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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Luis Palau Association : Resources : News

Apparently you will be able to watch online the Tampa Bay Festival with Luis Palau. It will be streamed live from 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm EST on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4. Tony Dungy, coach of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts is the Honorary Chair for the event and will be on stage with Luis.

View the Tampa Bay Festival video!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

BGEA: Our Ministries: TV Specials

Just got an email from the Billy Graham Association about their upcoming TV Specials, March 3-11. For those of you in the northern and central New York area, it will be broadcast on NBC channel 3 WSTM on March 6th at 7:00 pm.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Told You So ...

I told you this was coming. Obesity in children was going to eventually be called child abuse and children would be put into foster care because of it.

BREITBART.COM - Mother May Lose Custody of Obese Boy

Some interesting quotes from the article ....

Child abuse is not just about hitting your children or sexually abusing them, it is also about neglect," the official was quoted as saying.

"I'm not saying they can't care for him, but what they are doing is through the way they are treating him and feeding him, they are slowly killing him," he said.

"If I didn't give him enough at teatime then he would just go on at us all night for snacks and stuff," she told ITV.

VirtueOnline: Table Fellowship & Communion

I'm sure you all have been paying keen attention to the Anglican Communion theatrics of the last week. The Primates of the Communion met last week and have given The Episcopal Church in the US an ultimatum: agree to not ordain any further homosexual bishops and to not authorize rites for homosexual relationships or else face consequences. They must embrace this by September.

What I found particularly interesting was that several orthodox bishops refused to take communion with the others at this meeting because of their broken relationship. Below I have cut and pasted from VOL quoting the Nigerian Church's web site.

Have you ever done that -- refused to take communion with others who you had a broken relationship with? I never have, but can think of instances where maybe I should have. I'm not sure I've put the Scriptures into action in quite the same way these African brothers have.

What would it take for you to take a stand as they have? The African Primates refer to two passages of Scripture. I challenge you to mediate on these passages and consider how you take Holy Communion:

Matthew 5:23-26
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

From VirtueOnline - News - Columnists - Table Fellowship & Communion - by Peter Toon:
In their own words from the website of the Nigerian Church:
"We each take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist very seriously. This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion. It makes clear that the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further. It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with The Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired.

Scripture teaches that before coming to sit with one another at the Lord's Table we must be reconciled. (Matthew 5:23-26 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) We have made repeated calls for repentance by The Episcopal Church and its leadership with no success. We continue to pray for a change of heart.

We are unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding, " Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith" (Book of Common Prayer, 1662)

This is a painful decision for us and also for our host and brother, the Most Rev¹d Donald Mtetemela. He understands our painful dilemma and accepts our decision. Pray for the Church."

Down with Marketing?

I have heard people say that churches should not think about marketing. All they should do is focus on preaching the gospel and making disciples. The truth is, you cannot not do marketing (that appears to be poor grammar). Does your church have an answering machine, website or bulletin? That's all marketing. Even your church sign, architecture and landscaping are marketing. You cannot get away from it. If you attempt to do anything to attract new members or believers, you are doing marketing. Marketing is just simply the way you choose to present yourself. It's not bad. It just is.

Here are some interesting marketing links:

Church Marketing Sucks
Church Marketing Sucks: 18 Word of Mouth Marketing Tips for Churches

Pyromarketing: Does Persecution Encourage Word of Mouth?

Faith Based Marketing Summit 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Jill's Journey

Several years ago I had the privilege of being an officiant at the wedding of my beloved friends James (aka Jimmy Lee) and Jill Curry. They married, went off to North Park for James to go to seminary and then on to Iowa where he is now a pastor. They have two little boys John & Tyler. Ministry life is good and they have enjoyed living in Iowa. I've gotten a lot of joy out of seeing all this take place. I love them dearly.

Jill has a new blog: Jill's Journey, detailing a new journey in her life: a journey that began this month with breast cancer. She's a beautiful, brilliant, under 40 mom. I think she is courageous for sharing her journey on her blog. Please keep Jill, James, their boys and church in your prayers. She has had one surgery, a lumpectomy and faces yet another surgery. Cancer was found in a lymph node also but through treatment her doctors are cautiously optimistic that she will get through this. Please pray.

