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Showing posts from May, 2009

Blogging Break

On vacation in Ohio for a few days, and then on to Indianapolis for a Wesleyan Native American Ministries Board Meeting.

If I get a chance, I'll post something before next Thursday-- but don't count on it :)

Whose Economy?

We’ve sure heard a lot about the economy lately, haven’t we?

It seems like every time we turn around, there are more challenges on the horizon. Several of my friends are out of work right now, and many local businesses are struggling. Retirement and savings accounts, although beginning to climb again, have taken a severe beating. Auto dealers are barely surviving. The housing industry has been hammered relentlessly.

There has been a substantial rise in requests for assistance from agencies such as Salvation Army and community food shelves, and at the same time, donations to these charities have been faltering.

I have a good friend who is an astute businessman. His company has suffered greatly during this recession. Recently, I asked him how business is going, and he made a very insightful observation.

“This whole economy thing has played havoc in many ways. However, I tell people that when you say "the economy” has caused businesses to go under and people to lose their jobs, y…

Joyful

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One filled with joy preaches without preaching.-- Mother Teresa

The Mark of a Great Leader

Phillip Yancy made the following observation about outstanding leaders in history:

"The giants all had one thing in common: neither victory nor success, but passion."

Best Ribs in America

My good friend, Famous Dave, was on Fox and Friends today -- letting the world know about the best BBQ Ribs in America! Way to go Dave!! Woo Hoo!!

I'll Be There

In honor of Memorial Day, here's a link to When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, from Net Hymnal (my favorite church hymn resource.)

It reminds me of something I read about a guy named Oscar, who helped start a little church up here in the northwoods about a hundred years ago. A friend, reflecting on those early church services remarked, "Oscar couldn't carry a tune very well -- but he sang, "When the Roll is Called up Yonder" with such fervor that everybody present knew he FULLY INTENDED to be there!

The Coming Evangelical Future

In light of the alarm raised about the decline of the evangelicals, NAE President, Leith Anderson provided a clear and compelling response in the Washington Post a few weeks ago:

The Coming Evangelical Future

He provides a necessary attitude correction.

I especially like his short definition of what it means to be an evangelical: Someone who takes the Bible seriously and believes in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Setting Captives Free

My friend, Kathy Brown, is a participant in Chuck Colson's Centurion's Program, and has developed a great website on the Christian World View: worldviewclick.com. Very insightful and informative.

Jesus in a Kit Kat Bar

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Night Watchman

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If you're a crime novel lover (i.e. Grisham, Martini, Patterson) you will really enjoy Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir. It's the first book of this genre I've ever read from a Christian publisher.
The action is fast-paced, and there's a powerful (but not preachy) message woven into the plot.Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for—something to hope in. Until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.

Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and dancer are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, the pastor’s sister approaches Quinn for help.

Reluctantly, Quinn takes the case and is plunged into the perilous Orlando. Soon he discovers that, not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may be linked to his and Trisha’s ambush. Torn between seek…

A Great Blog

I recently was pointed to a fantastic blog by Free Methodist Bishop Donald Bastian: Just Call me Pastor. This fellow really understands the dynamics of effective ministry.

Free Webinar

I've recently been reading a book called The Rabbit & The Elephant which shares an interesting perspective on doing church (via the house church model.)

I believe their aversion to traditional churches is a little over the top, but a couple of their concepts have been transformational for me. (Like having walleye for dinner. Eat the fish and spit out the bones.)

In a little while, I'll do a review of the book, but there's a related event coming up this week I'd like to mention.

Authors, Tony and Felicity Dale, will join Chris Walker for a free webinar on Tuesday, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (8:00 Central.) More information here.

Bunts and Homeruns

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Although it’s been over seven decades since Babe Ruth played baseball and most of his records have been eclipsed by others, he’s still recognized as the greatest slugger who ever lived. The Bambino is truly an American icon. I’ll never forget taking my boys to the Smithsonian and admiring their Babe Ruth artifacts. We just stared and said, “Wow!”

Time after time, the Sultan of Swat strode to the plate and hammered one out of the park. He was the first major leaguer to hit 60 homers in one season. His career record of 714 homeruns stood for nearly four decades (without steroids!) and he still remains the all time slugging leader.
Every survey and ranking lists Babe among the “greatest of the greats” – usually at the top of the heap. It’s no wonder the old Yankee Stadium is still known as “The House that Ruth Built.”

