Monday, November 26, 2007

Book #22 -- Creating Community by Andy Stanley & Bill Willits

I was amazed at how quickly I got through this book. Especially with the depth of information to be had. I am convinced that you will not find a group of people anywhere as passionate about connecting folks with God in a real way as the gang at North Point. Not only are they passionate about it, they have found relevant ways to do it without changing or compromising truth. This book is one of the resources they have made available. It is in a nutshell the why and hows of their small groups.

I always go into treading texts like this with the realization that I will not find everything presented as practical or agree with the process given. I am refreshed when the authors admit this fact and in fact acknowledge that the way they do things is not the way for everyone. If all churches were exactly the same what would be the point? I did find several things that I found interesting and that I feel we should at the very least take a serious look at in our discipleship groups. This is definitely a book that anyone who is involved in organizing/ leading small groups ministries should read. Here are some of my key takeaways...

  • the only numeric goal they set is in the area of small group participation
  • groups will not have true impact if the top leaders do not buy in and participate themselves
  • groups should be an extension of how God intended for us to "do life"
  • God has called the church to be about creating environments where authentic community can take place
  • We have to answer the "big three". What do we want people to become? What do we want people to do? Where do we want people to go?
  • A great strategy is simple to understand and easy to implement
  • the authors make a strong defense of closed groups
  • there is a fundamental difference in "thinking programs" and "thinking steps"
  • most people's problem today is not with God, rather with the church
  • each step needs to be easy, obvious, and strategic to be successful
  • our expectations of participants and leaders especially, need to be based in reality
  • it is not the acquisition of information that prepares a leader to properly lead, rather it is the application of the RIGHT information
  • "train less for more"
  • 5 factors for group success: SIMPLE, VISIBLE, VALUED, RESOURCED, MODELED
  • people do not need more things to attend; they need the kind of life-giving benefits that occur when people connect regularly in a meaningful way
  • the interesting policy of reimbursing families for childcare while attending groups

As we continue to mold our groups, this information will be a tool in our hands.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Water Bottle Boy

AMAZING! Especially the first 20 seconds...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Advent Conspiracy ... Christmas Tree

In the midst of BLACK FRIDAY, tons of football, creating leftover menus, and making big plans for the next month of celebration it is good to keep perspective.

a couple new favorites from ASBO...

Good thinking stuff... check out these and more HERE

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Link Dump -- Gobbler's Giblets Edition

A few for your perusal; probably more to come tonight...

Top 10 Resources and Inspirations for Decluttering Your Home good hoiday resource
Repeat Saturday: R U Willing 2 Sacrifice?
Facing Money Challenges?
How to Reduce Information Overload
Are You Over-Committed to the Bible?
Cash Duck — Earning Free Gift Cards - could be fun if you have the time
Dangers to Your Christian Walk
Contentment and Thanksgiving
Rob Bell: The gods Should Be Angry - a review of the tour
The Flaws of a Fad-Driven Church
Hillary Clinton Joins Rick Warren
Free Book Giveaway: Your Money & Your Brain - who can turn down a possibly free book?
Carve Your Thanksgiving Turkey Like a Butcher [Cooking]
What High School coaches make
Help Me Pick a Subtitle! - take a survey, help an author title his book. you too have the power!!
John Hagee Responds to Controversy
Thanksgiving Breakfast: New England Cheddar Cheese Pie - mmmmmmmmmmm Cheeeesseee
Kindle: First Impressions - a look at the new ebook reader
Top 8 Spectacular NASCAR Crashes of 2007 - you know its what you wanted to see anyway
An Anonymous $100M Donation
Motivational Posters for the Emerging Church
Live To Be 100: 7 Ways to Lengthen Your Life
How to Mark a Book
Holy Man, Earthy Man
Tips For Ladies Watching Sports
Just shake your head
A Church Afraid

