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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

John Mayberry stories ...

When I was a kid in the 70's, John Mayberry was this hulking, power hitting first basemen for the some great Kansas City Royals teams. I came across a couple of great stories about Mayberry when he was younger and more recently doing a promo caravan for the Royals.

Kansas City Star | 01/28/2007 | The Royals caravan runs on fans’ hope: "John Mayberry road story:

When Mayberry was a young player, he said there was not much religion in the clubhouses. Oh, the players then were probably as religious then as any other time, but you just didn’t see many signs of it. As he started getting older, though, Mayberry noticed more and more Bibles in players’ lockers. He asked Frank Howard, the former slugger, “Why are there so many more Bibles around these days?”

Frank Howard said: “John, that’s the split-fingered fastball. Make a believer out of anybody.”"

Kansas City Star | 01/28/2007 | The Royals caravan runs on fans’ hope: "The caravan was in Arkansas, at Baker Elementary School, and 400 kids sat on the floor of the gymnasium. They shrieked when Sluggerrr danced, and they applauded for DeJesus and Gathright and Picollo. Then Big John was on the stage.

“What advice would you give these kids?” Royals director of public relations Lora Grosshans asked.

“I’ll give you the same advice I gave my own son,” Big John said. “And it’s this: When you play baseball, be sure to get your uniform dirty.”

I'm a PC and I'm Armed & Dangerous

It's hard to stop making fun of PC's. It's just so easy.

Crummy Church Signs

I'm sure you seen the numerous lists of bulletin and church sign bloopers. This site also sees church signs as humorous but in a mocking way. Messages on church signs aren't as cute or funny to the unchurched as churches think they are.

Meet the Minister Who Says He Is Jesus Christ - Newsweek Beliefs - MSNBC.com

Please accept my apologies. I recently reported that Tom Cruise was the was the new Jesus Christ. Apparently I was wrong, Newsweek is reporting someone else is Jesus: Meet the Minister Who Says He Is Jesus Christ. He is Puerto Rican minister, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who says that Jesus Christ integrated Himself into him. He previously said he was the Apostle Paul reincarnated.

... lot's 'jesuses' around these days ... the real Jesus can't be pleased about that.

ASU student objects to sensitivity exercise | EastValleyTribune.com

This is an interesting story about an Arizona State Univ. student, who is a Christian and participating in dorm sensitivity training. He has to role play a Hispanic homosexual who is rejected by everyone including Christians. Here's a quote from the article:
ASU Residential Life spokeswoman Diana Medina said the role-play was designed to examine the effects of racism, classism and “homophobia” on different cultural and economic groups.

But Visconti said the students who designed the roleplay overlooked their own stereotypes, such as the notion that white men don’t have to work for wealth because society gives them a free ride. Or the idea that Christian churches are filled with bigots, and people who support traditional family values such as heterosexual marriage are hateful and narrow-minded.

“They were basically saying that if you don’t feel the same way, you’re wrong,” Visconti said. “It got to the point that if you weren’t a minority or gay, you were supposed to feel guilty and that everything was given to you in life.”


If you're considering an outreach to youth, consider UNTITLED SKATEBOARDS.

Family sue evangelist who claimed prayer would cure brother's cancer | the Daily Mail

It's dangerous to be a lousy faith healer these days. Your parishioner could die. You could get sued. Even worse, you could come face to face with Jesus some day.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Christ Church Joins the Anglican Mission in the Americas

Up until they left The Episcopal Church, Christ Church in Plano, TX had the highest ASA (average Sunday attendance) in the denomination. They have left The Episcopal Church and join the American Mission in Americans. Watch a message from the Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Steve Jobs on Saturday Night Live (via YouTube)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Important Announcement from the Ultrarev

I am now a WorldPerks Silver Elite member with Northworst ... uh, I mean, Northwest Airlines, which means I flew over 30 segments in the past 12 months. I now automatically get bumped to first class when available when I check in, get to board the plane before general boarding and walk on a red carpet. I am important.

Silver Elite status is no gift. It is hard earned with all of the late and canceled flights I have had this past year. It is not an exaggeration to say that more flights are late than on-time. All in all, it means that I have spent too much time in airports this past year. Lord have mercy.

In light of my new status, I now declare that The Land of the Ultra Rev is a Silver Elite blog. I'll have to think up some special perks for you for visiting here. Maybe next year we'll go Platinum.

The Sun Online - Bizarre: Cruise 'is Christ' of Scientology

And in news of the weird Tom Cruise ...heavy sigh... He'll never die and rise again for our sins. Wake up Tom. Jesus is the real deal ... the way, the truth and the life. One day you will bow before Him and worship Him just as every single one of us will ... every last one of us.

