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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sojourn - join the journey: A Christian Community in Syracuse, NY

Sojourn is a church pastored by Chris Misciangna, a friend of a friend. I've never been there but hope to give it a try some Sunday. They identify themselves as part of the emergent movement. Check out their FAQ page. From the cafe setting to the contemplative worship gathering to their interactive style this isn't your normal church experience.

New House

I am the proud owner of a new mortgage! We closed on our new mansion yesterday morning. I'll post more pictures as soon as I can but we are really super excited. Anyone interested in helping us unpack can come on over on Saturday morning. Here is a map to our new home on Lincoln Ave S in Liverpool, NY.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Hope Free Methodist Church

I heard Dr. Linda Adams of New Hope Free Methodist Church in Rochester, NY preach at Liverpool Community Church this past weekend. She can flat out preach! It's not up yet, but I'm guessing her sermon will be posted here.

I was struck by how she talked about the wicked kings Manassah and Amon in the OT, who were followed by young Josiah. Josiah attempted to reform his people and in the course of time, his people stumbled across what had been lost, the Book of the Law which outlined God's covenant with his people. Truth had been a part of their people's history and was lost, yet right in their presence. That seems to be a true parallel to our country and many others who formerly might have been called a Christian nation.

(Understandably, it is arguable as to whether or not we were ever a Christian nation. I know, I know, were we ever Christian when we were stealing people's lands, killing those different from us and enslaving others ...)

Josiah's rampage for righteousness, where he tore down altars and destroyed idols, was admirable. Idolatry has a subtle way of seeping into our lives. May we have such courage to have a holy rampage on idolatry in our own lives. Of course, most of you don't have any idolatry issues in your life at all. I, however, went home convicted about a number of things.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

NYS Sex Offender Registry Home Page

I searched the NYS Sex Offender Registry Home Page to make sure there were no sex offenders in my new neighborhood. There are not. However, as I searched nearby zip codes I did find a guy from my homeroom in high school was listed there. Apparently had relations with an underage girl. Very sad.

GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program

This is the new GIMP site.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

[Phoronix] GIMP 2.4.0 Released

Some of you noticed that I added a side bar section about Open Source and Free software. I just saw this today: [Phoronix] GIMP 2.4.0 Released. GIMP is the opensource version of Photoshop and it just had an important upgrade.

TidBITS Safe Computing: How Leopard Will Improve Your Security

The Mac just got safer: TidBITS Safe Computing: How Leopard Will Improve Your Security


As usual, Brad.Boydston's blog has good stuff on attonement, technology, education and more stuff. A couple of significant things I saw there in the past few days ...

Get Free VoIP phone # and service (article from LifeHacker). I immediately thought of Aaron Flore's blog post of a couple of months ago regarding "Church Planting on a Dime". Church planters and others can save a little cash with free phone service.

Take a look at: Mark D Baker's Resources on the Atonement.

I'll post more about this later tonight: Willow Creek repents? -- greater levels of participation don't equal discipleship.

Thanks Brad for your great blog and ministry on Guam. I admire you.

Jesus in Your Face - Syracuse.com

HBO has done a documentary about a Catholic youth minister, Justin Fatica of Mega Youth Ministry, based in Syracuse, NY. Check out Syracuse.com's: Jesus in Your Face.

Zion Covenant Church -- Ellsworth, WI

My boy Xorey is pastor and webmaster for Zion Covenant Church. His church webpage is super simple and effective.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dumb Little Man

I love self help sites. I found a new one: Dumb Little Man, written by "your average 30-something with a couple of kids and a great wife." He's all about making your life more efficient and accomplishing your goals.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I just need to go on record today: I have a really fantastic boss.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tony Campolo @ North Park

Click on this link to listen to Tony Campolo speaking at North Park University's chapel on Wednesday this week.

