Saturday, May 31, 2008

Baseball thoughts

While I love sports and am thrilled my kids do as well, I just wonder about the extreme pressure which we (the parents) put on the kids. I help coach both teams, more Joshua's than Zachary's, and the pressure is unbearable at times.

One of the reasons I left organized baseball was the parents, they were obnoxious. Seriously, if you hang out at games long enough, if you make it through two games you will see it and especially hear it. Parents yelling at kids, telling them it's okay when the strike out, telling the kid to throw the ball over the plate, telling them they are no good. It's intense out there. I know I can get pretty intense as well. I keep telling myself to be cool, this is not the world series, and if it was, it still would not be the end of the world.

Anyways, just a couple of rambling thoughts.

News from the diamond

The day started early, Joshua's game at 10; Zachary's at 12.

Joshua's team was coming off of a huge victory, they beat the best team, and were tied for first. Not after today, they played a team with only 1 victory and they got whumped. It was ugly on their side, the other team played a great game. A bad day for the kids.

Zachary's team jumped to a 3-0 lead, but were losing 7-3 going into the last inning. They scored one run, then loaded the bases, and up comes you know who . . . Zachary.

It's a parent's dream and nightmare. The first pitch was a called strike, it hit the dirt, no way it was a strike, but I'm a bias and objective (!) dad. Then a ball, then a foul ball. Okay kid, you've got your timing down, just hit the ball, anywhere, don't whiff. The pitch comes and Zachary launches a fly ball to left that goes for a triple. The game is tied. What a moment for the kid. He got stranded at third, and he was furious to the point of tears that he did not score. Twice he made it to third but did not score. He was angrier about not scoring than tying the game.

Anyway, the other team scored one run in the bottom of the last inning to win.

Friday, May 30, 2008

After School Surprises

After school we went to East of Chicago pizza for a celebration lunch. Then on to home and Joshua's great surprise. I woke up early this morning, 6:15 a.m. just to make sure Joshua did not happen to walk into the family room.

He was beside himself with joy and excitement. He was totally speechless, his smile was amazing. It was so cool to so Liberty enjoy his joy. While they are only in 4th grade, it was just neat to see someone, another kid his age simply be happy for him.

It really makes me think about how we let the issues of life get to us, when there is really so much good right in front of us.

Zachary happened to walk in just before Joshua and his mouth was stuck open. He too, was so excited. Great moments in life!!

Dreams Thoughts and Ruminations

Just thinking on paper. . .


What really are dreams, thoughts and ruminations? I particularly like that last word . . . ruminations. What does it mean to ruminate? It means to chew something over; literally to chew ones cud; to ponder; or to meditate. Sometimes we need to take our dreams, our thoughts and do more than let them flitter in and out just as quickly as they came in.


I really don’t think we do this well; that is, ruminate. Just a couple of thoughts ~ ~ when was the last time you allowed your dreams, not daydreams, but real dreams for life, take hold? For most people it is pretty rare. Yet, it is healthy, in fact, I would claim necessary to have dreams and thoughts and visions of what could be, not what shouldn’t be, but what should be. I don’t often let people in too deep on my dreams, most of the time you can kinda guess, but I’ll let you in on a couple of my dreams (personal and church).


Personal ~ I am passionate about Jesus, hence, I am passionate about life. It’s easy to allow life to suck the life out of you. I need to guard against that. So, personally, I want to be excited, vibrant, relevant to the world because my relationship with Jesus is exciting, vibrant, and relevant.


I want my family life to be filled with joy, excitement and healthy passion for one another. I want us to be a family of encouragers, people who look at one another and seek to find what is good and to even look at the intent of another’s actions, and look for the good in it, which leads us to be positive people.


Notwithstanding is my desire to finish my doctorate. I have about 5-7 pages left. Then I want to investigate teaching at the college level. Just one class here and there, not a full time thing. I want to be the pastor for the next 13 years at FBC. I have thoughts about a book, that I will talk to InterVarsity Press about. Talks started yesterday at the baccalaureate.


I want to be healthy . . . physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.


Some really aren’t dreams, but goals or needs.


