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Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Education From Tuition Driven Universities

UPDATE AGAIN: Add another link to on-line education: LearningSpace - LearningSpace - OpenLearn - The Open University. UK based, Open University is dedicated to distance learning. A number of free classes available.


UPDATE: Updating last week's entry about education. I came across another free education resource. Learn great coding from: Google Code University - Google Code


Here are 3 links to pages with extensive links to online education course from universities across the country. I love all this free educational stuff. You can learn new languages, astronomy, physics, history, religion, mathematics, literature and on and on. Emphasis on FREE.

Now there are some churches out there that give some free podcasts. Mars Hill in Seattle has fairly extensive offerings with sermons and other lectures but most churches only offer their sermons. Does anybody know if there are seminaries out there offering free online courses/podcasts?

I wish there were more Christian courses offered for free. I just see countless Christian seminars, video courses, etc. that cost a fair amount ... church planting seminars, preaching seminars, seminars on reaching our culture, training for Alpha, countless curriculum on prayer, discipleship, evangelism, worship, marriage, parenting, etc. I understand people need to make a living and cover expenses, but why do we get a free education from the university and not the church. I just got my flier from the Covenant to buy the CD's for the Pastors Midwinter courses.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you know where we can take free online church history, hermeneutics, NT Exegesis, NT Greek, etc. But I see a lot of people making money off the people of God to train them in godliness. Jesus didn't say go and make disciples of the whole world and make a profit doing it.

Free Online Courses from Great Universities (Download as Podcasts) | Open Culture

Universities with the Best Free Online Courses -- Education-Portal.com

Technophilia: Discover the .EDU Underground

Even Redbook Says Couples Should Pray Together

5 Things Super-Happy Couples Do Every Day - Redbook

One of the top habits of super happy couples: Share A Spiritual Moment Together.
"Those who pray together are also more likely to say they respect each other, discuss their marriage together, and — stop the presses — rate their spouses as skilled lovers."
And don't we all need some more skilled loving? rrrraawwrrrr.

Using YouTube For Marketing

YouTube Feature Tells Video Creators When and Where a Clip Is Being Watched - New York Times

YouTube has added a feature that will allow creators of videos to know the viewing details of their videos giving them important marketing information.

New Male Contraception?

Breakthrough claimed in male contraceptives | The Washington Times

Researchers have confirmed male contraception via a pill will be available at the earliest in about 3 years. The upside of this is that this will be another contraceptive that will block fertilization thus it will not be an abortifacient (i.e. one that prevents conception).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Reason to Buy David Olson's Book

Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican | Reuters
"Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday."
Seems kind of meaningless to compare an entire religion with one slice of another.

Book Review by Brad Boydston: The American Church in Crisis

Brad Boydston reviewed The American Church in Crisis by David Olson. I haven't read the the book yet, but have heard Dave speak on the book's topic and read his articles from the Covenant Companion. Those articles are available in my .Mac Public Folder.

I strongly recommend you buy this book and buy a copy for your pastor. The crisis is very real. Look in the right hand column on this page and you'll see a link to purchase it through Amazon.com.

Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY

Grace Covenant Church located at 5300 State Route 31, Clay, NY has finally updated it's web site and visually it's very appealing — very simple, clean and great use of colors. If you're looking for a church in the Syracuse area that has decent music, great Bible teaching and two of the finest Christian men you could ever meet as pastors then Grace Covenant is for you. Worship services are at 8:30 am and 11:00 am on Sunday mornings.

WANTED: Executive Director, Crisis Pregnancy Center, Watertown, NY

Wanted: Executive Director
Care Net Pregnancy Center of Northern New York.

Must have a 4 year college degree. Must have a minimum of a 3 year commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and ability to share the Gospel and personal testimony, an unshakeable confidence in the Word of God and an ability to communicate it's truth in word and deed. Must agree and be willing to uphold the Statement of Faith, principles and policies of the center. Must have proven leadership, motivational, and relationship skills and have good communication and organizational skills always with professional appearance and poise. Must have a familiarity with abortion issues and a strong commitment and dedication to the sanctity of all human life.

Watertown is located in the heart of a recreational tourist area of upstate New York near the Thousand Islands. We have plenty of snow in the winter. We are located within miles of some major colleges (St Lawrence University) and the Fort Drum Military Base for the 10th Mountain Division.

Please respond to this ad by sending your resume and contact info by email to
Steve Moncrief or call him at 800-684-6216. Fax: 315-376-8444.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Original Lyrics to Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Complete lyrics to Take Me Out to the Ball Game as originally published in 1908:

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said "No,
I'll tell you what you can do:"

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out,
At the old ball game."

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out,
At the old ball game.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Coaltion for Reallignment

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has a group within it that have created their own organization to support the effort to reallign the diocese with a biblically orthodox Province of the Anglican Church.

