Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Quote

I came across this quote, what do you think?

I would like to be naïve enough to believe what God says in his word is true and bold enough to go and do it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Joshua

Yesterday was Joshua's 11th birthday. It's hard to believe that boy is 11 years old. Makes me feel old. he had a couple of friends sleep over and had a good night.

Today he received braces, ouch! He was looking forward to them, and enjoyed them until they began to hurt. Hopefully the pain will not be too bad. His dinner was two bowls of oatmeal, yum!

I ate my old favorite which I had not made since I was teen. We had leftover Turkey and I sauteed some onions, added some corn, turkey and BBQ sauce and cooked it up, ate it on a onion roll, um-um good!!

Now it's time for night night.

Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy the day.

We will be home, just the 4 of us. No turkey, probably a chicken and hanging out and relaxing.

I'm looking forward to it.

Purple Cows

The title of one of Seth Godin's books is Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. The premise for his book is this, if you've seen one cow or two cows, you've seen them all. But if you saw a purple cow, that you would remember.

When I think about the church, what is it that people will remember about us. How do we "brand" ourselves? How do we demonstrate community and faith and hospitality?

I enjoyed reading his book. It really made me think more about the metaphor: if you've seen one brown cow you've seen them all. But a purple cow, would catch your attention. One statement in the book has profound implications: "If you aren't remarkable you're invisible."

Every church needs to paint itself purple. I'm not talking about gimmicks. I'm not talking about being different for the sake of being different. I'm talking about making such a remarkable difference in our communities that we are unignorable, unforgettable, and totally visible and necessary for the survival of the community.

Think about this ~

1) the good news should make headline news. Brown churches sit on the sideline and invite the community to come to them. Purple churches are always active, busy, passionate, and compelling. They are making such a big difference that they become a highly visible part of their community. People drive by the brown churches--the churches that are invisible--to go to the purple church.

2) The greatest message deserves the greatest marketing. I know for many in the church, marketing is a dirty word, but does it get anybody else riled up that Madison Avenue is far better at pedaling its worthless trash than the church is at preaching the good news? We have the "Field of Dreams" mentality, 'if you build it they will come.' Well, they ain't coming, so don't complain, become part of the solution. We need to compete with the world for the people who are in the world, to win them to Christ and transform / change their hearts and help them grow more and more into His image. On second thought, we need to do that in the church, as well.

3) The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet. After all, God is the Creator of the world. He is super creative, and His people have His gifts to create, so we should be thinking and doing and dreaming outside of the box, not moving to new places within the box. Too many churches look too much alike, because they are afraid to move into the 21st century. How will we help the world around us see and believe that we are relevant to their needs.

So how do we paint ourselves purple? For starters, dare to be different. You might offend some Pharisees, but that isn't who you're trying to reach (they are already lost, and like the ones Jesus spoke to, they could not move off their Pharisaim). Secondly, disrupt the routine. I think it starts with our own routines. Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. Imagine changing your seat in church (gulp!) You need to get out of your routine so you can have some purple thoughts.

Leaders need to cause and create some discontentment and even confusion. Think about Jesus, he didn't do orientations. He did disorientations. We need to find new ways of saying old things (see the Parables). Consider how we give milk to a baby . . . in a bottle, consider how you drink milk today, in a cup. The milk is the same, but the delivery method changes. In the same way, the Gospel message never changes, but the delivery does and must.

We need to find new wineskins. We need to sing a new song. Neurological studies have found that familiarity stimulates the left-brain. Novelty stimulates the right-brain. We need some Spirit-inspired, right-brained ideas that capture the imagination of the church and the world.

What do you think?!

Facebook

I have moved to the world of facebook. If you have a facebook page, search for me, and you will find me under my name.

I just started on facebook, and see it as an opportunity to talk to one another even as a group of people to discuss life or issues . . .

check it out at www.facebook.com There are many, many people using it.

What's your story

One of the things that has struck me as I preached through the Beatitudes was the word 'story.'

We all have a story, yet our perception of our story and the reality, or the truth of our story can be so different.

Sadly, what happens when we tell our story, or we tell a story in which we don't know the entire story, but we act like we do, is that we end up speaking out of our own neediness and hurt. As a result, the truth is not really the truth, it becomes distorted. The sad thing about this is the fact that more often than not, the issue was not all that complicated, we do that ourselves.

It makes needing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all the more necessary in our lives. Besides that, people put words in our mouths which were never there to start with.

When someone tells you a story, know they are sharing part of their life with you, but if other people are involved, then know that is not the entire story, it is only a part of the story. I have noticed in the church world, especially, we only tell bits and pieces of the story, then we seek to gain people on our side, at the expense of the church. That's not healthy, we call it human nature, I call it sin. If you are not saying something nice, don't say it. Don't tell stories about others you would not say to their face.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Comments

I would really appreciate your comments about what I am writing about. These are huge issues for all churches, ours included. If you want to reply on the blog, click on the title and it will take you to the blog website, then type a comment. If that does not work, which sometimes is the case, send me an email reply and I will post the comments.

