Monday, December 29, 2008

Real Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the body!

The weather is cool and last night I made an amazing pot of homemade chicken soup. What I love about making this soup is that it is sooooo easy! And it costs so little to make so much. I bought a whole body chicken at Stater Bros for 49 cents a pound (around $3.50 for one chicken!). I had left over celery and carrots in my fridge but that would have cost me less than $2. I bought a bag of frozen carrots, $1.50 and 2 bags of frozen grandma noodles (taste homemade) for $2.99 a bag, this was my most expensive purchase. So for around $11 I made enough soup for two meals and I had extra chicken for sandwiches or whatever strikes our fancy.

The recipe:

Put one whole chicken in crock pot and fill to the top with water, add a couple stalks of celery and a couple carrots and one quartered brown onion, cook on high for about 5 or 6 hours (till done). Also add seasonings: salt, pepper bay leaf, etc.

Remove chicken and let cool. Once cool enough to handle remove chicken from bones. Throw away those bones! Store in fridge.

Strain the broth through a cheese cloth and a strainer

Store broth over night in fridge. Next day remove fat from the top of the broth and discard.

Heat broth, add chicken cut into pieces, carrots (I used frozen carrots), and grandma noodles (found in the freezer section of the store). Bring to boil then simmer till noodles are cooked and enjoy!

Tip: taste the broth if it doesn't have enough chicken flavor, add chicken bouillon and maybe more salt. If you do not have enough liquid add canned chicken broth.


New Book!

I have just started reading a new book I got for Christmas (thanks Michele!): Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright. Amazing book!

The book is filled with great insight into the hope we should focus on as we consider the resurrection. Are we just going to a better place? Where are we going and when will we get there? What is the impact of the Jesus' resurrection? What was the reaction of the disciples? What should my reaction be? How should it affect my life today, tomorrow?

What we say about death and resurrection gives shape and color to everything else. If we are not careful, we will offer merely a "hope" that is no longer a surprise, no longer able to transform lives and communities in the present, no longer generated by the resurrection of Jesus himself and looking forward to the promised new heaven and new earth.

Therefore Wright says it matters what we do in the present. It is not a future expectation but rather a life lived fully now.

Easter was when Hope in person surprised the world by coming forward into the present.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Peace Thought

I am nearly finished reading "Three Cups of Tea" and have been praying and thinking about Advent when I came across this incredible statement:

In times of war, you often hear leaders--Christian, Jewish and Muslim--saying, "God is on our side." But that isn't true. In war, God is on the side of the refugees, widows and orphans.

This kinda sums up my messages the past two weeks, God hears the cries of the oppressed, and He responds because God is active.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Books I am Reading

Lately I have had some free time to read, being unemployed affords you the time to read. It is funny that I heard on the news last night that more and more people are re-discovering the library. I know as my own economic situation worsens I will be buying less books and checking out more books from the library. APU Grad library here I come!

I just wanted to share what books I currently have been actively reading

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson. This is an amazing story of a former mountain climber’s compassion for people. By accident he got lost on the trail down a mountain and ended up in a village here he warmly received and nourished. While spending time with the villagers he sees the need for education in this community, especially among the girls. So his story involves building schools in a country, Pakistan, where many would stay clear of.

The Wounded Healer by Henri M. Nouwen. This book is rocking me! I was encouraged to read it as I continue to deal with my own personal and spiritual healing. As I am reading through this book, which has now become my morning devotional, I see insight into our world today through the eyes of the writer written over 35 years ago.

Reimaging Church by Frank Viola. I am about half way through this book but it is getting increasingly harder and harder to read. I will finish it! The author believes that the church structure, including the building, has been lost through time. The first century church should be the model of the church today as we build community. I do not discount the home church model but wonder if we that model is the predominant choice. Is it too late? But what can we pull from the first century church and incorporate into our “traditional” churches today?

Planting Missional Churches: Planting a Church That’s Biblically Sound and Reaching People in Culture by Ed Stetzer. I have just started reading this book and I am very excited about it. It is a “how to” book but it is so much more, Stetzer discusses the need for church plants and why we should plant churches. Stetzer identifies problems in the church and gives solutions. Financial support, discipleship, denominational influences and other issues are all explored. I am looking forward to reading through this book.