Prayer Team

My boss has challenged our staff to develop a team of 20 persons committed to praying for us. Thanks to those of you who have already signed on. Is there anyone else out there who would like to be a part of my team. I'll send out an occasional email with specific prayer requests and thanksgivings. Let me know.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cell Sin | TheResurgence

A great blog entry from the recovering digiholic, Mark Driscoll. This is a must read. Has your cell phone become your lord?

Some search for church by way of the Web - USATODAY.com

Here's a USATODAY.com article: Some search for church by way of the Web, reminding us of what we know: People search for new churches by way of the web. In marketing your church, your web site is extremely important. Extremely important. Maybe even supremely important.

Of course this leads to the whole discussion with the knuckleheads that don't believe in "marketing" their church. Like it or not, every church markets themselves by way of their ad in the phone book, their sign out front, bulletin, and the style and care of their property. Every church markets themselves. Every single one. Some do it well and some do it poorly but everyone does it.

Websites need not be expensive. I've seen churches do it well with a free blog from Blogger, some use the free Google tools, some use the free forministry.com. Whatever you use, it does not have to be expensive or media intensive. It needs to be informative.

I'm still shocked about how many churches have nothing. Please, please, please people: Do something. It's really not that hard.

VirtueOnline: OHIO parish pioneers affordable housing for thousands

Ministries of Compassion and Justice. I really enjoyed reading this article about an Episcopal Church who decided to invest their fortune into providing affordable housing to those in need. We need more churches like this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I've had the privilege of seeing Lesha Campbell, a world class ventriloquist, in action, twice in the last month. She is absolutely incredible. In Georgia recently I saw her with two puppets on her lap with them singing "When I call on Jesus" having one puppet sing one verse in one voice and then the other sing another in a different voice, with no pauses! Incredible.

I just posted a promo video of her's at my youtube site:

VirtueOnline: Clergy Care

This long quote is from David Virtue's weekly Viewpoints, a lengthy compilation of Anglican news stories.

"CLERGY CARE. The church is facing a crisis with respect to Clergy burn-out/stress related illness and gifted people dropping out of ministry altogether. Consider these statistics taken from a recent survey from the Fuller Institute of Church Growth:

* 80% of pastors surveyed felt their ministry affected their family negatively
* 75% reported a serious stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
* 90% felt inadequately trained to cope with job demands
* 70% had a lower self image than when they started in ministry
* 40% had a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month
* 50% had considered leaving the ministry within the past three months
* 70% had no one they considered to be a close friend

Ideas for Encouraging Your Pastor Throughout the Year

1. Pray for them DAILY!
2. Take the family to lunch after church.
3. Teach your pastor a hobby.
4. Baby sit their children so they can go on a date!
5. Ask them: 'How can I help you?'
6. Don't say negative things about them around your children or others.
7. Take their family on vacation with you.
8. Mow their lawn or shovel their walk.
9. Keep your expectations of their children in check.
10. Protect your pastor's privacy.
11. Let them know when you have received a spiritual insight as a result of their teaching.
12. Use your talents and gifts in the church.
13. Be ready to meet needs in their life wherever you see them.

(Taken from Under His Wings Ministries)"

Visiting Churches: Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY

I was actually "home" this past weekend and went to Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY where I am a member. It was pastor appreciation Sunday where we all appreciated Bill Anthes and Bruce Baehr, two of the finest Christians I know. I'm 40 years old and I still think to myself, "When I grow up I want to be like them."

They are participating in Operation Christmas Child this year. OCC is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse that attempts to provide a shoebox of gifts as a Christmas gift to impoverished children all over the world. We as a family are going to attempt to do six boxes one for each gender in each age group.

Watch the Ministry Report Video:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Artistic Theologue

Welcome to Pastor Christian Fahey to the blogosphere: Artistic Theologue. As I know him to be one of the smartest colleagues I have, his writing should be good fodder for theology discussion mill at Empire Brewing on Thursday nights. Interesting factoid about Chris: once worked for Mickey Lolich, the famed Detroit Tiger pitcher, in his bakery. Chris is on staff at New Life Church in Watertown and a beloved friend.