OK it's a few more than a "few" -- have a Happy TurkeyDay

This and Dat

It's been over a week since my last post. Time flies, responsability reigns, and blogging become the lesser of the things to do. In the spirit of a day off blog I'll throw out the higlights of whats been keeping me away from the blogosphere. As an aside; when you go several days you feed reader can become overwhelming. This calls for an even higher lever of skimming and culling to get at whats important.
  • Two and a half days of hunting = BUPKIS! Saw very few deer and got no shots at anything bigger that a medium sized puppy. Still lots of days between shotgun, muzzle loader, and bonus shotgun. Just have to find the time to get out there.
  • my laptop took a dump -- thus way less access to write and read blogs, grrrrr technology
  • There are pros and cons to being the hosts on Thanksgiving. The biggest pros are that you don;t have to go anywhere and you can be relaxed. The con is that you need the relaxation after getting everything ready for guests to your wife's satisfaction!
  • read a good book on small groups -- post coming soon
  • looking forward to a great day with family.
  • going to to be a little tough as it will be the first family get together since my dad passed away -- the dog will miss all the handouts I know!!

Here's hoping that you and yours have a great Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

T MINUS 23 Hours ....

A beautiful view... come out, come out wherever you are!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

T MINUS 48 Hours and counting

That's right, We are coming to see you!!!!!!!!!!

Book #21 - I Believe - Exploring The Apostles Creed by Alister McGrath

McGrath is becoming known as one of the most prolific writers of our time. He turns out texts at an almost unbelievable rate, yet I had never read a full book of his. I can now understand why he has become so popular. This book is filled with treasure and can easily be used as a reference or teaching text yet it maintains an element of readability that books of that style generally lack.
The topic itself I found interesting. I think that in general a large portion of the church is afraid of and shys away from anything that could be considered liturgical. I think we fear that we will either somehow be tied to groups and denominations that we would rather not or that following a liturgical path somehow makes us lose touch with a modern audience. While I think that we always need to be mindful of he way that we apply the Gospel message, we also need to be aware that the message in itself never changes. This is a strong advantage of some liturgy and creeds in themselves; they allow us to memorize and a retain facts that are important to us.
McGrath does a line by line, thought by thought analysis of the Apostle's Creed in this book. The historical background of the Creed itself is inspiring and made me want to keep digging. Each line is discussed and backed by Scripture. While I never felt that the truth was shorted it is quite clear that much more could have been said/ written on many of the topics addressed. That is another positive to this book in my opinion, it is not overwhelmingly long. I registers in at around 120 pages. I have become more aware of the fact that I learn much more and others get communication better if we stick to simple thoughts rather than extending our conversations. Not to imply that this book is simplistic. It covers the topics that it is designed to in clear fashion. It may just work into a Sunday School series in the coming new year. I will be adding other McGrath titles to my book pile in the future.

The Reading level of this blog is...

cash advance

Cash Advance Loans

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book #20 - TNT Diet by Jeff Volek and Adam Campbell

I picked up this book for two reasons. First, I can earn 100 points for my wellness program if I read a health related book. Second, I have been looking for a nutrition/ fitness plan that is practical and doable. I began following some of the principles of this plan prior to the book coming out, and prior to my father's death. It worked fairly well and I was able to not only stick with the plan fairly well but saw some good results.

I was glad to read the book. The book does a good job of providing information about the science behind this plan without becoming burdensome to read. There is a balance between information about the plan and information/ suggestions about how to do the plan.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to drop some lbs. or even just build a bit more muscle. I look forward to implementing the plan and hope to see good results for my long term health.

Advent Conspiracy - Swingset

I know its still early for the holidays but thinking on the Advent is never too early

Link Dump -- 12 November -- The Deer are Nervous Edition

The second half of last week completely got away. Hope you had a good week/ weekend. Unless you are an ND, Michigan, Ohio St, or Colts fan I guess ; rough weekend. Here are some links from the past several days...

