Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've Moved

You can find me now on typepad. My new feed is here. Sorry for the inconvenience and hope you will keep subscribing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rockets Over The Red

Wow. This is the best fireworks show I've seen, topping Disney World. This video isn't very much of the show, but was about as much as the camera on my phone would handle. Enjoy. By the way, I've about had it with this version of Beta Blogger. I would have posted the video here, but could not identify my atom/site feed. The beta version does not list it on the site feed page, as did the classic version. I discovered this is the frustration of others out there as well. Just a gripe.

Chillin with the Kids

I managed to get over the crud enought to get out of the house for a while. We went ice skating (I forgot how hard this is on the ankles) at the seasonal rink recently opened under the pavilion in downtown Shreveport. We also visited Artspace (sorry, can't find a weblink), a jewel of a gallery on Texas Street. The gallery has local artists as well as an "Eye Twenty" exhibit, which features artists between Shreveport and Monroe. I recently met Robert Trudeau online. He is a local artist and teacher who has several blogs recently featured in the paper. I enjoyed seeing his work online as well as in the gallery. This city has so much going on and we are thankful to be here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Lurkey

Wow! The wife has outdone herself. We just ate lunch and it was delicious--candied yams, stuffing, cranberries, angel biscuits (my mom's recipe), salad, and the world's best turkey--Greenberg Smoked Turkey. I grew up eating Greenberg turkeys in Tyler, TX and was delighted to learn than they are no longer a local favorite, but are shipped nationwide. I have been suffering from the crud for 2 days and have not been able to taste anything. But, after a few shots of saline spray and some good drugs, I was able to keep my taste buds alive throughout most of the meal.Now its time for the tryptophane to kick in.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bibles for Hunger

This is funny, but comes close to the truth of how we think sometimes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Preaching to Postmoderns

Joel Gregory has been said to have the "voice of God." He is one of my favorite preachers, though one one not heard much since he stepped down from FBC, Dallas. He left the publishing business (ChiliPepper Magazine) and is now a Professor at Truett Theological Seminary in Waco and, from what I hear, doing a fine job of training preachers of the future. I had him speak at a business luncheon once and he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He has some good things to say about emerging generations and how they process information. Read here.


Newsweek's Politics of Jesus

I picked up the recent Newsweek about “The Politics of Jesus.” I found the articles on the topic to be a fresh presentation of the movement within evangelicalism to broaden the scope of issues they give their voice to in politics. There are growing numbers of them who see that not much has been done by the religious right for the issues it has held dear and there certainly has been no voice from them on issues such as unjust war, poverty, AIDS, and human rights. I would number myself among those who want the evangelical voice in America to be known for what Jesus talked about most and for what he did with his actions. The quote in the article from evangelical Adam Hamilton sums this idea up nicely, “They’ve (religious right) gone too far . . . lost their focus on the spirit of Jesus and have separated the world into black and white, when the world is much more gray . . . I can’t see Jesus standing with signs at an anti-gay rally. It’s hard to picture that.” Indeed.

I also liked the quote from the pastor at the Willow Creek summit this past summer, at which an interview between Hybels and Bono was shown, who said, “I went in there wondering if Bono was a Christian, and I came out wondering if I was.”

The more we look at Jesus and his politics the more we will see our need to move beyond the things that divide us to the things that are close to the heart of God. I’m excited to consider how the emerging generations I’m working with have the potential to one day give a fresh expression to what Jesus intended with the church. May they be generations known for what they do in the world than what they were against while taking up space awaiting rapture.


Monday, November 20, 2006

A Pre-Insititutional Paul

An article in Slate's list of news today caught my eye. It is titled "The Problem Apostle: How Gary Wills rehabilitates Paul." The article is about Wills' latest book--What Paul Meant--and it led me to add it to my Christmas wish list.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Highland Blessing

We gathered this morning at the Highland Center with folks from other churches to give out 500 Thanksgiving food boxes and a frozen turkey to residents around the Highland Center. As you can see here, the line is long but everyone seemed happy to wait for the end result. It was great to see so many of our youth there, a near miracle for 7am on a Saturday. Way to go Alan! Cody White said they have been doing the distribution for 10 years, increasing it as they go along. I visited with coordinators Sabra Scoggins and Freda Jones after the distribution, who are hoping to see the number of boxes increase to 750 next year.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Obama at Saddleback

Chicago Tribune reports that Barak Obama is speaking at Saddleback Church on Sunday, Dec. 1, World AIDS Day. Who would have guessed? It is good to see one of the leading evangelical, more particularly Southern Baptist, churches giving the AIDS crisis such attention. I am wondering what having Obama there will do for the congregation and the community. I am sure that it can only help both the church and Barak, who is said to be running for President in 2008. The church will be giving AIDS attention and I would think getting respect for this in their community. I would also think that Saddleback attenders will be changed by what they hear and the result could be that even more people will learn what they can do to help those who are suffering with this disease as well as to help find a cure. Obama and Warren are drawing much-needed attention to AIDS. Other megachurch pastors--like Bill Hybels--have also put their leadership behind rallying churches throughout the United States to do more work on this epidemic. Christians are getting involved and that is good, but we need to correct what has taken us so long to get a heart and voice on this isssue.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Studio 60

I'm digging Studio 60, getting hooked on it from episode 2. It is about the only show I've seen in a while that deals with evangelicals and their views on issues. The Christian on the show--Amanda Peet--isn't the best representation of evangelicals but comes closest to what I've seen on TV. The current issue is about homosexuality, the conflict between Peet's belief that it is a sin and the views of others on the cast of the studio. Though some of the dialogue is cheesy, both views are presented more than just in sound bites. Peet's character is shown standing on her belief that the Bible states it to be a sin, yet knowing its injunction not to judge others. The show gives the viewer the ability to think about both sides. Matthew Perry's character challenged Peet to consider what difference it makes to a hetero married couple with a gay married couple living two doors down, asking why their love is any less important than the married couples'. I hope the show makes it. Great writing and acting.