PASSION and CALLING

I have been doing a great deal of thinking and wondering and praying (sometimes without the literal bowing my head, but just talking to God) about the issue of PASSION and CALLING.

What are they? Are they the same? Can they go together? Do you need to have one to have the other? Lots of questions I have been asking and digging through to better understand what God wants me to do, what He wants you to do, and how we are going to accomplish the task of being the church He wants us to be.

I have spoken about “passion” a great deal. I’ve made comments like, ‘find out what you are passionate about, then go do it.’ I’ve asked, “do you even know what you are passionate about? If you know, then go into the world and use that passion for the glory of Christ.”

Passion is good, we all need to be passionate, to have a fuel, a burning within our heart which leads us to action. When we engage in our passions, even though it might be difficult work, we end up feeling fulfilled about what we just did. And in those moments when our efforts seem futile, we become more frustrated because our passion level was so high, that our expectations also were higher.

However, I have also been thinking about “calling.” What does it mean to be called? Will you always be called to something you are passionate about? That’s the one we always want, but I have learned that calling and passion do not always go together . . . especially at the start.

When I consider the Biblical story, look at the many saints of old, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Rahab, Ruth, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea . . . and the New Testament apostles; all of them. I believe everyone of these men and women were called.

Most calling catch us off guard, “you want me to do what, God? No way!” So we fight the call, because it is not our passion. Consider Moses. How many times did he argue with God about his lack of ability? How many times did he want to hit his head on the rock instead of the stick? Eventually, however, I believe Moses developed a passion for his calling. He did not start with passion, he started with a call.

What does that mean for you!?!?!? There is nothing wrong for your passion and call to be intertwined, that is super. But that is not the case in many and maybe most situations. So, the question for today and the next days in your prayer life is to ask God not only about your passion, but to ask God,

‘Father, what are you calling me to do for you to help build your kingdom? Even if it is not my dream, my plan, my expectation, open my heart, spirit and mind so that Your calling would be like a burning fire within my heart, so that I may serve You to Your glory and honor, not mine.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Mother's Wish

My Mother's Wish by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt was a wonderful read. He had an ability to remind me of days long ago when I remember my sisters walking around the house in curlers and cold cream. Not only does this book serve as a reminder to bygone days, he reminds us that life is a journey with many, many unexpected twists and turns, which lead us to the right place.

The story is about a young girl and her struggle to fit in . . . anywhere. In a world filled with loneliness, Eleanor is lonely, she longs for relationships, especially within her family, but expectations and comparisons to the perfect older sister hinder Eleanor in her journey.

She feels misunderstood as she feels called to live a life with a more carefree attitude then her mother desires. As a result, Eleanor never lives up to her mother's expectations. She finds her father as an advocate, which surprises her.

Eleanor never liked her name, it was her maternal grandmother's name. She wants to be called Ellee, which her mother despises.

After a major fight between her parents about Ellee, she leaves home, putting a note for her dad in his car. She ends up at a truck stop diner called, the Comeback Cafe which causes Ellee to consider some of her feelings. The characters are wonderful, as an older grandfatherly farmer sings to a crying babyt with a beautiful voice, a waitress with "3 arms" and a trucker enter her life and lead her to an improbable conclusion.

Along the way Elle learns poetry and writes in a "contrariwise" manner, again much to the chagrin of her mother. Yet, it reminds me of God's call to celebrate our uniqueness.

This is a short, 81 page story, readable in a quick burst, but one that packs some deeper meaning as we consider the call of God to follow Him on our journey into grace and hope and ultimately, the abundant life.

This would make a very nice Christmas present.

You can find this book at the following:

www.amazon.com


www.christianbook.com

Advent Conspiracy

Here is a very powerful video from youtube.com

click on the link, you will not be disappointed.

What will you or I do about this? Hmmm. . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-ZBU

I've Been Thinking

I have not blogged for a little bit now, because I have been thinking and rethinking and planning and wondering and dreaming and hoping . . . I think you get the point. I'm almost ready to unveil some of my thoughts and thought process. Most of it applies to church life and where we FBC is at, where I am at and where the universal church is at, as well as a generalization for most people.

So, strap yourselves in for some daily thoughts.

Please feel free to interact with me. I would be thrilled to have interaction on what I am writing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

TEST

Yup, this is just a test. I have not seen any blogs come across my computer this week, and I have sent some out.

So, if you received one titled Christian Absurdity, and another with a fun test, let me know.

Blessings and looking forward to a great Sunday!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

AN EASY QUIZ

I received this today and thought I would pass it on.

