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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET)

Today I had the privilege of talking with Ed Delgado, the new Director of Prayer and Evangelism for the Covenant Church. I asked him for resources to help a friend of mine who is planting an hiscpanic church. He recommended having her contact CHET.

They have a great ministry and nice web site. ¡Check it out!

Discipleship Encounters by Jerry Reed

Did you know that our esteemeded friend Jerry Reed'sDiscipleship Encounters is available on-line and can be downloaded for free? And it's available in about a 18 languages.

If you are unfamiliar with Discipleship Encounters, it is a simple Bible study curriculum for you to grow in your faith or for you to use with another person or small group to help them grow deeper in Christ.

MP3's Available

There are some great mp3's available here for a brief time. For those of you wishing to understand the man in your life better check out the three files What Men Wish. And there are a couple other sermons also. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Christian girls beheaded in grisly Indonesian attack - World - smh.com.au

We must never forget. Thousands of people every day are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ and some pay the ultimate price. I hate to get heavy handed with you but it is commanded in the Scriptures to remember them:

Hebrews 13:3 "Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body."

Would you please consider taking a Sunday morning service and remembering to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.

Consider these resources. All of them can send you stuff — videos, bulletin inserts, posters, etc., all to heighten your churches awareness of the believers around the world who suffer and are martyrs for Christ.

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP)
Voice of the Martyrs

I signed up for a weekly email from VOM and when it arrives, I have made it my custom to stop immediately, read it and pray. VOM also has some good info for using with children. Please pray.

Anglican Communion News Service: Prebendary Sandy Millar appointed Bishop

This article as taught me a new word: Prebendary. And by looking up it's definition I learned several more such as: benefice, prebend, and prebendary stalls. Anglican-speak is fascinating.

Essentially, a Prebendary is an Anglican clergy, who has a post at a cathedral and receives a stipend from the revenues of the cathedral or it's endowments, or in previous times, receives a parcel of property or a stipend from the revenues from cathedral estates.

My favorite Anglican-speak is: to bajulgate a crozier, which I have written on previously but am glad to bring it up again. I still don't know if I'm spelling it correctly but I learned it from my esteemed friend The Rt. Rev. Gladstone Adams. I just love those words. There's something about them that makes you feel like your talking dirty in church but it's OK.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Introducing God

Have any of you tried out Introducing God?

It's an Alpha type course for people considering God but the questions and approach are a little different.

DIVERSION: Which reminds me off a joke.

What does UCC stand for? United Church of Christ? Sort of. Really, the United Church of Christ are just Unitarians Considering Christ.


Sometiimes I forget what it's like to not know the Bible and look at God with new eyes. There is an audio file on this blog under the post heading "Assurance of Things Hoped For". The blog describes it as "an excerpt from “This American Life” called “Godless America“. The segment features Julia Sweeney of SNL fame."

It's comical yet it's eye opening for what it is like to come back to God. Yet it is also heart wrenching to see someone lose him.

I strongly recommend you listen to this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

SNOW! Newzjunky.com :: Photo Gallery

This isn't my picture but this is the weather I drove in yesterday. It actually was pretty dangerous and went into a power slide 3 times but kept my car on the road.

Monday, October 24, 2005


MTV.com - Sorority Life - Season 2 - Meet The Pledges

Hey, I know her!

James 1:26 ESV

James 1:26 "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless."

O God of Truth & Mercy,

Lead me into all truth. Open my eyes to the lies I believe. Make me scared and horrified instead of fascinated with sin that I may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your Name. Amen.

One Church. Multiple Locations. | LifeChurch.tv

Dan, the associate pastor at the Nazarene church we attend was visiting in OK this past weekend at Life Covenant Church. His brother attends there. Bring back souvenirs Dan!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

C3 Church in Novi, MI

It appears have a new Benedictine community in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Instead of assuming the normal programatic path to discipleship, C3 is attempting to corral every church participant into a life group and practice spiritual disciplines through having a Rule of Life.

Do you have a Rule of Life?

Here are some Benedictine links:
Saint Benedict and His Order (you can find the Rule of St. Benedict here)
St. Benedict of Nursia
The Order of St. Benedict
The Rule of St. Benedict

You know who needs a blog?

John Weborg. We all need a little more Weborg in our lives.

UPI NEWS: Fiery minister says hip-hop is devil music

And I thought country music was of the devil.

