Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Dozen Symptoms of Insanity

1) Trying to talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into.

2) Believing that your situation will get better, but refusing to make changes.

3) Blaming others for your failures and shortcomings.

4) Neglecting the important priorities (God, family, personal health), while chasing after trivia.

5) Thinking you won't get caught when you do something wrong.

6) Lying to "make things better". (You can cover up a skunk, but it still smells!)

7) Hoping money will buy happiness.

8) Procrastination (Putting off the important matters because of the "urgent".)

9) Trying to please everybody.

10) Self-centeredness (The world doesn't revolve around you.)

11) Thinking another person will make you happy.

12) Expecting your children to follow your orders rather than your example.

13) Falling into a pattern of complaint, criticism and negativity. (Gratitude is an important aspect of mental and spiritual health.)

14) Thinking you can fix a problem by yelling.

15) Thinking a big problem will go away by ignoring it.

16) Rationalizing bad behavior with, "That's just the way I am."

17) Suspecting that the whole world is against you. (People are not as opposed to you as you think. The fact is, hardly anybody is thinking about you at all! They're too busy thinking about themselves!)

18) Refusing to settle for less than perfection. (As a human being, you will wind up with less than perfection whether you "settle" for it or not.)

19) Carrying a grudge and expecting that it won’t hurt you.

20) Depending on others to clean up your messes.

21) Believing you can get something for nothing (or a lot for a little.)

22) Failing to consider the "price tag" of your decisions.

23) Being rude to others and expecting kindness in return.

24) Squandering money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need.

The best definition of insanity I ever heard is: "Doing the same things the same way and expecting different results."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birkie Day

10,000 cross country skiers have converged on our little village to ski the great American Birkebeiner. The Birkie is a 51 km (32 mi) race from Cable to Hayward, ending on our snow covered main street.

My job: Ring cow bells at the finish line.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Engaging Younger Donors in Missions Giving

I've been giving some thought to how we can help the younger people in our church engage more passionately in global missions. Here are a few of my observations:

  1. Younger Donors give to Specific Issues rather than Programs or Fields.

  2. Issues close to the hearts of younger donors: Clean drinking water for a village
    b. Hunger
    c. Human Trafficking
    d. Aids Orphans
    e. Missional Church Planting
    f. Justice issues – persecuted church
    g. Tragedy – such as Haiti
    h. Micro-loans

  3. Younger Donors are more likely to give BY project – for issues.
    a. i.e. Benefit concert
    b. 30 Hour Famine
    c. Ski for a cause

  4. Young Donors give relationally. How can we build relationships between the missionaries – our mission faith promise – and the young donors?

  5. Images speak louder than words to Young Donors.

  6. Young Donors give when they know their gift will really make a difference for a specific person.
    a. i.e. youth group “adopts” an orphan
    b. when they really know the missionary

  7. Young Donors give electronically. Web site, facebook – Pay Pal. – not by check.

At What Price?

Reading this morning in 1 Kings 16, about Hiel of Bethel who rebuilt Jericho -- a tremendous accomplishment -- but at what price?

v 34 -- "He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son, Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son, Segub."

He sacrificed his family on the altar of success.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Charismatic Leadership

"In ministry, charismatic leaders are often the church planters who dream of reaching a city for Christ and building a great church. But charismatic leaders also include the more mature pastors who dare a church in decline to dream again, recover its past glory, and build beyond its heritage."

- The Good Book on Leadership

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Check Out Margaret's Blog

Hey everybody, stop in at Margaret Bossow's new blog, Becoming a Minister, and give her a welcome.

Margaret, a member of our congregation, is a real dynamo for God who gives herself away in service for God and others. I admire her willingness to follow the call, wherever it may lead.

My Times Are In His Hands All Day Long

Last spring, I found myself having one of those difficult days. Many issues clamored for my attention, my schedule was packed full of appointments, and my energy level was low. The needs around me seemed overwhelming, the phone rang off the hook, at least a half dozen people were upset with me about something, and I had a headache.

Realizing that I had not yet had my quiet time with God, I decided to escape from the office for a little while and find a place for solitude. A long time ago, I learned that if my soul is not anchored, I’m not much good for anybody.

I drove to a beautiful lake, and spent some time centering my mind on my Creator. It seemed as if my Heavenly Father was speaking his love, strength and peace to my troubled heart.

I opened my Bible and found this wonderful verse, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15.)