10 Simple, Sure-fire Ways to Make Today Your Best Day Ever - a great post to read on Monday morning
Five Things You Need to Know About Effective Habit Change
House - trailers for the upcoming movie based on Ted Dekker's book
Our Silly Protests - another perspective on the "boycott the evil movie" trend
70 Unique Places to Find Ideas: No Metablogs Allowed
Free Stuff for Teachers
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism - good book review/ recommendation
100 Examples and Ideas For Home-Based Businesses
Canada's Latest Invention: Leaf Blower Hockey - those crazy Canucks...
Free Clip Art at the Open Clip Art Library [Free]
Keep Clutter Down With the Like In, Like Out Principle [Organization]
Stressed? Get Just One Important Thing Done Today [Life Hacks]
I’m Not Afraid of Atheists (or Their Movie)
100 Resources for Bloggers - ought to be something of use for you here
10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years
Why I Support Mike Huckabee for President - Randy Alcorn's endorsement
Book Darts - cool tool for students, teachers, readers
Five reasons I always offer to pray for people on-the-spot
Lessons In Not Sucking: Common Communication Mistakes
Wall of Scripture Found in Jerusalem
A Brilliant Prank
Lose? Break Out the Knife. - a new low in athletic sportsmanship
20 books on Christ and culture.
C.S. Lewis Conference
Things to Ponder
'The Golden Compass'-- Does Not Point to True North
WWF Jesus
Britain’s most stupid laws
Top Ten Military Bombers of All Time
A BLT that goes baaah instead of oink -- courtesy of Bacon Unwrapped
Have fun feeding hungry people...really
Not just what, but HOW! -- creative ways to invite

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chase the Lion Curriculum -- Thanks NCC

I just wanted to give a quick shout and thank you Pastor Mark and Pastor Heather from National Community Church. Yesterday I got a free copy of the new Chase the Lion curriculum published by Lifeway in the mail. I took a skim through it hoping that it would be as good as I thought. I think it's even better! I hope that one of our discipleship groups picks up on it in the Spring. Plus I'll be buying a couple of copies and using it as a discipleship study to go through with my 13 year old boys. They need to learn to chase lions! Thanks again guys for all you do for the Kingdom!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nouwen -- Part 11

As I close out my series of posts from Nouwen’s book, In the Name of Jesus, we will be looking at the final chapter “The Discipline: Theological Reflection” and the short conclusion to the text. Nouwen talks about that aspect of the Christian leader’s life that so often keeps them from true discernment and this being led by the Spirit; reflection. He are some of his thoughts:

· What then is the discipline of a leader who can live with outstretched hands? I propose here the discipline of strenuous theological reflection.
· Strenuous theological reflection will allows us to discern critically where we are being led
· Real theological thinking, which is with the mind of Christ, is hard to finding the practice of the ministry
· The task of future Christian leaders is not to make a little contribution to the solution of the pains and tribulations of their time, but to identify and announce the ways in t=which Jesus is leading God’s people out of slavery, through the desert to a new land of freedom
· They have to say no to the secular world and proclaim in unambiguous terms that the incarnation of God’ Word, through whom all things come into being, has made even the smallest event in human history into karios, that is, an opportunity to be led deeper into the heart of Christ
· Theological reflection is reflecting on the painful and joyful realities of every day with the mind of Jesus and thereby raising human consciousness to the knowledge of God’s gentle guidance.
· Seminaries and divinity schools need to become centers where persons are trained in true discernment of the signs of the time
· It requires a deep spiritual formation involving the whole person – body, mind, and heart. I think that we are only half aware of how secular even theological schools have become
· Jesus sends us out to be shepherds, and Jesus promises a life in which we increasingly have to stretch out our hands and be led to places where we would rather not go
· I do believe that those from whom I least expected to learn are showing me the way
· The oldest, most traditional vision of Christian leadership is still a vision that awaits realization in the future

While the main purpose of these posts has been for me to personally review and reflect on what has been said in this book, I hope that any who may have been reading these posts have found something valuable. I would encourage everyone to read this short book and learn from it what the Father would like to teach you. I have become increasingly aware that in order to truly lead, we must be willing to follow. Who and what we follow is the challenge and our responsibility, for that is the path that we lead others down. If I humble myself and follow the lead of the Lord Jesus, I will never go wrong.

Advent Conspiracy - Born In A Dump

First in a series of thought provoking clips...

