The Consistent Church

A friend of mine called from his cell phone after he drove by a church, here's what he saw:

Church Name: Freewill Bapist Church

Church Sign: Come visit us Sunday; if you want.

I should start a blog just for Tozer Quotes

Some misguided Christian leaders feel that they must preserve harmony at any cost, so they do everything possible to reduce friction. They should remember that there is no friction in a machine that has been shut down for the night. Turn off the power, and you will have no problem with moving parts. Also remember that there is a human society where there are no problems--the cemetery. The dead have no differences of opinion. They generate no heat, because they have no energy and no motion. But their penalty is sterility and complete lack of achievement.

What then is the conclusion of the matter? That problems are the price of progress, that friction is the concomitant of motion, that a live and expanding church will have a certain quota of difficulties as a result of its life and activity. A Spirit-filled church will invite the anger of the enemy.  
A. W. Tozer in This World: Playground or Battleground? 


 A Fight To Remember
I watched the entire game on TV with a couple of friends over at the house.  It was great to finally be on the winning side of one of those memorable games between the Red Sox and Yankees. (This was as great a game as the 13 inning game where Jeter dove into the stands after he caught that ball.)

It had everything, a balk, bases loaded with no outs (2-3 times), great defensive plays on both sides, regaining the lead on both sides, an hour long 6th inning, a walk off home run and a little scuffle in the third inning.

I agre with Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, the fight could be a good thing for both sides.  For Varitek it shows his desire to win and can give the Sox something to rally around for the rest of the season and for A-Rod it helps him brush off some of that "pretty boy" image.

And just for the record, A-Rod invited V-Tek to fight after they exchanged some choice words with each other, A-Rod clearly said, "C'mon". So V-Tek did the honorable thing and accepted his invitation.  :-)

RedSox Report on the fight: The drama began building in this one in that third. Just after the Yankees had made it 3-0 on a double-play grounder by Gary Sheffield, Arroyo hit Rodriguez with a pitch on the left arm.

Rodriguez got agitated as he headed toward first. Varitek took a couple of steps with him, and the two players exchanged heated words and then got tangled up in a fight, causing both benches to empty. A-Rod and Varitek were ejected.
Evil Empire Report on the fight: After Sheffield's doubleplay, things got interesting. Arroyo's second pitch to Alex Rodriguez was inside, and the third pitch hit A-Rod on his left arm. As he walked up the first-base line, Rodriguez stared down Arroyo, while catcher Jason Varitek walked up the line with him. Varitek put his catcher's glove in A-Rod's face, then put both hands in his face and the two men started shoving each other.
They still have 7 games against each other in the regular season, it's getting fun. I hope this gives the Red Sox some fire for the next few months to pull ahead and win the Wild Card and then look forward to the playoffs. 

I'm an idiot but I still believe.


The Striped Candy Approach to Church Growth
by A. W. Tozer in Man: The Dwelling Place of God
Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God's professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.

Dave just posted this:

I once had a talk with one of my youth. She was explaining about having to run laps for not properly demonstrating a skill. I asked what would happen if I did a similar thing in youth group. Oooh it got deathly quiet. What are we teaching our kids when we allow coaches to be tyrannical but expect youth workers to cower in the corner and accept, for God and our ministries, whatever crumbs of time are left over.
Go to his blog to read the whole thing.  He brings up good questions and I wonder what the real world reponse could be.  His questions reminded me of Yac's rants about football coaches who cussed out students and how dare we allow that.


Political things are typically what you'll find on Rudy or LJ's Blog but I thought I'd share these tidbits from Chuck Muth's newsletter:

“California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking some heat this week for mockingly calling Democratic lawmakers ‘girlie men’ in a speech, but a spokeswoman for the governor said he wouldn't apologize.  The zinger was tossed out at a rally on Saturday, where the Republican governor blamed state Democrats for delaying the state budget by catering to special interests. . . . ‘The governor used it as an effective way to convey wimpiness,’ said spokeswoman Margita Thompson. ‘Politicians are wimps because they are letting the special interests push them around.’  When asked whether he would apologize, Ms. Thompson said, ‘It was meant to convey a point. He conveyed it, and it's over.’" - Washington Times, 7/20/04

“The sun is burning hotter than usual, offering a possible explanation for global warming that needs to be weighed when proceeding with expensive efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, Swiss and German scientists say.  ‘The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures,’ said Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research.”- Washington Times, 7/19/04

Riddle in Good Company
Better Starts for Emerging Leaders in Leadership Journal, The MBA Menace in Fast Company and Mark's Just Not in Charge in Youthworker Journal all refer to the same principle: spending time in an established organization or with established leaders before launching out on their own.
From Better Starts for Emerging Leaders:
Frustrated by slow change and eager to call the shots, they are convinced their best prospects lie in church planting. But some of these young leaders are too quick to criticize and to strike out on their own, when it might actually be better for them to start in (or remain at) an established church.