Yesterday's Visits

I had a fabulous day in the Utica area yesterday networking. I visited some really great churches and one ministry in particular ...

The Good News Foundation, Utica, NY
Mike & Andrea run this retreat house and center for evangelism. They are Roman Catholics. The Foundation is not under the Diocese of Syracuse but works closely with them. Their primary goal is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior. Mike has been in this position for 2 months moving over from the banking industry.

We visited for about an hour and half. One church in Utica that is in danger of closing they are working closely with to ignite some excitement. I almost cried. They're working with St. Joe's-St. Pat's, which is my mother's family's parish. My parents, aunts & uncles & cousins were all married there, most of them were baptized there too. I've been there once a year for the past three years or so for the funeral of my grandfather, and my great aunt & uncle.

Cornerstone Community Church, New York Mills, NY
I love to see when a new church plant takes an old church building and brings it to life. This is an very old church building. I'm guessing the turn of last century or earlier. But the Cornerstone people have done a wonderful job remodeling. The fellowship hall had several couches to give it a coffeehouse feel and a wall paper border with café scenery. The kitchen was beautiful with the old black and white checkered tile floor and brightly colored walls. The children's area had a rear projection screen and a junlge theme.

It's an odd structure. When you come in the front door to the narthex, you have to either go up to the sanctuary or down to the fellowship hall and classrooms. It's like entering in on an in-between level.

Best of all, this is a church preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and doing so in a culturally relevant way. Nice print pieces & website. I'm going to have to make a Sunday morning visit.

Mt. Zion Ministries, Utica, NY
A great pentecostal church with strong compassion ministries, in the neighborhood where I grew up. They were instrumental in bring evangelist Carlos Annacondia to Utica. They have a beautiful facility with a narthex that has that mall feel like Willowcreek. Every person in Utica I've asked, "Who are the most influential churches?" the first one out of their mouth is Mt. Zion Ministries. Everybody respects them for their food distribution. Best of all they have a Saturday night service. There must be some ex-Catholics influencing them.

First Assembly of God, Marcy, NY
The church I hear mentioned second most often is First Assembly. This is one of those great stories of a church that's out in the country/small town in between Utica and Rome, and it's grown huge. God has blessed them. It's not always about location, location, location. More often ministry growth is about the Spirit of God moving in powerful ways.

I took a new way home driving the back roads between Marcy and Trenton through the sleepy village of Stittville, driving past the tomb of revelutionary war hero Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus Steuben, Baron von Steuben. This is a hilly drive out of the Mohawk Valley. You can see for miles. The sun was out for the first time in weeks and the leaves were stunningly beautiful. (I included the Wiki reference in case you forgot what the sun was.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Covenant Churches Seeking Staff

Approximately 35 lead pastor openings + 3 in Alaska.
Approximately 45 staff position openings.
Approximately 90+ people actively looking.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

ZOGO - Stop typing. Start talking. Online dating with your mobile phone.

ZOGO is another technology involved in using your cell phone for dating. Others of you are familiar with using Bluetooth technology for scanning or 'toothing' an area to meet up with others. I really don't know much about it other than I saw Delko get lucky on CSI: Miami.

I wonder how these communication technologies could be used for missional purposes — for evangelism. Sure plenty of people are using this stuff attempting to hook up and get lucky like Delko, but if the truth be known, they are looking for so much more, whether they admit it or not. Their quest is not just physical gratification (although that quest can't be underestimated :) but intimacy. We want to know and be known.

What if the person 'toothing' them didn't just want to treat them like a sex doll but treated them as a person of worth and value? What if the person on the other end provided them something better than a quickie in the parking lot or men's room — something like eternal life and freedom from bondage through Jesus Christ our Lord?

What if we started toothing in church or youth group or at an evangelistic crusade? I suppose we could play pranks and pretend God is toothing them, calling them to the altar for prayer that day. But maybe someone could respond to an invitation to receive Christ? Or maybe we could have a prayer team that tooths the crowd inviting people to hook up for prayer — hook up might not be the best terminology there, but you get the idea.

I'm just wondering out loud today, which is always dangerous with a brain like mine. Compared to my dad I'm a technical genius with an IQ of 180. Then I read about 'toothing' and ZOGO and I realize I just know how to turn the phone on and off and answer calls, and my IQ is still only about 80. Bluetooth is something I get when I get a Bomb-Pop from the ice cream truck guy in my parents' neighborhood.