Wired Teens

Kent Shaffer has a post worth reading on how tech savvy our teens are--great for understanding our emerging generations and how they do life.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Exciting Weekend

This has been a busy weekend. Most of the significant parts of it I caught with my almost worthless camera on my Treo. Friday night was our church 2nd Friday Fellowship. Young Adult 1 (twentysomethings) showed up at our house for Munjoni's Lasagna and a hot game of Bunco. It was great to get to know them better and to see Bunco bring out the best in those I thought were kind and quiet.
The next day I headed out to visit our Middle School group on retreat at Redeemed Ranch just south of Minden, LA. I missed the hayride, fishing, and horseback riding but did get to be a part of worship and the last session of Bible study. It was great to hear them learning about putting on the new self and no longer living for themselves--a hard task for any Middle Schooler, or adult for that matter. I took the one below in the front yard today, as the kids were selling bottlecaps and leftover Halloween candy to passers-by. I didn't want them to do it, as I knew it would cut into a much-needed nap. But, I remembered how fun it was to have a kool-aid stand when I was there age, so I gave in and paused to take joy in this time of their lives, knowing that one day I'll wish for more bottlecap sales tables. We just drove in from Allendale, where our church dedicated three homes we helped build with the Fuller Center for Housing Building Blitz back in September. We had one house that was ours in conjunction with Mt. Canaan Baptist Church and it was special to be with new homeowner Erma Flournoy (See September podcast with her from this blog) and to lay hands on her house to dedicate it to God. She was so excited and it was exciting to see a dream in her life come true. It was also a thrill to consider what doing more of this community transformation can do in this neighborhood and throughout our city.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Wife and Mrs. Haggard

I'm proud to post a couple of things by Jinny today: Jinny and Mrs. Haggard Jinny's comedy on Sheepslaughcomedy.com Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rain and My Missing Paper

I'm trying to get used to a rainier climate, perhaps even investing in an umbrella. It seems like everywhere we served in Texas was in severe drought condition--broken only by floods of biblical proportion . Maybe I should spend time reflecting on that a bit, but shall move on. It is exciting to see people in our church taking steps to become more intentional about living as good neighbors in their neighborhoods. We have at least 20 who are adopting their streets/blocks to build relationships and a sense of real community. Twenty didn't sound like a lot to me until I started to think through the ripple effect this will have in neighborhoods throughout our city as their inhabitants grow closer together and seek to live in deeper relationships . Randy Frazee's tips from Willow Creek's Keeping Up with the Jones' have been helpful--getting outside more, inviting people to come over, the 10 minute rule, etc. Being neighborly is not hard, but our current mindset of doing life outside of our neighborhoods works against building real community with our closest neighbors. We just need to make some shifts in thinking and be present where we live. ------------------------------------------------ I started this entry on Monday. Today it is quite the opposite in weather--80 degrees today and dry! I am still trying to find out who won what from yesterday's election. I was looking forward to reading my morning paper, but discovered that it wasn't delivered. What a morning to not have a paper! It didn't look like anyone else on my street got them either. I did see on the news that Cedric Glover won our local mayoral race, becoming Shreveport's first black mayor. Being a new resident here, I was not current on the race and did not know one candidate from the other-- and was not able to vote, but it is good to see a good voter turnout and to see history made. Congratulations Cedric. I am preparing for our "Afternoon Encounter" service this afternoon and ran across an article about this week's lectionary readings and preparation for thanksgiving by Peter Gomes on the Christian Century website. Gomes does a fine job of tying Veteran's Day in with it as well. If you see my paper, let me know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pics of the Week

I took this from my cell phone as we set up for our Trunk or Treat event on Tuesday. Lauren Winner was in town last night, speaking at Cententary College. The topic last night was from her book, Real Sex. I'll blog about that next, but wanted to get some of these picts up. I took this pic at Jason's Deli. I couldn't bring myself to eat the Africa-shaped crouton in my salad. Ruth Drummond, principle Cellist for the Shrevport Symphony and ever-faithful church member at FBC, played for a luncheon we provided this week at LSU Medical School/Shreveport. We didn't have access to a piano, so she played solo Bach. It was beautiful and the med students appreciated a warm meal and some right brain stimulation. Her husband, Dr. Jerry Drummond, an opthamologist here for 30 or so years, spoke to the students about the value of church and spirituality, as well as inviting them to consider opthamology.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Walking, Part 2

I walked to work again today, walking the kids to school and then over to my office. It was great to have the extra time to chat with them and to talk about things we might not have in the car. My son, for example, saw our church steeple--what he referred to as the "roof thing"--through the trees as we got closer. He knew we were close when he could see it. This opened up a great dialogue about the purpose of steeples and a few comments about the location of heaven. We saw and greeted new neighbors, who looked at us like our car must have broken down. In fact, a church member who saw me walking home the other day asked me if my car had broken down. All this reminds me of how strange walking other than for exercise is in this day of the horsless carriage. I am reading Albert Y. Hsu's book, The Suburban Christian and came across a quote he included from The Week, May 9, 2003,
Americans are walking less than ever, but not necessarily because they're lazy, say health experts. It's because they can't. There are no sidewalks nearby, the school is miles away, and a six-lane highway separates home and stores"
Hsu also quoted from theologian Robert Banks
One of the key victims of the automobile is the experience of local neighborhood. Since people drive to and from their homes, they do not see, greet or talk with each other much anymore; since they go greater distances to shop and relax, the corner store disappears, and the neighborhood park empties, so removing the chief hubs of local neighborhood life.
Have you been on a walk lately?