As we are exploring the possibility of starting a church I am also revisiting some of my seminary books. Two of these books on my desk right now are:

The Open Church: How to Bring Back the Exciting Life of the First Century Church by James H. Ruiz

Shaped by God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches by Milfred Minatrea

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peace Prayer

From the Common Book of Prayer
A Prayer for Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit
may so move every human heart,
that barriers which divide us may crumble,
suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease;
that our divisions being healed,
we may live in justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

One Example of Peace on Earth

One definition of peace is an absence of war or conflict. I am not sure if I will ever see our world in a time without conflict, there always seems to be a war somewhere. But I do know that when Jesus came to earth as a man He brought peace. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Peace on earth can be experienced, maybe not in the fullest sense we see in Isaiah 11:6-9 where predator will live peacefully with the prey.

As you consider aspects of peace read through the amazing story of a time of peace experienced on a battlefield many years ago. I am praying that a time of peace, regardless of how short, can be experienced on our many battlefields this Christmas.

The Christmas Truce

The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The Scottish troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The soldiers exchanged gifts, sometimes addresses, and drank together. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

Article on The Christmas Truce came from

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another Nouwen Jem

He is confronted with not only with the elaborate and expense to save the life of one man through a heart transplantation, but also with the powerlessness of the world to help when thousands of people die from the lack of food.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Great Henri Nouwen Quote

I just started reading another amazing book by Henri Houwen, The Wounded Healer. I only on page 8 and came across this great quote:

When man's historical consciousness is broken the whole Christian message seems like a lecture about the great pioneers to a boy on an acid trip.

I am excited to get deeper into the book. Thanks Anne Jackson for recommending this book. Please check out Anne's new book Mad Church Disease coming out soon, there is a free chapter available to read.

Hope vs Hopelessness

The message of the first week of Advent is HOPE. Hope is the desire for something with the possibility of, or belief in, its realization. Hope must have a goal. Hope is foundational and based in truth; otherwise, our hopes are just daydreams or fantasies. Hope involves our belief that what we hope for can be accomplished.

But maybe the best way to understand hope is to compare it to hopelessness.

We live in a world filled with guilt, shame, fear, loneliness, anger, sadness and oppression. Hopelessness is suicide, abortion and divorce. Hopelessness is bigotry, hatred, violence and murder. Hopelessness is hunger, poverty, sickness and death.

Feelings of hopelessness overcome us as we lose all out material objects. Sometimes this happens through natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and fire. I have a friend that is sifting through the ashes of his home that burned to the ground looking for anything of value, any memory, or any heirloom. Hope comes from the ashes.

To take residence in hopelessness is to live without Christ. The sign above the entrance to Dante’s hell says, “Abandon hope all you who enter here.” For Dante, hell is a place with no hope. Enter hell and give up hope. Hell is the place of hopelessness.

Hope has history. If we look at our Bible we see a story, a history of God trying to reconnect with His people. Creation could have just rolled over and died by living in hopelessness. But it didn’t, there has always been hope.

Hope and faith are cousins, they are related.
Jesus Christ is our hope, and we place our faith in Jesus

Hope has a past
Hope is present
Hope has a future

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lam. 3:21-23).

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Advent Week 1 Hope

While preparing for my message on hope this past Sunday I happened upon an incredible article titled "African American Advent and Christmas Spirituals" by Melva Wilson Costen. Although Melva was writing to an African American situtation, the opening paragraph speaks volume to conditions throughout the world today.

Waiting, expectantly and patiently waiting, for one who has already come. Waiting, hopefully waiting, in anticipation of the promised peace and justice in a world overwhelmed with injustices of all kinds. Longing, waiting, yearning, and simultaneously rejoicing that the Prince of Peace has appeared and is to be remembered in a special way. Preparing to receive again the ultimate gift from God - Emmanuel -God with us. This is Advent.

The four weeks leading up to Christmas is called Advent. Advent means coming or arrival. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance! Jesus’ coming to earth was a history changing and a life changing event for a group of oppressed people 2000 years ago. But it is just as significant for our culture today as we continue to be prepared for the day when Jesus comes again. This is Advent.

"Christ has come! Christ has risen! Christ will come again!"

