Monday, October 30, 2006

Whatcha think any truth to this Hyperbole?

In a small church, the "pastor" is slave to the people and their opinions of how things should be done, does most of the chores and jobs around the church and is on call at any time day or night for the people.

In a large church, the "pastor" is king of the people, and comes out once a week on Sunday to give a mesmerizing speech which woos the people and then he disappears for another week.

Is it true? How do you change it? Tell me what you think!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jesus The Missing Years

…At 14, during one of his meditations, Jesus is talking with his father in heaven about the new earth, where only joy and peace would reign. In the background the galactic hand is reaching out for love and truth… -Akiane+JeShUa-ThE… mIsSiNg… YeArS…
With an oak maskthe conscience hears the acorns fall,and all the hues of the rose break down.Do you exist in the inanimate world,if every raindrop shows no color,not even white or clear?
You are the breathing survivor of spiritual perfection in the sevenfold universe,where the center of the wonder orbis shaken,and I frame myself live, sculpting out of myselfthe spiritual fabric to dress up all of you.
At first the universe progress feels like as statue of melancholic fog,and only your breath can know, how sore my throat is,as it spits out a heart bubble,where my clear eyes and woolen hair are seen.
Retiming your resurrected gaze,I pass the future earth to you,so you could write my name on itand pass it on to everyonearound this slippery world.
When clouds turn into puddlesfor the children to walk on,this is your chanceto help the innocent…Now you comprehend,why the unstable sandalsare also on your hands…

Akiane 11 year old

Our Very Own Randy Bohlender

"I often say that I'm an introvert operating in the office of an extrovert. We're all wired differently, but this introversion makes it hard to talk to strangers, and talking to strangers is a large part of serving people."Randy Bohlender
Great article written by Randy Bohlender on how to talk to people. Click on the Title link to read the entire article. I now know why he is bald...looks like Ronald's stylist was coloring his hair at one time. Bald is Beautiful!

The Pathetic Segmented Life: Why People Stay Away From Church By The Droves

One of Mahatma Gandhi’s more famous quotes was supposedly spoken to a group of British journalists as they rode on a train through English-held India. He was asked, “Why is it that you speak so highly of Jesus yet you are not a Christian?” He quickly responded, “I would become a Christian… if I could just find one…” Since reading those words a couple of decades ago, I have been haunted by the cutting truth behind the observant eye of this Hindu world changer... If you stop to think about it, it’s a pretty audacious thing to call oneself a “Christian” in light of the literal meaning of the term... I wonder if I have ever met a bona fide Christian in all of my thirty-plus years of seeking to follow Jesus. To say that this is disappointing doesn’t begin to capture my feelings about this generation of the Church. -Steve Sjoren

Are we the kind of Christians that the Apostle Paul would have raised up? Are we building churches that Jesus and the first century Apostles would have any part of? Are we collecting members and "converts" and missing the mark when it comes to raising disciples? Of course any of us can throw stones at the church. The question is what am I doing to become a "real christian" worthy of the calling and bringing honor, glory, and fame to HIS NAME!

Money Money Money

Need help raising start up funds for a new church plant? Here is a great article and book on the related subject. I promised not to post lengthy articles. So if you want money for a church plant or new someone who does send them to our blog.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Posting Comments...Should Be Fun1

The idea behind blogging is that of a dialogue and not a monologue. Some are new at read a post, think about it, and if it really sparks something in you, POST A COMMENT. This is where blogging comes alive. People you don't even know may be inspired or challenged. Share your thoughts. Did something help you? Stir something within you? Inspire you? Anger you?

How do you post a comment? Click on the comment button below each entry. Decide if you have the courage to identify yourself or remain anonymous. That is your decision I'll post either way. Write your thoughts and post the comment. It is as easy as email.

I will even post opinions that are contrary to my own. I will however not tolerate any abusive language and reserve the right to edit anything prior to posting. If you blogg mention your site.

So What Are Your Hobbies?

Seems like people ask me this question a lot.