Chris, when are we going for a Cooperstown trip?

Top Ten Things a New Dad Shouldn’t Do : DivineCaroline

Since I will be a new dad again I enjoyed reading about the do's and don'ts. You might too. I like this one ...

8. When your wife wakes you in the middle of the night and asks either A) “Can you see why the baby is crying?” or B) “Do you want to have sex?” … DO NOT answer, “But I have to work in the morning.”

Nymbler - Your Personal Baby Name Assistant.

My wife and I beginning to toss around some names for our forthcoming child. ETA: Dec 30. So I found this baby naming aid site: Nymbler - Your Personal Baby Name Assistant. What it does is take the names that you like or "inspire" you and based on those choices gives you some further suggestions of other names you might like. It's kinda fun. Here's my ranked list so far but I was disappointed that Nymbler doesn't have Gioia or Macrina in it's list. Ultrasound has indicated this is going to be a baby girl.

Samantha (female),
Rhian (female), Rhianna (female), Rhiannon (female), Rena (female),
Jacqueline (female), Jackie (female)
Lindsay (female), Lyndsey (female),
Reese (female),
Meredith (female),
Savannah (female),
Veronica (female),
Courtney (female),
Mallory (female),
Darcy (female),
Lucy (female),
Lena (female),
Bethany (female), Beth (female),
Corinna (female),
Gina (female),
Jody (female), Jodi (female),
Tatianna (female),
Rosa (female),
Kennedy (female),

I'm sure you are wondering about Macrina. St. Macrina the Younger was Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Peter of Sebaste's sister. She is also the granddaughter of St. Macrina the Elder. It's always been a favorite name of mine.

Please vote for a name or add your suggestion ...

VirtueOnline: Evangelicals, liberals seek dialogue on 'culture war' issues

A recent meeting of liberals and conservative evangelicals came together for a project called "Come Let Us Reason Together". The name comes from a passage in Isaiah where the next line is "though your sins are like scarlet they shall be made white as snow."

The group is attempting to dialog and find areas of agreement of contentious cultural issues. Here's a long quote regarding their areas of agreement:
The five contentious issues the paper focuses on are the role of religion in public life, gay rights, abortion, research using human embryos, and strengthening families.

-- On religion in public life, the paper's authors said liberals and conservatives can agree that there is a proper way for politicians and other public leaders to express their faith -- a way respects both of the First Amendment's principles of protecting individuals' religious freedom and preventing government from endorsing a religion.

-- On gay rights, the statement said both sides can agree to affirm "the human dignity of gay and lesbian people," while at the same time asserting that no gay-rights legislation should infringe on the freedom of religious leaders or groups to espouse or express their beliefs about human sexuality.

-- On abortion, both sides agree to work together to reduce the numbers of abortion in real terms, by preventing unwanted pregnancies and providing support to pregnant mothers who might otherwise choose abortion.

-- On embryonic research, both sides can support legislation to ban the commoditization of human embryos as well as banning reproductive human cloning, while agreeing to disagree on the ethics of whether embryos are actual human beings.

-- Finally, both groups agree that they have common ground in protecting children from pornography and sexual predators as well as strengthening families by supporting fatherhood initiatives.
The last one about fatherhood really struck me. I was in Danville, VA the other day for a meeting with some clergy and a professional counselor. The counselor mentioned some painful stats about Danville. In regards to a particular high school in the area: 80% of the students are being raised by someone other than their biological parent. That's staggering.

I was encouraged in by reading that short list, particularly about their agreement to reduce the numbers of abortions in real terms. That's really positive.

I saw in the article that Tony Campolo was a part of this group. Which side was he a part of Liberals or Evangelicals? Those terms just aren't as useful as they perhaps once were.

Radar Online : Meet the 2008 Presidential Candidates: Interesting Religious Factoids

Here's a link that gives some interesting facts about 8 of the presidential candidates religious backgrounds. It's hard to muster the desire to vote for any of them.