We will do church dreams in a couple of days, I might add a few more thoughts to what I have already written.

SCHOOLS OUT . . . !!

Schools out for the summer!! The kids are thrilled, not so sure about parents.

We take Joshua and Zachary out for lunch on the last day of the year, a tradition, which developed without our knowing it (those are the fun kind). We had an addition this year, Liberty, Joshua's girl friend joined us, then came home with us and witnessed the grand unveiling of his drums. The kid was speechless, so thrilled to see how joy filled they can be.

Joshua received all A's, only he and one other student did that for all report cards. He received an honors award and a music award for being one of the top 3 band members. WAY TO GO!!

Zachary received all A's and 2 B+'s. He was only 3 points away from straight A's. He did great, especially considering we had a number of issues with his blood sugar spiking to the 3-400's and dropping as well, which does impact his concentration. So PROUD OF HIM!

Baccalaureate

The youth did a great job singing and speaking. David Zimmerman from Intervarsity did a wonderful job speaking to the youth and guests. He lives in my old stomping grounds and works with a friend from seminary. We talked about books and about Spiritual Disciplines and he expressed interest in an idea for a book or study for families and spiritual disciplines. Yikes!! That is cool!! It's been a dream to write something that could actually help people in their spiritual journey with Christ.

My Drummer Boy

I set up the drums for Joshua tonight. It's almost 1:30 a.m. and he will get them tomorrow. He will be getting straight A's for the year . . . !! WOW. I never would have dreamt one of my kids could accomplish this. Not with my lineage, maybe Debbie's.

I'm proud of him! And want you to know that. So, I think I have the drums set up and I will hope to keep him out of the family room until after school is out tomorrow, then surprise . . . surprise . . . surprise!!! Go-oo-oo-lly!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baseball heaven

Joshua's team was playing the undefeated team tonight, with the two best pitchers in the league pitching. Every out on Joshua's team was a strike out. Most of their outs were strikeouts. The score was tied 0-0 in the bottom of the 6th inning, when Joshua's team loaded the bases and with 2 outs, one of the kids who I don't think has a hit yet this year, blooped a single and his team erupted with a great 1-0 game. It was a great game on both sides.

Hanging with Joshua

I think it still amazes me that my son wants to have dad around to eat lunch together at school. Joshua is at the age when dad's are not quite so cool, but I am honored to eat with him. It does not hurt when I bring him a McDonald's milk shake. Added to that is having a good relationship with his friends as well. Having one boy say he wants to be on my team is uplifting for an old guy like me.

After eating (I might add, if you knew what some of those kids are eating, throwing out, and not eating . . . WOW!) we went out for recess. They decided to play one giant kickball game. Joshua did well, a home run and on base every time. . . just like dad. I hung out and watched and officiated disputed calls. Also pretty cool when his girl friend ran over to me and jumped at me and we just hung out and talked for 15 minutes about family, life, allergies, shots, smoking, parents, the summer.

Pretty cool moments in the day with my boy and his friends!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tired

Ever fall asleep at night, and wake up ten minutes later, still tired, but not able to sleep. That was my night last night. Too much on the brain I guess.

I ended up not falling asleep until around 2:30, long night and longer day.

We also had a new stove delivered but we needed help installing it, since the plug was attached to the circuit breaker and Sears will not touch that. So thanks Dennis for helping. Then I had to saw away some of the molding so the oven would fit in its nice slot.

But it's in and the woodwork is mostly finished and I did not break anything or destroy anything. That is a success right there. Only a little bloodshed for Dennis and myself after he left.

You know, it was frustrating yet kind of fun to try something like that and have it not be a bust.

Unchartered Territory

Yup, I am entering a foreign land. Not sure what lies before me, I know lies behind me, but . . .

what is it?

The conclusion. That is where I am at. I have been a writing fiend and am now on page 172. All I have left is my conclusion (probably 10 pages {?}), I need to add one section I held off on, then add in the appendices and I will pop that baby in the mail. Then wait for a response. At this point, there will now be 2 readers who give feedback and ask for changes. If it is mostly acceptable, then hopefully over the summer I'll be making that nerve-wracking trip to Deerfield for my oral defense. I don't think anyone will want to sit with me on the trip, since I'll be a little anxious.

