Thursday, June 22, 2006

Take Young Leaders Seriously

I have been thinking about leadership and how we in the church choose leaders. I have seen a couple of models demonstrated and in reality, I think a combination of the two models is best. The two models are seminary trained leadership and raising up leadership from within. Seminary training with no practical experince opens someone to a lot of risk. What if you go through seven years (or more) of education to find out that you really are not cut out for it? Then there are those who are gifted but have not taken set aside the time to study. They need to pursue study. Hands on training combined with seminary is prefered.

Something on my heart lately is that a congregation needs to be trained how to raise up leadership. Here is what I would think is 10 ideas that I think might be helpful:

1. Identify who future leaders are and encourage them
2. Validate young leaders by listening to them
3. Take young leaders seriously
4. Give appropriate responsibility
5. Allow young leaders room to make a few mistakes while learning
6. State to them what you see as to how they are gifted
7. Let them know how they have blessed you
8. Don't make them wait till later to start ministering, you will never get there
9. Share a meal with them
10. Play a sport or game with them

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Are You a Yankee or a Rebel? - alphaDictionary * Free English Online Dictionary

Are You a Yankee or a Rebel? - alphaDictionary * Free English Online Dictionary

I heard this story on NPR. You might want to check out this test. The author does not recognize a seperate dialect for the Ozarks. I guess he has just never heard of roastin' ears.

To get a short Ozark dictionary click here.

Wired News: Disc Golf: It's Not Actually Golf

Wired has a story, err, sort of a story on Disc Golf. I always call it Frisbee Golf, but we don't want any trade mark infringements. So I have played in TX, MD, VA, DE, and NM. My next state to play in is WV. Or maybe PA this summer with my nephews. It is a good game to get out and get some fresh air.

Wired News: Disc Golf: It's Not Actually Golf: "So I guess that's why I recently decided to try the sport of hippies, the hippie of sports, disc golf. Because it's not actually golf.

I would not have expected disc golf to be a geekish sort of activity -- it involves fresh air and sunshine, it was never featured on Star Trek -- but a surprising number of my geek friends have discs. Not as in 'I have a promotional A&W Frisbee in my closet' but actual, official, PDGA-approved disc golf golfing discs."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I'm glad this Internet test showed that I'm on track. That was a close one. Shew!

Your Scholastic Strength Is Deep Thinking

You aren't afraid to delve head first into a difficult subject, with mastery as your goal.
You are talented at adapting, motivating others, managing resources, and analyzing risk.

You should major in:

Foreign language

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gold Medal - President's Challenge

I walked the B&A Trail today with my wife and my two youngest daughters. I had a good time. We stopped at Adams Rib in Severna Park for lunch. I had the beef brisket sandwich. Everyone one else at our table had hamburgers. On the trail we saw butterflies, squirrels, horses, dogs, rabbits, a groundhog, a cardinal, three turtles, two red-winged black birds, a goat, a Vietnamese miniature pig, and bumble bees. The B&A Trail has a lot of bamboo on it. I think it makes a good barrier plant for people who do not want to be bothered by folks on the trail. It seems the number tandem bicycles is growing. We saw at least four, and one was a recumbent tandem.

So it took 36,150 steps to get from the start point at the parking area for the trail to the front door of my house. This earned me the last 750 some points to earn my gold medal on the President's Challenge. I have been working on this since August 10, 2004. I knew I was close to the end this week. I saw if I did one heavy work out I could finish it this weekend. My wife was gracious enough to let us do this hike today.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

An Observation on "A Briefer History of Time"

I listened to A Briefer History of Time by Steven Hawking during my morning exercise time. This audio book was very accessible though it dealt with some very technical issues in physics. There is two phases of understanding something. The first phase is where the student or researcher does the analysis which compiles, assembles, organizes, and arranges details of information. You need to be an information pack rat and ultimately needs someone who can store and arrange all the data when you are in the first phase. The second phase is when you simplify the whole matter for the common person. This is when you make it understandable and accessible. The Briefer History of Time is a work which is the fruit of this second phase.

The book is about science, but many fundamental questions of science are ultimately philosophical and religious issues. Dealing with the beginning and end of the cosmos is at the same time an issue for prophets and physicists. The nature of the universe, in one sense, is what a physicist records in his theories and scientific models. In another sense it is what the preacher describes in his sermon. The preacher or physicist who avoid talking about the nature of the universe is relegated to being a man giving a nice talk or respectively a lab technician. The issues are similar. The questions often overlap. The methodology for solving the issues are very different. I would think that for no other reason than many of his parishioners are seeking cosmological answers from physicists, every preacher of the gospel should listen to the message of Hawking.

One of the basic premises often repeated by Hawking is the idea that there are scientific laws. The idea of scientific law says that the universe acts consistently and that law can be understood. Hawking toys with the idea that God must have made all his choices regarding those scientific laws at the beginning of the universe before the big bang. He asks the question of how many choices did God actually choose from? If certain properties of matter were altered slightly, matter would all collapse on itself. Hawking's idea that either God made his decisions for the universe and is now letting it run its course or he had no choices but for the universe to exist he had to make it a certain way. In one sense he sees God far from his creation in terms of either involvement or even further from His creation in terms of creative design. In my Christian understanding of God, he is present and active in His creation.

'For in him we live and move and have our being.' Acts 17:28a (NIV)

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

Science has its place, but the idea that scientific laws implies that God lacks involvement in His creation is not necessary.

While I see this as a shortcoming in his thinking, I found most of what Hawking had to say was informative, educational and enlightening. I heartily recommend his book, but keep your self alert and think for yourself.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I live in Maryland but I was born and raised in Missouri. I have lived longer outside Missouri than I did in the state at this point in my life. Many people are travelers and strangers in life. When Jacob, or should I say Israel, returned to the land of Canaan in chapter 21-35 of Genesis, a concluding remark of the passage is “These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan Aram.” (Genesis 35:27 NIV) Paddan Aram was northwestern Mesopotamia. The land of Canaan was not where the twelve sons were born. They were outsiders to the land they were coming. They would be outsiders in the same way their father had been an outsider where they were born. Places of origin are a construct of the mind and culture. We sense and feel that we are native to a place because of how it affects our speech, our sense of seasons of the year, and sense of belonging. Of course it is not limited to these, things but these are few of the things that make one feel he or she belongs somewhere. God in His sovereignty made Jacob and his sons strangers in the land. Perhaps you are a stranger too. God can use that in your life to do something great just as he did so with Jacob.