These thoughts were stirred by a recent article in Fast Company magazine, in which a corporate headhunter encouraged newly minted MBAs to start their careers with good, large, established companies, instead of taking the entrepreneurial route right away. The author argued that experience in these organizations provides unmatched learning opportunities that will transfer to future leadership roles.
From The MBA Menace:
You've invested all this time and money, and now I pop your balloon. What are you to do now? Well, there is hope. You probably did learn a lot about business, and that's important--if you go into business. (Please stay out of government and the social sector; they have enough troubles.) If you are truly interested in management, as opposed to just fame or money, you may be ready to learn its practice. Find an industry you like, get a good job, and stick with it . The world doesn't need more case-study managers who flit from one industry to another. Prove yourself, and eventually you'll be tapped for a managerial position. That is when your management education will begin. Prepare then to learn about management. Live it. Experience it.
From Just Not in Charge:
Let me just say it: the 23-year-old has the heart to change his or her church (with God’s help), but seldom the skill—which often results in burnout or departure from that particular local church, only to experience the same pathology and frustration at the church down the street. Many youth pastors simply leave ministry all together. The road to modern-day youth ministry has been paved with the lives and souls of young youth pastors who fell on their journey and were trampled under the feet of the church and its lust for forward momentum.
Let us all continue to thank God for these young people and for their faithfulness to the callings they’ve received. We mustn’t mislead them or take them for granted—for their voices and lives are desperately needed within the church. Let them lead-—in their season.
So to all those young leaders who took Mark's article personally (with 69 replies, this is the most responded to article yet to be posted on the YS Forums), it's not about you, it's about the principles.  Please stop looking at the trees and see the forest. 
Listen, Learn, Live and then Lead.


I've gone international!
Just wanted to throw some blog love to Luis Fernando Batista from São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. I saw that he liked my "The Church vs. The Church Inc" post and talked a little about it on his blog, here's the Portuguese version. I thought blogging in one language was a labor of love.  Luis, you are awesome!


My Cloud of Witnesses
I watched "Dead Poets Society" last night.  "Dead Poets Society" and "Mr. Hollands Opus" remind me why I love youth ministry.
I had a strange thought while watching Mr. Keating teach, it was while he was teaching in the classroom with that picture of Walt Witman above the chalkbard.
I thought it would be cool to have 8 x 10 black and white photos of different Christians who I admire and put their photos near the ceiling around my office.
Here are my cloud of witnesses: Mike Yaconelli (I can't decide if I want to use the chicken hat picture or not), Jim Rayburn, A. W. Tozer, Rich Mullins, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and Lewis Sperry Chafer.  I'm sure the list will expand as I get older and as I broaden myself but for now, that's good company to keep.

soften my heart
heal it from the pain
i've collected; recently especially
i don't need a transplant
i need to focus on You, anew
You are my healing
You are my healer
You are I Am


Citing Falwell's Endorsement of Bush, Group Challenges His Tax-Exempt Status

"I support President Bush,'' he said. "I support him on Sunday mornings from the pulpit where it doesn't cost the church or anybody anything. I make it very clear, just like at most African-American churches and many liberal churches, that as a tax-paying citizen I vote. And I tell people who I vote for."

Jerry Falwell

Who can forget the purple Teletubby,Tinky Winky being a gay symbol?

Despite where Falwell is on your approval scale, I think what he says there is 100% true. I can still envision Al Gore "preaching" at an African-American church in 2000, cause it was all over TV for what he was saying, but not one word from our watchdogs about "seperation fo church and state" then. But there's no bias in the media? Gotcha!


Alt Churches by Chuck Colson

Almost everywhere you look in contemporary culture you are likely to run into the prefix alt. “Alt” is short for “alternative.” For instance, there are “alt” music styles, such as “alt rock” and “alt country.” “Alt” serves to distinguish the group or the pursuit from the mainstream.

Well, to “alt” rock and country you can add one other: “alt evangelical.”

Those are the designations used in a recent New York Times profile of younger Evangelicals. Two decades ago, Baby Boomer Evangelicals “invented the suburban mega-church,” writes the Times. These churches replaced “intimidating crosses [and] stained-glass images of Jesus” with more “neutral environments.”

Now, younger Evangelicals are “creating alternative churches in coffee bars and warehouses . . . ” And, just as the alternative music scene is an implicit criticism of the musical mainstream, the “alternative church” sees itself as a corrective to the churches many of its members grew up in. . . . Read the rest

Got an e-mail (advertisement) from Uth Stuph and it said:

Holy Cotton is our line of pre-printed t-shirts. The premise of Holy Cotton is Change Your Shirt…Change Your World! We believe that a single shirt with a thought provoking message can turn into a great way for the wearer to share their faith with the world.

