Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can You be Too Good!?

That happened to a 9 year old boy in Connecticut. He was a pitcher for his little league team and the league told him he was too good and trhew too hard (40 mph). In one game the other team walked off the fielf when he was going to pitch.

I don't get it. This was not about kids, this was all about parents not wanting their kids to lose or strike out. The amazing thing is that this kid never hit any batters.

Can you imagine the Chinese government telling a great 9 year old basketball player or gymnast they can no longer play in a league because they are too good. It's amazing what we will do . . . all for the sake of winning. What about that boys own desire to play, what might it do to him at a later date about trying something in life and remembering being rejected. Old scars do not always heal quickly, they sometimes take years and lifetimes to heal.

Click HERE to watch the story.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

World Pulse Festival Pics

I had mentioned a few pictures were taken at World Pulse Festival, here are couple of Tobymac and Skillet.

Toby is in the white shirt with black vest. There are 3 other singers, 2 guitarists, 1 keyboard and 1 drummer. Not all are pictured in these pictures.



Below are one from Skillet. They electric cello adds a really cool sound.










Now a picture of the crowd, lots and lots of people. . .

Oral Defense - The Day

Amazingly, I had a very easy time falling asleep Monday night. I read over notes and comments to prepare myself. After waking up I ate breakfast and reviewed more notes. Then on to the seminary to meet with the secretary.

We had a good meeting and she went over some final paperwork, the editing process for the final draft and some last minute "free advice."

Finally, the meeting started and we did not talk about the Cubs!

One member at FBC told me they thought I was to teach them something, and I really think it happened right off the bat, as we spoke about my conversion, my main reader and mentor told me about his son in law who makes so much money and is Jewish but has no interest in Christ, whom his daughter follows. I told me my story gives him hope for his son in law (maybe that was part of God's plan).

Anyway, the meeting was intense, out of 24 questions I prepared to review, they asked about 1/4 of 1 question. So much for preparation!

What was vital in this meeting was remaining calm and listening to the questions, which came from theological perspectives, as well as pastoral questions. After about one hour I stepped back, while listening and considered how the hearing was going. I felt pretty good.

By the time it was over, I knew without being told how I did. They were very complimentary about my writing style, had some criticisms, but were overall very positive.

They were very complimentary about the formatting and syntax. Dr. Larsen told me to tell Debbie (he knew she did the work) that she was "magnificent." I really believe good syntax and formatting were very important to the readability of my project. It needs to be shortened, and they gave me some ideas about how to shorten it.

I left the room after 1 hour and 58 minutes of questioning. After 12 minutes Dr. Larsen called me back in and said, "Congratulations Dr. Deutsch." You did very well, in fact, tell your wife, this old man says, "well done, well done." How wonderful those words felt to hear. There were times I wondered if I could complete this project, now I heard the words, "you passed."

On top of that were the comments from the 3 men that I do not need to make any major revisions, I just need to make a few corrections, and consider making a couple of other revisions which are minor in nature . . . AND I do not need to give them a copy to approve. As far as they are concerned, they are very pleased with my work and after I make my changes I can send it in to the person who will help me with final formatting, and await a December 19 graduation.

WOW!!! What a day!

The group

This is a picture of the men who interviewed me for my oral defense.











Dr. Larsen (my main reader, mentor and professor emeritus at Trinity), Dr. Wayne Johnson (director of the Masters of the Divinity program) and Dr. Marty Crain (Director of the doctoral program.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hello from Chi-town

Had an easy and uneventful drive this morning and afternoon. Was on the phone with some folks during the day, catching up on life events.

Took a walk and had a Portillo's hot dog. Portillo's is a popular resaturant in Chicago. It's as close to a kosher hot dog I had growing up, it even included what they call sport peppers, yum!

Then I studied and later met my sister Janet for dinner at the Cubby-bear North. Guess what team they root for. Had a good Italian Beef sandwich, back to the hotel, study and read over stuff.

I'm taking a little break, then review and to sleep.

Blessings and remember me in prayer at 11 -1 eastern time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oral Defense

One thing which I realized was when you think about praying for me at 10 a.m. eastern time, hold off an hour.

Remember Chi-town is one hour behind us, so my Oral Defense is from 11-1 eastern or 10-12 central time.

Just wanting the maximum prayer protection at the right time.

SUNDAY REFLECTION

The Spirit is Moving

Just a quick thought about our worship lately. I have been feeling the Spirit, note capital “S” moving throughout the church over the past 6 weeks. I've heard many comments about this feeling. We have not had one week where someone did not come forward for prayer, to accept Christ, or to join the church. The singing seems to have intensified (great job Pastor Doug and team). As I was waiting to baptize Aubree this morning, I heard the congregation break into spontaneous applause after My Savior Lives.

