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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dove: Campaign For Real Beauty

This video is from Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty. It only takes a few seconds to watch how a pretty, but plain women can be transformed into a supermodel fit for a billboard. The most fascinating part is what they do with Photoshop.

I make it my practice when standing in line at WalMart with the kids to point out that all the women on the magazine covers are Photoshopped. I play with Photoshop at home with them also so they understand that magazine women are "fake". They may be real people but hey don't really look like that without a lot of help. Or I should very little help. Photoshop is remarkable.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Marriage Encounters

I just got a list of the upcoming Marriage Encounters happening in and around central NY. These are really super events. They are not just for marriages with problems but are for couples who desire a stronger marriage.

Some things I appreciated ... your privacy is protected, there is no sharing your problems or issues with other couples ... the leaders aren't therapists or some kind of experts -- they are just there as humble, holy, vulnerable people who are guides sharing their own stories ... they treat each couple like they are special.

Our experience on our Encounter was life changing and I'll forever be thankful to the Marriage Encounter leaders and the Good News Foundation for hosting it.

2006 - 2007 Weekend Dates

December 8th - 10th, 2006 Notre Dame Retreat House, Canandaigua, NY
January 26-28, 2007 Red Mill Inn - Baldwinsville, NY
March 16-18th, 2007 Good News Foundation - Utica, NY
April 27-29, 2007 Holiday Inn - Rt.34 North St. - Auburn, NY
July 20-22, 2007 Good News Foundation - Utica, NY
September 28-30th, 2007 Christ the King - Syracuse, NY
October 19-21, 2007 Good News Foundation - Utica, NY
November 16-18, 2007 Holiday Inn - Farrell Rd. - Syracuse, NY

You can register online at the Syracuse Marriage Encounter web site.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Seattle Times: Coffee educators gladly spread the java gospel

Coffee educator.

I'm wondering if anyone other than Starbucks has a Coffee Educator job. I'm hoping that Cafe Kubal hits the big time and hires me as a Coffee Educator. Knowing Starbucks they have probably trademarked the term Coffee Educator and I'll have to think up a new title ... Coffee Guru ... Coffee Pedagogue ... Coffee Evangelist ... Lazy Slouch Who Is Not Good At Much Else Other Than Drinking High Quality Coffee Leisurely ...

Fascinating piece of info in this article: Starbucks bought Seattle's Best.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

BibleGateway.com- IVP New Testament Commentaries

Some IVP New Testament Commentaries online. All my scholarly resources are in boxes at the moment so it's nice to see some freebies available.

Christ In the 'Cuse

Oh my. mazedandconfused has started a new blog about his new journey into church planting in Syracuse. This is going to be a really great thing, and I am hoping to support him in every way I possible can. I believe this dude is going to plant a dynamate church.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Watertown Church of the Nazarene

THIS WEEK: I'm preaching.
Some great things are happening at the Watertown Church of the Nazarene where I attend, not the least of which I have my next preaching gig there this coming weekend. I've been thinking about a couple of different sermons ... "What Would Jesus Say to Ted Haggard?" ... "Q: Who was the first disciple of Christ? A: An unwed, pregnant teen." ... "Mythbusters: Evangelism Unlocked." ... maybe something else ... any suggestions?

Have you listened to my last sermon? Go to my other web site and download the audio file "090106 1st Baptist Wolcott".

NEW! Saturdays, 5:00 pm
Watertown Church of the Nazarene have begun a Saturday evening service at 5:00 pm. Saturday evening is still my ideal time to go to church. I don't know if it's just the lingering effect of going to mass as a kid on Sat evenings or what, but I like it. When I first went to seminary Alyx and I attended Willowcreek for a year and went every Saturday night. We would wake up Sunday mornings and look out to see all our friends scrambling to get to church, and we would leisurely get out of bed and stroll over to the convenience store to buy a paper, eat a late brunch and relax. Works for me. Sunday felt more like a Sabbath when I didn't have to go to church.