Will that shirt really help change the world, or any shirt for that matter? I used to own a ton of Christian T-shirts. A couple even now but is their premise really true or is it just handy to use to make money off of Christians?


The Griswolds had an easier time on the road than the Red Sox have had in 2004.

Red Sox Nation has gone diving back for the proverbial towel they threw in too soon. Coming off a disastrous week in the Bronx and the South, the Red Sox could do nothing right. Michael Moore had a better approval rating in Branson, Mo. than the Red Sox had in New England.

Eric Wilbur from his article for The Boston Globe.

His comments reflect where I was as a Red Sox fan. I was almost as broken hearted after the 3 game sweep by the Yankees in the Bronx (I saw all three games and went to game one) as I was last year when Aaron Boone stumbled into Yankees history.

Overcoming the 7 games between the Yankees and the Red Sox is not impossible with half the season to go but it is more likely to keep the Wild Card, so I have adjusted my plans but still, I believe.

(You may now pile on this member of the Red Sox Faithful)

Tozer on Church Ca$h

We in the churches seem unable to rise above the fiscal philosophy which rules the business world; so we introduce into our church finances the psychology of the great secular institutions so familiar to us all and judge a church by its financial report much as we judge a bank or a department store.

A look into history will quickly convince any interested person that the true church has almost always suffered more from prosperity than from poverty. Her times of greatest spiritual power have usually coincided with her periods of indigence and rejection; with wealth came weakness and backsliding. If this cannot be explained, neither apparently can it be escaped. . . .

The point I am trying to make here is that while money has a proper place in the total life of the church militant, the tendency is to attach to it an importance that is far greater than is biblically sound or morally right. The average church has so established itself organizationally and financially that God is simply not necessary to it. So entrenched is its authority and so stable are the religious habits of its members that God could withdraw Himself completely from it and it could run on for years on its own momentum.

A.W. Tozer - The Warfare of the Spirit

Tozer's Bio


George Barna asks, "You saw The Passion of Chist, now what?"

* A new national survey of more than 1600 adults, conducted by The Barna Group, examines not only how many people saw the movie, but what impact the film had on their life.

* Despite marketing campaigns labeling the movie the “greatest evangelistic tool” of our era, less than one-tenth of one percent of those who saw the film stated that they made a profession of faith or accepted Jesus Christ as their savior in reaction to the film’s content.

* Overall, one out of every ten viewers of The Passion (10%) indicated that they had changed some aspect of both their religious beliefs and practices in response to the movie.


Headlines from LarkNews.com

Teen no longer called to chores

Boy unsure why he fully invested in FROG fad

TRUTH is STRANGER than FICTION department: Someone actually owned www.FrogStore.com!
That link is cached because, shock, shock, the site is no longer there. :-(


Crazy Church Concept

I knew a man from India who got hold of a New Testament, was converted and started to preach, but he had no background at all. That is, he started from scratch. He did not have a Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic or Protestant background. He just started from the beginning. He didn't know anything about churches. He testified, "What I did when I had a problem in the church was to go straight to the New Testament and settle it. I let the New Testament tell me what I was to do." The result was that God greatly blessed him and his work in the land of India.

This is what I would like to see in our church--the New Testament order of letting Scripture decide matters. When it comes to a question--any question--what does the Word of God say? All belief and practices should be tested by the Word; no copying unscriptural church methods. We should let the Word of God decide.

A. W. Tozer
Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 140


Someone on the YS Boards asked about Starting a Youth Ministry. Here was my advice:

Read all of Yac's articles

Realize though, that if you do what he says, you won't make people happy and most church people won't "get it" and you probably will eventually get run out of town with pitchforks and torches but you'll probably be doing what's right.

Youth ministry is

about your calling and not your career.

about your heart more than your passion.

about character more than coolness.

about talking with Jesus and not just about Jesus.

a part of the church (as messed up as it can be) not it's own little holy island.

lived out in your family not just away from your family.

misunderstood and often maligned but totally magnificant.

about drawing kids to Jesus and not using kids to draw other kids.

about loving the students that others don't want to love.

about challenging students to follow Christ more than their culture, even when it'll tick their parents off.

a humbling honor because people trust what is dearest to them into your care.

terrifying because we who teach will be judged more harshly. (Have you read that verse about the little ones being misled and the milstone?)

being involved with families and encouraging and enabling them to equip their own children in their faith.

worth all the headaches and heartaches because what we do will last forever!


The 5 Ball Philosophy of Life

Each of us is given five balls. One is rubber and four are glass. The rubber ball is work. If you drop it, it will always bounce back. The other four glass balls are family, friends, health and integrity. If you drop them, they are shattered. They won't bounce back.

