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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Poll finds more Americans believe in devil than Darwin | Lifestyle | Living | Reuters

82% believe in God. Belief in Jesus as God or Son of God, heaven and miracles all remain high. 62% believe in hell or the Devil. Only 42% believe in Darwin's theory of evolution.

Things are looking up in the US.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Obesity Map

Have you seen the Prevalence of Obesity Map? According to these stats from the the Center for Disease Control there is a rapidly increase in the population experiencing obesity.  Does the church care?

Jesus was right! The Mayo Clinic proves it. (note sarcasm)

Check out the great article by MayoClinic.com on Forgiveness: How to let go of grudges and bitterness.  Seems to me that the Bible recommends forgiveness also.  Science has proven the Bible right once again!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Facebook | Catalyst Church

We're excited to be a part of a church plant in it's inception. Catalyst Covenant Church is being born out of Grace Covenant Church of Clay, NY. Our web page isn't up yet but we have a Facebook page. Here is the church description for that page:
"Catalyst, an Evangelical Covenant Church, is a church plant in the Syracuse area that will aim at reaching the most un-churched age group: the 20s and 30s; single, married, and with young families. Although this is the target group, all ages are welcomed to attend. Catalyst is about truth (as revealed and relevant), love (as holy and redemptive), relationship (with God, one another, and the world), and transformation (as internal and eternal). In supporting these values, Catalyst will have five primary practices, which include: prayer, mentoring, hospitality, service, and laughter.

In a nutshell, a church is being born that will strive to get past the 'churchiness' factor and to speak the language of the culture. This church will reach out to a generation that is growing exceedingly more confused about what truth actually is. And what better way to do this than through relationship with an age group that is so disconnected relationally, and whose view of unconditional love is so horribly distorted. This sums up Catalyst's goal to speak the truth and to share the love of Jesus Christ.

If you would like more information, or are interested in partnering with Catalyst Church, please contact Mike Mazzye (Pastor). Mike@catalyst-church.com

'Rather, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow into Him who is the Head, namely Christ.' - Ephesians 4:15 "
We're currently meeting on Monday evenings. St. David's Episcopal Church in DeWitt is graciously allowing us to use their facility.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Macintosh & Computer related ...

BLACK BOX SEARCH... no IP, no tracking cookies, no logging - EVER! For those secretive types, here's a search engine page that doesn't track your searches.

Accordance : The Premier Bible Software Bible software for the Macintosh user. I haven't used it much lately but when I was preaching this was extremely useful software to me.

Top 100 Mac Apps Just another somebody's list of Mac App's -- some free, some not but not a bad list.

Christian Sexuality and the Ethic of Pharmaceutical Enhancement… � Baptist Blogger

Now here's a thoughtful blog post about Christian Sexuality and the Ethic of Pharmaceutical Enhancement. Not something we read about every day. The author is concerned that there seems to be very little Christian theological reflection regarding the use of sexual enhancements drugs:
"Does the church have anything to say about sexual enhancement therapy, and if so, what guidelines should govern its use by those claiming to have forsaken the lust of the flesh for the sake of the gospel? I will argued that no universal ordinance can be found in Scripture to warrant repudiation of sexual enhancement drugs, but rather that very clear biblical principles should circumscribe their usage."
An interesting read.

Syracuse Area Marriage Encounter: 2008 ENCOUNTER DATES!

I just received the 2008 dates for the Syracuse Area Marriage Encounter which take place all over upstate New York, and apparently Vermont. They aren't even posted at the web site yet. I highly recommend a Marriage Encounter.

Jan 11-13 University Inn, Canton
Feb 8-10 Notre Dame, Rochester
Mar 28-30 Howard Johnson's, Cooperstown
April 11-13 Stowe, Vermont
June 20-22 Notre Dame, Canandaigua
Early Sept Oneonta or Norwich
Oct 17-19 Red Mill, Baldwinsville (25 rooms reserved)
Nov. 7-9 Burlington, VT
Nov 14-16 Good News Foundation, Utica

wbztv.com - Mind Games Played On Shoppers To Keep 'Em Shopping

In the past shoppers suspected that stores did this but the stores never admitted it. Now it's out in the open: Some stores are working at creating a physical environment that make you want to linger in their store, possible even spend money. It's called atmospherics.
"Most of it is about creating a kind of mood in the shopper that makes them stay in the store longer," said Boston College marketing professor Kathleen Seiders.

It's called atmospherics -- how lighting, colors, music and scents all can affect consumer spending. Research says it works and more companies are buying into it.
Could churches do this? Could we change the atmospherics in the church to help people pursue God? It seems like it could be unethical or at least unauthentic. Are there any possible positive uses for this in the church?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My home in Liverpool, NY

Captains and Courts

Captains and Courts is by Dr. Ray R. Sutton. Subtitled: A Biblical Defense of Episcopal Government. This is not a defense of the denomination, The Episcopal Church, but a defense of the episcopal form of government. Episcopal literally means: "with bishops".