There’s another major league record holder worth noting. His name was Eddie “Cocky” Collins, who played as an infielder for the Athletics and White Sox. Collins played in the…

Making Sense of God's Word

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Dr. Kenneth Schenck, Associate Professor of Religion at Indiana Wesleyan University, has written an insightful and concise guide for reading the Bible: Making Sense of God’s Word.

Though one of the deepest thinkers in the Wesleyan Church, Dr. Schenck takes a very complicated theme (biblical hermeneutics) and makes it simple. This is, by far, the best book I have ever read on interpreting the Scriptures.
In a clear, step-by-step process, the reader is led on a journey of understanding – from the historical and literary context to life experience and today’s application.

This little book will prove to be a valuable tool for teachers, preachers, and others concerned with “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”

Silly Policies

Silly policies are ones written to keep everybody from doing what only a few people would do -- and they'll do it anyway.

Good policies should help people DO things instead of keeping them from doing things.

Swing for the Fence!

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Life is too precious and our mission is too urgent to bunt.
Swing for the fence every time!

Axe Grinding

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Perhaps, God is calling me to lay down the axe I have to grind, and pick up the cross I'm called to bear.

-- Heath Davis

Cautious

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It's criminal to live cautiously. . . -- Jesus (Mat. 25:26, The Message)

Hero

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Fred Stoeker (best-selling author of Every Man's Battle) and his son, Jason, have written a powerful book together called, Hero: Becoming the Man She Desires. It's a clarion call for young men to stand strong and pure in the power of God and resist the flood of immorality pervading our culture.
In a clear, compelling and "tell it like it is" manner, the Stoekers lay out a path of purity for young men, which, if followed, will spare them a lifetime of heartache and regret -- to be HEROIC in their relationships with women and to BE a Christian rather than just SEEM like one.
Too many young Christian men are saturated (bloated) with the popular culture, and thus, find themselves in an anemic spiritual condition. For instance, Jasen points out that you can tell a lot about a person's soul by looking at their Facebook profile.
Our commitment to Christ should impact ALL the areas of our lives.
Hero is a tremendous read, and a much needed voice for the rising generation in…

A Short Sermon for Young Preachers

You can't put fire in your work unless there is fire in your heart.
Two things cannot be imitated; God's sunset and man's sincerity.
It is better to establish a solid precident than to follow a poor one.
It is better to lose a good fight than to win a bad one. And --

Always be content with what you have, but never with what you are.

-- Dr. William Barrett Millard

Hang In There!

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Faith

Faith is the VICTORY that overcomes the world!

Home

Just returned home from my trip to southern Indiana. Yesterday's seminar for pastors went well, and seemed to be a real encouragement for all who attended. It was great to get to know the District Superintendent, Mark Eckhart, better. He's a great guy, and has tremendous responsibilities on his shoulders

After the seminar, he took me on a little tour of the area, which included the place Larry Byrd built, the amazing West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, and John Maxwell's first church in Hilham.

They put me up at the lovely Big Locust Farm Bed and Breakfast.

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching at the Paoli Wesleyan Church. It's a wonderful congregation with a very bright future. Pastor Bob England is doing an outstanding job of leading this flock.

Blogging Break

Today, I'm flying out to speak to the pastors of our Indiana South District. It's really a blessing for me to be able to bring a word of encouragement to these good soldiers for Jesus who serve in the trenches.

They are billing the event, Super Saturday.

We're going to have a great time together, and I'm sure we're all going to be blessed.

On the other hand, however, it's quite a sacrifice for them. They have to sit indoors all day on a beautiful spring Saturday in southern Indiana while I'm flapping my jaws.

The return flight arrangements didn't work out for me to come back until Sunday. So, I've agreed to preach at the Paoli Wesleyan Church since I'll be in the neighborhood anyway.

Another Great Blog

Here is another excellent blog from Marti, who also was a member of my blogging class.

Extend Your Welcome

Excellent Blog

Random Inspirations is a wonderful new blog created by one of the students from the Blogging Class I taught last week. She's just getting started -- and doing a great job of it!

Stop by and pay her a visit!

Some Days I Feel Like This Poor Fish

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"Did I Meet You Praying?"

This was the greeting the old vicar of Madeley, John Fletcher, used when he greeted his friend.

2008 Baptism Video

Life Is Not Fair

My friend Arthur Erickson, founder CEO of Urban Ventures, has graciously granted me permission to share this powerful article he wrote concerning our attitude towards the unfair things that happen in life.