COMING SOON! Satellite Campus near Ft. Drum
A recent trend in ministry is for churches to plant multiple campuses instead of planting new congregations. I think Life Covenant Church, which was originally founded in Oklahoma but now has campuses in several states, was the trend setter ... or maybe they are the most successful at it. Watertown First Church of the Nazarene is making plans to do the same — well, maybe one day we'll be in different states but for right now we'll settle for another campus outside the city near Ft. Drum. We're looking at a January launch.

There are some advantages to this approach to ministry. The sermon is video taped and played at the other campuses, so each site doesn't need a preaching pastor. All the sites are part of one church and don't need their own separate elder boards. All the sites can share some administrative or overhead costs and certain ministry training opportunities.

In truth, that first "advantages" can be perceived as disadvantages as well. I know for some not having a live preacher is a theological problem. They don't just view preaching as a "pep talk" or communication event that is just meant to transfer information. For some, preaching is meant to be incarnating the Word of God, The Bible, just in the same way that Jesus Christ was the Word of God incarnate. The symbolism is ripe and vital for them.

Another advantage to multicampusing as opposed to church planting is control. I can think of an instance where one large, vital, healthy church worked to plant a church in a neighboring community about 15 miles away. The mother church sacrificed money, people, resources, etc. At first the plant thrived but then began to flounder after a pastoral change within the first couple years. After several years more, the plant became small and inward focused. The mother church would be willing and able to help the plant, but now that the plant had been established for nearly a decade they weren't easily able to be helped — mainly due to pride. There was nothing for the mother church to do but watch the plant suffer and dwindle. If it were a campus of the mother church instead of a church plant, the mother could step in and make ministry corrections as needed to keep the ministry alive.

It will be a first for this part of New York State. I'm going to have to do some research but I don't know of any church within a couple hundred miles of here that is doing multicampus ministry.

This just occured to me: multicampus ministry is very similar to an episcopacy. Episcopal literally means "'of' or 'relating to' or 'governed by' bishops". In this model the bishop is head pastor over a diocese which is a territorial jurisdiction of churches and the pastors of those churches, called 'rectors' are meant to be the regent, or agent, or extension of the bishop. Every diocese has a cathedral, which is the principal church containing the episcopal throne. In the multicampus model the "lead pastor" is the bishop and his/her church is the cathedral. The pastor of the satellite church is called the "host pastor" would equate to the rector of a local parish within a diocese.

I can just see it now: Bishop Greg Gates. We're going to have to get him a miter. And then of course we would have Canon Dan Hazelton and Canon Amanda Cash. The Nazarene Church in Watertown is returning to it's Anglican roots and don't even know it, though I doubt they'll be serving real wine for communion any time soon ... sadly.

My House Sale

My house hasn't sold and so we've decide to take it off the market for a couple months. My primary reason is that I don't want to move or buy a house in the middle of winter and that is exactly what would happen if we sold our house now. I don't want to buy a house when the roof and foundation are snow covered and I can't see them. And I really don't want to pack and unpack a moving van in the snow.

So I'll live in the north country for several more months which is OK. We have some really terrific friends here that we cherish and had over this past Saturday for an early Thanksgiving feast. We'll see more of them. And our fantastic church is attempting some innovative stuff and hopefully I'll get to help with that.

Josh Hunt's Blog

If you are interested in growing your church, so is Josh Hunt. I get his weekly emails which I have now found are also on his blog. His website JoshHunt.com has a lot of resources to help pastors and laypeople think about doubling their church in size. Have you ever thought about that? Especially if your church is small -- under 100 for average attendance at weekend services. What would it take for your church to double in size? If you read Josh Hunt's stuff, the answer to that question may not seem as difficult as you might think.

craigslist: watertown classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events

Watertown is really growing up. Now it has a Starbuck's, super Wal-Mart and a craigslist.

Craigslist is essentially a free classified ad service for cities/areas and are available in cities all over the country. Watertown has it's own version of a free classified ad service called WatertownAds.com which is a fantastic site, though it's not easy to use if you have a Mac and don't want to use the dreaded IE. Craigslist is more known for it's discussion forums and personal ads. WatertownAds.com doesn't have those sections. Craigslist has become immensely popular. I haven't seen any place where churches have capitalized on it, though I am not overly knowledgeable about very many cities' lists. It looks like an untapped opportunity.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Waves of Grace

Progress continues to be made in northern Minnesota on the Waves of Grace project. If you don't know about WOG, it is a movement of several pastors and a businessman who are working toward being a catalyst for evangelistic festivals all across northern Minnesota. They have identified 13 different cities/areas they're praying for and working on to host a festival.