I'm not necessarily advocating for that polity. It's just interesting reading no matter what your polity preference.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pastor in Microsoft 'gay rights' share bid - Telegraph

Too funny.  Pastor Ken Hutcherson is taking on Microsoft:  
Pastor in Microsoft 'gay rights' share bid - Telegraph: "'I told them that you need to work with me or we will put a firestorm on you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare. I am a black man with a righteous cause with a whole host of powerful white people behind me.'"

Which Character of the Bible Do Your Most Identify With?

Someone asked me that question not too long ago.  It was part of a "get to know you" experience with some new people on a team.  They asked it in such a way that I should just know.  But I really didn't and I felt slightly embarrassed, slightly annoyed (I don't know why) and kinda icky. 

I just really didn't have an answer for it.  The first thing that came to mind was Solomon.  He enjoyed sex and money.  I enjoy sex and money.  But that was really it.  I didn't say that in the meeting but I was thinking it.  Maybe I sarcastically said something about being like Eutychus and sleeping in church.  I don't remember my answer.  As I reflected upon it further over days and weeks I still couldn't come up with a better answer than Solomon.

Then I was in church recently and the preacher said something about ". . . Paul, the guy who wrote most of the NT, thinks . . ." yada yada yada.  And I had that same feeling again.

I just don't read the Bible through the lens of the characters.  It's not really part of my hermeneutic.  When I read the Bible I think about God.  What's he trying to say to me?  What is this pericope trying to communicate about God: His person, character, preferences, values, style, heart, etc.  What do I learn about God through this?

It's not that I don't value historical setting.  I do.  I think Jesus and many of his parables are all the more scandalous when you consider their historical setting, social customs, gender roles, etc.  I just don't think about Paul's ideas and that he wrote a bunch of the NT.  I think about God, who inspired all the NT and His ideas.  Somehow God is the character I identify with most.  I'm not sure how but I think I got that from Weborg.

PrayStation: The 6 Most Misguided Christian Video Games | Cracked.com

Not written by a Christian and a couple of cuss words will come up but humorous article about Christian video games.

Food pantries struggling with shortages - Yahoo! News

Looks like we need to get the word out that charities are in need this year. Jesus said something feeding the poor.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dinesh D’Souza on What’s So Great About Christianity?

An interesting article with an attempt for a new apologetic about God.

Welcome to AdSense

Some of you have noticed that I added Google AdSense to my blog in the right hand column. Do you know much about AdSense? Here's how it works: you add space on your blog for Google to put ads. In theory Google scans the text of the blog and puts up ads that relate to that content. If anyone then clicks on one the ads then the blog own gets paid. AdSense also has other ads where a blog owner can put up ads for specific products and a Google search box.

I've had my ads up for about 10 days and I've made .96¢. I'm thinking of tithing off it this week.

Luke 10:27: Answering UltraRev's Question

My rant/question the other day about "Whatever Became of the Public Reading of Scripture?" Sparked a number of interesting comments both on my blog, email and in person.

Beth Bilynskyj gave a wonderfully long, thoughtful answer at her blog: Luke 10:27: Answering UltraRev's Question. Thank you so much Beth. Beth is married to Steve, who is pastor at Valley Covenant Church in Eugene, OR.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Over the past years David Virtue at virtueonline.org has report some incredible stories like clown eucharists and Episcopal priests who were wiccans. Here is another mind boggling story about Gay Pride Day in church:
"If you think things are not really as bad as orthodox Episcopalians and VOL (VirtueOnline.org) paints them in the TEC (The Episcopal Church) read this. "The Sunday after General Convention I returned to my home parish for Gay Pride Sunday and participated in a Disco Mass for which gays and lesbians turned out in force. The opening hymn was a beautiful jazz rendition of 'Over the Rainbow.' Musical offerings came from gay men in sequined tank tops and from the Director of Music who was ushered into the service singing a disco number complete with go-go girls. The queen of St. Mark's appeared in full drag to deliver the homily and the closing hymn was, Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family.'" Yours truly, Nell Braxton Gibson, Coordinator of the Episcopal Urban Caucus, describing a "disco Mass" at her home congregation in New York City."
And if that wasn't goofy enough, how about Anglicans for the Legalizing of Prostitutes? Read on . . .
"In the revisionist DIOCESE OF NEW WESTMINSTER comes news that Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, an Anglican who attends Christ Church Cathedral, supports prostitutes' call for legal brothels for the Olympics. A group of Vancouver prostitutes has been joined by Liberal MP Libby Davies and the mayor in calling for the Canadian government to legalize brothels and to set up a system of government regulated brothels to service johns at the Winter Olympics. A furious VOL reader wrote: "You read it right, Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver, devout parishioner of Christ Church Cathedral, friend of Bishop Michael Ingham, supports legalizing brothels for Vancouver to service visitors during the 2010 Olympics. Oh yes! I want to join his church!" For the full story click here: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/nov/07111304.html"
And because I have some persons of Swedish descent who read my blog, you can read an interesting piece of the church in Sweden:
"There are problems galore for the SWEDISH CHURCH. An Op-Ed article was published in "Svenska Dagbladet" (SvD) the main daily newspaper of the leading conservative political party of the present coalition government in Sweden, the Moderaterna. An English translation of the article is published on Yngve Kalin's web page. You can read it here: http://kalin.nu/english/svd3.htm Kalin hopes for a renewed discussion about the serious situation in the Swedish church and would like Christians outside Sweden to know about it."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm still Catholic! I had no idea!