Isaiah 61:1-4 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Light of The World

I was doing a little exploring on the internet and I found this amazing light switch plate. I think I have something to add to my Christmas list (ebay doesn't have one!).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christ and a Coke

Product placement is important. Because of the economic situation this year many churches have had to look for corporate sponsorship.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church-A Parable

Check out this great video. Maybe your church is like this.

Thanks Len Sweet and Rick Chromey for video!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Have a Dream

Let me repeat the last words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's amazing speech

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I am a child of the 60’s, I have seen change. I have seen people struggling to be heard. I have seen people oppressed. I have seen walls of division. I have seen triumphs and victories, and I have seen tears and loss. But along the way I have seen visions of hope.

I have seen a Catholic man become President and give a nation hope

I have seen his brother run for President along side of people of color to give hope

I have seen an African American with a dream give millions of people with color hope

I have seen the right to vote given to all people to have a voice and a hope

I have seen an African American woman refuse to give her seat on a bus and give others hope

I have seen women gain equality and have given their sisters hope

I have seen a Hispanic man rally to give farm workers hope

I have seen a man walk on the moon and give a world a sense of hope

I saw history last night as an African American became President with the promise of hope to all people. May we all come together as brothers and sisters with a common dream and a common hope.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ron Howard Campaigns for Obama

Check out this video of Ron Howard showing his support for Barrack Obama

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Thoughts

When I was younger I looked forward to Halloween. Mom always made our costumes, although there were a few years when we bought costumes. I remember being a clown, a ghost, a hobo or even Batman. It was great to dress up. When I became a dad I remember taking my daughters out in their own costumes. They would dress up as princesses and cheerleaders. Like I did many years before, we would go door to door collecting candy from our neighbors. The neighbors got such a big kick out of seeing the girls in their costumes. Our closest neighbors gave them extra candy or a special gift purchased just for them.

As I am considering Halloween I am wondering if our Christian attempt to take over Halloween has done it a disservice. Churches open up their campuses on Halloween night to offer a safe alternative; some call it Harvest Festival or a Pumpkin Party. But consider for a moment if Halloween has ever really been unsafe.

How many news reports have we seen or read about tainted candy given to kids by some crazy? How many kids have become followers of Satan because of Halloween?

Now I have had many good times at Harvest Festivals and Pumpkin Parties at many churches. We open this night to the community to come and enjoy a safe night of Trick or Treat at church. We desire that this night would be an outreach event to a lost world. But I wonder if most of the people coming to our Harvest Festivals and Pumpkin Parties are not just other Christians. Have churches missed the mark?

Here is my thought, for what it is worth: cancel church sponsored Halloween. Instead, encourage the congregation to go door to door with their kids and meet their neighbors. Get excited to greet every kid that Trick or Treats at your door. Don’t give out tracks! Spend some money on candy and be generous! Think about it, your neighbors are coming to your door, it is a natural ice breaker. This is a night to build relationships.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fear Filled Election

I know we probably don’t need another response to the election but I have some thoughts. There is a letter being circulated throughout the web predicting what the US will look like in 2012 (Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America) if Barack Obama is elected president. There are many people who are seriously fearful of the outcome of this coming election. Negative campaigning suggests there is only one choice, the right choice. If that wrong individual or proposition gets elected or passed the world is going to fall apart and you will lose your freedoms because of your wrong choice. You were warned!

Please do not let fear dictate who you vote for. Be intelligent, research the candidates and their running mates.

Do you know there are good Christian Republicans and good Christian Democrats? Maybe you have been told Christians only vote for Republicans. Therefore if you vote for a Democrat you must not be a Christian.

Do you know we have had bad Republican Presidents and bad Democratic Presidents and we have had great Republican and great Democratic Presidents? Some of these bad presidents also claimed to be Christians.

Bottom line: when we consider the teachings of Jesus where does love play out in the political process. Isn’t love Christ’s vision statement? If so, every issue and every candidate should be measured by their capacity to love and to share that love with neighbor. Our neighbors are poor and rich, black and white. Our neighbor can be across the street or across the world. Maybe 1 Corinthians 13 needs to be read again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Institution or Relationship

When I think of the word institution I think of a building or an organization. It is a place or a set of beliefs that are governed safely from inside. If you are not following the rules of the institution you can be considered unsafe and risk expulsion. Institutions have rules and regulations that help the members know what is expected from the members of the organization. Institutions protect, sometimes forcefully, those on the inside from those on the outside.

