Friday, November 28, 2008

The Detroit Lions and evaluating tradition

Thanksgiving was a great day for me. Our joint Thanksgiving service (with St. Paul's Missionary Baptist) was great, the food was great, and time with family was great. The only thing that wasn't great was the football. And that has pretty much become standard for Thanksiving Day. Why? Somehow it became tradition to have the Detroit Lions play EVERY Thanksgiving day.

I don't know who started this tradition or why it was ever started in the first place. The Lions players don't like playing on Thanksgiving Day; they'd rather be doing what most others do on Thanksgiving (except the crazies who would put off their Thanksgiving lunches to watch an 0-11 team play-the game was sold out): spending time with friends and family. Both casual and diehard fan alike don't like watching the Lions play on Thanksgiving. So who wins with this set up? No one.

But it's tradition to have the Lions play on Thanksgiving Day. And I'm pretty sure it will ever change. That's the way we've always done it. Looks like its not just the church that has this problem, eh?

Some traditions never die. And some traditions should never die. But some should. After careful evaluation, some definitely should go the way of the Lions (or rather the way I wish the Lions would go...). It's time for another team to start a new tradition. Evaluating traditions, whether within families, churches, neighborhoods, is always a good thing. Whenever you think that a tradition is un-evaluatable, remember the Lions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Would I like who I would become is often the first question

One the seminars I went to at the National Outreach Conference a few weeks ago was entitled something like "Spiritual Formation as Evangelism." I had never heard of the lad before, Todd Hunter, (he kind of looked like Darryl Hammond from SNL from a distance) but was quite impressed by his knowledge, experience, and presentation. He was arguing that we need to examine the main questions non-believers are asking. Traditionally folks have broken them down into two major categories.

1.) Is God real?
2.) What difference would it make if I believed in that God? Would I even like who I would become?

Most often we deal with the first. In the 80's that really worked. Crusades, Lord-Liar-Lunatic arguments, and the like. But now the questions people are asking really are reversed. In other words, people are seeking to know "Does this Jesus make me care more or care less about the world, justice, humanity, love, beauty, truth?" If that is not the case, then they really aren't up for hearing arguments about His existence/character/involvement in world. The presenter's point was not to scrap apologetics (his buddy Lee Stroebel was in the room next door lecturing on Apologetics), but to make sure we reverse the order in which we answer the questions.

If people can see that Christ really does make us less judgmental, more caring, more concerned for mercy, more loving, truly free (question 2) then they will be more open to discussing HOW we got that way (question 1). Christ, the perfect human, molds us into what it means to be more fully human, not less.

As president of Alpha-USA, he interviews a lot of folks involved in outreach. One of his examples was Inter-Varsity. Apparently all the college folks who came to faith and became involved in IV, first came as a result of some sort of mercy/justice/creation care/mission project. You mean you care about the Earth, the poor, justice, love, and you're willing to put TIME into doing something about it? That was their first question. They didn't want to believe in a God who doesn't care about that stuff. Fortunately our God does, and these believers showed them that through their lives.

It shows the need to not only invite folks to attractional (paintball, parties, get-togethers)/apologetic events (outward focused bible studies), but also through things like Habitat for Humanity, Operation Christmas Child/Angel Tree, cleaning the road, book/movie/philosophy discussions, environmental care projects, etc...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That's actually not in the bible....

I usually listen to a radio fishing show with Capt's Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the way to church. Since I live about 5 minutes from the church, I don't get to hear very much. But some times I'm able to gather a few nice morsels of information. This Sunday the hosts discussed some service opportunities at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa. Apparently there has been a shift in ministry focus. Instead of simply giving people stuff, they are now doing more now to equip those in need.

One of the hosts informed me of a bible verse that I was currently unaware of. He spoke of the biblicity of Metropolitan Ministries' vision, reminding the listeners, "It's like that verse in the bible, 'Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a life time."

Two thoughts came to mind.

1.) That verse may come from III Opinions, but it is definitely not in the bible. Nevertheless, it is wise, and is a good application of the commandment to love our neighbor.