Recent ASBO cartoons

Here are a few of my recent favorites from The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Bad Day @ Work

Weren't computers supposed to make our lives better????

Link Dump -- 06 November - Elections Edition

I realized this morning that it's time to clean up the blog reader again; too many feeds. Here are some good posts from the last seeral days.

Bringing Serving Back
Feast of St Hubert
C.S. Lewis & the Emerging Church
More on Learning to Speak Human
‘Prophetic Untimeliness’ by Os Guiness
Earth from the other side of Saturn
A baby’s will to live -- pretty hard to miss the miracle here...
50% attend top 10% largest churches
Ten Websites Every Pastor Should Know
Lessons In Not Sucking, Communication In Print
Burnout in Ministry?
A Bag Full of Wet Tribbles
Washing Osama's Feet
Loyal To The End -- sad


Day Off Blog

Sunday was my "day off".
  • worship practice/ taught SS/ graphics @ church
  • picked up lunch
  • took a nap
  • watched the Colts give the game away to the Pats
  • Jimmie win again!!!! took the points lead, no looking back.
  • did some reading/ internet
  • watched a bit of DAL/PHI before hitting the sack


  • took Bethany to school
  • worked at the church
  • took Bethany to the "A" basketball game
  • dinner/ hang out with family
  • reading
  • watched Prison Break
  • back to work at 11 PM

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nouwen -- Part 10

As we begin to wrap up the posts on Henri Nouwen's, In the Name of Jesus we come to a chapter titled, The Challenge: "Somebody Else Will Take You". Nouwen emphasises in this chapter the need to have a willingness to be led, not lead the way ourselves. Here are some of his thoughts.
  • Jesus has a different vision of maturity: It is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go.
  • the servant-leader is the leader who is being led to unknown, undesirable, and painful places
  • for those who have heard the voice of the first love and said yes to it, the downward moving way of Jesus is the way to the joy and peace of God, a joy and peace that is not of this world.
  • Christian leadership in the future is not a leadership of power and control. but a leadership of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is made manifest.
  • I an speaking of a leadership in which power is constantly abandoned in favor of love.
  • Powerlessness and humility in the spiritual life do not refer to people who have no spine and who let everyone else make decisions for them. They refer to people who are so deeply in love with Jesus that they are ready to follow him wherever he guides them, always trusting that, with him, they will find life and find it abundantly
  • What is good about being poor? Nothing, except that it offers us the possibility of giving leadership by allowing ourselves to be led.
  • Wealth and riches prevent us from truly discerning the way of Jesus
  • Paul writes to Timothy: "People who long to be rich are prey to trial; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and harmful ambitions which plunge people into ruin and destruction" ( 1 Timothy 6:9)

Once again the ability to grasp and exercises the counter intuitive nature of Jesus' leadership is the key to our success. The willingness to set our preferences aside in the hope of finding true joy in following a path led by the Master is much more difficult than it would seem it should be. Understanding that true freedom comes not from the choosing of our own destiny but from knowing "the plan I have made for you" and living them out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Going All the Way Promo Video

A promo for the new book...

Link Dump -- November 3rd

Sodium Disposal 1947 -- looks like a cool job.
~Which is a higher Christian priority -- social concern or evangelism?
Co-ed Combat and Cultural Cowardice
5-Step Guide to Basic Weight Training
iMonk 101: A prayer for Alex- What to do when your child says he doesn’t believe any more.
The Cost of Self-indulgence
The secret of writing to be read
Prayer Feeder - New 2.0 App for emerging churches
Contextualizing is not compromising

