• The Met
  • The Art Renewal Center
  • William Bouguereau

  • My Favorite Art
  • Jeune Fille se Defendant Contre L'amour
    by William Bouguereau

  • Le_ravissement de Psyche
    by William Bouguereau

  • Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ
    by William Bouguereau
My Photo
Location: Liverpool, NY

"In my house, I'm a big deal. That's all that matters."


About The Ultra Rev


Free Hit Counters

Powered by Blogger

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mark Regnerus' Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers. - By Hanna Rosin - Slate Magazine

Apparently evangelical teens like to get busy. I remember a very wise old mentor I had used to warn young people against praying together with your girl/boyfriend that it would lead to sex. He would say that spirituality and sexuality are not the same thing, but they are very closely related. His theory was that kids whose spiritual lives were closely intertwined were more likely to have sex.

It would be interesting if the research of this article was broken down a little further. Evangelicals are not all the same. Is there a difference between charismatics and non-charismatics? What about those who only use the KJV vs. those who don't? Could we break it down by denomination?

The research says: apparently religion is not as important when it comes to purity as religiosity is. Kids with hard core commitments to their faith are those who abstain. "The ideal conditions are a group of pledgers who form a self-conscious minority that perceives itself as special, even embattled."


Interestingly enough, the article's author wrote another piece in Nov 06, "Mommy, What's an Evangelical?" That attempts to explain the difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists.

The curious history of church signs. - By Doree Shafrir - Slate Magazine

Here's a very short little article about church signs ...
Click here to read a slide show on the cultural history of church signs, illustrated with images from Church Signs Across America.

New Loch Ness Monster video - CNN.com

Oh, I'm so hoping for some Big Foot video too!

ABC News: 3 Ex-Presidents Open Graham Library

ABC News reports former Presidents Bush, Clinton and Carter were in NC for the opening of the Billy Graham Library. What if each of them took the message of Graham seriously and committed their lives to following Christ and making disciples of the whole world? What if they started doing personal or mass evangelism? What if they began to use their influence to aggressively reach this world for Christ? That could be powerful.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BGEA: Our Ministries: TV Specials

Have you seen the schedule for the upcoming Billy Graham TV Specials related to the VA Tech tragedy. It'll have testimonies from people who are connected to that event and a girl from the Columbine tragedy along with a message from Billy Graham that he preached in the days following 911.

In the Syracuse area it will be broadcast on NBC, WSTM Channel 3 on June 8 @ 7:00 pm.

The Timaru Herald: Global warming debunked

Yet another article that says global warming caused by human action is a myth. Embarrassingly I admit, I find it tough to know what to believe about this issue. My experience is that everyone has a definite opinion about this, yet I feel suspect of all of them. Increasingly I read about supposed scholars who claim to be marginalized and uncritically dismissed because of their opinions against the idea of human caused global warming. But that was the same thing that went on for years about scholars who alarmingly claimed the planet was warming and we needed to do something about it. I really don't know what to believe.

Franklin Graham Festivals

Franklin Graham will be in Binghamton, NY in 2 weeks the NYPENN Festival. I'm going down on Saturday, June 8th for the Third Day concert and to learn a little about their festival process. Very exciting.

The Church Then and Now: Low Grade Fever

Fellow Covenant clergyman, Kurt Fredrickson, has an excellent post about the current state of affairs in the church. After reading it I was just stunned with how much I resonated with it. It's like he put words to something I had been feeling and experiencing so deeply but never really verbalized.

Kurt says there's a pervasive feeling out there that the church has a low grade fever from a variety of causes. Something is broken. Something is pervasively just not right. The treatment for the fever isn't widely known yet, but we're on the verge of something new.

I really believe that a new way of being church is coming but honestly, I don't know what it is. I'm pretty sure we haven't seen it yet. Lord have mercy on your church, and especially on me. I'm longing for something new.

Friday, May 25, 2007

VirtueOnline: Global Schism: Is Anglican Communion in First Stage of a Wider Christian Split?

This article is an interview with Philip Jenkins about global Christianity and it's trends took over an hour to read but it's fascinating. I really don't know that much about Jenkins but he's brilliant and seems to understand the global landscape extremely well. If you want a PhD lecture in global Christian trends here it is.