I've heard that illustration given before but it was a good remeinder when I read it today from Here.


He's an Arm's Length Away
William Frey, retired Episcopal bishop from Colorado, told this story:

When I was young, I volunteered to read to a student named John who was blind. One day I asked him, "How did you lose your sight?"

"A chemical explosion," John said, "at the age of thirteen."

"How did that make you feel?" I said.

"Life was over. I felt helpless. I hated God," John responded. "For the first six months I did nothing to improve my lot in life. I ate all my meals alone. One day my father entered my room and said, 'John, winter's coming and the storm windows need to be up—that's your job. I want those hung by the time I get back this evening or else!'

"Then he turned, walked out of the room, and slammed the door. I got so angry. I thought, Who does he think I am? I'm blind! I was so angry I decided to do it. I felt my way to the garage, found the windows, located the necessary tools, found the ladder, all the while muttering under my breath, 'I'll show them. I'll fall, then they'll have a blind and paralyzed son!'"

John continued, "I got the windows up. I found out later that never at any moment was my father more than four or five feet away from my side."

Found here.

This describes perfectly how I feel right now.


Unearthed From:The YS Forums
(with a tip of the hat to Dead Youthpastor Walking for the verbage)

I really don't have comments to make, I just wanted people to see this story.

Nov 14 2003, 06:50 PM

I started full time youth ministry in 1999. I had been a volunteer youth worker/intern since 1990. I had heard Mike Yaconelli during one of the one day seminars Youth Specialties had. He was amazing back in 1991, and he was amazing in Phoenix this year. He's been one of my mentors like I have said in previous posts.

But it has been my full time experience that has gotten me the most amount of trouble, and it's partly because of Mike. I put the following quote in a parents newsletter, thinking that this would explain the passion of a youth worker to the parents. One parent, however, came in with "great concerns". She asked to meet with me about her concerns, and brought the parents newsletter with Mike's quote. She asked me if I agreed with his quote, and I said, "Yes"--thinking nothing of it. And then she laid into me regarding everything Mike said, and how we ARE counselors, and we ARE "family fixer-uppers". She couldn't believe that someone would say that, and I was just at a loss for words. I responded by meekly saying, "But, Jesus...", and then I trailed off into mumbling as she glared at me. Since then, we have butted heads on more then a few occasions. So, I thought that maybe you would like to take this quote and use it to get yourselves in trouble. Here it is:

“Let me tell you what youth ministry is all about. It’s about bringing kids into the presence of Jesus Christ. We are not social workers. We are not counselors. We are not family fixer-uppers. We are not people who put on performances for kids. We are not programmers. We are just people who love kids and who love Jesus and who want kids to know about Jesus. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we do. Of course we help kids with other things, but the main center of what we do is to bring kids into the presence of Jesus. Instead of starting with kids’ wants and needs, we should start with God. Jesus Christ through his Holy Spirit comes into the lives of these kids, and all of a sudden the world is standing on its feet at what God can do through the lives of these young people. What a calling we have. What a privilege.”

Mike, you were right! "What a privilege."

Christian Husband Father Pastor Planter Philosopher Poet Leader Lover Swimmer Runner Misfit Hawaiian

And Now. . . The Rest of the Story. . . .

Jul 5 2004, 08:54 PM
If anyone is interested, we are on our way back to Maui now. I'm Brian's wife and thought I should let you know that Brian was fired from his full time ministry position shortly after the posts he placed on this site were "discovered" by the very same parents he refers to. It was an answer to many prayers and so I say, "Thank you God, for Mike and for using him not only in his life, but in his death, to accomplish your will." Aloha!




This is a classic! And how dare they label a gotee "The Youth Pastor"!

I found a good article this morning: Paying Attention for a Living. Here's a part out of the middle of it, it is well worth your time.

I decided back then that this was a ministry model that I could do. I would wake up and pay attention to people; I mean really be present with those in my path that day. In some way, in every interaction, incarnate the love of Christ in real and tangible ways; daily give away my most valuable commodities, my attention. As a teacher, I come into contact with 153 students everyday who look to me for guidance, wisdom and a little care.

I wake up in the morning and think about how to notice them. Who needs to be encouraged? Who needs a thoughtful word? Who needs to be challenged? Who needs to be reminded that I know their name and that they matter to me? I want to know what makes each of them tick. I want to be aware of what their life must be like outside of my classroom and outside of the school walls. I want to make each class a feast of living bread for them to chew on until the next day. What I’ve learned is that this Jesus approach really works.


G-mail, anyone?

I case anyone would like a g-mail account, I have 6 more to give. I know youthpastor@gmail.com is taken, but maybe you can get youthdude@gmail.com or even better youthguru@gmail.com :-)

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