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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Global Anglican Theological Institute

VirtueOnline - Global Anglican Theological Institute

David Virtue and the other scholars at VirtueOnline have created an online Anglican educational portal with relevant articles and teachings.

Do You Know How The Apostles Died?

Haven't personally researched the accuracy of all of these accounts but it certainly is important to think about how comfortable we are in serving Christ.

Do You Know How The Apostles Died? - Talk Jesus | Christian Forums & Chat
Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

Mark died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets.

Luke was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of oil during a wave of persecution in Rome; however, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

Peter was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James the Just, the leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. * This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

James the Great, son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded in Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

Jude, the brother of Jesus, was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Barnabas one of the group of seventy disciples, wrote the Epistle of Barnabas. He preached throughout Italy and Cyprus. Barnabas was stoned to death at Salonica.

Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament. Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Your Church Can Reach A Younger Generation

Lost and Found Presentation - EdStetzer.com
Check out this blog post with Ed's pdf notes and a podcast about his book:

It's really not about just having a kickin' band, or a cool pastor who preaches wearing jeans and his shirt untucked. Can you provide a community? Can you be a loving family? Does your church have mentors? Can you be authentic?

I think the "authentic" piece is sometimes very difficult. When some of my pentecostal friends are holding out for their healing they haven't received yet but are proclaiming they have -- they appear inauthentic. Or some of my evangelical friends who treat their difficulties as "all part of God's plan" and who try to remain joyful in all circumstances -- appear inauthentic. People wonder, "Are you for real? Do you ever hurt?"

But overall, according to Ed Stetzer's research there is a generation of young adults that are interested and open to studying the Bible and investigating spiritual matters in the context of relationships. The "coolness" factor of your church or pastor is less important than you might think.

The podcast is short and worth a listen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blogging Blues & News

Well, I've been an irresponsible blog parent lately ... felt like my "blog voice" has been a little hoarse. Being unemployed has given me plenty of time, but my mind has gone to mush and I've got less to rant and rave about. Here's some stuff going on in my world.

I'm in Springfield, MA this weekend working for a friend who owns a production company. We're doing an Assemblies of God youth event. I'm the video technical director. I'm the guy who controls what goes up on the big screens at the arena. Not that I have a clue what I'm doing and I'm a little worried about the ADD thing kicking in ... but we'll learn tomorrow.

Had a wonderful conversation today with Bishop Thad Barnum of the AMiA. What a gracious, godly man! I was encouraging him to pray into planting more churches in upstate NY. I believe wholeheartedly that evangelical Anglican churches that mix the best of traditional liturgy with the best of evangelical theology and solid contemporary music will flourish here. Upstate NY is a solidly dechurched population from traditional church backgrounds that are desperate for a message of Christian hope. Bp. Barnum has a great heart for ministry. He said they are currently planting or adopting a new church every three weeks!!! That's stunning.

I preached at Catalyst Church last week from Luke 24 -- The Emmaus Road passage. It's not up on the Catalyst Church web site yet but I'm sure it will be there in the next week or two.

I'm really not sure what my next full time paying gig will be. I've got no real leads at the moment. If I wanted to raise my own support, I have at least one strong possibility but I really don't want to do that -- especially in this economy.

Next month I have an evangelistic speaking event lined up at Stoneridge Covenant Church in Allison Park, PA outside of Pittsburgh. Just started plans for a fall speaking event in Ohio for a evangelism seminar. If any of you would like to have an evangelism seminar at your church contact me and we create something that will meet your church's needs. I have 4-10 hours of material and can do 1-3 events.

What I feel compelled to do is church planting but all the pieces have just not fallen together for that. I think I'm going to have to branch out of the networks I've been swimming in. Obviously I'd love to plant a Covenant Church but I would be interested in working with the Vineyard or the AMIA.

God has stunningly increased my faith and taught me about faith and dependence over these past months of not being employed. Some things He has taught me previously have been drilled home:
  • God doesn't need me to work to provide for me. Not that he doesn't want me to work but He doesn't need me to. He has money in places I have no clue about.
  • God provides for my family. I don't. All income that comes to me is grace. None of it is really earned. The money that comes to me when I am unemployed via gifts from family and friends or from unemployment is no different than the income I receive when I am working. It's all graciously given by God. It just appears more miraculous when I'm not working.
  • That being said, God isn't limited by the worldwide economic crisis. I don't want to take a job where I would have to raise my own support. That's scary to me. But God can provide.
  • Being unemployed and involved in the welfare system is arduous. You cannot believe what a nightmare and hassle being involved with public assistance can be. If you have never been down this road, be compassionate to those that have. It's not fun. It can be embarrassing and the bureaucratic red tape nightmare is mind boggling.
I've been praying for more spiritual gifts and have seen an increase. Kinda cool.

Time for bed. Staying in a Holiday Inn Express in Windsor Locks, CT outside of Springfield, MA.

Tell somebody that you don't normally do so that you love them. We all need tell more people more often that we love them. Be at peace. I love you.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

We Must Not Let This Happen?

The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President's Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Still Observed by Americans

2 in 3 to be in church on Easter

Lots of polling data suggests there is a secularization of US culture and waning church attendance -- except on Easter.
"According to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll, of all Americans, 63 percent plan to observe the day by attending church services, and among Catholics, the percentage rose to 74 percent."

"The poll also revealed 70 percent of Americans identified the day as the most important, or one of the most important religious holidays, on the calendar."

