• The Met
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  • Jeune Fille se Defendant Contre L'amour
    by William Bouguereau

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    by William Bouguereau

  • Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ
    by William Bouguereau
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bradley Wright's Weblog: Divorce rates by religious affiliation I

We've all heard those statistics that say divorce is as prevalent in the church as outside of the church. Think again. Check out these statistics: Bradley Wright's Weblog: Divorce rates by religious affiliation I. Those who are active in their faith only divorce about 1/3 of th time. That's still a lot in God's eyes, but substantially less than the 50-60% stats often thrown about.

Starbucks Gossip

Do you ever read Starbucks Gossip? You can learn a lot about the company there including how much their employees make, which policies work and don't, promotions, yada, yada, yada.

But here's who's coffee I'd really like to try: Illy. Check out this article with information about their plans to invade the US.

When I was down in Manhattan last week I had a cappuccino at an Italian espresso bar. There is just nothing that compares to it up north here or in any other city I go to. The frothed milk is like a gel and despite an espresso roast essentially being a 'burnt' coffee bean, there was nothing burnt about this cappy. It was just smooth and wonderful in every way.

The Starbuck's Gossip site gives at least a little insight to the marketing of the company and their customer service practices. How many churches every really think about customer service? I suppose it's more than ever but it's apparent that there are still many who don't think about it at all. I walk into churches all the time that stink (literally), or are dated and ugly, uncomfortable to sit, poor sound, poor lighting, etc. They have the most important message in the world and seemingly do everything possible to hide it. Lord have mercy.

Jibstay: What Covenant Pastors Want

If you are a Covenant person you really must read What Covenant Pastors Want. It's short but important. The need for a clear method of conflict resolution is particularly important. That's damaging a lot of churches and pastors at the moment.

Thanks to Donn Johnson for blogging about this.

The Metropolitan Museum's new Greek and Roman Galleries - New York Times

I had a great time at The Metropolitan Museum's new Greek and Roman Galleries. Click on this link the New York Times article and it has an fantastic interactive page.

We spent the entire day at The Met and were exhausted at the end. It was wonderful, though none of Bouguereau's stuff was on display. I did see the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. It was huge -- much bigger than I knew about! Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Manet ... were all there. The Rodin sculptures are really great. We liked the ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and the Temple of Dendur. But the new Greek and Roman Galleries were clearly there best thing. It was outstanding and so were the Bellinis they served. Many kudos to my friends at the Onasis Library.

The modern art pieces are just stuff I don't get. According to one expert, some of it apparently is meant to not evoke emotion or thoughtfulness or a response of any kind. That's the intention of the piece. That it does that well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WorldNetDaily: Pastors: Act now or prepare for jail

Janet Folger of Faith2Action says, Pastors: Act now or prepare for jail. Our freedom of speech rights are under attack by current legislation facing the House of Representatives. You'll also want to read her article, "Conyers' 'Hate Grandma' bill introduced in House".

Sunday, April 22, 2007

ultrarev's YouTube videos

I've begun putting some of my smaller video's on my YouTube page. If you've been to my .Mac site previously you've probably seen most of these but I just added my church's tv commercial, another music video and one about evangelism. Enjoy.

Sermons on Evangelism by Lon Allison

I have several Lon Allison sermons on evangelism posted in my .Mac Public Folder. They are excellent and can't encourage you enough to give them a listen.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Newzjunky.com :: E-mail Bag

A brave 10th Mountain Division soldier, who is stationed in Afghanistian, has written this open letter. He has asked you to read it and link it at your web site to make more people aware of their dangerous work in Afghanistan. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: metmuseum.org

After work today I'm heading to New York City to visit a friend and go to the opening of the Roman Court at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Should be very exciting.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Interview with Jeremy Mehrle - �ber Mac Collector at The Apple Blog

Jeremy Mehrle is somebody with more Macs than me. Check out his pics. He's a real collector. I'm not so much a collector as I ... well, I kind of get other people's cast offs and don't want to get rid of them. I'm up to 24 at the moment not including the MacBook I use given to me by my employer, plus I have a Newton, 4 LaserWriters, an Apple II, a StyleWriter or two, 3 Apple QuickTakes and more power cords and keyboards than are necessary.

I think when I get a new house I'm going to have to 'man-up' and take control of the basement as my own domain, set up my toys the way I want and party like it's 1984.

VirtueOnline - News - Exclusives - RIDGECREST, NC: 8000 new anglicans added daily to Church,400 new churches weekly

An encouraging article about worldwide church growth. I'd like to know where he gets his stats from. David Virtue states:
"The Church of Jesus Christ is growing faster now that at any time in its 2,000 year history. Globally more than 90,000 new converts come to Christ each day with 20,000 new Christians confessing Christ daily in Africa, and 28,000 new Christians coming daily to Christ in China."