Jesus in Prison

My brother has a post about the recidivism (is this a word? my spell checker doesn't recognize it) of prisoners and how some ministries, like the Christian Restorative Justice Ministers Association, are making a difference to help change the statistics. His question at the end is stirring and convicting. More folks are needed to help make a difference and you can take the first step by reading the post, posting it and/or forwarding it on to others. The post came on the same day we presented a video to our church to close out a sermon series on "Keeping in Step with Jesus and His Mission." The video was an interview with Bono by Bill Hybels. Bono is a great example of one who speaks up for the "least of these," especially relating to the poor and sick in Africa. You can begin speaking up and out through One.org

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Walking to Work

Today was the first day of walking to work. It took me and my two children 12 minutes from our front door to the church/school. It has been raining non-stop here for the last couple of days but it stopped just long enough for us to make the walk today. It is a beautiful walk and just the right distance. I am walking for several reasons: the kids think it is cool (for now), my fat gut needs help, and my intentions to fully inhabit my neighborhood. The third of these reasons comes as a result of how I have been challenging our 8:45 worship congregation to become “Matthews” in their neighborhoods, getting out of their houses and comfort zones to meet their neighbors. I think it is easier for me than those I’m challenging because I am new in my neighborhood and can introduce myself to people as new as opposed to having lived next door to someone for ten years and still haven’t met. One of the strategies we are using is remembered by the acronym for the abbreviation for Matthew’s name:

M—ake a commitment to God for your neighborhood

A—sk a neighbor over to share your dinner table

T—ake the initiative to build relationships with your neighbors

T—throw great parties

I will be blogging about my walks and neighborhood experiences and I hope you will share some of yours as well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lauren Winner in Shreveport

Lauren is coming to Centenary and I wanted to give a plug to anyone out there in the area. Here is the info. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blog Start

A fellow church member is starting his new life of blogging. From the looks of it, he's going to need plenty of posting room. He is Dr. Nate Hutchings, the Chair of the Biology Department at LSU-Shreveport, LA and one of the only people I know who can walk successfully on his hands. I offer him to you, my readers, as a gift to him for his first step in this most important blogosphere of ours. His blog is here and he has a thought-provoking first post which is timely for this campaign season.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

One Groovy Chick

Jinny headed out for a gig in Denver yesterday and took a suitcase full of this book she was just published in recently. See the chapter titled, "The Pork Chop." She is on the go more now that we have settled in (mostly) to our new city and home. You go, groovy chick.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Driving Jack?

I somehow locked myself out of blogger for a while, but I'm back now. I stumbled across this pic recently. Looks a bit like my boy, Jack. Note the speed sign in the back.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What Happens when 500 Baptist Street Preachers Gather

Scary thought, huh. I read this article in my local paper(the link is actually to one not my local paper, but could not find it in the online edition. Sorry about that Shreveport Times) yesterday and couldn't believe what I was reading. 500 street preachers with the Great News Network are out to do what the president of the organization calls a "city invasion." It looks like they are heading to Deep Ellum. Oh boy. I can't imagine how that will go over and wish I could be there to watch the propositional, conquest-you methodology clash with the postmodern, bohemian culture of Deep Ellum. The mindset of this group is clear, as seen in the use of words like "boot camp," and "invasion." I regret thinking of the damage that will be done for the cause of Christ to the churches in the area who understand the Deep Ellum folks and who are trying to overcome just this kind of stereotype of Christians. And yes, the group also will be passing out those goofy $1 million bills, which really are tracts. Yeah, that will be effective.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Teenagers and Faith

I have read two articles about teenangers and Christian faith today, coming across them by inadvertently as I checked my mail and news. The first one was on Salon.com, dealing with Stephen Baldwin's ministry to teens. The second one was from the NY Times, which I discovered as a topic and link on Bruce Prescott's blog. It is clear that some (not nearly enough) evangelicals today are seeing the mindset of children and teens of today, espc. their indifference to church and Christianity. It is also evident that people like Baldwin and other evangelicals are trying to change the tide of what they see, but their actions seem only to further distance them from the emerging generations. What is scary to me is not the lack of interest in the Christian faith among teens, but how the modern approach from churches to postmodern-influenced generations is sometimes doing more harm than good--i.e.--Baldwin's approach. One purpose of this blog--and of my work in ministry--is to focus on what is the way we can help these emerging generations to get a good glimpse of Jesus and develop in faith. Stay tuned and feel free to share ways you have seen these gen.s connect with Jesus and church.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

5 Hours of Misery

When I bought the trampoline, I had no idea what was ahead of me. The box said, "Easy Installation" and I believed it, much to my regret. What good did come out of it was the thinking about Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis trampoline vs. brick wall approach to theology. We also bonded with our next door neighbors who took pity on us and came over to help. We couldn't have done it without them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Real Jesus

I am preaching this month in our 8:45 service, with a series I'm calling "Keeping in Step with Jesus and His Mission." We have just completed a major undertaking with building a house as a part of the Fuller Center for Housing Building Blitz here in Shreveport. Our folks are extremely excited about participating in community renewal and we all have a taste to do more. It is my hope to challenge those in attendance, especially younger generations, to keep doing missional things, focusing on Jesus and living his kind of life in our city. As I am preparing for this week's segment of that series--"Foot-Functioning with Jesus"--I will be talking about what Jesus meant by "kingdom," what he was all about in this world and still now. I ran across this Slate article today on different views of Jesus. It's worth a read and gives a good perspective on how Jesus is viewed in our culture.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Two Things I Liked at Willowcreek Today

#1 The front porch represents willow creek's new emphasis on neighborhoods. Randy Frazee launched this Wed. night and it was exciting to hear of their vision for incarnational ministry. Our church will soon be doing more in our neighborhood surrounding the church and I hope to learn more of how WC reorients their ministry to being a connecting church. I attended a breakout on it today and it sounds like what we did back in Trophy Club (hi to those of you who still keep up with my blog). Probably the best sense of community I have exprienced was on Llano street with you guys, growing together as neighbors and family. #2 Pura Vida is what WC is serving in their coffeehouse. Good stuff. Oh, also, Charlie Hall and band just led worship this afternoon with great sounds and lyrics. I saw where Doug Pagitt was leading a breakout on Solomon's Porch, but I didn't see it on the list until it was too late. Donald Miller is up to speak tomorrow!

Three things I liked today at willow creek

The front porch represents wc's new emphasis on neighborhood-based groups. I heard randy frazee launch this last night for the church. I was influenced by his Connecting Church approach several years ago and saw the power of connecting with the folks on my street in Texas.

Thing #2 is that they are using Pura Vida as their coffee choice. Good stuff and good cause.