What a wonderful thought! All my times are in God’s hands.

My good times,
My bad times,
My glad times,
My sad times,
My stressed times,
My rest times
My best times – they’re all in His hands.

Then, I turned to Psalm 25:5, which states, “My hope is in you all day long.”

All day long! Just think!

God is with me all day long – every single moment of every single day.

All day long, he offers his peace.
All day long, I can rest in his keeping grace.
All day long, He demonstrates his love and faithfulness.
All day long, I can depend on Him.

He never goes out to lunch, never takes a coffee break, and never falls asleep on us. We never get his voicemail. He is always present and available.

Several years ago, my dear friend, Charlie Howe, who faithfully attends our church and spends his life blessing others, shared this beautiful poem he created:

God is there.
And He cares.
So why despair?

We can keep our hope alive as we remember our times are in his hands -- alll day long!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Training for Godliness

In light of the Winter Olympic Games, I really appreciate Pat Hannon's insights in this recent post:

Kairos Journal

It was a joy to have our District Superintendent Dan Bickel with us in Hayward this past weekend. Dan gave an inspiring sermon which challenged and encouraged us all.
Not only is Pastor Dan an excellent speaker and leader, but he is also a top notch pirate! Here is Pirate Dan chumming around with First Mate Scurvy Luke. Shiver me timbers!
Seriously, Pastor Dan recently shared a great ministry website with me: Kairos Journal. The purpose of this timely resource is to " embolden, educate, equip, and support pastors and church leaders as they strive to transform the moral conscience of the culture and restore the prophetic voice of the Church. "

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Peace, Gratitude, Victory, Hope

"Peace, Gratitude, Victory, Hope."

These were the last words of the world's oldest pastor, Tsuneharu Oshima, of Japan, age 101, who died last weekend. He served 74 years in active ministry, up to the time of his departure.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant -- also, well said!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Little Church with a Big Welcome

Here are some pictures from Woodland Wesleyan's Valentine Luau -- complete with coconut shrimp! Kudos to Pastor Andi and Ron Wittwer, along with their leadership team for a job well done!

Focus, Focus, Focus

“the number one cause of failure in the private sector is lack of focus, and the first rule of turning around any troubled enterprise is focus, focus, focus.”

-- Mitt Romney in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference

I'm not posting this for any political reasons whatsoever, but thought the statement from Romney was intriguing.

Is lack of focus the number one cause of failure in the church? Is the first rule of turning around a troubled church focus, focus, focus?

If so, what should that focus be?

Christian Consumerism

An outstanding post by Brian Mosley: 5 Reasons We are Outsourcing our Faith

We live in an extremely consumer-driven culture that tells us that the customer is number one. The customer is always right. I can have it my way. I deserve the best. This consumerism has crept into the church and turned church members into customers. The church exists to serve me and my family.

Mosley goes on to address the following questions:
1) How did we get here?
2) How do you and I turn things around?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Missional Bishop

While working on my book, I did a google search trying to discover the first time the word "missional" was used.

Thanks to the Tall Skinny Kiwi -- Andrew Jones, who directed me to this line in The Heroes of African Discovery and Adventure written by C. E. Bourne and published in 1883:

(Link to the page via google books -- my favorite source for old book research.)

I guess the good Rev. N. T. Wright isn't the first Missional Bishop after all.

"Bunsen, My Flame!"

A small piece of ice which lived in a test tube fell in love with a Bunsen burner.
"Bunsen! my flame! I melt whenever I see you" said the ice.
The Bunsen burner replied :"It's just a phase you're going through".
(Found this treasure on my daughter in law's facebook status. Thanks Allegra!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yesterday's Praise

Yesterday, my daughter, Hannah, helped me burn palm branches to make ashes for today's Ash Wednesday Service.

The dry, brittle palm branches have been stashed away in my filing cabinet since last Easter, awaiting their fate.

Palm Sunday praises fade to ashes. We can't rely on yesterday's praise.
How is it with your soul -- today? That's the big question.

As John Wesley asked, "Are you being saved today?"

It's appropriate that the Lenten journey begins with ashes -- honesty -- humility -- earthing -- repentance.

"Remember, o man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return."

Summer's on the Way

Summer's almost here! We can now see the deer moving around. Yep, it won't be long now!
(Thanks to my sister in law, Sandy, for sending this to me.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Church Report

Here's a wonderful resource The New Church Report: Collecting Thoughts and Inspiring Action.