DenverPost.com: Beer's Grip Slips As Tastes Shif

Another way to look at this article could be ... "What can The Beer Industry teach The Church?"

It appears the beer industry is facing a mini crisis. People don't like it as much any more. They want more choices. And for a long time the indurstry was cocky, thinking they were king of the hill and their reign would never end. They admit they got complacent.

No wait, was this article about the Beer Industry or The Church? Must be the beer industry. I don't think the church has admitted it is complacent yet.

There was one quote that stuck out to me:
"Young adults are a generation of people who can alter pretty much everything, or at least customize everything to their life style. And beer is beer," said Neal Stewart, marketing director for the Pabst Brewing Co., the nation's fourth-biggest beer producer. "There's different flavors and brands, but with a mixed drink, you can customize that a million different ways."
I read Soul Tsunami by Len Sweet a couple of years ago. Actually I borrowed it from The Revinator and never gave it back. Sorry Rev. In it he, that is, Len Sweet, not the Rev, said something to the effect of, and this is a paraphrase from a foggy memory, "this generation ignores everything without a karaoke handle."

I'm not even sure it's right to do, but is there a way to put a karaoke handle on church? Is there a way to offer more customized choices? Not choices as in, "Which gospel do you prefer — with or without Jesus?" or "Which holy book do you want to follow?". But what other things could be choices or customizable?

I guess if you're not a megachurch or larger church of a couple hundred, you really have to be one size fits all. Which isn't necessarily bad. Be what you are and do it well. But what if people did come to church and had choices, especially kids.

Now I've heard of some churches that do create several options during the service. Off to the side there might be art supplies for inspired, creative expression, or a prayer station with icons, incense, candles, prayer beads, a kneeler & journaling supplies, or an area with a large cross where they can write out their sins and nail them to it or burn them in front of it, or a station where communion is served, or a healing prayer station where one is annointed with oil, or a station with a priest available for confession, or a station for people to renew their baptism. What if a church had a cadre of spiritual directors available after every service?

I've seen where some churches to their entrance rituals, the service of the Word and then at communion time people come forward for eucharist and then go back to their seats or another station. Elsewhere I've heard of a variety of these stations being available throughout the service.

During the service this past Sunday at Artisan I enjoyed the cheese & crackers and coffee stations in the back of the church. Very refreshing.

Are there other ways to put a karaoke handle on the church? How about it's structure and polity? What about it's music? Let's do on-line polling for what songs we want to sing on Sunday and who we want to lead them. Just kidding! What about it's preaching and teaching? What about it's parking and greeters?
What about how people participate in the offering or take communion? What about Sunday School?

That last one might have some real possibilities that could be done for even smaller churches. There might be a computer center with on-line or software driven courses. Perhaps another class might be watching a movie, lecture or sermon and that's it. No leader, just video. Another class might be a prayer room with options like I listed above. Another class might be just for fellowship and doughnuts.

Certainly there would be the mainstay of Bible studies on a topic or book of the Bible and a regular Inquirer's Class is needed. Another class could be one of any of the variety of video curriculums you might see in CBD.

Another class could be actual ministry training: how to run a sound board, video projector or camera to be a part of the tech team, or how to be a church treasurer/bookkeeper, or voice, music or instrument lessons for those wanting to serve in the music ministry, or training to be a trustee, deacon, youth leader or nursery worker, or how to do hospital and shut-in visitation, or Photoshop training for the variety of church dtp needs.

Sunday School could offer another ministry: job training, interview preparation and resume help. Would it be heretical to offer tutoring in school subjects on Sunday morning. Nah, that would be too much like the original Sunday School started by Robert Raikes, who really did teach them reading and math, not just the Bible, contrary to Wikipedia.

These variety of options give people a choice in topics and in format to suit their needs. The classes don't have to be big and they don't all have to meet on-site. And they don't all require teachers.

Again, I'm not even a 100% sure it's right to do this to the church but some of this isn't hard or heretical, and might be very meaningful to a new generation of beer drinkers ... er, uh, ... church goers. Perhaps they need a new kind of Spirit.

MARITAL AIDS VII: Marriage Takes 3

Marriage Takes 3: A Husband, A Wife and God! A Romance site offering Marital & Spiritual Growth.