The evangelistic festival that I am currently working on will happen within the boundaries of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. It's a great honor to serve you and your Diocese Bishop Duncan.

Planting Churches & Businesses

California Dreams | Christianity Today

I believe we'll see a lot of this in the future: churches planting churches and businesses, and using businesses to plant more churches. Churches will gain the respect of the community as they impact the economy positively, add to the employment base and literally serve the community with meaningful business ventures.

There is a related CT article: IRS Rules to Remember: ECFA and IRS recommendations for churches that run businesses.

Mikhail Gorbachev Apparently is NOT a Christian

Apparently he was misunderstood. David Virtue reports:
VirtueOnline - News - Viewpoints - GAFCON And LAMBETH Vie For Bishops...Long Island Parish Loses...More...: "OOPS. Mikhail Gorbachev Dispels 'Closet Christian' Rumors; Says He is Atheist. VOL ran a story saying that the former Soviet leader had converted to Christianity. Not true. Gorbachev made clear this past weekend that he is an atheist after European news agencies last week claimed that he had confirmed his Christian faith during a visit to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy. 'Over the last few days, some media have been disseminating fantasies - I can't use any other word - about my secret Catholicism, citing my visit to the Sacro Convento friary, where the remains of St. Francis of Assisi lie,' Gorbachev said, according to an Interfax article posted Friday. 'To sum up and avoid any misunderstandings, let me say that I have been and remain an atheist.'"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Church Radically Changes Budgeting Process - Evangelical Covenant Church

Great article about the way Montecito Covenant Church — MoCo — developed their budgeting process. One concept I learned about was their creating a two-level budget. Check this out

“What we elected to do is create a two-level budget with ‘base’ and ‘provisional’ components,” says Ludwick. “The base amount is a conservative plan with modest growth over the prior year's expenditures,” Ludwick says. This year, the base amount totals $651,574, a 3.7-percent increase over the previous budget.

“The provisional component contains expense items—we prefer to call these ‘investments’—that are pre-approved by the congregation based on certain income targets being met by mid-year,” Ludwick says.

He believes the two-level budget provides flexibility as well as inspiration. “In this way the congregation understands the dreams and objectives of the pastoral and council team at the outset, and we challenge ourselves to support those higher goals,” Ludwick says. “However, if there are changes in the economic realities of our congregation—as there well may be this year—then the base budget is all we accomplish, and we are not feeling any crisis about this.”

Seems like a great idea that could be very inspiring and encouraging to the congregation.

Internet Evangelism Day, April 27

Internet Evangelism Day Press Release:

Churches to Hold Web Focus Day April 27

"How can we use this new-fangled Internet thing to share the gospel?" Christians are asking. A worldwide "web evangelism focus day" is helping to provide answers. Sunday, April 27, has been designated as Internet Evangelism Day. Churches can download free materials from the Internet Evangelism Day website. These materials make it easy for churches to create a short presentation about online outreach on or near that Sunday. A PowerPoint, video clip testimonies, drama scripts, music and handouts can be used to create their own customized program lasting from one minute to 50.

Church leaders who have already used these materials are excited. "This is a huge help for small churches such as ours," writes a church leader from California.

The Internet Evangelism Day team emphasizes that web evangelism is for anyone, not just the technically gifted. "There are many ways to share your faith online, without any technical background at all," says IE Day Coordinator Tony Whittaker.

Christian leaders are also enthusiastic: "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says Dr. John Stott.

Churches can start planning their focus day now. More information:

Internet Evangelism Day: Free Church Website Tool Released

Internet Evangelism Day Press Release:

Free Church Website Tool Released

The people behind Internet Evangelism Day also provide year-round resources about online outreach. The ministry explains many ways that Christians can share the good news, including through church websites. Churches often find it difficult to create a site that will engage with outsiders in their area, and find themselves asking, "How can our church website help us reach out into our community?"

A new online tool released by IE Day provides churches with a free 15-page evaluation report. Users assess their own website by answering 55 simple questions. Their customized report is immediately displayed online, ready to print or save. The report's recommendations are tailored with specific practical suggestions, based on the questions that were ticked. View the evaluation tool here:

A church site which has been prioritized for non-Christian visitors can be remarkably effective in reaching the community. "Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else," writes one growing church in London.

The tool also provides the parable 'A Tale of Two Golf Clubs' (which is available to republish) to illustrate the principles of effective church websites:

Church leaders have welcomed this new resource. "This competent evaluation tool provides a valuable service to churches that will help them strengthen their effectiveness in outreach through the Internet," says Dr. Sterling Huston, director of North American Ministries for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Gary McClure of LifeWay Ministries agrees, saying, "This checklist is an invaluable tool to identify critical areas for improvement. Every church should study this regularly and act on it!"

