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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

True Story: Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship

ESPN - Central Washington offers the ultimate act of sportsmanship - College Sports

True Story. Women's college softball: A Western Oregon player, Sara Tucholsky, who was a senior, part-time starter and very small, hits an unexpected three run homerun in an important game to put her team in the lead. Two runners score but Sara crumples with a knee injury crossing first base and is unable to finish rounding the bases.

If any of her teammates aid her in any way she'll be out. That left the team one option: replace her with a pinch runner and have the play ruled a single. Then Mallory Holtman spoke up.

Mallory played for Central Washington -- the opposing team -- and asked, "What if we carried her?" The umpire wasn't aware of any rule against that so Mallory and another CW player carried Sara around the bases. Western Oregon wins 4-2.

Mallory Holtman -- synonymous with classy.

Woman at the Well

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman

I wrote a press release for Steven Curtis Chapman today and am super impressed by this guy. He's obviously a very gifted musician with 5 Grammy's, a record 51 Dove Awards, 44 #1 singles and numerous other awards. He's created an incredible amount of music for his albums and for other celebrated artists but obviously uses his talent to minister to others and generate income to be used for ministry all over the globe.

He's done TV, movies, been part of writing 3 children's & 2 adult books and you can't even believe the amazing amount of humanitarian efforts he's involved in throughout the world ... Ugandan street kids, Katrina relief, adoption advocacy in Africa, Asia & Central America, builds and ministers in orphanages and a whole bunch more. He and his wife started Shaohannah's Hope, an adoption advocacy organization and foundation that gives grants for people in the adoption process. He's also a vlogger (see clip below).

Steven Curtis Chapman.com

Steven Curtis Chapman - Wikipedia

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hikaru Dorodango

Shiny Mud Balls | Science and Education | Trends in Japan | Web Japan

Hikaru Dorodango are shiny mud balls made by hand. Japanese kids are enthralled by them. There is a scale that rates the shininess of the ball with a rating of 1 to 5, 5 being the most shiny. Apparently kids, and people in general, become engrossed in making them and become very, very attached to them as if they were a treasure.

Visit Dorodango.com for more pictures and instructions on how to make one.

At Expense of All Others, Putin Picks a Church - New York Times

Methodists are a sect so says the FSB, a successor to the KGB in Russia. So are JW's, Baptist, Evangelicals, Pentecostals ... essentially anyone who is not Russian Orthodox. Despite Russia's constitutional freedom of religion, there isn't a lot of tolerance for non-Orthodox expressions of Christianity or others.

Church DNA. US DNA.

Rice hits U.S. 'birth defect: The Washington Times, America's Newspaper.

There are lots of discussions regarding the "DNA of a church". That DNA is the culture and milieu during the foundation and creation of the church and it is believed that DNA affects the life and culture of the church forever. For example, a church born through a church split might likely have a rough road ahead of it as opposed to a church born for missional purposes. (Though some church splits are for missional purposes, i.e. the current Anglican schism resulting in AMiA or CANA).

All that made me think about the US as I read Condi Rice's comments about the founding of the US. She says the way the country was founded by both Europeans and Africans but with the Africans in chains was a birth defect. Will that haunt us? Is it part of our DNA making it forever inescapable?
"Black Americans were a founding population," she said. "Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That's not a very pretty reality of our founding."

As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that."

"That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today," she said.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Laundromat Love

Catalyst Church did a laundromat outreach today that went really well, mostly because we have some really super people. Today was a servant evangelism project giving away free loads of laundry demonstrate the love of Christ to people. We sent six teams of 2 out all over the eastern Syracuse area.

Some people are just really stunned and can't believe that anyone would do something this nice for them. They literally just can't believe it. One of our team said that it just changed the atmosphere of the entire laundromat.

Only two negative reactions and our team was so grace filled about it. One person just looked at our team member like they were a freak and just turned away without speaking. One other person (up near the university area) got a little crazy, "Why are you doing this?! Is this some sort of research project?! Did you get permission?! What do you want from me?! Is this being videoed? Where's the camera?" How sad when someone is that hostile and cynical to the free gift of quarters and a load of laundry. Our team just let it roll.

On the other hand, during a conversation with one of our team a laundromat person mentioned a leaking oil pan and loose bolts on their vehicle. Our team member went out to his truck got his tools and fixed it on the spot. That preaches.

