Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day

Reformation Day commemorates Dr. Martin Luther's posting of his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This act triggered the movement in world history known as the Reformation. While the historical date for the observance of Reformation is October 31st, most churches celebrate it on the last Sunday in October.

While it had profound and lasting impacts on the political, economic, social, literary, and artistic aspects of modern society, the Reformation was at its heart a religious movement. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the doctrine of justification, that is, the good news of salvation by grace through faith.

For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption. Since most ordinary Christians were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance. Tragically however, monks, priests, bishops, and even the popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory and salvation through good works. Spiritually earnest people tried to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions, but they were left wondering if they had done enough to appease God's righteous anger and escape His punishment.

The truth of the gospel -- the Good News that God is loving and merciful, that He offers each and every one of us forgiveness and salvation not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has already done for us -- was largely forgotten by both clergy and laity. The Holy Spirit used an Augustinian monk and university professor named Martin Luther to restore the gospel to its rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We Gave Up On Life... and Bought a Minivan

Christy and I just made a huge life decision. One that will affect our lives forever, one that we will never be able to change, because it is done… we are just purchased a minivan. I will be honest, neither of us ever saw ourselves as minivan people, but then we had kids and we would like to have more, and it just makes sense… Yes, it makes sense... Seriously, quit laughing, it makes sense… and all it cost me was money and my man card.

We had a Honda Pilot, which we loved and never had a single problem with, but it was not as practical as we had hoped. Our original thought in purchasing the vehicle was that it would be a great family vehicle that we could use for years; after all it had 3 rows and could seat 8. The reality though was far from factual for a young family that requires car seats for our 2 kids under 4. In order for us to have more than 5 people in the vehicle at once we were forced to either have someone crawl over the middle row (because our kids need to be separated by the middle seat) or crawl through the rear door (which is just pathetic to watch/observe/do) or remove a child seat every time we got in our out of our vehicle (no chance that was going to happen).

Due to the Pilot not working out for us, Christy & I began looking at alternative vehicles.

We initially thought Tahoe or Suburban, but friends of ours commented on the difficulty they have getting their kids in and out of the BIG SUV *excuse*. I was also not a fan of the gas mileage they got, 10-16 on a good day *excuse*. We also looked at minivans, and we impressed by all the cup holders *joke*, ease of access with automatic doors, space, storage, and gas mileage. For those we have decided to purchase a minivan, that’s right a minivan.

We settled on a 2007 Honda Odyssey. Some people might say reason has won out in our decision, I say we have given up on life!!! Going with the practical over the cool, purchasing the logical car instead of the beast, giving up on life instead of clinging to something we lost a long time. So when you see the white flag flying over my head, you now know what happened… we purchased a minivan… or as we like to call it; we got a sweet new ride.

Here are some pictures of our new Honda I’m sure you will want to print off and hang on your bedroom walls as you fantasize about your dream vehicle:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cole’s Poll (Week 8)

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Cincinnati
5. TCU
6. Iowa
7. USC
8. LSU
9. Penn State
10. OU

• How can a 3 loss team be in the top 10? 3 losses by a combined 5 points and they will not lose again this year, that is how.
• Boise State was shocked Sunday afternoon to see they fell below TCU in the BCS, they better get used to that position.
• Saturday was a rare day for me, no college football watching at all. Instead of football, we spent the day at Baylor’s homecoming and on the road… so this poll reflects more of the USAToday’s coaches poll than usual.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What Not to Do In A Meeting

This week I read a post on 10 Annoying Meeting Behaviors. While I agreed with each of them, it made me look at myself in hopes of improving myself in meetings. To be clear these are not areas I have mastered, but 10 things I do not want to be guilty of committing! Here is the list:

1. Arriving late
2. Taking phone calls (exception: spouse or kids)
3. Checking e-mail
4. Engaging in side conversations
5. Not taking notes (doodling does not count!)
6. Talking too much
7. Interrupting others
8. Not coming prepared
9. Chasing rabbits
10. Not speaking up

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The New Testament “Gamble” by John Lynch

The New Testament “Gamble” by John Lynch

“What if I tell them who they are?” What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgment or rejection”?

“What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I love them right now, no matter what they’ve done, as much as I love my only Son? That there’s nothing they can do to make my love go away”?

“What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don’t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they’ve let me down, made promises that they don’t keep?”

“What if I tell them they are righteous, with my righteousness, right now”?

“What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff and jumpy around me?”

“What if I tell them I’m crazy about them? What if I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I’d receive them with tears and a party”?

“What if I tell them that I am their Savior, they’re going to heaven no matter what--it’s a done deal?

“What if I tell them they have a new nature--saints, not saved sinners who should now ‘buck up and be better’ if they were any kind of Christians, after all He’s done for you!”

“What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I’ve put my love, power, and nature inside of them, at their disposal?”

“What if I tell them that they don’t have to put on a mask? That it is OK to be who they are at this moment, with all their junk. That they don’t need to Pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t, how much Bible they read or don’t?”

“What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get to good, the other shoe’s gonna drop?”

“What if they knew I will never, ever use the word “punish” in relation to them?”

“What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never 'get back at them'?”

“What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren’t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me?”

“What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn’t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them?”

“What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I never hurt theirs?”

“What if I tell them I like U2’s music too?”

“What if I tell them I never really liked the Christmas hand bell deal with the white gloves?”

“What if I tell them they can open their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven?”

“What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor?”

“What if I tell them it isn’t about their self-effort, but about allowing me to live my life through them?”

Times by Tenth Avenue North

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cole’s Poll (Week 7)

1. Alabama – I have no idea how I feel about this team.
2. Texas – Congrats on beating OU’s 2nd string offense by 3.
3. Florida – They really are # 1, but deserve to drop for a week since the zebras gave them a win against the razorbacks!
4. Cincinnati – They look for real and have no one left on their schedule.
5. Iowa – All of a sudden they look legit to win the Big Ten.
6. USC –They looked poorly coached and undisciplined in the 4th quarter, but still go the “W.”
7. Miami – The Canes should win out, it will be interesting to see where they end up
8. Penn State – Looking back, the Iowa loss is not so bad
9. TCU – BYU is the only team left on their schedule, but their real battle is with Boise State who is still getting props for their Fiesta win…
10. LSU – Default pick for the top 10.

• The Big 12 North took a beating with Kansas, Nebraska, & Missouri all loosing.
• Boise State looked pathetic this week. Although they beat Tulsa, that should count as 2 losses and take them out of BCS consideration. It is too bad OU lost and will not be able to have a rematch with them in the Fiesta Bowl.
• Is it possible for a team to lose and move up in the rankings? If so, OU and Notre Dame would both be moving up…

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


In his new book Zero to Sixty, Bob Franquiz writes that he thinks you should hire only two types of people: products and projects.

According to Franquiz, products are the people “who are already highly developed. We could liken ‘products' to a baseball team that signs a high profile, highly productive free agent. The team knows what they are getting because they have already seen the player produce.” These ‘products' because they have already proven themselves elsewhere, will come on to your team and help you hit it out of the park.

Projects are the people you see in your organization that have an enormous amount of underdeveloped potential. Bob says, “You see the value they could add to your organization with the right time, training, and coaching.”

So... if you're in the process of hiring a new staff person, which are you looking for? A ‘product' or a ‘project'? Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Projects don't cost as much financially. Think interns, recent college grads, or business leaders.
2. Products don't require near as much training or leadership.
3. Projects many times have a much larger learning curve than Products. If you're hiring someone to alleviate the load, the Project will probably not be able to do that initially.
4. Products are ‘plug and play' and can make a more significant contribution from day one.

There you have it! Projects and Products. Two totally different kinds of hires. Knowing which one you need BEFORE you hire can save you a lot of time and headaches.

Originally written by Todd Rhoads

Monday, October 12, 2009

The C's of Hiring Church Staff/Pastors

Last week a member of our personnel team and I met to discuss vision and leadership. During the breakfast we also discussed what to look for when hiring a person to serve in a church. My response to that question on what the main things are when being or looking at a candidate are 3 C’s (I think I got these from Bill Hybles ):

1. Chemistry – are they the type of person you want to spend time with
2. Character – are they the type of person you want to be like personally, in your marriage and family, walk with Christ
3. Competence – are they the type of person you want as your lead pastor in areas of service, theology, past work, maturation, church growth

While I see that a pastoral candidate must have a clear walk with God, they must also have a clear vision for where they want to lead the church (or ministry area). With this is mind, vision and philosophy of ministry are extremely important as well. The final added consideration would be to look at the makeup of the candidate to determine if they would have synergy with the ministry setting. These are thoughts I have had to think through in recent weeks.

What is the Key to Success in Ministry?

what is the key to success in ministry?: in two words. I see success and stewardship as synonymous. It's not about how big your church is. It's about doing the best you can with what you have where you are. It's about cultivating your God-given gifts and using them to glorify God.

Here are five "two word" answers:

1) Keep Learning

When you stop learning you stop leading. I never want to become a closed system. If you keep learning you cannot fail. Why? Because failure is not learning the lessons God is trying to teach you. If you learned something you did not fail.

2) Take Risks

Playing it safe is risky. I'm more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes. I think that is a leadership mindset. You obviously need to discern if they are God-ordained. But our greatest regrets will be the lions we did not chase!

3) Stay Humble

This one is huge. Don't let pride take root in your heart. I'm so grateful for a failed church plant on my resume because it's a constant reminder that "unless the Lord builds the house they who labor, labor in vain." If you stay humble there is nothing God cannot do in you and through you.

4) Dream Big

The size of your dream reveals the size of your faith. More faith = bigger dreams. I'm convinced that God-sized dreams are one key to spiritual growth. God-sized dreams force you to live on your knees in raw dependence upon God. Live your life in a way that requires divine intervention.

5) Be Yourself

You need to come to terms with who you are and who you aren't. Ten years ago I was trying to be a pastor. I'm now trying to be myself. And there is a difference. Life is too short and ministry is too hard to be in an environment where you can't give true expression to your unique gifts, personality, and calling.

I'm obviously making a lot of assumptions here. For example, spiritual growth is all about becoming more and more like Jesus. That's a given. And I'm assuming a strong devotional life that includes prayer and Bible study. So these five tips are "beyond basics" if you will.

This is a repost by Mark Batterson from his blog.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cole's Poll (Week 6)

1. Florida – Passed their only real test of the regular season, 13-3.
2. Texas – Passed the test of not losing before their season begins (and ends with OU)
3. Alabama – Passed the “test” of Ole Miss (who will say goodbye to the top 25)
4. Virginia Tech – Passed everyone they will pass in the poll already!
5. USC – Passed on playing the week before dominating Notre Dame in South Bend
6. Iowa – Passed by Michigan when the most exciting true freshman in the country had an off night
7. Kansas – Passed for 442 yards against a terrible Iowa State team (a loss is coming).
8. Cincinnati – Passed over for any real recognition this year
9. Miami – Passed by FLAM… is that an airport?
10. Ohio State – Passed for 87 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT… terrible!

• It was good the see Bradford return to the field this week, but if OU (offensive, double meaning, life) plays that way again next week it might be short-lived.
• Did anyone doubt the player the media has dubbed the messiah would return to the field? Welcome back Tebow and kudos for the sneak to secure final first down to run out the clock.
• FSU needs a clue. Sure Bobby Bowden has lost 3 weeks in a row to sub par teams, but 1). He doesn’t even call the plays or wear a headset or look involved in the games, and 2). You don’t call out the man who built your program into what it is through a board of trustees meeting… that is just bad form!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama Gets A Prize?!?

Obama's First Six Months' Accomplishments

1. Offended the Queen of England.

2. Bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia.

3. Praised the Marxist Daniel Ortega.

4. Kissed Socialist Hugo Chavez on the cheek.

5. Endorsed the Socialist Evo Morales of Bolivia.

6. Sided with Hugo Chavez and Communist Fidel Castro against Honduras.

7. Announced we would meet with Iranians with no pre-conditions while they're building their nuclear weapons.

8. Gave away billions to AIG also without pre-conditions.

9. Expanded the bailouts.

10. Insulted everyone who has ever loved a Special Olympian.

11. Doubled our national debt.

12. Announced the termination of our new missile defense system the day after North Korea launched an ICBM.

13. Released information on U.S. intelligence gathering despite urgings of his own CIA director and the prior four CIA directors.

14. Accepted without comment that five of his cabinet members cheated on their taxes and two other nominees withdrew after they couldn't take the heat.

15. Appointed a Homeland Security Chief who identified military veterans and abortion opponents as "dangers to the nation."

16. Ordered that the word "terrorism" no longer be used and instead refers to such acts as "man made disasters."

17. Circled the globe to publicly apologize for America's world leadership.

18. Told the Mexican president that the violence in their country was because of us.

19. Politicized the census by moving it into the White House from the Department of Commerce.

20. Appointed as Attorney General the man who orchestrated the forced removal and expulsion to Cuba of a 9-year-old whose mother died trying to bring him to freedom in the United States.

21. Salutes as heroes three Navy SEALS who took down three terrorists who threatened one American life and the next day announces members of the Bush administration may stand trial for "torturing" three 9/11 terrorists by pouring water up their noses.

22. Low altitude photo shoot of Air Force One over New York City that frightened thousands of New Yorkers.

23. Sent his National Defense Advisor to Europe to assure them that the US will no longer treat Israel in a special manner and they might be on their own with the Muslims.

24. Praised Jimmy Carter's trip to Gaza where he sided with terrorist Hamas against Israel.

25. Nationalized General Motors and Chrysler while turning shareholder control over to the unions and freezing out retired investors who owned their bonds. Committed unlimited taxpayer billions in the process.

26. Passed a huge energy tax in the House that will make American industry even less competitive while costing homeowners thousands per year.

27. Announced nationalized health care "reform" that will strip seniors of their Medicare, cut pay of physicians, increase taxes yet another $1 trillion, and put everyone on rationed care with government bureaucrats deciding who gets care and who doesn't.


Bloomberg: Daschle says, "Health care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them," while former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm says seniors have "a duty to die."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cole's Poll (Week 5)

1. Florida – Is there any doubt that next week is their biggest all regular season?
2. Texas – Are the Stankhorns licking their chops for OU or are they nervous???
3. Alabama – Does no one remember what happened to them against Utah last year?
4. Virginia Tech – Can they jump Bama if Bama looses?
5. USC – Fearful of playing in the Rose Bowl instead of at it come January?
6. Iowa – Beat Penn State in Happy Valley and struggle against Arkansas State?
7. Cincinnati – Forget Boise State, why aren’t people talking about this team going undefeated and missing out on the BCS championship game?
8. Miami – Was this the same team that got destroyed last week?
9. Ohio State – Think they still have nightmares about their USC choke job?
10. Oregon – Where was this team in week 1?

• OU should call this the year of the injuries... just imagine if their 2 best players were playing this year, do you think they would still have 2 losses by a combined 2 points? Too bad for Sooner Nation!
• LSU pulled out another close win. Although it is not being discussed, this year is eerily similar to their last championship year when the pulled out close win after close win.
• Boise State in the top 5 or 10 is a joke!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Obama = Nope

Apparently democrats are quietly complaining and jeering Obama for his failed attempt to bring home the games to his adopted home of Chicago. Republicans are doing their best not to pile on and seem un-American. Conservative figures though are not being so quiet, publicly laughing at and lauding Obama for not delivering while wasting the taxpayers’ time and money is a failed attempt to bring the 2016 Olympic Games. Chicago natives are left with a bitter taste in their mouths knowing that Obama = Nope. Here is a link for more information and an article titled, "Who Is To Blame For Chicago's Olympic-Sized Failure?"