Theologian damns most Britons to hell | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

A quote from the article ....
Theologian damns most Britons to hell: "Ninety-five per cent of Britons are heading for hell, according to the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who has been under fire from some staff for taking one of the leading Anglican theological training colleges in a conservative direction.

Richard Turnbull, appointed two years ago, made the claim in a speech to the annual conference of Reform, a conservative evangelical pressure group within the Church of England."
What if it were true that 95% of Briton's were heading toward eternal damnation? Let's just say that's a huge overstatement, what if it's only 65%, maybe even only 50%? Does anyone care? Would anyone do anything about it?

Hell doesn't seem to be the motivator it once was. Hell has kind of lost it's luster. Very few unchurched people fear hell anymore and want to avoid it. How frequently do you hear the refrain, "Well it can't be too bad, all my friends are there."

Even more so, hell isn't motivating Christian persons for evangelism any more either. If Turnball's assessment were even half true, that would be significant population heading to hell. But our churches aren't getting worked up about it. We're not hearing rousing calls for the missionaries we need to send to Britain.

I wonder if it is related to our evangelistic approach. The predominant gospel message I hear today is that God wants a relationship with you. It's about knowing God and being connected to him. The possible converse of that message is just simply, "not knowing God" and that's bad. Your life isn't as full and good as it's supposed to be if you knew God. Hell somehow isn't as attached to "not knowing God" as maybe it once was.

In general hell is not that big a deal these days. Unless you're in it.

2 Peter 3:9 NIV "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

AnglicanTV.org: Central Florida Evangelism Commission

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida's Evangelism Commission has a new evangelism program. The link above leads to a video by Bishop Howe and information about the program.

I have never seen the AnglicanTV.org blog before but it has some interesting stuff there ... interview with Archbishop Henry Orombi, Bishop Martyn Minns installation and more ... all video.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ABC News: Romantic Fix for Marital War Wounds

The Phoenix Project Retreat is free program for combat veterans, who upon returning from war are having trouble with their marriage. Please keep our soldiers in prayer. So many of them need healing, physically and emotionally.

Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY

Back in the late 1980's I started attending Redeemer Covenant Church in Liverpool, NY. One of their staff members, Bill Anthes, went away to North Park Seminary and came back to plant Grace Covenant Church.

I always hoped that would be the way it worked for me but my life took a different route. Yet I have prayed fervently since the time I was in seminary that another Covenant Church would be planted in CNY. The time has come.

Last month Grace Covenant Church voted to plant a new church. They'll be offering financial and people resources. They have also called Pastor Mike Mazzye to an unpaid staff position with plans for him to be the church planter.

Mike has his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell and is a fellow alum of the Arrow Leadership Program. He most recently pastored First Baptist Church in Wolcott, NY and is currently working as an accountant for Onondaga County. He and his wife Doreen are expecting their second child in July.

I personally am really excited about this and hope to be supportive of this new church in every way I can.

ChurchStaffing.com Church Jobs Career Pastors

Every community has it's flagship churches -- one's that anchors the community. In Central New York, particularly northern Onondaga County, North Syracuse Baptist Church has been one of them for many years. I just noticed their listing at ChurchStaffing.com searching for a Senior Pastor.

I don't know much about their current situation, but this has been a really great church for many years where many of the leading, influential Christians in the area worshiped. When I worked for Evangelical Adoption and Family Services many years ago, I used to hold monthly meetings at NSBC for potential adoptive and foster parents.

They're Southern Baptists but I won't hold that against them. Perhaps Peter Lumpkins or some of our other SBC readers can connect them to a new senior pastor, who will lead them to have an even greater Kingdom influence.

On a related note ...
Another well known church in CNY is looking for a Senior Pastor: DeWitt Community Church.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Several years ago I remember hearing of the news story about someone in Cincinnati who was following around the meter maid, pumping in change to parking meters before they could write a ticket. She was arrested. Little did I know she was doing for Christ. She was doing Servant Evangelism.

As you may have already guessed. I'm hot on Servant Evangelism (SE). If your church isn't doing any SE ministry, I'm asking you to give it some serious consideration.