Institutions have a hierarchy that puts individuals in roles of leadership over others. Institutions are concerned with the membership of the organization from the top down with little resources for those outside the institution. The rules of the institution are generally established and enforced by those in leadership of the institution.

Occasionally institutions may feel attacked. These attacks can come from its own organization but most time these attacks come from outside the walls of the institution. In answer to these attacks strategies must be implemented to shore up the institution to demonstrate stability and strength.

As I was reading the book The Shack, Mack asks Jesus for his thoughts on the institution of marriage. Jesus responds, “Marriage is not an institution. It is a relationship.” So what is a relationship?

A relationship is the connectedness of two or more people. We are related to others through blood, like interests, affections, race, religion and nationality. For some this relationship involves a deep affection for another that leads to marriage. For some their relationship with God compels them to love others, outside themselves. A relationship is alive. It is not bound by hierarchy or rules. It should be impossible to expel one from the relationship because of infractions.

At the core of all relationships is love. At the core of all institutions is survival.

So when I consider my life and all the shortcomings that I bring into the world, I desire to be surrounded by individuals in a relationship who love me in spite of my sinfulness. Jesus tore down many walls to bring us into a relationship with Him. Walls keep people out, relationships allow people in. Maybe that is why Jesus knocks at a door and calls Himself a gate.

So the bigger question; “Is church an institution or a relationship?”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reflections from Mr. Blue Jay

In our busy lives we sometimes miss the little things and it is wild how these little things are so easily missed, especially if we are so busy being spun by the world. Every morning, around 8 or 9 a Blue Jay comes and visits us. Mr. Blue Jay (Monica named him) will land on my patio furniture and help himself to some peanuts we have put out for him. I am not sure if he loves salted and roasted peanuts better than raw peanuts or unsalted peanuts, I happen to like salted and roasted peanuts so that is what I buy. On some mornings we will forget to put out the peanuts and Mr. Blue Jay has no problem letting us know. If I am reading I will hear his squawking and I must get up or if Monica is watching the news she must get up, but Mr. Blue Jay needs his peanuts. Life stops for Mr. Blue Jay until we meet his needs. Some mornings Mr. Blue Jay will come and watch me put the peanuts out for him, but from a safe distance, he doesn’t like to get too close. I am hoping that some day he will allow me to drink coffee in the backyard as he gets his peanuts. He doesn’t eat the peanuts right away but rather goes and hides them throughout the yard storing them for another day. I think he likes them soft and mushy, gross. In a world that seems to be spinning faster and faster everyday it is great to be able to stop. And just because we stop, the spinning and the spinning of the world and everything in it doesn’t end, life continues even when we take a time out. I pray that God allows you the opportunity to stop and connect with His creation and to spend less time being endlessly spun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Better Debate

My buddy Robert Gonzalez found this awesome video!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

24 Hours of TBN?

I found this interesting, 24 hours straight of TBN! Can you imagine? I am not sure even Jack Bauer could handle it.

On a weekend in last November Nadia Bolz-Weber (and 28 of her friends who signed up for an hour each) watched 24 consecutive hours of Trinity Broadcasting Network, the cable network which broadcasts the likes of Benny Hinn, Crefllo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and other prosperity preachers. To read an excerpt from her upcoming book on the experience—Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television (Seabury, 2008), go to the Emergent Village.

I'd love to hear how you would do watching 24 hours of TBN

Student vs Youth

I have taken the past month off from writing anything on this blog, but amazingly it still gets some significant hits everyday. That encourages me to continue to write more about how God is using me and what I am learning through His word, through my relationships and through our intimate times of prayer.

Yesterday I received an email newsletter from Group Magazine. I appreciate Group Magazine and the folks who put it all together for youth workers around the world. It is a great resource. In the editoral column Rick Lawrence allowed Christian Smith (author of the book Soul Searching, which I strongly recommend that all youth pastors have on their book shelves) to write the column. In the column Christian Smith asks that student ministry return the label of youth ministry. Along with that students would be called youth and student pastors would be youth pastors.

