Wednesday, October 31, 2007
A little while later, Zachary went over to his box and put $2 in the box (40% offering)! I was proud of them. There was no prompting from Debbie and I to do this.
Then after trick or treating, they separated the candy they wanted and what they didn't. Zachary quickly put most of his in the giveaway pile, even some of the candy he likes, he was giving it away. A total of 74 pieces of candy.
Joshua had a little harder time giving it away, yet in the end he had 63 pieces, including a number of Kit-Kats which are one of his favorites, which made me proud of him.
So the boys earned $2, or about $.03 per piece, which made them happy. Joshua wanted some of the money to be in coins, so he could put more in the World Mission Offering box.
We can always learn from our kids. A good lesson for dad.
Also, please pray for Zachary, he has developed a cold and now a fever (101). He has always been more prone to colds and fevers. Usually, we go through colds at least once per month with Zachary. On the plus side, he usually doesn't get knocked down for long.
Have a great November 1!!
Not to sound overly dramatic, but I wonder how much that resembles us. We look forward to those special days, but don't really prepare for them and fully embrace them. I know Halloween is not a big deal, but I'm just wondering about how well we prepare for days which are to be special.
Christmas is coming . . . why not start preparing now. NO!! No Christmas music, unless you must to get into your preparatory mode (or Trans Siberian Orchestra is good anytime of year). But how can we begin to embrace this great day of Christ's birth? What will you do to start that process. I'm not sure about me, I'm just typing as I'm thinking and feeling.
Along with this, what about this Sunday. How will you prepare for worship, for communion, for greeting brothers and sisters in Christ? Someday I will talk about how Jews prepare for the Sabbath, it's a week of reflection and anticipation . . . We should be doing the same, reflecting, considering, musing; then anticipating, hoping, wondering, praising. Dance with the Lord. Do a dance, since a song, celebrate His love and presence in your life.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I felt it was a spirit filled worship. The music was good, from my vantage point, people were staying awake (always a good thing). Only down side was my water getting spilled, but thanks to Andy N. for bringing me a new glass. It's amazing how dry you get before you speak.
Tonight we touched on all sorts of areas regarding being devoted to Christ.
How devoted are we to Christ?
Committed to one another?
Dedicated to reaching those who don't know Jesus?
We talked and shared tonight. I like it when others are willing to share their thoughts and wisdom. We need to do more of that.
I had an almost wonderfully relaxing Sunday afternoon. It was almost because the Bears absolutely stunk and every time I started to dose, Zachary would ask a question and when the program he was watching "Man vs. Wild" ended, he saw my eyes closed and poked me.
Joshua, Zachary and I had fun playing army. We haven't done that in a long time. It was fun to do it again. Below is how Zachary was prepared for battle. Notice that Zachary is wearing his army camouflage clothes, along with his knight clothes. he's extra prepared.
We also played some good games of tackle football in the living room. Joshua and Zachary have to get by me and score a touchdown. I always enjoy that time with them, especially when nobody gets hurt.
Well, now it's on to Monday. Have a great week and look for someone to make a difference in the name of Jesus.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I enjoy the sports, it's one of my passions. I also enjoyed the time at the spiritual gifts class last night. So cool to see 100 people talking and considering the giftedness.
If you have not completed your spiritual gifts, please do so. Just come to the class and absorb the excitement.
Also, any comments from anyone there about the music and video playing as you entered?
Thanks to the efforts of Cathy Goins, we are able to post the business meeting power point presentation I did.
I am attempting to make business meetings informative and help show the people in the church what I think we are doing well and areas where we need to do a little better. It's one way of giving more information and doing some large group training all at the same time.
Below is the link to the power point presentation I did. You can go to the fbc web site, which is
Click on this link, then click on the business meeting link and open the file. Once you are in power point, press F5 to start the presentation. Use the down arrow to advance the slides.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Also remember dinner at 5:30, it's breakfast for dinner. Looking forward to that one.
Later . . .