I didn't know that Mitt Romney, "As a Mormon, believes that Jesus will return to Jackson, Missouri." Is that true? Do Mormons believe that? That'll be nice for tourism there. They can have a big Welcome Back Jesus! party.

I think I'd like John McCain more if he identified himself as a Baptist who attends an Episcopal mega-church instead of vice-versa. Oooops. Oh wait ... there are no Episcopal mega-churches.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Great Wolf Lodge - Mason, OH

We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge - Mason, OH and loved it. The room was huge with a gas fireplace and bunkbeds for kids in their own "lodge". The indoor waterpark was fantastic. Everything about the place was first rate. For a family of six to have a 4-star room, with breakfast, indoor waterpark, crafts and storytime for kids -- all for about $200 was worth it.

Heritage Christian Church - Welcome

Here is where I went to church most recently: Heritage Christian Church in Fayetteville, GA where my friends from the north country, Col. Jeff & Ramona, now attend. Thanks to Pastor Greg for praying with me for the festival.

It appears I will now be home for the next several Sunday's and need to get my family settled in church in Liverpool. We're going to be part of a church plant in the coming months but we need a community to be connected with NOW.

At the same time I want to go church visiting. I definitely want to head down to Albany, NY to visit the Covenant Churches there: There is a LifeChurch.tv Albany Campus there and just north of Albany in Clifton Park is Parkside Covenant Church. I also want to visit another AMiA Church. So many churches, so few Sundays.


I work with celebrities. Some are minor celebrities who have a degree of fame within a local community. Some are national celebrities, the kind that have fan sites dedicated to them and their own stalkers. Some are just celebrities in the Christian community. In general the celebrities I work with are really wonderful people. Most are wealthy, but really humble. Very rarely do I find them egotistical or demanding.

Even though I like them and sometimes I get caught up in name dropping to pump up my own ego, overall, they don't awe me. They are world class entertainers and it's wonderful to experience their music or hear their stories but they don't awe me. Let me tell you about what awes me ...

. . . Two pastors working together: complete strangers: one the senior pastor of a charismatic almost mega-church and the other a solo pastor of a small Southern Baptist congregation. They humbly serve each other and work late into the evening to make sure that every person who make a decision for Christ at an evangelistic festival gets followed up on. In another city it's an Episcopal priest and fringe pentecostal pastor working together. In another it's a Church of God pastor and a Lutheran Brethren pastor.

. . . Two laymen, one a bank president and another a contractor, one Roman Catholic and the other from an Evangelical Free Church, working together in unity with nearly every denomination in their town offering all of their personal and professional resources for the Kingdom.

. . . A bank president, who calls the festival leadership and says, "I can't make the meeting tonight but I'll be on the Finance Team or do anything you need. Just let me know what I signed up for." (paraphrase)

. . . A man who is a borderline billionaire who could pay for everything to be done for him, not only gives his money to a festival but shows up every day to run errands, clean up the grounds, set-up & tear down all the staging and equipment in the rain and other menial tasks as needed.

. . . A man who has owned or started over 20 businesses in the last 20 years, is a millionaire, but because of his passion for evangelism and love for Jesus decides to take a vice-president position with a non-profit, something well beneath his stature, for the sake of the kingdom.

. . . A pastor of a small pentecostal church, who is semi-retired, spends several hours a week for months organizing a team that trains several hundred people to share their faith.

. . . A senior pastor of a multi-staff church of several hundred shows up daily at an evangelistic festival, with his associate pastor in tow, to do "whatever is needed."

. . . An engineer that takes a few vacation days and parks his camper on the site of a festival to lead over a hundred volunteers to oversee the entire festival campus, bringing his own equipment for the job.