His arguments in favor of this are that some of the students we work with are no longer in fact students, there may be teenagers in our high school groups that have dropped out of school, therefore they are not students. Another point he makes is what about home-schoolers who are not students in the traditional sense where do they fall?

He concludes with a plea to "Christian youth workers all over the country (you!) to change your “shaping” language—to use language that honors teenagers as whole human persons in God’s kingdom. Please stop calling teenagers students, and ask everyone around you to do the same."

I understand Christian Smith’s concern about how we address our groups. For years I rallied the adults in my church to consider changing their labeling of the kids (their language) to students (my language). These individuals were in the midst of life change as they left children’s ministry and entered into student ministry, especially in light of middle school ministry. Considering what Christian Smith says, our youth groups of middle school and high school are groups of students, they all attend school. For me I see little need to change the language for these groups.

But as I look at college ministries I understand that the language falls short. In college and career groups we do need to examine the language we use to call our groups. Calling this group “youth” falls short, similar to the change we see as an individual moves from children’s ministry into middle school ministry. I agree that calling this group “students” falls short too since many may not be attending school any longer. I also have concerns with labeling this group as “young adults” because this seems to convey a sense of less than a “real” adult. Isn’t that some of the same issues many are feeling in their churches currently?

I do not profess to have the answer. But what I do know is that as we lay out these arguments for and against a specific label we are showing that there are divisions in our churches. If you are at a certain age you are here or there, but few churches move beyond this to encourage all groups to come together in worship. While the children’s ministry and the student ministry are having their group time, adults are gathered for their group time. There is disconnect. Many college and career groups meet separately on Saturday or Sunday night, these individuals may help with student ministry but they do not meet with congregation. There is still disconnect from the gathered body of the church.

I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:14; 24-25 the body is not made up of one part but of many. (24-25) But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

Let’s consider ways to unite the many parts of the church into one body.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Women in Leadership?

One of my favorite authors is Margaret Feinberg. last year I read her book "Organic God" and fell in love with the words she wrote. I strongly recommend it, I am looking forward to reading her latest book, "The Sacred Echo."

Margaret lives in Alaska and has given some insight on Sarah Palin from her Facebook page. It is probably because of this insight that she was asked to be interviewed on CNN along with Rev. Voddie Baucham. The interview turned to the role of women in leadership in the church. Watch this video and tell me your thoughts.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to be a Man: Pee on a Wall

I found this amazing video on Youtube, I know sometimes I am there way too much! But it is fun! I am preaching in Oklahoma for Father's Day, maybe this is my message.

Tell me what you think!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tony Jones Video

I hope all my pastoral friends will take the time to watch this incredible video by Tony Jones, one of my favorite bloggers and an amazing author. I would love to hear your thoughts...

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

I am excited! Lost is back next Thursday night! I have been enjoying my Thursday nights watching Lost with a group of friends. It is fun to watch others reactions to the twists that each episode brings. Thank God for DVR! We can rewind to see if we missed something, especially when the group screams.

The next episode is called "The Shape of Things to Come." Great title! But I found out it the name of an H.G. Wells book. And you know how the writers love to use books in the plot lines. This novel was based around the prophetic dreams of a doctor that come true. In the novel these visions were written down in 1930 and the book later found in 2010. Kinda like a flash back!

Guess I have some time to do some more research on this book and maybe find the movie.

I can't wait!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Sound of Silence

I was looking for a video to go with the Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Sound of Silence" and found this great video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sunday Mornings

One of my pleasures each Sunday morning is to watch CBS News Sunday Morning. It is a fresh show that has been on for many, many years. This is not a show that is going to give you the latest dirt on celebrities but rather we see the good in people. If you want to wake up and start a day feeling good about the world and the people that inhabit it I highly recommend this show.

This past Sunday two topics were discussed: The Peace Sign and Lenny Kravitz.

I did not realize that the Peace Sign is 50 years old this year. It has always been a symbol that I have been familiar with growing up along with the raising of two fingers. The hippie movement helped display this non-copy righted symbol for everyone to see in the art, their clothing and their desired ay of life.

