Friday, December 9, 2011

Texting, Because We Don't Care to Talk to People Anymore

Have you ever really thought about texting? Have you thought about what you are communicating when you text? At its best a text means that I have something to say to you, just not the time to talk to you. At its worst, texting means I have something to say to you, I just don’t want to talk to you. If it is not obvious, I am not a fan of texting. Granted it has its place, I just don’t like it. Regardless, we are texting now and instead of fighting it as some fad, I’ll try to get over my feelings and embrace it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How The BCS Got It Wrong… 2011 Edition!

Last year, the BCS delivered on phenomenal bowl games, this year they reverted to their normal ways. One might naturally think this is going to go towards the OSU/Alabama debate, but that is not their fault. The 40 year old “man” named Mike Gundy gets to bear all the burden for that one! The problem is the games themselves will not be fun to watch. Currently, the games are just boring and they should not have been.

Here is a list of what they are verse what they should be:
ROSE – Is: Wisconsin vs. Oregon, should be: Wisconsin vs. Stanford.
This game poses two contrasting styles that will simply be boring to watch. Spread verse the run. New school verse old school… this has the makings of a terrible game for the viewers.

FIESTA – Is: OSU vs. Oregon, should be: OSU vs. Oregon
See Rose bowl notes. In all fairness, 3 vs. 4 sounds good on paper, but this game does not matter at all… none of the BCS games do this year. Can you imagine watching the ball flung throughout the stadium as these two offenses battle for who will have the ball last and go for the win?

SUGAR – Is: Michigan vs. VT, should be: Michigan vs. Baylor
VT deserves this bowl as much as Oklahoma does… not at all! However, if you put a resurgent historic Wolverine team against a team that has no history in Baylor, it would be awesome. In addition to this, football fans would come from all over to see RG3 battle Denard Robinson – call it the battle of the 2 most electrifying players in college football. This game would have been awesome. Some will point to KSU having a better ranking and beating Baylor, but remember that this game does not matter and KSU isn’t fun to watch!

ORANGE – Is: Clemson vs. WVU, should be: Bama vs. Boise
Let a legitimate team beat the dog out of Boise. It would shut them up for years and Bama’s Nick Saban would relish the opportunity to unleash all of his fury on a team he does not think deserve to be in the BCS, much less ranked in the top 25. I would love this game!

BCS TITLE: Is: LSU vs. Bama, should be: Highlights of LSU’s season.
LSU has nothing left to prove. Their season was as close to a playoff that we have seen in the history of the BCS. The fact that they have to play a team they beat on the road is stupid. Just give them the title… they already earned it. If you want to fill seats, put Nebraska in here, they corn faithful travel well and are no threat to ruining what LSU has already accomplished.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gundy, the Pokes, and the BCS

So many people are lamenting “the rematch” as a travesty. They want to blame the humans, ignorant coaches like the one from Air Force that apparently does not own a TV or have common sense. However, all of those people are not the problem, it is not their fault, and ultimately this is not on the BCS… it is all on the 40+ year old “man” named Mike Gundy.

Having never been in that situation before, he said Bama deserved to be #2 on November 28. Instead of thinking they could actually beat OU and have a case for the BCS title game, he sheepishly submitted to Alabama being a better team. As a lifelong Dallas Maverick/Texas Ranger fan, I understand his thinking that they wouldn’t actually do it… but keep it to yourself Gundy!

That being said, he should have harped on the fact that his team lost in double OT to a team on the road the same day his school has the worst tragedy of any school all year. He should not have made excuses, but played the media in such a way to say something like, "today was an extremely tough day for OSU. The plane crash and deaths were a huge distraction, we played with heavy hearts, and I am glad we were able to play at all with such a tragedy." That is the truth everyone in the country knew, believed, and would’ve sympathized with. 18-22 year old kids played a competitive game on the road under the worst of circumstances…

Gundy should have also, in the same breath, harped on the fact that Bama lost at home, after a bye week. Bama had their shot, at home, and lost. Bama had their shot after an off week, and lost. Bama had their chance, and lost. OSU did loose to Iowa State, but on the road under the worst of circumstances, Bama lost at home after a bye week.