I received this email after worship - - - “Had to share how excited I am on Sunday mornings to see so much happening at the end of our services. I love a baptism every week and not just quarterly. I know there is extra work involved to get things ready, but it is such am impact on those of us in the pews. A weekly reminder of our own Big Event! And a fresh testimony to anyone sitting on the fence. These victories are what it is all about! YEAH! I needed to share how awesome God is working in our midst.”

Amen to that!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great Story

I came across this story from foxnews.com (click the link) about the son of a Hamas leader who has rejected Islam and is now a Christian.

Here are the first two paragraphs ~

Mosab Hassan Yousef is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary story. He was born the son of one of the most influential leaders of the militant Hamas organization in the West Bank and grew up in a strict Islamic family.

Now, at 30 years old, he attends an evangelical Christian church, Barabbas Road in San Diego, Calif. He renounced his Muslim faith, left his family behind in Ramallah and is seeking asylum in the United States.

Talk about getting blown away by the radical call of Christ. It makes me really consider what Christ is calling me to be about in my life. This guy not only risked his family, he literally risked his life.

Click HERE

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The WILD GOOSE CHASE

Now there is a title. Ever feel like you were going on a wild goose chase. You were chasing after you tail, running in proverbial circles . . . life was getting a little too overwhelming. A number of years ago, John Eldredge referred to the Holy Spirit as the "Wild Goose." Now there is a book which talks about the Holy Spirit as the Wild Goose. What's up?


Think about the Holy Spirit this way, can you tame or catch the Holy Spirit? No, not really. This is why the Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit a Wild Goose, you just can't tame or track the Holy Spirit, and this is the premise for the new book by Mark Batterson. This is his sequel to his great book, "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day." In book one we are chasing a lion, today we chase a goose.

Wild Goose Chase is a quick and easy read, yet if you read it too quickly, you miss what Mark is driving at. The deeper questions I hear Mark asking is "Are you living your life the way God desires: wild, risk taking, adventurous; or are you just playing it safe until you get to heaven, then you can live?

Mark is an engaging writer, and has some great quotes. Have you ever thought about angels yawning? I never did, but consider this statement from Mark - -

Here's a thought that fired across my synapses not long ago: Do angels yawn? I know it seems like an inane theological question, but I seriously wonder if angels have the capacity to get bored. More importantly, I wonder if some of us are living such safe lives that not only are we bored, but so are our guardian angels.

Will we accept living in a cage? Or do we seek freedom, not from God, but greater dependence upon the Spirit of God which will empower us to seek to live the exceedingly abundant life Jesus offers us in John 10:10?

Wild Goose Chase will challenge you to consider how you live your life. If you are bored, you are not living the life God intended for you to live. If life is "Another day: another adventure." Then good for you, you are chasing the Wild Goose. Remember, God wants to be caught by us, He wants to be found, but after we catch Him, He gives us that sweet kiss, then dashes off, waiting and hoping and longing for us to chase after Him again.

Mark also speaks about life goals. Too many people do not set life goals, but Mark has and is checking them off his list. But our life goals should not be the simple ones, they should be big hairy audacious goals!

Remember what I have often said, "eternal life is not only the promise of a future life, but eternal life starts the day we proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior, Shepherd and Redeemer, Guide and Leader." Why wait to die to live, start living today, and this book will help encourage you to do just that.

You can purchase the book from any major internet bookstore, including ~

Amazon

Christianbooks

I recommend the book!

Pastor Michael

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oral Defense prep

This week my goal is to read about 2-4 hours per day. Yesterday I read for 2 hours, reading about 125 pages of theology. Fun reading . . . (yawn) actually, I enjoyed it.

Keep me in prayer.

Saturday - The Concert

We checked out and drove to World Pulse Festival looking forward to a great day in the sun. It was packed. Pictures to come later. There were an estimated 25 - 30,000 people there. We got there later and put our chairs pretty far in the back and starting walking around. Eventually we walked closer to the stage area and I found a little area in a sea of people that was open. Debbie and the boys stayed there and I began the journey to locate 3 chairs and carry them without smacking people and eventually made it.
  • It was not too hot, but Zachary has trouble with the sun beating on him and a few times we needed to walk to the display tents and get some water and get out of the sun.
  • The first group was C3. They were from Australia. They were okay.
  • Next was Mandisa, a former backup singer with Tobymac and runner up in American Idol. She was good, but I missed most of her because I was with Zachary, cooling off.
  • Then it was Skillet. They were loud and awesome. They led off with their hit song called "Comatose." They were really good. They know how to get into a rock mode.
  • Then came Tobymac. If you've never seen Toby at work and the whole group. It is a show, not just a concert. Their actions, their fun on stage is obvious. Toby in did 2 dives into the crowd. He just runs and dives in the air and lands on a sea of people. Not bad for a 44 year old guy.
  • Then was Casting Crowns. They seemed much tamer and milder than when I saw them about 3 years ago. They were good, but their concert was more of a worship service than a concert. Not bad, but we were in the rock mode. But they are good nonetheless.
Favorites for Joshua were Skillet and Tobymac. For Zachary it was Tobymac. I have to admit it is so cool to see my boys singing along with Skillet, Tobymac and Casting Crowns.

