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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Friday, August 31, 2007

theVoiz Blog: Gritty thoughts by Aaron Flores on Life, Spirituality & Faith: Church Planting on a Dime

Read this great blog today with an excellent post about "Church Planting on a Dime". Nearly every single one of the resources there could be used by established churches as. Stuff to help with financial management, marketing, facilities, staffing, even legal aid. Must read.

26 Free Tools for Buzz Monitoring

For some reason church people don't like the term marketing despite the fact they do marketing all the time. I suppose a more acceptable church term is publicity. For those who aren't afraid of marketing their church here are 26 Free Tools for Buzz Monitoring. These are tools that can help you know if your online presence is creating the buzz that you hope it would.

VirtueOnline: MISSION IN NORTH AMERICA TODAY - Michael Green

This is an outstanding article by Anglican Evangelist Michael Green. He gives a simple overview of evangelism happening in Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal and Anglican settings. Friends, you watch and see what the Lord is doing. The Episcopal is surely dying and fragmenting. Anglicanism, I think, is going to make a roaring come back.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New York Trails Most States in Jobs, Wages, Income and Population Growth - The Post-Standard

I read articles like this and I wonder, how can we as a church help with the economic difficulties of our communities. So many churches are just so consumed with survival or their own little domain. I wonder if it would enhance our ability to effectively preach the Gospel if we took at active role in the economic development of our communities. Could we at least start making it a priority in prayer together?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

nakedreligion: What a Pastor Needs in a Congregation

BJB has nailed it here. Do you attend church? You must read this short entry entitled What a Pastor Needs in a Congregation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

il Moscato

I haven't blogged about wine in a very long time. Probably because I was attending a Nazarene church.

But I had a very good one again this week. I first had it with BJB in Jamestown a couple years back but saw it again in the store this week: It is a Moscato produced by il. It is a sweet, sparkling white similar to a Riesling, Champagne, or a Prosecco, which il also makes and is excellent The Prosecco is much drier though. You won't see these in the store with any ratings from wine officianados but I love 'em.

Now I see they make a Rosé also. I haven't seen it in the store yet but that is next on my shopping list.


I signed and signed and signed papers for about 15 minutes yesterday and then they handed me a check for a large sum of money. The closing on my house happened yesterday. I officially have a net worth.

I am no longer a resident of the North Country. I have officially moved from Black River, NY and temporarily reside in Liverpool, NY at my parents house. We're looking for some new diggs but it's hard to find the right house for a family of almost 7, who homeschools, where I work from home and my wife runs a home based business and have it all in my price range.

I really enjoyed living in Black River and am eternally grateful for the friends I have made there. I hope they will always be a part of my life -- I can't imagine life without them. Thanks to those who helped us move ... the Aviste's, Horny Millers, Hanlins, Stones, Scanlons, my Dad & brother, Chris, Rog & Peggy.

I'm excited about living in Central New York again on a permanent basis. There's a lot of ministry to do here, especially church planting. I need a house first.

Go Ahead, Drop Those Drawers - New York Times

A NYT article let's us know that Brattleboro, VT will be clothing optional once again. They're officially off my summer vacation spot list.

a snippet from VirtueOnline

Much has been made in recent days of the letters of Mother Teresa and her doubts about her faith. I was strangely comforted by the response of one of her spiritual advisers.
"Apparently MOTHER TERESA had major doubts about her faith, reports "Time"magazine. The Rev. Joseph Neuner, whom she met in the late 1950s and confided in somewhat later, was already a well-known theologian when she turned to him with her "darkness". He seems to have told her the three things she needed to hear: that there was no human remedy for it (that is, she should not feel responsible for affecting it); that feeling Jesus is not the only proof of his being there, and her very craving for God was a "sure sign" of his "hidden presence" in her life; and that the absence was in fact part of the "spiritual side" of her work for Jesus."

Poll: 1 in 4 read no books last year - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com

This is an interesting statistic for church leaders to ponder considering we are a people of the Good Book: The Bible.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Churches Seeking Staff - Evangelical Covenant Church

After looking over the Churches Seeking Staff page for the Covenant Church, I was surprised to see the low total # of senior/lead pastor positions: 29. Amazingly, incredibly, inconceivably the North Miami, FL church continues to look for a pastor. That's been open for a couple years now. Ministry with an ocean front view! I can't believe no one has been called there.

Delgado to Head CHET - Evangelical Covenant Church

Ed Delgado's tenure as Director of Prayer & Evangelism for the Evangelical Covenant Church is over. He will be the new President of the Hispanic Center for Theological Studies (CHET) in CA. Congratulations Ed!