Les Miles has proven that there is no room for a high road when it comes to the BCS. You plead your case non-stop, and let everyone know why they would be idiots to put any other team ahead of yours. Gundy cost OSU a shot at the title; it is his fault and no one else’s. The BCS media and coaches should have had the common sense to see the situation for what it was, but ultimately Gundy is to blame for not wanting to “politic.”

Although the BCS blew the title game, the real question is why wouldn’t they after what Gundy said.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: Real-Life Discipleship by Jim Putman

Real-Life Discipleship is a book about how Jim Putman’s church (Real Life Ministries) makes and trains disciples. Putman has a gift for explaining and communicating how discipleship should occur within a church context. While his model is specific to his church, there are many great things to learn and apply from this book. His hope from the book is stated that the reader will begin to intentionally, relationally, and strategically disciple others.

This book is broken down into three different parts. The first part is about setting the stage for discipleship. He states that discipleship requires real teaching and real learning (conversation, modeling, encouragement, etc.) in the context of a relationship. His definition of a disciple is good too, “A disciple is one who is following Christ, being changed by Christ, and committed to Jesus’ mission to save people from their sins.” Following principles he studied from the Gospel, he points towards three keys to success: intentionality, relational environment, and having a process.

He uses the following stages of a disciple’s growth: Spiritually dead; Spiritual infant; Child; Young Adult; and Parent. Since Putman places discipleship within the context of a relationship he discusses the importance of a relational environment that includes real teaching, shepherding, transparency, accountability, and guided practice. Within the relational focus, he specifically addresses the importance of church and the necessity to be engaged in a local church family.

True to form, Putman explains the process disciple-makers follow to make disciples. His reproducible process is for people to share, connect, minister, and disciple. In the second part of this book he explains each one of stages. Before he gets into that though, he gives the reader a reminder that they must understand they are only responsible for their part in the process. God has His part, the disciple has their part, and we have our part! We cannot control or dictate anything other than our own actions; a good reminder.

He then details his strategy by identifying people at different stages of spiritual growth. Without giving a full rundown of everything included it would be best just to look at the diagram he provides that I found online:
Putman states that they need to keep Bible central to what we are doing in our small groups (Good Call!), so they partnered with Avery Willis (creator of MasterLife) to develop Storying thru the Bible. Basically, instead of a printed material, they read a Bible story, have someone recite a Bible story, discuss how that person did (if they added to or missed anything in the story) and then ask discussion question to dig deeper and apply the lesson. They love the model and have seen many benefits from this style of learning including that it makes the story stick, easy to recruit leaders, meets people where they are, arms people for service, helps disciple kids, evaluates where group members are, keeps groups from getting boring, and helps people get to know one another.

The final part of this book is about letting disciples emerge as leaders. He communicated the need to disciples to grow up by relating to the development of a child, into a teen, young adult, and then a parent. It is unnatural to stay in one stage of life and that should be true about our spiritual growth as well.  He said, “God gives specific gifting to people in the church in order to help the church work together effectively.” This statement speaks to the fact that God calls upon every one of His followers to be used and useful for His purposes.

This was a great book, with a phenomenal and tangible explanation for how to make disciples in a church small group setting. Putman is able to clearly communicate what his church does to the reader, therefore it is no surprise that Real-Life Ministries has grown from 12 people to over 12,000 members. I love the heart, detail, and functionality of this book. It is a must read for those who want to make disciples.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rules of Dinner

1. Everyone Eats Together
2. The Dinner Table is a Safe Place
3. No Distractions
4. Say Please and Thank You
5. Sit Facing the Table (her rule is All Four on the Floor, one I always break)
6. Try a Bit of Everything
7. Use an Inside Voice
8. Play High and Low (points of the day)
9. Only Compliments to the Chef
10. Everyone Helps Clean Up

Rules of Dinner can be found here by a lady named Jenny.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: Church Is a Team Sport By Jim Putman

This book starts off with a lengthy introduction to tell the reader how the author got where he is and the motivation behind the book. Putman is a wrestler and former wrestling coach who views the world and church through the lens of sports. He views himself as a new kind of coach, most call his role a pastor though, but he has several other coaches on his staff as well. He sees his church as a team, which should be a natural link. As a sports fan this is something I rather enjoyed.