WORLD'S EASIEST QUIZ
(In order to pass you only need 4 correct answers)
1 - How long did the Hundred Year War last?
2 - Which country makes Panama hats?
3 - From which animal do we get cat-gut?
4 - In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5 - What is a camel hair brush made of?
6 - The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7 - What was King George VI first name?
8 - What color is a purple finch?
9 - Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10 - What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
Remember, you need 4 correct answers to pass.

This is so easy, I will send the answers later!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christian Absurdity

I came across this article and thought . . . "WOW! We (Christians) are so doggone stupid. Just some questions . . .
  1. Do Christians like to look like they are ignorant?
  2. Is dumbness a spiritual gift?
  3. Are we in the business of pushing people away from Christ?
Okay, what's my problem today? Besides having a cough and turning 50 tomorrow, I read this article and couldn't believe what we do to one another, but the absolute blatant misapplication of scripture.

The question at hand is this, "is it unChristian for a girl to play football? This was the headline of an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on November 1, 2008.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the article ~

After months of waiting on the sidelines, Kacy Stuart was finally going to get the chance to play football with her team, the New Creation Center Crusaders.

She had practiced hard but nothing could’ve prepared her that night for the moment the opposing team read a pregame statement over the intercom.

Kacy, a 14-year-old freshman, didn’t hear the entire statement, but it was these final words, a quote from Romans 12:2, that took her by surprise: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

This passage is about our (Christians) conforming to the ways of the world and accepting the ways of the world as opposed ot the ways of Christ and the kingdom.

However, in the case of Kacy (who is the kicker. And I don't care if she was the QB or running back), some idiot interpreted this passage to mean girls are not to play a physical sport with boys.

Do you really think Paul had that in mind when he was writing this. I can just picture him thinking about someday in 2008 when airplanes and rockets and scud missiles and nuclear warfare and the Internet would be in use, and he thought, "Oh no, what if a girl wants to play some stupid game that boys do, I better write this verse down."

These people who were on the opposing team should be ashamed of themselves.
  1. They desecrated the word of God.
  2. They rejected the Holy Spirit.
  3. They hurt their witness for Christ.
  4. They made a mockery of Christ's church.
  5. They embarrassed every believer in Jesus.
  6. They hurt a girl just wanting to play football.
And those are just my initial thoughts. You wonder why the church does not grow? Think about how narrow minded Christians (not all) can be. Are you, am I, one of those people we rail against? God help me if I am!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

On Saturday, the Search Committee had planned a party to celebrate my receiving my doctorate. Unbeknownst to me, Debbie was helping them also plan a surprise 50th birthday party. Amazingly, nobody told me, nobody!

I figured she would do something, but I didn't expect what I found. I was really overwhelmed with the number of people who came, and took time from their busy Saturday afternoons. Debbie even invited people from Michigan, 4 of whom made the trip, her sister and nephew came, and 2 pastors, 1 whom I had lost touch with was here; and another who just moved to Indiana from Washington.

All in all, it was a great day, a special day, and thanks goes to Debbie for all of her hard work and behind the scenes effort to help this be a memorable and awesome day. And it is not even my birthday yet. . . that is Thursday. I have also never received so many cards for one event in my life. It took a long time, and I read through every card.

Thank you to the Search Committee and all those who I don't even know were busy planning and preparing. Thanks to the folks who were in the kitchen during most of the time. Your time and effort and planning are greatly appreciated and will always be cherished and remembered.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Me, Myself & I AM

Say what!?

Yup, that is the name of this less than 100 page QUESTION and ANSWER ~ SELF-REFLECTIVE book. This is not the normal book we come across and start to read through.

In a nutshell, the author, Winston Rice, talks about God being I AM, and His call for us to be uniquely who He has created us to be, thus the title.

He explains, we should answer the questions according to how we feel, I might add, according to what your heart dictates. Don't write down what others expect or what you 'think' you should write down, go with your real inner feelings. When you do this, the book becomes much more magical.

As I read through and answered some questions, I was led to chuckle and even cry about how I would answer some of the questions. The book ranges from categories regarding our childhood to teen years to good times and bad, to beliefs, fears, thankfulness, confessions and ends with our ending, your funeral (who should speak, what people should remember about you, etc.). Try writing your thoughts about how you want to be remembered, it's not easy, and it is reason for self reflection and deeper thought.

You can even use the book at a party or small group gathering because of some of the sillier types of questions. Don't buy the book if you think it is a another self-help book or novel. Yet, it is a self-help book in the sense it will help you discover or rediscover the gift of your unique self God created you to be. It was fun, it was unique, and this book forced me to think more about who I am over and against who I believe God is calling me to be. This is what makes the book special.

It would also be a great Christmas present for someone or a great stocking stuffer.