I remember growing up during the Cold War when people were afraid of The Bomb. A movement started to disarm the world of their nuclear bombs. The Peace Sign is the combination of two symbols for N and D: Nuclear Disarmament. During the 60’s we would hold monthly bomb drills in our school classrooms. We would get under our desks and wait for the all clear sound. Thinking back I wonder how much protection my desk offered in case of a real nuclear bomb being dropped nearby.

I do not know if we will ever see, in our lifetime, a time where the world is free from conflict or war. But I do know that we can experience a time of personal inner peace, or shalom, through our relationship with Jesus. It is through this relationship that we can rely fully on Him to guide and leads us because He is our King.

May the movement to achieve peace never die. And many those seeking peace discover it.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I always liked Lenny Kravitz’s music. But Sunday I got to see another side to this man, I like him even more.

Through the interview process we learn that he is the son of a very mixed marriage. His mom is black and his dad is white. His mom is Christian and his dad is Jewish. He says that he identifies himself as a follower of Jesus, but he did not discount his Jewishness. The diversity of growing up in this household must have been rich. In his homes he displays a large portrait of his late mother.

But then the topic of celibacy was mentioned. It turns out that Lenny is 3 years into a promised celibacy until he finds his perfect mate. Wow! This sex symbol is celibate, my wife thinks he is even hotter now. It is my hope that others will ear about this celibacy and embrace it and not belittle it. I can imagine a future marriage for Lenny Kravitz that is based on love and not on a physical feeling.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Christvertising: Selling in the Name of the Lord

I was cruising the web and catching up on my blog readings when I found this amazing link posted by Robin Dugall to Christvertising. This “unique” web site uses the power of prayer to help you sell your brand, they call it Brand-Targeted Prayer (BTP).

It makes me laugh and cry. I hope it is the best prank ever produced. And if it is a prank what does that say about Christian marketing? If you happen upon the site please look through Who, What, Why, How and Where sections.

Some of the sales slogans from their web site include:

Christvertising takes a whole new approach to marketing your brand. We skip the strategic deliverables. We pass on the matrixes, the payoffs and the metrics. We ignore any viral functionality. We focus on the ultimate end-user: God…

…If God loves your brand, it will become stronger and more successful.

We skip the strategic deliverables. We pass on the matrices, the payoffs and the metrics. We ignore any viral functionality. We focus on the ultimate end-user: God

But the company does offer a wide variety of refreshments.

And just when I thought I saw enough I find this video on YouTube informing us of a new service with Christvertising they are offering in light of Easter called TBR: Targeted Brand Resurrection.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Quaker Meadow Job Opportunities

Summer is approaching quickly and many of you may want to work at an amazing place: Quaker Meadow. Applications for employment are at the Quaker Meadow web site

The Quaker Meadow Staff is an integral part of the mission of QM- to “win and train youth and adults for Christ”. All applicants should know that we have extremely high standards for moral integrity, for a willingness to humbly serve and for a positive attitude. Hours are long and the work is hard, but the benefits are eternal and a summer on staff can be life changing (and very fun too!).

Applications will be available for the 2008 summer staff after January 15. Application deadline is March 15. We plan to have our staff in place by early April. All Leadership applicants must be able to complete the core 10 weeks of summer without leaving camp (June 14 - August 16). We will consider Support Team applicant arrival and departure times on a case by case basis.

It would be great to see many of you working with me this summer at camp!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lost Thoughts and Predictions

Thursday I was watching Lost with a bunch of my closest and weirdest friends. It was an amazing episode.

We discover that somehow Kate is pretending to be the mom of Claire's baby, Aaron. What happened to Claire? Is she dead or did she give the baby to Kate to get Aaron off the island? How are the writers going to explain the missing 9 months of pregnancy? And why doesn't Jack want to see his nephew? Does he know?

Another thing about Jack and his family: I think his papa is alive and well. I predict he will be one of the Oceanic 6. I do not know how they will explain a corpse coming back to life.

It appears that it is time for another Dharma food supply drop. The make shift shelves for the survivors os running low, thankfully there is a ship offshore that is coming to save them. I loved the Dharma boxed wine; nothing says class than boxed wine! I wonder where you can buy this stuff.

Why did John Locke kill the chicken if they were out of eggs?