2.) It really is important to know what the scriptures say and where they say it. I don't know how many times I've heard, "It's like that verse somewhere that says something like..." Sometimes our summaries of verses are so far off that we're not much different than that fishing guide: assuming that the "verse" in question is actually in the bible. Lately I've been challenged myself to spend more time in the Word so that I don't fall into this trap and so that I don't allow others to either.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I can't imagine being that athletic AND that bright

Finally some good news for FSU football. Not just on the field, but off the field (you don't need to bring up the brawl which is still under investigation-I know about that!). Myron Rolle was awarded the Rhodes scholarship, which affords him two years of study at Oxford. Remember, Rolle is a starting Safety for FSU, and one who has potential to play Sundays in the NFL.

After the game, a reporter asked him what his plans were. Would he go to the NFL or take the scholarship now and spend two years away from football? I'm really not sure if the scholarship is something that can be put on hold or not. Apparently he plans on becoming a doctor and opening up a clinic to help the poor after playing pro-football. So that may have an affect on this more immediate decision. What would you do in his situation?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

U-Haul Theology

Here's an article from Jim Hatch, the dude in charge of church planting for the PCA. It is called "U-Haul Theology." In light of the transient state of young adults and younger families (well, really all generations since we have a large number of "snow birds" here in Florida), I found this a well thought out theology of both moving and staying. And since we just lost yet another family to a move, and will probably lose one or two more in several months, I found this an apropos time to post this article. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read "U-Haul Theology," which is both comforting and challenging to those moving or staying put.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Leadership developed

Jim Rome had an interesting interview with Detroit Piston's head coach Michael Curry the other day. Rome posed the question to Curry, "Do you think that leaders are born or do you think that they are made?"

While Curry believed that there is something to leadership that comes from our personalities, he really believed that good leaders are more often "made" then simply "born." He spoke of reading John Maxwell books in graduate school, and the importance of developing the skills of leadership. It is a craft.

At a church planting conference a few years ago I heard the same thing from a church planter. Leadership is not simply something that just happens. He challenged us to read more books, and put ourselves in the paths of leaders-that we would learn from them. I think many pastors are realizing that there is much wisdom to delving into this issue of how to be better leaders of people. Probably because it does not come naturally.

In the past year or so, I've read a few books on leadership, by both Christian and unbelieving authors. Here are some I've found helpful: Leading with a Limp by Dan Alender, Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni and Good to Great by James Collins. I actually thought the latter (written by unbelievers) in some cases, were just as, or more biblical and practical. Wherever we are, I think developing greater leadership skill is crucial.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Believers praying like un-believers

I've been slowly working my way through John Piper's When I Don't Desire God, How to fight for Joy with another young adult in my church. We've both really been blessed and challenged by the book. Here is an excerpt from a section we just read.

Most people, before their prayers are soaked in Scripture, simply bring their natural desires to God. In other words, they pray the way an unbeliever would pray who is convinced that God might give him what he wants: health, a better job, safe journeys, a prosperous portfolio, successful children, plenty of food, a happy marriage, a car that works, a comfortable retirement, etc...None of these is evil. They're just natural. You don't have to be born again to want any of these. Desiring them-even from God-is no evidence of saving faith. So if these are all you pray for, there is a deep problem. Your desires have not yet been changed to put the glory of Christ at the center.

Wow. Pretty convicting. How often do prayer requests go like this, "I ask for traveling mercies, a job, a spouse, kids doing well in school, etc...?" Again these things aren't bad to ask for when they trouble us. But when we pray alone, or with our spouses and friends, are our prayers much different?

I heard in a Sunday school class (not at my present church) something to the effect of, "Just ask, and talk, like a child to your daddy." I wasn't there for the whole series so I may have missed the part of prayer which involves Praise, Kingdom vision, Thanksgiving, Confession (you know, the way Jesus taught us to pray). But if you tell my heart simply to ask for things, and not ask for God to receive glory from those things, guess which route I'm going to take?