Anyway, that is the good news, and that was my break, now back to writing.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vacation

We are considering going to Spirit Song at King's Island for a short vacation the weekend of July 11-12. Spirit Song is a concert series at the King's Island ampitheater.

Catch this schedule for Friday and Saturday - - -

Friday, July 11
3:00pm - Group 1 Crew
3:45pm - BarlowGirl
4:45pm - Skillet
6:00pm - Jeremy Camp
7:15pm - Mark Stuart
8:15pm - Casting Crowns

Saturday, July 12
3:00pm - Stellar Kart
3:45pm - RED
4:45pm - Pillar
6:00pm - David Crowder Band
7:15pm - Tom Richter
8:15pm - tobyMac

Joshua and Zachary already like Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns and Tobymac.

Sounds like a great weekend, weather permitting.

Wood Bees - part 2

I sprayed a hornet and wasp spray in the holes in the wood last night and this morning there 11 dead bees on the front porch. Not as many male bees flying around the entrance, although I could hear the buzzing in the wood.

I think I am going to use some straws and spray more into the holes, knowing this will go deeper and hopefully kill off more, especially the queen and the eggs. Then it will be time to fill in the holes.

Keep your ears open tomorrow if you hear me scream that the queen is loose. Remember, only the female has the stinger. Hmm . . . nope, I'm not going there about similarities between female wood bees and _ _ men. Yup, I'll admit it; I'm chicken!!!

Saturday fun

Went to the girls softball field with Joshua and spent quality time with him. Hit ground balls, fly balls, let him pitch, did batting practice.

When we got home, he said, it was one of the best Saturday's of his life. WOW!! Sometimes we don't realize the impact we make on our children / loved ones.

Sunday Reflections

We had a good worship, many people were missing, but we still had a good crowd.

The song about the Trees in the field (?) had a Jewish melody to it. Kinda cool.

I heard a number of comments about the sermon. I think we need to be reminded about life in general, not that we do it wrong, but we get caught up in the small, trivial and unnecessary aspects which end up taking away from the big things.

I really enjoy the video American Dream. Next week, we might hear Nicole Nordeman singing Legacy.

How do you your loved ones know you love them?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

wood bees


We have an epidemic of wood bees. They look just like bumble bees, but bore holes in wood, and we have lots of them above our entrance to the house. Not sure how to rid ourselves of these new friends. I kill about 3-4 a day using a rake and smacking one with the rake, it flies off the house, and falls to the ground and I kill it.

They actually bore holes in the wood and live in the wood making little passage ways and stay in there at night and come out in the day. Any remedies would be appreciated. We can hear them above our heads in the awning in the entryway outside the house.

I learned on the internet that only the female stings and the males are guarding the entrance. The males fly around like they are crazed, often bumping into each other. There is a spray you need to spray into the holes and along the passage ways which can be up to 4 feet long.

Oh my nose

Yesterday my allergies hit full speed ahead. Runny nose, postnasal drip, scratchy throat, and head stuffiness. I finally took allergy medicine this evening, hoping it knocks me out.

Lots of people are complaining about severe allergies this year. Welcome to Indiana.

My little CHICK-a-dee

The joys of having children is helping them to experience life . . . right? So, last night, Saturday, our little pet chicken, George decides he is going to squawk at 1 a.m. That's right, 1 a.m. he decided it was time to make some noise. After listening to his chirping for awhile, I went downstairs, as if he was another child, thought he might be hungry and gave him some food. This did not stop him, so I eventually got up again, moved his box into another room and went to sleep.

But, Zachary woke up at 1:30, went to the bathroom, sneezed, blew his nose, it was now 1:48. The last time I saw the clock it was 2:36. It was a short night. And I'm tired.