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Roman Catholic

You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Neo orthodox


Reformed Evangelical






Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

VirtueOnline: Archaeologist uncovers Scriptures' famed wall

Wall built by Nehemiah found in Jerusalem by Dr. Eilat Mazar:

Monday, November 12, 2007

YouTube: Common Craft: Explanations in Plain English by Lee Lefever

The commoncraft show has it's own site as well as a YouTube site. This site hosts very cool short videos that explains seemingly complex stuff. Do you know what a Wiki is? Watch this video and learn. There are lots more like it.

Church Marketing Sucks: Lessons In Not Sucking: Cheap Marketing Ideas for Church Planters

Church Marketing Sucks: Lessons In Not Sucking: Cheap Marketing Ideas for Church Planters. I find that church planting marketing ideas almost always are useful for established. Found this link today at the blog of my recommended candidate for the next president of the Covenant Church.

Church Marketing Sucks is part of the Center for Church Communication (CFCC). Here is interview with Kevin Hendricks from CFCC that gives a little info about them.

There is also a Church Marketing Lab which allows people to share their church marketing ideas and receive constructive feedback.


Fantastic blog for church marketing ... using RSS, Twitter, YouTube fund raising -- all for marketing. Also has a short list of useful marketing sites. This guy is sharing extremely using ideas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rant: Whatever Became of the Public Reading of Scripture?

I'm ranting today about one of my usual hang-ups -- irrelevantly so but hey, it's my blog. I've got issues and we all know it.

I've been to a couple different churches recently. All of them evangelical and contemporary in flavor. The liturgy of the service goes something like this

Music before the service begins
Welcome & Announcements
More Music & brief prayer
Some sort of dismissal


Video clip


Music before service begins
Welcome & video announcements
Invitation to Prayer at the Altar

No creeds, no pastoral prayer, Lord's prayer or congregational prayer, few altar calls or invitations for salvation, no choir or special music, and occasional communion. These were not charismatic churches so we didn't have any prophecies, words of knowledge/wisdom, healings or ministry time. For whatever reason I understand why those things are not part of the service. Some I don't even miss or wish were part of the service.

The thing that has me cussing and I just can't get my head around is why is there no formal reading of the Bible? A short (or in 1 case recently long) passage may be read as part of the sermon by the preacher. Some of the sermons are mildly expository (verse by verse) but I would say all are Biblically based. Some are topical and utilize a variety of passages for a variety of points. The sermons were even good but that's not the point. In total very little of the Bible is read -- several verses at most. Why?

I have to hand it to the Episcopalians/Anglicans? Even if they don't believe it or have bizarre hermeneutics, they read more Scripture in one service than some evangelicals read in a month or more! That is not even slightly sarcastic or exaggerated. If they read all 4 lectionary passages as the BCP suggests plus all the Scripture used throughout the liturgy, that's far more than I've heard in the churches I've been in for the past month.

Why have churches abandoned reading the Bible as part of the worship? I honestly don't know and if you know, throw me a bone here. Has there been a theological shift amongst evangelicalism regarding the Bible and I missed it somewhere? Or is this just a practical issue: we think public reading or speaking or oration is boring? Maybe we can't find enough good readers for each week? Or maybe it takes up too much time in the service and cuts into our 20 minutes of singing and 45 minute sermon and 10 minutes of announcements & offering.

What does it say about our theology of the Scripture? Do we really hold a high view of Scripture if we don't read it publicly? Do we really believe the Word of God has the power to transform lives, or is it only our explanation of the Word that transforms? Do we really think it is inspired or God breathed?

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

"The grass whithers and the flower fades but the Word of the our Lord shall remain forever."