How did Kate end up with such a sweet house? I think Kate steals the 3.2 million dollars that Miles wants from Ben. I don't think it is all settlement money from Oceanic Airlines. Or maybe Hurley gives her some new numbers for the lottery.

Speaking of Miles I think I figured something out. I think he is related to a mysterious character that has been on the island, sort of. His name is Dr. Edgar Halowax. What do you think?

Life is not that bad

Sometimes in our lives we may feel that life is not worth living. As Christians we know that life is precious and that we all have value and worth. Consider that each of us is created in God's image.

Thus the need for this video. Thankfully through the work of a courageous civil servant, the lose of a human life was diverted. Life is not that bad. Watch this video and be inspired...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time to Turn Tables

Ok I have been doing a Bible study with a group of adults on Wednesday nights. We have been reading and discussing Galatians. It has been a blast teaching them the way that I would a group of high school or middle school students. One night we colored butterflies. Another night we worked on a resume for the Apostle Paul, what were his credentials? Tonight we are going through chapter 5 and talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. We will be enjoying some fresh fruit tonight!

As I was doing some research for an ice breaker or game for tonight's gathering I came across as interesting web site. I thought, "This has to be a joke!" But it isn't. I have a hard time figuring out why so many people are trying to get rich marketing Jesus. Listen to the product description:

What is it? 1in3Trinity is a faith-inspired, fashion and lifestyle branded energy drink and clothing company. Through innovative designs and faith-inspired art, 1in3Trinity hopes to share the Fruit of the Spirit and energize everyone in the mind and the body.

The 1in3Trinity energy drink is made of a special blend handed down from the flourishing vines and trees of the Holy Land mixed with B-vitamins, Vitamin C, herbs and antioxidants. Not only does this combination make for an abundant taste, but it also serves as a high-powered energy drink to give an extra boost any time of day. With only 10 calories and 3 grams of sugar per can, 1in3Trinity has still managed to pack in mighty flavor into every heavenly sip.

Fruit of the Spirit, the inspiration for much of the 1in3Trinity line, is a biblical term that sums up the nine visible attributes reflective of a Christian’s life. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Collectively, the virtues are the “fruits” that all Christians produce in their life through Christ. It is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit to produce in you the traits that are found in the nature of Christ. The fruit you bear is your witness to others of God’s love, grace, and mercy in your life.

Come on! Faith inspired art and fashion? And it is good to know that you are drinking fruit from the Holy Land, all other fruit is bad?

I would love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Today marks Ash Wednesday on many religious calendars. It is a highly regarded day in the Catholic Church. In the Protestant Church it is often over looked. Many of us forget the day until we see someone with appears to be dirt on their forehead, and with only our best intentions in mind we tell this someone they have something on their face.

The custom of Ash Wednesday has many origins. One tradition was that individuals who sinned a “big” sin could do a time of penitence seeking forgiveness for their transgression. Another tradition was that individuals wanting to become a part of the church would fast and prove their worth leading up to Easter. It appears that Easter was a time of baptisms for many entering or recommitting their lives to the faith.

Today Ash Wednesday is a time of abstinence. The Catholic Church abstains from eating meat starting today and continuing until Easter. For the past couple years now I have looked forward to my personal involvement in this custom. I like meat but it does not control my life. I have considered aspects of my life to discover which of my personal habits has a hold on my life. Some years I have given up drinking sodas. A couple times I have given up coffee. Last year I gave up watching TV.

This year I have two things that I will be abstaining from. After Easter I will share my success and retell the struggles I faced as I try to overcome the that control my life. Consider that God should control my life, not substances.

Matthew 6:1-8 Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

6:16-21 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Great Book, so far...

The past couple days I have had my nose buried in the book, The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. Here is the story of an agnostic who decides to live according to the rules (laws) of the Bible. Jacobs draws the reader in on his discovery of his own Jewish heritage and long forgotten ways of life.

Jacobs struggle with not telling a lie and is brutally honest with those he has contact with. At a restaurant he meets an acquaintance of his wife. Small talk is made and a request is made to continue this relationship. Jacobs responds that this is unlikely, he has too many friends now and it is hard to maintain those friendships without taking on new friendships. Brutal!

