What Church Should Be

When we eventually leave the area (Lord willing) our church will be the hardest thing to say farewell to. Our daughters are cared for and loved by their Sunday School teachers and they see their ministry as a ministry of love and relationships, not merely filling up 60 minutes of time on Sunday morning, or 70 minutes when the services go long. They write notes to the girls to touch base with them and not merely a "We missed you" postcard that you can buy from the Christian Supply Company.

There are problems in the church because fallen people and fallen people who are redeemed are involved but the problems are handled in a bilical way. For example, when my pastor hears something "through the grapevine" he calls the person it is about and sees if it is true rather than just passing it on, praying about it, or accepting what it is heard.

He is the embodiment of what it means to be a pastor. His heart beats with the pulse of a shepherd who has been given the duty to care for the souls of the people within his flock. Plans are made for the church but there is more prayer than planning, more brokenness than pride, and more passion that's lived out than promises that are talked about. He preaches the way that I hope I preach: with authenticity, passion and humility as he shares his shortcomings but the focus is always on the greatness of God and his work in our lives.

I'm about to go meet with him for our semi-regular meeting and I was just thinking about the things I like about our church and our pastor. I hope you have this kind of experience in your church.


I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

The Army Chaplaincy can't happen until January 07 so we are open to looking for youth ministry positions. I've stopped thinking I know what God is doing so we are trying to be wise about opportunities that come our way. If you should know of anything or if something comes up in the future and you think it could be a possible fit, please keep me in mind. If you'd like a resume to keep on hand or to know more ministry details, let me know.

That's the essence of a short e-mail I wrote to a bunch of friends in case you didn't get it, your help and prayers would be appreciated as well

Red Sox Fan Till I Die

Now I can prove it and other MLB fans can too by buying their casket or urn of their favorite team for that last run to the concession stand.

"Millions of Major League Baseball fans wear caps, t-shirts and jackets to show their loyalties each day, while others have customized license plates on their cars, and linens, artwork and collectibles such as bobbleheads in their homes," said Clint Mytych, CEO of Eternal Image.

"The trend of including baseball in major lifecycle events is growing vastly: from birthdays to bar mitzvahs, weddings to anniversaries, fans incorporate baseball in nearly every aspect of life. This new line of team-specific funeral products opens a whole new market for our company -- a market that is just waiting for a way to make team loyalty a 'final' statement of a great passion in their lives," Mytych added.


True Confession

For a few years I've had a crazy thought but I've never took any action on it. Today I took the first step. I called River City Comedy Club to find out if they ever have open mic time and it's 5:30pm every Friday night.

Will I go? I don't know. Not today or next week but I might. I wonder if I can get 5 minutes worth of material together?


Dealing with Death

Dealing with death is always hard from losing your hamster as a kid to a parent. Well add to the normal loss the feeling that it could have been prevented and it throws some more issues into dealing with it.

My mom died of Legionnaires and it has been in the local news and it even got a blurb on the national news because the in-laws called from Alabama and another friend called from somewhere else in the country asking if that story had anything to do with mom.

Her picture was on the one of the segments and dad was interviewed. Until there are facts to dispute this, my personal conviction is if the hospital had properly monitored and provided preventive measures of their plumbing system and or air conditioning system for legionella, to minimize and stop the its growth or done regular disinfection for legionella, my mother would still be alive today. Like I said, more issues than normal to deal with.

Here are the links and you can watch the various videos.

Officials awaiting test results to clear North Central Baptist of Legionnaires'

Last month, Sue Tripp had surgery at North Central Baptist. Her sister-in-law Ruth Evans visited her twice on May 10 and both got Legionnaires' Disease. Evans passed away on May 22.

"She came here to see me and ended up dying," Sue Tripp said. "And I feel really bad about that because I feel maybe I was responsible for that, but I'm not."