We made a special delivery this afternoon to the Haron's to deliver a new friend for their other baby chickens. Last I saw George was low chicken on the totem pole. He was by himself, and I kinda felt bad for the guy/gal, but I'll get over it, and so will George. All the other chicks are white, while he is black and white, so we can always pick him out. I wonder if he will come to us when we call out his name? Do chickens have long term memory? Oh, the problems of the day!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Alice

With school out for some and just about over for the rest, I can only be reminded of my favorite end of the year song. Alice Cooper sang, "Schools out for the summer!!!" What great music . . . aah, the memories, which reminds me of Barbara Streisand. Wow, Babs and Alice in one paragraph!

Anyway, for all those who remember that wild and crazy Alice Cooper, here is a great quote from Alice - - -

Quote from Alice Cooper in the book Life on Planet Rock, page 66-67:

I was pretty much convinced all my life that there was just one God, and there was Jesus Christ, and there was the devil. You couldn't believe in God without believing in the devil. I always tell bands that the most dangerous thing you can do is to believe in the concept of the devil or the concept of God, because you aren't giving them full credit.

When you believe in God, you've got to believe in the all-powerful God. He's not just God, he's the all-powerful God, and he has total control over everyone's life. The devil on the other hand, is a real character that's trying his hardest to tear your life apart. If you believe that this is just mythology, you're a prime target, because you know that's exactly what Satan wants: to be a myth. But he's not a myth, of this I'm totally convinced of that.

So here we are. We have God pulling us one way and the devil pulling us another, and we're in the middle. We have to make a choice. And everyone, at some point in their life, has to make that choice. When people say, "How do you believe this? Why do you believe this?" I just say nothing else speaks to my heart. This doesn't speak to my intellect, it doesn't speak to my logic-it speaks right to my heart and right to my soul, deeper than anything I've ever thought of. And I totally believe it. That being said, I'm not a very good Christian. I mean, none of us are ever good Christians. That's not the point. When you're a Christian, it doesn't mean you're gonna be good, it means you've got a harder road to pull.

Makes me want to turn Schools out. . . just a little louder this year.

The Question

I sent emails to all those I had email for asking this question for Sunday's message ~

If you could hear your parents tell you one thing, what would you want them to tell you?

If I don't have your email and you want to respond, send an email to me at
mishana826@yahoo.com

All responses will be anonymous, but I will share the results on Sunday.

Michael

Breakfast at Gaither's

Had a great breakfast at Gaither's this morning sponsored by Mike and Connie Owens. It was a way to say thank you to local pastors. Great food and a great speaker. A woman named Ann Smith. What an amazing and powerful message she had. We should have her come and speak to FBC. She was a missionary for many, many years; and is one of those octogenarians who is full of life and passion and vibrancy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Business

I used to not like Business Meetings, but I am coming to enjoy them more and more. I think for too long, business meetings have been labeled as bad, and while I really don't relish them each month, I believe they are golden opportunities to cast vision and cut down possible rumors and actually run them more like Town Hall meetings, where you can have more give and take and discussion about the future.

Last night was no exception. We spoke about some rumors, about my doctoral project and attendance, and some quick thoughts on it. The main thing at FBC is the fact that we have stayed relatively stable for the past 10 years which is good on the one hand in a declining area. However, we should be growing, and that is the focus for the church.

Digression time. . . .

A retired pastor said growth is not all there is in a church. He said faithfulness is number one, and if you are faithful that is more important than growth. You may want to stone me for this, but I disagree about 100%. Although I didn't tell him. My belief is that if you are faithful you will be fruitful. Read John 15

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

Okay, I'm preaching now. . . I love this. This is our lives, we are called to be fruit bearers, and the only way to bear fruit is to be connected to the source of all life, CHRIST. The KJV calls it 'abiding' the NIV calls it 'remaining'. I call it FAITHFULNESS. If we aren't faithful we aren't going to bear fruit, period. We often think we are faithful, but the sign of faithful for me, is you/I become fruit bearers, not just for today, but as Jesus said in verse 16, it will be fruit that will last.

Sermon is now over. I hope we get it. We have the power, the power comes from God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit,
we have the people. It's all there, right before us and in us. God calls us to live the super abundant life. Let's do it . . . Amen? Amen!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Writing Cramp

I gained about 7 pages tonight, and am cruising along. It's time for bed, since my forearms are hurting. The chair in our office at home is too low for the desk. Time for a new chair . . . maybe one that gives massages.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Cars and Marital Advice

It's amazing how God opens up opportunities if we are willing to enter.

