This is just fun to keep focused; I put my music on my computer on shuffle I am going to write down the first couple lines from every song. It should say something about me, right?

1. Oh Lord have mercy on me / According to your unfailing love
2. we’re at the crossroads my dear / where do we go from here?
3.picked up the paper and read the news / can you believe what is happening?
4. Life is cheap, bittersweet, but it taste good to me / Take my turn, crash and burn / That’s how it’s supposed to be
5. hey, hey guys, hey hey guys / what’s the prize if we want it?
6. jesus / i feel you near me
7. stars shinning / trees growing if I say
8. all creatures of our God and King / lift up your voice and with us sing
9. O no, I see, I spun a web, it’s tangled up with me / And I lost my head, / The thought of all the stupid things I said
10. things aren’t exactly what I thought they would be / I won’t pretend disappointments never free / the sky’s on fire

So…what does that all mean?


Small Groups promo

I thought this was a great and funny way for a church to be promoting small groups (which they call gel groups).

MMC – Sept 29, 2008

weekend in review: Friday morning I went for a run in the freezing cold. It was horrid on my knees, they hurt a bunch. I figure they never warmed up. So, too make this better I spent 10 of the next 24 hours sitting in one position behind the wheel of the minivan. It was a fun trip up to Seattle with LJ to help Chris move into SPU. I love the vibe in Seattle, as most people do. Then, yesterday morning I preached the two services here at SACC. It went over really well, I appreciate hearing the seniors, “we’re so proud of you!” and the people who say, “you certainly gave us something to think about” and the people who say, “that touched me, in a way I haven’t felt in a while.” I like to hear these comments because it reminds me that God is continuing to work and He is continuing to do things that matter in real people’s lives. Then Sunday afternoon I watched RV with LJ, went to the park with the whole family and then watched the new Zack and Cody show, Suite Life on Deck. I actually laughed out loud so uncontrollably that we had to rewind it to hear it again. That show must have upped it’s writer’s budget.

on my list this week: working on getting a new laptop, making some contacts with local pastors, starting/planning a month on freaky spiritual stuff for the HS ministry, I’m 100 pages behind on my reading, developing a job description for an adjusted position (yes, that was a tease, I apologise), find a corn maze, email the board of ministry about getting ordained next year, do meetings, and buy plane tickets.

current books: I’m reading The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez. I’m thinking my 25 pages a day pace might be doable in the way I work. This would mean I would be done school reading in December and done my reading shelf in 2010. I have about 70 books on my “to-read” shelves. And, at 25 pages a day, I should be able to do about a book a week, which is reasonable for a guy with my responsibilities…maybe. Anyways – I am behind after giving my weekend to LJ, my brother-in-law, and my church (all of which I am pleased with).

current writing: I have an assigment on Wednesday, so I will surely be writing that. Plus talks for 3 wednesday nights in october, and some administrative papers

culture that’s caught me: I love asbo Jesus, and this one made me laugh out loud:

asbo sinner

Also, Lj and I listen to Naked Brothers Band, I Don’t Want to go to School every morning on the way to school.

question I’d ask God: If you had to pick your 3 favorite theologians from 100 AD to today, who are they?

how i’m feeling about this week: Pretty good. I’m close to going to the NYWC, which will provide a rest for me, which I will greatly appreciate.

Ran last week: 9.3 miles. But got sore, so did some walking too.

Goal for this week: to walk my knees back to feeling good. So this week’s goal is health and figuring out how to ride in a car for an extended time without screwing myself up.

Quote for the week: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends ont he unreasonable man. ~ George Dernard Shaw

Good to Great Parenting

So today as I left LJ’s school after droping him off I was walking back out to my minivan (which is my cultural ticket to the underground world of PTA) there were two things that struck me.

First, the moms don’t say hello to me.  Perhaps they are intimidated by my striped hoodie of super-cool thick rimmed glasses, but they just don’t say hello.  I would, in fact, go so far as to say about half of the mom’s actually look really angry.  Upon returning home to play Trouble with lil’ K, I told my wife, Heather, to make sure she smiles and says hello when she’s at Lj’s school.  She told me that the mom’s aren’t smiling because they had to do all the work in the morning and the husbands just drop them off.  Heather is what I call a Proverbs 31, version 2 woman.  She makes the Proverbs 31 woman look like a rook.