Who will be the next P&E leader for the Cov? Paul Knight? Dallas Anderson? Adam Edgerly? Maybe this will become a combo position with Bill & Lisa Orris leading it together. Whenever a leadership position opens up in the Covenant I vote for Larry Sherman. That guy is as smart, talented and Godly as any leader in the Covenant Church.

Least Religious Countries - Gadling

Here are the Least Religious Countries.

1. Sweden (up to 85% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)
2. Vietnam
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia (up to 49% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Underwire - Wired Blogs

We're One Step Closer to Wireless Electricity

Imagine a computer with no power cords and no cords to connect to any of your devices (because of bluetooth or other technology). It could be coming to your house very soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stress is a Choice

I was in Northwest Airline Hell again this week -- second month in a row. My 6:10 am flight was supposed to be a one stop in DTW to home by noon. Instead they canceled it and rescheduled me from DLH to MSP to ORD to DTW to SYR, all beginning at 4 pm and home by midnight. My saintly wife, thanks be to God, called Northwest and gave them some Frustrated Wife & Mother Hell of her own and she got me rescheduled without a stop in Chicago and home by 8 pm. Still each of those flights were late and it was 9 pm when I stepped out of the terminal in SYR. Northwest Airlines brings out the absolute worst attitude in me.

First flight was seated with an old man who talked incessantly. Second flight was next to a guy who wreaked of booze when he sat down and then had 2 Jack-n-Cokes, to which he had to slur his way through the rest of the flight. Third flight was next to a friendly older women who lived in Haiti for nearly 40 years and now runs an interfaith philosophy retreat center near Seneca Lake. She said something that has been haunting me all week: "Stress is a choice." It's been haunting me because my life is so stressed at the moment with packing and moving this weekend, major events at work, a new baby coming, etc. etc. etc.

Stress is a Choice. Think about it.

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

Big deal. Larger issue: ALE. After Life Expectancy. Now there's something we all have to address and ASAP.

18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick - lifehack.org

I like Lifehack.org but then again I like self help web sites in general. Perhaps that is because my life is messy and continually needs lots of help. Here's a new one: 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick. No reason why this couldn't be applied to our spiritual life and help us with spiritual disciplines. Big thing to remember: It takes 30 days to build a habit. You've got to gut it out.

Religion beat became a test of faith - Los Angeles Times

Fascinating testimony about a journalist who came to faith in Jesus Christ, became a religion reporter and a Roman Catholic, and because of the clergy scandals and other issues lost his faith. Actually it's a very sad article.


Too much smut on YouTube.com? Try GodTube.com. Was this really necessary? I wonder if there is a way to port ultrarev's YouTube videos?

Russians get day off to procreate, then win prizes - The Denver Post

These are my kind of people. Affectionately called by the Russians "Day of Conception". I think that would make a great new holiday here. Let's cancel President's Day and replace it with La Dia de Concepcion though I think Valentine's Day already works out that way for many people.

The Subconcious Brain - Who's Minding the Mind? - New York Times

This article is about "priming" or about how our senses when primed result in certain actions or beliefs. It sounds like people could be manipulated but researchers are merely suggesting that everyday certain things prime or ready us to do or believe certain other things. Certainly every guy reading the article immediately thinks, "Hmmmm, how can I use this information to get lucky tonight?" Of course, I had more noble thoughts, how could it apply to church. Read this snippet from the article:
In a recent experiment, psychologists at Yale altered people’s judgments of a stranger by handing them a cup of coffee.

The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup.

That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java.

Findings like this one, as improbable as they seem, have poured forth in psychological research over the last few years. New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there’s a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there’s a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like “dependable” and “support” — all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it.
I wonder how this happens in the church. I wonder how our church facilities and people 'prime' those who attend or drive by. The smells, colors, furniture, arrangement, decor and art or lack thereof, etc. -- how are they priming people? Do we even care? Is there any way to condense the vast studies done in this area for a primer for church leaders?

Feds Train Clergy To "Quell Dissent" During Martial Law

This is an interesting perspective on FEMA's involvement with clergy and church groups. I had heard from a pastor in Utica, NY how FEMA had recognized the wider church's ability to respond to a crisis (i.e. Hurricane Katrina) compared to it's own departmental failings. They apparently wanted to create informal networks in the event a large scale national crisis so to more easily get help to those who need it. When I was told this, it was supposed to be top secret. This article suggests FEMA wants to use the churches and clergy to extend it's own power and for purposes other than aide.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Youth Pastor FCC Prank

Youth Pastor FCC Prank - Watch more free videos

Fusion is Latest Way For Macs to Operate Windows, PC Software from WSJ

Walt Mossberg's collumn AllThings D in Personal Tech gives a good overview of the options for running Windows on your Mac. It is actually very easy and not very expensive but you do have to buy a copy of Windows. Just be warned, your Mac becomes vulnerable to all the malware that is out there if you start running Windoze on it.