I do meet a number of celebrities in the course of my work organzing evangelistic festivals. They don't impress me. It's the all of the pastors, lay people and community leaders who selflessly volunteer hour upon hour, sometimes to do tasks well beneath their community stature, that impress me the most. It is a phenomenal sight to see several hundred clergy and lay people in a community, from every conceivable denominational background, from very different ethnic, age, theological and socioeconomic backgrounds, all laying aside important, dearly held differences, all working and praying in unity for the common goal of the growth of the Kingdom of God. Now that is impressive . . . very, very impressive.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

VirtueOnline: 20 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality

This FAQ was created by John F. McKenna, a member of St. Paul's Church in Darien, Connecticut. One interesting quote:
The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, former Episcopal Bishop of Eau Claire had this to say: "First, I am deeply disturbed by the action of a number of heterophobic bigots, who encourage homosexuals to engage in a practice which is cruel and deadly. 91% of all male homosexuals engage in anal sodomy. Regular practice of anal sodomy will shorten human life an average of 26 years, even without factoring in AIDS. These people, purporting to act in the name of the Church, are as evil as those who would give whiskey to alcoholics. What 815 2nd Ave. (the national church's headquarters in New York City) is urging is death on a grand scale, and calling it care and support of their victims, without any regard for what they are doing. Don't ever say that TEC cares for or loves its homosexual members."

WTEN: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports - Controversial Mailings for New Albany Church Draw Attention

LifeChurch.TV has made it to upstate New York! They're causing a stir in the Albany area with mailing that says "Because God loves sex." Good for them. God is the author of love and lovemaking. We as His people ought to be experts at both.

Wine Library TV Crushes Old Wine Rules � NewTeeVee

Have you check out Wine Library TV? It's all the rage for wine enthusiasts. Or you can just consume some of theultrarev's favorites:

My sparkling white favorite: iL's Prosecco and Moscatto.
My red favorite: Francis Ford Copolla's Rosso.
My Chilean favorite: Casillero de Diablo.

Missional Enterprise

I found a blog about missional enterprises, kingdom businesses and tentmaking: Missional Enterprise. I am particularly interested in the idea of running a resale shop as a ministry of and to support a church plant. I believe we'll see more of this idea in the near future with church planters being entrepreneurs as well.

Second Life: Your World. Your Imagination.

Have you been playing Second Life? It's an online "game" where you assume an alternate personality and function as a member of an online society. I spoke with an older business leader recently who had a meeting with others who are considering using it for leadership development with younger employees. Interesting thought. I wonder if that might have any application for churches ...

She caught my good side ...

A recent picture of me on stage in MN. Thanks Lesley.

A week in HOTLanta

Here's a view of my week in Atlanta ...

Jesus Manifesto: Remembering Rich Mullins

I'm a little late in remembering Rich Mullins, whose death was 10 years ago last month. I was in the car on my way to Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY to do a school of evangelism when I heard the news that Rich Mullins died. I remember having a hard time focusing and keeping it together during the class that evening.

We saw Rich in concert 3 times. His music spoke to my soul. I never knew him but felt like we were friends and kindred spirits. He was never a good evangelical. Neither am I.

Even within the past few weeks I've thought of his lyrics as I watched believers from a variety of churches work together to serve Jesus:

And if I were a painter I do not know which I'd paint
The calling of the ancient stars or assembling of the saints
And there's so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see
But everywhere I go I'm looking

Relevant Magazine tribute.

Here In America
Rich Mullins

Genesis 13:17

Saints and children we have gathered here to hear the sacred story
And I'm glad to bring it to you with my best rhyming and rhythm
'Cause I know the thirsty listen and down to the waters come
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

And if you listen to my songs I hope you hear the water falling
I hope you feel the oceans crashing on the coast of north New England
I wish I could be there just to see them, two summers past I was
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

And if I were a painter I do not know which I'd paint
The calling of the ancient stars or assembling of the saints
And there's so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see
But everywhere I go I'm looking

And once I went to Appalachia for my father he was born there
And I saw the mountains waking with the innocence of children
And my soul is still there with them wrapped in the songs they brought
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

