Showing posts from November, 2007

Evel Knievel's Testimony

I was saddened today, to hear that the legendary daredevil, Evel Knievel has passed away. I am so happy that he had made his peace with God.
Just a few months ago, on Palm Sunday, Evel shared his testimony at the Crystal Cathedral. He said that for all of his life, he refused to accept Christ as Lord. He believed in God, but couldn't get away from the gold, the gambling, the booze and the women. Still, people prayed for Evel, including folks from his daughter's church, his ex-wife's church, as well as countless people who wrote him letters, urging him to surrender his life to Christ.
Then, it happened -- last March, during Daytona Bike Week.
In Evel's words: "I don't know what in the world happened. I don't know if it was the power of the prayer or God himself, but it just reached out, either while I was driving or walking down the sidewalk or sleeping, and it just—the power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. … All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ. …

Right Attitudes

1. Focus on winning big, not just on getting by.
2. Exhibit unconditional love. . . give freedom to fail.
3. Display a "servant leader" attitude.
4. Retain a lifelong student's attitude.
5. Develop a family-level commitment to the group.
6. Develop critical thinking without a critical attitude.
7. Keep a cooperative attitude.

(Bobb Biehl in Boardroom Confidence)

God and You

Bring to God your gift, my brother,
He'll not need to call another,
You will do!

He will add His blessing to it,
And the two of you will do it,
God and you!

-- R. E. Neighbour

A Measure of Spiritual Growth


(From Dave Ferguson)

What Do You Like to Do?

"There are a lot of things that go into creating success. I don't like to do just the things I like to do. I like to do things that cause the company to succeed."

-- Michael Dell, Founder and Chairman of Dell Computers



Hammers and Nails

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
-- Larry Stephens

I Forgave

My heart was heavy, for its trust had been Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong; So turning gloomily from my fellow men, One summer Sabbath day I strolled among The green mounds of the village burial-place; Where, pondering how all human love and hate Find one sad level; and how, soon or late Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face, Pass the green threshold of our common grave, Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart, Awed for myself, and pitying my race, Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave, Swept all my pride away, and trembling, I forgave! -- John Greenleaf Whittier

LIfecycle of a Church

Church consultant, George Bullard, has a fascinating chart, which shows the stages of a church's life. You can find it here. (You'll have to scroll down a few posts on the page.) Thought provoking!


There are 86,400 seconds in each day --86,400 golden moments. That's a treasure trove! What shall we do with it??
Spend the treasure wisely!
Pack your day full!
Pack it full of joy.
Pack it full of love.
Pack it full of wonderful experiences.

When it's gone, we'll never get it back - so lighten up, look up and make it count for something!

Apostolic Succession

I was ordained July 10, 1987, when General Superintendent, Dr. Earle Wilson, laid hands on me, shook my hand, and declared, "Take Thou Authority to Preach the Word!"
I was thinking about that recently, and began to wonder how far back I could go with the succession of my ordination. So, I did a little research. I was ordained by Earle Wilson Earle Wilson was ordained by Pilgrim Holiness General Superintendent, William Neff William Neff was ordained by the Pilgrim founder, Seth Rees Seth Rees was ordained by Nazarene founder, Phineas Bresee Phineas Bresee was ordained by Methodist Bishop, Levi Scott Levi Scott was ordained by Elijah Hedding. Elijah Hedding was ordained by Francis Asbury Francis Asbury was ordained by a renegade Anglican priest named John Wesley John Wesley was ordained by Anglican Bishop (of Oxford) John Potter.
From Potter -- there's a trail all the way back to St. Peter!! You can see the chart here. (Potter is at the bottom of the page #90.
Now, how about that??

3 Questions to Ask God

Hello. . . God. . .?
Where Are You?
Whatcha Doin"?
Can I Help?

(A member of our Guatamala Missions Team shared this with me upon their return last week.)

First Turkey

Helen Hayes, the actress, told about cooking her very first Thanksgiving turkey. Although this highly acclaimed performer of stage and screen was not a star in the kitchen, she thought the time had come, after several years of marriage, to prepare and bake her first turkey.

She called her husband and son in and prepared them. She said, "This may not come out exactly the way you want it too. If it's not a good turkey, don't say a thing. Without any comment, just stand up from the table, and we'll go to the nearest restaurant and eat."

