Showing posts from 2011


On a recent Donald Miller's blog he discuses the Enneagram . The Enneagram is a personality assessment tool, but it differs from others assessments because it doesn’t seek to tell who a person is, but rather, how a person hides who they are. There are nine personalities on the Enneagram. I've always been fascinated by these types of test ever since I took my first one, the Myers-Briggs (which according to I'm an ISTJ), over 15 years ago. The results are always very enlightening and usually dead on. Here is the results from my Enneagram test that Donald discusses: Type One: The Reformer (Which as you can see in the above diagram also reaffirms my ISTJ assessment from Myers-Briggs) The principled, idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly,and fastidious, they try to maint

8 Reasons Why Some Churches Never Grow

By Perry Noble 1. The Vision Is Not Clear If people don’t know where a church is supposed to be going, then it will attempt to go everywhere and eventually wind up nowhere. (Interesting experiment–ask people this coming Sunday at your church, “What is our vision” and see if people give you the same answers or different ones.) 2. The Focus Is on Trying to Please Everyone There is NO church on the planet that will make everyone happy every single week—and according to the Scriptures, that isn’t really supposed to be our obsession. Too many times, we become so concerned with offending people that we actually offend Jesus. 3. Passionless Leadership When a leader does what he/she does for a paycheck and not because it's their passion…it’s over. I’ve said it before…I want difference-makers, not paycheck-takers. Also, it is hard to be passionate about a place when a person's average stay at a church is two years or less. 4. Manufacturing Energy If a program is dead in

Rock of Ages Review

Last night Beth and I along with several friends attended the opening night of "Rock of Ages " in Charlotte. Beth and I have been to several Broadway shows and this was possibly the best we have ever seen. This show is absolutely amazing. From the moment the back-up band starts before the show opens until the minute the band stops playing after the final curtain, this show is non-stop fun and excitement. The music brings back memories of the 1980's when mullets were in and dreams really could come true. All of the acting is incredible and the voices and dancing will blow you away. Not for children due to language and some risque scenes, but I cannot encourage adults enough to make time for this wonderful show. If you grew up on 80's music then this is a must see show. If you have no idea what "Rock of Ages" is, then here is a quick synopsis... Rock of Ages is a rock / jukebox musical , with a book by Chris D'Arienzo, built around classic rock hi

Who's life is it anyway?

The following is from a recent blog by Keith Giles. Great thoughts! “Have you asked Jesus into your life?” Most of us who consider ourselves Christians would probably refer to the day we asked Jesus into our lives as the beginning of our journey with Christ. However, if you look throughout the New Testament you won’t find anyone ever doing such a thing. The Gospel most of us heard was that we need to pray a prayer so that when we die we can go to Heaven. That’s also not part of the actual Gospel that Jesus or the Disciples preached. Instead what we find is Jesus inviting us to come into His life. He says that our lives need to be surrendered, given up, let go so that we can embrace His life. In fact, every time Jesus refers to our life he does so to emphasize how we should lay it down or die to ourselves. He never asks us to let him into our empty, broken, screwed up lives. He just asks us to realize that it’s not worth holding on to so we can see that real, true

Why do so many 20 Somethings Misunderstand "Seperation of Church and State"?

My church, Main Street Baptist, ( ) will be hosting a 12-week series on the "Constitution". This class is being led by one of our church members, Bill Flynn. As the class was filling up (it's now at capacity) Bill posed the following question to me, "How do we get more 20-35 year olds to join the class?" The following is the actual facebook coversation that took place. I really feel what Bill says at the end of our converation was incredibly insightful and very challenging. Michael, Thanks for your help getting the word out on our US Constitution series starting Jan. 10. We could really use more 20-35 year olds in the class. Any ideas how to get them to join us ? Bill Bill, That's a great question. The problem I see with the lack of 20 somethings being more involved in things like your class is the belief that you must separate church and state. They believe the church has no business offering (or even hosting) any class that c

My Top T.V. Shows of 2011

As always, I'm not saying these are the "best", they're just my top ten favorites of 2011. 1) The Walking Dead 2) American Horror Story 3) Parks and Recreation 4) The Middle 5) Dexter 6) Modern Family 7) Raising Hope 8) Breaking Bad 9) The Office 10) 30 Rock / Chuck

My Top Films of 2011

As always, I'm not saying these are the "best", they're just my top ten favorites of 2011. 1) Hugo 2) Rise of the Planet of the Apes 3) X-Men First Class 4) Bridesmaides 5) Cars 2 6) Thor 7) Captain America 8) The Hangover 2 9) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 10) Super 8

My Thoughts on the "Occupy Protesters"

This letter was purportedly dropped from an office building in Chicago by the Board of Trade down upon the crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters. There is no author attribution, so for now, this re-publication remains anonymous. Whomever wrote it, it is indeed a work of genius. Here it is, as written in the photo above - We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its (sic) not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas. Well, now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well