Late this afternoon I was in Anderson and stopped by Ed Martin Toyota to look at a couple of cars. The sales rep spoke to me and I took a couple of test drives and as we were talking he said he was getting married this weekend in Colorado, he's even flying his pastor to Estes Park for the wedding (how cool is this guy!!)

Anyway, we start talking about marriage and he asked me what I thought, and I told him all I knew about marriage, men and women. The conversation lasted about 10 seconds. Actually, we had a great conversation, he took some notes and we parted ways. I was hoping I could get a marital advice discount, but no such luck. Irregardless, it was a great conversation, refreshing to talk about Christ openly and freely at a car dealership.

I did like both cars, the Yaris and the Corolla. I've had many Toyotas before, all were great! But we'll see, I then test drove a Chevy, but it did not compare to the Toyotas. More to come.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Zachary ballgame

Zachary had a baseball game while Joshua had a band concert. Joshua's group really played much better than in the Fall. I was impressed with their improvement. . . kudos to Mr. Hochstetler.

Got to Zachary's game as the other team was breaking it open, scoring 8 runs in the 4th inning. At that point the score was 8-0. It was a nasty night, rainy and cold, what fun. Zachary has hit the ball, but never scored and has had some good plays made on him. Finally, he got a base hit and eventually scored. I love when my kids have that big smile on their faces when they are so happy and excited.

That's what it's all about!!!

Doctoral update

I have been doing lots of typing at night and am making progress. I have about 40-50 more pages, I think, until I am at a point where I will wrap things up. I am on page 136, but with my appendix, which includes sermons and curriculum, etc. I will end up around 300 pages.

I am at the point where I am trying to interpret the data which has been compiled to see what it all means. Sometimes, that is not easy to do, but trends end up appearing which becomes interesting. I have been linking our spiritual discipline scores to the state of the church which helps put things in perspective and makes the totals a little more relevant for me in my study.

Eventually, sometime in July, I think, I will present my findings (learnings) to the church on a couple of Sunday or Wednesday evenings and try to lead us in a discussion of what this all means and what comes next for us.

For now, just remember me in prayer. I'll try to give better updates as I progress.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

Fun day at worship. It's fun to laugh a lot and learn about God's call in our lives. I heard a lot of positive responses to the first talk about what men want women to know. I still find it incredible that very few marital and premarital books/studies discuss the dynamics of Ephesians 5:33.

There was actually so much to discuss about what it means to respect someone, that sometime later we'll have to deal with the entire issue of respect.

Thanks so much to my friends from Dearborn who came and sang 3 songs. Many commented that they enjoyed their music.

For the next two weeks we'll talk about kids and families. Then on June 8, it will be about what women want men to know, then Father's Day will feature a man of the Bible, then marriage on June 22.

Pastor Doug will preach on June 29. You won't want to miss his morning debut. Not to put the pressure on, but . . . I look forward to being able to have a week off.

Have a great week, be a blessing to others in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Andy Stanley Quote

Andy is the son of Pastor Charles Stanley; and Andy has a large and growing church in north Atlanta. This morning as I was reading in a leadership devotional book, I read this quote from Andy ~

You can't resist the will of God and receive the grace of God at the same time.

Hmm. . . make you wonder a little about yourself, it does for me. I wonder how many times I have resisted God's will, yet expected to receive His grace and I might add, blessing.

I'll chew on that one for awhile today. How about you?!

Monday, May 12, 2008

3 strikes and you're out

Joshua's baseball team got their second win of the season and Joshua got his first hit of the season and an RBI. He was so thrilled and excited, smiling all the way to first and all the way home, as he sped around the bases on a bases clearing triple by the next batter.

It's so fun to see your child with the biggest possible smile on their face. Just had to brag on him.