4000 New Churches Planted Annually

Church Planters Keeping U.S. Christianity Alive | Christianpost.com

Rick Warren spoke at the Exponential Conference, a massive church planting event and basically said that all of the growth of the US Christianity is coming from church plants -- 4000 annually -- and megachurches.

Interesting quote from Alan Hirsch:

"I think here in America, I think church planting is still very bonded to church growth methodology and ideas," Australian-born Hirsch said in an interview featured on MondayMorningInsight, a Web site for pastors and church leaders.

"It (America) hasn't really thought through ... the nature of the church as a mission agency. We simply have to adopt a missionary stance in relationship to our culture," he continued. "We've got to break the monopoly that church growth thinking has over our mindset. Because unless we do that we'll never become a truly missionary agency."

Church / Pub

BBC NEWS | Wales | Mid Wales | Church applies for drinks licence. In an effort to make his church a place to hang out a Welsh priest has applied for a liquor license. He is opposed by a couple of other businesses in the area. Isn't that a switch? Normally isn't the church opposing someone nearby them getting a liquor license.

Missio Church | Syracuse, NY

Missio Church has an updated web site.

Do words have definitions? | Science Blog

I wonder, does truth exist apart from words and is there a way to know, experience and embrace truth without words? What if culture on a whole embraced the notion that words do not have definitions? How would we then preach Christ?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jeopardized Faith

Just found this old video. It's a Jeopardy parody with clueless Bible contestants. Hysterical.

Bio - Paul Ballew: Design Team Pastor

Tonight I met Paul Ballew. I just looked at his bio on his church's web site. He is Design Team Pastor. Cool title but who the heck knows what that is. Super nice guy.

I find it fascinating at churchstaffing.com to do a quick search of positions open and the astounding number of pastoral titles there are now.

Friday, April 25, 2008

One of the most Godly men I have ever known ...

Impossible to Tell Detroit Story Without Bob Hoey by Stan Friedman. Bob is the Pastor of Messiah Covenant Church in a depressed Detroit neighborhood. He is someone who gives literally everyone he meets unconditional love and whose presence oozes Jesus.

Failed Christians

I'm in Detroit this weekend for the Great Lakes Conference Annual Meeting. I drove out and am rooming with Jason Condon, one of the pastors at Artisan Church. They created another web site for one of their sermon series: FailedChristians.com. You can down the sermon mp3's and watch the Failed Christian videos.

Neapolitan flip coffee pot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Neapolitan flip coffee pot : "A typical Neapolitan flip coffee pot". This is an older style Italian coffee maker. Here is a diagram and instructions for using a Neoplitan.

In the first diagram, you put water in Part C. Part B fits as an insert in Part C. Put grounds in the top of Part B and the cap screws on, which is Part A. The unlabeled part goes on top. Put the whole contraption on the stove and after the water boils, flip it over (second diagram) and the water pours through the grounds. After it has finished you pour an outstanding cup of coffee.

I enjoy making espresso in my Neapolitan. It's very mild compared to traditional espresso makers which force boiled water through the grounds. I got my Neapolitan off eBay. A quick search of eBay stores and you can get them for $15.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Christian License Plates

Florida considers Christian license plate - CNN.com

Give me one good reason why? I just don't get it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Comparing Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and Episcopal Church Leaders

VirtueOnline: WHY I LEFT THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH - Dr Moheb Ghali

This article reads like a FAQ about the basics of Christianity and compares what Jesus and some of Apostles said with a stark contrast to the leaders of the Episcopal Church, especially their Presiding Bishop. If you are unaware of the theological shift that has occurred in the Episcopal Church which has led to the current crisis and schism, these answers will shock you.

Dr. Ghali was a laymen in the Episcopal Church for over 40 years. He is presently Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, Western Washington University. He holds a Ph.D., in Economics, University of Washington, 1967.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Modern Day Apostles

Pastor Steve Hickey comments on a couple of Leadership Journal articles that support the idea of modern day "apostles". Evangelicals “discover” apostles do exist today! � Gate Post. Over the past several years Evangelicals have derided Pentecostals who have embraced this idea. Times are changing.