For more information:

I Got Sweet Skills

Someone called me about a job I didn't want recently. They were asking me about my skills. Let's see ... I've done adoption casework, graphic design, pastoral ministry: solo & associate, youth ministry, children's evangelism, evangelistic preaching, multimedia creation, all aspects of public relations and marketing, volunteer management, leadership development, fund raising and donor development, budget creation and management, large & small event planning, curriculum development, church health & growth consulting, retreat and seminar planning and leading, taught college classes, and if that's not enough, I can set-up sound equipment, stock shelves in a grocery store, and rake sand traps on a golf course. I got skills. And according to the Scriptures I have spiritual gifts too.

As I wrote all that down and looked at my resume once again I observed that is an extraordinarily eclectic group of skills. I must be good for something though we're still wondering what that might be.

FOXNews.com - Police: Girl Dies After Parents Pray for Healing Instead of Seeking Medical Help

A horribly sad story. The family doesn't attend church but has a small home Bible study. The girl had a treatable form of diabetes. Essentially they tortured her — it doesn't sound like it was a pleasant death. The mother still think the daughter could be resurrected.

Weblog � Emergent Village � The Friday We Call "Good" -- Atonement Contest Results

Atonement. At - one - ment. Being made one. Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation.

Within the Christian church and the Bible we have lots of metaphors for atonement. A common one that seems to be out of vogue, and for some reason some call unbiblical these days is the penal substitutionary atonement.
An Old Testament image is that of the scape goat.

God bless those folks over at the Emergent Village as they have held a contest to come up with new metaphors. On Good Friday they named the winners. Check out this post: The Friday We Call "Good" -- Atonement Contest Results.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Assembly of God in Marcy, NY Hosts: The Power Team

First Assembly of God in Marcy, NY is hosting The Power Team, April 2-6. The exact schedule isn't posted at the web site. I emailed the church today for clarification and will post that as soon as I get it. I'm planning to take my kids once I get a confirmed schedule. Want to go with us?

Here's a clip I shot of Power Team member Riley Israel in MN from September 2007. I think this is Cloquet, MN.

I get all sorts of YouTube comments saying they're a hoax, they're doing tricks, blah, blah, blah ... trust me people: these guys are the deal. They are honestly strong and beyond that they are honest people not doing some sort of illusion.

My kids and I love to see "Freight Train" Willie Raines and hear how God has changed his life. He bench presses 600+ pounds. Here's Willie breaking ice with his head and rolling up 2 frying pans:

I also found this NPR audio clip of when the Power Team was at Ft. Drum for the North Country Encounter that I helped coordinate. My friend and great pastor, Rev. Stan Gilcash of New Hope Baptist Church, is heard on the clip.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The rise of the new nomadics - Times Online

The New Nomadics are those workers who are officeless. Article subtitle: "If your ‘job’ entails loitering in coffee shops, armed with only a laptop and mobile, then you’re part of a brave new world." One interesting group that has become part of this trend are church planters and pastors. Every coffeeshop I go into now I see them there. Pastors holding meetings and bible studies, networking with community. Some don't have an office and some just don't want to use the office they have -- both want to be out in the community meeting people and networking.

Buying a New Computer? Wanting to Upgrade Software? No Need for MS Office.

Let me say this loudly so you all hear me: DON'T BUY MICROSOFT OFFICE. You don't need it.

I can't believe that anyone still pays for Microsoft Office with the availability of OpenOffice, which is an OpenSource version of MS Office. It's free, constantly updated, full of features, has templates available and it's free. I like the free part. Here's a new article touting the upcoming features in the next release: PC World - Business Center: OpenOffice 3.0 Promises to Bash Office.

I use NeoOffice for Mac OS X and love it. I have no compatibility issues trading documents with PC/MS Office users. Mostly I am using it for word processing and spreadsheets, but had no problems using it for presentations (PowerPoint) with my lap top and video projector, laid out brochures in it's drawing program and now am attempting to figure out if it will handle our dbase needs for a festival which will require several thousand names and relationships created.

Be free from your bondage to Microsoft. Get out in the Open(Office)!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Heaven Is Not Our Home | Christianity Today

Ready for a theological lesson about the after life? Check out this article by NT Wright.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Found a number of resources related to anxiety and depression at anxietycentre.com. Here's their page with a host of self assessment tests: Anxiety test, anxiety self test, Stress Tests, and Personality tests.

Happy Easter

Matthew 28:1-9

28:1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Way News - Pope to Baptize Prominent Muslim

In keeping with early church tradition Pope Benedict baptized 7 people at the Easter Vigil on this Holy Saturday. One of the is a prominent Italian non-practicing Muslim.