Malls to Sanctuaries

I heard an interesting broadcast by Rex Miller. His view of the under 45 generation is that they are wanting to move from ~

polished prepackaged events to unmediated, hands-on experiences
Main Event to Meaningful Encounters
Product to Process
Knowing to Doing
visual language to multi-media
Mall to Sanctuaries
chasing the new thing to reframing and layering the past
permanency to mobility


I think this is part of what is implied by the refocus of church for people under 45 ... who are primarily seeking big visions, mentoring relationships, and practical ways to change the world. This contrasts to boomers who tend to appreciate big performance, general informality, and comfortable styles of worship.

Those who are in the 20-35 range want similar things, but one item left off of Miller's list is authenticity. They want authentic relationships and experiences. They are used to the 'superficial' church of old and do not want any part of that.

Now don't take offense at 'superficial' it is their frame of reference as they have seen parents struggle with church fights and take-overs, along with a scoop of hypocrisy.

Your thoughts? What do you want in a church? At FBC?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brian McLaren

On Friday I had the pleasure of taking Brian McLaren to Goshen College. Brian is the elder spokesman for what is called the "Emergent Church." The Emergent or emerging church basically consists of those, especially younger people, aged 20-35, who seek to have conversation about and trying experiments in moving forward the ministry of Jesus in new and different ways; many times unconventional to the traditional church. They are moving forward in a time when change is a constant and many struggle with what this movement seeks. The major criticisms are about their theology, which tends to be further from conservative, is more open (inclusive), often denies hell, and does not deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ but is close to it.

The Emergent Church is generally disillusioned with the organized, institutional church as it has existed through the 20th century (whether fundamentalist, liberal, megachurch, or tall-steeple liturgical). Its strengths are creative, energetic, youthful, authentic, highly relational. Its weaknesses are somewhat cynical, disorganized, sometimes reckless (even in the theological ideas willing to be entertained), immature.

Brian has received a great deal of criticism. He was wonderfully open to talk to about leadership, family, faith, his books, his theology, his critics and more. While I don't embrace Brian's theology, I have a greater appreciation of the wrestling which occurs when you live in the gray zone of life, and you have the authenticity to talk about it. Many people relish the black and white world because it makes everything fit into tidy sections, Brian does not.

Evidence of Brian's respect among the younger generation can be seen by the fact that he was speaking at Goshen College and will be back at Anderson College in September. His main theological views about life stem from the belief that we are called to live the great life today, and not worry so much about heaven. I sense there is not a very high view of heaven or hell for Brian, but we did not focus on that for long.

Anyway, it was a great opportunity to sit for 2 1/2 hours with an important Christian leader. He could have put on music, made phone calls, but he sat and talked; and I appreciate that very much.

Sunday Night Reflections

Good day at church. Thanks to Dennis for fixing the screen this morning. I really wanted to show the video of the softball game which spoke about doing the right thing at the right time. I really do wonder why we become tearful at these clips, me included. Shouldn't helping one another be a normal part of life?

I believe the question from Esther 4:14, asking if this is the time is vital for our lives as well. What is it that God is calling you to do and be? Sometimes, just like with Esther she had to risk her life. For most of us that will not be the case, but the question remains, what are we to do with what God has given us . . . it's time, it's the right time. Go and do it for God.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Everything Must Change

Went to the Gaither's tonight to listen to Brian McLaren talk about his new book Everything Must Change. Brian was a pastor for 24 years in the DC area, and has been a prolific writer for the past few years. He retired two years ago in order to write and travel. He is a controversial figure and is considered the elder statesman for the emergent church movement. I'll go into more detail later. His comments were very interesting, right on for much of it, although there are some possible theological hindrances.

I'll learn more about them Friday morning, as I drive Brian to Goshen College. It will be just me and Brian for 2 hours, of course I need to pick him up at 6:30 am, yikes. He and I had a good laugh about the time. Apparently he's not a morning person either.

So, why offer to drive him, when I have work to do? Glad you asked. This gives me a chance to talk to and learn from one of the leading church speakers. He's controversial, but I gain the opportunity to pick his brain for 2 hours and have my mileage paid. It don't get any better than that. Plus, we will talk about church life, ministry, leadership, the emergent church movement, life and more. It's a great opportunity. I'll report back about results.

For now, it's time to get some sleep.