APA Sponsors Discuss of Homosexuality & Religion

VirtueOnline - Psychiatrists: Let’s Talk about Homosexuality

The APA is attempting to hold a 'balanced' discussion regarding homosexuality with 2 leaders on either side of the issue. "The symposium is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. EDT, on Monday, May 5, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C."
The pro-homosexual speakers — Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual Episcopalian in New Hampshire, and Dr. David Scasta, past president of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists — will seek “common ground and new perspectives” with two conservatives: the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of South Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of the Focus on the Family board of directors; and Dr. Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology at Grove City College.

Brain tumour causes uncontrollable paedophilia - 21 October 2002 - New Scientist

Brain tumour causes uncontrollable paedophilia - 21 October 2002 - New Scientist: "'We're dealing with the neurology of morality here,' says Swerdlow. Since the area does not affect physical health, 'it's one of those areas where you could have a lot of damage and a doctor would never suspect something's wrong,' he says."
So a man who is a teacher and generally fairly moral guy, has undergoes some serious moral changes -- things way out of character. He becomes an uncontrollable pedophile amongst other abhorrent behaviors. He then has a brain tumor removed and the behavior goes away. The tumor comes back. So does the behavior. It is removed again and so does the behavior change back to normal. Not only did his behavior change each time the tumor was removed, so did his desires and urges change.

The striking phrase in the quote about is "neurology of morality". The man's moral compass and subsequent behavior was directly impacted by a physical illness -- namely a tumor.

My question: did this man sin?

Covenant Church Continues Planting New Churches

Midsouth Conference Welcomes Two New Churches - Evangelical Covenant Church

Pacific Southwest Welcomes Six Churches - Evangelical Covenant Church

Sunday, April 20, 2008

St. John's "Burrys" Church - A Grace Driven Family of God

I have the distinct privilege of worshiping with the saints at St. John's this morning and I'm the guest preacher.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You Have a Story To Tell

Here is a great web site to help you tell your story of how God has intersected your life. It is also web 2.0 friendly and will allow you to share you story with others.


Fr. Dick Clay

My beloved friend Fr. Dick Clay passed away this week on Tuesday after a long courageous battle with cancer. Below is a picture of us at Dick's 70th birthday party. I really loved Dick. He taught me so much about dealing with adversity with a loving, giving attitude. I learned about courage from him.

(from L to R) Fr. Walter Giles, me, Fr. Chip Henderson, and Fr. Dick Clay. We used to all have breakfast together once a month and they were some of the most grace bearing days of my life.

Calling hours will be Sunday, April 20, 2:00-5:00 pm at Foster-Hax Funeral Home in Pulaski, NY. The funeral will be Monday, April 21 at 11:00 am at St. James Episcopal Church.

Obituary: Syracuse.com

Christian Sex Becomes News

Even ABC News is reporting about the shift in Christian views regarding sexuality. They make it sound a little more dramatic than it really is and it's not really news now. Maybe last year it was. But with all the sermons series and Christian web sites dedicated to the issue now, it has become more mainstream and "newsworthy".

ABC News: Christian Sex: Holy and Hot!

The article does mention the gracious couple who run TheMarriageBed.com, Paul and Lori Byerly and a little about their story. They also run the listserves, The Generous Husband and Wife. If you look in the left hand column of this blog you will find a "Marital Aids" section with a link to TMB and a couple of other sites that support marital relations.

Our God is the author of love and lovemaking. We as His people ought to be experts at both.

1 + 1 + 3 = 25,000,000

David Virtue reports of the 1+1+3 discipleship program of the Nigerian Anglican Church which was started in 2004 by their Archbishop Peter Akinola. One person leads one person to Christ and disciples them intensively for three years. It sounds like both clergy and laity are participating. The Nigerian Anglican Church now has 25 million.

VirtueOnline: NIGERIA: Anglican Province Now Over 25 Million in Unique Discipleship Program

Updating a Couple of Previous Stories

A couple of my previous posts continue to unfold in the news ...

First is the story about a cheap Mac:
That's really too bad. Some of the Mac faithful were getting excited. Why Apple chooses not to get into the low-end market baffles and annoys me.