Colbert: First Vid of Dean Kamen's Miracle Water Distiller

The guy who invented the Segway, Dean Kamen, has created a water purifier and says, we could "wipe out 50% of human disease." Check out the short video: Colbert: First Vid of Dean Kamen's Miracle Water Distiller.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Liturgical & Blog Colors

Today is Good Friday in the Church Calendar. Most people keep sense of time through seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, seasons, etc. Some Christians attempt to keep time differently with the intention of orienting their life around the life of Christ. Some keep time during the day by praying at certain times of the day (the Liturgy of the Hours) and some keep seasonal time through the church year. Today we remember, celebrate and mourn the death of Jesus of Nazareth, who was fully God and fully human, who was crucified for our sake for the forgiveness of sins, that all who would believe in him would receive life.

Many churches change the color of their altar linens, called paraments, and the color of their clergy's garments, called vestments depending on the season. In some traditions, today is one of two days in the church year that Red is used. Thus the color of my blog. (The other would be Pentecost.) Other traditions use purple or black.

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

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

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

by William Bouguereau (1825-1905)

Find Some Happiness Today

Research says, Money buys happiness -- if you spend on someone else | U.S. | Reuters. The researchers found that spending as little as $5 a day on someone else made people happier, and definitively people who were given money who then spent it on others as opposed to self were happier.

This reminds me of the Vineyard churches who have embraced servant evangelism. They love giving stuff away — not to grow their church, not as a marketing gimmick but purely to express the love of God to people.

Easter warning: crucifixion is bad for you - Telegraph

Some people just have to find things out the hard way, but just in case you didn't know CRUCIFIXION IS BAD FOR YOU. Very bad. That should be obvious but apparently for some it is not.

I think it's good that people try to imitate the life of Jesus Christ. The Bible even encourages us to do so. However, I don't think crucifying oneself is what Jesus had in mind.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mikhail Gorbachev admits he is a Christian - Telegraph

One very interesting quote: "Mr Gorbachev's surprise visit confirmed decades of rumours that, although he was forced to publicly pronounce himself an atheist, he was in fact a Christian, and casts a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1989 in a new light." He was 'forced'. Interesting that he was 'forced' to betray Christ yet his in-laws were martyrs for their faith dying in WWII for having icons in their home.

'Believers are happier than atheists' - Telegraph

The authors of the study said: "Religion tempers the impact of adverse life events."

What the authors of the study didn't say, "... it can also temper the impact of the adverse after-life events."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top 5 Reasons to Host An Evangelistic Festival (aka Crusade) in Your Community

Whatever Happened to Evangelism? | Outreach & Evangelism. This article is dated but it's an interview with Luis Palau talking about evangelistic festivals and evangelism in general. It just reminded me of those who are still saying that evangelistic festivals are ineffective at reaching the unchurched. In general those who are saying that have a very limited understanding of a festival and don't understand that the process of putting a festival together is equally as important to the event itself. Evangelistic festivals are not just about a weekend event.

So here are the top 5 reasons to host an evangelistic festival in your community.
  • Leadership Development. Festivals require leadership. We want the very best Christian leaders a community has when we do a festival. Often a community has a group of well respected leaders who are asked repeatedly to lead and donate ... be on the board of the local city mission, crisis pregnancy center, Christian school, Christian radio, etc. We run into leader/donor fatigue all the time. Inevitably, we also find there are other leaders who God has been preparing for such a time as this. In nearly every city I've worked in, by the time the festival was over, new leaders had emerged that the community had rallied around and now viewed with a great respect. They go on to new positions of leadership in their churches and the community and do great things for God.
  • Christian Unity. Luis Palau says in the linked article above, "Interestingly enough, America is the toughest country in the world to get denominations to work together. ... The major work in a citywide crusade is not touching the nonconverted. It is bringing the churches together to touch the unconverted." I find that is really changing. There used to be the divisions in the evangelical church between the charismatic and Bible churches, and then another division between that whole group and the mainline churches, with yet other bridges to cross to partner with Roman Catholics, and still more to work with the Orthodox. I see it much less often. More often I see graciousness between churches with differing opinions on women in ministry as well as many other issues and the charismatic issue is almost non-existent. I remember at a debriefing meeting of a festival one woman said, "I feel like I have all these friends in these other churches now that I didn't have before." That was the overwhelming feeling in the room and is frequently the overwhelming feeling of the body of Christ after a festival. An evangelistic festival promotes and strengthens unity in the body of Christ.