Kudos to my blogger buddy, Chuck Warnock for creating this fabulous site!

Welcome to Hazelton -- Now Go Home

Florida family gives up on Small North Dakota Town

Michael and Jeanette Tristani are moving back to Miami, after giving rural Hazelton, North Dakota a whirl.

During their four exile to Siberia, they never did figure out how to fit in.

It's been quite an experience, 50-50 at best," Tristani said. "It hasn't been easy. No one really wants new people here."

Not everybody can hack it in a smalll town. It takes a good dose of time, patience and adaptability.

It was about four years after moving to Hayward from southern California before I began to feel like I belonged -- and that was only after a few funerals, ice fishing, coffee at the Co-op, and hunting.

When in Hazelton, do as the Hazeltoners do.

The village don't adust to the newcomers. The newcomer must adjust to the village in order to survive it.

There is one exception to this rule. Perhaps, a vibrant small town-rural church could help with this transition -- creating the open and welcoming space for newcomers, and helping them to adapt to the new culture.

After all, the Bible says, "I was a stranger and you took me in."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Great Rural Church Blog

I was delighted to discover Tennessee Rural Church. It's a great blog geared for rural Baptist congregations in Tennessee.

There are lots of interesting and helpful posts -- even if you're neither Baptist nor from Tennessee.

Holy Kiss

As it was Valentine's Day, the ushers gave the congregation a holy kiss on the way out the door.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Marriage Prayer

Lord, help us remember when we first met and the strong Love that grew between us.
To work that Love into practical things so nothing can divide us.
We ask for words both kind and loving, and for hearts always ready to ask for forgiveness as well as to forgive.

Dear Lord, we put our marriage into your hands.
We pray this Marriage Prayer in the name of Jesus Christ,
(Prayer for Marriage)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Three Recent Reads

Three fairly new books I've read recently:

1) Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer
Mostly sour grapes, with a few sweet grapes intermingled.

2) Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Eulogy preparation interviews with a joyful and enthusiastic rabbi

3) Ford County Stories by John Grisham
My next to least favorite of Grisham's works. He really should stick with his strength (legal thrillers)

Loving Your Nearest Neighbor

Recently, in church, I’ve been preaching on the Great Commandment, which is love in two parts:
1. “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.”
2. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s interesting that this is called the Great Commandment, because by its very nature, love cannot be commanded. How can force another person to love? The threat of force normally accompanies a command:

“Stop, in the name of the Law!”
“Quit whining or I’ll give you something to whine about!”
“If you don’t come to work on time tomorrow, you’re fired!”

Commanding and loving just don’t fit together at all. If someone declares, “You HAVE to love me or else!” or “I DEMAND that you love me!”, it pushes the other person the opposite direction. Authentic love is never commanded or demanded.

In light of this, there is only one way “The Great Commandment” makes sense. It happens through divine personal demonstration.

The only way love can be commanded is through the example of overwhelming love. We love God because he FIRST loved us!

We are called to love our Creator with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, because, because He loved us that way first.

God invented the whole thing by loving you first, with all His heart – the greatest and deepest love that a human can imagine.

He loves you with all His soul – at the very essence of His being, pure unbounded love!

He loves you with all His mind – the Creative Mind which created all other minds – the source of ALL wisdom, knowledge and understanding!

God loves you with all His strength, a magnificent, limitless power beyond all comprehension!

Since God loves us like that, we can’t help but loving Him back! His overwhelming love for us commands our wholehearted love in response.

And then, we are called to love our neighbor like that too!

Who is your neighbor? Any fellow human being qualifies as a neighbor. Anybody in need is a neighbor. Any person you come across is your neighbor. A neighbor can live across the street, around the world, or even in your own home.

Maybe you should start with the neighbor who is closest to you – your companion. This is the person you are “at home” with; the one who watches television with you, laughs together with you, or shares your bed. This neighbor is the one with whom you are most likely to share your meals and your heartaches and your frustrations. This person knows your faults, flaws and fears.

What does it mean for you to love this person with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Here are some questions for you to ponder as you consider how to deeply love your nearest neighbor – the person who is closest in your life:

1) Heart:
Am I tuned in to how my companion is doing emotionally? What can I do to help bring joy, peace and pleasure into his/her life? Does my partner need attention? Space? Support?