Throughout the book he also talks about winning, something he majored on before Charlie Sheen broke on the scene with his drug-inspired freak show! One of the things I really enjoyed was how he made clear that churches should seek to win. He also defined winning by stating, “Winning is making disciples – converts who are disciple onto God’s team and taught to take part in Christ mission” (70). He showed how pathetic the state of the North American church is too through the Barna Groups research/ Of the 360,000 church in America, only 2-5% are experiencing conversion growth. Also, 50% of all evangelical churches in America did not have a single convert last year – pathetic! There are more stats, but that is enough to get a Christian fired up!

He also talked about the need for churches to win, because we belong to God and God has given us the keys to prevail over the world – in short, every church should be seeing people coming to faith in Christ and developed into disciples. Putman makes it clear that winning starts with coaches. Coaches need to move beyond their comfort zone and discover God’s purpose for the church. He views relationship, real, authentic, vulnerable relationships where you really know people and they really know you as the key for this to take place.

In his 3rd portion of the book he outlines what his church does and why. Everything is connected to the main purpose of the church. There are no independent programs or ministries, everything is interdependent and fruitful to the primary purpose of the church – in short they are a focused church. The primary method or means to make this happens is through small groups. Small groups are the fuel for making disciples and everything they do points towards getting people in small groups, so they can be involved, serve, and eventually start leading their own small group. Their goal is to develop players and them set them loose to play.

The fourth section has to do with making sure everyone is on the same page. They are all aligned for reaching the victory they have in mind. He encourages unity and the church values unity above most everything else when it comes to having everyone on the same page. It is refreshing to see the value he places on this necessity. From coaches to players, his church makes sure everyone is able to read from the same playbook. While he views theology as highly important, he is intentional to avoid useless disagreements about minor aspects of the Christian faith.

His final part of the book summarized the book and provides useful information for leaders. He speaks to hiring and recruiting new leaders. He also places a high value on constructive criticism. One of the things many pastors do not talk about is their inability to handle criticism. Putman encourages pastors/coaches to create an environment where staff and members can offer suggestions for how a pastor can improve (he really includes everyone). He says, “A coach must allow others to evaluate him; there must be a culture of accurate assement in an organization. A coach must become vulnerable and positive when he received honest feedback, or the process ends right there… An accurate and honest assessment encourages better leadership” (208). He ends the book with a challenging pep talk.

Overall, this was a very good book. He sticks to his personality and is true to himself. It was easy to read and beneficial for any church leader. The most insightful thing I read from the book was his outline of the discipleship process. He lists it as 4 Phases of Discipleship:

1. Share-Phase: knowing Christ or hearing of Him (no real difference between praying a prayer or hearing the message – I know my explanation is not what he means, but I am not elaborating here!)
2. Connect-Level: Being involved in a small group, sharing life in a Christian community
3. Ministry-Level: Serving others, moving from the consumer level (connect-level) to being a contributor
4. Disciple-Level: Training others to do what you do.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Developing a Multi-Generational Vision

Recently, I have been thinking about how to bring different generations together for the purpose of sharing insight and life together. This afternoon, this article spoke to me in such a way I wanted to share part of it with you. If you are a member of my church, begin thinking about having a Mulch-Generational Home Group this year!

We Must Think Long-Term

Having a multi-generational outlook means thinking long-term. Thinking long-term is difficult in a society that worships speed and efficiency. Many parents cannot wait until retirement to hop in the Winnebago and drive down to sunny Florida. Many of our nation's senior citizens have already done this, proudly displaying the bumpersticker, "I'm retired and spending my children's inheritance." In Deuteronomy 6:2, we read that God specifically tells parents that their responsibility extends to the third generation. God wants parents to see their responsibility as a long-term commitment that does not end when the children leave home or retirement.

Having a long-term perspective is crucial to raising children for at least two reasons. First, without it, many parents surely give up. Second, to produce faithful generations requires us to be oriented to the future, eagerly anticipating how our lives can contribute to God's work in the future. It will be difficult to expect our children to have a hopeful vision for the future if we are reluctant, passive and without hope ourselves. Short-term thinking is a perfect setup for failure. God continually reminds us to have our eyes on the future.

To help keep our thinking future-oriented, the Bible uses the following words: "remember," "testimony," "covenant," "generations," "inheritance," and "heritage". A long-term focus is crucial to persevere through the trials that we all encounter (Philippians 3:13-14; Romans 5:1-5). By thinking long-term, we can have hope. Our children can succeed where we have failed! But for this to happen, we must not let a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year distract us and lead us into a detour of despondency.

One of the hallmarks of a great leader is his ability to offer hope to those who have no hope. Hope is an increasingly scarce commodity. But our God is a God of hope! As God's children and as leaders, we must share this sense of hope with generations.

� Copyright 2002 Institute for Uniting Church and Home, all rights reserved. The Institute for Uniting Church and Home is a trans-denominational ministry.

Blogging Hiatus

Recently, I have taken an unintentional blogging hiatus. Although I share this blog with whomever wants to look at what I'm thinking about, my purpose is to use it as an online journal. The reason for the hiatus is that I simply did not have anything I've wanted to share or remember lately... today that ended.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Michael Whitehead, Tiger Woods, and the 2011 US OPEN

Today I will be rooting for Michael Whitehead, the young man who replaced Tiger Woods when he withdrew from the US Open due to being damaged goods. Michael, is also the young man who will have the honor of having my daughter be the flower girl in his wedding this July - he is marrying Christy's cousin! He has been dubbed the polar opposite of Tiger, which I hope consist solely of character - here is to hoping he surpasses Tiger's former winning ways! Here are a couple articles on his character, humility, and strong Christian beliefs:

Michael Whitehead Relishes Role as Golfer Who Replaced Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods Made Michael Whiteheads Day

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dallas Mavericks: 2011 NBA Champions

The Dalla Mavericks are you 2011 NBA Champions! It sounds almost too good to be true, but alas it is true. There is no other team in the league that can lay claim to What Dirk, Kidd, Terry, Cuban, JJ, Chandler, Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks can, the title of Champions!

In my opinion, this image with the team of misfits and don't have a rings is part of the reason the Mavs became the NBA version of America's Team, the title truly fitting of Dallas' other team... how odd is that! There are not many teams who hate the Mavs (the San Antonio Spurs are the only losers that do), and if they don't like them, still respect Jason Kidd and Dirk. The story of the underdog is also applicable to the Mavs. Years of pain, from 2006 to the 80's and 90's are another reason it is so sweet and why America got on board. It was as though not only Dallas won, but everyone who has ever underachieved won too!

The main reason that Dallas became the NBA's America's Team is credited to the entitled, obscenely proud, arrogant, ignorant, childish, Hated Heat. You know, the team comprised of 3 players who decided to join forces instead of proving they were the best. The group that wanted to join the best, not beat the best. There is more that could be said about this team, but I would like to just say thank you. Thank You for making my team the most celebrated team in sports with your arrogance, ignorance, and entitlement. Go Mavs.

Now here are some pictures for all the heat haters:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Baptist Lent

This year I participated in lent for the first time, albeit a Baptist version (meaning no Ash Wednesday or palm leaves from the year before… or the other stuff I am not sure about). The challenge to myself was delivered to my church, “Give up or fast from something (that is a distraction to my relationship with Jesus) and replace it with a spiritual discipline.” Although I do not desire to delve into the specifics of what that looked like for me, I would like to pose a question: why would I take up something I laid down as a distraction?

If I resume my activities (yes there were more multiple things I laid down) that were a distraction, are they not just going to regain their former position in my life? Am I being too serious about my commitment? Is it really that big of a deal? For me personally, I am not really sure where the balance lies, but there is a conflict in picking up what I clearly saw as something that got in the way of my walk with God.

The principle of replacement was the key to actually growing spiritually during this time. In former fasts, I found myself thinking about how hungry I was, and “showing God I was serious about my specific prayer” – something that is valuable and important. This was different though, this was personal, it was about drawing closer to He who loves me, made me, died for me, and prays for me – the same God who rose from the grave and is my ferocious Fighter, victorious Savior, and adamant Advocate. It was about refocusing my heart and life towards God and the things of God. It brought about a renewed understanding of living on mission, having a meaningful time with God everyday (not struggling to stay out of a rut or get a quiet time done), and making the most of every opportunity.

God blessed me with the opportunity to lead two people into a relationship with Him and share His love with multiple others. I saw my patience lengthened… at least a time or two! Joy replaced tired living, He led me to thrive instead of just survive (this is a reference to my life-stage of having a 5 year old, 3 year old, and almost 4 month old). I believe that God has anointed me in specific ways, and I feel that was renewed during this time. Major problems in key relationships in my life were resolved. God was great to me during this time.

Also, there were hard times that challenged me greatly. There were times of frustration and confusion in regards to decision-making and struggles. My weaknesses and ability to sin is still present. Distractions abound. And it is very true that “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be…”

All that being said, I have an intense desire to grow more intimately with God and to let His light and love shine through me. There are areas in my life I would like to develop spiritually, so again I am left with the thought, of why would I pickup that which I laid down that I saw as a distraction to my walk with God? For me personally, I do not think I will. Presumably I will get to the point where the said distractions are just hobbies or time fillers, and then I will most likely use them as entertainment. My prayer though is for God to grant me the wisdom to know the difference and the strength to lay whatever down for Him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Coleman Playing Basketball!

Coleman turns 3 tomorrow. This is him doing one of his favorite things... playing some hoops!

Monday, March 28, 2011

10 Places Every Kid Should See by Nicole Frehsee

I saw this article here on the top 10 places every kid should see, and wanted to share and remember, so here is a repost:

1. Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
During the day, stroll the 4-year-old Skywalk, a U-shaped, glass-bottom observation deck that juts 70 feet over the canyon's West Rim and sits 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. Come sunset, hit Grand Canyon Apache Stables, where, for $25.50 per person, you can hitch a one-hour ride on a horse-drawn wagon that ends around a campfire. Tip: BYO marshmallows and hot dogs so you can cook up a nighttime snack. Skywalk Package including mandatory Legacy pass.

2. The National Mall (D.C.)
Riding the streets of Washington, D.C., in a boat on wheels might sound cheesy, but cruising the Potomac River in one is pretty sweet. Set in a WWII-era amphibious vehicle, the 90-minute D.C. duck tour covers both land and sea. The first leg hits the history-packed National Mall—look for the 19-foot-tall Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building, and the Smithsonian museums—and then switches to a scenic river trip. Highlight: The boat pauses at Gravelly Point, a park located just a few hundred feet from the runway at D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, so you can watch roaring planes take off and land.

3. Redwood National Park (Calif.)

Ancient, sky-high sequoias aren't the only attraction in this lush California locale—there's cool aquatic life, too. Take a guided tide pool tour, where budding biologists can scramble between the coastal forest's rocks while hunting for underwater creatures such as orange and purple ochre sea stars and sprawling, green anemones. Free tide pool tours are offered during the summer through Redwood National Park.