Today's email from The Generous Husband listed this site and a link to a special gift to for you to get your wife for Christmas this year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Artisan Church - A New Rochester Church Community for Greater Rochester, NY

Alyx and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Artisan Church in Rochester, NY this past Sunday for their grand opening. Our goal was to go as missionaries and support them in presence and if possible do some work for them. We believe in church planting and particularly believe in these guys.

We had the great privilege of setting up chairs, preparing refreshments and helping in the kitchen with our new friend George, who cooks dinner each week. He made a fabulous stuffed pork roast, with a regular and portwine spiced gravy, rice, shredded carrot & raisin salad and bread pudding. Thanks George, we hope to see you again soon! Our beloved friends Matt & Rachel made the trek from Syracuse with good coffee from Cafe Kubal.

Artisan's web sight is first rate. Check out all their worship slides — check out the Renaissance "Where's Waldo?" painting — click that link and then hit the forward button on the page to scroll through the next several. It's humorous even if you are not hearing the sermon, but alas the mp3 is also available.

These folks are world class when it comes to creating a worship setting of beauty. Click on the pictures below for the larger versions and notice the tapestries, hanging candle laterns, candles, plants and an altar lush with bread, wine and beauty. If you see all the effort they put into the setting along with their slides, you begiin to understand that worship at Artisan Church is a feast for the eyes. I didn't even want to throw away the bulletin!

Artisan Church - A New Rochester Church Community for Greater Rochester, NY

A couple of personal messages ...
We drove about 2.5 hours, to hang out for 3 hours and go back home. We hope some of the saints in Liverpool, Buffalo or Jamestown might consider doing the same to support Artisan as they get this ministry off the ground.

And, Jason, if it weren't for people from 315 you would still being doing dishes and drinking bad coffee. We love you even if you do make fun of us.

Next-Wave Ezine > church & culture

Looks interesting. Anybody else read this?

Monday, October 10, 2005

One of The Most Unique Jobs

Crusade Director. This is the person who works for an evangelist and helps a city plan for an evangelistic crusade: which includes steering team formation, volunteer recruitment, preparation events, follow-up work, financial oversight, event planning, venue negotiations and crusade event planning.

To my knowledge, and I might be wrong about this, there aren't a whole lot of evangelistic organizations that are big enough to have crusade directors. I'll bet there aren't 150 crusade directors in all the US.

Now that's a very unique job.

I still don't like the word crusade. I use it out of respect for those who know better, but I still don't like it.

Artisan Church - A New Rochester Church Community for Greater Rochester, NY

Artisan Church - A New Rochester Church Community for Greater Rochester, NY

This Sunday is the grand opening of Artisan Church in Rochester, NY. This is a church plant led by a talented group of 4 pastors, sharing one salary. I admire their commitment. Artisan Church is the combination of two church plants that each struggled. They have pooled forces and God has created an exciting ministry that kicks off this weekend.

Jason, Brian, Scott & Mike — YOU ROCK! I'm praying for you and we plan to be there Sunday.

For those of you who plan to show up and support them, they worship in the Trinity Covenant Church building on 1235 S. Clinton Ave.

Willow videos

Willowcreek has some great free resources on their website. Of particular interest are the video messages. You can watch them for free from their site. But I have my computer hooked up to my TV with an s-video cable. So I viewed the code for the pages with the videos, found the direct link to the file and then downloaded them to watch on my TV.

Just so you don't have to view all the code yourself, I have pasted the direct links below. These are for QuickTime files. At the Willow site you can also view the videos with RealPlayer and Windoze Media Player.

Flow, Part 1: Full Devotion

Flow, Part 2: A Beautiful Mind

How To Spend A Day With Jesus, Part 1

How To Spend A Day With Jesus, Part 2

Why? Part 2: Why Poverty?

Why? Part 3: Why Capital Punishment?

28 Days of Telling the Truth, Part 1: Telling The Truth To Yourself

28 Days of Telling the Truth, Part 2: Telling The Truth To Each Other

28 Days of Telling the Truth, Part 3: Telling The Truth To God

I Have A Friend Who ... Who Struggles With Being Single

I Have A Friend Who... Has Doubts About God

I Have A Friend Who...Struggles With Balancing Life's Demands

I Have A Friend Who...Thinks All Religions Are The Same

Relational Intelligence, Part 1: Forming Great Relationships

Relational Intelligence, Part 2: How To Read People Like a Book

Relational Intelligence, Part 3: To Know And Be Known

There are a lot more videos available beginning on this page. Perhaps I'll get to that code another day.