    I remember one woman pastor saying, "Evangelism isn't really my thing. But I've been so disappointed over the years that the evangelical churches haven't helped with the local mission. Maybe if I participate in this we'll have a better relationship and they will help us with caring for the poor." On the one hand that's a sad indictment of the evangelicals in her community. On the other hand it's that kind of humility and desire for unity that we often see.
  • Heightened Emphasis on Evangelism. I read the want ads at ChurchStaffing.com every week and I think in general they reflect the priorities of the church. There are ads for worship pastor/leader, youth pastor, jr hi or sr hi pastor, children's pastor, pastor of small groups, discipleship pastor, gen x pastor, church planters, minister to families, campus pastor, executive pastor, etc. There is a HUGE demand for nearly all of those. Very, very, very little demand for a pastor of evangelism or outreach. Nearly every church I know needs work at keeping evangelism as a priority. Evangelistic festivals raise the awareness of evangelism in churches and help them to recover the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • Evangelism Training. In general churches are not regularly training and retraining their people to share their faith. Beyond that, the churches I've served have had some really fine Christian people who have never led anyone to Christ — ever — and they're scared to death of the thought of doing so. Evangelistic festivals bring training to a community and depending on the style of the festival actually give people the opportunity to lead someone to Christ at the event itself. My experience has been when a Christian leads someone to Jesus for the first time, it changes them and gives them a hunger and openness to be used by God more frequently. Evangelistic Festivals encourage and train believers to think and act like missionaries.
  • Mission. At another debriefing meeting of a festival one person said, "Look at what we have accomplished together. I wonder, what God has for us next?" Nearly every time we do a festival, reports come within several months to a year later of the new project that has emerged with a multidenominational involvement ... marriage ministry, youth rallies, coffeehouses, Bible giveaways, men's and women's ministries, etc. Evangelistic festivals frequently leave the body of Christ in a community with a corporate sense of mission.
  • Proclamation of the Gospel. Evangelistic Festivals raise the level of awareness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a community. Most festivals not only have evening events where the evangelist gives the gospel but numerous other events as well. Further it is covered by the media. Festivals raise the level of saturation with the Gospel level in a community.
  • Evangelistic Festivals give pastors and lay people a needed holy boldness with their faith. A multitude of factors contribute to this: the emphasis on evangelism training, the evangelist preaching publicly, other believers, prayer ... all giving believers a greater sense of urgency and boldness to share their faith.
  • Evangelistic Festivals promote individual and corporate prayer. On the wall at the Billy Graham Library I saw a quote for Mr. Graham, "There are 3 elements to crusade preparation. Pray. Pray. Pray." Every good festival brings the church together to pray: Prayer for the lost, for church unity, for the witness of every believer and church, for holiness, for the protection of pastors and churches, for repentance, etc. Festivals ask believers to pray specifically for people in their lives who they will invite and share their faith with. Festivals gather people for concerts of prayer, weekly prayer meetings, prayerwalks and more evangelistic prayer in their worship services.
  • Evangelistic Festivals give the church a way to serve the wider community with a "fun for the whole family" event. Festivals really are fun. The festivals I'm involved with often have special breakfasts/luncheons, prison ministry, skateboarding or BMX demo's, the Power Team busting stuff up, a world class ventriloquist for kids, sports competitions, Battle of the Bands, blow-up bouncing games and really great music with the likes of Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Diamond Rio, Thousand Foot Krutch, Dennis Agajanian, Toby Mac, Kutless, Julissa, Skillet, Grits, Nicole C. Mullen, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Kirk Franklin, my new favorite Pat Boone and others. I love it when Marvis Frazier comes to tell his story and works in the jails. The Power Team and ventriloquist spend a week doing assemblies in schools with a non-religious message about making good choices, respecting others, anti-drugs/violence. Other festivals have prize giveaways, face painting, craft fairs, food vendors, professional wrestlers, Xtreme sport demos, even more kid friendly activities, marching band competitions, promotional events with professional sports teams, etc. The events are always free admission. They are literally good wholesome fun for the whole community and presented as a gift from the churches of the community acting as one.
Well, that's more than 5 reasons. The extra ones are free.

All it takes is one person in a community to be the catalyst for hosting an evangelistic festival. You. If you would like to investigate having an evangelistic event you can contact me or one of these fine organizations:
The Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The Luis Palau Evangelistic Association.
The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
R. York Moore — Tell The Story
Nick Hall — Pulse Outreach
Keith Cook — On The Go Ministries
Greg Laurie — Harvest Crusades
Check out the Proclamation Evangelism Network Directory or The Next Generation Alliance for lists of other evangelistic organizations.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Photojojo! Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights

Many churches are utilizing photography for a variety of uses: print pieces, PowerPoint presentations, promotional videos, web sites, etc. This article, Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights, gives the Ten Legal Commandments of Photography. Know your rights.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Feast of St. Patrick

The following literal translation of the Breastplate of St. Patrick is from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Let us pray:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Row over BBC drama which shows Jesus crucified in a foetal position | the Daily Mail


Palm Sunday & Good Friday Resource

I was born on Palm Sunday 1967 so it's always a special day for me, although today is not my birthday this year. Wednesday is. There were no palms in church today. No mention of Palm Sunday. [heavy sigh] I know. Not everyone celebrates the church year. It's adiaphora. No sin. My family was disappointed. In the back of my mind I sarcastically said, "I wonder if we celebrate Easter next week." I miss being a pastor in Holy Week and love the church year. It really helps me center my life around the life of Christ.