Outbreak of Legionnaires' disease claims another pair of victims here

Best of the Blogs

Difficult people are God’s grindstones in our lives: I was sitting across from a friend at a fast food restaurant several years ago. As he related the story of how he had been slandered by a pastor at his church, I felt myself becoming more and more indignant on his behalf. “How is it that this person could get away with such behavior?” I asked myself. “How can he call himself a Christian, much less serve as a church leader?”

But as my friend finished his story, the Lord brought a different perspective to mind. While on the surface my friend’s antagonist seemed to be a poor example of a Christian, and while my flesh cried out for justice, this pastor was actually God’s tool in my friend’s life.

Finding a place to have deep conversations: It introduced me to this concept called the "third place." The first place being your home, the second place your workplace, and the third place is where you do community.

We are God’s Vocabulary: How does God speak? He spoke through Jesus and he continues to speak thru men and women. We are his word. The word made flesh.

It is the magic of the incarnation. The word is made flesh every day. We are his word. Until we enter another person’s world and speak the language of their heart, God lacks the language to speak to them.

What is it I want?: I left the church. Not the universal one, just the local one. More specifically the one near my house that I was a member at. It was a hard decision. This is the first church since serving as full time youth pastor at my previous church. This time I We needed to be somewhere that we could heal. If I'm honest with myself, (and sometimes I catch myself in a lie), we had a lot of deep seated anger and bitterness in regards to the previous church I served at. Maybe even to church in general.

Learn to Live with Tension: A priorities-first approach to life is filled with problems.

For example, because I do my best to invest my time in what I believe are God's values and priorities for this season of my life, my desk is often cluttered (it is even now as I type), my email inbox is often full (I started the day with 137 emails needing a response), and I'm horribly slow at returning phone calls (the phone just rang and I kept on typing--the answering machine got it--I'll get it later).

If I were a traditional time management man, I would be ashamed to speak so honestly with you like this. But I think the focus of traditional time management is way wrong for the busy age we live in.

Is Jack Bauer a Type of Christ? by Mark Driscoll

Blind leading the blind... Recently I found myself in Washington, DC with a free afternoon. I took advantage of this unexpected opportunity by visiting the Holocaust Museum, then on to the Mall where I visited the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and the World War II Memorial. Not a light afternoon, to say the least. About half-way through the sobering Holocaust Museum I became aware that the majority of people at the Museum were groups of teenagers from schools and churches.

I soon became saddened by the poor ratio of adults to teenagers in these groups. Unfortunately most of these youth were left alone with their group of peers to process something as difficult as the Holocaust. I noticed some groups of teenagers who resorted to goofiness, obviously trying to compensate for the discomfort they were dealing with as they stared into the face of atrocity. How different the experience of the teenagers who were accompanied by a caring adult who helped these young adults process what they were seeing.

End of Innocence: by LJ
These are some thoughts I wrote on full time youth ministry a while back:


Role Models Needed

The TV show 60 Minutes ran a segment that tells us something important about fatherlessness.

The park rangers at a South African wildlife preserve were concerned about the slaughter of 39 rare white rhinos in their park. It turned out that the rhinos were killed not by poachers but rather by juvenile delinquents—teen elephants.

The story began a decade ago when the park could no longer sustain the increasing population of elephants. They decided to kill many of the adult elephants whose young were old enough to survive without them. And so, the young elephants grew up fatherless.

As time went on, many of these young elephants roamed together in gangs and began to do things elephants normally don't do. They threw sticks and water at rhinos and acted like neighborhood bullies. Without dominant males, the young bulls became sexually active, producing excessive testosterone and exhibiting aggressive behavior. A few young males grew especially violent, knocking down rhinos and stepping or kneeling on them, crushing the life out of them. Mafuto the gang leader eventually had to be killed.

The park rangers theorized that these young teen-aged elephants were acting badly because they lacked role models. The solution was to bring in a large male to lead them and to counteract their bully behaviors. Soon the new male established dominance and put the young bulls in their places. The killing stopped. The young males were mentored—and saved.

Citation: Ken Sowers, Mentor, Ohio; 60 Minutes (1-20-99).