2) Soul: Am I deeply tuned in? Am I available to listen and understand my companion? Am I safe enough for him/her to share at the deepest level? Do I know my partner’s deepest longing? Greatest hope? Biggest fear?

3) Mind: How can I deepen and enliven our conversations? Do I know what makes my companion tick? When is the last time we’ve really laughed together? Have we explored the riches of each others’ thoughts, ideas and opinions without argument?

4) Strength: How have I served my companion lately? Is there something I could do, physically, which would show my love and commitment to him/her? When is the last time I have gone out of the way, and put my own desires aside to serve my companion? What have we done lately just for fun? Are there unfinished tasks that should be completed as a demonstration of love? How does my schedule reflect my commitment?

Friday, February 12, 2010 is a wonderful new resource for sharing the Gospel.

It's an online community of people who are taking it personally!

Winter Olympics

If they held the Winter Olympics in Hayward, they wouldn't have to import any snow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Confused Quotes

If crime went down 100%, it would still be 50 times higher than it should be. ~Washington, D.C. councilman John Bowman

The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing ~Dizzy Dean, baseball star

Most of our future lies ahead ~Harry Truman

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them ~George Bush, Sr.

Things are more like they are now than they've ever been ~Gerald Ford

Every man loves his native land, whether he was born there or not ~Thomas Fitch, author.

I'm always open to honest criticism from you judgmental creeps ~Robert Altman, film director on critics

I hate intolerant people ~Gloria Steinem

HT Steve Camp. More Confused Quotes Here

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It Froze Over!

For those who told me they will come to church "when hell freezes over." Well, it froze over! I'll see you next Sunday morning!
My friend, Keetha Broyles, a Hoosier who used to live in the northern tundra, has written a good piece at her blog, Eclectic Bits, on the common upnorth phrase, "Hayward, Hurley and Hell."
A couple of interesting tidbits along this line:
1. My good friend, Father Bill Green, was first stationed at Hurley. Then he was sent to Hayward. . . He retired a couple of years ago. . . and told me he's making his way to Heaven.
2. Another good friend, Andi Wittwer, pastors a church in the woods a little over an hour west of Hayward on Hwy. 77. She suggests that we shoot down the same road an hour east and start a baby church in Hurley. Wouldn't that be something??
Hayward, Hurley and Heaven!

Pure Christianity

"Christianity is rarely found pure . . . The truth is so vast and mighty that no one is capable of taking it all in. . . It requires the whole company of ransomed souls properly to reflect the whole body of revealed truth." -- A.W. Tozer

Shucks -- and just when we Wesleyans thought we had the corner on the market!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Measured by Character

A few years ago, our family visited the birthplaces of two famous Americans on the same day - inventor, Thomas Edison and former president, Warren G. Harding.

When we arrived in Milan, Ohio, we immediately noticed that they were proud of their native son, Thomas Edison. A big sign on the edge of the small village proclaimed this was his birthplace. A statue of Edison graced the public square in the center of town. His family home had been restored, with a museum dedicated to his honor. Even the street lights were erected in Edison's memory, as was the Edison Family Restaurant, and the Edison Memorial Methodist Church.

Leaving Milan, I remarked that those folks sure were proud of Thomas Edison - especially considering the fact that he moved away in early childhood.

A couple of hours later, we arrived in Blooming Grove, Ohio, where Warren G. Harding was born.

We were amazed to discover the only thing to denote Harding's birth was a small, faded historical marker in the front yard of a farmhouse.

"How does this figure?" I wondered. "Why does an inventor get a whole town to memorialize him, while a president only gets a dinky little sign?"

It wasn't about power. Harding certainly had much more clout than Edison. It wasn't about fame. Harding was recognized throughout the entire world.

My theory - I think it was about character.

Edison is known today for his persistence, creativity, and determination. He invented the light bulb after over a thousand failures. He's the one who said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Harding, on the other hand, is known today for the scandals of his administration, his dishonesty, his immorality, and his willingness to "bend the rules" to fit his agenda.

Edison had character - and the town of his birth still celebrates. Harding was a character - and he gets a sign by the chicken coop.

The moral - the greatness of a person is measured by integrity and truth.

Your position in life is not nearly as important as your disposition.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Book of the Shepherd

When Joshua the shepherd observes a man mercilessly beating his son, he is deeply troubled that the laws of their land permit such inhumanity.