4. Ellis Island (N.Y.)
Between 1892 and 1924, more than 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island; today, their descendants account for 40 percent of Americans. Go on a hunt for your ancestors at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where for $5 you can search through millions of records to find the exact date your relatives sailed into the Port of New York, as well as which ship they were on and whether they traveled with other family members. (Bonus: copies of the documents are yours to keep.) And don't miss the construction of the Peopling of America Center, which cost $20 million to build and is slated to open in 2012. The new space focuses on U.S. immigration from 1955 (when Ellis Island closed) to the present, and houses interactive multimedia exhibits, like a touch screen that reflects demographic changes in American cities over time.

5. Niagara Falls (N.Y.)

Sure, your grandparents honeymooned there, but the majestic waterfalls straddling the U.S.-Canada border are worth a 21st-century trip. Ever wonder what it's like to be a rubber ducky in a massive bathtub? Sign up for the Cave of the Winds tour, which begins after you change into a complimentary yellow poncho and sandals (trust us, you'll need 'em). After riding an elevator 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge, you'll stand on the Hurricane Deck, where you'll be drenched by the tropical-storm-like spray from the 181-foot Bridal Veil Falls, where the water falls at a rate of up to 68 mph. Cave of the Winds operates May 1–Oct. 25.

6. Yellowstone National Park (Wyo., Mont., and Idaho)
Snag a Young Scientist Toolkit stocked with magnifying glasses, rock samples, and stopwatches to time geyser eruptions at the Old Faithful Visitor Center and hit the great outdoors for some investigating. The coolest toy: an infrared -thermometer gun that takes readings of thermal pools when pointed at the water. And there's lots of H20: The 3,472-square-mile park is home to more geothermal features (geysers, hot springs, mud spots) than any place on earth. The Young Scientist activity booklet and toolkit costs $5 (toolkit must be returned after use).

7. Colonial Williamsburg (Va.)
Everyone in this living-history site likes to play dress-up, and visitors are no exception. At the Great Hopes Plantation—a re-creation of the town's original 1700s farm—a stash of old-timey accessories await, from tricorne (three- pointed) hats for boys and shifts and mop caps (bonnets) for girls. The costumes come in handy in the field, where kids can perform 18th-century household chores, such as picking bugs off potato crops, fetching water from the well, or hoeing the soil, that are likely to make clearing the dinner dishes seem like a breeze by comparison. Great Hopes Plantation can be accessed through regular admission tickets.

8. Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve (Idaho)
The National Park Service calls this Idaho preserve "the only officially weird park" in the country. And for good reason: The jagged, black landscape—formed by volcanic eruptions up to 15,000 years ago—boasts a 618-square-mile lava field, the biggest in the U.S. (The rocky surface is so moonlike that Apollo 14 astronauts trained at the site in 1969.) The park's most awe-inspiring feature is its lava tubes, underground passageways created by hardened molten rock. Grab a flashlight and head to Indian Tunnel, which, at 30 feet high and 50 feet wide, allows for comfortable exploring. Craving an even more intense experience? Exit the cave at the far end, a feat that requires mounting a big rock pile and squeezing through a small opening.

9. Independence Hall (Penn.)
Acquaint yourself with the spirits of America's founding fathers on Philadelphia's Ghost Tour, a 90-minute, candle-lit stroll that winds past landmarks like Independence Hall, where the Constitution was adopted; the Powel House, which hosted George and Martha Washington's 20th wedding anniversary celebration; and the 238-year-old City Tavern, John Adams's former watering hole. A cape-wearing, lantern-carrying guide points out "haunted" graveyards (St. Peter's Cemetery) and reports sightings of Benjamin Franklin, who's said to roam the city's streets. The best part: All the ghost stories are based on documented accounts, which makes them all the more spooky.