The small groups confer is going well and I look forward to hearing Donald Miller. Its also good to see that Doug Pagitt is here as well for a breakout.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

USA Today and Darfur

I don't usually read USA Today but I'm doing so today while traveling. I was glad to see a full page ad from savedarfur.org and the coverage they have given to the genocide there. I have been keeping up with the news of it over the last year but it is still gut-wrenching to see the pictures and read the accounts of what is happening there. Savedarfur is a great group and a great first step to helping get the word out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Coffee Crotch

I obviously had an accident. My coffee dumped (yes this is passive voice) on me during our flight to Chicago. I may be clumsy, but I've got good aim.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Days 3-5 of Building Blitz

As I mentioned in the last post, my house ended up closing this week and I was not able to continue with the building blitz. I hated to not be a part of the excitement, especially the dedication of it on Friday, but I needed to get moved in and finish our last leg of the journey to transition in our new life here in Shreveport. To see a lot of pics from the week, visit our new flickr page. Many of you know the crazy problems we've had with getting this house closed out, but there's more. Yesterday when the movers showed up from Dallas, they started taking furniture out of the truck, beginning with patio furniture. I quickly accused Jinny of buying new stuff while I was unaware and soon discovered that the movers brought the wrong furniture! As someone mentioned, we started looking for the locusts, boils and frogs at this point. To make a long and painful story short, the movers took the wrong trailer back and returned at the end of the day with the right one and we got it unloaded last night. We are happy to be in a place we can call our own (or does the bank think its theirs?) and to now make it a home.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Day 3 of Building Blitz

I was a no show. After many, many weeks of waiting to get into our house, it finally went to closing today and we are homeowners once again. My help with building the house was thus interrupted and I have no pictures or blogs to show. I talked with another church member and he said that most of the work today was inside and things were slowed down some by plumbing difficulties. I hope to get out again before it is finished, but will tending to our own move-in tomorrow and over the weekend. I'm sure I'll have some interesting stories if this move is anything like others we've had.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pics--Day 2 of Building Blitz

The run-down shotgun houses on one side of the street. They were once pretty, but as one neighbor expressed, they have been rented and paid for many times, but never owned. He was ready to see them and the memories of unhelpful landlords go in place of the new Habitat and Fuller houses. Below is Erma Flournoy, soon-to-be homeowner:
This is from day 2 of the Fuller Center for Housing Building Blitz here in Shreveport, LA. Erma will be living in the house our church is building.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Day 1--Millard Fuller Building Blitz

Here are some picts from today. Ten houses are being built in a neighborhood in Shreveport. Our church is building the one you see here. We started with a slab and by mid afternoon already had exterior and interior walls up, as well as Tyvek sheeting started and trusses getting ready. It has been an incredible experience, getting to meet people from all over the U.S. who have taken off work to come help folks from our church and the soon-to-be homeowner (I'll interview her tomorrow) transform our community. It has also been good to put hands to our faith and make a profound difference in seemingly small tasks. As I was walking back to my car this afternoon, I looked over at the old tenament shotgun-style houses, with broken windows and tilting frames and looked across the street to see brand new homes, representing a brand new future for this old, poverty-ridden neighborhood. I thought about what Jesus would think of this; of how God must be pleased when people of various races, colors and religions come together to build up a community together. I believe this kind of love and cooperation is a part of God's dream for this world and we are most like what He wants us to be when we join hand with our neighbors in this way. What we are doing this week is not a pipe dream, but has become a reality, giving hope for seeing a city transformed by God's love. This is what I think Jesus had in mind when he spoke of Kingdom. More tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Millard Fuller This Sunday

Our church is kicking off its Crossroads emphasis (faith impacting culture) this Sunday with Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity. The theme of the week goes back to former pastor Dr. Bill Hull's sermon, Crossroads, which he preached in 1977 and deeply affected the Shreveport community re: the plight of the city racial relations, a male-dominated city, etc. I am new to these parts, but most folks say the sermon could be preached today and still be relevant, as some things haven't changed much. Our church will be building a house in one week as a part of a blitz of erecting 18 houses in a neighborhood here in Shreveport. I have no construction abilities and doubt that they will let me even swing a hammer, but I look forward to doing my part. I will also blog about each day's progress and do some podcasting with helpers, the family receiving the house and hopefully Millard.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bono and the Saints

Man, he gets around. I was excited to see on CNN that Bono is helping out the New Orleans Saints with their reentry to the Superdome on Monday night, Sept. 18. Green Day will also be a part of this effort and with a new cut of "When the Saints Go Marching In," not only to help the Saints but the efforts to rebuild the city. Yet another reason to love U2 and all they do.

Monday, September 11, 2006

America and Religion

USA Today published an article today about America being more religious than previously thought--by them I guess. They are basing this thinking on a recent study by Baylor University Sociology Dept. Interesting findings on a hesistancy by a great number to embrace "evangelical."

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wikity Wacky

I was preparing for a class on the emerging church and thought I would check wikipedia's definition, which has been hijacked since the last time I looked at it. It is as follows, The emerging church or emergent church is a diverse, controversial movement within Christianity that arose in the late 20th century as a reaction to the perceived influence of modernism in Western Christianity. [citation needed] Proponents of the emerging church embrace postmodernism and call the movement a "conversation" to emphasize its decentralized nature with contributions from people of a variety of beliefs. [citation needed] The emerging church seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct Christianity as its mainly Western members live in a postmodern culture.[1] It's sad that the anti-emergent folks feel the need to create their own definitions and generalize as they do. Here is another article on how wikipedia gets altered with ease.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Yes, It Still Happens

Our local paper broke and ran this story about a white school bus driver who made black students sit at the back of the bus. Story here. The latest news is that they are not firing the driver, but letting her retire in October.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Morning Covenant

This was Allelon's (Northumbria) morning meditation for today.

Meditation for Day 5 THE METHODIST COVENANT PRAYER I am no longer my own, but Thine. Put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for Thee or laid aside for Thee; let me be exalted for Thee, or brought low for Thee; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Thou art mine, and I am Thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Heretic's Guide

Just got my copy of A Heretic's Guide to Eternity. I can't wait to read it and will be posting my review here and at Amazon.

Fair Trade Coffee

Speaking of coffee, I recently was a part of a conversation with church members about the kind of coffee we purchase and provide as a church. We currently have those huge silver percolators in halls throughout the church, which produce some substance often referred to as coffee. Our conversation was about the need to have only Fair Trade Coffee. This desire was especially brewing among our group who recently returned from a trip to the mountains of Guatemala, where they saw coffee growing and met farmers. I have thought of offering only fair trade coffee before in other churches where I have served, but have discovered that, even though others in the church like the idea and support the cause, it is the taste that has kept it from happening. And, in Baptist churches, majority coffee taste rules. Does anyone know of a tasty, robust cup certified by Fair Trade?