Grand Rapids, MN is the front runner at this point, planning for a festival in September 2007. They are putting together an outstanding team of leaders. Hibbing, MN is probably the next closest and still hoping for a 2007 date. Quite possibly in 2008 we'll see festivals in Duluth, Bemidji and Virginia, MN. Very exciting.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kids-In-Mind: Movie Ratings That Actually Work

For years I have been a big fan of Screenit.com, an excellent site for parents to be able to screen movie content before letting their kids watch it, or for that matter, they themselves watch it.

Today I wanted to a review of a movie from 1994. Screenit.com didn't have it but this one did: Kids-In-Mind: Movie Ratings That Actually Work.

It had less detail than Screenit.com for example, Screenit.com will list every single instance of a swear word, or scene of violence or sexuality, etc. But Kids-In-Mind gave me enough detail to make a decision.

Friday, November 10, 2006

PastorCare -- The National Clergy Support Network

On a listserv I'm subscribed to, a poster asked why didn't Ted Haggard avail himself to the help he needed. There are a growing number of ministries dedicated to supporting and encouraging pastors. Saw another one this week ...

PastorCare -- The National Clergy Support Network
PastorCare Great Lakes

Someone recently quoted to me the stat of 1700 pastors a month are forced/resigned from ministry. I remember HB London from Focus on the Family saying that 50% of clergy leave pastoral ministry within 5 years of being ordained. I held out for 9.

I miss it some. Over the past several months I've done a couple weddings, a funeral and preached a couple times. Those really are great privileges. Preaching has always been good for my spiritual life. I miss planning new ministry initiatives. I miss having a continuing education budget and staying on the cutting edge of ministry and culture trends, and the fellowship with pastors at those kind of events. I miss the people contact, especially personal evangelism.

Being out of full time pastoral ministry has changed me in a lot of good ways. Depression is substantially much less an issue in my life anymore. I believe God for more and have a bigger vision for the local church. I've learned a lot about leadership. It's been good to work with people who believe in me and who are all rowing in the same direction. I sleep better on Saturday nights and enjoy football more on Sunday afternoons.

I certainly don't miss congregational meetings. I'm sure they don't miss me either.

Maybe again some day ...

BREITBART.COM - Woman Fatally Bitten by Snake in Church

I hate when that happens.

I've personally seen many a pastor bitten by "snakes" thought they weren't all serpents.

Newzjunky.com :: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar Coming to Watertown

A number of good restaurant chains coming into Watertown. That's great. Yet ...

The best meal in Watertown is still at Cavallario's Cucina. Brenda Cavallario is so good she could go out in the backyard, dig up rocks and cook you the very best meal you have ever had. She and Pete are a dynamite team. There's no chain coming to Watertown that will give you as good a meal and service in as nice a setting as Cavallario's. Located on S. Massey St. in Watertown, NY.

GodMen: Promisekeepers With an Edge - Newsweek Society - MSNBC.com

While I do think the church needs to be a little more "guy" friendly these events just don't get my attention.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Study: Fat doses of red wine extract help obese mice stay healthy - USATODAY.com

Study: Fat doses of red wine extract help obese mice stay healthy - USATODAY.com

Red wine is all the rage. Along with the one above, here's a quick list of recent headlines I've seen:

Study: Fat doses of red wine extract help obese mice stay healthy

Drinking Red Wine May Help You Live Longer

Red Wine May Help Reduce Colorectal Cancer

Red wine can help prevent strokes

Red Wine Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Apparently red wine is the elixir of life. Is there anything that red wine can't cure? The Bible does say that wine is a gift from God that gladdens the heart of men (and women).