When she walked into the dining room a few moments later with the turkey on a platter, her husband and son were already standing there with their coats and hats on!

(story from John Maxwell)


Count Your Blessings

Johnson Oatman Jr. was a bivocational Methodist minister. Besides his full time work in Retail and the Insurance Industry, he served various local churches -- and still somehow found the time to write 5000 hymns.

One of them, published in Songs for Young People, was published in 1897. It's a great Thanksgiving Song. I tickled the ivories as we sang it at church this past Sunday: Count Your Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at…

No "Two For One" Deals

You cannot travel East and West at the same time.

"He who pursues two hares will catch neither." -- Asian Proverb

The Most Important Skill in Ministry

What is the most important skill in ministry??

Visionary Leadership?
Anointed Preaching?

Those are important -- but not THE MOST important. . .

Steve Furtick hits the nail on the head: The most skill in ministry is the "fine art of hearing from God."

In The Middle

I heard a cute story last week from Kathy, one of our parishioners. She was going through a children's book with her little grandaughter, Destiny. The theme of the book was feelings. Each page was about a different feeling.

When they came to the page that said, "SCARED", Destiny pointed and said, "Look Grandma! The word CARE is right there in the middle of it!"

Out of the mouths of babes! When we're SCARED -- we know that Jesus CARES and He's right there in the middle of it!

5 Ways to Mess Up Your Kids

1. Make them the center of the universe.

2. Act like they're not watching.

3. Solve all their problems.

4. Always defer to the other parent.

5. Never say "I'm sorry."

From Rob at EnterMission -- you can read the whole post here.

Not Gloating

Now, I'm not gloating or anything -- and I know Jesus loves Michigan fans too. In fact, The Buckeyes were just helping Wolverine character development.

Deer Hunting

Today begins the "other" holy week in Hayward.
The men head off to the woods in blaze orange;
The church is half empty;
We won't be able to find a plumber, barber, or electrician;
Half the cars will have carcasses strapped on top . .
And, I get a free week without ANY marriage counseling!

Gone to the Dogs

I suppose you could say This Guy's Wife is a Real Dog!
(thanks to Mark Gorveatte for the lead)
A man in southern India married a female dog in a traditional Hindu ceremony as an attempt to atone for stoning two other dogs to death — an act he believes cursed him — a newspaper reported Tuesday. P. Selvakumar married the sari-draped former stray named Selvi, chosen by family members and then bathed and clothed for the ceremony Sunday at a Hindu temple in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Hindustan Times newspaper said. Selvakumar, 33, told the paper he had been suffering since he stoned two dogs to death and hung their bodies from a tree 15 years ago.
"After that my legs and hands got paralyzed and I lost hearing in one ear," he said in the report.
The paper said an astrologer had told Selvakumar the wedding was the only way he could cure the maladies. It did not say whether his situation had improved.
Deeply superstitious people in rural India sometimes organize weddings …

Sodden Log

O God, not like a stagnant pool with tepid depths, let my life be,
But like a stream, undaunted, cool, that plunges toward the sea.

O God, not like a sodden log, now dead, though once a stately tree, but pushing high above the bog still upward yearning, let life be!

-- J. Gordon Howard

Exploding Offering Plates

Hey -- if we could figure out how to do this for offering baskets, we'd be in business! If more than three people pass it on without putting something in . . . KABLAMMO!

Church Decisions

How do church leaders arrive at the decisions they make?

1. Tradition:
Often, this decision is made by indecision. We just continue to do what we've always done. If it worked in the past, it should work today. There are a lot of empty churches that have operated this way for years.

2. Emotion:
We make decisions based on who will get upset and/or how strongly somebody feels about the issue. Whoever has the strongest emotion wins the day.

3. Pragmatism:
If it works for today, let's do it. This is a "consumer oriented" approach.

4. Selective Theological Interpretation:
This is usually used by a pastor, or a long tenured church member, searching for Bible passages to support #1 and/or #2 as an argument against #3 -- or sometimes visa versa.

5. Biblical Mission:
While staying true to Scripture (the Great Confession) , making faith-inspired decisions based on the Great Commission (Go make Disciples) in the spirit of the Great Commandment.