When we ask a question like this, we are seeking to find some common ground. Its not an inheirtently bad question unless the answer reveals you have nothing in common.

Ususally we mean things like sporting activities, artistic abilities, golfing, fishing, hunting, back packing, gardening, working on cars, tinkering around the house. Auto racing, video gaming, etc. My friends spend money, big money, on bikes, boats, and other gear. It ain't bad but if I have (even before life as a prayer missionary) discretionary funds I want to spend it on my wife and kids.

When it comes to the above mentioned activities I like fishing (only when I catch something haven't gone in two years), hiking, and the only thing that resembles a sporting activity that I enjoy is throwing a ball with my kids! A more recent dventure kayaking was a lot of fun. Blogging would be my newest hobbie. I like it because it keeps me connected with people and allows me to "build" something during this season of my life where I am a full time prayer missionary.

Pressed to think about it, my hobbies would be blogging, reading books about God and business. Occassionally fixing a really good meal. Haven't read much business lately. Hanging out with my family and watching a great movie. We just saw Cassablanca...I need a suit and a cool hat! The only time I like a home improvment project is when they are done. BTW, just learned how to replace the lock on a sliding door.

So how do you answer the question..."What are your hobbies?"

Great Read

Bruchko and the Motilone Miracle by Bruce Olson
A remarkable tale of adventure, tragedy, faith, and love, Bruchko and the Motilone Miracle is the powerful sequel to Bruce Olson’s best-selling missionary classic Bruchko. Bruchko and the Motilone Miracle shows how, despite incredible dangers and obstacles, one humble man and a tribe of primitive, violent Indians have been transformed forever by the sovereign will of God.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Prayer Room Meditations Ephesians 1: 9-10

Eph 1:9-10 NASU
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

What happened at the great divorce (fall of mankind)?
A stark awareness that I have been so familiar with the story of Genesis that I have yet to ever mine the depths of Genesis. There was enough revealed of God’s mysterious will in Genesis that Abraham “saw the day of Jesus.”

The Great and Terrible Divorce is far worse than I imagined. I have never known the “grief” of this divorce. As I meditated this week, the heart of God aching from the divorce; became so real. Even divorce is so common it is not offensive to my senses the way this was to God. The image of adultery and the pain to the human heart it causes is really the closest thing. Did Adam begin to more fully understand when his own son murdered his own son? Oh, the sting of physically death is a way for us to share in God’s sufferings.

Christ was obedient unto death; even the cross. Yet the pain and the horror of the Cross, was not nearly as bad as the pain of the Father in the Garden. I meditated upon the images of Jesus beaten, nailed, hung, and pierced on a cross. This pain and horror was less than what He felt in the Garden. When Jesus said, My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me? Did the Father feel those words regarding Adam in the Garden? Did Adam feel and express those words over his own foolish sin? The divorce was far more terrible than we realize.

His desire to see the son (Adam) he had once known restored in fullness, is far greater than I realized. The rabbis tell the story that Adam went into a deep severe depression; even to the point of mostly hiding in a dark cave. He was overwhelmed by regret, sorrow, anguish, agony, and broken heartedness at the loss of relationship with the Father. None of his children or grand children dared to even approach him. One day Enoch who was hungry to know God; dared to approach Grandpa Adam. For some reason Adam poured out his soul to Enoch regarding the depths of intimacy and the greatness of his loss. Enoch’s heart leapt as he heard the passion in Grandfather’s voice. He thought for a moment that He could almost sense the presence, smell the fragrance of the Lord. This time with the crabby old man had forever changed his life. He devoted himself to knowing God as much as possible. He spent time waiting upon the Lord. Now the Lord was watching and listening…oh how He too missed the fellowship with His creation. His heart leapt when a man called out to Him. His heart flooded with emotion and that is why the rabbis believed God took Enoch up to heaven without his flesh ever tasting death.