Churches Seeking Staff - Evangelical Covenant Church

I just did a search of my own blog regarding Covenant Churches Seeking Staff and Miami. I blogged about the Miami church being open almost 2 years ago and it's still open. Lord have mercy! It appears to be just miles away from the ocean! I think there is a special dispensation from Heaven that says if a church is located within 20 minutes from the ocean you don't even have to have a call from God -- it's just assumed that everybody is called, somebody just needs to be willing to go.

Not counting Alaska and Canada (NOT that they are unimportant), there are 39 lead pastor positions open -- Cuyahoga Falls, OH is not listed but I know they are without a pastor at the moment and that would make 40. Certainly North Miami, FL remains the crown jewel of open churches, but running a close second might be Venice, FL. Do you want to be gulf side or ocean side?

Tulsa, OK still appears to be the only church that is searching for a staff member dedicated to evangelism. Wish there were more positions like that.

A couple of our camps are looking for staff: Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva, WI, Portage Lake, in MI and Mission Springs in CA.



They have apparently changed their name to reflect their ministry to all of North America. They are now the Anglican Mission in the Americas. This mission is fully are part of the Anglican Province of Rwanda and NOT a new or separate denomination here in North America. They are considered a mission of Rwanda.

One interesting thing to note is their new twist on structure. Typically each province is broken up into "dioceses" which are regional groups of churches under a bishop. The AMiA does not have tradition dioceses but "networks". Here is a snippet from a Q&A with David Virtue and Bishop Chuck Murphy explaining the difference:
VOL: A year ago you had seven networks now you have 14 networks. What exactly is a Network and how does that differ from a diocese?

MURPHY: All networks are being overseen by missionary bishops. Networks are simply clusters of congregations and leaders that are committed to strengthening the mission through new church plants. We are committed to building a team of pastoral leaders, strategic mission leadership, coaching, credentialing, etc. We are not setting up dioceses, we are leaving behind networks to grow. We are, above all a mission, not a denomination. We have 14 networks that embrace the U.S. and Canada.
Murphy is comments on the AMiA's phenomenal growth:
MURPHY: We have 14 networks growing 108 congregations with 64 new congregations in the pipeline. Some 35 of the new congregations have been birthed out of the Networks - half of the total has bubbled up out of the Networks. We hope to be 20 networks in a year.
He says they are planting a new church every three weeks. We must remember that the success of new churches is not just about contemporary style and music. This is a prayer book movement growing rapidly.

PULSE Outreach - Cutting Edge Events

I met up with Evangelist Nick Hall last week on my monthly pilgrimage to northern MN. He is a super nice guy and extremely classy. His ministry is PULSE Outreach. Nick helped recruit churches in northern MN for the Palau Festival in the Twin Cities a couple years ago and he is greatly respected by the pastors up there. If you want to plan an evangelistic event for your city, especially an outreach to teens and college students contact Nick.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Christianity Today Quote of the Day

Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction:

"Quote of the day 'I believe in the culture war. And you know what? If I have to take a side in the culture war I'll take [the conservative Christian] side. Because if you give me the choice of Paris Hilton or Jesus, I'll take Jesus.'

—Alexandra Pelosi, creator of the new HBO documentary 'Friends of God' and daughter of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She was quoted by The New York Times."

VirtueOnline: New: Ancient and Future: Church Planting For The 21st Century

Great things are still happening in the Anglican Mission in America. Read about their church planting strategy here: Ancient and Future: Church Planting For The 21st Century. Charismatic, evangelical and liturgical -- all three streams make up the AMiA. It's common to think that the AMiA is just made up of disaffected Episcopalians but apparently that is not true. They just had a big conference last week and it won't surprise me to see even more churches planted and missional adventures happening soon.

12 Questions to Start 2007 for You and your Team (Arrow Leadership)

12 Questions to Start 2007 for You and your Team (Arrow Leadership):

1. What mistakes have you made lately? What did you learn from them?
2. In the past year, from the perspective of integrity, what most affected you personally, professionally and organizationally?
3. Who are you? How do you see yourself personally, professionally and organizationally?
4. What do you want to do (to be)? What are you doing about it?
5. What are three examples of budding synergy in your area and how can we capitalize on them?
6. What significant areas are there in the organization or ministry where you feel you could make a contribution but you cannot seem to get a hearing?
7. What is your dream for your part of the organization or ministry?
8. Who are your three highest potential people and what are you doing to develop them?
9. Does this organization/ministry need you? Do you need this organization?
10. What have you abandoned lately?
11. What are three signs of impending entropy you see at this organization? What are you doing about it?
12. Ask others 'What are five key projects or goals of yours on which I can be of help or support?'"

