Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Straw Poll

Here is a straw poll on the GOP from Parableman.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

10 Things I Learned In 10 Years by Stephen Wefster

The is a good article over at Relevant magazine on what a Bible teacher learned from teaching the Bible.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rust Out or Burn Out

Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill tells his story of exhaustion from overextending himself. His post reminded me of a conversation at work. A coworker was telling me of a couple that sailed their boat up to coast of Canada and back. Three months after their return the wife found out she had pancreatic cancer. She told her husband that she was really glad they had retired and spent their time sailing together. I can take the story one of two ways. The first is noble, she was glad to spend her last days with her husband. I think that is a sweet thought. The second is that we need to get as much pleasure our of life as possible. This one just sits counter to what I believe. At the end of my life I will not measure it by the amount of pleasure I have had but if I have suffered for the right things and have I served God and the people in my life. We don't just go around once in life, what we do matters for eternity, not in terms of salvation but in terms of glorifying God. There are several things that we meet in this life that are eternal; the Word of God, people and virtue. I want to invest my life in all three.

I pray that Mark gets back on his feet soon and then spends a little more time resting then too.

"Of Brokenness and Buddies

I write this blog while flying somewhere over the United States late on a Thursday night heading home from a conference in the great nation of Texas. I have blogged very little thus far in 2007 as I have been playing hurt in terms of my health. I have been pushing it for ten years since Mars Hill Church opened up, and the end of last year was a particularly rough patch. I was looking forward to a few weeks off after Christmas to catch up on sleep. Sadly, what happened is that I would be very tired and go to bed at a decent hour only to wake up a few hours later, unable to return to sleep. I was not stressed out or thinking, but it seemed something was physically wrong. Even sleeping pills were of little to no help and by the end of the holidays I was exhausted, having slept an average of perhaps three hours a night. A naturopath said I had overextended myself and worn out my adrenal glands (which regulate my sympathetic nervous system). The result of basically a decade of perpetual stress and a final taxing season was that I was exhausted all day—I literally had blurred vision and would fall asleep quickly only to wake up a few hours later, unable to sleep again. So, I have been conserving energy for my family and church, but some Sundays are brutal. I find myself nodding off on the side of the stage before one of the four services I preach live." Continue reading Of Brokenness and Buddies on Mark Driscoll's site.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Review of The Lighthouse Church.

I visited The Lighthouse Church in Kingdom City, Missouri, which is my sister's church. So here is a little review of the church.

ALIVE

One of the things that impressed me was that the church is new and vibrant even though it is in a rural area. I have been a supply pastor in a couple of rural churches and they were maintenance churches, meaning the prospect for growth was little to none. I have thought of rural churches as lacking a future, this church proved that I had a misconception.

YOUNG AND OLD

I saw folks who were senior citizens but the church seemed young to me. People in their teens and twenties were participating, it was their church. At the same time, the church affirmed the gifts and callings of the senior citizens. One senior citizen sang special music. I think young and old alike affirmed the gift this blessed saint had even though it might not have been the style that the younger folk would have chosen had they been providing the special music.

LOCATION

The Lighthouse Church meets in a community center which has a dance floor. Sign at the entrance tell you that you can't purchase alcohol if your under 21. I would understand that to be a sign for the nights that a dance was held in the community center. Though it might sound sort of funny, I actually thought that and other symbols of other uses might make the church more connected with the community than if it was in a cute little building used exclusively for church. I have been a part of churches that met in schools and community centers. None felt particularly connected with the community like this one did.

MUSIC AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF WORSHIP

The words for contemporary praise songs were projected onto a screen. The music was contemporary genre and done well. Animation of a lighthouse was impressive but made the words just a little too small for comfortable reading on the screen from the back where I was. I would suggest continued use of the lighthouse animation but just a little less. The pastor used a video and Power Point during the sermon. I wondered a little if the sermon was driven a little by the media rather than the message. The video had prepackaged content that got repeated during the sermon. Perhaps others would feel the repetition of those messages during the video and sermon appropriate.

Instead of an offering being taken up, there is a four foot high, wooden lighthouse in the back of the church. People place their offerings there and visitors place their visitors cards there. I think the desired intent is so worshipers may give in secret instead of publicly but that rational was not explained to me. At other churches that I have gone to who have done similar things this was the rational explained then.

PREACHING OF THE WORD

Pastor Jason is an engaging man who gives an authentic and approachable demeanor about himself. His sermon was easy to follow and yet also had a measure of depth to it. What I walked away with from his sermon was that I worship by following the Beatitudes, that is I must display Jesus in how I react to difficulty and how I treat my coworkers. Others probably got something entirely different from the sermon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Theory on Hero


So on tonight's episode we have Clare the cheerleader meeting her grandmother. She seems confident and understands way too much about Clare's ability. It has made me wonder, does she know all about her son's powers and how can you make that really spin? Could it be that Mr. Linderman is Nathan and Peter Patrelli's father? In other words, the Star Wars plot devise. What do you think?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mid-life Crisis

It is official. I'm having a mid-life crisis. I declared it to Tom, the friendly talkative co-worker whose work space I have invaded while my regular office is being refurbished. I feel sort of out of fashion. Having a mid-life crisis is so 1987. I think there was a mid-life crisis movie back in the 80's but I never watched it. The term mid-life crisis was coined in 1965 by Elliot Jaques but I don't think it became fashionable to have this sort of crisis until the 80s.

So what am I doing about it?

The big thing is I'm getting off the ruling body of our church called the Session. I have been way to busy to re-evaluate things in my own life. It is sort of like tying your shoe while still walking. So I'm getting some rest so I can reassess. When I came off the Session I had all sorts of strange feelings like depression, hurt and a feeling of loss. If staying on Session was making me hold in all that then I needed to come off a long time ago. I'm hesitant to write about such things because I'm sure some people will use such things against me. Regardless of how people use my weaknesses against me, I feel it is important to be transparent. A lack of transparency is one of the biggest obstacles to spiritual growth. Not being transparent with my faults would only serve to prolong my mid-life crisis or perhaps cause me to fail to reap the benefits of this season in my life.

I think I may need to cut out my Sunday School class. I feel I have obligations to carry them a while longer because I have started some new curriculum. I told the young men I would give them the opportunity to teach and use their spiritual gifts in this way.

I'm making sure that I get on my knees and pray every night before I get in bed. There is something about getting on my knees to pray that makes it more concentrated and serious. Perhaps this shows my lack of spirituality since I need a posture to guide my prayer life.

By the way, I hoping to get more of a perspective on my role as a husband and father and my calling in ministry. I do NOT plan on getting a car or some other worldly thing to compensate for a lack of true self-examination.