UPDATE: An even better article about Fusion: Top 10 things you can do with VMware Fusion and your Mac

Friday, August 10, 2007

Elim Fellowship

Do you know anything about Elim Fellowship churches? They are a loose affiliation of charismatic churches. I love 'em. Having worked with a variety of churches in upstate NY I consistently see these churches as vibrant and missional. My only hope is that they will ratchet up their commitment to church planting and we'll see more of them.

Here is some info from their web site:


Elim Fellowship began in 1933 as an informal fellowship of churches, ministers and missionary endeavors, developing from individuals trained at Elim Bible Institute (http://www.elim.edu). Being of Pentecostal conviction and Charismatic orientation, Elim Fellowship has grown in its vision as a Christ-centered worldwide revival fellowship serving pastors, churches, missionaries and other Christian ministers. Elim Fellowship provides assistance to missionaries and overseas outreaches, credentials for ministers, counseling for individuals and churches, and a variety of support ministries to local churches. Our purpose is to assist in the establishment of new churches, to extend the hand of fellowship to all pastors and churches, and to encourage and edify the body of Christ. We offer to walk hand-in-hand with all who fellowship with us, in order to promote a cooperative relationship resulting in spiritual growth and enlargement as we serve and minister with the whole Church. Elim Fellowship is a member of:
  • ECFA - Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
  • NAE - National Association of Evangelicals
  • IPPA - International Pentecostal Association
  • PCCNA - Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America
  • CLF - Charismatic Leaders' Fellowship
  • NARSC - North American Renewal Services Committee: on this website you will find brief descriptions of the many aspects of ministry in which Elim Fellowship is involved.


The mission of Elim Fellowship is to glorify God and His Son Jesus Christ and to obey Christ's mandate to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. To this end we are committed to serving and equipping our worldwide constituency in carrying out their respective missions.


The purpose of Elim Fellowship is to provide spiritual covering, pastoral care, mutual accountability, ministry resources and fellowship for its credential holders, affiliated churches and ministries. We also purpose to fellowship with all pastors, missionaries, leaders, churches and ministries who manifest the Spirit of Christ; and to encourage and edify the Body of Christ.


We are committed to:

  • Fervent witness to the Gospel in the United States and other nations.

  • Serving with simplicity and sacrifice.

  • An authority of Godly influence without control.

  • The ministry of reconciliation in restoring broken lives, relationships, churches and ministries.

  • An emphasis of worship and the manifestations of spiritual gifts among our constituency.

  • Discerning, pursuing and participating in any fresh emphasis or revival of the Holy Spirit.

  • Promoting relationships of integrity throughout the Body of Christ encompassing both genders, all races and all ethnic groups.

FlowerDust.net | Anne Jackson

Anne Jackson has an interesting project about Mad Church Disease. She's a PK fighting against church burn out.

The gospel according to church 'hoppers'

I've been a lay person for almost 2 years now. It's a lot harder than some of you clergy might think. It's a lot harder than I thought. I'm not doing a very good job at it. Just ask my fantastic pastor who never sees me unless he's driving on my lawn. I am amazed that I have gone from having church being central to my life, to trying to fit church into my schedule. Remarkable. I do not like this.

Years ago when I was still pastoring in OH, I heard about this trend of people being a part of more than one church -- as if they saw the churches in the community as a buffet. They take what they want from each. At the time I didn't think much of it despite the fact that the church I served didn't have a midweek program for kids so my kids went to Royal Rangers and Missionettes at the Assemblies of God Church. Little did I see it coming but here it is in my life.

While I lived in the north country my family has been connected to various ministries at 3 or 4 different churches ... kids ministry one place, worship another, ladies Bible study another, VBS several places, etc.

Now I'm moving down to Liverpool and I can already see the same thing is going to happen ... preschool one place, worship another, church planting elsewhere, etc. I guess this is normal for a lot of people, and even thought it is normal in my life I still feel weird about it. Coming from a pastoral perspective, in my mind I still think I'm only supposed to have one church. But I don't and probably won't.

Leaving Microsoft Behind

More and more users are leaving Microsoft Office behind. One interesting development in Apple's recent announcement of iWork 08 was the inclusion of Numbers, an easy to use spreadsheet program which when packaged together with Pages (wordprocessor) and Keynote (presentation) gives the Mac a nice suite of software. See: What's Behind Apple's iWork?

Though I have a copy of Microsoft Office for my eMac at home, on my work computer I've begun using NeoOffice, an OpenSource suite that is compatible with MS Office. Works fantastic with no compatibility issues with Word or Excel documents from either Mac or PC platforms. So far I love it and it's free.