And then there is the movie Expelled with Ben Stein. Contrasting articles:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another Episcopal Lawsuit in the Diocese of Central New York

Transfigurations: Central New York Episcopal Diocese Sues Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton

Bishop Adams is suing to seize the property of another parish in the Diocese of Central New York. This time it's the parish of Fr. Matt Kennedy: Church of the Good Shepherd. Some of you know Matt as a commentator at Stand Firm.

Previously Bishop Adams sued St. Andrew's of the Valley in Syracuse which left the Diocese, and eventually gave up the fight and their property. St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Vestal has also given up their property and left the Diocese.

The parish is represented by attorney Raymond Dague, who is known all over CNY as an excellent attorney and generous person. He is part of a group that meets at the Syracuse Vineyard Church on Sunday afternoons for an Anglican worship service, which I assume is to be a church plant.

This scenario is playing out all over the nation. Many orthodox Episcopal churches are coming to see the wider Episcopal Church as being apostate, or at least, clearly at odds with orthodox Christianity. They choose to leave and end up in litigation with their former Diocese and Bishop over property rights.

It's almost as if the Episcopal Church has become redefined as being about homosexuality and lawsuits. Sadly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Showdown At The Altar: Will Pope Serve Pro-Abortion Politicians Communion?

When Pope Benedict XVI was a Cardinal he spoke clearly that priests should refuse to serve the eucharist to pro-abortion politicians. Let's see if he keeps his word on this week.
"The conflict could come to a head Thursday, when the pope is scheduled to celebrate a Mass at the Washington Nationals’ new ballpark. The Vatican has invited all Catholic lawmakers, and many abortion-rights-supporting Catholics — including [John] Kerry and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — are expected to attend."
A Pelosi spokesperson said she expects to receive and a Catholic official said there are no plans to deny anyone communion. One thing we do know: this Pope doesn't lack the chutzpah to take a stand on issues and be unpopular. There could be a showdown at the communion rail.

Pope's visit renews abortion debate - Josephine Hearn and Ryan Grim - Politico.com

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's been done! A Mac Clone: $399

Check out the Hackointosh: Psystar Corporation - Open Computer.
"The highly extensible Open Computer is a configuration of PC hardware capable of running unmodified OS X Leopard kernels. If you purchase Leopard with your Open Computer we will not only include the actual Leopard retail package with genuine installation disc, but we also include a Psystar restore disc for your Open Computer and we will preinstall Leopard for free so you can begin to use your computer right out of the box."

Base Configuration
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 Processor
  • 2GB of DDR2 667 memory
  • Integrated Intel GMA 950 Graphics
  • 20x DVD+/-R SATA drive that is Lightscribe-capable
  • 4 rear USB Ports

Bush US' First Catholic President?

Some would say so. Yes, I know that President Kennedy was Roman Catholic but he sought to divorce his faith and presidency. Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic influence at many levels.

A Catholic Wind in the White House - washingtonpost.com

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Catalyst Covenant Church Plant Launch First Serviced

Here's a Covenant news article about our first worship service last week. Generous Gift Helps Church Plant Launch First Service - Evangelical Covenant Church

Friday, April 11, 2008

Christians and Cosmetic Surgery

Back in January I posted: Christian Ethics for Boob Jobs and Other Cosmetic Surgeries. I received a number of responses asking me if I really thought that was necessary. Yes. Yes I do.

Check out this recent Newsday article: Teen breast augmentation surgery increasing -- Newsday.com. In light of recent death of a Florida girl during cosmetic breast related surgery, several articles like this have been in the news with surgeons claiming they are seeing more and more teens wanting cosmetic surgery and an increase in demand for it overall.
"According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of women 18 and younger who have had breast enlargements has risen nearly 500 percent over the past decade -- a sharper climb than the 300 percent increase in breast augmentations among all age groups."
That's a significant pastoral issue the church needs to be able to address. Young women need to hear of their innate value and inestimable worth to holy God and experience His love in powerfully transforming ways. We need to train all our people to think theologically about such things.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

School Encourages Crossdressing in Wisconsin?

Well, no not really but it does make for a sensational blog head line.

An elementary school in Wisconsin has an annual Wacky Week for fun. They do zany stuff. This year they encouraged kids to dress up as the opposite gender or as senior citizens. It sounds like they were not trying to promote alternative lifestyles but just to do something crazy-fun.