Later than night, Joshua prayed to God. "Why didn't you send help for that child?" God replied, "I did send help. I sent you."

In this profound and heartwarming parable, we follow Joshua as he embarks on the quest for "the better way."

Accompanied by his newfound friends, Elizabeth (a former slave) and David (the castaway child), Joshua searches for an ancient text that has been hidden in a distant cave near the Great Inland Sea

Along their journey to uncover long buried secrets, they meet an unusual assortment of characters -- The Storyteller, The Apothecary, The Bind Man, and the Stranger, who teach them valuable lessons to aid them in the pilgrimage.

This little book, written by JoAnn Davis, is like a simplified blend of Pilgrim's Progress, Aesop's Fables, The Shack, and The Hobbit (Children's Illustrated Classics versions.)

It's packed with pithy, thought-provoking statements. Here are a couple of my favorites:

"Speak the truth in love and love the truth in each, saying strong things gently and gentle things strongly."

"Each morning, when you awaken, promise the dawn that you'll keep your heart as light as a feather."

Order here

Sandcastle Character

Jonathan Edwards stands among the greatest Americans who have ever lived. He is noted for his significant role in the Great Awakening and was appointed as the third president of Princeton University.

His prolific writings still influence countless thousands today.

If we could boil Edwards' life down to one word, it would be "character." The commitment to integrity marked everything he did.

Even as a young man, he understood the importance of being true and standing strong. In 1722, at age 19, he penned the following commitments in his journal:


Resolved, to live with all my might while I do live.
Resolved, never to lose one moment of time, to improve it in the most profitable way I can.
Resolved, never to do anything which I should despise or think meanly in another.
Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
Resolved, never do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that in Proverb 20:6, "A faithful man who can find?" may not be partly fulfilled in me."

Nearly 300 years after Edward's death, he stands as a model of integrity for the rest of us.

Billy Graham, another man of character observed, "When wealth is lost -- nothing is lost. When health is lost -- nothing is lost. When integrity is lost -- all is lost."

When our family lived in California, we would occasionally build sandcastles on the beach. It would take a while for my kids to pry me out of the lounge chair -- but once they got me started on the project, I dove in all the way! "If we're going to make a sandcastle," I declared, "we need to do it right!" Our massive building project ended up including towers, moats, ramps -- all the important castle stuff.

Then, the tide came in and ruined everything! Instead of splendid architecture, our castle looked more like the ruins of Pompey.

Unfortunately, many people are building interior "sandcastles". The desire to look good becomes more important than being good. Truth is tweaked for personal advantage. The sandcastle motto: "Morality doesn't matter. It's o.k. if I can get away with it."

The problem with building a "sandcastle character" is that sooner or later, the tide will come in and crumble the foundations.

Perhaps the old philosopher was right when he advised writing our grievances in sand and our convictions in concrete.

Concrete convictions stand firm in the face of cultural tides.

The old English preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, noted that you can have no lasting influence, "except by being firm in your principles and decided in what you do. If you yield an inch, you are beaten."

Honest Abe Lincoln said the same thing in a different way, "Be sure you put your feet in the right place -- then stand firm!"

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Tell Me What To Do

I think every pastor can relate to this post from Seth Godin:

If you've ever hired or managed or taught, you know the feeling.

People are just begging to be told what to do. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I think the biggest one is: "If you tell me what to do, the responsibility for the outcome is yours, not mine. I'm safe."

When asked. . . resist!

Missional Skiers

Skiing for a Cause -- Tuesday, February 16

Wisconsin Wilderness Campus is a one year college program located on Lake Owen in Cable, and is an extension of Philadelphia Biblical University.

Limited to an enrollment of 35 students, this unique school in the northwoods offers students a dynamic one-year accredited university experience that builds a foundation for further academic study, character development and spiritual growth.

Several of the students, faculty and staff attend Hayward Wesleyan Church, where I serve as Senior Pastor.

Each year, the WWC students ski 40K (25 miles) on the American Birkebeiner Trail for physical education. On February 16 this year they are skiing for a cause. They are skiing to raise money for Transitions Global which works to help women and children escape the snare of human trafficking in the United States and around the world (particularly, Cambodia and Viet Nam.)

Seth Fisher, the event organizer explains:

Keep in mind that most of them have never worn a pair of cross-country skis prior to coming to WWC. Each student learns how to ski, and trains for this long distance test in a five week period. Not only is the training regiment rigorous, but the actual ski event is held on a world class ski trail in our backyard called the American Birkebeiner Trail.