And I've seen by the highways on a million exit ramps
Those two-legged memorials to the laws of happenstance
Waiting for four-wheeled messiahs to take them home again
But I am home anywhere if You are where I am

And if you listen to my songs I hope you hear the water falling
I hope you feel the oceans crashing on the coast of north New England
I wish I could be there just to see them, two summers past I was
And the Holy King of Israel loves me here in America

Land of My Sojourn
Rich Mullins and Beaker

Joshua 2:1-24, Psalm 137:1-6, First Peter 1:17

And the coal trucks come a-runnin'
With their bellies full of coal
And their big wheels a-hummin'
Down this road that lies open like the soul of a woman
Who hid the spies who were lookin'
For the land of the milk and the honey
And this road she is a woman
She was made from a rib
Cut from the sides of these mountains
Oh these great sleeping Adams
Who are lonely even here in paradise
Lonely for somebody to kiss them
and I'll sing my song, and I'll sing my song
In the land of my sojourn

And the lady in the harbor
She still holds her torch out
To those huddled masses who are
Yearning for a freedom that still eludes them
The immigrant's children see their brightest dreams shattered
Here on the New Jersey shoreline in the
Greed and the glitter of those high-tech casinos
But some mendicants wander off into a cathedral
And they stoop in the silence
And there their prayers are still whispered
And I'll sing their song, and I'll sing their song
In the land of my sojourn

Nobody tells you when you get born here
How much you'll come to love it
And how you'll never belong here
So I call you my country
And I'll be lonely for my home
And I wish that I could take you there with me

And down the brown brick spine of some dirty blind alley
All those drain pipes are drippin' out the last Sons Of Thunder
While off in the distance the smoke stacks
Were belching back this city's best answer

And the countryside was pocked
With all of those mail pouch posters
Thrown up on the rotting sideboards of
These rundown stables like the one that Christ was born in
When the old world started dying
And the new world started coming on
And I'll sing His song, and I'll sing His song
In the land of my sojourn

In the land of my sojourn
And I will sing His song
In the land of my sojourn

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Salon.com: Since you asked, Christianity, church, teens, belief in God, going to hell, single dad, single mom | Salon Life

So a man who is not a Christian asks how to deal with his daughter. He is divorced from her mom and gets her every other weekend and summers. The daughter is an evangelical Christian and worries her dad is going to hell. He is an atheist and believes in evolution. She cries when they try to talk about it.

Cary Tennis is Salon's advice columnist and I think she gives a really decent answer ... read on ....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Today is my brother's birthday. I'll out him ... he's 35. Happy birthday Gregg.

Today we begin set-up at the Atlanta Motor Speedway with staging, stage rooftop, portapotties and hospitality tents all being set-up. Was out at AMS yesterday for the first time. Extremely impressive structure. Overall we don't have enough money or volunteers. Very scary. But we'll work to the glory of God.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Blogging is real slow right now. I spent 12 days in northern MN in the first part of September and was swamped with the festival there. I was home for six days to get reacquainted with my family and then flew to Atlanta for an overnight. The next day flew to Erie, PA where my family picked me up to travel to Ashtabula, OH for a meeting, then traveled to Cleveland for a visit, then to Mason, OH to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge, then onto Corbin, KY for an overnight on the way back to Atlanta where I've been for 3 days and will stay another 8 for the festival at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Then I head up then to Danville, VA for a meeting and then back home by Oct 11.

ABC News: Christian Conservatives Weigh GOP Split

So I just read this article about Christian conservative leaders holding a meeting discussing their various concerns with potential GOP presidential candidates. Dr. Dobson and other people I've never heard of were present. It sounds like their in crisis mode over the situation.

I wonder if they hold meetings like this over the state of the church in the US. Is anybody in crisis mode over the church? I'm pretty concerned about the state of affairs for the church in the US overall. Real concerned. Is anybody else?