It's not the new program that is going to fix all your church woes. It's not a program. You won't magically double your church attendance this year. But you might positively impact how the unchurched thinks of a church and Christians.

NOT CHARITY. SE is not about charity or giving a hand out to an impoverished person. You may end up giving a needed something to a person who is desperately in need but the point is to do the SE project in such a generous, kind, loving way that it demonstrates God's love to the recipient. In that way SE is sacramental. Every person rich or poor needs to experience God's love and that is the emphasis of SE -- not charity.

NOT ABOUT CHURCH GROWTH: Wouldn't it be great if our church grew from our evangelistic efforts? Doing an SE project is not about church growth. It's not about doing a PR campaign for your church. It's not about getting the unchurched person to like us or like our church. It's about evangelism and giving a person a genuine experience of God's love. Do an SE project with God's love for the person in front of you in your heart, not with your church's attendance numbers on your mind.

Sure a person might receive a cold bottle of water or a fresh cup of coffee, look at the contact card, see the church name and say, "You're just doing this to get me to go to your church." There is a good response to that skepticism: "No. We'd love it if you went to our church but we do this because we want you know that God loves you passionately."

It's part of the process of them coming 'one step closer to Christ'. A conversion experience is a process. People don't just wake up one day in a vacuum and think "Hmph! I think I'll be a Christian." More likely is they have a number of experiences that convince their mind of the truthfulness of the claims of Jesus Christ and their heart experiences His love for them. Not only do they need the Gospel proclaimed and explained to them, they need to see it demonstrated. A conversion is the culmination of experiences that have led a person one step closer to Christ until they surrender their life to Christ. Our culture demands more than words but wants to see a demonstration of God's love in action. SE does that very thing.

Liberals & Conservatives working together. One of the things I love about SE is that it allows people from diverse theological perspectives to minister together. Evangelicals, Roman Catholics and Mainline church goers all equally agree that God loves humanity and that His people should demonstrate His love to the world. SE is something we can all do together.

NOT ABOUT MANIPULATION. SE is not something we do to be a conversation starter that leads to us manipulating the conversation into praying the sinner's prayer. SE is purely about sharing God's love in a tangible way.

Stereotypes. SE is about giving a person an experience of God's love in a tangible way. It's about giving God an open door. It's about changing the spiritual climate. There are about a half dozen significant negative stereotypes of a Christian that a person needs to overcome before s/he will follow Christ. SE effectively helps people over those hurdles.

SE doesn't require the person to have an special theological understanding or skills. You don't have to be a long term Christian. You could be a open minded seeker. Can you smile humbly and graciously? Give away a drink? Wash a car? Rake a yard? Buy some one's meal? Leave a big tip? Give away something for free? You probably can. You can do SE.

I have a hunch about SE. I can't prove it. But I really think I'm right. I believe you could plant a church by making SE the primary focus of your church life and ministry. Furthermore, I have a hunch that you could fundamentally revitalize a church through implementing a SE culture in a church.

One way to get started is just go to the SE site and browse their suggested projects. If you need more help buy: 101 Ways to Reach Your Community, A Handbook for Servant Evangelism, by Steve Sjogren. For $7.00 it is a steal. If you need even more help, there are a host of other resources available at the SE site or call the Vineyard Church in Cincinnati. They will train you.

Try it. You have very little to lose.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jesus Creed: Blogs: A Word for Authors

Scot McNight has good advice for those who blog.

Russian Orthodox Church is set to mend a bitter schism - International Herald Tribune

Whenever churches repent, reunite and heal division, God is present and revival is not far.

Trinity Covenant Church, Rochester, NY

It is with sadness but not surprise that I have heard the news that Trinity Covenant Church of Rochester, NY will be closing. In 1993-94 I served that church as an intern with my beloved friend Jim "The Boomer" Widboom. Those people were so gracious and loving toward me and have remained so through the years.

No doubt they had a strong influence in my becoming a pastor. I thought for sure when I went to seminary that I would do a Ph.D in Old Testament. I interviewed at Emory, Duke and elsewhere thinking for sure I would eventually become a professor. But when I did my year long internship at Trinity and Roberts Wesleyan College I rediscovered my love of evangelism and people. That opened me up to the pastoral call process in the Covenant Church and eventually to becoming a pastor in Ohio.