Evangelistic Festival Video

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Evel Overcome With Good | Christianity Today

Here is a great testimony that is distinctly Calvinist in flavor. Notice in the story that from his perspective God chose him, he didn't choose to respond to God's invitation. Although I am not a Calvinist I know it when I see it and wished I was there to witness it. Here is a snippet from a CT article:
Evel Overcome With Good: Daredevil Knievel's testimony triggers mass baptisms at Crystal Cathedral. by Brad A. Greenberg | posted 4/13/2007 03:03PM

On Palm Sunday, hundreds responded to Robert "Evel" Knievel's testimony by asking to be baptized on the spot at Crystal Cathedral. Speaking alongside the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, Knievel told the congregation in Orange County, California, how he had refused for 68 years to accept Jesus Christ as Lord. He believed in God, but he couldn't walk away from the gold and the gambling and the booze and the women.

"I don't know why I fought it so hard," he said. "I just did."

But Knievel knew people were praying for him, including his daughter's church, his ex-wife's church, and the hundreds of people who wrote letters urging him to believe. And then something indescribable happened during Daytona Bike Week this March.

"I don't know what in the world happened. I don't know if it was the power of the prayer or God himself, but it just reached out, either while I was driving or walking down the sidewalk or sleeping, and it just—the power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. … All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ. I did, I believed in him! … I rose up in bed and, I was by myself, and I said, 'Devil, Devil, you bastard you, get away from me. I cast you out of my life.' … I just got on my knees and prayed that God would put his arms around me and never, ever, ever let me go."

Friday, April 13, 2007

iPod Bibles, BibleZines? You name it, they've got it

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting article about Bibles.

Christ Church NYC:: Welcome

I have friend who visited Christ Church NYC recently and said it was a moving experience. It is a church plant being supported by Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York, NY) which is led by Pastor Tim Keller.

Here is how they describe themselves on their web site:
Christ Church New York City is an independent church in the orthodox anglican tradition. We share the vision of transforming the city by establishing new churches. The message of Christ Church is not first and foremost about morality but transformation – a whole new way of life, with a new focus of worship. It is about people being individually renewed by God, forming new communities (churches), and providing comfort and care for people in need in the wider community.
It's a little bit of an oxymoronic description: "an independent church in the orthodox Anglican tradition." I'm not sure you can really be in the Anglican tradition and be independent. One of the defining characteristics of Anglicanism certainly is it's episcopal polity. I would guess an independent church would not have a bishop though I could be wrong.

What they probably mean is that their worship practice is Anglican in style and their theology would be similar to other confessing Anglicans. Their self description of independent and Anglican struck me as funny but I'm not trying to be disparaging.

I really believe that more churches like this need to be planted in the northeast, especially in areas where there is a significant population of dechurched Roman Catholics. Many of them are familiar with the liturgy but have been wounded by the church and aren't coming back. Further they are hungry for truth. An orthodox Anglican or Anglo-Catholic church just might work for them.

Orthodox Anglican Online Resources.

When I first heard about Christ Church that I mentioned in my previous post, I thought they might have been part of one of the Anglican renewal groups like The Orthodox Anglican Church. So I googled them but didn't find Christ Church connected with them. However, I did find a plethora of interesting resources. Check this page out: Orthodox Anglican Online Resources.

cbs2chicago.com - Church Trying To Get Catholics Back To Confession

James 5:16 "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (ESV)

Seems like we all need to get back to confession according to the Scriptures.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monthly pilgrimage

I'm on my monthly pilgrimage to northern MN this week. Luckily both of my Northworst Airlines flights departed late today but some how my final flight arrived early. But of course it took nearly 45 minutes for my luggage to come through baggage claim.

After a long exhausting day I'm doing my favorite hotel activity, watching Dog the Bounty Hunter. Aloha!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday Art

A couple of years ago when preparing a multimedia Stations of the Cross service I came across this piece entitled, Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ [The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ] by William Bouguereau (1825-1905), a French Academic Classical painter, frescoist, draftsman & teacher.

I was enthralled and began to search other works by Bouguereau, which led me to the Art Renewal Center, an online art museum. My favorite Bouguereau painting is in the side bar on the left of this blog.

Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ
[The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ]

by William Bouguereau (1825-1905)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Judge says district ban on religious fliers wrong

STUDENT ALERT. Courts have ruled that students can evangelize in school by passing out religious literature in school, at least in New York State, although it was a Federal Court ruling. Just as anyone can pass out Valentines, birthday cards, invitations to events, etc. students can also pass out religious literature.

A Contrast in Messages ...

Below are two extended quotes from articles found at VirtueOnline. They are contrasting views about savlation from CoE cleric, Jeffrey Johns and Pope Benedict. Happy Easter.