My Championship Moment

Ok, so it wasn't The Masters or anything but yesterday was my greatest accomplishishment on the golf course. I was playing in the annual Merriwood Christian Camp golf marathon as I have for the past few years. This year Mike Willard and I teamed up with my friend Danny and one of his friends Zach for the captain's choice part of the golf marathon. I had absolutely no aspirations of coming close to winning since my track record in all things considered "athletic competition" is less then stellar. But as we played and the birdies, eagles, and even double eagles kept piling up, it became clear that we may have a chance of winning. When it was all said and done we sat at a score of 44 (27 under par). Now I must disclose we had the help of a golf package that included mulligams, throws, red tee shots, and string, but so did everyone else. When the scores were announced we were declared champs by two stokes. Except for my Piedmont Wiffle Ball Championship way back in '9

My "Crazy Love" Small Group Discussion Questions

I've had the opportunity to lead several small groups based of the Francis Chan book "Crazy Love". The discussion questions that come with the DVD study leaves a lot to be desired. So through my own personal questions and questions from other "Crazy Love" resources online I've been able to develope a more indepth study of the book. Below are the questions I have used for all 10 chapters of the book study. Feel free to use them as you'd like. Chapter 1: Stop Praying Stop and think about the last prayer you voiced. How did you begin? Our Father? Dear Lord? Jesus? What word or phrase did you use to start the prayer? Now, take a minute and consider the prayer you prayed before that prayer. How did you begin? Same word or phrase? Different? Sorta different or radically different? If you begin all your prayers in much the same way, ask yourself why. Read these words from G. K. Chesterton: A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence,

My Post-Christian Church-goers

Recently I had a conversation with a parent of some elementary students in my church. The parent was complaining of how their children don't fit in at our church. In the midst of our conversation I could pick up on some obvious blame being cast out. It was some how my fault, the children's director's fault, Sunday school teacher's fault, and church's fault that their children didn't enjpy coming to church the way the parent did when they were a child and attended church. To be honest I walked away beating myself up over their children falling through the cracks and trying to figure out what more I could have done to prevented it. I immediately started to dream of ways to get their children more connected and involved. Then it hit me. It really wasn't my job to impress kids enough to make them want to come to my church. It's really up to the parents. Which got me thinking, "Why are parents so opposed to simply making their kids come to church?&qu

My Friend Lanes

The Pastor and His Wife Get to Pick Their Own Friends | Part 1 by Mark Driscoll  As church planters, Grace and I learned the hard way what a friendship is and is not. Somehow, I got the silly notion that everyone who picked me to be their friend was, in fact, my friend. Subsequently, I ate lots of meals with people I did not enjoy, had people on my family vacations that drove me so nutty I could not wait to get back to work, and spent countless hours answering the phone, replying to emails, and responding to the demands of pushy, rude, selfish people who smiled while saying words like “buddy” and “friend.” What they meant by “friend” was something more akin to “bullied victim.” The truth is, as a pastor, you and your wife have many kinds of relationships. What has been helpful for me is considering the kinds of relationships I have like lanes on a highway. I am then better able to clearly determine and articulate who is in which lane without allowing everyone to drive in my friend lane

His Story: The Beginning of the End for the David Crowder Band

** pic of Jacob and David when we met him at a concert The following is an email I just got from the David Crowder Band. A piece of me died when I read it but I'm so excited I have tickets to see them in Charlotte this fall. We have several things to let you know about, First of all, we can’t begin to express how excited we are getting about The 7 Tour this fall. If you haven’t heard yet, we’re doing a national tour with some of our favorite artists ever. Gungor, John Mark McMillan, and Chris August are joining us, and we cannot wait to be in the same room with these folks night after night. We’re pretty sure you’ll want to be at every single one of these get-togethers. “Unreasonable!” you say? Well, not to us. That’s why we’ll be there every single night. Seriously, we, the band, are all getting on a bus and following the whole thing around for like 3 months. It’s going to be awesome. Now, another reason we are sure this will be one of the most meaningful tours we’ve ever

My Butterfly Effect

On Monday by buddy Sam called to ask me to watch a short film called "The Butterfly Circus". He wouldn't tell me anything about it except that I had to watch it and he'd call me later in the week to discuss it. So on Monday night I had 20 min to kill so I took a look. It was the best 20 min I had spent all day and will probably spend all week. It's one of the most beautiful films I've seen in recent memory and absolutely deserves all the awards and praise it's receiving. You can check out the full 20 minute short film on the official web site: Afterward I'd encourage everyone to check out the following site for more info on the leading actor.