Zachary was first, with Ms. Townsend, 2nd grade. We had concerns about the grading system. We were used to progress reports in Ashland and Dearborn, but in Alexandria, they use letter grades. It's a little more intimidating for the parents, I think. We also had some questions about answers which were marked incorrect, which we didn't understand. We try to never question a teacher's competence, we just want to help our children to do their best.
We had a good meeting, no real issues in the end and Zachary ended up getting a report card which read
1 - B
1 - B+
1 - A-
5 - A
Not bad. We'll take it. He did a good job for his first 9 weeks at a new school. We learned he is a little talkative and tries to make his small group laugh, sounds like my child.
Next was on to the intermediate school and Joshua's conference with Mrs. Long, 4th grade. We went in with no real questions. Turns out Joshua was the ONLY, may I repeat, the ONLY 4th grader with all A's on his report card. WOW!! We are so proud of him for his accomplishments. Mrs. Long said for this being his 3rd school he is doing great.
Now to the real issue about parenting. I wanted to BRAG about my kids . . . do you?
I grew up in a home where my dad said, 'let others brag about you, I won't.' I don't agree with that philosophy. Of course, you don't want to brag about every little thing, just the biggies, and I believe you should let them hear you telling others about their accomplishments, it builds their self-esteem.
Anyway, thought I would brag to all of you about my boys. We were proud of them, not sure where the smarts come from, (you can guess on that one) but that is another day and another blog.
Have a great Wednesday!
Monday, October 22, 2007
- Today has been a busy day, reading, writing and talking. Not much time spent in Q2. That will be a life long struggle, but I am much more aware of the need. I won't get down on myself, just commit myself to time away with God.
- What I realize is for my health, my family's health and the health of the church I need to recharge and gain strength from God, so I can help charge the batteries for others.
- I am also trying to eat just a little better, more water and less coffee; more veggies and less desert.
- I heard a lot of good feedback about the sermon yesterday, plus the use of the Colts pictures to demonstrate everyone is valuable on the team. We are, we just need to believe that.
Sometimes your kids say the most amazing things. After church yesterday, Z-Dog wanted to wear his tuxoodo (that's what he calls his suit) to the party last night. We were not sure what he meant, but because we were going to the anniversary party for Jim and Linda Nelson, he wanted to be dressed up. As a kid I never wanted to wear a suit, Z-Dog likes to.
We really didn't want to correct him, it was just too cute. He's a 7 1/2 year old who is stuck between wanting to be a 10 year old and a 5 year old all at the same time.
Then again, I guess that might apply to all of us on some days. Just a cute story to share.
I have some different views of what should occur during baptism, but our baptismal does not allow for it (I'll write about that another time).
Joshua and I went out to dinner together last week, to Ponderosa (his choice). We talked about our relationship and how we can work with one another to bring out the best in each other. I told Joshua I want to have a covenant with him. I am not sure what it will look like, but there will be a physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual component to it. I am taking this from Mark 12, when Jesus calls us to love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and body. I see those 4 dynamics in the covenant I will develop with Joshua. I would be interested to know if you have ever done this or some suggestions. I have some ideas, but I'd be curious about yours.
Friday, October 19, 2007
So . . . I took a look at his book, again.
Covey lists 4 quadrants in life. In essence, everything we do will fall into one of these 4 quadrants - -
Q1 - Urgent and Important
Q2 - Important but Not Urgent
Q3 - Urgent but not Important
Q4 - Not Urgent and Not Important
Under Q1 we deal with
+ Pressing Problems
+ Deadline driven projects
+Immediately productive activities
This all leads to increased stress and burn out, because we are putting out fires.
Under Q3 - we deal with
* Some mail, some reports
* Many popular activities
In Q3 we do things we tend to like, but don't really get us anywhere, and we never feel we really accomplish anything because we put aside what we were supposed to be doing.
Under Q4 - we deal with
- Trivia, busywork
- junk mail
- time wasting activities
- "escape" activities
Suffice it to say we don't accomplish much that is worthwhile here.