CoE Cleric's Easter message: Christ did not die for sin
The Very Rev Jeffrey John, who had to withdraw before taking up an appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a long-term homosexual relationship, is set to ignite a row over one of the most fundamental tenets of Christian belief.

Clergy who preach this Easter that Christ was sent to earth to die in atonement for the sins of mankind are "making God sound like a psychopath", he will say.

In a BBC Radio 4 show, Mr John, who is now Dean of St Albans, urges a revision of the traditional explanation, known as "penal substitution".

Christian theology has taught that because humans have sinned, God sent Christ as a substitute to suffer and die in our place.

"In other words, Jesus took the rap and we got forgiven as long as we said we believed in him," says Mr John. "This is repulsive as well as nonsensical. It makes God sound like a psychopath. If a human behaved like this we'd say that they were a monster."

Mr John argues that too many Christians go through their lives failing to realise that God is about "love and truth", not "wrath and punishment". He offers an alternative interpretation, suggesting that Christ was crucified so he could "share in the worst of grief and suffering that life can throw at us".

ROME: Pope says hell and damnation are real and eternal
HELL is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, the Pope said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to "admit blame and promise to sin no more", they risked "eternal damnation - the inferno".

Hell "really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more".

The Pope, who as cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was head of Catholic doctrine, noted that "forgiveness of sins" for those who repented was a cornerstone of Christian belief.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Good Friday

Holy Week has begun with Palm Sunday. It's weeks like this where I miss being a pastor. I loved planning services for Holy Week. In OH I had a legendary parishioner whom I nicknamed "The Arch" as in Archdeacon. We were an amazing team -- at least in our own minds -- planning worship together.

Now of course Holy Week will be over soon and we'll be into Eastertide and then Pentecost and the pangs of missing being a pastor will subside again until Advent. Those pangs also get chased away quickly when my friends tell me about their latest bored, ... er ... uh ... board meeting and the complaining parishioners whining about nonsense.

For you pastors needing a little help this week for Good Friday, I offer you my favorite Good Friday service. Nothing really novel. It's based on the traditional stations of the cross from the Roman Catholic tradition.

The great thing about this service is that you can include so many people as readers. We used two people to alternate announcing the station and then 14 readers to read the Scripture texts and pray. We marked out 14 locations down the center aisle of the church, moving progressively closer to the cross in the front of the church, to give a sense of movement toward the cross for the service.

You can also make this a Tenebrae service with 13 taper candles and 1 pillar candle to be the Christ candle. Extinguish one candle per station with the Christ candle extinguished last.

One year our music director, who was also an outstanding oboeist, played a mournful solo of The Via Dolorosa as the closing song after the final station while in the dark.

Finally after the service is over and people are still seated, strip the church of banners, parments, plants, candles, altarware -- everything -- symbolizing the stripping of Jesus and dark tomb he was laid in. Remove it all out of the church. People leave in silence.

The songs below are from the Red Covenant Hymnal and the gray Song Goes On. There is a place for a sermon or homily after the 12th station but the service really doesn't need it. The service itself preaches. And the benediction at the end isn't necessary either.

Good Friday
Way of the Cross Service

Welcome and Introduction to Good Friday Worship

*Call To Worship Isaiah 53:4-5
Leader: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
People: Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.
Leader: But he was wounded for our transgressions,
People: He was bruised for our iniquities;
Leader: Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
People: And with his stripes we are healed. Thanks be to God.

Lord Jesus, on this day you carried our sins in your own body on the tree so that we might live. May we and all who remember this day find new life in you in this world and in the world to come, where you live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

The First Station: Jesus Prays in the Garden of Olives
Scripture: Luke 22:39-46
What Wondrous Love Is This #204 v.1 Covenant Hymnal

The Second Station: Jesus is Betrayed by Judas
Scripture: Matthew 26:45-49
What Wondrous Love Is This #204 v.1 Covenant Hymnal

The Third Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death by the Sanhedrin
Scripture: Mark 14: 56, 61-64
What Wondrous Love Is This #204 v.1 Covenant Hymnal

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross #202 Covenant Hymnal

The Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter
Scripture: Luke 22:54-62
What Wondrous Love Is This #204 v.1 Covenant Hymnal

The Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate
Scripture: Luke 23:20-25
What Wondrous Love Is This #204 v.1 Covenant Hymnal

The Sixth Station: Jesus is Flogged and Crowned with Thorns
Scripture: John 19:1-3
What Wondrous Love Is This #204 v.1 Covenant Hymnal

On A Hill Far Away #198 Covenant Hymnal

The Seventh Station: Jesus Carries His Cross
Scripture: John 19:17
Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On (gray)

The Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon of Cyrene
Scripture: Mark 15:20-21
Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On (gray)

