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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cybermissions.Org - Using The Internet As The Fishing Net

Cybermissions.Org has 3 six week training courses in Cybermissions. Cost: $37.50. There's a lot of info at this site. Somebody is passionate about this.

There is a long article found entitled: Missions in Cyberspace: The Strategic Front-Line Use of the Internet in Missions. If you are into cross cultural missions and using the internet for a global impact you might enjoy wading through it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Metropolitan Community Church: Ministries - Armor Bearers

Metropolitan Community Church in Chicago has a huge list of ministries including some stuff I've never seen or heard of before.

For example, they have Armor Bearers. What are Armor Bearers? Check out this job description. I'm guessing this doesn't show up in Willowcreek's or Saddleback's or anyone else's spiritual gift inventories.
"David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “ Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him." (1 Samuel 16: 21-22)

What is an Armor Bearer?

Armor Bearers are not elected but are appointed by the Pastor from congregants who are in good standing, who are tithers, and who love the church and the Shepherd.

“The main function of one who is designated as an armor bearer is that of service . . . for the biblical armor bearer was much more than a hired hand. An armor bearer was a person who undoubtedly spent many years, if not one’s entire life, in the leader’s service.”

Duties of an Armor Bearer

  • Must provide strength for the leader
  • Must have a deep-down sense of respect for the leader, and acceptance for and tolerance of, the leader’s personality and their way of doing things
  • Must instinctively understand the leader’s thoughts
  • Must walk in agreement with and submission to the leader
  • Must make the advancement of the leader the most important goal
  • Must possess endless strength so as to thrust, press and force their way onward without giving way under harsh treatment
  • Must follow directives immediately and correctly
  • Must be a support to the leader
  • Must be an effective communicator
  • Must have a disposition that will eagerly gain victories for the leader
  • Must have the ability to minister strength and courage to the leader

(God’s Armor Bearer, Terry Nance)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Praying with Muslims

So I've got this Christian friend who was in a foreign country with a large group of friendly Muslims. They heard the horn and it was time to stop, drop and roll. The Muslims pulled out their carpet and faced Mecca to pray. My friend decided to drop to his knees like the Muslims and pray to Jesus. After a couple of days of this, he decided he really, really liked it.

A couple of his other friends rebuked him. They pointed to the example of Daniel in the Bible who wouldn't bow. Daniel could have bowed and prayed to his God but instead took a stand. Someone mentioned to him that he should abstain from the appearance of evil as Scripture suggests and he shouldn't appear to be a Muslim when he is a Christian. I suggested he make the sign of the cross when he knelt and when he got up. (Of course, I have evangelical friends who don't like making the sign of the cross either -- it's too Catholic for them.)

Interesting dilemma.

Small Dog

I've bought computer stuff through Small Dog over the years. Their customer service is the very best. I subscribe to one of their e-newsletters Kibbles & Bytes. Here's a snippet for why to buy a Mac:

Why Buy A Mac?
By Ed@Smalldog.com

Over the past couple of weeks, several people have asked me why they should buy a Mac when Macs seem more expensive than some advertised PCs. Well, here are my top five reasons why Macs easily justify their price:

1. Quality. Apple desktop and laptop computers are rated #1 by Consumer Reports for repair history, tech support, and consumer satisfaction. Apple leads all other reviewed computer manufactures, including Sony, Dell, and HP in all those categories. Any computer can have tech problems, but statistically Macs are much less likely to have them happen.

2. There are still no viruses for OS 10.4 in the wild, and there never have been. Of course, this could change, but Apple has proven it has built an extremely secure OS. Apple is committed to keeping the OS secure and up-to-date as well.

3. You can run multiple OS's on any Intel-based Mac. Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2000, Linux, Unix etc. If you buy one Mac and install Windows, it's like owning two or more computers. Unix and X11 are already installed. Windows can be downloaded over the web. No PC can effectively run the Mac OS at all. For may people, especially web designers and scientists, this is a must-have feature.

4. Awesome multi-media architecture. Macs are ready to make high quality media projects out of the box with iLife and the extremely multimedia-friendly OS X. Macs are ready to run ultra high-end, cutting edge multimedia apps as well, such as Shake, Avid, etc.