Free Christian Book from Gospel for Asia

A Free Book about indigenous peoples planting churches in Asia.

Will the 21st Be the Orthodox Century? | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

The Orthodox Church has some potential. I think a wide swath of people would be attracted to their spirituality, way of worship and ancient connections. I see some big hurdles they need to get over: they need to adopt some new music, to discover their evangelistic calling and to become seen as something more than an ethnic church.

VirtueOnline: News

Senate bill attacks free speech of churches, pro-family groups

One of the provisions of S. 1 now being considered by the Senate would require churches and other nonprofits, classified as "grassroots lobbying firms," to report to the House and Senate any time they spend money to communicate to their constituents on public-policy issues that are before Congress. Failure to comply could result in thousands of dollars in fines and even criminal penalties.

"This is one of the most significant violations of free exercise of religion and the freedom of political speech in our nation's history," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, wrote in a column posted on the ACLJ website. "Some have said that this plan is the most comprehensive regulation of political speech that has ever been put forward by Congress."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse - New York Times

The headline says 51% but look at the break down ethnically in this quote from the article.
"Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared with about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women."
One other quote was interesting:
“This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people’s lives,” said Prof. Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group."

Adultery could mean life, court finds

Don't cheat on your spouse in Michigain!
"In a ruling sure to make philandering spouses squirm, Michigan's second-highest court says that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison."
Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Maps of USA Religious Preferences by County

If you have any interest in demographics, you must see this page and it's maps showing religious preferences by county in the US.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Santangelo's Restaurant - Home

Alyx and I are having dinner on Monday with some friends at Santangelo's Restaurant to talk about a possible church plant happening in central New York.

I love Italian cuisine and Santangelo's has some of the very finest in central New York, located on Old Liverpool Rd. in Liverpool, NY. Samtangelo's is a family run business, established by the aunt & uncle of one of my very closest friends. From their web site:
Santangelo's Restaurant, founded in 1986, was the lifetime dream of Sam, Sally, and Guilio. This establishment was designed and built by the Santangelo family and friends. The restaurant is based on the generosity and flavors of Grandma's kitchen as well as recipes from chefs Guilio Santangelo and Michael DeSalis. The hard work and dedication of Sam's and Sally's eight children and devoted staff over the years has created a home for our loyal customers. Our restaurant will continue to carry on Sam's legacy - his love for fine food, good friends, and family.
Not only do they have great food, these are great people. I recommend the Raviolli.

Servant Evangelism - Homepage

The Servant Evangelism page has been revamped and is even better than it has been. If your church has never tried an SE project, I strongly encourage you to try one. I've lead teams giving away free loads of laundry at local laundromats and Halloween giveaways. Both were extremely successful.

Steve Sjogrën now has number of different websites.

Church Planting Resources

There seems to be a plethora of good church planting resources available on the internet. Really it's tough to sort through them all with so many coming from different theological, philosophical or practical persuasions. Here's a couple that I found this week:

Brad Boydston's Church Planting Resource
Before there were a plethora of resources, there was Brad's list beginning with his very own extremely helpful manual.

ChurchSmart - Strategic Ministry Tools for Church Leaders
Church Smart has a number of great resources for church health, growth and planting. One book they publish should be in the hands of every Elder or Board Member or Pastoral Search Committee or Pastoral Relations Committee or generic church leader or lay person who wants to understand the life of a pastor: It Only Hurts on Monday by Gary McIntosh & Robert Edmondson.

|| R E D E E M E R Presbyterian Church ||
Tim Keller's church.

Church Leader Insights
Some free and for sale mp3's here from Nelson Searcy. Next month in New York City they are putting on a free conference about church planting from scratch.

These next two aren't really resources per se but are relevant:

Walkable Eastwood (Syracuse, NY)
There is a group who wants to see the Eastwood neighborhood revitalized and become (again) a "walkable community". One of my colleagues is interested in launching a new church here.

Coastland Church - Welcome & Coastland Buzz
Steve & Janie Sjogrën are planting a new church in the Tampa, FL area, utilizing the servant evangelism model. I love their values and distinctives. This is going to be an exciting venture.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Celebrating 16 Years of Marriage

The Carousel at Carousel Center Mall
in Syracuse, NY

Today I am celebrating 16 years of marriage. Alyx and I were married at Redeemer Covenant Church in Liverpool, NY with Pastor Bill Anthes officiating. Alyx's grandfather played the organ. It was a great day. We had our wedding pictures taken on The Carousel at Carousel Center in Syracuse, NY and a fabulous reception at the Fireside Inn in Baldwinsville, NY.