I loved being a pastor in Holy Week. Loved it at First Covenant in Willoughby Hills where we celebrated Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with Bethany Covenant in Lyndhurst and had a noon time ecumenical Good Friday service. And of course a big celebration on Easter. I remember one year we had a big funeral for Roger Munson on Holy Saturday too.

I loved Holy Week at Trinity Church in Watertown also with services every day of the week. One year we served champagne and chocolate after the Great Vigil on Holy Saturday. Also did baptisms on Holy Saturday like the early church. Another time we did a multimedia stations of the cross service. They humored me but I really loved it.

Here is a link to my post from last year for a couple of Good Friday services. They really aren't my services per se, as they are the traditional Stations of the Cross and 7 Last Words of Christ services. I just added the music and wrote prayers for each station.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Professor wins prize for maths link to God -Times Online

Polish mathematician demonstrates mathematic formula that offer circumstantial evidence of God.

SAVE ME FROM MYSELF by Brian "Head" Welch, formerly of Korn

My friend Ramona loaned me the book, SAVE ME FROM MYSELF by Brian "Head" Welch, formerly of the band Korn about six months ago. I started it this week and read it in about 48 hours. Classic story of a rock star whose life goes out of control and Jesus redeems him. Great story.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New AVA Coordinator Announced - Evangelical Covenant Church

From the Covenant Church web site:
New AVA Coordinator Announced - Evangelical Covenant Church: "The Board of Women Ministries has chosen Yvonne DeVaughn from Casa Grande, Arizona, to be the new director of the Advocacy for Victims of Abuse (AVA) initiative begun in 2004.

AVAThe position provides leadership and oversight of the AVA network, which currently includes 16 trained regional coordinators. The coordinators equip local churches to minister to victims of domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse. AVA currently focuses its efforts on adult women who have been victims of domestic violence and adult women who were sexually abused as a child."
Another great reason to be a Covenanter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Library Dilemmas

My wonderful wife bought me some great looking bookcases for the "ManCave" a.k.a. my home office. Finally, after being in storage since the fall of 2005, my theological library comes out boxes. Now I'm filled with decisions and dilemmas about which books to keep.

I've got a stuff by the renown Roman Catholic scholars Joseph Fitzmyer, Raymond Brown and Roland Murphy. Then there's a handful of primary source collections on early church liturgies, creeds, councils, etc. along with a variety of commentaries, historical books and other scholarly pieces. Most of it is dated. It used to be that there would be scholarly 'cornerstones' that you saw in every pastor and scholars library. Not so much any more. I wondering if I'm going to keep any of it.

I've got commentaries on CD now and there is a wealth of stuff available on the internet. And right now, I'm not in pastoral ministry and not needing much of it. But the question remains, if I don't want it where can I get rid of it? I don't want to just throw it out.

With the advent of the internet and digital resources, do pastors even keep or use theological libraries anymore?

I just keep imagining Neicy Nash from the TV show Clean House showing up and seeing my 20+ computers and stacks of old books crammed in this 10'x10' office saying, "What is this foolishness!?!?!?! What is wrong with you?!?!?"

1 in 4 Teen Girls Has Sexual Disease

Now tell me again why I continue to hear people speak against abstinence education? Unprotected teen sex is dangerous. What the head line doesn't say is that nearly 50% of African-American teens as compared to 20% of Latino or Anglo teens has an STD.

What should the church's response be?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Beer battle brewing in Alabama - Los Angeles Times

It's against the law to home brew in Alabama or possess a beer that is over 6% alcohol, unless you purchase them from an out of state vendor and have them shipped to a state warehouse where you pay taxes on them and certify they are for personal use. There are now groups attempting to have these laws repealed but are facing opposition from Southern Baptists. Some Baptists are worried about drunkenness and the potential for young people to get a hold of them.

Yahoo! Finance: Southern Baptists Fight Climate Change

Southern Baptists are apparently concerned with how they are viewed on environmental matters and are issuing a statement in a new direction on global warming:
"We believe our current denominational resolutions and engagement with these issues have often been too timid," according to the statement. "Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed. We can do better."
I loved the next statement in the article: "No one speaks on behalf of all Southern Baptists, who leave decision-making to local churches."

The article it wasn't real clear if this was a PR concern or truly a theological one -- or both.

Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican - Telegraph

The Vatican has come up with a new seven deadly sins to reflect our times.
Mgr Girotti said genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins.
Just in case you were wondering, these are mortal sins as opposed to venial sins. Personally I think these sins are boring. The previous list of seven deadly sins had more sex appeal.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Homeschooling in CA Without Credentials Illegal

A recent ruling in CA didn't change anything but affirmed the law that you cannot home school in CA unless you have a teaching credential. Your kid must be in a public or private school with a credentialed teacher, or tutored at home by someone with credentials.

Homeschoolers' setback sends shock waves through state
"The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home."
The Judge quoted from a 1961 ruling:
"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,"

Spirituality and Sex - Marriage

An article from MarriagePartnership.com -- a service of Christianity Today: Spirituality and Sex - Marriage: What 4 Christian sex therapists wish you knew.

There are a lot of people out there who need help with their sex lives. While there is a growing knowledge base becoming more available in books, articles and web sites, sometimes people need to actually talk to someone with helping skills in the area — no not those skills! — skills as a counselor. Here is a place to find a therapist: Sexual Wholeness.

A quick perusal of the site shows how few Board Certified Christian Sex Therapists there are. The online list shows NO ONE in New York State.

Those Peaceful Loving Muslims.

Jordan kicks out evangelicals. Will Bush complain? | Liveblog | Christianity Today

Shopping at Google and Mozilla

I like wearing logo-wear ... being a walking commercial, offering free advertising ... I dunno why but I do. Did you know that Google has a store with fun stuff for sale?

Google Store Home - Accessories, Apparel Items, Software, Office Equipment
Yo-Yo's, Baby Onesies, Shirts, Hoodies, Beanies, Beanbags, Lava Lamps, Glowing Pens, Crank Flashlights, Soy Candles ... almost all of it overpriced with Google's logo plastered all over everything ... and some Blogger stuff too.

The Mozilla Store with Firefox paraphernalia has much less and similar stuff — clothing, back packs, mugs, a fox plushie, etc. — even more overpriced than Google's.

Apple has none of this. You can find some Apple shirts and hats on eBay but there is no section in the Apple Store with fun little accessories, clothing, etc.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Chuck Buck of Buck Knives

For those of you who plan evangelistic events large and small like I do, you might want to consider Chuck Buck as a speaker. His story of how God has intervened in his life is amazing. I spoke with his assistant this morning. She said he is generally booked a year in advance and drives everywhere he goes. Did you know he puts the Gospel message in each of his knife boxes? Good guy.

Missio Church in Syracuse, NY

By now you have heard me mention Summit Church in Syracuse, NY. I just got an email from Pastor Jordan Stinziano that they are rebranding themselves as: Missio Church. I like the Latin. It has a nice Roman Catholic flavor for a Baptist Church.

Missio Church. meets every Sunday morning at Henninger High School, 600 Robinson St., Syracuse, NY at 10:00am. Google Map. For more information, please email info@missiochurch.org.

Go get 'em Jordan!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Moses & The Burning Bush ... or not

According to a researcher at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Moses did not really see a burning bush but was high on drugs. He doesn't believe it was just legend or that is was really a supernatural event, which left the researcher with no other explanation other than Moses was high on drugs.


J. Edwin Orr on Prayer & Spiritual Awakening

Thanks to my boy Xorey Johnsrud for this link to J. Edwin Orr. Orr was an esteemed Church historian. He tells of a time in US history when the church and culture was at it's low point. And prayer led to spiritual awakening. I really needed to hear this today. I've been so heartsick over the state of the church. It's obvious the church has lost and is losing influence. Church attendance is shrinking. All the while very church few leaders seem to be alarmed enough to do anything about it. This is video gives me hope. It's been bad before and the people prayed. God revived them. Come Lord Jesus Come. We need you.

Prayer and Spiritual Awakening

If you are interested in revival and church history, check out J. Edwin Orr's site with mp3's and video clips available.

There are also Orr downloads at SermonIndex.com and here.


Professional blogger, Brad Boydston, has started a new site: crazy4citrus.com. "For those who show signs of citrus obsession." Check out Brad's Key Lime Pie recipe. Imagine some day going to the store and instead of seeing Sara Lee's frozen pies we see "Rev. Brad Boydston's Killer Key Lime Pie". Open up the box and his sermons are printed on the inside cover.

Luke 10:27: Ministry as Sponging

Beth has a fascinating post: Luke 10:27: Ministry as Sponging. Referencing Isaiah 53, she writes
"If Jesus' battle with sin, death and the devil has been won on cross, what we are presently engaging in is a mop-up operation. That means as his disciples, we are to absorb sin, suffering, grief and despair, just like He did.

So I am trying to learn how to be a sponge."

Read the rest of her post.