In Q2 - we deal with
= developing mission
= relationship building
= true re-creation
These sound best and this is the best place to be. It is also the place where a visionary lives. Vision takes time and a visionary recognizes the need for these activities.
I find myself doing lots of stuff in Q3, not in Q2. That is the one area which is easily neglected. Of course, we can't spend all of our time in Q2 doing the important but not urgent. But that is where I am striving to move to.
I'm trying to re prioritize my work schedule so I can do what I believe God is calling me to do. part of that is a greater commitment to prayer and Bible study which I believe are Q2 items. In fact, I would say all spiritual disciplines are Q2 items, they don't' feel urgent, but they are definitely important.
So . . . what quadrant do you live in?
And where would you really like to live in?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Let's get together at Chicago Pizza at 5:30 and have dinner together. Remember kids eat free on Wednesday nights.
Save your appetite for Joshua and Z-Dog (the new name Zachary wants to be called) love that Peanut butter and jelly pizza. Actually, it's not that bad!!
One good, actually great thing about pizza is the fact I have never seen a restaurant show celery as an ingredient for pizza. Thanks be to God for that one!
I do look at comments and try to respond to all of them. I am also trying to find a way to allow comments to appear instead of as a link.
So, if you have a comment, please feel free to post one, I check about everyday to see if there are comments.
Are they one and the same? Can a Christ follower be comfortable in life? Should they? That is the question I wrestle with as I read Hosea.
I really don’t believe God is in the business of making us comfortable, if anything, He is in the business of making us uncomfortable. Think about the prophets, the apostles, the early followers of Jesus, not to mention Jesus, Himself. Not one of them was ever made more comfortable by becoming a devoted, passionate follower of Jesus. In fact, we could easily say, life became more and more uncomfortable for each.
So . . . what is the one thing you know or think or believe God wants you to do? Now consider if God wants you to become uncomfortable, is that why you are refusing to follow God’s plan for your life?
There is a dangerous mindset among many Christians who believe God wants them to be happy and to live a very comfortable life. If that is true, then where does the CROSS fit into that thinking?
Remember we exist for HIS glory – not vice versa. When we attempt to live ins such a manner that we seek to bring glory and honor to God there will be times God calls for you and I to become very, very uncomfortable.
As I read through Hosea, this became very apparent to me. Hosea was a prophet who had what we might say a ‘good ministry going on,’ he was single and, from the outside looking in, seemed to have it all together. Then God showed up . . . and things became uncomfortable.
Take a look at Hosea 1:2-3. It reads,
2 When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: " Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the LORD." 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Think about what God was asking Hosea to do! Think about the conversation. I believe the Bible leaves out some of the details, like this conversation taking place . . .
"Hosea, I think it is time that you get married!"
Hosea joyfully replied, "Now that’s what I’m talking about, I was wondering when You would give me some help here . . . and I’ve had my eye on this girl . . . "
"Hosea, uh, she’s not the one for you!"
"Really? Well, I guess that means you have someone else in mind. Who do you want me to marry?"
"A WHAT!!! God, seriously, come on . . . stop playing around."
"I’m not playing around Hosea. You are going to marry a prostitute."
"No way!! What will my family say?"
"Don’t worry about your family, you serve me."
"Okay . . . okay. At least tell me what her name is."
"GOMER!!! God, seriously, it’s bad enough that I’m going to marry a prostitute–but GOMER? Have I sinned? What have I done to make You mad?? Go-o-o-o-o-lly, shazam God, that is a man’s name from the Andy Griffith show.
"I want to use you for my glory. . . and while I know this isn’t a decision that you would have came to on your own I want you to know that your willingness to be obedient and uncomfortable will result in thousands of lives being impacted for me."
End of conversation . . .
So . . . God asked Hosea to do something that was unthinkable, to put his reputation on the line. . . and through this a message was communicated that continues to impact lives today - - Hosea’s amazing obedience.