5. High resale value. It's a pain if you want to buy a used Mac, but great if you are selling one. Macs retain the highest resale of any computer in the industry. This makes it somewhat easier to upgrade to a new Mac in the future. Macs retain high resale value because they tend to be extremely reliable.

Of course, I am very biased. But I love using my MacBook Pro for writing, designing, communicating, and yes, even for dreaming. OS X, even with it's limitations, is really the best operating system on the planet. I also love the features, power and design of Macintosh computers, especially now that we have the power and flexibility of the Intel processors.

I do wish every Mac came with more USB ports, though...

I've been a Mac user for 20 years and own 20+ Macs. One thing I wish they would fix is their ability to handle audio in web sites. My new and old Macs don't handle audio well. I've had trouble with ESPN, MLB.com and Jefferson County Scanner among others. If I go to those same sites with the crummy PC I have laying around it handles the audio just fine.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The Anglican Communion crisis grew more intense this week with the Bishops of the Episcopal Church making decisions to reject processes for reform set forth by the Anglican Primates. Formal schism will likely happen this year -- as opposed to the informal schism already in place. Lord have mercy.

I spoke with an Episcopal priest recently who had a conversation with her Bishop. She asked about why he was pushing for rites for the blessings of same sex relationships. He said he wasn't pushing but open to it.

She wondered how he could do that in light of what the Scriptures say. His response was to say that he had a new revelation. She posited that that sound like Mormonism. He said, it was not but was a revelation of the 'Spirit'. She wondered what spirit.

She again pointed to the Scriptures. He said sometimes the Scriptures were wrong.

True story.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I celebrated my 40th birthday yesterday in 'airport hell'. I arrived at SYR at 5:45 am EST and finally landed at DLH at 11:22 pm CST — of course I had to go through EWR, DTW and MSP. Finally got into my hotel room bed 1:45 am CST. Thank God my family gave me a great party on Sunday. The whole Silver Elite thing isn't helping me much. Northwest Airlines is not good.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

VirtueOnline - News - News - "Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired," says Human Genome Project Head

VirtueOnline - News - News - "Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired," says Human Genome Project Head

Friday, March 16, 2007

Church Planting and Hockey

Had an interesting conversation with a CMA pastor in MN. In a town of less than 10,000 his church of about 400 has planted 2 others over the last several years. The most recent one apparently has more of a pomo flavor or feel to it. He used the word "emerging". The one they planted about 7 years ago was one targeted to those in recovery from substance abuse. That church has 110 conversions in its first 3 years and 80% of them were completely unchurched.

He now has a new idea rattling around in his brain: hockey church. For large parts of the year hockey families are non-existent in church and hockey is a significant part of the culture and life where he lives. He identified hockey families as an unchurched people group. Interesting thought. How do you take church to them?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cars, faith, charity grace Burdick's life

Luis Palau did an evangelistic festival in Syracuse, NY in 2002.
The General Chair for the event was noted car dealer, philanthropist and Christian leader, Roger Burdick. This article is about him. I remember when I worked for a Christian adoption agency about 15 years ago that Burdick Mazda used to provide cars for the agency ... very generous Christian people.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Steve Sjogren, Larry Flynt & Servant Evangelism

Another plug for servant evangelism. Read this snipped from: Serve! with Steve Sjogren - The online ezine about outward focused living.:
"Recently the St. PetersburgTimes contacted me with the news that they were doing a series of articles on the one place we all spend a lot of time each day – the toilet! To their surprise when they put the word “Toilet cleaning” into Google my name popped up several times in connection with toilet cleaning outreaches (What a thing to be known for! And I thought that being on the Jerry Springer Show was tough to beat – I’ll write about that another time) Over the past 15 years my wife Janie and I have traveled the world cleaning toilets to show the love of Jesus in a practical way.

Steve Sjogren cleans toiletsThey asked lots of interesting questions like, “What’s the most interesting place where you have cleaned a toilet?” That one was easy – Larry Flynt’s Super Porno Store – Janie and I wanted to make a statement of love to him in spite of local Christians who were protesting his presence by marching in front of his store. It was interesting, later when I was severely wounded – read about that situation at DayIDied.Com – he was the first person to call to say he was praying for me! "

'Fresh Expressions' are Blowing Through the Church in Great Britain

A little bit of good news about the work of the Kingdom of God in Great Britain. Methodist and Anglicans working together.