I have been blogging about Covenant Church pastoral openings since March of 2005 and Bethany Evangelical Covenant Church in North Miami, FL has been listed as open since then. THREE YEARS! I keep thinking that if I keep blogging about them that they'll find a pastor sooner. But nothing has happened.

Friends, let's find Bethany Church a pastor. 3 years is much too long to be looking for a pastor. Does anyone know anything about this church? I know nothing. Perhaps I'll contact their Super Superintendent, Robert Owens and see what I can find out. This church needs a PR campaign. 6 miles from the ocean ought to be publicity enough but apparently they are still looking.

According to the web site they have 78 members and average 75 in attendance. The church contact information is:

Mailing Address:
Bethany Evangelical Covenant Church
125 NE 119th St
North Miami, FL 33161


If you are interested in this position or could recommend someone, contact Southeast Conference Superintendent, and all around dynamite guy, Robert Owens:

Conference office:
1553 Virginia Ave., Unit 201B
College Park, GA 30337

phone: 404-768-2514

website: www.se-conf.org

View Larger Map

Bethany Covenant Church's 75th Anniversary

Gadgets & Firemaking

Here are a couple of links with information that every pastor needs for managing difficult parishioners and situations. I personally like the handheld laser that lights things on fire and cuts like a knife, AND best of all, the laser beam comes in a variety of colors.

OK, so the truth is these links have no ministry implications whatsoever. Just some fun. I've always dreamed of being a spy.

Webupon: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy

Baby Einstein: Be a macgyver: coolest fire making tricks

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Barn: a community that welcomes heaven to touch earth

Here is an emergent church, The Barn, with an interesting web site done through their .Mac account. It meets in Upper Milford outside of Allentown, PA. They also have a job(s) opening.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

More Ministry Positions Available

Samaritan's Purse also has a great list of positions available: SP: Employment Listings. Here's a really great position if you want to live in Boone, NC: Ministry Development Strategist. But they also need security officers, video staff, electricians, web designers and regional managers.

I've interviewed with them previously. Their process is extremely thorough -- almost to the point of annoying.

Churches Seeking Staff - Evangelical Covenant Church

Churches Seeking Staff - Evangelical Covenant Church

Currently there are 33 Senior/Lead positions available at the Covenant Church web site, plus a plethora of youth, worship and other creatively named positions ... small groups, children's, community life, assimilation, outreach, singles discipleship. Here's some of the interesting stuff ...

For the past couple years as I've watched this list, most of the open positions have been west of the Mississippi. Today there are 9 open positions in the East Coast Conference including an exciting Senior Executive Pastor in East Greenwich, RI. Over 700 in weekly attendance. But if you want something smaller try Wilton, CT with 23 in attendance.

Alaska Christian College is looking for an Academic Dean.

St. Barnabas in Austin, TX is still looking to fill an Associate Pastor in Evangelism position. God bless 'em.

The bowling capital of the world, Milwaukee, WI is looking for an Interim-Pastor.

Salem Covenant Church in Duluth, MN is looking for a Senior Pastor. I spent a lot of time in Duluth this past year and a half and it really seems like a great place. Sure it's cold but it's a good place to raise a family. Great little coffee shop there, Bixby's.

Paul Knight and Hope Covenant Church in Grand Forks, ND are looking for a Youth Pastor. Paul is one of the very best Covenant pastors and their facility in a mall is great in both a practical and missional sense.

The outstanding and sexy pastoral team, Jimmy Doo & "Doctor" Cathy Stanley-Erickson are looking for a youth pastor in Madison, WI. Now those are some people I would like to work with. I liked going to seminary with them. It would be great if they stopped over for dinner some time — 13 hour drive.

The Covenant Church in Walnut Creek, CA is looking for a Director of Business Administration.

Can anybody give us an update on the pastoral search in Jamestown, NY or my beloved friends at Bethany Covenant Church in Lyndhurst, OH? Luke? What do you know? Are you gonna stop by for dinner on your way to camp this summer?

Bayside Covenant Church, one of the most influential churches in the US, is looking to fill several positions at their satellite campuses.

And still, after a couple of years now, North Miami, FL is still looking for a pastor. People let's respond and help out. That deserves a separate post.

Both Florida coasts are open righ now: North Miami and Venice.

Urban, suburban, rural, big and small churches, traditional and not ... there's something for everyone.

Billy Graham Library Impressive.

Had a great visit at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and BG Library. Learned tons today about festival evangelism and leadership. Hopefully it will make my job easier and more effective. The Library and the story of Mr. Graham's life and ministry was extremely impressive.

MAC vs. PC vs. LINUX

BGEA: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

In just a moment I'll be heading over to The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters here in Charlotte, NC. Their people are meeting with my people. Should be good.