I ask myself, what is God asking me to do that I don’t want to do, but need to do, even though it will make me incredibly uncomfortable . . . but in the end, it will result in lives being changed and glory will come to God?
How about for you? What decisions is God asking you to make that may be uncomfortable, maybe a little, maybe a lot?
Do you need to end a relationship? Because God has something so much better, but it is not here yet.
Do you need to surrender possession and money to God. That’s never easy. We wrestle with this one because we want our own possessions and control and power, and we want to live a comfortable life in our comfortable homes. Yet, when we give away our possessions and many, cheerfully and joyfully, God may have far more in store for us than we can imagine.
Maybe God wants you to become active in a ministry, to give your time to Him. Don’t wait for the pastor (that’s me) to know what makes your world rock, what makes your heartbeat like crazy, what makes your eyes light up like fireworks . . . you get the point. Just tell me what you are passionate about.
Are you learning about your spiritual gifts? Praying? Reading the Bible? Fasting? Journaling? How will you know what God wants from you if you are not connected to Him. Remember John 15:5, if we are not connected to the vine we will bear no fruit, apart from God we can do nothing, connected to God we can change the world (The Deutsch paraphrase version).
I could go on and on, but you get the point. . .
So, . . . what is the one thing you believe God wants you to do which you are refusing because you know it will make you very uncomfortable?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Anyway! I must say I am so blessed to have this church in my life. As Dr. Mason said today, you need to allow me to be me; and I really sense that you are doing that. It may not always be easy to do, but there has been wonderful grace extended to me by FBC-Alexandria.
Tonight will be an early to bed night. It's a long week of meetings ahead, Deacons today, Trustees tomorrow, CE Tuesday, Business meeting Wednesday.
Pray for me, and if you have not had your family picture taken, please do so. I have about 90 families and want as many as possible.
Finally, remember Wednesday night we'll be eating pizza at Chicago Pizza around 5:30. Kids are free on Wednesday's between 5-8, so let's hang out and eat together. Like I can eat anything else after today's pitch-in. Amazing food!! My friends wanted a cookbook, they liked the food so much.
Have a great week, and keep Jesus in front of you and visible to the world!!
Friday, October 12, 2007
This is from Eddie Hammett, from his upcoming book entitled Keeping People Over 60 While Reaching People Under 40. This is from chapter 1 --
The shifts occurring in our culture and in our churches seems to create, more often than not, a circumstance of pastor bashing. Blame is not spread around rather the focus is on the pastor/staff.
The Plight of the Pastor
"Pastor-bashing is my church’s focus" were the words from a sincere but deeply wounded coaching client. He was so hurt, angry, and tired that he needed a retreat, a compassionate listening ear, and encouragement in his coaching session. God did bless our coaching time, but his words and story continue to work in me.
His words have haunted me for days. I have had many faces and experiences rush to my mind that would likely fit into this "pastor-bashing" category. In a decade when most numbers associated with church—finances, membership, baptisms, new members, visitors, etc., are declining, pastor-bashing seems to be on the rise. While some pastors and staff and churches are having a fulfilling and fruitful relationship, many others are in the fierce tensions of pastor-bashing. Pastoring a church or serving on staff in a church of any size, in any setting, with any demographic is challenging at best these days. Most pastors and staff find themselves living in the pinch. They feel the pinch of finances, demographic challenges, philosophical and theological challenges, control issues in the church, community, and often the denomination or judicatory of which they are a part.
Permit me to share from my experiences of consulting with churches for over sixteen years, serving congregations for fifteen-plus years, coaching pastors and staff for five years, and serving in various church roles as a volunteer. I’ll explore these questions: How does pastor-bashing manifest itself? What does it mean? And what are some methods that might bring some resolution to pastor-bashing?
What Is Pastor-bashing?From my client’s perspective and my observations through the years, pastor-bashing can be characterized by at least these experiences:
• Accusations, and sometimes threats, that "the church is not growing because of you!"
• Spreading of rumors that question the pastor’s integrity, work habits, loyalty to church traditions or values, etc.