At first, no problem. Then a Christian radio station went ballistic saying that this strikes at the core of family and Christian values, blah blah blah. Then the principle got calls complaining.

Since I don't send my kids to school I'm not sure how I would handle this one. It sounds like it could be funny but I suppose it could weird fast when a some boy shows up wearing a training bra or Dora the Explorer underroos.

My Way News - Kids' Dress-Up Day Draws Christian Ire

The Ultra Rev on Tour this Month

I'll be traveling quite a bit this month beginning today. This weekend I'll be teaching evangelism courses in Pennsylvania: Zelienople, Butler, Wexford and Sarver. And I'll be hitting up the Pirates-Reds game this Saturday Next week I'll be in Butler, Chicora, Beaver Falls and preaching in Rochester, PA. The people I work with in western PA are simply outstanding! I'm looking forward to it.

The following week I'll head out for the Great Lakes Conference Ministerium Annual Meeting in Detroit.

Unchurched Prefer Cathedrals Over Contemporary Church Buildings | Christianpost.com

After carefully thinking about this. I have come to the conclusion that I too prefer cathedrals or old church buildings over modern contemporary ones though I still want them tricked out with all the latest technology.

I Learned A New Word: Bromance

I learned a new word: Urban Dictionary: bromance, which is a close intimate non-sexual friendship between hetero dudes. I didn't know it but I have/had several bromances ... DRH, Xorey, Jimmy Doo, Revinator, SangTang, Jimmy Lee ... much love to you guys. Every guy needs a bromance.

Eric Clapton, In the Presence of the Lord | Christianity Today

I had no idea that Eric Clapton was a Christian. How cool is that?

There Is No One Out of God's Reach

I this article linked at VirtueOnline.org today: Islam’s “Public Enemy #1”. It's a great story of a Coptic priest Zakaria Botros. He appears on satellite and internet television shows addressing controversial theological issues. Frequently he engages in dialog with Muslim leaders and they are befuddled, leading to mass conversions to Christianity.

A common refrain that I have heard against Christianity is, "What about the Muslim deep in the heart of the Arab world who has no chance to hear the Gospel?" Certainly there is the well known phenomena of Jesus appearing to Muslims in dreams and revealing Truth to them. But there is also Zakaria Botros.

There is no one outside of God's saving redemptive reach. No one. There is no one too far gone. There is no one forgotten by the Almighty.

Secular Eschatologists

Even DISCOVER Magazine does eschatology. Check out their article: 20 Ways the World Could End. They even give God some props as #19; however, black holes, gamma ray bursts, asteroid collisions, mass insantiy, alien invasions, global epidemics, a Particle accelerator mishap and "Someone wakes up and realizes it was all a dream." are other creative and exciting possibilities.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Still No Word From Pope On Visiting The Ultra Rev

I read a couple of interesting articles today about the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict to the US. I still haven't heard from him as to when or if he might stop by for ecumenical dialog and a pint. The door is always open.

Catholics support religion, not always church -- Newsday.com
While this is probably true of most churches, my personal experience has been that it is exceedingly true of Roman Catholics. My Roman Catholic friends love God, pray and desire spirituality to be a part of their life but they really want to see priests get married and have a host of other divergent views with the Church. Yet most couldn't imagine not being Roman Catholic.

Pope will find diverse church in US - Yahoo! News

Monday, April 07, 2008

What's Not To Like About Supporting Breast Cancer Research Groups? Well, uh, This ...?

Susan G. Komen's Funding of Planned Parenthood Causes Catholic Diocese of Lafayette to Discourage Support

The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette discourages support for the well known breast cancer research support organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There are a couple of issues here.

First, Komen financially supports Planned Parenthood.
"Although the funds are supposedly intended for breast cancer screenings, Komen has no way of ensuring that the funds are used exclusively for that purpose, instead of its cancer-causing activities."
Secondly, there is a connection between abortion and breast cancer. Not that everyone who has an abortion gets breast cancer, but an abortion can increase the likelihood (read the article). Which leads to the bizarre situation of a group hoping to cure breast cancer supporting an organization that is indirectly promoting breast cancer.