World Religions comparison

On the list of Willow videos I published, one of the most fascinating is the one titled "I Have A Friend Who Thinks All Religions Are The Same". It is from a weekend seeker service at Willow where Bill Hybels interviews a Jewish Rabbi, a Buddhist scholar, a Hindu Monk, a Muslim Imam and a Willow staff member. It's not a debate but each person answering questions about who is God, what is salvation, what is eternity like, etc. It is meant to be a comparative dialog for people to decide if all religions are the same. The length is about 50 minutes long.

I used this clip with a youth group and had them take notes, summarizing in their own words what each religion believes and what are the differences. I also gave them each a foldout pamphlet that compares about 30 major religions. It is available from Rose Publishing for $3.99. NOTE: There is a special deal when you purchase them in a bulk amount (more than $39) — you get a free wall chart and a couple free pamphlets.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Cafe Kubal Roast House, Syacuse, NY

I've known this kid since he was like ... 10 ... and I was his youth group leader! Now he's all grown up and is a micro-roaster and a youth group leader himself. Matt Godard is roasting some of the finest coffee in Central New York and shipping all over the world. On Friday he served up some Indian Monsoon Malabar

Cafe Kubal is not just a local Syracuse business. Just like other well known coffee business he has a program for you to sign up for automatic shipments or you can just buy it as needed. Matt has a number of unique coffee beans that he can roast however you would like and he'll ship them to your home or business. Stop serving your friends stale brown water and buy some good coffee from Matt.

Coffee is really about science. You need the right beans, harvested at the right time in the right way, roasted properly, ground properly added to quality water that must be the right temperature with the end result -- coffee -- being served and consumed in a timely fashion. On top of all that you have to have the right equipment and it must be clean! If you are a coffee snob like me, then you take this process very seriously. That's why I like hanging out with Matt Godard -- he's a world class expert in this stuff.

Matt and his beautiful wife, Rachel, attend Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY, where he volunteers on the youth ministry leadership team. I was the guest speaker for his church's youth retreat this weekend and had the privlige of hanging out with him and some fantastic teens. I was a little nervous, but the kids were very receptive to our Lectio Divina exercises.

Matt's parents, Don and Linda, are some of the finest Christian people I know. They have been mentors for Alyx and I and we still hold them up in our minds as the ideals of what a Christian couple should look like.

Bookmark this link to Cafe Kubal and buy coffee from Matt. It's good.

Why French Roast is bad.

Would you go to a restaurant and tell the server, "I would like meat and make it well done." Just ask for meat? No, you would never do that. You would order a specific kind of meat: beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, etc and likely a specific cut as well. And then you would have it cooked a certain way: rare, medium, well done, or road-kill which is my personal favorite.

Ordering French Roast coffee is like just ordering well done meat without specifying the meat. French Roast is not a kind of coffee. It is a style of roast that is on the darker side. There are several degrees of roast: light, city, full city, French, dark, expresso -- to mention a few.. The best way to have coffee is to order a particular kind of bean and then have it roasted to the lightness or darkness you prefer. For example, I am partial to Kenya AA beans and I like them roasted to the darker end of the spectrum. Or, if you knw what you are doing, order multiple kinds of beans and blend them together.

When you order French Roast you really don't know what you are getting. Is it a singular kind of bean that is French Roasted or is it, and this is more likely, a blend of various kinds of beans that are French Roasted, or is a blend of beans where some are French Roasted and some aren't. Who knows? Just keep in mind: a coffeehouse serving French Roast coffee says something about the ignorance of the coffeehouse, or they do know better but play on people's ignorance.

Just do yourself a favor and buy some of Matt's coffee from Cafe Kubal: Coffee for the Soul. You won't regret it.

OK. Enough about French Roast. Did you know ...
  • ... you should grind your coffee for varying lengths of time to produce the appropriate fineness depending up the type of coffee filter you have (ie. press pot, cone, flat bottom, gold tone, etc.)?
  • ... you should never use a perculator.
  • ... there is a significant difference between burr and blade grinders and it's not just the price. Buy yourself a burr grinder.
  • ... that depending upon who you buy your beans from you have the opportunity to help someone in a lesser developed part of the world get out poverty? Another good reason tobuy some of Matt's coffee from Cafe Kubal. Matt actually wants to meet the growers.