Special Delivery

Doug and I went to the schools in Alexandria to deliver the baked goods which were made for Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week. Many smiles of appreciation came back our way. It's always fun to give something away when it's not expected.

Quotes and Notes

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com as quoted on BusinessWeek.com (April 17, 2008)

  • I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate. That’s actually a serious point. If you’re going to do something that’s never been done before—which is basically what innovation is—people are going to misunderstand it just because it’s new.
That's a great point and reminder for me. When you try something new, something you believe you must do, and must talk about, people will invariably misunderstand you. I have learned that even when I explain why I want to do something, my words are heard, but not listened to . . . as a result there is friction, when there should not have been, because a dialogue was never started.

A great reminder from Bezos. Click on the above link to read the entire article. It's short and easy.



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Video

I saw a great video about helping one another. I am going to see if I can show it at the end of the message on Sunday, it fits in well.

The main scripture is from Esther 4:14, when Mordecai asks Esther, "14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

What about you, who knows, that you have come to your position, your situation for such a time as this.

The Dating Game

Well . . . it's happened. Joshua is the "hottest" boy in school. At least that is what his 'girlfriend' says about him. Joshua is no longer an eligible young man. He admits he now has a girl friend. The scary part is that she has a cell phone and called him three time today.

The cool thing is that he thought it was cool to ask her to come to church with him tonight for dinner. So, his first quasi date is at church. Oh, what a spiritual boy . . . wonder who he takes after? (Whisper the answer) . . . Debbie.

Nerve wracking days have now started. But it's fun to watch. I just need to remind him to always be a gentleman.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Billy and Miley

Have you heard about the flack about Miley showing her back and the picture below with her dad. I disagree with both pictures, and am diappointed in Billy Ray for getting caught up in this whole mess and allowing his daughter to fall prey to others for the sake of fame and money. To see Billy with his hair slicked back and Miley looking like she does is not the image I would want my daughter to portray, especially with me sitting next to her. Seems Billy is enjoying his moment of fame. Finally, to hear Miley and Billy say they didn't the pictures would look like this is a stretch since they were shown the pictures before leaving the studio. Not a smart move!

Just thought I'd give my 2 cents to the Miley issue.

This leads to the question of how do we protect those we love!?

A New Addition

Well, we gained a new addition today. Joshua and Zachary have been wanting a dog forever, so, we bit the bullet, and Joshua got a baby chick. Yup, you got it, we have a pet. The chick is a girl, whose name is George. Joshua's choice in the name, what do I know. They had 20 chicks hatch at school and he turned in a permission slip from me, and we have a 5 day old chick.

Anyway, George is a cutie, so furry and does not need to go out for walks, easy to feed, he/she is just such a pleasure to have around the house. Of course, we have already found a family for George when he/she grows a little older and bigger and outgrows the box. Hopefully, we'll have a couple of pictures to show you. For now, George is resting comfortably, and so are we.

Actually George squawks, then settles down and when you hold George and rub the side of the wings, George just nestles in your hand and relaxes.

Oh the calming effect I have on chicks... {:-)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Lost and Found

Last night Debbie and Joshua were playing catch at the Babe Ruth diamond and she realized she lost her wedding ring. A group of people looked, but to no avail. We called Kim G. who has a metal detector and he came in the morning to the field with me to look. While walking around the field, I found the ring. It helped make the Scripture about finding a lost coin in Luke 15 come alive. Ever lose something and find it, and just want to celebrate? That's how we felt.

Strategic Mapping - part 2

This finishes off the article about strategic mapping. I prefer this style simply because it fits with my personality and style. As a visionary, it is difficult for me to follow a set path that someone else sets up. It is the blessing and curse. I cause other people to look at life differently, and I frustrate them because I just don't follow the plan. I've learned nothing is ever set in stone, that is not life, it may be how we would prefer life to be, but that only works when we want it to work, e.g., if someone is dying we want to change the rules, and at other times we want to keep the rules. It is like the waves in the ocean, there is a constant change in the waves and what they carry.