Christian Defense Coalition Condemns Obama

Faith Group Condemns Obama for 'Punished with a Baby' Quote

Here's the relevant quote from the article.
Senator Obama recently made this statement speculating if one of his two young daughters became pregnant. He said, "But if they made a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
Is he serious? A baby is punishment? You have got to be kidding me?!?!

Out of Control

This whole intelligent design vs. darwinism vs. creationism vs. evolution, yada, yada, yada is way out of control. The level of vitriol aimed toward the intelligent design / creationism perspective has really escalated in recently and the overall level of debate has moved well beyond honest dialog to nastiness. There was a recent news piece by ABC Nightline about some creationists giving home schoolers a tour of a museum and it absolutely embarrassed them. And the blogosphere is just shredding creationists. It reminds of the Apple v. PC debates of years ago.

Apparently there is a movie coming out this month about this very issue with Ben Stein in it: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. According to the movie trailer, from the view of many ID scholars there no longer is a place for dialog and scientific discovery. The conversation, if you could call it that, has moved right past dialog toward character assassination and defamation.

Culturally this is somewhat fascinating in that one of the defining characteristics of our postmodern world is tolerance and pluralism. Yet there is no place for the perspective of creationists or people of the intelligent design perspective.

Certainly, I understand it. Many of the creation people have traditionally also been evangelicals and arrogant and annoying and a host of other not so positive adjectives as well. But that really isn't everyone in the ID camp. There are thoughtful ID scholars out there beyond wacky evangelicals.

Here's the Expelled trailer:

I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome - Times Online

The headline from the London Times Online reads: I’ve found God, says man who cracked the genome. My immediate reaction was to say that God wasn't lost.

Francis Collins, a doctor and the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, was an atheist and became a Christian. His pursuit of the sciences, the faith of his patients, the beauty of the natural world and C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity led him to faith.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Catalyst Church Preview Service, Sunday, April 6

Tomorrow is the very first preview service of Catalyst Church meeting at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, NY. The service starts at 10:00 am. I am supposed to be there at 6:00 am to start setting up. That'll be difficult but I'm working on it.

Divorce, abortion an offence to God, pope says

I've reprinted the Breitbart entire article here. All the head lines focus on the "offences" language. I appreciated the language where he said "inflict deep injustice" and the Church's duty to "be close" to those people involve.
Divorce and abortion are offences in the sight of God, Pope Benedict XVI charged Saturday, while calling on the Catholic Church to be merciful to those who had experienced such events.

"The ethical judgement of the Church on divorce and abortion is clear and well-known," he told participants in a Catholic congress on marriage and the family.

"They are serious offences... which violate human dignity, inflict deep injustice on human and social relations and offend God himself, guarantor of conjugal peace and origin of life," he said.

However he added that there were people who had committed such "errors" but "suffered from wounds to the soul" and "sought peace."

"The Church has the duty to be close to these people with love and delicacy," the pope added.

"Divorce and abortion are choices... which sometimes develop in difficult and dramatic circumstances... and are a source of profound suffering for those who take such decisions.

"They also affect innocent victims, the barely-conceived and unborn infant, the children caught up in divorces."

Problem Solving vs. Goal Setting

Stop Setting Goals If You Would Rather Start Solving Problems by Bobb Biehl was a revolutionary read for me. I am still amazed at how many people have never heard of the concept. Biehl claims that some people are just not goal setters but love solving problems, and when in an organization that is bound up in goal setting language they flounder.

We've all heard why goal setting is supposedly good: "Aim at nothing and you'll hit it every time." I honestly don't think that's true any more. Some people find their vision along the journey and don't need the concept of goals to get them there.

I'm not sure why I detest goal setting. It nearly makes me nauseous. It leaves me feeling icky. Probably the result of some childhood playground/classroom trauma or my failure to discipline myself to do anything. But when someone says they have a problem to solve or need me to fix something, I'm focused like a laser beam.

The book and conversations with Bobb were really helpful to me. I recommend the book and him to you.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Northeast Awakening with Dutch Sheets & Chuck Pierce, April 18-19, Syracuse, NY

Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce will be at The Northeast Awakening conference being held here in Syracuse on April 18-19 at Nottingham High School.

I saw this being promoted on the Transformation Syracuse web site. It would seem that this group who is attempting to pray revival into Syracuse and the Infinity Alliance group that is attempting to reach "every man, woman and child" in Onondaga County would have a lot in common though they may be of differing theological strains in the Kingdom.