Now certainly there are some who would suggest that Trinity has done a great disservice to the Kingdom of God by fostering my calling to ministry. Including Trinity, I have served three churches in my life. All were appreciably smaller in the years following my ministry. I am, what my friend Fr. Walter Giles would call, 'a congregational downsizer'. That's a very specialized ministry that involves absolutely no skill what so ever. But God used that church in a very special way in my life and I will have very fond memories of them forever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Brad.Boydston.us: Customer service stories

Brad.Boydston's "Customer service stories" reminded me of a good experience I had this month ...

Several months ago on one of my first trips into Duluth, Northworst Airlines delayed my flights so that I ended up arriving at my hotel at 1 am. I'm miserable at that point but get my rental car and drive to the Country Inn and Suites. As I get out of my car, get my stuff and head toward the hotel, out of the darkness I hear "Good evening Mr. Evans." The late night clerk was waiting for me in the parking lot and greeted me warmly. He was an angel after a very long bad day.

Over the ensuing months Northworst Airlines continued to make my life chaotic. I was either arriving very late or checking out very early but continued to be greeted warmly, by name, by John the late night clerk. He's become like family.

Every time I check in he has my paperwork ready for me to sign, my cards for my room are ready and when I leave, my receipts are already printed before I get to the counter. World class customer service.

This month I arrived early in the evening -- before the late shift -- but knew I would be checking out early in the morning. So I asked the clerk if my friend John would be in this evening. She said "No he's on vacation but he did say to tell Mr. Evans that he's sorry to miss him and looks forward to seeing him next month." Just a little message like that made my day after a long tiring week.

Country Inn & Suites on Haines Road in Duluth. World class customer service.

Thanks John. Hope you had a good vacation. See you next month.

theultrarev - Serene Estate For Sale in Black River, NY $156,000

Moving to Fr. Drum or the Watertown, NY area? My house is for sale. Take a look here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Way News - Television Evangelist Falwell Dies at 73

The end of era. Like him or hate him, he accomplished a lot in his career. Lord have mercy on his grieving family and friends.

Episcopal Life Online - NEWS

The Episcopal Church produced a creative marketing piece.
Episcopal Life Online - NEWS: "[Episcopal News Service] The op-ed page of May 12 editions of The New York Times carried a display ad marking the beginnings, 400 years ago, of the Jamestown Colony and the Episcopal Church's heritage and mission in North America.

A pdf of the ad is available here."

Just a reminder about Atheism ...

Atheism is a faith position. One can't prove that God doesn't exist. Certainly Atheists may have their arguments for their positions that they find compelling, but ultimately Atheism is a matter of faith. I guess it's sort of a religion.

Lawful incest may be on its way - The Boston Globe

Thre are now some legal battles brewing that are attempting to decriminalize incest between consenting adults. They are basing their arguments upon Supreme Court decisions that struck down laws against homosexual behavior. Here is a quote from the article:
"Time's attention, like the BBC's, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults. An article last month by Time reporter Michael Lindenberger titled "Should Incest Be Legal?" highlights the case of Paul Lowe, an Ohio man convicted of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter. Lowe has appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, making Lawrence [a previous court case] the basis of his argument. In Lawrence, the court had ruled that people "are entitled to respect for their private lives" and that under the 14th Amendment, "the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime." If that was true for the adult homosexual behavior in Lawrence, why not for the adult incestuous behavior in the Ohio case?"
If that's true, then a whole avalanche of law regulating sexual behavior and relationships will be called into question. As those laws change certainly those questions will be asked of the church also. It's coming friends, and sooner than you may think.

VirtueOnline: Murdoch pastor gets heat for mogul's porn channels

Rick Warren is catching hell for not exacting church discipline on Rupert Murdoch, a media mogul with porn channels. Murdock also owns Zondervan Publishing, which published Warren's best selling book.

At the link above is a letter from, David Chrzan, Chief of Staff Saddleback Church, with a defense of Pastor Warren. One might now agree with all his theology and efforts, but it appears obvious to me that he wants to make disciples of the whole world. God bless him.