1. What was the fellowship they had in the Garden like? 2. Was everything together in HIM before the fall? 3. Is my fellowship with the Father anything like Enoch’s? 4. Can I have greater intimacy with God than Adam because of the indwelling Holy Spirit? 5. What does it look like to be in HIM?

Some of the IN HIM’s

John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John 6:56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

His longing for this type of fellowship is so great and yet He is so patient for it to come to fullness. He is not satisfied with a little fruit. He wants a massive, abundant, harvest. What seems like an eternity to my heart; a lifetime to my body of clay and dust; is simply a loving gardener wait for the fullness of the harvest. Similar to the patience of a Father and Mother waiting for the fullness of the pregnancy so the child is healthy and strong enough to survive. He knows the process is good and necessary; I don’t see the full value, but He knows full, mature, sustainable love is the result. Last week I realized there was still deep offense at God for the whole time frame. The holocaust, the martyred saints, the horrible human suffering; all of these things made me frustrated. But the reality is all of mankind is doom for death. God is waiting patiently to save as many as will say yes. Just as it was his mercy to shorten mankind’s life span; so is it His mercy to wait for that period in time when the greatest number of hearts can say Yes to His offer of marriage. He is developing hearts in us with a love that will survive the tribulation period; and blossom into a love that responds more fully to Him. God wants to see our love come to maturity. It is immature love that quickly questioned the goodness of God.

Church Growth Strategy

Not Sure Where Pet Blessing Is Found In The Bible
But It Makes Sense, Because Americans Now Spend
Enough On Our Pets To End World Hunger!

Monday, October 16, 2006

(Preview version) Are you real?

Things to meditate upon!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Consumed by the Culture

The article listed below is really long and violates all of the "blogging rules" too long. But it will cause you to contemplate. I am not making a judgment or running out to heat my house with wood...but I am thinking, contemplating on what all of this means. So I say to the brave read it, and shoot us some of your comments. This is definitely a READ, THINK, PRAY, LIVE kind of thing. We will post something a bit funnier tomorrow.

Consumed by the CultureProtestantism helped create our materialistic society. Can this same faith now save us from ourselves?by Rob Moll, highlighting articles from Christianity Today Library

In another month, post offices around the country will be open till midnight as last-minute tax filers rush to send their returns to the IRS prior to the April 15 deadline. But many others will have already received and spent their refund through accounting offices that will prepare your filing and advance your refund. Of course, they take a hefty chunk out of that refund, but for many it's a great way to get a hold of some extra money. They're willing to spend money for quicker access to their own money. It's a symptom of our overly consumeristic culture: We need more, we need it cooler, faster, bigger, louder, and we need it now.

Pastor Mark Buchanan calls it the "Cult of the Next Thing." Its gospel is, "Crave and spend, for the Kingdom of Stuff is here." He says, "If ever there was a cult that gave us stones when we asked for bread, this is it."

The average American views 3,500 advertisements per day. No wonder this cult is so enticing, so attractive. Imagine how attractive God would be if we read 3,500 verses per day. Bombarded not only by the blatant methods of advertising, we're also coerced by the pressures of our friends, coworkers, and neighbors to remain on the lookout for the next satisfaction. "For Christians, this is a problem," Buchanan says.

The problem is ethical, spiritual, theological. And, of course, practical. The one time Jesus got violent was when the temple had been made into a marketplace. Jesus brooked a lot of things with uncanny calmness—demoniacs yelling at him, religious leaders plotting against him, thick-headed, slow-hearted disciples bossing him. But moneychangers and holy-trinket sellers put a wildness in him. And lest we miss the object lesson, Jesus puts his opposition to the Cult of the Next Thing in plain speech: 'No one can serve two masters. … Don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing.'We've Created a Monster.