This year has been our best year of marriage in a long time. I am so thankful to Marriage Encounter and The Good News Center for Marriage & Family for their ministry to us. We faced some incredible stress this year but our marriage is stronger than it ever has been. I'm thankful to the Lord answering my prayers.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

CMA Job Market, Positions Available - Christian Management Association

Looking for a job? Here is a web page with a list of Christian management/leadership positions from a wide array of sources, both church and para-church.

Free Book from The American Bible Society

American Bible Society is a great organization and giving away a free book for those who want to learn more about the mysteries of the Bible. Kudos to ABS for being so generous!

VirtueOnline: Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness

A book review of Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight. (Brazos Press, 2006). $16.95. 176 pages (paper).

Church web site design: self-assessment design tool to best develop church site effectiveness

Is your church web site effective? Check out this self-assessment design tool.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Growing Church II

Pastor Don Johnson asked where my pastor got the stats I mentioned in my recent post about only 2% of US churches grow by 5% for 2 years in a row. I emailed him and his reply was:
"I made it up.

Just kidding. But I did get it wrong. It is 3 years in a row. I'll make the change asap.

Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. page 65

Happy new year!"
Regardless, our church has grown from 294 to 367 in about 3 years and it's about to grow much bigger.

My Way News - Mental Health Bill to Face House Vote

The House of Representatives will be voting on a bill requiring health insurance companies to offer equal coverage for both physical and mental illnesses. It's about time. I'm sure there will be a rise in health insurance premiums but this is necessary.

The Church's Diet

I have blogged about previously about the church's need to take obesity seriously. Here are two recent articles about diet and obesity that got me to thinking.

When are churches going to ban trans-fats at potlucks and church dinners? Instead of dividing up the congregation "A-M" brings a salad and "N-Z" brings a dessert, maybe we'll have to begin giving other health guidelines to tell people to bring healthy stuff to church meals.

My Way News - 2006 Diet News: Hold the Trans-Fats

My Way News - Study: Many Kids Too Fat by Preschool

This later article got me thinking ... when is someone going to start saying that allowing a child to become morbidly obese is child abuse? I predict it's coming -- especially when it comes to pre-schoolers. As a parent of a pre-schooler don't you control the quantity and kind of food put in front of a kid? Aren't you responsible? Some child welfare advocate out there is going to call this child abuse eventually. Then what? Foster care for over weight kids.

And again, where is the church speaking prophetically or ministering with Christlike compassion on this issue?

Independent Online Edition: City dwellers poised to take over the world

Is the church ready for this? Are we ready and willing to move back into urban areas?
"Humanity is about to undertake the greatest change of habitat in its entire history. Authoritative international reports to be published over the next months will show that, for the first time, we will soon be a predominantly urban species, with more people living in towns and cities than in the countryside."

Alban Weekly - Week of 1/1/07 - Mission of Missions

Why does your church pursue ministries that alleviate poverty or social justice ministries? This interesting article talks about the differing viewpoints of some doing it for those sake who need to be helped vs. the churches doing it for the sake of those who need to be changed by helping.

I had dinner last week with a friend who recently did some mission work in Croatia. He told stories he heard from the locals there of US churches sending missions team and the bad experiences the locals had. For example, the Americans "had" to take showers every day and ending up running a villages wells dry. Other missions team ate host homes out of food.

Another interesting story: he said American pastors were invited to come over to teach about practical theology, so they taught about small groups process, ie "forming, storming, norming, performing" etc. The only problem was they were teaching to a clanish, some what tribal culture where all the evangelical churches were small groups.

I don't know whose fault that is, obviously something broke down in the communication. In cases like those I don't know if those experiences helped either the needy or the servant.

THE LIST: What's In and Out for 2007 (washingtonpost.com)

I read Wired magazine and they often have what's Wired - Tired - Expired -- as in what's trendy, previously trendly and no longer even remotely trendy.

Washingtonpost.com has it's version of THE LIST: What's In and Out for 2007. There's a lot on the list I had never even heard of but I'm not very up on cultural trends in general. Have you heard of 1stDibs.com? How about anti-depressant perfume? Fantasy bass fishing?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cafe Kubal - Fresh Gourmet Coffee Roaster

Cafe Kubal will be getting some new digs. Matt's underground roasting headquarters will be moving to a new retail location. He will opening up next to Sacred Melody Bookstore on James St. in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse, NY, where he'll be roasting beans and selling coffee drinks, goodies, etc. He is hoping to open up in a couple of weeks. I'll keep you posted as to the exact date is but he is currently projecting January 15th.