Again, asking for a job, a car, for your house to sell isn't bad. But we need to be asking these things motivated by Christ to receive glory and His Kingdom going forward. For instance, I would pray for a job that I may honor Christ in my workplace and have money to not only support myself but to support the church and its mission. Wordy yes, but our prayer requests are often quite shallow, and I would imagine, so are our prayers. So with that realization, we ought to think more clearly on how such petitions fit in with His Kingdom and His Glory covering the Earth. When we do that, we'll be more likely to trust God with the specific details of how He answers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A vote to think about

Sometimes we have impulsive ideas that we would really love to act on. However, sometimes our own shame, simple concern for "laws of decency," fear of losing a job or social black-listing, keeps us from acting on them. Sometimes. Of course there are some times when all of the aforementioned don't stop us.

A friend directed me to this article in the Bradenton Herald. Apparently a kid who was in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (0n the spectrum of Autism) had been disrupting the class for a while. Amy has certainly experienced that a time or two. But basically there's not a whole lot you can do except write a bunch of referrals (although Principals really aren't big fans of that either). The other kids just have to suffer through the tantrums.

Or she could have done what this Port St. Lucie teacher did. She put the kid in front of the class, and had the class vote on whether or not he should be allowed to continue in their class. He lost 14-2. He must have received some sympathy votes.

In all honesty, he needed to be somewhere else. And he is now. But voting him "off the island?" Certainly something I would have thought about, but I might have "run that by" someone before I acted on it! How important is it to have people in our lives who can say, "Voting that really disruptive kid out of the class might not be the wisest direction for you to take." I'm not judging this teacher. I'd probably have done worse.

For Amy last year, her hands were tied even after a plethora of tests and papers were filed. Of course now he IS in a special class. Just a year too late, but better late than never. Some teacher owes Amy big time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ties, football, and mission

On Sunday afternoon, after the Buc's game finished early, FOX switched to some bonus coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengal's game. That coverage was short lived because the game soon went into Overtime and some sort of broadcasting rules don't allow "bonus coverage" to continue past 4:15 pm.

In overtime, the game see-sawed back and forth, and then time ran out. It was a tie. One of the things that I hate about hockey and soccer CAN, on occasion, happen in the NFL (not NCAA football though). Well Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, in a true expression of honesty, actually admitted he didn't know that the game could end in a tie. I guess he thought there would be just another OT quarter.

How this dude didn't know that is beyond me. This tie is the 3rd tie in the past 11 years. I can-I don't know what this says about me, maybe I shouldn't 'open my mouth' like McNabb and admit this-tell you the other teams which share this dubious distinction (Giants/Cowboys; Steelers/Falcons).

How can someone not know the simple rules of OT, especially since McNabb has been in 8 OT games in his career? The meaningless debate (all sports debate really is meaningless, but still fun) is whether or not his knowledge, or lack thereof, affected his play. Could have made him less aggressive, thinking that he could always play for the next quarter?

I'd have to look at his record in OT games to draw any conclusions, and I've already probably spent more time thinking about this then necessary, so I'll not look that up. But in our Christian walks, it DOES matter that we know the "OT" rules.

We are and have been in what the bible calls the "last days" since Jesus' resurrection. There is a set amount of time left. Could be a lot, could be a little. But what we do know is that there will be no ties. The forces of Satan and God are not equal. There will be no ties, as Jesus will move His church forward, and bring about His Kingdom in fullness one day.

Knowing that there are no ties in OT does make a difference in life. It should move us as individuals forward in mission. Unlike Hockey, Soccer, and yes, sadly the NFL, we needn't worry about "ties.' Fortunately. Present frustration, sure. But ultimately no "ties!"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Donna the Dragon Slayer

I understand that not everyone has great neighbors. I get that. Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" has a lovely and appropriate line, "Good fences make good neighbors." For some folks, I understand the sentiment. My friend has neighbor who makes great sacrifices. Not figuratively speaking, but literally speaking. They sacrifice animals. Seriously. It's legal as long as you eat them afterwards. Crazy.

But we have neighbors who sacrifice themselves. Not literally, but they sacrifice time and comfort. Let me give you a "for example." On Saturday, just after catching my last redfish, I received a frantic call from Amy. It was a snake.

A little snake managed to get in between the screen and the office window. Not good. I was on the water, at least an hour away, so our only option was to call our neighbor Donna the Dragon Slayer. She is not scared of snakes. They are scared of her.

So Donna came over, in the rain, and killed that baby snake. We think it was a baby rattler, but Donna practically pureed it with the shovel. I really couldn't find any pieces.

