Showing posts from April, 2011

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

His Story

The following blog was written by Donald Miller and best explanation I have ever heard as to what we should be doing as Christians I terms of discipleship versus what we actually do. Should the Church be Led by Teachers and Scholars? The church in America is led by scholars. Essentially, the church is a robust school system created around a framework of lectures and discussions and study. We assume this is the way its supposed to be because this is all we have ever known. I think the scholars have done a good job, but they’ve also recreated the church in their own image. Churches are essentially schools. They look like schools with lecture halls, classrooms, cafeterias and each new church program is basically a teaching program. The first disciples were not teachers, they were fishermen, tax collectors and at least one was a Zealot. We don’t know the occupation of the others, but Jesus did not charge educators with the great commission, he chose laborers. And those laborers took th

My Reflections on Mexico City (Part One)

Last week I led a mission team to Mexico City for what has become an annual trip to the center of the Latin American culture. Each year we go the trip we plan is never the trip we experience. It's as if God dangles a holy carrot in front of us, enticing us to return, then once we're their He turns our worlds upside down through experiences we never could have imagined. Through those experiences He is able to reach us at our most vulnerable moments and speak to us is the deepest parts of our souls. These trips are always life altering, but for me this one was life changing. What I experienced was the completion of an eight year revelation of who God has designed me to be as a pastor and the vision of the church I am suppose to lead. But before I can get into what exactly that revelation is, I need to set the stage with what exactly we were doing while in MXC. Our missionary contact Angie and her fiance Pepe On Sunday afternoon we served at a women's shelter owned and

His Story


My Stone

The following legend (not a Biblical story) is from Elizabeth Elliot's website in a section of "missionary musings". Jesus was walking one day with His disciples and asked each one to pick up a stone to carry for Him. They all picked up a stone. Peter, rather a small one; John, a bigger one. Jesus led them to the top of a mountain and then He commanded the stones to be made bread. The disciples were by this time hungry, and so they were given permission to eat the bread in their hands. Of course, Peter didn’t have very much. John shared with him some of the bread that had been made from the stone he had carried. On another occasion, the same Jesus took the same disciples for a walk and again asked them to pick up a stone to carry for Him. This time you can imagine that Peter picked up a bigger stone. But Jesus did not take them this time to the top of the mountain. He took them to the river. As they stood on the bank looking with questio