"The poll also found 86 percent of Americans and 88 percent of Catholic Americans correctly identified Easter as the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection."

Religious Censorship in Central New York

Religious censorship case against Baldwinsville schools heads back to appeal | Syracuse.com

A decade old incident from a Baldwinsville, NY school is still being tried and appealed in the legal system. In 1999, a kindergarten student was given an art assignment and his poster submission included a picture and reference to Jesus. The school rejected it, so he resubmitted a poster with no reference to Jesus but contained a picture of someone who they construed to be Jesus. They hung up that poster but folded over the part with the picture of Jesus.

The incident ends up being a legal case fighting for the student's First Ammendment rights. The case moves back and forth between appellate courts with various courts siding with each side in the case.

As near as I can figure it out, some courts think that the school system had the right to do this because -- the article says -- of "church and state concerns". That seems real vague. I'm a Christian (that's relatively obvious on this blog) and have that as a bias. But someone please help me understand how allowing a student to express his religion in an assignment might possibly violate the Establishment Clause.
"The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment refers to the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Together with the Free Exercise Clause, ("... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), these two clauses make up what are commonly known as the "religion clauses" of the First Amendment." via Wikipedia.
The school isn't endorsing, promoting, establishing or giving special preference to religion by allowing a student to express their religious views in art. This censorship seems nonsensical.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Learning Styles and Sermons

100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner | College@Home

Visual. Audio. Kinesthetic. These are three commonly perceived learning styles.

If you are a pastor who preaches have you considered taking into account the various learning styles when you are preaching? Here is a web site designed to help students understand and take advantage of their preferred learning style. It could also be very useful for pastors who preach and teach, and even make presentations in leadership team meetings. Take a look.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ed Stetzer's Book List For Church Planters

In a recent presentation I heard by Ed Stetzer, he cited "Inadequate Training" as a major pitfall to church planting. He suggested potential church planters read everything they can on the subject and be versed in multiple different models. Here is his suggested starter bibliography:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chuck Norris on Faith

Is Obama afraid of the 'J' word? | Chuck Norris | WND

Chuck Norris has become legendary on the Internet. His career as a martial arts expert and then actor was notable but his fame has exploded with fan sites dedicated to apocryphal facts about Chuck.

ChuckNorrisFacts.com alleges to have Chuck Facts picked by Chuck himself:
"When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris."

"There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live."

"Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship."
Little known fact about America's tough guy, he's also a Christian. Chuck accepted Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles years ago.

Monday, April 06, 2009

"Did You Know?" = "Shift Happens" Updated?

This appears to be an updated version of the viral video "Shift Happens" previously posted on the Land of the Ultra Rev.

Assuming all this data is true ...

Of particular note is the mention of jobs and education:
"The top 10 in demand jobs in 2010 ... Did not exist in 2004."

"We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist ... using technologies that haven't been invented ... in order to solve problems that we don't even know are problems yet."

"The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years ... For students starting a 4 year technical degree that means that ... half of what they learned in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
The dominant paradigm of the past century of get a good education -- meaning specifically a 4 year bachelors degree and, by the close of the century, a masters degree -- is eroding quickly. Colleges will no longer be able to sell a degree that is outdated before it is completed. Companies will no longer want a college graduate with an outdated degree.

With the spate of open source education sites and the rapid rate of technological information expansion, I believe we are seeing the early signs of a cosmic shift in paradigm of 4 year college education + masters degree = good job. Though, it will be very, very hard to ever convince the remnant of Boomer parents and leaders that is true.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

VirtueOnline: Blueprint For New Anglican Province Will Offer Alternative To Episcopal Church

Several leaders of the new Anglican Church of North America gathered to outline their plans for the future of Anglicanism in North America. They met at Holy Cross Church in Logansville, GA (near Atlanta) where my fellow Arrow Leadership US Class of 1999 grad, The Rev. Foley Beach, is the Rector.

It appears that ACNA will supplant The Episcopal Church and be recognized by the vast majority of Anglicans around the world as the legitimate form of Anglicanism in the US.

If you have not been following the The Episcopal and Anglican scene, we are seeing an historic schism and recomposing the church at both of provincial and global level.

The Episcopal Church will not fold and go away any time soon. One lesson I've learned over the years is that churches do not die quickly or easily. Despite losing whole dioceses, church attendance hemorrhaging, spending massive amounts of money in lawsuits and in certain pockets seemingly heterodox theology, TEC will not die any time soon. They may continue to lose influence and relevance but they will not die. They have way too much money to die and way too many priests who are relying on them for their pension.

It seems that many churches have not left TEC because they wanted to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and be part of the global Anglican Communion. But with the emergence of ACNA, the connection to TEC may be needless.

Exciting times to be an Anglican.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jason & Lisa Condon Make Things Beautiful

SiteArtistry.com - Simple. Beautiful. Websites.

For years I have admired the ArtisanChurch.com website and even before that, the eye candy at CapaxDei.com. Jason Condon has been pastor at both those places. He has a tremendous eye and brain for web sites, marketing and ministry. Check it out: SiteArtistry.com - Simple. Beautiful. Websites.

Tips & Tricks For Ministry ala Boydston

You must read Brad Boydston: Ministry Lessons. Brad is one of the smartest, most well read ministers/missiologists I know. As of this date he has 54 simple lessons he's learned in ministry.