In "Why the Devil Takes VISA," Rodney Clapp shows how Protestant culture unwittingly helped to create our consumer culture. Capitalism is not natural to human nature, he says. Most people simply want to maintain the style of life they're accustomed to. It took a lot of work to reshape our ethic of maintaining into one of gaining.
First, Clapp says, Protestants introducing the idea of a "calling"—the idea that one's livelihood is not just an income generator, but also a means to glorify God. "And evidence or assurance of their salvation flowed from the success of their calling." But it is a theology of work, not of gain, and it encourages a strict, sober lifestyle. "But there were ironic consequences. As John Wesley famously worried, the Protestant Ethic must 'necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all of its branches.'"

As the line between production and consumption blurred, consumption required a theological justification. Revivalism led to an individualistic and subjective brand of Christianity. Such revivals were the perfect place for those hawking medicines. Advertising grew out of the patent medicine trade, and medicine ads grew out of the testimonials of revival meetings. Christians, knowledgeable in attracting hearers to gospel meetings, used their promoting skills for Coca-Cola, department stores, and other 19th-century inventions.

Revivalism, according to Clapp, "brought Christianity lock, stock, barrel, and Bible into the marketplace and redefined faith in terms of the marketplace. It refined close observation and exquisite stimulation of feelings." As the Industrial Revolution produced more goods than could be consumed, advertising was used to stimulate excessive consumption. Soon, products, seen in advertisements, sought to fulfill consumers' every desire. Advertising material products sought to satisfy the eternal needs of the soul.What to Do?

"Since consumer capitalism … so effectively promotes its version of the good life, and since consumers are made rather than born, a Christian response demands a consideration of character," Clapp says.

One response, not limited to modern America, is simple living, and one of its promoters is Arthur Simon, founder of Bread for the World. Simon's book How Much Is Enough? exposes our self-defeating desire for more. In his review of the book, John Schneider writes, "How pathetic and sad it is to think that we could be so very affluent and still not be content." Simon says that the amount Americans spend to feed their pets is enough to feed the hungry in the rest of the world. It is a shame that Americans still pursue more things, while so many go hungry. (It is an argument also made more than 20 years ago by Ron Sider.)

On a personal level, Simon says we must practice simple living. Live on less; stop the pursuit for things that rust and moths and thieves destroy. But Schneider says Simon's—and other's—call for simple living as normative for Christians is wrong. "If the consumption of luxuries is morally evil, what is the consequence for our Christian teaching on vocation in business and the professions? Nearly all occupations in modern capitalism are immersed in the business of creating markets for, manufacturing, wholesaling, advertising, competing, retailing, and/or investing in the habitual consumption of non-necessities."

If consuming too much is wrong, is it also wrong to work in an advertising department that encourages others to consume? Is it wrong to manage a factory of luxury cars for others to spend outrageous amounts of money on, while others starve? This critique shows us that Protestant theology is indeed tied to consumerism, for if it is wrong to consume certain things or too much of necessities, it is wrong to encourage others to do so. And that would mean not all occupations can be a calling in the Reformation sense. It also shows that by questioning one aspect of consumer society, we must reassess our relationship to the rest of it.

Still, many have found ways to live mainstream lives while resisting the pressures of consumerism. Sider, whose Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger has sold more than a quarter million copies and whose latest, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience (excerpted here), is unsettling readers today, has no problem teaching, writing, working for social justice, and living in a middle-class area of Philadelphia. In a 1992 profile of Sider, Tim Stafford writes, "The Siders' décor falls somewhere between graduate student and junior faculty, comfortably worn. They buy most of their clothes in thrift shops, but they have cordless phones and answering machines and a nice TV. … The Siders heat with a wood stove, and the stovepipe snaking through the kitchen and woodpiles in back of the house—Sider scavenges the wood from neighborhood trees and chops it himself, for exercise."

Clapp tracks three other approaches: that of a wealthy banker, a middle-class couple, and the Bruderhofs. Malcolm Street takes time away from his job at a bank to put himself in the position of the vulnerable. Mission trips to Haiti and Liberia, volunteering 30 percent of his time, generous giving, and building assisted-living apartments for the elderly help Street combat the normal effects of his social station. "A kind of vulnerability can help revive sensibilities and empathies dulled by satiating overconsumption. A degree of affluence not only insulates us from a keen awareness of our limits and mortality, but, through indulgence, it can coarsen the senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch so that we require increasingly gross stimuli to experience pleasure."