While in the tent I also won a bean bag toss contest. From bethel College near South Bend, you had to throw in 3 consecutive bean bags in the top hole from about 15 feet away. The first bean bag landed just in front of the hole. The next one made it, then I threw a line drive to hit the first bean bag and knock it in and both went in.

Overall, a great weekend, filled with great music and fun. We need to bring a group to World Pulse next year. Tickets are free, you just have to pay shipping and handling for the tickets and pay for parking. Well worth the price.

If you ever want to see Toby in action, we have a live DVD of a concert, which is exactly what they do. Just turn the speakers up, sit back and rock away with Toby and Diverse City. One last comment on the name of the band. You notice it is called Diverse City. But when you say the name fast, it comes out diversity. That is intentional and cool.

World Pulse Weekend Review

It's been awhile since posting, so today, you get to read multiple posts ~
We'll start with the weekend events.

On Friday we drove up to South Bend -
  • Our first stop was the campus of Notre Dame.
    • Not to make anyone too mad, Notre Dame is my least favorite collegiate team.
      • I believe they have received way too many NCAA perks, which skews the competition, plus, my sister Janet is a huge Irish fan, and that is unacceptable.
    • We walked around the football stadium which was all locked up, so we could not walk in.
    • We did walk into the Joyce Center - the men's and women's basketball courts, which was nice. That building also contains and extra gym, athletic offices, National championship trophies, the hockey rink, swimming pool, and more. It was nice to be allowed to have full access to the building and walk wherever.
    • Then we drove to the football practice field. I could barely see over the tarp covering the 10 foot high fences that the team was practicing. There was no way to see in, except through the main gate, so I thought a 30 second peek and the boys would be impressed.
      • However, when we got out of the car the security guard firmly told us no looking at practice. I asked, 'even for 30 seconds for a kid.' The response was a very sympathetic (NOT!) 'get lost' (my internalization).
        • I must admit, I made a comment under my breath, but loud enough for Debbie and anyone within 10 feet to hear.
      • So, here is my take. They are arrogant and pompous about who they are! I could see no pictures, no cameras, you have 1 minute to look in and keep quiet, then 'scram.' But not even a kid can get a look. NFL teams allow people to watch their preseason practices. One more reason not to like Notre Dame. Go San Diego State!
  • We eventually checked in at the hotel, The Inn at St. Mary's. A very nice hotel with a nice hot breakfast buffet. We went to the riverwalk and hung out at night, played at the play ground and had fun.
  • Sleep was difficult since there was a party down the hall, with lots of drinking. We called the desk 2 times and I went down once. That was a first . . . never complained about a group or room before. Eventually it quieted down around 12:30 a.m.
Okay, I'll continue the weekend review in another post.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

I was asked to write a review of the book Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. It will be in bookstores on August 19.

Here is a great quote from the book ~ ~

When we turn Christianity into a noun, it becomes a turnoff. Christianity was always intended to be a verb. And, more specifically, an action verb. Some of us live as if we expect to hear God say, "Well thought, good and faithful servant!" or "Well said, good and faithful servant!" God isn't going to say either of those things. There is only one commendation: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Michael Phelps

WOW!! Is that guy amazing. I remember my days of swimming, but I cannot imagine the quick turnaround and how much this guy can bring it on.

I read about how much food he eats a day. How about this for a diet . . .

He consumes 12,000 calories per day, or 9,500 more than the FDA recommends for an active, young male.

Phelps has to keep his intake up in order to compensate for all the calories he burns during the 30-hours per week he spends in training. He told NBC that an average day might have the following menu:

Breakfast: 3 fried egg sandwiches, 2 cups coffee, 5-egg omlette, bowl of grits, 3 pieces of french toast, 3 chocolate chip pancakes

Lunch: 1 pound pasta, 2 ham and cheese sandwiches, energy drink (1,000 calorie)

Dinner: 1 pound pasta, 1 large pizza, energy drink (1,000 calorie)

Three years ago, Phelps told an interviewer:
I eat pretty much whatever I want. I don't have a strict diet. It's all about cramming in as many calories into my system as I possibly can. To be honest with you, I have a tough time keeping weight on.