• Withholding of tithes, offerings, leadership, and participation because of personal disagreements between church members and pastor/staff.
• Accusations, uncalled-for personal references, or ridicule of pastor/staff’s family members and their participation or lack of participation in church activities.. Living in the fishbowl is a constant challenge for most pastors’ families.
• Isolation of the pastor/staff from friendships, loyalty, and the support of leadership.
• Tearing down of pastor/staff’s self-esteem, confidence, and sense of call or pastoral skills.
Sometimes physical threats even enter the picture. Believe it or not, I know directly of a church where three deacons visited the pastor and threatened him in the presence of his teenage son. They were "going to take him behind the barn and teach him a lesson." What do you think that teenage son learned about deacons and church that day? I had been working with this pastor and church to assess what would make them more effective in a rapidly growing community. The pastor was bringing in new members who were unlike the natives of the community, and that fueled the congregation’s anger. The pastor was growing the church and bringing in people, but these deacons did not like the people he was bringing in. The church leaders were afraid that the influx of new members would jeopardize their control, so they sabotaged the growth and bashed the pastor! Who would have ever thought it! Such illustrates living in the pinch of times. The pastor/staff is caught between at least two value systems, two worlds, two cultures, and two philosophies of church.
How could church leaders and congregations bash their pastor? What does this mean? Christians are supposed to be kind, courteous, forgiving, loving, self-controlled, patient, long-suffering, and the list of virtues from Galatians 5 continues. So how do we get into this tragic situation where no one really wins?
What Does Pastor-bashing Mean?
Seems to me that pastor-bashing has some patterns that are more often than not present and may suggest some meaning to this traumatic situation:
• Personal preferences create tensions. The pastor’s vision and preferences conflict with those in leadership or the pew.
• Spiritual warfare and immaturity emerge in people, families, and often the congregation at large.
• Past and future collide in ways that create tension. Often the congregation (sometimes the pastor) wants things to stay the way they are rather than face the demands and opportunities of the present and future.
• Control and leadership are challenged. So often the bashing is over control issues. Who will lead the church? Whose vision will drive the congregation’s decisions or programming?
• Incompetence and impatience collide. This can be seen on one or all sides involved. So often fear emerges before patience is cultivated, and stones begin to be thrown in efforts to protect "our way."
• Families take sides, and boundaries are set. Again, this can be on one or all sides of the issue. When such polarization occurs, the intensity increases, and the bashing becomes visible to a larger group, while in earlier phases bashing—and awareness of the bashing—is limited to a small number of leaders.
• Emotions escalate, and facts become blurred. So often emotions drive the dialogue and bashing and not the real facts. The emotions are often driven by perceptions, not necessarily the facts. People think such and such is true, or they "heard if from many people," but they never name the people.
Most pastors are living out a calling to "go into all the world" and a belief that Christ wants the world to know him and his love. The pastor believes that the church is on mission and is to grow in Spirit and in number. However, increasingly pastors and staff are finding that they are called by congregations who do not share this same value system. The members may mouth the words and loyalty to the Great Commission during the interview and negotiations. The reality becomes clear in time that their words mean: "only if the mission doesn’t inconvenience them, their church’s traditions, or the leadership base’s personal preferences." That is living in the pinch!"
Yup, it was long, yet, it is soooooooooo easy for a church to fall into destructive behaviors. My expectation for our church is that we always stay above the fray and the risk of not just pastor bashing, but of bashing one another. It's not biblical, it is sinful and destructive.
I'd be curious to know your thoughts.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
WOW! It's almost 12:30 and I am still full from tonight's supper. As always . . .great job ladies!!
- Sometimes, I wish you had my view of our group of folks. It was so great to see you 100 people entering into conversations about ways to become interdependent upon God. Consider what it not only does for my heart, but what God is thinking about as He watches over us, and He witnesses us making strides at becoming closer, intentionally closer to Him!!
- We have received about 60 completed Spiritual Gift forms. I can't wait to see the final results of how God is gifting us and preparing us for the future.