So how about that for a neighbor, eh? Sure, I'll come over in the rain and kill the snake for you. For some, fences make good neighbors. For us, good neighbors are just good neighbors.
I give Donna high praise and put her up for "neighbor of the year." However, she's one of several great ones we have here in Groveland. I just got invited by another neighbor today to a beer-n-bonfire. Tough to beat.

I doubt that it's only Groveland that has such great neighbors. I would encourage you to get outside, take a walk, spend a little time in your front yard, and you might just find another Donna the Dragon Slayer living down the street from you. Maybe you can even "one-up" me with a better "neighbor brag." I doubt that, but its worth a try.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Panera Prophetess and a Slam

Well if the big change predicted by the Panera Prophetess was that I would break out of my fishing slump, then she was right on. Today I caught what folks call a "Slam:" snook (1), redfish (2), and trout (4). Not a bad day on the water. Always nice to get the monkey off one's back and regain some "swagger" out there on the water.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Panera and God's leading

Today after my men's group at Panera I had a "run-in" with an interesting and bold young Christian girl. As I was getting ready to leave, she came up to me and said, "I don't know you at all, but God wants you to know that you've been seeking something big, and to not give up. It's just around the corner."

I didn't know what to say, but I did want to commend this young girl on her boldness to come up to a complete stranger. So I thanked her for the message. And I do admire her boldness. I really do.

In our session meeting the other day, we looked at a passage in Acts 8. The Spirit clearly tells Phillip of an evangelistic opportunity, and to "Go that chariot and stand near it (Acts 8:29-NIV)." He meets an Ethiopian who is reading and trying to comprehend a passage in Isaiah 53. We all discussed the need to be open to the Spirit's leading in the role of evangelism, whatever that might look like.

A few questions, at least a few, popped into my head. Did God really tell her to say that? I can't prove that He didn't. Nor will I try. Maybe he did lead her to tell me that? If I had to bet, I would bet NO. I really have no idea of what the "huge breakthrough" or "change" might be. Perhaps I will break out of my fishing slump tomorrow, or soon? That would be nice.

Would I be so bold as to go up to a random stranger and tell them that? Well not specifically that message, but the message of the gospel? Not random strangers, but people I know or who I meet? I commend her on on her boldness. Maybe if I catch a ton of snook and reds tomorrow, and break out of my "fishing slump," I'll come back and thank her one day. If that breakthrough or another comes my way, I'll be sure to let you know.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not learned behaviors

Selfishness is not a learned behavior. We are born selfish. No one needs to teach a young child anything about "private property." What's theirs is theirs and what's yours is theirs; things simply become "private property" by touch. I guess you could argue that it's "genetic," going all the way back to Adam.

I didn't have to teach Connar anything about sticking his foot in his mouth. So I guess you could say that sticking one's foot in mouth is not a learned behavior either. Although he'll certainly have plenty of time to develop this "skill" by watching and learning from one of the best: his Daddy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good to Great

I just finished reading Jim Collin's book Good to Great. I found it a good, or rather great, read on leadership, vision, and managing people. Collins and his research crew spent a serious amount of time interviewing and examining companies which seemed to fit a specific mold. For instance, the most successful companies had what he called "Level 5" leaders (bold, humble, people who put company before ego), followed a Hedgehog concept (what can we best at, what can we have a passion for, setting a common economic denominator), and always dealt honestly with real challenges. Much of the principles could be used at any management level and have proved helpful for pastors or those leading non-profit organizations.

One of my favorite lines from Eddie Murphy's Coming to America is, "Yeah, he (a male singer just referred to as "good") is good and terrible!" The funny thing is (though I guess that's not really the best word for it) that two of these Good to Great companies have now become Good and Terrible. Fannie Mae ran into a "bit" of trouble the other day, and just recently Circuit City filed for bankruptcy. The economy could have played a part, but it seems that they may have deviated from their Hedgehog concept by treating their employees poorly (according to some). Well I hope Walgreens isn't next or else that will be 3 out of about 9 on the list!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A commitment found in Kentucky

I was watching a little of the Georgia-Kentucky football game on Saturday while baby-sitting Connar. In the stands was a 90 year-old who had been to over 400 straight University of Kentucky home football games. He would have had more but a little something called WWII happened and he went to fly bombers over Burma.