Nouwen Part 9

Post #9 on "In the Name of Jesus" leads us in to the 3rd and final section of the book, titled, From Leading to Being Led. The first chapter in the section deals with another of Jesus' temptations and is titled, The Temptation: To Be Powerful. Here are some of Nouwen's thoughts.
  • You all know what the third temptation of Jesus was. It was the temptation of power. "I will give you the all the kingdoms of this world in their splendor" the demon said to Jesus (Matthew 4:9)
  • One of the greatest ironies of the history of Christianity is that its leaders constantly gave in to the temptation of power
  • the temptation to consider power an apt instrument for the proclamation of the gospel is the greatest of all
  • we keep hearing from others, as well as saying to ourselves that having power -- provided it is used in the service of God and your fellow human beings -- is a good thing. With this rationalization Crusades took place; inquisitions were organized; Indians were enslaved; positions of great influence were desired; episcopal palaces, splendid cathedrals, and opulent seminaries were built; and much moral manipulation of conscience was engaged in.
  • power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love
  • ever since the day the snake said, "the day you eat of this tree your eyes will be open and you w ill be like gods, knowing good from evil" (Genesis 3:5) we have been tempted to replace love with power
  • it seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than love people, easier to own life than to love life.
  • the temptation of power is greatest when intimacy is a threat.
  • Many Christian empire builders have been people unable to give and receive love.

The offer of power is hard to resist. When we follow the direction of the world to look our for #1 and strive to be the best it is an easy path to follow. That is why it is essential and imperative that we make the daily decision to set our own agendas aside and pick up our cross to carry it. It is not the natural thing to do. Power, control, and the establishment of and earthly kingdom are in opposition to what we are called to do. Humility and service are our calls. Much of the destructive behavior and disputes within the Body can be traced Io the chase for power. It is when we chase after this false god that the enemy finds us vulnerable. Much of our attitude toward power can be summed up by asking if we choose SERVICE or SERVE US. Which will it be?

30 minutes of 90's cartoon Openings

SO after looking at this I discovered 6 of these cartoons that I did not know. I also was reminded of greats like Tale Spin, the Tick, and Samurai Pizza Cats. I had forgotten that there was a cartoon for Bill and Ted as well... time flies

Friday, November 2, 2007

Nouwen -- Part 8

Becoming a true follower of Jesus and a leader within the Body requires discipline. We cannot expect to continue on the way that we have before and achieve successful results. In the next chapter of "In the Name of Jesus", Nouwen talks about the discipline of confession and forgiveness. Here are some of his thoughts.
  • what discipline is required for the future leader to overcome the temptation of individual heroism? I propose the discipline of confession and forgiveness.
  • they must be persons always willing to confess their own brokenness and ask for forgiveness from those to whom they minister
  • I have the impression that priests and ministers are the least confessing people in the Christina community
  • How can priests or ministers feel really loved and cared for when they have to hide their own sins and failings from the people to whom they minister and run off to a distant stranger to receive a little comfort and consolation?
  • How can people truly care for their shepherds and keep them faithful to their sacred task when they do not know them and so cannot deeply love them?
  • the men and women who are dedicated to spiritual leadership who are easily subject to very raw carnality. The reason for this is that they do not know how to live the truth of the Incarnation.
  • when spirituality becomes spiritualization, life in the body becomes carnality
  • Christian leaders are called to live the Incarnation, that is, to live in the body, not only their own bodies but also in the corporate body of the community, and to discover there the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • all of this does not mean that ministers or priests must, explicitly, bring their own sins or failures into their daily ministries
  • what it means is that ministers and priests are also called to be full members of their communities.

What a drastic change from what we have come to expect from leaders. We have the impression that the leader is somehow separate and above those that they lead; rather than someone travelling the journey along with those they lead. This is not now Jesus did it. He walked and lived a real life in front of and with his followers. A leader who takes this approach will often be isolated and often becomes an easy mark for the enemy. No wonder there are such tragic tales of massive failure in the leadership of the Church. The fact that leaders might be the least confessed people is due to an arrogance that we are somehow above the need to share or confess. Sometimes it comes from fear that we will be stricken down by those around us if they find out that we are not perfect. In fact I believe that we would find true brotherhood and community if we pushed through that wall. That is what the enemy fears; the body of Christ functioning properly and working in the Kingdom in unison.

I'll be "Going All the Way" soon...