Anyway here is the conclusion ~

Another way to look at strategic mapping is to compare it to jazz. A jazz piece has a basic theme that musicians play all around, improvising as it feels natural to them. The more that strategic mappers chart new courses through unfamiliar territory (starting new ministries), the more natural it feels to play around with the map, trying new paths and scouting out new ministries. Some paths will begin to feel more right than others. Over time, strategic mappers begin to smell dead ends (ministries that won’t reach people) before taking the wrong route. Sure, an enormous amount of thought and planning goes into playing jazz, as well as endless practice. But in the end the great jazz musicians have the ability to instantly and unthinkingly sacrifice the best musical score simply because some flash of intuition has suggested a better sound. They have learned how to improvise as they go.

In the beginning strategic mappers may not have any more than a starting point and a desired destination in mind before setting out on the journey. If the journey is one that has been taken before, then some parts of the map may be drawn in already, but not in detail. If the journey is one that has never before been taken, as is the case with so many effective ministries today, the map is mostly blank between the point of departure and the destination. As the explorers become acquainted with the landscape and the wildlife, they make notes about which paths to take so others can follow. The more people who take the journey, the better the map is drawn. As better equipment is invented, the more detailed the map becomes. Over time a full-blown map to the future emerges for less adventurous leaders to follow.

So the most effective strategic mappers are often forged out of years of exploration. Study after study has been done in the corporate world to discover the ingredients in the making of a leader. These studies have resulted in very little usable data. But one piece of data has emerged: Very few, if any, senior executive types emerge fully formed. Most studies show that it takes ten to twenty years to grow an excellent manager (John Kotter, General Managers). Do you see any comparison here with how Jesus prepared for his ministry? Ever wonder why he was already an old man of thirty (old for that era) before he started to mentor others? We know from Scripture that he began preparing for his role very early in his life, but even he wasn’t ready for many years.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to take a journey where very few people have been, I want a seasoned guide who has at least made the journey before. I want that person to at least have some semblance of a map in hand. I don’t mind if the person adds details to the map as we go, but I sure don’t want that person to start with only a blank page to draw the map on.

Like explorers, most strategic mappers learn best on the job. The challenges that confront them and the ways they handle those situations become their primary learning lab. They may be well educated and terribly smart, but if they are not capable of “adaptive-on-the-journey learning,” they will wind up spinning their wheels in some dead-end ministry or worse yet, being eaten alive by some well-meaning church member who knows how to work the system so that nothing new ever transpires.

Strategic mappers are constantly on the lookout for newer, faster, and better ways to do indigenous ministry in a rapidly changing world. They can change course on a dime when they see the path they are on isn’t going anywhere. When mapping a trail through the wilderness, you don’t stop to consider if this is the way it’s always been done or if you are following procedure. You just make a decision: This trail or that path . . . anywhere beats being lost.

That’s where adaptive-on-the-journey learning comes in. If I want to be one of the people to help my congregation navigate through what I call a “wormhole in history,” then I better be a lifetime learner. Better yet, I must see my number-one role in life to be that of developing my spiritual leadership. Here, then, is the number-one reason most church leaders can’t lead: They don’t see life as one big learning experience and they don’t develop their skills as a spiritual guide.

So chew on these tidbits:

· Just about everything I learned in seminary or college is out-of-date already.
· The book I read last year is already debunked by someone.
· Just about the time I think I’m getting it, “it” is no longer relevant.
· If it worked today, the odds are it won’t work tomorrow.
· If I take a look at your library, how many books will I find that were written this year or
in the second or third century?
· If you haven’t read at least a dozen books this year, there is no way you can keep.
ahead of the wild beasts.
· The last thing I learned made so much sense that I instinctively knew it wouldn’t work, so I threw it out.

I’m getting a headache so I’ll stop there, but you get the picture.

What’s a leader to do? Learn from every experience that comes your way and ask, “What’s God trying to tell me, and how do I journal it for the next people to come along behind me?” That’s the ministry of strategic mappers. Nike would love them.

Callouts:

A strategic map gets drawn as the journey is underway.

The destination is more important than the plan!

Strategic mapping, unlike strategic planning, is based more on hands-on experience than on information.

The Courage to Grow!

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