Lendol and Kathy Knight Calder live in a middle-class suburb. They have a house, a church, and nature. They stay away from television, take frequent walks through the park, and have taught their children to listen to God speaking through the wind, the leaves, and the lap of the lake. They celebrate the church year through fellowship and worship. Another option for people like the Calders is to practice ethical investing, where their stocks and mutual funds do not profit from immoral enterprises.

The Bruderhof Communities have more radically abandoned consumer culture and the culture at large. They have several communities of 300 to 400 people. They hold all things in common, submit to the rules of the community, yet run businesses to provide income for the group. "The Bruderhof exemplifies the importance of a culture that encourages and supports alternative practices to a pervasive and powerful consumerism."

As Arthur Simon says in How Much Is Enough?, it is impossible to say exactly what or how a Christians or families should change their economic habits as opposed to the average consumer's habits. Yet the values inherent in today's consumer culture are not consistent with Christianity. As Clapp says, "People of faith living amid overweening consumerism have a responsibility to resist where they can to cultivate the good life as it is understood in the Christian tradition. So we are impelled both theologically and strategically to devote attention to the peculiarly and explicitly Christian formation of character, to build a Christian way of life or culture."


Tears for death
Tears for those dear
He holds them dear
He keeps them near
When a tear drops,
Drops for those loved dear
When a tear runs down,
Runs for those not here
He catches them
He does not let them burst
Like a diamond
Is their worth
Like a child
He holds them dear
Precious tears
Precious tears
His heart breaks
His heart longs
He longs to comfort
He longs to draw near
He gathers our tears
He draws us near
He gives us peace for our tears
He gives us grace for our tears
He comes to comfort
He comes to draw us near
He gathers us in our arms
He lets us tear
He lays our head on His shoulder
With His hair He gathers our tears
Not one wasted
Not one let disappear
He keeps them near.
He keeps them dear.
Tender is His heart.
Tender is His arms.
He comforts our hearts
He comforts His heart
Then He gives.
Then He dries.
Gives us joy.
Dries our tears.
He replaces pain with Joy.
But He keeps those tears near
He keeps the dear.
But who will keep?
Keep His tears near?
Kevin Samuel

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just Like Jesus

Talmidim...The Hebrew word for disciples was Talmidim.

In Jesus' day, it was common for gifted students to listen to various rabbis and then approach their chosen rabbi and ask, "May I follow you?" In effect, the student was asking, "Do I have what it takes to be like you?" The rabbi would either accept the student as a talmid or would encourage him to pursue a trade.

Jesus broke this pattern when he chose his own talmidim. As he asked his disciples to follow him, they knew without a doubt that their rabbi believed in them. And as they came to see Jesus as the Messiah, they realized that God believed in them too. The disciples understood this when Jesus said, "You didn't choose me, I choose you. Jesus believes YOU have what it takes to be just like Him. Do you get that? Think about this...Jesus invests the time in us because He believes that He can make us like Himself.

Occasionally, a talmid grew disillusioned with his rabbi. Peter reached this point during the night when Jesus was arrested and imprisoned by the Roman guards. No doubt he felt confused and pained to see his rabbi being led to his death. In his frustration, he denied that he had ever known his rabbi.

For any other rabbi, Peter's action would have spelled the end of his position as a talmid. Peter seems to have thought he was finished with being a talmid because the Text tells us he went back to fishing.

But Jesus was a different rabbi. After his resurrection, he reinstated Peter, telling him to "feed my sheep." And by encouraging Peter to take the role of shepherd, a role that Jesus had filled himself, he was telling Peter. "Even though you've stumbled, you can still be like me."

He is not mostly angry and mad; Jesus is mostly glad over us and our weak little "yes!"