From PreachingToday.com

Another great illustration about not giving up is this story:

Knuckling under no option for this Bard: Struggles in Boston steel catcher's resolve

Sorry, it's not all pretty, you'll have to edit it yourself. :-)


Man Eats 47 Cheese Sandwiches in 10 Minutes

AP LAS VEGAS (June 12) - There's a rising star on the competitive eating circuit. California man Joey Chestnut downed 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in ten minutes this weekend in Las Vegas to set a world record. That's eleven more sandwiches than the old record of 36.

Last month, Chestnut ate 50 hot dogs. Some say he's a threat to the reigning champ of food stuffing, Japan's Takeru Kobayashi.

Chestnut won the grilled cheese contest sponsored by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, the same group that runs the annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at New York's Coney Island.

My favorite eating record is 6 pounds of SPAM in 12 minute on Apr. 3, 2004 by Richard LeFevre. Ewwwwww

Youth Ministry SuperVillians

My friend Dave is a cartoonist, artist, and pastor. Hate him already don't you? Those multi-talented guys annoy me but still we are friends and he shared with me this series of Youth Ministry SuperVillians.

How many have you encountered?

See all of them


Picture is worth 1,000 words

Party in Hell on 6.6.6

"I've got `666' T-shirts and mugs. I'm only ordering 666 (of the items) so once they're gone, that's it," said Colone, also known as Odum Plenty. "Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying you've celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell."

Most of Colone's wares will sell for $6.66, including deeds to one square inch of Hell. . . . more


Misc Articles

Superpower religion: Scientology lives on, thanks to superhero gimmickry

Since the 1950s, when science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard first introduced his bizarre self-help concepts, Scientologists have sought to free themselves and new converts from secret alien control to achieve maximum human potential—even superpowers. Despite a stream of well-documented books and media reports discrediting Mr. Hubbard as a charlatan, his pay-as-you-go religion has maintained enough devoted followers to achieve fabulous financial standing.

A latter-day influx of celebrity practitioners like Mr. Cruise and John Travolta has propelled Scientology into mainstream consciousness: The number of Google searches for the word Scientology surged dramatically last summer when Mr. Cruise criticized anti-depression drugs and psychiatric treatment—both considered shams in Scientology.

Complete Article

In the Hands of God

For chaplains in Iraq, the constant battle is the fear, loneliness and tedium that can test a soldier's faith.

HatTip2 Will

Sham Yankees

These American idols have lost their fear factor. Five reasons why the Yankees are not as scary as they used to be.

The Ultimate Jesus Junk with the Ultimate Price Tag

Want to live in a Kinkade painting? Now you can!

Fans of Thomas Kinkade's sentimental paintings soon will be able to do more than hang them on the wall. They could hang them on the wall of a house designed to look like one of his popular paintings.

The California artist, beloved by middlebrow America but reviled by the art establishment, has signed a deal with developers in this resort city to help design five lake-view houses that are copies of homes in paintings such as "Beyond Autumn Gate."

The houses will cost $4 million to $6 million, part of an explosion of luxury homes being constructed around Lake Coeur d'Alene as this once-fading timber and mining town is remade by tourists and retirees.

Believe It or Not!

Shoot The Sheep!

This game was not designed to be a way to take out frustration on any particular members of your church but what you do in your mind, is your business. Shoot The Sheep

Pleasant Hell Baptist Church

A friend of mine sent an e-mail prayer update and requested prayer because he was speaking at Pleasant Hell Baptist Church in Martin, TN. Oh the wonders of typos. I'm sure there have been times where it felt like Pleasant Hell Baptist Church rather than Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and I don't even know the church but I do know churches. Maybe that's why Pastors Leave the Ministry.

Agree or Disagree & Why?

I wrote this while chatting with a friend and I saved it because I liked it. What do you think?

Praying against evil is often neglected in our culture because we tend to overestimate our ability to do things for God in our own power and underestimate our enemy's desire and power to thwart the things we would do for God.

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