Perhaps she is right.  Either way, some church needs to start a ministry where they hand out coffees at the local school as parents drop their kids off.  If they are a cult-church they could lace the coffee with Prozac.  Just an idea…

Secondly, as I was walking down the hall I passed another dad dropping off his daughter.  Since he had two rocking sleeves of tattoos I knew a warm cuddly hug was out of order, so I gave him the standard man grunt greeting combined with a head nod.  It was the perfect cultural interaction between two dad’s trying to prove they are too cool for school.  His daughter proceeds to announce, “That’s LJ’s dad!”  To which the dad has no response.  This was a reminder to me that I am entering a long (and have been for a while) season in my life where I am fully living my life on behalf of someone else, my family.  This is, in my mind, the image of marriage and family that the Bible talks about, so it’s a privilege for me to be able to be used by God for other people with my last name.  My family, especially my children, are not my way of re-living out my life, or succeeding in areas where I sucked the first time through.  My kids will never win the game/pass the test/get first place for daddy.  That kind of stuff makes me want to puke.

I see multple implications here, the biggest of which is the need to be teaching parents what biblical marriage is and how to biblically lead a family.  Too many times I have heard, “the husband is the head of the family” and I look at the husband and he has no idea what the Bible teaches, has no intention of laying out his life for his wife and no clue on how to raise godly children.  Church leaders need to recognize this and not just sit on their hands, while moms and dads with good intentions continue to screw up succeeding generations.  Understand clearly – this, in my mind, is not a blame question.  However, some people need to look for blame and if anyone should take it, it’s the leaders (like me).  If the people don’t know the Scriptures, who’s to blame if not those charged with teaching them?

So, while I am not in a position to develop this right now, I think there needs to be a series created (and then distibuted freely – if the author needs money they can put it in a book) to teach Christian parents what the Bible says about them and their families.

I would suggest the following resources:

  • The Bible
  • Chap Clark’s Hurt
  • Jim Collins’ Good to Great
  • References to the National Study on Youth and Religion
  • Kenda Creasy Dean’s Practicing Passion
  • Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership
  • Henry Blackaby’s Spiritual Leadership
  • Jeff and Ken Gangel’s Fathering Like the Father
  • Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel
  • and any Douglas Coupland book as collateral reading.

So, that’s my rant for today, brought to you by angry soccer moms and a tattoo’d dad.

Monday Morning Check-In September 22 2008

weekend in review: Heather was away this weekend for the SACC women’s retreat.  So, we’re both a little spent.  The kids and I did our first round of Hallowe’en shopping.  Many Christian families don’t buy into  Halowe’en, and that’s cool, but we do.  In an illogical sense, if consumerism has destoryed Christmas, then if you are an opponent of Hallowe’en, then you should try and consumer it to death (this is the first time this thought has occurred to me…consumer it to death…interesting…).  Anyways, we have to start thinking about costumes now, because LJ likes to take quite a while to decide what he wants to dress up as.  I wanted to be Hannah Montana, but we couldn’t find any costumes big enough.  We also started up our small (medium) group.  It was really cool to have my close friends in the group, along with some newer friends.  We are going to have a cool time.

on my list this week: I am preaching on Jesus this weekend, asking the question, “Are you about Jesus?”  It’s a difficult thing for me to put all of my passion about Jesus into 25 minutes, so I will have to talk fast and turn the heat up.  In hot air sounds travel faster, so we can cover more content if the A/C is off.  Also I have a few meetings on tap, plus some travel plans that need to be arranged.

current books: I redid my reading schedule because of some different assignments that I have due, like in ten days.  So, I’m reading 25 pages each day of The Story of Christianity, by Justo Gonzalez, I’m at the beginnings of monasticism right now.  I am also reading this week two books on Jesus that are coming today.  One I heard of from Randy Butler called Cross And Covenant by Shelton, the other is my first N.T. Wright book, The Challenge of Jesus.  I also cashed in my expiring American Airlines points to subscribe to a few magazines, which I mine for inspiration and read during my icebaths after running (and yes that’s as sucky as it sounds, but it works wonders!)

current writing: I need to blog on Warren’s book and do my assignments for church history class.

culture that’s caught me: Charlie the Unicorn.  It’s so weird.