Pray For Hemant Mehta...The Friendly Athiest

Just finished reading an article about the friendly atheist. If you click on the title of this entry you'll go to the article. Also visit I have watched these guys for several years now and really think they have some good approaches. After reading the article and visit Hemant Mehta's site I really felt strongly to pray for him. He is got a 70+ year internship to encounter the living God. You may remember that Sasha (my daughter) led our family in prayer for our neighbors who were athiest/agnostic and today they've all had personal encounters with Jesus. Will you join Sasha and I as we pray for this stranger? Of course we all pray for many in our "lifespace", yet there is some reason the Lord is highlighting this man. You've read it, now please pray it. Write his name in your Bibles, on your fridge and like the friends of the paralytic bring him into the presence of Jesus; when he is unable to get there on his own.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How Badly Do We Want To Be Like Jesus

Mark 3:14-15 KJV and he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

What is a disciple? A disciple is not a student. A student wants to know what the teacher knows. They want to get the grade and in order to get the grade they have to know what the teacher knows. That’s not bad it’s just a student and not a disciple. That’s what the philosopher wanted somebody who wanted to know what the philosopher knew. Most Christians spend time at the feet of Jesus wanting to know what he knew. This becomes an intellectual exercise from the start.

A talmid is someone who wants to Be what the Rabbi is. It is a consuming fire for these kids. They want to be like the Rabbi more than anything else in the world so yeah you want to know what he knows. Yes you want to see what he does. In fact in the Bible it says and Jesus chose the twelve in Mark 3:14-15 Not in Order to Teach them, Not in order for them to learn or listen, it says Jesus chose the twelve that they should be with him. Why because to be with Him meant they had the possibility of becoming like HIM.

The talmid kids wanted to be like the rabbi goes into the Men’s Room they all go into the men’s room. Not in the stall but into the room. Why? Because the Rabbi might say a prayer when he is done and if he says a prayer I want to know what you should pray, I want to be like him.

Now to us westerners we are afraid we will lose our identity. No you don’t your not asked to give up your talents, to change your personality…what you are asked to do is in your attitude, your demeanor, your knowledge, and your commitment…you are like the rabbi.

Now let me ask you a honest question…I have no right to ask you this but let me ask it anyway…How badly do you want to be like JESUS? Honestly, and I look at myself in the mirror first, if it is not a consuming fire in your chest and mine…than we are merely students and not disciples of Christ.
by Ray VanderLaan

To Love As Jesus...

Had 32-year-old Charles Roberts known of the outpouring of love and care that would shown by the very people on which he was about to deal a crushing blow of hurt, would he have chosen not to attack?

An impossible question of course, but certainly a word in favor of knowing your neighbors better. The young man who "snapped," taking out his years of self-torture on some the innocent young girls who lived nearby, was described as a quiet "milkman," who apparently had no problem with his Amish neighbors, but just chose them as his victims.

At the funerals for the slain girls, the Amish families reached out to the killer's widow, and her children, even making the decision to help them financially. And on Saturday, dozens of them attended another funeral, this time of the killer himself, buried behind a small Methodist church, just a few miles from the schoolhouse he'd terrorized. Robert's wife, Marie, was very "deeply moved" by the outpouring of love on her behalf.

Bruce Porter, a fire department chaplain, who was at the funeral was also affected by their presence there. "It's the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed," he said.

And there it is, speaking even louder than words, flying in the face of hatred and revenge . . . love. The Bible says there are three things that will abide; faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love, and it is what will never fail. Thank you, to the Amish community, for reminding us
AP, Christian Post

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Are You a Learned Professor or a Student of the Bible

The student sitting next to Albert Einstein turned to him and asked, "What do you do?" Einstein replied, "I am a student of pyhsics. What do you do?" "Oh," the student answered, "I finished studying physics last year."
Always a disciple!

Another one bites the dust!