A few weeks back Pastor Craig Groeschel posted on his blog about his new book, "Going All the Way". He made call to anyone who would be willing to read, review, and blog about the new book. Those who were willing got a free copy of the book. I got in on the deal and my copy arrived yesterday. I look forward to to sliding it into book pile and will be posting, maybe even multiple posts if it is as good as advertised, about it in the near future.
Pastor Craig has a way of cutting through stereotypes and getting people to look at things in a fresh way. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Game of the Week -- Bloons Tower Defense 2

This is another monkey game. Monkeys with darts make the world a better place... enjoy

Nouwen Part 7

“Feed my sheep”. Three simple words with direct implication on what we are to be doing as leaders. All of the issues in previous posts lead us to be able to do this. When we show our true love through obedience, spend time in contemplative prayer to determine the heart and will of the Father, and live in such a way as to not draw attention ourselves but to God, we are ready to take on this task. Here are some of Nouwen’s thoughts.

· Having been assured of Peter’s love, Jesus gives him the task of ministry
· He makes it clear that ministry is a communal and mutual experience. Jesus sends the twelve out in pairs. (Mark 6:7)
· We cannot bring good news on our own. We are called to proclaim the Gospel together, in community
· I have found over and over again how hard it is to be truly faithful to Jesus when I am alone
· It is Jesus who heals, not I; Jesus who speaks the truth, not I; Jesus who is Lord, not I.
· Whenever we minister together it is easier for people to recognize that we do not come in our own name, but in the name of the Lord Jesus who sent us.
· Ministry is not only a communal experience, it is also a mutual experience
· He wants Peter to feed His sheep and care for them, not as a “professional” who know their clients’ problems and take care of them, but as vulnerable brothers and sisters who know and are known
· Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead.
· How can we lay down our life for those with whom we are not even allowed to to enter into a deep personal relationship?
· We are not the healers, we are the reconcilers, and we are not the givers of life. We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for.
· The leadership about which Jesus speaks is of a radically different kind from the leadership offered by the world. It is a servant leadership
· Leadership that is not modeled on the power games of the world, but on the servant leader Jesus, who came to give his life for the salvation of many

The best of leaders are in the trenches with their troops. They know what they are going through and live it just the same. The leaders who gain the most respect are those who a real. This is the type of leader that Jesus was and calls us all to be; whether that leadership is in out own homes, at our jobs, in the church, or community. There are many who want the title of leader but few who actually are willing to take the responsibility of a leader. That is why people are afraid to follow, especially in the church. I pray that we all are willing to live out our faith in front of those we lead and not be seen as know it alls.

Book #19 - The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge

I finished this book in a hurry. I had borrowed it from the library and it was coming due. I had already renewed it once so that wasn't an option.
Eldredge recommends that you read his previous works (@ least Wild at Heart), which I had, before you read this book. While I found it beneficial in some ways I think that one could quite easily just read this one. His books are always easy to read.
I thought so many times that this book was written for me at this time. I know much of this has to do with the fact that the common threads that we share ( which is one of the main points of the book) are what mold and make or break us. As man who is doing his best o raise 3 kids, two of them teenage boys, and who has recently lost his father, the messages of this book resonated with my life.
When we place into perspective the stages that we all have or should go through on the "masculine journey" it becomes obvious that guys get damaged when the steps get skipped or shortened. This is definitely a book that I will look to own personally so that I can both re read those passages a ran through as well as return to as a sort of reference.
A couple personal things that I take from this book were that I need to join in the journey with my boys and allow them to join with me. I do not need to present a perfect image for them, because I cannot. They need to see the real me hashing out life as I work along the journey and lead them in theirs. I also need to do a better job of helping my kids "collect experiences". We have always been great at providing what they need but this is an area that should be improved upon. These are the times that memories are made. As with most any author you will likely not agree with all that Eldredge says and that's OK. There is so much truth here you cannot help but be a better man/ parent/ son/ Christ-follower from the experience.

Will someone Gillooly Tom Brady???

uhh wow. I guess the Pats should either change their ways or hire a bunch of security for Mr. GQ. As much as I would rather see the Colts win this week my fantasy team begs that those knees stay healthy!