Best Sumatra I've Had

I found this coffee in my new neighborhood in Shreveport, LA. A wise quote was on their website: "I have meausered out my life with coffee spoons." T.S. Eliot

They are based in New Orleans and you will find them at www.pjscoffee.com

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Crocs Forever--literally

It seems that everyone I see these days is shod in a pair of crocs. I like the look, but could never wear the green ones. The good news for those who like them is that they will literally last forever. Read here by Salon.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Electric Meat", the Meaning of Life and Separation of Church and State

All of these issues are in an article posted on Salon today of a conversation with skeptics founder Michael Shermer. Shermer is a happy agnostic (seems very pleasant in his responses) and tells of how he went from being a fervent Christian to disbelieving in God. I enjoyed reading his perspective, but can't buy that we humans are just "electric meat" with no meaning in life other than that which we give ourselves. I do agree with his views about religious freedom and the need for a separation of church and state.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

church marketing run amuck

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summer skin

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Young Adults and Church

Where are all of the young adults today? That's a question lots of churches are asking. And, if they are not, they should be, as emerging generations are not finding their way into our churches. At FBC, we have been asking the question and are moving in the direction to make a connection with those who are growing up in a post-church world. I am preparing to teach a course to our membership about the changes in world view and orientation that our society has been going through and I hope to point us toward offering a fresh expression of church for those who are outside of it. Out of Ur is running a piece--Young adults --on this issue and it is worth reading.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hybels interview with Bono

This session, to me, was the highlight of this year's Leadership Summit. The interview was recorded in Dublin and played at the Summit, mixed in with some great concert footage. Sorry for the messiness of my notes, but here they are:


What can I give back to God for the blessings you pour out on me?

Hybels asked Bono what has been most satisfying in this last year of awards and recognition. Bono says that music is still most satisfying; most thrilling. The other reason is the work he is doing on the ONE campaign. Bono said that the poor and most vulnerable are often not treated with the respect of other interest groups. “We want to represent the poor and most vulnerable without coming with our heads bowed and cowed; that the poor deserve an honorable place—the head place—at the table.”

In re: to family: summers are sacrosanct for the family. We go to France and spend that time together.

Re: spiritual activity. Hybels said he learned that it began in his youth group. I never had any problems with Christ; it was Christians . . . I found them to be disinterested politically, culturally. I found it difficult to relax around them. Christians can be very judgmental, judging people on the surface yet never mentioning corporate greed, etc. In the system we have, governed by karma, grace enters the picture. It is hard for humans to grasp grace. I grew up suspicious of Christians but determined to learn more about Christ.

Duality is the mark of great art. I did live in tension between Christian faith and my music. There is a fear of duality in Christianity. The key that great art has with Christianity is that you will know the truth and it will set you free. That’s how I start my day.

I relate more the the blues. They are like the psalms. Oh, God, where are you?

In re: to believing in Jesus as just as a good man doesn’t work. He was either a nutcase or who he said he was. This man went to the cross what he said he was prophesied about; God in human flesh. I am fascinated by a child born in straw poverty.

In 1985—going to Ethiopa with Live Aid with his family—this rang every bell inside my head; went over with my wife and worked in an orphanage, under the wire, just to see what was going on there. To see them trying to stay alive is something I will never forget. How could this be in a world of plenty? People growing up starving to death. If this is the way of the world, we need to overthrow this way.

Hybels: how did this finding take manifestation in your life?

Bono: If I am honest, I tried to put it out of my head. To carry this with you is too much. We were both clear that at some point we would be called upon to revisit these questions that were too big.

What happened to you in the last several years that made you shift gears even more to do even more lobbying? Bono: what else are you going to do with celebrity? It is ridiculous. But, hey, its currency and I’m going to spend it. I have a head for the world’s poor and I’m strategic. God has made me an opportunity. I have a voice.

An idea whose time has come and has a moral force is powerful. Now there is momentum behind it. People are waking up and realizing that the world doesn’t have to be this way.

Hybels: why is the church late to this?

Bono: The church has always been behind the curve, with civil rights, etc I think the church is afraid of politics. The church has been very judgmental, about the AIDS virus in particular. Christ won’t let the church walk away from the AIDS crisis. I was very angry when I read the stat. about 6% of Christians feeling the need to respond to the AIDS crisis. The church started to wake up and ruined it for me (not liking the church).

Love thy neighbor is not advice, it is a command. In the global community, can you say it is not really my concern if it is happing over there? No. If people are starving somewhere in the world, we must do something. The only place Jesus mentions judgment is in re: to taking care of the poor and vulnerable. Your service to the poor and needy defines you in the kingdom. This is what it means to live in the kingdom.

If the Christian church can eradicate malaria, defeat AIDS, . . .

I think the most moving moment is when a friend asked me to stop asking God to bless what you are doing. Find out what God is doing and do it. It is already blessed. That’s what I did with these issues. This generation can be remembered for doing away with poverty—the stupid kind of poverty.

“Thy Kingdom come on earth as in heaven” grabs me because our purpose is to bring heaven to earth not have a pie in the sky mentality. The world is not a happy place for most people living in it.

Hybels: You have the opportunity to preach to 70,000 pastors. What do you have to say to them?

Bono: Open the doors of your church and make them clinics. Make your congregation aware of the ONE campaign. Let’s walk together and stand up for the least of these. Give permission to your leaders to spend your money on the poorest of the poor.

Hybels shared about Hebrews 13:17, of how this is the scariest verse in the Bible in re: to how God will hold church leaders accountable, esp. about the greatest humanitarian crisis of our day—with the AIDS virus. The church cannot idly sit by. Every church should do something. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

What can a church do?

Educate itself (books, tapes, learning groups).

Engage in the alleviation of human suffering.