You can purchase this wonderful little book at

Amazon.com

Christianbooks.com

Friday, November 07, 2008

Post Election Thoughts

Post-Election Thoughts
  • We’ve elected our first African-American President. That’s historic.
  • Although it was interesting to note not many people made an issue of it leading up to the election, but they are afterwards. That is an interesting dynamic.
  • I’m proud to be an American. Our political process really works, even when I am not thrilled with the results.
  • The biggest surprise of this election process for me was watching Obama upset Clinton to get the nomination.
  • Runner up to that for me was watching the collapse of the Giuliani campaign. I thought he would be the Republican candidate.
  • I don’t recall watching any television ads in the past two days for any politician.
  • As far as I know, we did not receive any direct mail advertising from either campaign.
  • I thought the branding of the Obama campaign (graphics and otherwise) was far superior to McCain. This appealed to the younger generation. Obama had much, much more appeal to those in the 18-35 range.
  • I’m glad I didn’t have to run on the Republican ticket given the current economy. I don’t know if any candidate could have beaten Obama this year.
  • I think the campaign ended up being more about “change” than it had to do with specific ideas.
  • Honestly, I didn’t want to vote for either of these candidates for different reasons. But I did.
  • It’s amazing in a country our size, these were the best two candidates to run for President.
  • I like Obama’s personality and charisma more than McCain’s. I think the more “likeable” candidate usually gets elected regardless of their platform.
  • Senator Dole, Senator Gore, Senator Kerry, Senator McCain; I think it’s a tough mountain to climb when you’re viewed as an established Washington insider, and lacking in the charisma people want to see and experience.
  • I’m amazed at how seamless the transition is in America when we select a new leader.
  • It’ll be interesting to watch the Democrats shift from the Clinton era to the Obama era.
  • It’ll be interesting to watch who rises up to lead within the Republican party.
  • I believe McCain lost on several key issues, but I am not a politician or on someone’s staff and they did not ask me.
  • McCain’s concession speech for very honoring to his opponent.
  • Obama’s victory speech was stirring.
  • Obama is a great communicator.
  • Oh, and one more thing… God is sovereign and He is the only answer to real change in our lives and in our communities.
I have more, but that is good for now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election - The End (I think)

Some final thoughts about tomorrow and some of what I have heard from Christians . . .

It seems that many, many Christians have taken their eyes off of Jesus as their Savior and put them on either McCain or Obama as their Savior. Obama nor McCain will save us from anything, only Jesus can do that. One president cannot change hearts, that is a God thing, and only God can change our hearts, spirits and minds. We need personal transformation! And I am talking about the Christians. This is how totally bizzare this stuff gets.

As Christians, should we have a political opinion? ABSOLUTELY! Should we vote? ABSOLUTELY! A Christian who doesn’t vote is completely missing an opportunity that God has blessed us with as citizens of this country.

BUT…we can’t actually think that the salvation process is tied to who happens to be in the White House!

Think about this . . . in the Gospels the Jews missed the fact that Jesus was the Messiah because they were looking for someone to deliver them from the politics of Rome. They felt oppressed and wanted someone to deliver them from the heavy hand of the Roman government.

Let me say it more clearly–they missed Jesus because of politics!!! (And religion as well…but that’s another post!)

For a Christian to claim that the world is going to be doomed to hell because a particular party happens to “control” the White House is a slap in the face of a Sovereign God.

He reigns! Read through Scripture. It is very, very clear that God can and will do whatever He believes needs to be done in order to bring about he culmination of His plan. God has used kings, queens, enemies, even donkeys to do His will, even when they were against God. God does this for His glory. . . not ours!

Tomorrow go to the polling station, wherever that might be, wait in line if need be, but go and vote!

Who should you vote for? Here's a simple idea, pray and ask Jesus to enlighten your heart, spirit and mind. Ask Christ to give you the wisdom you need to make the best decision you can with all of the information you know, but the main information is what you receive from God.

Whoever gets elected, whether it is your man or not, pray for that man daily. Even if your guy wins, pray for him daily.

One final thought, hold this one above al others, GOD REIGNS! He always has, always will!

Now go vote!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Election - Part 4

Does the media favor a certain candidate?

A new report was released yesterday by a non-partisan group that analyzes the bias of the media covering the presidential campaign during a recent 6-week period. It was very interesting. Here is a summary of the report as it relates to negative stories:

Negative_stories

See the original tables here.

Based on their negative reporting...

  1. Does the media overall favor (or reject) one of the candidates?
  2. Which news outlet seems most fair and balanced?

Remember this is not a political blog. I don't like to talk politics, but with the election a couple of days away, we need to be as well informed as possible. If this is getting on your nerves-- just turn me off until next Wednesday when we get back to "normal."