Life Is Not Fair:
There are many things in life that are not fair.
Life should be fair, when it is not, we mistakenly feel that this is wrong.
It is wrong...
But unfair things happen!
When you are treated completely unfairly, you have an opportunity to become bitter or better. It is a choice you choose! A choice to give into the hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness cycle - our a choice to choose another option.
The difference is in the letters I or E.
If I choose to be self-centered and demand my rights, I become bitter (bItter).
On the other hand, if I am willing to surrender my ego, the big I can change to better (bEtter).
I must allow the values of eternity to guide me, and surrender The Big E.
10 years ago I happened to sit at a table next to Terry Anderson at the National Prayer Breakfast …

Facing the Storm

A Wyoming cowboy was once asked what was the greatest lesson he’d learned from his experiences of ranching.


"The Herefords taught me one of life's most important lessons," he replied. "We used to breed cattle for a living, but the winter storms would come and kill 'em off. It would take a terrible toll on the herd.


"Time and time again, after a cold winter storm, we'd find most of our cattle piled up against the fences, dead as doornails!


"They would turn their backs to the icy wind, and slowly drift downward until the fences stopped them. There, they just piled up and died."


"But the Herefords were different than that," he continued. "They would head straight into the wind and slowly walk the other way until they came to the upper boundary fence where they stood, facing the storm.


"We always found our Herefords alive and well. They saved their hides by facing the storm!"


When the storms of life are raging, our natural incli…

Mother's Day Sermon

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Yesterday I preached a sermon about Tears. It was sparked a couple of months ago, when I was visiting my mother in Ohio, and discovered an old Bible (from the 1800's) that belonged to my great grandfather, John Wilson and his wife Juda.
In this photo, John's the guy in the front on the left. Juda is in the middle.I was surprised to find an old handkerchief in the Bible, which I surmise, belonged to Juda. . . It was quite a treasure to discover and set me to pondering . . . what made Juda cry? What life experiences brought tears to her eyes? That led me to wonder what the Bible says about tears. So, I launched into a deep Scripture study -- which really blessed my heart.On Sunday morning, I shared my findings with the congregation.Here are my notes for you to decipher:What does Bible Say About Tears?

1, Tears of Grief and Sorrow:(John 11:35 “Jesus Wept”)St. Mary’s chaplain called our tears "holy water"
American novelist Washington Irving wrote, "There is a sacrednes…

Tears are a Window

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Through our tears we express our hopes, fears, and passions. They are like a bridge that unites our inner and outer selves. Our tears are instruments of cleansing and release. They draw toxin and tension from our bodies. They warn us of our needs, alert us to our vulnerability, and heal our emotional wounds. . . Weeping is a powerful language that lends understanding, strength, and color to our passions. Tears are a window through which we share our deepest selves with those we love.


-- Dr. Dan Bagby, Baptist Theological Seminary in Seeing Through Our Tears

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing, and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it…

2 in 1

I'm conducting both a funeral and a wedding today. Sure hope I don't get my notes mixed up!

Where Leadership Starts

The door to more is on the floor. That's where leadership starts.
(Nuno Marques)

HT Wayne Field

The Lady Who Disliked Mother's Day

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Here's an interesting article about Mother's Day from my friend, Ron McClung, Assistant General Secretary for the Wesleyan Church:

Anna disliked Mother's Day. Can you imagine anyone feeling negative toward that special day?

Actually, I have known people who were uncomfortable with Mother’s Day. Some have had mothers who mistreated, abused, or neglected them. Others are uncomfortable because they have been unable to have children themselves and Mother's Day reminds them of this disappointment.

Still others have lost children, either through miscarriage or other untimely deaths, and Mother's Day opens a fresh wound, stimulating the pain all over again. Some have borne children, but gave them up for adoption or lost their children through some other means. Mother's Day becomes a negative reminder for such people.

But none of these were reasons why Anna disliked Mother's Day. She didn't like it because it was so commercialized. She watched people sending greeti…

IWU Seminary

Keith Drury on the New Seminary launching this fall at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Good stuff!

National Day of Prayer

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I opened the church up at 6:00 this morning so our people can come into the sanctuary for a time of prayer throughout the day. Normally, I pray at home in the early morning -- but it was a great blessing for me to start the National Day of Prayer by spending an hour with my Savior in the sanctuary.