The Ninth Station: Jesus Encounters the Women of Jerusalem
Scripture: Luke 23:27-31
Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On (gray)

Were You There #203 Covenant Hymnal

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified
Scripture: Mark 15:22-26
Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On (gray)

The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises to Share His Reign with the Thief
Scripture: Luke 23:39-43
Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On (gray)

The Twelfth Station: Jesus on the Cross with His Mother & Disciple Below
Scripture: John 19:25-27
Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On (gray)

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Scripture: Matthew 27:45-50
O How He Loves You and Me #130 v.1 Song Goes On (gray)

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
Scripture: Matthew 27:57-61
O How He Loves You and Me #130 Song Goes On (gray)


There is a prayer for each station too that we had written out for each reader. We also did this service using the Taize song Jesus, Remember Me #122 Song Goes On for the first 13 stations and Were You There #203 as the closing hymn.

We relied heavily on Robert Webber's tome, The Complete Library of Christian Worship. He also has a liturgy of the Palms and a Seven Last Words of Christ service.

Seven Last Words of Christ
Good Friday Service

Welcome and Introduction
Opening Hymn

The First Word
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

The Second Word
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

The Third Word
“Dear woman, here is your son . . . Here is your mother.” John 19:26-27

The Fourth Word
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt 27:46

The Fifth Word
“I am thirsty.” John 19:28

The Sixth Word
“It is finished.” John 19:30

The Seventh Word
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Closing Prayer
Closing Hymn

We particularly enjoyed doing these services ecumenically with clergy from the community's churches leading each station or "word". Do something great for God this Good Friday that leads people to worship our Savior Jesus Christ with awe and majesty.

Newfrontiers - a worldwide family of churches together on a mission

Apparently, Newfrontiers is a new denomination or movement of churches? Anybody know of their churches and what they are like?

Cheat Death And Grow Younger With These 44 Longevity Tips at Ririan Project

I admit it. I love self help stuff. Ririan Project give me my fix with Cheat Death And Grow Younger With These 44 Longevity Tips.

April 29, 2007 Internet Evangelism Day

Whoa! There are a ton of resources available at this site promoting Internet Evangelism Day and the overall use of the Internet for evangelism, training and cybermissions ... video clips, mp3's, articles, testimonies, graphics, etc. ... and as near as I can tell it's mostly free.

It isn't entirely clear what IED is. Is it a day to do cyberevangelism or to promote the use of the Internet for evangelism or to train people to do evangelism or ...? Should we do something special on-line that day? Doesn't seem like the best day to be doing an active outreach online as April 29 is a Sunday and so many people access the Internet from their place of employment -- generally a place they are not at on Sundays.

However, the concept is imperative. As usual the church is lagging behind in the use of technology. Churches that plan on reaching new generations need to go beyond having a crappy, ugly, one page, outdated, poorly ranked web site and consider how they can harness the technology of the Internet for the Kingdom of God. We need some pastors who aren't scared of technological change but who are gutsy enough to begin dreaming and praying about how to use new technology for God's glory and the expansion of His Kingdom.

Internet Evangelism Day graphic

Mars Hill Church : Pastoral Reflections on Bible Translations: Why We Preach from the English Standard Version

This is Pastor Mark Discoll's reflections on why Mars Hill elders decided to change from using the New International Version Bible to the English Standard Version for preaching, offering both theological and practical considerations.

Mars Hill makes a list of what Scripture says about itself, which I find meaningful. For apologetic purposes using these verses to argue about the authority, power, etc. of Scripture would be considered circular reasoning, but for faith purposes it's good to know what God says about his word.

• Given by inspiration of God — 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19–21
• The very words of God — 1 Thessalonians 2:13
• All we need to know God — Luke 16:29, 31
• A perfect guide for life — Proverbs 6:23
• Pure — Psalm 12:6; 119:140
• True — Psalm 119:160; John 17:17
• Trustworthy — Proverbs 30:5–6
• Perfect — Psalm 19:7
• Effective — Isaiah 55:11
• Powerful — Hebrews 4:12
• Nothing to be taken from or added to — Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32
• For everyone — Romans 16:25–27
• To be obeyed — James 1:22

Although I have used the NIV for many years and still do, I really like the ESV and find it refreshing. I took it to church today. I also like it's cover. At the moment, when I am preaching I still use the NIV.

Today I was on eBay and searched for ESV and came across someone selling a hardcover 2001 edition. The person described it as "... wonderful layman's translation but ... found it lacking in some areas ..." I thought it an odd comment. Like scholars don't or won't use it? In contrast, Driscoll said they were changing to the ESV in part because his audience, Seattle, is the most literate and educated in America.

BTW, the eBay one was $1.99 opening bid + $5 s/h.