Sr. Pastors have to travel to continents being ravaged by this disease.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Leadership Summit Reflections, Part 2

The second day of the Summit was full of good content and I found myself challenged in many different parts of my life and ministry. Listed below are the speakers and what I recorded as meaningful. Friday THE RISKY BUSINESS OF HIRING STARS --—ASHISH NANDA Ashish was fascinating and had much to say about how new staff members come in and go out of an organization. One thing that he mentioned, which hits home with me as a new staff member (I certainly am not saying I am a "star" though) is that hiring a star is like an organ transplant. 90% of work must be done with post-op, socializing and integrating him/her into the system. JIM COLLINS—WHEN BUSINESS THINKING FAILS THE CHURCH Listening to Jim was like drinking from a fire hydrant. I took lots of notes on his topic, but will share just one point in order to spend more time on my thoughts on the interview from Bono. Collins must not have been a professing Christian, since Hybels kept referring to his hope that he is "getting there." Hybels noted that Collins seems to have written his latest Monograph with a more spiritual pen, noting his concern for humanitarian causes and the like, than his other writings and asked why. Collins shared that life is about contribution; that economics are a means to an end. "My mentors planted in me a seed and that I am here for a reason; that I have gifts not to be wasted in this world." BONO--see next post, as it takes up a lot of space Saturday Wayne Cordeiro. I have been familiar with his ministry in Hawaii but this is the first time I've heard him speak. He was very engaging and was authentic about his crash in ministry and personally (the title of his talk was "Dead Man Running") He talked about his burnout in ministry and how God worked through his emotional crash to help him make new bearings in his life to be able to renew his soul and maintain balance. What I learned from Cordeiro is my need schedule rest and ministry to my family first and then place appointments and scheduling as a second step. I must know what drains my tank and what makes it full. I was convicted that I am not filling my tank with enough rest (mainly sleep), and I feel guilty when not working. Bill Hybels closed the Summit with what ended up being an interesting twist for the conference. He said that God told him to speak on the necessity of clarity from the Pastor, using a trumpet in battle as an illustration for sending out a clear signal to those on the battlefield. He gave some examples of leaders who kept their message clear--Winston Churchill's "Never" speech to Great Britain, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermon from jail. The interesting twist came when Hybels focused in on the one key message that must be clear from leaders today--Substituionary Atonement. This has been a hot topic in the blogosphere and in theological circles here lately (visit here for a good launching point) and I assume that Hybels felt like he needed to enter the conversation and take a stand. Hybels emphasized how Jesus was absolutelty clear about his message (which was subst. atonement, according to Hybels) and that Pastors must be this way today. He gave an explanation of what the term means and then walked everyone through it from the Garden of Eden to the Crucifixion. I was taken back by Hybels choosing this as his closing talk. There are certainly many other views of atonement widely accepted and taught throughout church history and presented in Christian theology. Why he chose to single out this one and reduce the gospel to one central metaphor puzzled me (perhaps a response to the recent disussions of it in emergent conversations and in Christianity Today?). I also kept thinking of how Jesus' primary message was about the Kingdom of God, speaking much more about its reality and work here on earth rather than teaching about how individuals can go to Heaven. I certainly understand the necessity of speaking about sin and eternity, but this does not seem to be Jesus' primary focus in the Gospels. He was seeking to call people out to make a difference in this world by participating in God's work of redemption of the world and that judgment would come on the basis of how that work was carried out (lots of parables are coming to mind here). When we look at Jesus' words and actions, I see a much bigger, expansive gospel than when only one theory of atonement is presented.

Friday, August 11, 2006

God and Science

Brett Younger, Pastor of Broadway Baptist in Ft. Worth, always has something to share from life experience in his regular column in the Baptist Standard. This week, he takes a good look at the still current issue of God and science in this article.

My Thoughts at the Leadership Summit 06

This post is actually a day late and I have more to write about Bono's interview from today. But, here are my thoughts on the first four sessions.

I am at the Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit today with my church—24 of us in all. We were at the Dallas-Rockwall location (Lakepoint Church) Bill Hybels started out the day and did a great job of doing what I think he does best—inspiring leaders. He talked about the lifecycle of leaders and challenged leaders to be intentional about self-leadership development. He also listed skills necessary for ongoing leadership, especially within ministry. He stressed that the passion and heartbeat of a young leader—the kind that leads one to want to change the world—must be shaped and developed.

Hybels closed with a story about the impact of leadership by sharing the story of being in a village in Zambia, one which Willow Creek has adopted all of the 1100 AIDS orphans. The church provides sacks of mealy meal and other staples, providing for their food needs each day. He shared about meeting a woman there who had adopted two of the orphans, carrying food to them by dragging it down the road to her house. Hybels offered to carry the bag on his shoulder and, as he was doing so, he said it struck him how vital the food was for the children, making a difference between life and death for these children. He reminded us all of the stakes of leadership and what does not happen when leaders don’t lead (sorry for those double negatives). It was great to hear of Hybel's new focus on social issues, realizing the leverage he and WCreek have to make a huge difference with poverty, AIDS, and racial reconciliation.

James Meeks, Sr. Pastor of Salem Baptist Church , talked about how every church can grow. I enjoyed his sense of humor and many of his points, but I felt like it was too much about methodology and scientific approach to church growth. To Meeks, a church that is not growing radically in number each year is not fulfilling God’s hopes for it. I agree that churches need to grow, but measuring growth by membership addition and baptisms has shown not to be a true marker for being Christ’s church. Meeks seemed to be more interested in growing the church on its campus rather than in the community.

Andy Stanley’s topic today was “Focused Leadership.” He said the best leadership decision he ever made was to decide to no longer cheat his wife and family on time and focus, but to instead cheat the church. He said he always prayed for God to make up for his time away from home believing he was doing God’s will by building the church. But, he said he had things opposite and that God never commanded anyone to love the church, but to love their wives. He implemented this in his life, going home when his wife and children needed him most (between 4:30-6:00) Stanley believes this value enabled the church to say no to too many things and to build a sustainable approach to ministry. It alleviated the fear of not being able to be all things to all people.

Peg Neuhauser talked about tribal warfare and how to manage conflict in organizations. Good stuff.