He cannot touch other women as a precaution to their uncleanliness. Men were not permitted to touch women during their menstrual cycle and for a period of time afterwards according to the Bible. Since life was so precious in the old days, he likens this non-touch time after their menstrual cycle as a time of sitting sheva and mourning the lose opportunity for new life. Interesting!

We read about spiritual matters and the enjoyment received during times of prayer. Is he getting to know God or could the same outcome have happened if he prayed to any other god? He struggles with times of rich spiritually and times where he feels disconnected with spiritual matters. He calls them valleys.

For me the conclusion to the book becomes a question: Why do we do the things we do? Is it metaphoric, is it required, does it draw us closer to God and His creation and hopefully to one another? I hope that as we consider these questions God becomes something that we can all know and understand.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Journal Entry #10

This is my last posting for Barclay Press' Daily Journal. It is has been an exciting and sometimes frustrating time of writing. Many times I have had so much to say and little time or space to convey every thought I have had. Other days I would sit at my desk and look at the blank canvas of Word and have absolutely nothing to say. I know for many of my friends that may sound unusual! I hope that you have enjoyed reading my musings as well as my rants.

I continue to ponder what 2008 has in store for me. Last year ended with the opportunity for me to explore and look for a new vocation. I was able to travel and visit many friends. The Northern California churches want me to consider planting a church in their area. A local church in my area was actively pursuing me to help them with their youth program. I was able to travel to Mid-America and visit some Friends there; who knows maybe someday that will be home (my daughter and son-in-law live in Oklahoma).

Currently I have landed a job working for Quaker Meadow Christian Camp in the Sequoias of Central California. I love camp and I am very excited to be working in this new position, I am their Director of Advancement. I have seen so many lives changed through the workings of the Holy Spirit at camp, including my own. It is through my camp experience as a camp counselor that I heard God call me to be a youth pastor. That was over ten years ago.

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Journal Entry #9

Today was the second day of the new year and it was filled with busyness. I was on the go early this morning and it did not end until late into the night. The funny thing is that this has become a pattern for my life. I seem to be always on the move and rarely still.

I did manage to stop for a brief period of time at Starbucks today (I got a gift card for Christmas!). In my backpack I had several books to read in case I found a moment to stop and enjoy a cup of coffee. One of the books in my bag was “The Sabbath” by Abraham Heschel. I have given so many copies of this book to friends, it is one of my favorites and I have read it numerous times. It feels as if it is time to slowly reread this book again.

I have come to the realization that God does not exist in chaos. The franticness of life is void of God. To experience Him I must find a time and a place away from the craziness of life. One of my resolutions is to take a Sabbath each week. Heschel writes, “Six days a week we wrestle with world, wringing profits from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in our soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else.”

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Journal Entry #8

I have been blessed with an amazing group of young people that want to hang out with me. Their ages range from junior high students to college aged. I have been away from working with students these past three months but with the daily interaction I have with them you would think I was still their youth pastor.

Today I was able to do some counseling for a couple going through a crisis in their lives. I went to a going away party for two brothers: one is going into the army and the other is going away to college. Tonight a dozen others came by the house for pizza, a board game and some deep theological discussions; they finally left at 1:30am. Tomorrow I start again with an 8am breakfast.

I do not know why this is but I enjoy it. My wife Monica says that it keeps me young. She seems to think that God gave me some superpower that allows me to suck out some of the youthfulness of these young people and allow me to feel young too. I look in the mirror though and there is no difference, I am still old and gray. I guess this is not a superpower we will see on the TV show Heroes.

Through this blessing I have heard many of the frustrations that these young people feel about church. They love the community (church) they are a part of but there is an uneasiness about the way things are being done. Young people want the messages to go deep, they are tired of a watered down message. Everyone knows it is church so it is ok to talk about Jesus. Consistent messages about family and finances bore them.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Journal Entry #7

Yesterday morning I finished reading through the Bible and today I am starting over again. I enjoy reading through the Bible because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I also enjoy reading through the Bible because it builds a good habit. And I enjoy reading through the Bible because each time through it I find something that I did not see the times before.

Recently I was reviewing Matthew and the Great Commission and discovered something new. Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I have read this passage many times and even shared it with my youth group as our call to share the gospel with everyone we know. But I didn’t see something when I read through it in the past. Matthew 28:16-17 says, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

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