My Thoughts On The Death of Osama bin Laden

“Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.” – Proverbs 24:17 Pride. Celebration. Joy. These sentiments outwardly resonated with American citizens on Sunday, May 1, 2011 – a day that, for the rest of our lives, will be known as the day when United States military officials killed Al-Qadea leader Osama bin Laden. As a nation sat and watched hordes of students and adults running toward the White House I could not help but feel slightly uncomfortable. Had I not known that they were marching toward the White House, I could have easily mistaken their destination for a fraternity house. Certainly it is more than understandable that Americans celebrate this justifiable act of revenge. Few, if any, would disagree that the U.S. military was perfectly within its right to pursue and execute bin Laden, who not only committed some of the most heinous terrorist attacks in the past half-century, but also remained a threat to world peace and securit

My Reflections on Mexico City (Part Four) Who I am

I'm going to go ahead and confess that I've never really felt comfortable in the role of "Pastor". I love The Church. I love Jesus. I love seeing God's people at work mimicking the example Jesus set for us. But this whole pastoring thing has been a hard pill to swallow. If all there was to pastoring was what I just mentioned then sign me up for life. But it's not. At least it's not what I have always been told a pastor is suppose to do. From the day I felt "the call" to go into full time paid church ministry I have had person after person, from congregation members to fellow pastors, from close friends to speakers at pastor conferences, telling me what a pastor is suppose to look like, act like, talk like, and do. Every book I've ever read on pastoring pretty much confirmed what everyone was telling me. But the truth is I've never felt like I fit any of the descriptions they were describing, or should I say expecting. I think just want

His Story

The Latest From Donald Miller... If you attended The Storyline Conference last year, you’ll remember Lori Ventola, our essay-contest winner who thought she’d only won a trip to Portland to attend the conference but who ended up getting a bigger surprise. Lori wrote an essay about wanting to start a tutoring program helping homeless families get their children caught up and back in school. She’d done this sort of work before, but the organization she worked with had shut down. We read through her essay and asked her to create a business plan, detailing all her needs to get the program started. We flew her out, and she was excited, hoping to learn something from the conference. At the end of the conference, though, we passed out her business plan to all the attendees and gave them each a white index card, asking them to write their name and phone number along with their profession and any other expertise Lori might be able to call them about to move forward. We also gave Lori a smal

His Story: A Do Something Church

A 'Do Something' Church By Miles McPherson I think we would all agree that the conflict between our culture and the Christian church is growing hostile each day. But interestingly enough, it appears that non-believers don't have such a hatred for Jesus as they do His people. So we began to think, what would happen if the church got back to doing the most basic of basic things that Jesus did? Consequently, we have developed the Do Something Church® model. A Do Something Church® is a church body that is committed to doing what Jesus did while in His body with the intent of establishing Pervasive Hope. Granted, Jesus did a lot of things while in His body and all churches are doing something similar to what He did. But a Do Something Church® goes beyond basic discipleship and focuses on four specific actions of Jesus that I think can revolutionize your church. First, let me define Pervasive Hope. This means that for every way someone can be lost, we want to provide

My Reflections on Mexico City (Part three) My One Thing

(From the movie "City Slickers") Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This. Mitch: Your finger? Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean s*&%. Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?" Curly: [smiles] That's what you have to find out. I walked into church and was greeted by someone passing our bulletins. I found a seat with a good few of the stage but not to close since I didn't know anyone there. At 11am the service started promptly. A worship band sang three songs complete with video screens and stage lighting. The announcements were made, offering collected, and the pastor began his 45 minute sermon. After that we passed around little plastic shot glasses with juice, took a broken cracker and shared in communion. We closed with another song from the worship band and everyone hurried out to begin the rest of there day. Sound familiar? It is pretty much the carbon copy of every o

Her Story

Here's a shocking concept - a Christian that actually wants to DO something for others versus just sitting around and discussing what should be done to which people group and how to go about doing it. I'm all for great ideas and the planning necessary to make that dream come true but 99% of people who call themselves Christians never get past the great idea part. Well here's one person that blowing right past the idea stage and is now in the middle of making the dream happen. You can read all about Kaylyn Van Camps story here  so I won't take the time to repeat it. But if this doesn't inspire you to get off your butt and do something then just go back inside that bubble you live in, turn on American Idol, and spend the rest of your week upset over the atrocity of your favorite singer getting booted off. As for the rest of us let's quit talking about it and follow Kaylyn's lead in doing something now for the Kingdom of

My Reflections on Mexico City (Part Two) Crock pots and Microwaves

When it comes to home cooked meals in the Gianopulos' household, here's the deal for those who don't know my family - I'm the cook in the house. I've cooked every meal Beth and I have had since the day we were married almost 13 years ago. In the course of those 13 years I have figured out which cooking methods I love (grilling out) and those I avoid (any dish with a prep time of over 10 min). One method I love the results of but hate the time involved is the crock pot. I mean really, what could be easier then dumping a bunch ingredients into a pot and letting it cook all day so come dinner time it's ready. Who doesn't love the smell of walking into your house with the aroma of said ingredients filling your home? But as much as I love the results of the crock pot I hate the process, or more specifically I hate the waiting. Then there's my friend the microwave. Pop in a dish, push a few buttons, then presto it's meal time. Sure there ar