VirtueOnline - News - Theology, Research ... - What puts men off from becoming Ministers?

What's interesting is that some of these reasons ought to be putting women off from becoming ministers also but apparently it's not?

VirtueOnline: What puts men off from becoming Ministers?:

"'Christian Research' has drawn our attention to a new survey about what puts men off from becoming Ministers:

'A survey carried out by Generation Next and the Affinity church network sought to answer this question by surveying 400 Christian men, most of whom were aged between 21 and 40. The survey was aimed at people who had recently become Ministers or were currently considering it.

The key issues included: the way Ministers were treated by their churches, a lack of good role models, confusion about the nature of the 'call' that they should expect to feel, finance, especially to fund training, the availability of preaching opportunities, the lack of clear training and development paths, and the feminisation of the church. Equally, there were other disadvantages of life as a Minister which did not prove to be a barrier such as loneliness and the excessive workload.'

The full report can be downloaded here: http://generationnext.org.uk/pdf/MensQuestionnaireReport.pdf"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Current reading material ...

Reading is about to become very exciting for me. I had to get an eye exam for my NYS driver's license and found out I need glasses! Ah the joys of being 39.95 years old! The doctor said I didn't need to wear them everywhere just when I'm reading, using the computer, watching TV or driving ... which kind of seems like everywhere in the current version of my life.

I have a couple of books going at the moment:
My autographed pre-release copy of Outflow by Steve Sjogren and David Ping.
My autographed copy of Unbinding the Gospel by Martha Grace Reese.
Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Advice for Pastors from Casey Stengel

I saw this quote today from Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel and thought it applicable to the life of a pastor: "The secret of managing," Casey once said, "is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Testament Scholar and Bible Translator Bruce Metzger Dies

My mentor in college was Dr. Paul Livermore who did his Ph.D. at Princeton and studied under Dr. Bruce Metzger. Livermore used to say about Metzger, "He's so good he could hear grass grow."

I encourage you to read Dr. Metzger's obituary. His influence on Biblical scholarship and on literally every person who has ever worked with NT Greek is unparalleled.

Even more impressive than all of his contributions to the church: he was married 63 years.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Church Values

I've been thinking through some values that I would hope for in a church plant or if I were leading a church in renewal. Here are some that I've come up with so far:

We're willing to be innovative and unconventional, bordering on irreverent based on our desire to be relevant. We don't feel the need to conform to the current evangelical subculture.

We'll be a church that parties like Zacchaeus, known for eating together and for feasts, festivals and celebrations.

We'll be a church that aggressively supports the institution of marriage. We'll spend money to support counseling, enrichment resources and retreats, and work for the wellness of every marriage in our community.

We'll be a church that thinks and ministers strategically, working to alleviate poverty and bring economic revival to our community. We'll be noted for what we give away, spend on others and not ourselves.

We'll be a church that embraces prayer, care and share evangelism. We will fast for the salvation of the lost. We will be known for our sacrificial serving of the unchurched. We'll work cooperatively with other churches for the purpose of proclaiming Jesus Christ in the community in power ways. We believe in proclamation evangelism yet recognize that the overwhelming majority of people come to Christ through a friend, relative, associate or neighbor before age 21.

We'll be a church that is "friends with all who fear Thee." (Psalm 119:63) We'll have an affection for, pray for and desire the wellness of every church and pastor in our community. We will serve other churches in love and unity.

We'll be a church that loves Bible: we will study it, teach it, preach from it and make one available for every person in our community for free, in their language and at their level, and encouraging all other churches in the community to do the same.

We'll be a church based on the "Go" model of ministry. We'll be a sending church: sending missionaries across the globe and releasing all our parishioners to pursue ministry outside the church walls. Every parishioner will strongly encouraged to participate in a cross cultural missions trip every three years. We'll consider ourselves a "mother church" from day 1, getting ready to plant our next church or campus.

We'll be a church that disciples children, teaching them to pray, love God & His people, to pursue holiness, to enjoy the Scriptures and most importantly to disciple others. We believe that children as believers have spiritual gifts and they are essential to the church and to be deployed for the furthering of the Kingdom of God.

We'll be a church of disciple makers / evangelists. Every believer needs to know they have a role in leading people to Jesus Christ and helping Christ to be deeply formed in them. We'll have high standards for membership and low standards for belonging and participating. This church will be uncomfortable for those not participating in servant evangelism, missions and disciple making.