- Again, when I say how great this is, you just can't imagine what you are doing for my spirit. . . and the pressure I am putting on myself to lead us down God's path.
- I want to find more leaders and new leaders and equip you and empower you so that you may engage with the world and with one another.
- It's 12:48 a.m. and I am finally getting tired. But I'm listening to the Moody Blues, so that's good.
- I envision more amazing things happening at FBC in the coming months and years!!
- Debbie has been subbing at the Intermediate and elementary schools this week. By the way, this woman constantly amazes me with her kindness and mercy towards others. She feels bad for one of the Alexandria youth football teams. They have not won a game and today Joshua's team beat them 8-6. Joshua helped tackle one of their players in the end zone for a safety. That was the difference in the game. Debbie felt really bad for the kids, wanting Joshua to have a good game, but wanting the other team to win. The final game is on Saturday morning.
- We have 3 couples coming to visit us over the weekend. It will be great to see these friends we were close with in Dearborn. All 3 couples were wonderfully supportive and instrumental in many successful ministries. One is the search committee chair who helped bring me to Dearborn. Jack and Tim can share notes. The names of the couples are Mike and Nancy McDonald; Jack and Kim Linton; and Dwight and Susan Smith.
Have a GREAT Thursday! Share your faith with someone. Praise God and celebrate His presence in your life!!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Zachary has had a couple of attitude issues lately. We are not sure if it has been the pump doing a strange work on him or what it is. At times his blood sugar has jumped way high, and at other times for no reason, it drops. The other day, we forgot to give him insulin after his lunch, and his blood sugar was perfectly normal. As he grows, it becomes a constant issue to troubleshoot his insulin rates and change them. Debbie is best at calibrating his pump. She's great. Oh, by the way October 1, was our 13 year anniversary of our first date!
After talking to some wise sages after Network, they reminded me that we have something from God going on at our church. When that happens, satan gets very, very angry. He will do all he can to defeat us and take our eyes off the prize we are working toward.
That is what happened today. Ernie and I , especially Ernie, spent lots of time trying to fix power point and John Harris came in and realized there was one button that had pushed off, when it should have been on.
Now, is that from satan (the bad)? No, but what about my reaction and frustration. Now, I have to be careful here. I didn't jump up and down and throw things and yell and scream and punch the walls. However, the level of frustration was great for Ernie and I and maybe, just maybe we allowed this problem to lead us to lose our focus on the kingdom issue and what was most important, and that was Christ.
The day ended up being more stressful than necessary, but that is what happens when we allow outside circumstances to invade (the ugly) our heart and spirit. My spiritual armor was not fully on, and I paid for it.
Next week, I will be ready for the attack.
I hope all at the spiritual gifts class enjoyed it and learned. It gets more intense in weeks 3-6. But the end result is so fantastic. I can't wait to see eyes lighting up and hearts bursting for the work God is doing in their lives. This is one of the great joys of life and ministry!!
I wish we could jump to the end, but we would miss out on the fun and food and fellowship.
Again, thanks to the ladies in the kitchen doing all the cooking for all of us. It was great!!!!!
"Hello darkness my old friend,
I've come to talk to you again."
Listening to it now, from the concert in Central Park.
I really believe in the spiritual gift of silence. . . shh!! Yuck . . . silence?! Yes, read on.
You see, when we think of silence, we assume we must spend a few days at a retreat center and not say a word. While that may be true, it is not the only way to practice silence. Another way is to change the word silence to the word 'listen.'
Tonight after teaching the spiritual gifts class, Debbie and I were helping out in the kitchen, and admittedly, I was exhausted, I had the chance to converse, but more importantly listen to some wise ladies from the church. It's not always easy to keep quiet, because many of us want to share our stories, but oftentimes, we need to listen to other's stories. A great opportunity to learn and allow your heart to be touched by another saint. So, thank you God, for helping me keep my mouth closed and receive a blessing.
Ahh, the wonderful sounds of silence!
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