Christian Guy Totally Owns Mormons�Video

And now a for a little humor on this Lord's Day ...

Christian Guy Totally Owns Mormons - Watch more free videos

RTS on iTunes U

I found 2 mp3 scholarly resources this week:

RTS on iTunes U: Reformed Theological Seminary. I noticed this week that the AMiA recommends training for clergy at RTS.

Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. A number of scholarly lectures are available here. Of particular interest to me were Roger Olson on Arminianism, Scott McKnight on Mary the mother Jesus and Mark Noll on Christian History. Haven't listened to them all yet but hope to on Monday on my trip to Ashtabula, OH.

Coffee With Chris

So now that I live in Livepool, NY I've begun scouring the blogosphere for local bloggers. This week I found a local youth pastor blog: Coffee With Chris. He had a link to The End of Religion and a good post on Church Marketing.

Generous Orthodoxy ThinkTank: Canon and Catholicity: The Skeleton in the Protestant Closet

Interesting post on the formation of the canon of the Scripture (how the Bible came to be) by James K.A. Smith at Generous Orthodoxy ThinkTank. He refers to a book by Craig Allert, A High View of Scripture?, and his point is simply that the church predates the NT canon by hundreds of years and that the church authorized the formation of the canon. Therefore, should Christians consider the supreme authority on matters of faith the church instead of the Bible?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pope says pharmacists have right to conscientiously object to fill emergency contraception

Hmmmmm .... I've never thought about the ethical dilemmas that pharmacists face in their professions if they are pro-life and/or a Christian.

What's even more interesting is how this story is report in multiple different sources:

Pope says pharmacists have right to conscientiously object to fill emergency contraception -- News-Medical.Net.

The Associated Press: Pope to Druggists: Shun Immoral Scripts

Pope urges pharmacists to reject abortion pill | Reuters

ESPN - Williamson fined for attending funeral - NFL

Shame on the MN Vikings for fining WR Troy Williamson for missing a game to attend his grandmother's funeral. Boo Vikings! That was heartless and classless.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Boydston for President

At the urging of my beloved friend Jimmy Doo Erickson, I sent this letter today to the Presidential Nominating Committee of the Evangelical Covenant Church:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your service to the Covenant Church by serving on the Presidential Nominating Committee. Many are praying for you and I trust you will be led by the Holy Spirit in all you do.

I would like to recommend that you consider Rev. Brad Boydston as a potential candidate for President of the Covenant Church. Brad is an orthodox theologian/scholar, pastor, church planter, missionary and mission minded in all he does. He has previous shown himself as an exemplary leader when he served as President of the Covenant Ministerium. His current experience as a Bible school professor in Guam, working cross-culturally and cross-denominationally would be invaluable as the leader of the Covenant Church.

Brad understands the theological distinctives of the Covenant as well as our unique ethos. He is respected by his peers, and I consider him uniquely wise. His blog is a must read: Brad.Boydston.us.

Thank you.
My only hesitation in recommending Brad is that he would hate the weather in Chicago. But it would be a nice change of pace to hear the ukulele as the lead worship instrument at official Covenant gatherings.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Church Attendance Statistics

David Virtue says ...
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH has declined in absolute numbers. According to statistics presented by Kirk Hadaway, the Episcopal Church's director of research to the Executive Council, the church is losing 1,000 parishioners per week. Only one in three Episcopalians attends a parish church on a weekly basis. Membership in all 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church totaled 2,320,506 in 2006, down 2.2%, or 51,502, from 2,372,008 in 2005. That's the equivalent of 1,000 Episcopalians walking away from the Episcopal Church each week. There is no indication it will turn around any time soon, if ever.
If you do the math the Episcopal Church loses an attendee just about every six minutes.

Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

Here is yet another church that is preaching about God's plan for sexual relations and getting some press time because of it. This time it's in Rochester, NY: Lakeshore Community Church pastored by Vince DiPaola with an article in the Democrat & Chronicle: Local News.

I used to preach about God's plans for sexuality. God forbid that our children grow up in a church where the pulpit is silent about sexuality. The Bible isn't silent about it and neither church the pulpit. Furthermore, our sex saturated culture is preaching values every day and people are searching for answers. Why not turn to see what God has to say about it. This isn't some topic that needs to be relegated to Sunday School or a small group.

Lakeshore is using the ad that other churches have used. It's been called 'edgy' or risque. My brain must be really warped because I don't see it as a big deal. It's SFW. Check it out: www.puresexneeded.com.

Some people say this is just a publicity stunt. It's not. This is about providing pastoral care for a community. People need answers that work for their life ... real answers. The best place to find them is from God Himself.

Go get 'em Pastor Vince!