They said in one of his workouts, he expends 4,000 calories. I can't imagine the food bill, but he should not have to worry about money, it's gonna be rolling in soon, and we will be seeing his face all over the place. Then again, he worked for it.

The Week

It's been a week of meetings . . . and frankly, I am a little exhausted. Actually, more than a little. A lot was accomplished, especially in starting to get the greeters and missions teams going. Some good discussions, but we need more people to be greeters, in addition to ushers. Greeters are looking for new people and helping them to feel welcome.

I did play 9 holes of golf today; and played pretty well for not playing much this summer.

Tomorrow afternoon we will leave for South Bend and spend the day touring the Notre Dame campus, try to get in to the football stadium and basketball fieldhouse. Then on Saturday we will head to a day of concerts. We will see the groups, C3, Mandisa, Skillet, Tobymac and Casting Crowns. The boys are especially looking forward to the last 3 groups. Should be a good couple of days.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spider Bites

Ooooooh, how ominous. Yes, spiders! Over the past few days I have killed 2 spiders, both a little bigger than we would like, and what happened when I killed them was kind of amazing and disconcerting. You see, when I squished the spiders, their little babies came pouring out. There must have been about 30-50 little babes running around. I had bug spray close enough and that barely stopped them. But I think I was able to get rid of them all.

Two points -

1. Next time you go to kill a spider at this time of year, beware of springing more baby spiders into your home.
2. Those babies were really hard to kill with insect spray.
3. God is pretty amazing with creation. I don't like spiders, yet, the miracle of life, even spider life was pretty amazing.

Sunday Reflections

Sunday was a long day. Worship - lunch at Chuck E. Cheese - Deacons meeting - worship.

I was pretty tired at the end of the day. However, it was a good day . . . a wonderful day. Not everyday, actually, only a once in a lifetime occurrence that you baptize your child. That was cool to be able to baptize both Joshua and Zachary in the past 8-9 months. Also to be able to have two other baptisms, that is great. The key being all three yesterday are new believers in Jesus, not transfers, which is okay, but people coming into a new and saving relationship with Jesus. Now that is awesome!!

I was struck by Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. Think about what he is telling us about life, which is fragile, difficult and not always fun, yet he considers our afflictions - light and momentary (vs. 17). As a result, we do not lose heart. How great is that!?!? Because in Paul's world he understood that "inwardly we are bing renewed day by day" (vs. 16). We have this great opportunity to call upon God everyday and be filled again and again and again and . . . . . . . It never need stop. The Spirit of God is always wanting, willing and ready to fill us. What a great God we have!

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Learnings

  • Fasted yesterday! Boy does food have power over us (especially me). All I drank was water and a little juice. My age is showing, as I had a cramp in my left calf, something with sugar helped resolve it. I was fasting for someone else, but remembered how powerful fasting can be. I need to do it more often.

Some blogs which have had recent impact upon me and which you should read as well ~
  • Read this for temptations a leader faces. It's very good and true. It is titled "WHAT LEADERSHIP DEMANDS."
  • Gary Lamb has a great post about taking the easy road vs. the more difficult road. It's for leaders, but really this applies to all of us, in the blog titled, KNOWN ROUTE VS. THE EASY ROUTE.
  • Scott Hodge gives some great advice about listening and learning in his blog, TWO EARS and ONE MOUTH.
  • Another quick hitter from Steven Furtick. Go HERE and HERE.
That's it! Enjoy and grow in Christ!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Interesting Idea!

I read this at the Lifechurch.tv blog. This is an interesting way of doing church. I have actually heard of this before.


LifeChurch.tv
Think Smarter
Posted: 31 Jul 2008 05:15 AM CDT

Some people work too hard. Instead of working harder, they could work smarter.

On a recent flight, I bumped into Benny Perez. Benny pastors a fast growing church in Vegas. When they ran out of room in their three Sunday morning experiences, they figured out how to add a fourth.
  • The church’s first experience now starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Benny begins the experience with preaching instead of worship.
  • At 9:00 a.m., worship starts. So does the second worship experience.
  • Once worship is finished, the 8:30 crowd is released and Benny preaches again to the 9:00 crowd.

He is thinking smarter.

If you are facing an obstacle, maybe God will show you something you’d never see otherwise.

Think smarter.

How are you and I learning to think smarter?

Prayer Time

I received this picture from a snack time when our resident clown Patty - Watty was with the kids. It's a cool picture of my boy in prayer.

