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Showing posts from December, 2013

Phil Robertson Can Say What He Wants. And A&E Can Do What They Want.

That Phil Robertson sure can cause a stir. I have a couple thoughts on the whole thing, so let me briefly weigh in. First, I think everyone should take a breath. My guess is that the Robertsons arent' too concerned about all this hullaballoo, and so maybe no one else should be either. Second, I think we should recognize that this is NOT a first ammendment issue. Phil's right to free spreech hasn't been impinged by congress. If A&E wants to censor the content of their network, that's their call. (now, if comments like Phil's are some day deemed as official "hate speech" and he is silenced by government action; that will be a first ammendment issue) Third, I support A&E's right to not do business with Phil Robertson based on their religious convictions. Fourth, I expect to see consistency from organizations like GLAAD (which have spoken very strongly into this issue). I hope that they also will support the right of any American busines

How I'm Going To End the Creation - Evolution Debate

You may or may not be aware that coffee has a very quick “mold-creation” rate.  If you leave a cup of coffee sitting out for too long, it will quickly begin to develop mold spores.  In fact, I would imagine, that in just a week or two a mug of coffee would develop a bog-like surface if left alone. Therefore. I’m placing a full mug of coffee in a secluded room where it will be undisturbed.  I’m also leaving instructions in my will that in 100 years, my grandchildren are to go into that room and document the lives of all the mold creatures that have come to life. That’ll show those silly creationists.

In Defense of Plagiarism

In recent days the evangelical internet (now there is a silly concept) has been in an uproar about the issue of plagiarism. First, Mark Driscoll came under fire for apparently using massive amounts of other people's material without properly citing them. In some cases his books allegedly borrowed virtually word for word from other sources. I've not investigated these claims. If they are true, it's wrong . More recently, a young female blogger reposted the writing by Rachel Held Evans , claiming it as her own. It's pretty clear that she copied and pasted with minimal changes. To her credit, the young lady apologized after being called out for her indiscretion. Plagiarism is bad. I get it. It's theft. It's false. It's selfish. At times, it negatively impacts the ability of some to earn their livelihood. I've heard preachers use my words and my thoughts as if they were their own. It made me angry. I had worked hard to formulate those thoughts. I h

Your Next Step is Your Most Important Step

Colossians 1:10 pops up in the middle of Paul’s prayer for the Colossians.  In this mid-thought verse he says, "so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."  The easy observation from this verse is that Paul identifies three specific results of walking rightly: our lives will be pleasing to God our lives will be full of the fruit of good works we will be increasing in our knowledge of God (both relational knowledge and factual knowledge) But can you take a break for a minute and think about the idea of walking?  This isn’t the first time the idea of our life as a walk is discussed in the Bible.  It’s not even the only time Paul uses the analogy.  "Walking" is a common and helpful illustration of the Christian life. Proverbs talks about our walk a lot. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in t

5 Things We Learned From Liverpool's Thrashing of Tottenham

Forgive me for stepping outside my normal content genre and posting a bit about my favorite football team... I had to DVR today's game, so I didn't finish it until a little bit ago. It was an absolute joy to watch. I may bask in the afterglow of this 5-0 thrashing for quite a while. From beginning to end, it was a thing of beauty to watch. More exciting than the win, though, is the lessons which I think were learned today. Each of which bodes well for the future. Here they are: 1. These guys are good. For real. They're good. This wasn't a team fighting to avoid relegation and the game wasn't at home. This is a team playing European football, they were on their own turf, and they were well beaten (even before the deserved red card).   2. Right now, Luis Suarez is the best football player in the world. Period.   3. Ironically, an injury to Steven Gerrard, and his resulting absence, may have revealed that this could be the year Liverpool finally win the l

How to Create "Raving Fans"

Twice a month I send out an email to everyone in our church who is in some kind of "leadership" position (and anyone else who asks to be on the list...). Here are the thoughts I sent them last week: I'm a big fan of Ken Blanchard, so one evening when I had a few spare minutes at Barnes and Noble, I grabbed one of his books and read the first couple pages. The book is Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service. The basic gist of the book is: Having raving fans means that you have achieved the kind of service excellence  that turns a customer into lifetime customer. A raving fan is an advocate of your products or services in the marketplace. As I read, I thought about how the ideas Ken was sharing might apply to church leadership (s a church leader, I often do this). I realized that all of us are trying to create "raving fans"; and every church is a reflection of what kind of raving fans their leaders have sought to create. Here is a list

Are You Leading Or Are You Just Up Front?

If you're up front, it's because someone put you there. If you're leading, it's because people are following. Leading means knowing where you're going. Being up front means reacting to circumstances. A leader communicates a compelling direction. Up front... a confusing direction. If you embrace hard questions, you're leading. If you seek easy answers, you're up front. Leading = Pulling. Up Front = Being Pushed. Leaders call for sacrifice sometimes. People up front promise satisfaction all the time. You lead because you can do nothing else. You move up front because it looks attractive. When you lead, you engage the tension. When you're up front, it paralyzes you. Leaders are value-driven. Up-Fronters prefer polls. What else?