US Army Creates Water Bottling Plant & 300 Jobs in Afghanistan

I'll be you haven't seen that headline anywhere. I was at a party last night. A military family that we are friends with are moving to GA. One of the soldiers there told me about how the US Army helped to build a water bottling plant in Afghanistan -- the first ever in the country. Some businessmen, Afghani nationals, living in the US came back to their homeland invest in the project which in turn provided 300 jobs for the community.

Despite the endless barrage of media reports to the contrary, the soldiers I meet are very proud of their work and know that the vast majority of Afghani and Iraqi people are extremely grateful to them.

Paris Hilton Finds Religion: Prays for Reprieve From Jail

It never ceases to amaze me how a crisis in our life will turn our attention to God. Certainly we would like to think the best of Paris that her visit was for spiritually seeking reasons but then again but again as image conscious as she seems to be, it could be an attempt at good PR.

I wonder if she was baptized Catholic. How does a celebrity pick a church to visit? Did she take communion? Was the offering exceptionally large? Was there a guy in the building that paid attention to the sermon that day? Inquiring minds want to know.

I wonder what Paris would bring for a church potluck?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Divorce Rate Down, But What Does It Mean?, Per Capita Divorce Rate At Lowest Level Since 1970, But Researchers Puzzled Over The Reasons Why - CBS News

Recently I posted about a researcher suggesting that divorce in the church is not as bad as has been previously reported. Now, here is an article suggesting a decline in divorce overall.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Welcome to MarriedLife!

Another cool marriage ministry: Welcome to MarriedLife!

YouTube - Did You Know; Shift Happens - Globalization; Information Age

Most of you have probably watched the Shift Happens video but in case you haven't, here's the link. According to the video, my kids will have 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38. Information technology is doubling so fast that a 4 year degree is outdated before it's finished.

The whole point of the video is that the world is changing very rapidly.

I wonder: Has the church thought about how it will respond, or even more provocatively, have we thought about how we'll lead? We're all caught up in debating the issues surrounding the emerging church movement, post-modernism or multicampus ministry. It's possible no one will be thinking or talking about it 36 months from now. Shift happens. We could be on to something completely novel by then.

Friday, May 04, 2007

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program: Magnitude 1.7 - NEW YORK

We had an earthquake: Magnitude 1.7. I slept through it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

SBC Tomorrow: Sticks Stones: Baptists Calling Other Baptists Names

My esteemed friend Peter Lumpkins recently blogged about Baptist in-fighting: Sticks & Stones: Baptists Calling Other Baptists Names. Peter wrote, "It's interesting to me how we Baptists can talk about taking the Bible literally but brush it aside so easily in our moments of outrage."

I wish it were just Baptists Peter but it's not. It's Anglicans & Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics and Methodists -- even the name Methodist was once a derogatory slur. I think in general Christians need to learn to fight better. We appear to be such idiots when we stoop to name calling.

I'm guilty too. I've mentioned plenty of times about my "Baptist allergy". Even in my last post I called Episcopal leaders "knuckleheads" -- as Peter noted, "All said in Christian love, of course." Shame on me. Lord have mercy.

Jill's Journey

Jill Curry is the wife of Covenant pastor James Curry of Urban Heights Covenant Church in Urbandale, IA, a suburb of Des Moines, IA. She is a beautiful young wife and mom with breast cancer. James is participating in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Please click here to learn more about making a donation to support the Curry's fundraising efforts to fight breast cancer.

VirtueOnline - News - News - NEW YORK: TEC PB urges Nigerian Primate to reconsider plans to install bishop

"[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to Nigerian Primate Peter J. Akinola asking him to reconsider plans to install Martyn Minns as a bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an action she says 'would violate the ancient customs of the church' and would 'not help the efforts of reconciliation.'"

Such action, Jefferts Schori added, "would display to the world division and disunity that are not part of the mind of Christ, which we must strive to display to all."

How silly. I'm guessing that consecrating an openly homosexual bishop also violated the "ancient customs of the church" but that didn't seem to stop anyone. Knuckleheads.