I am looking forward to hearing from Bono and other speakers tomorrow.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Wall Art

I have a new office and I think it is time to add some new art to my work life. I don't have a window--which is actually a good thing as my daydreaming potential will be reduced--and will need to add some color to brighten up the space. I was thinking of a Kandinsky or perhaps Massie's Four Meditations I am still hunting for just the right one to hang on the wall. Any ideas? What is on your wall?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Emerging Bonos

I had not heard the term "Bono Christians" to describe those who love Jesus but have given up on church, but stainedglass uses it in a recent post. He is right that this way of thinking is pervasive in our society today. It is especially so in the generations x and below.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Community renewal, Pastoral Grit

We are still in transition between the Ft. Worth area and Shreveport and will be for a few weeks. We were at church this morning and heard Mac McCarter a guest preacher from Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal, where he is Coordinator. Our church is partnering with them to build a house in September. I took good notes during his talk, but was most impressed with hearing him say that he has figured that churches in the Shreveport area spend about 20 million/year on building programs/construction and improvements. He wondered out loud if it has really made any difference in the community. Great question and point. He also quoted I'm excited to be in a church who has community renewal as a growing passion and I look forward to seeing church members get involved with other churches/faiths in doing something radically positive in the community. I just read this post from Dr. Bruce Prescott about a megachurch pastor who has shown pastoral grit and courage. I admire his courage, giving a prophetic voice in his community while staying out of the trap of getting the church connected to either political party.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Good Samaritan in Lebanon

Sojourner's quote of the week:

"Seven hundred thousand out of a total Lebanese population of 3.5 million, 20 percent of the population, mostly Shiites, are now being cared for and given refuge by mostly Christian schools, churches, and other humanitarian organizations. This is the story of the Good Samaritan at a mega scale! And to think that this is the outcome of a strategy that meant to rouse anti-Hezbollah feelings among the Lebanese population and government. Talk about a failed strategy! Of course, this has happened so many times before that any thoughtful tactician would have learned the lesson by now, but military muscle is always too hedonistic and narcissistic to listen to the voice of reason and history."

- Dr. Martin Accad, academic dean of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary of Lebanon.

Source: Christianity Today

Dr. Francis Collins

I was on one of my frequent trips back and forth from Shreveport and tuned in to the Diane Rehm show as she was hosting Francis Collins--a medical doctor, research scientist and a professing evangelical Christian--on her show. I had not heard of him before and was intrigued by what he had to say about the current issues of stem cell research, evolution vs. creation, and how Christians interpret the Bible. I appreciated what he had to say as a Christian about not having to take a literal interpretation--e.g. Genesis 1-2--to believe in God as Creator. He stated that to teach a young earth view of the earth and a literal 7 day creation will lead young students to reject Christianity, rendering them unable to take it seriously as they study science and the world around them; that they will turn away from the rest of Scripture and the Christian faith thinking this is the only interpretation. I don't too much about Collins yet and all of his views, but I was thankful to hear a man who is serious about following Christ and who finds no contradiction between his scientific research and beliefs and his Christian faith. Rehm was highlighting his new book, The Language of God, which I look forward to reading soon. Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly also interviewed him here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Community and Vocation in Emerging Generations

My morning newspaper had a story in the Life and Arts section about Chris Wiesinger, 25, who recently graduated from Texas A&M and started a bulb(flower) company. What led me to the article was my interest in all things landscaping but as I read on I was fascinated by a 25 year old's desire to drive around to remote parts of the state to dig up bulbs for resale. He is an Aggie, but there seemed to be something here beyond mere aggieness. It turns out that Wiesinger and two other friends from college live together in a cabin out in the country (near Mineola for those of my readers from East Texas). Another partner, Amanda George, lives down the road but is just as involved in the work and community life. The business partners work together and then gather around the dinner table for dinner and friendship each night. The article writer, Ginia Bellafante, writes that,

If the focus seems unusually intense, it is because their interest in gardening is motivated less by aesthetic predilection than by philosophical belief. Wiesinger and his friends said they are all observant Christians who see gardening as a lesson in the politics of personal responsibility and the value of rewards deferred.

Bellafante also finds that Wiesinger's encounter with the poverty in East Texas, which he discovers on bulb hunts, "stirs his philanthropic impulses" and dreams of transforming impoverished communities.

These four exemplify what emerging generations value in life and what kind of community and world they want to live in, one that is based on authentic friendships and conversation, the mixture of work and spirituality/secular and sacred, care for the poor and neglected, and a focus on making the world a better, more beautiful place.

I don’t know if Wiesinger attends church anywhere nor do I know much of anything else about him or this group, but it seems like he has created a community that looks so much like what I believe Jesus intend His followers to be.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Day of Donut

It happened again today. Someone brought a box of donuts and then made all of us in the office feel guilty if we didn't go back to the breakroom to eat one. I did eat one and it stayed stuck in my throat (the taste kept alive by donut burp) all day. This post would be one of the reasons I named my blog "Wondering Thoughts." Sorry. I thought posting about it would remind me to just say no.

Monday, July 17, 2006

We're Moving

We are soon heading to Shreveport, LA where I will serve as Associate Pastor for Emerging Ministries at First Baptist, Shreveport (no, they don't have slot machines in the narthex). The search committee had us over for a visit several weeks ago and then had our whole family there this past weekend to meet and greet and be voted on by the church. I first became intrigued with what this church was doing when I saw the job ad and wanted to see what it was all about; if they were truly interested in creating and influencing emerging generations as a church. What I discovered is a Sr. Pastor--Dr. Greg Hunt--, staff and church who are at a place in the life of their church where they are ready(after some years of crisis and soul-searching as a church) and positioned to do whatever it takes to continue their rich history of ministry by adapting their orientation to reaching out to emerging generations. In my sermon today, I talked about what we are learning about these generations and why they are absent from the church. I referenced Barna's latest book as well Alan Jamieson's A Churchless Faith to establish the problem churches face today in relating to the emerging world around them. I read from Matthew 5:13 (salt and light) and listed three key areas this church will need to major on to be salt and light to the ever-changing world in the days ahead. They are: community-living, a focus on Jesus (not what we attach to him), and a missional/kingdom focus The list can go on, but these three were all I had time for and are central and those that will enable the church to connect with emerging generations. I am impressed with what this church has done in the past and I'm excited about the days ahead. I will be leaving my work as a church planter here in the Trophy Club area now after an informal merger with another new church in our area. I will also depart from my full-time work as Chaplain/Bereavement Coordinator at SouthernCare Hospice in Ft. Worth. I have learned countless lessons in the planting(esp. about the major tectonic shift in culture that has taken place since we planted our first church in 1996) as well as working with terminally ill patients and their families. I am thankful to God for our time here and for the many people who have lived in community and mission with us as Highland Community Church.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Anne Lamott Interview