From the Book of Common Prayer:
O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant Jill, the help of your power, that her sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant Jill, that her weakness may be banished and her strength restored; and that, her health being renewed, she may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source

NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source

Here's another story about a church with an upcoming sermon series on sexuality. They're preaching a Bible based, Christ centered message. Here is the ad they are using which is edgy but safe for work and in my opinion extremely tastefully done.

Of course, someone else has to have a negative comment:

Mike Johnston is spokesman for Pure Life Ministries, a ministry in Dry Ridge, Ky., that provides counseling and resources to help individuals overcome “sexual sin.” Johnston said the church has a responsibility to present a biblical perspective on sexuality, but he questioned the tactics used by Vintage Fellowship and other churches.

“We must avoid the temptation to utilize images or language that appeal to the carnal nature in an effort to become more relevant or to become more ‘seeker friendly,’” Johnston said in an email.

“In the end, such strategies cheapen the Gospel and send a confusing message to a world that desperately needs to see true believers who are being transformed into the image of Christ — not conformed to the current culture.”

How is the Gospel 'cheapened'? What exactly does it mean to cheapen the Gospel? That's just a throwaway statement with little meaning. Now I'm sure his comments are edited by the author and he may have said more but he offers no meaningful alternative.

God forbid that our teens grow up in a church where the pulpit is silent about sexuality. People need discipling regarding Biblical values on sexuality. They need to hear God's heart. If the Scriptures are not silent about it, the pulpit should not be either.

Here is yet another story about a church utilizing edgy advertising for a sermon series on sexuality: Next Level Church in Florida: The News-Press: South Fort Myers: Church Advertises Sex Talks on Billboards.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Church Help

Blogging has been a little slow lately. Been tied up with work, making plans for next week's monthly visit to MN and managing snow. Got new tires today. I ended up in a ditch last week after a spin out on the ramp to John Glenn Blvd. coming off I690. A super nice guy in a pick-up pulled me out and wouldn't accept any money from me. This winter has convinced me: I will get a truck by next winter with 4 wheel drive and a plow. I have some financial maneuvering to do by next November.

I'm posting a couple of church help links below. In general I don't believe in generic church revitalization but am strangely drawn to it like a mosquito drawn to my back porch light at night. It looks like a great idea but I think ultimately will kill you.

Honestly, I want so bad for church revitalization to work. I really do. I keep thinking in my mind if small churches will make a significant number of subtle changes and one or two massive ones, they will turn around to great health, growth and effectiveness. But overwhelmingly those small, plateaued churches are dominated by a handful of unhealthy leaders who the rest of the parishioners refuse to discipline. Over and over again, the same scenario is played out where the dominant leaders want to the return the church to an era gone by and vehemently resist change and the church suffers.

Hopefully your church isn't like this and great health is right around the corner for you.

Comback Churches: How Churches Can Return to Evangelistic Effectiveness
Comback Churches is a site by Ed Stetser, who is known for his writings on missional churches and church planting. This site has some resources to help your church be more missional.

Jump Start Church - A spark of energy!
Jump Start Church is one of about 1o sites Steve Sjogren maintains. This is a blog and has a number of interesting diagnostic tools and questions.

Hope these things are helpful to you! May God bless you and your church. You matter to God.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Archbishop's peace talks threatened | Uk News | News | Telegraph

This will be an historic week in the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. This week's Primate's meeting could possibly result in a complete realignment of world-wide Anglicanism.

For those of you who need a brief explanation of Anglican polity ... The Anglican Church worldwide has 38 autonomous provinces (geographic regions) and each is led by an Archbishop, also called a Primate. Their unity comes in their historic way of worship through a book of common prayer and from their being in communion (relationship) with one another, and most importantly, in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A majority of those Bishops are in broken or imparied communion with the Episcopal Church in the US, and furthermore, believe, with good reason, that the church is now apostate.

At the Primate meeting this week they will quite likely be calling for the formation of a new North American province to replace the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church in Canada. A handful of provinces have already begun the process of sending missionaries to the US and forming ecclesiastical structures functioning in the US.

Which leads me to use one of my favorite episcopal phrases: Several Primates have been badjulgating their crosier. That means they have exercised episcopal authority (acted like a bishop) in a diocese or province other than their own. While this has long been considered a 'no-no', these bishops believe that we are in extraordinary circumstances. They see orthodox priests and parishes being persecuted by uber-liberal bishops. Those priests and parishes are pleading for help.