And I thought to myself, this is Kentucky football. This isn't USC, UF, FSU, OSU. This is Kentucky football. I can't imagine that kind of commitment. Especially to a team that will very often let you down.

What a good model for Christians. Commitment to a local church where you may get disappointed a time or two. But he was committed nonetheless, and it sure looked like he was having a heck of a time in the stands (even though they did eventually lose at the end). I think we too can find joy in our commitment. Our problem is that we tend to skip the commitment part, though, and simply search for joy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

When in Rome?

At the conference this past week, I had a chance to meet Michael Francese, a former mob boss who came to Christ. I first heard of him through an interview on the Jim Rome show, my favorite sports talk show. Michael and I shot the breeze about how we were both Jim Rome fans, and he told me how Jim is always calling him, and how he would be back on the show in March to promote his new book. So yes, God is using even Jim Rome to help build His Kingdom. Apparently he did the same with Josh Hamilton and his new book.

Anyhow, not everyone is a fan of Jim Rome. I was talking with some folks in my community group about Rome the other day. They were definitely not fans, and they brought up the most common complaint leveled against him. Much of Rome's show comprises inside jokes he and his fans (called "clones") will mention when they email or call the show. If one is not aware of these terms or jokes, he (and sometimes she-there are female listeners), will simply listen to something else. Yet Rome tells people to "give my show a chance" and to commit to listen for a time, and then make an informed decision.

The thing about Rome is that he is very popular, and on in a ton of different markets from California to Florida to all over Canada. So he will not change his approach to inside jokes or jargon. He can get away with it.

The church, however, really cannot afford to use inside jokes and jargon. Inside or outside the proverbial walls. There is just too much at stake. Even if we could, it would not be very loving. We might find it interesting/challenging to reflect on our conversations for a while to see if they really exclude rather than include and bring people into the next level of deeper fellowship. It is at this next level, that they may be open to hearing jokes and understanding jargon. But we cannot operate by Rome's methods and use such jokes and jargon on the front end and expect to build deeper relationships within and outside the church.

The hardest part for me is that "inside joking" is so stinkin' fun. It really is. And I think it does have a place in certain company, when everyone is on the "inside." But I do need to be reminded where haphazard use of it has alienated people from specific relationships and even entire ministries.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Even the losers.....

I'm now on my way back to Tampa, sitting in Phoenix for a brief layover. Everyone is talking on their cell phones, including one dude who's currently making a business proposition, over the phone line, primarily with hand gestures. Crazy. I wonder if cell phone guy realizes how ridiculous he looks. Anyhow, I just have a few minutes, and a few thoughts. Last night the conference included some comedians, some more funny than others.

The last one was from Canada. And of course he mentioned something about his wife getting an ultra-sound; and he mentioned it was free. People kind of ooed and aaahhhed for a second, and he then quickly retorted, "Well you might be getting free health care soon."

I laughed like crazy, but man, there was a strange weirdness which permeated the room that could only be cut by the sharpest of ginsu knives. It took about 5 minutes for the audience to come back around. But from that point on, I was probably the loudest laugher (no surprise) among the 1000 or so in attendance. Now it may have had something to do with his fat pregnant wife jokes. Always a sore subject.....Yet several times he said, "I definitely won't mention anything else about free health care, anymore." But it was too late. He politically, or comedically-or both-distanced himself from much, but certainly not all, of his audience.

Maybe it was too early for that joke, maybe not. It wasn't too early for me, and I didn't vote for Obama. I'm fine. But after the election, I received untrue emails and actually got one facebook message questioning Obama's citizenship. The latter was an attempt to form some sort of petition to release some sort of birth records. I honestly doubt he would run if he weren't born here. People have a way of finding out stuff about you when you run for office.

I didn't see McCain's concession speech (I had to fly out early the next morning), but I heard it was quite classy. Even Katie Curic thought so. Hopefully his supporters will eventually follow suit, and be thankful they live in a democracy. As Tom Petty sang, "Even the losers...." or at least the "losers" who believe God works all things out according to the counsel of His will, can lose with grace. