Showing posts from October, 2006

My 1.2 Million Reasons Why Churches Suck

Yet another perfect illustration of a church that just doesn't get it.... There's a church close to where I grew up that I've driven by numerous times. This particular church is a single building on a very busy road. I'm not sure how big or small they may be but by the amount of time the church looks deserted, I think it's a pretty safe bet to say it's not the most active place on the block. So after many years of new construction and higher traffic numbers all around the church, the day has come that the road the church sits on needs to be widened. The only problem is to do this, the state must tear down the church to make room for the new road. So like most instances like this, the state offered this church a nice sum of money to move elsewhere. The amount offered: 1.2 million dollars. Over a million bucks to a church that uses this building no more than and average of 4 hours a week and has probably an average attendance of 120 people. Their answer to the sta

My Book Review: Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church

To make a long story really short, God has been tearing up my heart and soul with a jack hammer for the past 3 months. I felt He was doing some major renovations in my life that would ultimately lead to major renovations and improvements in my family, personal, and church life. As God has tore me apart, he has been very faithful to rebuild my life with care adding one piece at a time. The latest piece was the pastoring kick in the butt I needed. It came in the form of Mark Driscoll controversial book: "Confessions" which happens to be the story of the birth and growth of Seattle's innovative Mars Hill Church, one of America's toughest mission fields. It is also the story of the growth of a pastor, the mistakes he's made along the way, and God's grace and work in spite of these mistakes. Why the Controversy? Driscoll doesn't fit in any category neatly. The story of many "successful" churches have been tidied before going to print. Not here. Drisco

My Movie Reviews: The Prestige and Flags Of Our Fathers

Beth and I enjoyed a rare Friday night "date night" and treated ourselves to not one but two movies. (We had some free passes to the new Grande Theater in W-S!!!) The Prestige The Prestige is a masterful film with terrific storytelling and powerful performances by the cast. Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins)has once again demonstrated why he is one of the film world's brightest up and coming directors. Told in a narrative that jumps between various points along its time line, playing out like a magic act itself, the story is that of two magicians on the rise in their careers. The first, played by Christian Bale, is an expert in understanding the fundamentals of any trick, but lacks showmanship. The second, played by Hugh Jackman, is a master showman who is more entertaining than technical. A tragic series of events pits the two performers against each other in a battle of wits that spirals further and further out of control, consuming both of them and ev

My Observations From Today

I saw a bumper sticker on a SUV today that said, "Gas prices suck". This made me ponder two things: 1) How is that bumper sticker going to do anything to bring gas prices down and 2) If you think gas prices suck so bad, then why are you driving an SUV? Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-SUV. I own one and will probably always own one. But you'll never catch me complaining of what poor gas mileage it may get and how gas prices are to high. If I wanted to get 30+ miles to a gallon, I'd trade in my Xterra for a Sentra. While in the grocery store the today, I saw a bag of chips called "Support our troops". Seriously, that was the brand name. It said a percentage of proceeds from the chips would go to support our troops. I wondered: 1) how can .10 from a bag of chips make a difference and 2) how in the world will they "support" our troops by consumers buying their nacho chips? I picked up a new book today by Pastor Mark Driscoll. He pastors Mars H

My Springer Show

My grandma had two loves: soap operas and Jerry Springer. Even on her death bead nine years ago she would faithfully watch "The Jerry Springer Show" every afternoon. When Beth and I decided to use her trip to Chicago for a conference as a mini vacation, I immediately started to research all there was to see and do there. We have purchased "City Passes" that will get us in to such tourist favorites as the Field Museum, Hancock Observatory, Shedd Aquarium, Adler planetarium, and The Museum of Science and Industry along with tickets to see "Wicked" on Broadway. One of Chicago's more recent favorite attractions is "The Jerry Springer Show". It's based in Chicago and has daily taping during certain months. November being one of those months. They advertise that tickets to see it are free, all you have to do is request them online. So a couple of months ago, that's what I did. Today I got the call. My ticket request had been approved. Beth

My Vote

I sent in my absentee ballot today. Beth and I will be gone on election day so I wanted to make sure my voice was heard. I have voted in every primary and general election since Nov. of '92 and I wasn't about to miss one now. I was raised to believe, maybe not by my parents but by society, that if you were a Christian, you voted Republican. The church I grew up in would have pamphlets each election time you could "pick up" stating who you should vote for and why. I would take that into the voting box with me and vote away. That was 14 years and several elections ago. I've since come to the conclusion that God may not be a Republican. I found a great article back in 2000 from a guy who was feeling the same way I was. the following may be his words but they are eerily close to my thoughts: "I've always assumed that if you are a Christian, you vote Republican. I thought Democrats were inherently evil--a party of atheist, pro-choice liberals who wanted to cru

My Video of God/Cobert vs Dawkins

I think Cobert does a good job of stating the obvious, that man will never have all the answers and once you understand that, faith gets a lot easier.