I prayed for myself -- that God would strengthen my soul. I prayed for my family (using the B.L.E.S.S. method) I prayed for our community. I prayed for the whole world. I prayed for our nation and her leaders -- especially, our Commander in Chief.
Yesterday, I was disappointed to hear that President Obama was not going to host or attend any events connected to the National Day of Prayer. Seems to me that he missed a golden opportunity to build bridges with the evangelicals.
Of course, on the other hand, most of the things he's attempted in building bridges with the religious sector has backfired. Every time he's chosen someone to pray or speak spiritually to the nation, there's been …

Testify

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We had a wonderful concert last evening with Testify -- a music group from Bethany Bible College in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada. It was primarily for the youth group -- but they opened the event up to us old folks too! I'm sure glad they did.
Not only was their music inspiring and harmonic; the personal faith stories shared between songs held everybody in rapt attention. It was truly powerful and anointed. Special thanks to the host families who graciously opened their homes for our Canadian friends.

The Bible and The Jury

Interesting Article:
Can A Bible Be Used By A Jury?

Strawberry Girl

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The day before yesterday, I had the privilege of greeting the newest member of our church family, Ode'iminikwe Charlotte Leach, the infant daughter of Cameron and Tiffany Leach (and direct descendent of the mighty Chief Buffalo.)

I was honored to hold this precious little one in my arms and speak a blessing over her.

Ode'iminikwe is the Ojibwe name for "Strawberry Girl" -- or more literally, "Heart-Berry Girl." Here's her picture!

My prayer is that she will always have a sweet heart for Jesus!

Yesterday, the oldest member of our congregation, Florence Farnsworth, passed away. She was 95, and had been suffering long with ahzheimer's. Even as her memory faded, Florence's loving heart continued to blossom. She, too, was truly a "Heart-Berry Girl."

Veneer Isn't Worth Anything

We must disabuse people of the notion that there is any shortcut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation. Veneer isn't worth anything.

-- George Washington Carver

Character

You're character is displayed by how you respond when somebody tells you "No."

Vision Clarity

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For years, I felt this massive guilt about my lack of pastoral vision. It wasn't that I didn't try. At least a couple of times a year, I've gone away for a personal visioning retreat -- and usually come back with something less than inspiring.
Now, all the writers and motivational speakers say that an effective church must have a visionary leader. Over the years, there have been several board and staff meetings where they've tried to squeeze a little vision juice out of me -- but to no avail.
I'm not wired to make up a vision. (In weak moments, I can relate to George Bush Sr.'s lament, "I just don't get this vision thing!")
But then, a liberating thought hit me. I DON'T HAVE TO MAKE UP A VISION!!
Vision is not something you MAKE UP -- It is something you SEE! In fact, when someone makes up visions -- they're hallucinating!
Instead of praying, "Lord, help me create a vision for our church", I've simply started praying the blind beg…

Rural Church Health

A great survey for churches in small towns and rural communities to assess congregational health:
ASSESSING THE HEALTH OF CHURCHES IN LOW-DENSITY POPULATION AREAS
(By Dr. Harold Longenecker)

May Be Reproduced With Their Permission

A Psalm About Revival

Many

Something Wrong

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There's just something wrong with this picture.

Fishing Opener

Hannah and I went fishing at Nelson Lake this afternoon. Normally, we get skunked on opening day -- but Hannah caught two nice sunnies -- so we've now officially launched the 2009 Wilson Family Fish Tally!

Governor Doyle was up here again to drop a line-- but it seemed like he was gone before he arrived, much to the disappointment of the Hayward anglers and news crews.

Yesterday's Expo at the Fishing Hall of Fame was a smashing success. Several area restaurants provided free samples of their fish dinners. My favorite dish was walleye cheeks from Tally Ho Supper Club.

Condemning

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world. . . although many accuse Him of it.
-- John Wesley (Wesley's notes on John 3)

The Commitment of Vision

“The size of the vision God will give me is directly related to the amount of pain and discomfort I’m willing to endure.”


Read more: "Catalyst West: Perry Noble TonyMorganLive.com" - http://tonymorganlive.com/2009/04/24/catalyst-west-perry-noble/#ixzz0Dpl1Jsig&A

Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

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The Making or Breaking of a Leader

Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we have become.


-- B. F. Westcott, in a commentary on the Books of Samuel

Relevance Conference

Our staff is going to this one: Relevance Conference at Eagle Brook