Belief.net interviewed Anne Lamott here. Worth a read. This gives a glimpse of the soul behind such great writing.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kimball on fall of Axis

Dan Kimball has been watching--and writing--the development and now collapse of Willow Creek's 20-something worship gathering and community. He gives a good assessment here and brings to attention the challenges that can come to adding a new service. I believe it can be done and that new generations can be reached, but Kimball notes a few challenges, which left unchecked, can lead to collapse.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Obama on Faith

I loved Barak Obama's comments at the Call to Renwal conference on the need for Democrats not to disregard faith. The more I hear him speak, the more I like his sensible approach to issues.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Baby Got Book

I saw this Christian rap video today on Salon. Watch only if you have nothing else to do with your next 3 minutes.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Vacation Bible School, a missional beginning

Based on the banners, signs and ads I see on my daily drive, it seems that every church these days has an offering of Vacation Bible School. An article in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram gives a history of VBS. I recall reading about the beginnings of it (proud to say it has a Baptist origin) in a couple of sentences in my church history textbook, but the article today reminded me of how missional an idea it was as Eliza Hawes started it in a beer hall (would the anti-alchohol/Jesus was really drinking grape juice/"we must come out from among them" crowd in the SBC of today do such a thing?) back in 1898. The idea was to bring Jesus to the children(of immigrants) who would never attend her church on the other side of town. I don't know much about Eliza, but she obviously understood the need to take Jesus into her community, modeling an incarnational method much needed still today. Another article on the history of VBS in Christianity Today.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Jesus in the Storm

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Call for Action

Grace Akallo was abducted from her school in Uganda and was forced to be a child soldier in the LRA. Read about her report to the U.S. House, as reported from World Vision here. If you haven't already signed up to sponsor a child, now is a great time to do so by going here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

On the Reading of Books

Great Quote of the Day by Chesterton: "There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read." - GK Chesterton

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Colbert at his best

I saw this Colbert video about the Ten Commandments posted on willzhead. Absolutely funny but sad.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Missional Impact

It's half-time between the Mavs and Miami. Things aren't looking so good, as Dallas is showing to be sloppy and missing one shot after another. I'm doing some blogging while waiting for the 3rd quarter to start (I hear Mark Cuban does this at half-time as well!) I saw this while checking my feeds and wanted to share it. I saw this article in Baptist Standard about a church who is making a difference with poverty through Bread for the World. I have never attended the church, but it is easy to see where there heart is and how they are taking Jesus' mission for them seriously as they actively love their neighbors close and far. Making a missional impact is as easy as collecting signatures and adding your voice to support initiatives and legislation to help those in need.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I read the following thought about church while reading Secrets in the Dark by Frederich Buechner:
"Our happiness is all mixed up with each other's happiness, our peace with each other's peace. Our own happiness, our own peace can never be complete until we find some way of sharing it with people who, the way things are now, have no happiness and know no peace. Jesus calls us to show this truth forth, live this truth forth. Be the light of the world, he says. Where there are dark places, be the light especially there. Be the salt of the earth. Bring out the true flavor of what it is to be alive truly. Be truly alive. Be life-givers to others. That is what Jesus tells the disciples to be. That is what Jesus tells his church, tells us, to be and do. Love each other. Heal the sick, he says. Raise the dead. Cleanse lepers. Cast out demons. That is what loving each other means. If the church is doing things like that, then it is being what Jesus told it to be. If it is not doing things like that--no matter how many other good and useful things it may be doing instead--then it is not being what Jesus told it to be. It is as simple as that."
I love the call here to be "life-givers to others." Are those who follow Jesus today living out these words as Jesus intended? Ask a person on the street and you will find that there are many other descriptions, none of which get close to "life-givers." I do believe that these same folks you talk with will see Jesus as one, but not so much those who claim to follow. May the church of today be full of life-givers.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Trinity Sunday

(b. 1502, Aelst, d. 1556, Bruxelles) Text for this Sunday

Monday, June 05, 2006

More mission, not more churches

I just read this article by Craig Sherouse from Ethics Daily about the shifting missionary strategy in Africa. The missionaries and churches are seeing that the community is crying out for "water, food, housing and healthcare" more than additional church buildings. I like the idea that more can be done through the existing churches to feed, heal and share Jesus with these folks, but it is possible through the existing churches? Are they able to shift to a missional mindset? Or, is it better to start new churches who understand their missional calling and focus?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

My Wife in Print

This article about Jinny's relative shot down in France during WWII ran today in our local news.


Today is the first Sunday of Pentecost. I attended a service last night and was reminded of the significance of Jesus sending his Spirit to not only be with and upon his followers, but also within them. I have preached from the Pentecost texts more times than I can recall, but this time I was on the listening end of things. The preacher did a great job of explaining the text and applying it for today, even effectively using clips from Star Wars and tying "The Force" in with the Spirit. One thing I left with was contemplating what it meant that we can today walk in this world with the Spirit of Jesus, doing the same things he did and continuing his work in our world. The pastor shared an illustration about Jackie Robinson, who was being harassed and hated by the crowds and other players as the first Black player to begin much-needed integration of baseball. One night in Brooklyn, during intense attack from the crowd after making an error, the ever-popular Short Stop Pee Wee Reese walked over and put his arm around Jackie, showing his love and acceptance, quieting the crowd. The Pastor shared that this is much like how the Spirit comes along beside us and pats us on the back, affirming and loving us one of God's children. This is also, he noted, how God uses people to be vessels of the Spirit into the lives of people who need a touch from Him. The challenge of being missional in our world today is to do that which Jesus left us to do; to share the Good News of God, loving the world in the same radical way Jesus did as He walked this world. He continues to walk in our world when we allow ourselves to be guided and empowered by his Spirit.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Congrats to Dirk for 50 points. On to Game 6. Story here (and photo)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rain, Rain, Come Again

Finally it has come. We were already in the drought danger zone and it is not even officially summer yet. It was refreshing to see the rain today.