My Great Train Adventure (and other things)

Jacob loves trains. And that is putting it lightly. So when we heard that the "Great Train Expo" was coming to Winston-Salem today, Beth and I knew we had to take the kids. It was held in the education building at the Dixie Classic fairgrounds. It featured people who came and set up their personal trains along with dealers and vendors selling train stuff. Jacob and Maria found the train exhibits fascinating but their personal favorites from the day was the train they could ride (see above pic) and a "Thomas the Train" set on a table that any kid that came by could play with. Which on side note made me feel good since that is what "Santa" is bringing Jacob, a train table to put his Thomas tracks on. Now going back to the train that Jacob rode, he may have loved it but I hated it. I don't know how I always fall into these things but I must have "ask me I'll do it" tattooed on my forehead. As I was putting Jacob on the train, the conductor i

My Death Wish

"Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side." Psalm 23:4 My two best friends growing up were David and Kevin. We went to school together, played sports together, worked together, went to our proms together, got in trouble together, and were best men in each others weddings. The list could go on and on about all the stuff the three of us got into. But as life would have it, eventually we went our separate ways. The ministry can be a busy place and it doesn't leave much room for friendships outside of church. David pursued his dream of being a cop and ended up working with the Durham Police. Kevin has a gift as a salesman and worked his way up to a big job with CBS in Phoenix. Sadly it had been over two years since I last spoke with David and over a year since Kevin and I had any contact. That was until this past Wednesday night. Kevin called just after nine pm. To say I was surprised to hear his voice was an understatement. My

My Wiffleball Weekend

Me, Brian, and our secret weapon, John "Veeno" Vogel arrived at "The American Children's Home" in Lexington, bright and early at 8:00am on Saturday. We were greeted by 15 other teams made up of over 60 players seeking the most coveted prize in NC wiffleball competition, the Eastern World Series Championship. As we surveyed our competition, there were teams made up of high school kids, guys decked out in their baseball / softball uniforms, old guys, a few girls, and some weekend warriors like ourselves who just rolled out of bed and decided to see what our bodies were still capable of. After going over the rules with everyone, the championship director pulled names from a hat to see which teams would play who first. Our first opponents were "The Slammers" at 9:15am. Our team name was "Ghost Man On Second" in tribute to the "ghost man" rules of wiffleball. Since our first game wasn't until the second round of competition (they had

My ticket winning, pancake eating, wiffleball playing day.

Yesterday began as any other. After an early morning bible study, some sermonizing at the office, and picking up my fair entries, I was on my way back home. As I often do, I had my radio tuned to "790 the ball", our local sports station. All I heard was, "The first 3 callers get a chance to win". I picked up my cell phone and dialed. On a side note, 75% of the time I try calling in to a radio station, I get through. This time was no different. I was caller three. The rules were simple: I would be matched up against the other 2 guys in a sports trivia elimination game. Our first task was to name the top 20 payrolls in baseball in 2006 one at a time. It wasn't long before the first guy was out. So now it was just me against caller two. The new challenge was to name the players off the 2005 UNC championship team. Caller 2 claimed to be a UNC fan so I knew i was in trouble. After the first few obvious answers (May, Felton, McCants) the guy was stumped. I was able to

My Observations

"We are not bodies with a soul but souls with a body" - C.S. Lewis (chew on that for a while) Why do people get so upset when they are treated a certain way (ex. ignored, shunned, avoided, etc.) but turn around and do the same thing to someone else? Shouldn't we treat people the way we want to be treated? "Lost" and "The Nine" come on tonight. That's my entertainment for the evening. I ate at "Carter Bros" last night. It had been a long time since I was there. I forgot how good their Bar-B-Que is. It is the best I've ever eaten. I'm currently reading "Between a rock and a hard place". It's about the guy who was hiking in Utah and a boulder fell on his arm. He ends up having to cut off his arm with knife to try to survive. I hope that never happens to me. Tonight feels like a "Sloppy Joe" and fries night. Only the best food for our health conscious family. I enjoy our Wednesday morning Bible studies at Paner

My Busy Week

Sunday We've started some new Sunday morning small groups (I'd call them Sunday School if I didn't cringe so much when I hear that term). All we were offer to begin with are 2 adult groups and 1 kids group. I really wasn't anticipating having any youth show up but since some did, I was forced to begin an impromptu Jr/Sr high Sunday School class. I knew when one of the teens tooth fell out at the beginning of class that this was going to be a fun time. Church went well and youth in the afternoon was solid as always. I thought Kipp did a great job with the lesson. Monday Picked up my new mountain bike (which you can read all about in my previous blog). I've also begun a small group at my home each Monday night starting at 7:30pm. So far the first 2 weeks have been really good. We're doing an Andy Stanley study called "Defining moments". It deals with how to make the wise choice when faced with a defining moment decision. Tuesday I worked the Dixie Classi

My Outlet

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine who is also in full time ministry. We were discussing things we do that help release some of the stress of being a pastor. He said he has learned over the years that everyone (even folks not in ministry) need an "outlet". Something they can do to get their minds of things and unwind. This may be a hobby, sport, or whatever. It was then that I realized that I didn't have one. And not only that, I couldn't remember the last time I ever had an outlet. So we started working through some possibilities of what I may like to try as my outlet. The scene was much like the one on "Seinfeld" where George and Jerry were discussing possible new jobs for George: George: I like sports. I could do something in sports. Jerry: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. In what capacity? George: You know, like the general manager of a baseball team or something. Jerry: Yeah. Well, that - that could be tough to get. George: Well, it doesn't even