Obviously Google is trying to horn in on this market also with their documents and spreadsheets applications. I'm surprised at how many people do not know about Google doc's and spreadsheets. I use that too. Recently it I used it for a wedding I was doing with some friends in another city. I put the order of service on Google Docs and gave them permissions to edit and we all collaborated on it. The obvious downside is that the documents reside on Google's servers and not your computer. If you want access to your documents you must be online. On the other hand, the documents are not stuck on your computer when you are some place else and you can share them easier for collaborative efforts.

There are a couple other players in this game that I just learned about ....

ZOHO.com: Online Office, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, CRM and more

ThinkFree Online beta

These both look like excellent choices as more and more people leave Microsoft behind.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Minister, p*rn star on tour

Ron Jeremy and Craig Gross on tour together. Jeremy is a p*rn star. Gross is a pastor and runs XXXChurch.com, a site devoted to helping p*rn addicts.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The ATM in the Church Lobby - TIME

I guess I hadn't thought of it. I knew of churches accomodating donors who wish to give via debit or credit cards. Simple enough. But an ATM in the church narthex? I hadn't thought of it. Here's a time magazine article that did: The ATM in the Church Lobby - TIME

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Drought ....

The Land of the Ultra Rev has been a little slow over the past several weeks due to busyness.

I've sold my palatial estate here in Black River, NY and have been looking for new diggs. We are thrilled because we buyers offered us almost exactly what we wanted. We close at the end of August. So we've been busy packing and searching for a new home down in the Syracuse area -- mostly looking in northern Onondaga County or southern Oswego County. We had narrowed it down to a couple of houses we were mildly excited about, so we then decided to look at building a modular. We narrowed that down to a piece of property and a couple of building plans, but that plan now appears dead as the taxes would have killed us. Taxes in the village of Phoenix, NY are 5.2%. The home we were hoping to build would have left us with a monthly tax bill over $550 a month. So now we're back to wondering what to do -- buy a house, look for a new piece of property,

Work has been very busy with trips to northern MN, Ashtabula, OH and Harrisonburg, VA in the past month. Our big event in MN with Diamond Rio, Ricky Skaggs, Pat Boone and Thousand Foot Krutch will take place Sept 7-9 and I'm drowning in final details. One more trip there next week before the event.

Had a great meeting in Harrisonburg last week with my boss doing a great job of leading. Gotta love it when your boss strongly encourages everyone in the organization take a day off monthly for prayer and fasting.

I also had the surprise over the last month of having a wonderful Covenant Church contact me for a conversation about being their pastor. What an honor! I eventually ended the conversation -- before they were ready (sorry friends). But in my heart it seemed the right thing to do.

All in all I've been busy and unusually stressed and my blog has suffered. Each of these matters have had far reaching implications ... Will I ever pastor again if I say "Not now."? Will I ever plant a church? Am I moving to the right area when my plans to go there seem to get repeatedly foiled? My family needs some serenity and stability -- will any of the options in front of me bring that? We need to be in a new church asap for all our sanity and spiritual growth.

Thank God my wife has been terrific. As a women with 4 kids at home and being 19 weeks pregnant, she gets more done than anybody else I know and with a better attitude than me. Incredible. My parents, too, have been incredible.

The good news is that I'll sell my house for a profit and be completely debt free, if only, momentarily until I buy a new home. Thank you Lord. Keep us in your prayers.

The Raw Story | ABC on Bibletown, USA: 'Where church and state are one'

Have you seen the interesting developments of the owner of the Domino's Pizza, a devout Roman Catholic, attempting to build his own Catholic city in Florida? Check out: Bibletown, USA: 'Where church and state are one'. I admire his efforts.

Book debunks myths about megachurches

Kudos to Scott Thumma for his book debunking myths about megachurches. Somebody has been needing to do this research for awhile. It got to be so old going to pastors conferences and hearing pastors rip megachurches, especially Willowcreek. Endlessly I'd hear about how shallow their preaching and teaching was, how they watered down the gospel, how there is no sense of community because they're so big, how they are all filled with white people who are rich and don't care about poverty. Not true. Not true. Not true. Not true. Not true. Not true.

There were several things that bugged me about those comments. First, they just sounded childish and jealous. Secondly, they came from pastors that never attended a megachurch a day in their life. Thirdly, it didn't match up to my experience. My wife and I attended Willowcreek for over a year and felt like we were repeatedly challenged and ministered to. It was a foundational experience in my life.

Megachurches have been redefined. It used to be churches that worshiped over 1000 weekly. Now it's 2000.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Eight Financial Reasons Why You Should Use Mac OS - CIO.com - Business Technology Leadership

In general I don't get in these Mac vs. PC debates anymore but here is a good article about how much cheaper it is to use a Mac.