10. Alcatraz Island (Calif.)
Shiv collections and cramped jail cells don't exactly sound kid-friendly, but they offer a glimpse into America's most notorious island prison—and the National Park Service is all for bringing younger ones for a visit. Hop a ferry from San Francisco's Pier 33 and stroll the damp, gray halls of the maximum-security pen, which housed criminals like Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly from 1934 to 1963. (You can even get behind bars in one of the cells, if you dare.) Don't miss the audio tour, which was updated in 2007 when former inmates and guards recorded their memories of doing time at "the Rock." If you're feeling brave, take the night tour, which lets you roam the prison after dark. Alcatraz Cruises is the official carrier for tours to Alcatraz Island.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Unreal video of the Tsunami in Japan

If your heart does not go out to the people of Japan, check your pulse. This is raw video of the destruction. Personally, I thought I knew but in reality had no clue how bad it really is over there. Pray for Japan!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rob Bell's "Love Wins" = a Loss for Truth

This is a link to an in-depth review of Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins. If you are unaware of the book or the author, you need to know who he is and what he is teaching. His popularity sets mainly with the younger crowds who tend to label themselves in the emergent church. In my opinion, this book is heretical in all it's forms and resembles anything but the truth of Christ, the truth of the Cross, and the way to salvation. Here is what an excerpt from Kevin DeYoung's review that I perceive to be the key thought: "If Rob Bell is right, then historic orthodoxy is toxic and terrible. But if the traditional view of heaven and hell are right, Rob Bell is blaspheming."

Click this link for the full review of God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins” by Kevin DeYoung.

I believe his teachings are heretical blasphemy, and I do not enjoy even writing those words. If you are unconvinced about your stance, read the Bible in proper context for yourself and let it speak to your heart. This book just makes me sad.

Al Mohler's Take.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

SNL Weekend Update (3/5/11)

I rarely watch SNL and just happened to see this last night, but thought the Charlie Sheen portion was worth sharing. Enjoy:

Friday, March 4, 2011

5'11 Jacob Tucker

Jacob Tucker (a senior guard for the (DIII) Illinois College Blueboys) = 5'11 + 50 inch verticle = Awesome.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Staying In Love - Promo

This Sunday we are starting Staying In Love at First Baptist Jenks. I am really excited to see how this goes and what God does through the marriages in our church. In my opinion, there is not a better communicator than Andy Stanley and I am sure this will be great! Here is a promo video about the series:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

John 3:16 - Rejected Super Bowl Ad

This has been floating around for a few days, and I just cannot seem to understand why it was rejected as a Super Bowl Ad. It is non-offensive, non-evasive, fully-appropriate, fully-clean, and let's people decide to follow-up or not. My guess is this was rejected due to left-wing political correctness, which is ridiculous considering the message. Here is what was rejected:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Accountability Groups by Ed Stetzer

This is one of the greatest resources I have come across in regards to accountability groups. The one thing that must be understood is that accountability only works if you are honest! These is research from Ed Stetzer on the right questions to ask and can be found on his blog:

Typically, these questions are asked in groups of 2-3, are specific to men or women, meets regularly, and hold each other accountable.


John Wesley's Small Group Questions:

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass onto another what was told me in confidence?
4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work , or habits?
5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
6. Did the Bible live in me today?
7. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
8. Am I enjoying prayer?
9. When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
12. Do I disobey God in anything?
13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
16. How do I spend my spare time?
17. Am I proud?
18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?
20. Do I grumble and complain constantly?
21. Is Christ real to me?


Wesley's Band Meeting Questions:

1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
2. What temptations have you met with?
3. How were you delivered?
4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?


Chuck Swindoll's Pastoral Accountability Questions:

1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising?
2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?
4. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
5. Have you given priority time to your family?
6. Have you fulfilled the mandates of your calling?
7. Have you just lied to me?


Neil Cole's Questions:

1. What is the condition of your soul?
2. What sin do you need to confess?
3. What have you held back from God that you need to surrender?
4. Is there anything that has dampened your zeal for Christ?
5. Who have you talked with about Christ this week?


The questions I use are from these cards from Church Multiplication Associates. I keep one in my Bible.