Just as an FYI: when you see a community's Charismatic/Pentecostal and Bible/Baptist churches loving each other and working in harmony you can expect to see a major work of God. Syracuse has been notoriously divided along those lines.

Back to the Transformation Syracuse site for a moment. Here's an interesting description of the spiritual climate of CNY:

If you are not familiar with Transformation Syracuse and have not had the opportunity to attend any of Transformation Syracuse's four previous gatherings, Transformation Syracuse's mission is to identify and address through prayer the spiritual issues that are contributing to the upsurge in godlessness in the Syracuse area and are hindering revival.

Much research into Syracuse's history (spiritual mapping) has been done and several issues have already been identified and dealt with at prior gatherings. It is Transformation Syracuse's purpose to see the land cleansed and purified through corporate repentance, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, so that deep and lasting revival may come. Since 2006 is the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, our hope is that Syracuse may experience transformation to the extent that Los Angeles did in 1906. God is calling His prayer warriors together to see the Greater Syracuse area transformed and revived!

As you are probably aware, Syracuse has never had a major and lasting revival. In fact, the CNY area has long been known as a "dark" area spiritually by the evangelists who have come here. Even Charles Finney, who had great success in Rochester with bars closing down and churches filling to overflowing (an almost unbelievable conversion rate of 90% was achieved), had very little success in Syracuse. Finney even referred to some areas of New York State as Sodom. Billy Graham, when he was here in the 60s said he would never come back because the area was so spiritually hard. There are some who believe the cloudy skies over Syracuse (we surpassed Seattle a few years ago) are symbolic of this area's spiritual condition. There is in fact much depression, crime, and sickness in this area. In 2003 Syracuse's murder rate exceeded that of New York City. There is a high incidence of breast cancer in and around Syracuse and the North East has the highest incidence of M.S. in the country. Syracuse is also known as the Wiccan capital of New York State.

To identify what is hindering major revival in the CNY area, a small group of Christians gathered together to scout out the land (mapping) as the beginning of a long process to identify the giants in the land and begin the spiritual transformation of this area. As a result of this initial effort, several specific areas were identified that will require corporate intercessory prayer to achieve break through and ushers in revival.

We are seeking pastors, intercessors, ministry leaders and others who are dedicated to seeing CNY transformed spiritually. The purpose in having a company of pastors, intercessors and other spiritual leaders is to corporately seek battle strategies from Jesus -- the Captain of the Host. We want to determine His priorities and His timing, which will only come as a result of intercessory prayer. We understand from the USSPN and others that it could be an extended season of prayer -- lasting as long as 3-5 years. It is only unity among God's people that will ultimately bring total revival to this area.

Unity pleases God (Psalm 133). It exists at some level in the Syracuse region, but is limited -- partially because of the particular strongholds that exist here. However, we believe that, as we come together in humility and pray, God will hear and heal our land and His people. As the brothers and sisters of various churches and denominations labor together in prayer, we can move God's heart to sovereignly dislodge powers and principalities in high places. We believe that only when there is corporate unity will the "dome of darkness "over CNY be destroyed so that full and lasting revival can come.

Billy Graham may have said he would never come back after the 1960's but he was here again in 1989. I was a counselor at that event.

Central New York is desperate for revival. Desperate is an understatement.

Back in December I made a post imploring certain pastors/ministries to plant churches here in Syracuse: Church Shopping in CNY. Apparently it got someone's attention as Google Analytics tells me it's one of my most popular posts. I think most Christian people in CNY understand the need is desperate for new churches and revival but there are a host of bad reasons why very little happens.

This Sunday will be dent in that darkness over Syracuse: the first preview service of Catalyst Church meeting at 10:00 am at Nottingham High School.

Come Holy Spirit come! Breathe on us again. Set us free from our addictions, break us from the bondage of hopelessness, cleanse us with the fire of revival. We are desperate for you.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This is Huge! Major LifeChurch.tv Announcement: One Prayer

Think Church 2.0 uniting together in prayer and teaching. Watch the video of Craig Groeschel and learn about this huge vision he has for uniting churches.

Big Announcement: One Prayer at LifeChurch.tv : swerve