Yvette is known as the Serpent Slayer around our house. That's right the second snake in less than a year was found hiding in our abode. This time he was already dead. Now one would think that a big strong man such as myself would have no problem handling a little snake. Especially the non-poisionous variety. You would be wrong. I hate snakes it is a completely unrational terror. Now you see you don't see Chris. I can handle spiders, I will stalk bugs, I will trap rodents, and other creatures that don't belong in my house. See a snake and I am gone. My kids, family, and close friends find me entertaining. I've read books, sought counseling, and even prayer....forget therapy they all involve actually being in the same room and ultimately touching a serpant. Don't tell me they are scared of me, harmless, beautiful, or any other snake propaganda. I don't like em!

So imagine when we smell some strange odors eminating from the Garage. It gets worse not better...something is dead. So I do what any wiseman would do...send in my wife. Yep, she discovers it is in fact a snake. Might be dead, but than she thought the last one was dead--his hissing fangs proved otherwise. So she dressed for combat, heavy duty jacket and gloves, turned out to be a bit overkill he was already dead.

Where was I? At the end of our driveway, with my hand on the cell phone ready to call 911 in the event a repetilian resurrection. My superhero bride, scooped the carcas into a bag and off to a hasty burial in the neighboring woods. I hate snakes...for real. Yvette you are my hero.

Do We Really Need This?

You might remember the "Virgin Mary" cheese sandwich that caused quite a stir when it sold on eBay for $28,000. Well, last week I stumbled upon the Holy Toast miracle bread stamper, a plastic stamp that leaves a Virgin Mary impression on toast. I know people create food sculptures all the time, but I think a toast stamping club may be forming somewhere out there.

Adam over at Sci-Fi Tech says the Zuse is the wave of the future. This conceptual toaster printer burns black and white pictures onto pieces of toast. It can mount on any wall, and is automatically activated when you slide in a slice of bread. Unfortunately, it only prints abstract pictures held in its memory, but Adam says he would like to see it do some toast messaging.

Now that companies are using text messages to fire employees, I think on less texting device is a better idea. I sure wouldn't want a picture of Donald Trump doing his cobra hand thingie on my toast.

I love toast, but I'm not sure we need to have images printed on it. What do you think?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

One Night with the King: Theatrical Trailer

This looks like it will be a great one. Get the popcorn!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Leaders Insight: Pastoral Ambition

Pastoral Ambition All this "success" is working against God's purposes, and chipping away at our Kent Carlson, guest columnist

I want to talk about pastoral ambition. I do so with some apprehension.

A few years ago, our church was "successful" enough for me to be invited to a small, elite group of pastors of large churches who were being mentored by one of the more successful and talented pastors in the country. It was a heady few days for me. I got to mix it up with some of the biggest names and up and coming stars in the large church subculture. I felt very important.
At the end of the conference, I rode back to the airport with the pastor who was at the bottom of the food chain in this little group of successful pastors. He was a bundle of insecurity and authentic enough to admit it to me. He was three years into his church plant and he only had 750 people coming to his church. He didn't feel he had the right to play with the big boys yet. Even back then, in the midst of my most ambitious days, I remember thinking that something is very wrong with a church culture that would make someone like this pastor feel insecure.
Something has happened in the past thirty or so years that has shifted our pastoral ethic from one of faithfulness to one of productivity and success. I believe this has stirred the fires of ambition. Given the nature of our American culture, this doesn't surprise me. It also doesn't surprise me that the battle with ambition will be a ferocious one, for the tendency toward self-absorption plagues every one of us. I just wonder why this is not a front burner item that is being addressed with greater passion in the popular Christian media. It would be so refreshing to hear Christian leaders in some panel discussion copping to the fact that they struggle with it and it often drives their ministry. We all know it's there. If only we could start being honest about it.

Pastoral ambition is not new. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians told us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others."

Christian spiritual giants down through the centuries have pounded away aggressively on this theme. For example, that Puritan divine, Richard Baxter, said it this way: "Take heed lest, under the pretense of diligence in your calling, you be drawn to earthly-mindedness, and excessive cares or covetous designs for rising in the world."