Rural Education

75% of Seminary Students are from urban and suburban communities.

75% of Seminary Graduates, however, begin their ministry in a rural or small town setting.

You're Contagious

Pessimism is contagious.
Optimism is also contagious.
Of which are you a carrier?

-H. F. Wood

Starting In A Small Church

Here's a great post from Keith Drury on the Advantages of Starting Your Ministry in a Small Church.

Preaching is Fishing

How shall souls be caught? They shall be caught by preaching Christ.
Just preach a sermon that is full of Christ, and throw it unto your congregation, as you throw a net into the sea. You need not look where they are, or try to fit your sermon to different cases; but throw it in and as sure as God’s Word is what it is, it shall not return to him void; it shall accomplish that which he pleases, and prosper in the thing whereto he hath sent it. -- Charles Spurgeon (via Phil Johnson)


A great sermon here, by Jeremy Troxler, Director of the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative at Duke Divinity School.
Now, if only we can learn to do this with Small Group Leaders. . .

5 Kinds of Christians

A new study from Christianity Today identifies 5 Kinds of Christians and their views:

1. Active Christians
2. Professing Christians
3. Liturgical Christians
4. Private Christians
5. Cultural Christians

It's an interesting piece of work -- but at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, I think there's only one kind of Christian -- the person who has Jesus in his/her heart.


On Saturday, I had a delightful visit with Ron and Carol McClung. Ron is the District Superintendent of the Iowa-Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church. He's on a sabbatical, and wanted to talk with me about the growth of Hayward Wesleyan Church, and our recent church planting efforts.

I turned the tables just a little and asked him a question:
From your travels and observations of many churches -- what piece of advice you would give to the small town and rural pastors who read my blog?
Ron replied: Relationships!! Relationships!! It's about relationships!! Pastor, you can preach fantastic sermons, make brilliant strategic plans, and work your fingers to the bone, but if you don't love your people, it won't mean a thing!

The Pack

What A Game! For once, I got to keep my fingernails.

Two Kinds of Good Days

Sometimes, life is like cruising down a highway on a summer day.
At other times, it's like hiking through a murky swamp.

There are "smooth sailing" days -- and then there are the ones filled with bumps and jolts.

But one thing lies in common: They're both good.

They don't both FEEL good, mind you -- but they're good, nevertheless.

The sunshine days are good for carefree laughter, pleasure and fun.
The dark and difficult days are good for character development.

Either way -- it's still a good day.

If you're going through the dark valley, don't despair. Joy will come in the morning. Learn the valuable lessons life has to offer -- and keep trudging forward. Don't give up.

As Dag Hammarskjold stated, "When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly, nothing will go quite as you wish -- it is then that you must not hesitate."


Did You Ask for A Sign?


Give Them Jesus

Yesterday was rewarding and fulfilling.

I had to opportunity to visit with a friend who is fighting a life-threatening disease. She has tremendous faith -- much much more than she realizes. She asked some deep questions.

My answers were inadequate, but she left feeling assured, because I gave her Jesus.

I spoke with a board member -- reviewing Thursday night's meeting. We are moving forward into some uncharted territory. It's exciting and frightening at the same time. We prayed together. I had a few questions.

He gave me Jesus.

The roads were snow covered and slippery: the first "bad driving day" of the season. While I white knuckled it to the National Cemetery, I prayed for good Lord to provide safe and timely travel.

Jesus helped me. Thank you Jesus!

Conducting the memorial service for Chet Smigla -- who served his nation aboard ships in two wars, then his neighbors as a Coast Guard search and rescue captain -- I quoted Scripture and Tennyson. After the gun sa…

Three Questions of a Leader

1. Am I genuinely interested in people?
2. Am I taking care of today?
3. Am I taking others to a higher level?
-- John Maxwell


Are you burned out?? Here's a little test to let you know.

(via Monday Morning Insight, via Cory Miller)

The Way of Peace and True Liberty

1. Strive to do another’s will rather than your own.
2. Choose always to have less than more.
3. Seek the lower places in life, dying to the need to be recognized and important.
4. Always, and in everything desire that the will of God may be completely fulfilled in you.

-- Thomas A Kempis