I find it interesting the UK wants to put warning labels on wine bottles warning of the dangers of alcohol despite all these supposed benefits. It should be noted that most of those articles and studies are careful to admonish against drunkeness.

My immediate thought after seeing all these headlines is that Wesleyans, Nazarenes and other Christian groups that abstain are going to die sooner. But then I remembered those studies that say people who pray and go to church will live longer. Perhaps Episcopalians live longest enjoying the benefits of both.

If you do decide to go red, I recommend Francis Ford Copolla's "Rosso".

Dead Deer Talking

Have you seen the Dead Deer Talking video? Thanks Jessica. Extremely funny.

3 Month Old Baby Charged With Robbery

Geez, and I thought my kids misbehaved. You know the future isn't good when you have a rap sheet at 3 months.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lifehacker, the Productivity and Software Guide

is a great site. They have a contest going on for a T-shirt logo. I thought about:

"WWLS?" What would Lifehacker say?


"Lifehacker: Viagra for my life."

But instead I submitted:

"Lifehacker: For those bored with Mensa."

Being able to comment at Lifehacker is a privilege. We'll see if I get in.

Recent on my iPod

Xorey hooked me up with Derek Webb. Whose music you can download for free. Prophetic lyrics.

For the first time ever I have some hip-hop on my iPod with "Royal Temple" or "Templo Royale" (si habla Espanol) -- a Christian Latino hip-hop duo. Can't seem to find a working website for them but they are available on iTunes. I particularly like Como David, Toda Via, Yo Voy and World Wide (you feel me) -- OK, I really like the whole thing. If anyone knows of a web site let me know. Muchas gracias Whitethunder y Tonia.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Life Christian Church

I go to a great Nazarene church in Watertown. However, another really great church in northern NY is New Life Christian Church in Depauville. I just noticed, through a round-a-bout way, that they have a web site.

The strong evangelical churches in the north country New Life, either of the Faith Fellowship's and most of the other's stink at on-line marketing -- either their site itself is useless or their page rank is non-existent so no one knows it's there.

If you are a north country pastor or parishioner and you're reading this, just go and google whatever city you're in + ny + the word church, i.e. "church watertown ny" and see where your's ranks on the page. What's the highest ranked church in Waterown? All Souls Unitarian Universalist, followed by First Pres, Watertown Mennonite, Cornerston A/G, First Baptist Church, a couple of articles, Trinity Episcopal, Asbury UMC, Emmanuel UCC and then it's mostly articles the rest of the way down the page. No mention of Parkside, Church of the Nazarene, New Hope Baptist, Faith Fellowship, Grace Wesleyan, First Assembly of God or most other evangelical churches and those few I just mentioned all have web sites.

If you google "church depauville ny" you see New Life's name listed under the "Local results" from the phone book but if you click on the link it doesn't show their web site. Churches need to learn that just because you have a web site out in cyberspace doesn't mean that anyone will see it if you don't promote it a little. In fact, if you google "new life church depauville ny" it doesn't show their web site. But it does show my blog mentioning their church. In New Life's defense I think their site is new.

To get your page ranked a little higher in Google isn't that difficult -- just google "page rank". The churches of the north country need to do a better job at it.

Midwinter Conference - Evangelical Covenant Church

It's been several years now since I have been to the Midwinter Conference for Evangelical Covenant Church. I remember when that used to be one of the high lights of my year like it is for many Covenant pastors. Since I don't work at a church currently I don't have anyone help pay my way to go. I estimate it would cost about $1200 for me to go this year and that's just not in my personal budget especially with the recent financial snafu's.

I kind of miss MidWinter. It was always fun to catch up with seminary friends like Jimmy Doo Erickson and his beloved Cathy Stanley, Ken Johnson, Dan Ferguson, Kenton Johnson, Steve Pederson and others like sem profs Weebs & Richard Dodger Carlson.

On the one hand it was very exciting to see that MidWinter got moved out of Chicago this year and will be in Denver. I always used to think "why do they schedule this event for pastors in the winter in Chicago?" That's dumb. So it was nice to see it moved. On the other hand why move it to Denver? Why not Florida, Arizona, Texas even the Carolinas? Was there no place warm that would have it?