The ten questions are as follows:
1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?
2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?
3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?
4. Have you been honoring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?
5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?
6. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.
7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?
8. Have you secretly wished for another's misfortune so that you might excel?
9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?
10. Have you been completely honest with me?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Group at Westboro by Thomas White

I came across this a few days ago and thought it was worth sharing. It irks me that "The Group at Westboro" identifies themselves as (1). Christians; (2); a Church; and (3) Baptist. Although it is not up to me to judge the validity of their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, I can without question say that what they proclaim is not of God, the Bible, the Gospel, or the words, message, example, or truth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here is what Thomas White had to say about the group on his blog:

The Group at Westboro

If I told you that I was a bird, you might have your doubts. After all, I don’t look anything like a bird. I can’t fly. I don’t have wings. In fact, I have very little resemblance to a bird unless you want to count my bird legs as evidence.

Well, as a third generation Southern Baptist preacher and a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I teach about the church, I think know what makes a Baptist church. According to the Bible, a church is a gathering, but a gathering with a purpose…an ecclesia. This Greek word is a compound word from ek and kaleo meaning the “called” “out” ones. The church is made up of those called out for God’s purposes. There are other assemblies in the New Testament. People called out and gathered for political reasons which may form assemblies but not churches. You see, a church has a special mission, which is the mission of Christ. Christ came to offer love and hope, and saving grace to those who were hopeless, unloved, and sinners.

So it really upsets me when a group calls themselves a Baptist church and then conducts themselves disgracefully. As a member of a Baptist church, I want to go on record as saying that the group calling themselves “Westboro” is neither Baptist nor a church. They do not follow the New Testament or the commands of Christ. They act nothing like a church should and do not demonstrate the characteristics of a true church. They should do everyone a favor and change their name to reflect reality. They appear to me as nothing more than a hate group with a extreme agenda. God will set things right on judgment day, and I would not want to be in their shoes.

So why do they call themselves a Baptist church? Well, of course I cannot know for sure, but I suspect that it is because the Devil would love for the public to think all Baptist churches act like Westboro. In reality, nothing could be farther from truth. So when you hear about the group at Westboro that spews hatred across the land, recognize them for what they are–not what they call themselves. And please don’t mistake them for a Baptist church no matter what the sign may say.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10 Tidbits of Advice Related to Raising Pastor's Kids by Tiffany Cooper

10 tidbits of advice gathered over the years related to raising kids in the ministry (By Tiffany Cooper) via Leading and Loving It.

1. Allow your children to do things other kids aren’t allowed to do, it’s a perk as a PK. Examples: Let them run around the church, play with the toys or play the drums when no one else is there. Let them enjoy special privileges.
2. Accentuate the positives of ministry; the positive should overshadow the negative. Guard your attitudes and words.
3. Celebrate events and holidays on days when we are “ministering/working”. Don’t forgo the fun!
4. Don’t force your kids to do something just because people expect it... You know your kids, they don’t.
5. Be Authentic. Your kids will know if you’re one person at church and one person at home. Whenever I have the chance, I quiz PK women. One question is, “Why do you love God and live for God today?” Over and over again they say it’s because their parents were the same person at home and church, they were the real deal.
6. Offer your kids the same grace you offer to others (Kay Warren).
7. Your kids need to know that they are the priority before the ministry. Be diligent to tell them often and show it always. Ministry is our high calling but our family is our highest calling.
8. Use ministry as a teaching tool. Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, brings home appropriate ministry topics to discuss with his children. He uses these topics to teach his children about ministry and life.
9. Family Time. Craig Groeschel, pastor of, blogged, I rarely work evenings. The evenings are family time. I also try not to compromise my day off with church needs. My husband and I also protect our evenings and day off. Of course, there are occasional meetings or events that need to be scheduled.
10. Have Fun! Find ways to add fun in your family. Many times it’s the small things throughout the day that make a huge impact.

Your Turn: Do you have a tip or advice to pass on to the rest of us?