For most of our students their day on the trail is unforgettable. After finishing, some vow they will never put on a pair of ski’s again, while others look for new ways to participate in the sport. But for all of them the memory stays with them long after they leave northern Wisconsin. The race really isn’t just about skiing, it’s an opportunity to overcome what was at one time unthinkable. Students don’t just traverse hills, they traverse personal thresholds, whether they be physical, mental, or emotional. I think our students would admit that they draw confidence from this experience when faced with other seemingly insurmountable obstacles later on in life.

This year the Student Birkie will be different. The tangible aspects of the experience will be the same- 40K on the American Birkebeiner Trail. And, we always hope and pray that the intangible outcomes spoken of above will result as well. But the question has surfaced, can we ski with a purpose? Several ideas have collided and what is emerging is a race with a cause.

The person responsible for this new dimension to our ski event is Katie Nolan who attended our program in 1998-1999. Katie passed away in a climbing accident while summiting Mt. Hood in December. Katie’s life was filled with many rich experiences on different continents across the world, including working with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. The people she met changed her life and opened her eyes to places of injustice and great need. Her retelling of these experiences and her passion for the causes she discovered had a significant impact on members of our WWC family in which she corresponded.

Over the past year Katie was in conversation with Mark Jalovick, our director, about connecting our Student Birkie to a cause. It is common in the many of the ski races in our area to "ski for a cure" but Katie's suggestion was "what if we ski for freedom?" Katie had gotten involved with an organization called Transitions Global ( that is working to provide services, support and rehabilitation to people caught in the world of human trafficking. Transitions Global began their work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia working with women between the ages of 8-18 involved in human sex trafficking. Transitions efforts have been very successful and they have become a model for many other organizations with similar missions in various parts of the world.

So this year we will be skiing for freedom. Our hope is to raise awareness of the oppression involved in human trafficking both here and abroad. We trust others will join with us as we ski with a cause.

Kudos to the WWC skiers for excellent way to raise awareness and support for a very important cause.

For more information or to donate click here

To cheer the skiers in: Bring a cowbell and show up at Fish Hatchery Park in the early afternoon on Tuesday, February 16.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Pastor Favred

Some Things Never Change

A new word is being added to the dictionary:

Favred (FAHrv'd), v.

To bring ones team to the brink of victory through brilliant maneuver, but to lose by committing a colossal unforced blunder. Example: The Democrats favred their chances for health care reform when they lost the Massachusetts Senate seat.

(Thanks to my friend Joel Gerich for sharing this treasure with his dad, who shared it with me.)

Friendliest Place in Town?

Think Again.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Live Sent

Jason Dukes gets it!
I've just finished reading his wonderful book, Live Sent: You Are a Letter, and found myself saying, "That's so true! Amen brother!" the whole way through.

Dukes, who describes himself as a follower and a leader, a learner and a teacher, a writer and a dreamer, a pastor and an entrepreneur and someone who tries to live sent daily, has captured the heartbeat of what the church ought to be.

Church is not a "what", Duke declares, It is a "WHO!"

Church is not a place and time on Sunday morning. Church is the people of God -- sent into the world as letters of grace.
Church health is not measured by how many people show up on Sunday morning -- but how the people show up to bring God's love everywhere they go.

Dukes advocates a decentralized approach to ministry -- encouraging people to LIVE the mission every day.

This does not mean trying to find time in your schedule to fulfill God's mission -- your WHOLE schedule IS God's mission!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Atheist Got This One Right

Renowned atheist, Christopher Hitchens, was interviewed recently by Unitarian Minister, Marilyn Sewell in Portland Monthly.
Hitchens, author of God is Not Great, holds perspectives and opinions that are quite contrary to those shared by Bible believing Christians.

However, in this interview, there was one little part where Mr. Hitchens was spot on!

Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

Hitchens: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
Sewell: Let's go someplace else. . .

Amen, Mr. Hitchens!

Forgive Gladly

Love God.
Thrust Down Pride.
Forgive Gladly. --John Colet

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Groundhog Pastor

My pastor saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of bad sermons!

(Adapted from a church sign noted by Bill, my upnorth friend. The original sign said six weeks of good sermons -- but I thought bad sermons was funnier!)