We'll create a exciting spiritual learning climate that fosters the growth of the love and knowledge of God in every facet of our life. We want to create a climate of passion for God, not just knowledge about him.

We'll be an Ancient-Future church. We embrace ancient spiritual disciplines, celebrate the church year and feed ourselves on Christ in weekly Eucharist.

We'll be a church that can answer the questions: How does discipleship and life transformation happen? What does a disciple look like? How do you gauge progress and momentum?

On an old sermon tape that I have of Bill Hybels he says:
"How is Christ deeply formed in a person's life? Do you just pour knowledge into a new Christian and does that make them mature? Do you just have them stay within certain guidelines, do you put down certain expectations, do you say "if you attend these meetings and give a certain amount of money" ? Is it external? Is it internal? Is it a combination of both? How does Christ take up residency and become fully formed in someone's life?

We're asking those questions these days and the working outline of what we're working on is that there are certain practices, relationships and experiences ... that contribute to Christ being deeply formed in someone's life."
-- Bill Hybels

We'll be a church that answers those questions passionately.

I saw these values at another church's web site and liked them also:

• Every person has the right to a presentation of the Gospel at his or her level of understanding.
• Every person needs a Biblical moral compass to guide and protect him or her throughout life.
• Every believer has unique gifts to be discovered, developed, and used to strengthen the Church.
• Every believer has a purpose in advancing the global mission of Christ and the Church.

Well that's what I have been thinking about. What about you? What values and visions do you have for your church or for a church that doesn't exist yet?

kyw.com - 10-Year-Old Suing School Over Jesus Costume

What's sillier: Dressing up as Jesus for Halloween like a super hero or a school telling a kid that he can't under their policy that prohibits the promoting of a religion? Maybe what's silliest of all is suing the school over it? This should be Larknews.com but it's not.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Walkable Eastwood (Syracuse, NY)

Congratulations Matt & Rachel on the grand opening of Cafe Kubal in Eastwood Plaza! We hope to be down for coffee soon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

churchrelevance.com: The 25 Most Innovative Churches in America

This is old news but the list is interesting anyways. Of course, the list is led by a church from my beloved Evangelical Covenant Church. I talk to people all the time, even from OK who have never heard of it. Only 2 churches from the northeast, both in NYC. It is hard to do significant ministry in the northeast.

The list is for innovative churches NOT largest attendance or most influential. I'm not entirely sure what criteria they use to rank them. My church is not on the list .... probably came in at 26.

The 25 Most Innovative Churches in America
  1. LifeChurch.tv (Edmond, OK) :: Craig Groeschel

  2. Granger Community Church (Granger, IN) :: Mark Beeson

  3. North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA) :: Andy Stanley

  4. Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX) :: Ed Young Jr.

  5. Mosaic Church (City of Industry, CA) :: Erwin McManus

  6. Seacoast Church (Mt. Pleasant, SC) :: Greg Surratt

  7. Community Christian Church (Naperville, IL) :: Dave Ferguson

  8. National Community Church (Washington, DC) :: Mark Batterson

  9. Mars Hill Church (Seattle, WA) :: Mark Driscoll

  10. New Hope Christian Fellowship (Oahu, HI) :: Wayne Cordero

  11. Mars Hill Bible Church (Grandville, MI) :: Rob Bell

  12. The Potter’s House (Dallas, TX) :: T.D. Jakes

  13. Crossover Church (Tampa, FL) :: Tommy Kyllonen

  14. Church of the Open Door (Maple Grove, MN) :: David Johnson

  15. Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York, NY) :: Timothy Keller

  16. Healing Place Church (Baton Rouge, LA) :: Dino Rizzo

  17. The Journey Church (New York, NY) :: Nelson Searcy

  18. Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA) :: Rick Warren

  19. North Coast Church (Vista, CA) :: Larry Osborn

  20. Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) :: Bill Hybels

  21. Imago Dei Community (Portland, OR) :: Rick McKinley

  22. Christ the King Community Church (Mt. Vernon, WA) :: Dave Browning

  23. Radiant Church (Surprise, AZ) :: Lee McFarland

  24. Living Word Christian Center (Forest Park, IL) :: William Winston

  25. The Sanctuary (Santa Clarita, CA) :: Marty Walker