I walk into this issue with loads of apprehension. There is no way to talk about pastoral ambition without sounding (and, I suspect, being) judgmental. After all, who am I to know the thoughts and intents of another person's heart? The inner motivations that drive all of us are a tangled web of sincerity and self-absorption, nobility and narcissism. This topic is, therefore, a land of cheap shots, often entered into by those intellectually lazy and simplistic souls who enjoy building straw men of those with whom they disagree and then tear them down.

In addition, I would like to make it clear, that I would rather follow an ambitious pastor than a lazy one. I would rather follow someone who wants to change the world than one who simply wishes to throw stones. And while many pastors who are leading thriving ministries are passionate, sincere, hungry for God, and brimming with integrity, I must raise the question. Is our ambition godly?

For more than twenty years I have attended church conferences. I have observed as we sized each other up to see how quickly we could find out who had the highest attendance, the largest staff, the biggest budget, the most property. The secret that hardly anyone talks about is that most of us want to win the "largest church game." Or at least make a good showing. I am convinced from first hand experience, as well as from paying close attention to the darkness of my own heart, that if all-of-the-sudden thought bubbles appeared over all our heads, we would all fall to the ground in repentance.

I am convinced that personal pastoral ambition, and a pastoral ethic centered around productivity and success is brutal to our souls and destructive to the souls of the people we lead. I believe there is a better way. But it requires us to walk right into the messiness of our own ambitious hearts, ready to die to those ambitions. We must become skilled at detecting the odor of personal ambition, then flee from it as if the church's future depends on it. For I believe it does.

Kent Carlson is co-senior pastor of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Camel Tracks The Entire Word Document.

This site contains the entire word document for the camel tracks information about how to reach Muslims through the Koran with the Gospel. Some requested the entire document and I kept forgeting to post the latest installment. More than anything pray for Muslims.
Who is Wolfgang Simson
Wolfgang Simson (1959) functions as a strategy consultant, researcher, theologian and journalist within various networks and regional and global strategy thing tanks. After working as a social worker and taxidriver in Stuttgart, Germany, he later graduated with an M.Th. from the Free Evangelical Theological Academy (Basel, Switzerland), where he later taught courses on Church Growth and Mission Strategy and became the assistant of the former Dean, Prof. Samuel Külling. Since 1983 Wolfgang was involved in several churches in leadership positions as pastor, teacher and evangelist. After an extensive time of functioning as a Church Consultant he did postgraduate studies in Missions and Cultural Anthropology in Belgium and the USA (Fuller Seminary of World Mission). He did extensive and global research on growing churches, churchplanting movements and revival and mission breakthroughs, focussing on issues of completing the Great Comission by discipling nations through multiplying churches.Wolfgang is at home and involved in a regional transformational strategy called Rheinprojekt, a prototype of a regional reformation. This involves the development of prototypes of biblical, organic, culturally relevant and reproduceable churchplanting and discipling movements and include both the reinvention and transformation of healthy models of ekklesia, business, education, arts and media within a strategic geographic jurisdiction.
He has been working with the DAWN-Movement for over 11 years, been a board member of both the British, European and the German Church Growth Associations, member of the Lausanne Movement in Germany, editor of the The Fridayfax, and author of several books including Houses that change the world. He is of Hungarian, German and Jewish descent, and is married to Mercy (daughter of Eand author
Sadhu Chellappa, India). They have three sons, Jan, Eric and Benjamin, and have moved 1998 from vangelist Madras, South India to live in Germany.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Onething 2006 Conference

See You there!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How Low

How Low Can You Go? Can't believe it's under 2 bucks in KCMO. How much are you paying?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fund The Prayer Movment

Online DVD rental pioneer Netflix Inc. wants recommendations on how to improve its movie recommendation system, and is dangling a $1 million reward as an incentive.

The prize, offered in a contest beginning Monday, is part of Netflix's effort to sharpen its competitive edge as it continues a bitter duel with Blockbuster Inc. and prepares for an anticipated onslaught of services that make it easier to download movies onto computer hard drives.