6 "Biblical" Tests To Evaluate Your Church

Sometimes, I just like to make lists; like this one from 1 Corinthians. These aren't my ideas, they are summaries of the concepts taught by Paul at the beginning of his instructions to the church in Corinth: The church finds its existence in the fact that God called us.  We DO NOT exist because of the work of any man, whether it is Apollos, Peter, or even Paul.  We’re sanctified by Jesus Christ and CALLED to be together with each other. God has provided the church with everything it needs to function effectively.  He calls this provision GIFTS.  Think of these less as specific “abilities” and more as NECESSARY RESOURCES.  If you don’t have the necessary resources to complete a task, then God hasn’t called you to that task! Division happens when people follow MEN instead of CHRIST.  As soon as your opinion of another person is a cause for separation, your focus is off God and onto men.  Our opinion of one man should never impact our treatment of another man. The church’s wisd

How to "Take Care Of" The 10 People You Most Dislike

I’ve been thinking that one of the best ways to get “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly” might be to make a list of the ten people you least want to pray for. Then pray fervently for them for each of the next ten days. The idea is kind of frightening, and reminds me of how much of my sinful nature remains in me, and how much I need the Spirit to cut into me with his sharp sword.

5 Tools to Help You Patiently Wait on God

Psalm 40:1-2. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog. If you are truly waiting PATIENTLY for the LORD, you don’t get to decide when to stop waiting…even if you’re in the miry bog (not to be confused with the miry blog). How can you be content in the miry bog while you wait? Here are five suggestions: 1) Spend your time remembering the many good things God has done for you; and the many bad things from which He has saved you. 2) Invest your life in the lives of people around you. Meet their needs, and stop thinking about your own. 3) Meditate on God’s Word. Psalm 19 says it will “revive your soul.” 4) Enjoy creation. God made this planet for your pleasure, get out and take advantage of it. 5) Be creative. You are made in God’s image, so you are a creator (small “c”). Start a project or take on a hobby, you’ll be glorifying God by doing so.

3 Ideas for Prayer While You Are Suffering

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” We all suffer. It is a part of life. Not only do we have a high priest who suffered as we do, Jesus suffered far more than we ever will. As he approached the hour of His suffering, he set a wonderful example for us of how to pray when we suffer. 3 Things to Pray When You Are Suffering: If it is possible (all things are possible with God, so we should never be afraid to ask) let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. (God loves when His children tell him specifically what they desire) Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine. (submission is the key to prayer, how will you respond if God chooses to say "yes" in a way you don't expect?)

10 Rules for Working With Students

Several years ago, upon completing over a decade working with students, I compiled 85 Theses on Youth Ministry. Here are ten of my ideas for working with students: 1. Its all about relationships. 2. Your philosophy of youth ministry needs to be rooted in a biblical understanding of salvation, discipleship, the church and the world. 3. You have gifts, your leaders have gifts, your students have gifts. Figure them out and utilize them. 4. You must have medical release forms. 5. Parents have more influence on their children than you do. Deal with it. 6. Youth Ministry is a long-term investment, five year results are more important and more honest than five month results. 7. Develop students who are loyal to the kingdom, not to you or your programs. 8. Know who you are teaching; Know what they need. 9. You are teaching them Jesus; Jesus is what they need. 10. All rabbit trails lead somewhere. It's your job to know where.

When Will We Become People of the "AND"?

I'm tired of having to pick sides. It seems like the (global) church today faces a new schism each week. We are forced to decide whether we are going to be conservative or liberal. We must either be pro-life or pro-choice. We must choose either doctrine or practice. I sometimes feel as though I am split in more directions than Voldemort's soul (google "horcrux"). But what if we stopped choosing sides? What if instead of forcing people into "either/or" decisions we found ways to unite paradoxical ideas? Wouldn't be great if we didn't have to choose one side "instead of" another? How wonderful would it be if we could choose one side "and" another? After all, isn't "agree with one another" one way that we live out Jesus' command to "love one another?" (it is.) What if in the church we: Worked to protect the lives of the unborn AND sought to address the sociological issues that lead to teen pregna

8 Steps to Fix the BCS Mess

This Saturday, Michigan State and Ohio State will play for the B1G championship. This borders on a "no-win" for OSU. I've already heard "experts" suggesting that if Ohio State doesn't win convincingly, that Auburn should jump them and get into the National Championship game. That's right. A team could win 25 consecutive football games and not play for a national championship because they didn't win by "enough" against another top ten team. Silliness. I wrote the following post 3 years ago, but it is still absolutely relevant. It's not the only possible solution for the BCS, but its a good one. It's definitely better than what we have now, and its definitely better than what we'll have next year (when selecting 4 teams simply means that we have more slots for SEC teams now). -------------------------- A SOLUTION FOR THE BCS ------------------------------ Over the past few years, a few things have happened that have