We in evangelical circles would likely take the approach of leaving and starting our own church. But to be Anglican one must be under the authority of a Bishop, so, many Episcopal churches and several entire dioceses are attempting to leave or have left the US church and gone under the authority of some of these overseas primates.

Which leads to this week where a complete split or realignment of the worldwide Anglican Church could very likely take place.

If these matters interest you I encourage you to read the article linked above and make a daily stop at virtueoline.org, the fantastic news site led by journalist David Virtue.

A lot of Snow

I've gotten several calls the past week from friends around the country just checking on my family to see how much snow we've had. At my house the storm has brought us over 3 feet. Other than on Feb 3-4 when the big storm hit for about 24 hours straight, we haven't been overly effected by all the snow.

Last night we were at Alyx's sister's house over in Martville, which is west of the city of Oswego. We drove Rt. 104 heading east through Oswego, New Haven into Mexico, then took Rt. 11 up north through Pulaski to Sandy Creek and got on I81.

There is a lot of snow out there. All along 104 you could see where the snow banks were carved and essentially it felt like you were driving next to a flat wall of snow -- almost like someone put up boards of drywall. Clearly, Mexico had the most snow with the average road way snow bank being taller than my Honda Odyssey. EVERY one of those towns had massive mounds of snow that were 2-3 stories high. These are the kinds of snow piles that will easily last until June (that's not an exaggeration). You could see car dealerships where all the cars were covered in deep snow. You could not see many houses or business from the road as the banks were too high.

I've heard just a little from some pastors and churches that are hurting because their offerings are way down for the month. Some Sundays they were closed because people couldn't physically get there and other Sundays there was a snow emergency and there was a no unnecessary travel ban.

All in all it's a lot of snow. Some people have suffered with no power, roofs collapsed under the weight of the snow and some have been unable to get to the doctor or store for things they need. However, it's still not anything nearly as bad as those who have lost their homes and much more in hurricanes and tornadoes in the south. Lord have mercy.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Servant Evangelism: One-time only offer for pastors who sign up to ServantEvangelism.com

I signed up and hope you do to. I don't know yet if I'm one of the first 25 but hope that I get a free copy of Steve Sjogrën's new book Outflow. Here's what you need to do:

"The first 25 pastors who sign up as members of ServantEvangelism.com will receive a FREE copy of Steve Sjogren’s latest book, Outflow. To claim your copy you need to first sign up at ServantEvangelism.com. Then send a friendly email to charlie@kindness.com with the following information, your name, the name of your church, how long you have been the pastor, and the address for shipment of the book.
Charlie Wear, Editor

Alyx and I just finished reading Community of Kindness by Steve Sjogren and it was outstanding. It is primarily geared toward church planting but there is a lot of relevant stuff to everyday pastoral ministry.

I'm working on another post regarding servant evangelism but if you have never done a SE project I can't exhort you strongly enough. Try it yourself or better yet grab a small group at church.

Go to ServantEvangelism.com and pick a project like a drink giveaway or free car wash. Make up some contact cards or borrow some from their site. Go out to do the project for an hour or two and then re-gather to debrief over a meal Watch what God does in your midst.

If you want help getting started leave a comment and I'll do whatever I can to get you started.

One SE book that I can't recommend highly enough: 101 Ways to Reach Your Community, A Handbook for Servant Evangelism, by Steve Sjogren. For $7.00 it is a steal. This book is worth every penny.

UPDATE: Wahoo! I've got a free book coming. Thanks Charlie!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Church's 'Jesus loves Osama' sign criticised

A Baptist Church in Australia put that sign out and in small print at the bottom it quotes Jesus' words in Matt 5.44 "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you".

Some are unhappy about it like the Prime Minister. The Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen thinks it at least ought to say that Jesus doesn't approve of Osama. In his opinion the sign seems to indicate that Jesus approves of him.

I wouldn't try that in my town, living right outside of Ft. Drum. It may be true but when our friends and family are coming home wounded, maimed, scared and dead you just can't rub it in their faces that Jesus loves terrorists.

iCalShare - Share Your iCalendars!

I was searching iCalShare and came across some useful calendars that could be imported to iCal or your Palm. Check out 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

There was also the various lectionaries, Bible reading plans, the Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Orthodox church year, and numerous churches who publish their calendars there.