting.

Until then, blessings to all!!

Sleeping in Alexandria

I am going to attempt to go to bed a little earlier tonight, and I am bummed about it. Next Saturday is the men of valor breakfast at FBC at 7:30 am. Yes, that is 7:30 am. Way toooooooo early for a Saturday morning. I don't care who is cooking, it's toooooo early, did I say tooooooo early, I hope you get the drift.

Then to make matters worse, Sunday we move the clocks forward, so I lose another hour of sleep. Somewhere along the way, God has a sense of humor and it is directed at me next weekend. So. . . I am preparing the way by writing my lament, maybe it will become a psalm. So, I will try to go to sleep earlier tonight. Last night was a long night, I tossed and turned a lot, too much on my heart, soul and mind.

Thanks for listening.

Forbidden or Unforbidden

There was an error message on all feedblitz accounts last night.

I don't think it should be on today. So, this is a test run. Hopefully we are now unforbidden, unless of course you are thinking of doing something which is . . . .

forbidden.

P.M.

The Courage to Grow!

I appreciate devotionals which are real and relevant.  This devotional perfectly meets that requirement.  Annie Downs has written a powerf...