I also watched part of the Emmy’s last night.  It had a bunch of reality TV hosts acting as the host.  It’s kind of like a show that the networks know they need to put on so that they can advertise themselves the week before season premieres come on, but nobody wants to invest in anything that would make anyone watch.  It’s like a dying organization that won’t admit it’s dying, because it has such a long legacy.

question I’d ask God: Why and how do you wait so long?  I assume it’s because you have existed for eternity so what seems long to me doesn’t seem long to you, but you also get pretty antsy sometimes int he Scripture, so how do you do decide when to be patient and when to act?

how i’m feeling about this week: Ok – I feel like I’m carrying a bit of weight this week, so I am going to have to process that, but, as far as I know, life will continue.

Ran last week: On my run yesterday I found some money on the sidewalk so I picked it up and put it into the doorframe of the house it was in front of.  I also learned not to run a new route when you’re upset – you get lost and then have to run too hard to make it home in time!  All the same, 4 runs for 14.6 miles.  I did a walk down to a track and did a 1-mile run in 7:31.  It was just for comparison later and to show my legs that they can go a little faster (but not for much longer lol).  Ran 4 miles yesterday at a 9 minute pace doing 5/1 and 6/1 run/walk minutes.  Ran around a sketchy part of town, reminding me to pray for my city as I run.  And I have completely no knee pain which is a wonderful result of not overdoing it, which is my tendency…

Goal for this week: I’m going to do two 6/1 splits for about 30 minutes and a 7/1.  Do about 3 runs for 10+ miles.

Quote for the week: (this is a new addition to provoke inspiration and thought!)  Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order not to be discovered.  On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be led to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself. ~ Irenaeus of Lyons

God is in the business…

Partly as a tribute to the Stuff Christians Like blog, I need to get this out there…

God is in the business of…(googled)

  • changing lives
  • giving us a future
  • opening and shutting doors
  • raising dead congregations to life again
  • shattering expectations
  • doing the impossible
  • dealing with our unrighteous rebellion and our self-righteous religion by offering us genuine righteousness through a relationship (that one was just too long)
  • creating aliens

I don’t like the way this saying feels.  It just seems like a weird way of phrasing.

We like to use it to point out the things that God does, but why is it framed in this way?

I’m sure God likes to do all of those things, but maybe I’m uncomfortable with it put into a business lens because the point of business is to make money and I don’t think God is changing lives/giving us a future/creating aliens in order to make money.

Perhaps the even bigger problem is that I can’t figure out another way to put this.  I understand and agree with the intention of saying “God works”, but I need it to be put in a different way.

Can you help?  How can we create a new phrase and slowly reculture all of western-business minded Christianity?

Hohensee, Your Spiritual Gifts

I haven’t posted a lot of book reviews lately, but I have been reading. I have a stack that I need to go through, and I am reading again for school, so there’ll be a bunch in the next while. First up, A book on Spiritual Gifts by Hohensee and Odell. Don Hohensee is my Board of Ministry advisor and the dean of PESM, so I pretty much have to like this book (kidding…).

It is a standard book on spiritual gifts though. It has a little test at the beginning that will remind you of seventeen magazine and make you feel all giddy when you discover you have a couple gifts. I did the test on a bus ride to Seattle and got the same answers I normally do, I guess that’s more evidence of its consistency.

The best part about this book for me (and the reason I would recommend it) is the treatment and explanation of spiritual gifts int he Old Testament, especially some that don’t appear in Paul’s lists in the New Testament. That was novel, I had never seen those before, but after reading the Scriptural support, it made perfect sense.

So, I did appreciate this book and that’s a bonus because I know the authors. Unfortunately, you can’t get one because they are out of print.