Only issue is it looks like he is scrunching his nose. But it is neat to see that when he is not with Debbie and I and we are praying that he takes it seriously.
Makes the dad and mom feel like something is rubbing off.

Chapman's part 2

If you did not see the interview on Good Morning America, you can read the story here at the Good Morning America web-site. It's a powerful story of a family's love of God and one another; and the grace and hope they experienced.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman

Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) on ABC - Good Morning America Steven Curtis and his wife will discuss the tragic death of their daughter earlier this year. She was accidently run over by her brother. I have seen part of the interview and the focus is on faith in the midst of tragedy.

It is a powerful testimony to faith in the midst of suffering, pain, loss and uncertainty, where we ask lots of questions, and sometimes receive very little answers, other than 'God is faithful.'

One more television reminder, they will also be on the Larry King show on Thursday at 9 pm eastern time.

Tooth Removal

Joshua had two teeth removed today. Not fun for a kid who hates and fears needles. Of course Novocaine needles are always big and intimidating. I've had my share of them. He whimpered through that portion and when the dentist starting pulling, he actually was laughing. The dentist said, he's never had anyone laugh during a tooth pulling, let alone two.

I was proud of the boy. Good for him! Next week are two more. Now he is not afraid of next weeks pulling. And wow, did those baby teeth have deep roots!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Risking failure

Interesting blog from one that I receive daily called

BRAND AUTOPSY

Business Failure Commandments

Posted: 01 Aug 2008 09:27 AM CDT

Failure_commandments_3

What you just read is a money quote from Donald Keough’s recently published, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR BUSINESS FAILURE. For years Keough, a former long-time Coca-Cola executive, has been flipping the script by giving presentations on How to Fail in Business. Keough rightly reasons, by learning why companies fail, we can learn what NOT TO DO in order to achieve business success. Now these fail-trap lessons on business failure are available for us to read and learn from.

Keough, like his good friend Warren Buffet, is a smart businessman who doesn’t try to overcomplicate business theory and uses plain everyday language to share smart advice. Thus, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR BUSINESS FAILURE appeals to big business execs, small business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

I was hooked early on when reading the first commandment leading to business failure: QUIT TAKING RISKS. Keough writes...

“Over time, many, many successful companies have failed to take important risks at critical points, and they have paid a price. Some have merely stumbled and found later redemption, but quite a few have not only fallen but disappeared. In the 1980s alone, 230 companies disappeared from the FORTUNE 500. In fact, only 16 of the 100 largest companies that were around in the early 1900s are still with us.”

To support this commandment, Keough gives us a history lesson by retelling classic failure stories from Xerox and Coca-Cola as well as mixing in new lessons in failure such as this one about Apple

“In business, you can make a good argument for mistakes like Steve Job’s Lisa or Power MacCube because the highly creative Apple environment that spawned them also produced big winners like iPod and iPhone.”

“As Peter Drucker pointed out nearly fifty years agao, it is management’s major task to prudently risk a company’s present assets in order to ensure its future existence. In fact, if a company never has a failure, I submit that their management is probably not discontented enough to justify their salaries.”


Go ahead, chew on that last line cause its worth thinking about … “… if a company never has a failure, I submit that their management is probably not discontented enough to justify their salaries.”

MD: Interesting comments when we correlate them back to the church! And remember, in my eyes failure is not risking / not trying. We will always succeed when we step out of our comfort zone, maybe not to the degree we hoped for, but that success or lack of success can lead to greater successes . . . only because we risked in the first place.

Sunday Reflections

  • A really good morning of worship. It seemed everything was hitting on all cylinders. Lots of positive comments.
  • My sister and niece (with her 3 children) came from Chicago to visit for a couple of days. It was nice and meaningful to have them here. The message was especially appropriate for them, and many from what I heard (about Pain!)
  • My niece was asking lots of questions after worship about church, religion, etc. She is married to a Catholic (who does not attend church) and Michelle is wanting to go. How cool is that!
  • My sister really thought the music and the entire worship was "very moving." She was even tempted to come forward in the end for prayer. Janet is a Christian, but I'm honored that she was moved by God's Spirit.
  • We came for last night's VBS and one of Michelle's children suddenly missed mom and started to scream, so Debbie and I hung out with her until mom came back, then another one just wanted mom with her. Kinda fun for a day or two to have girls around the house. Like I said, for a day or two.
  • Anyway, good job to all yesterday. Also having Sue come forward to join makes 3 weeks in a row. I like that energy and hopefulness and the end of worship!!

Remember to focus on Jesus! He is our life source! Go and make a difference in someone's life this week!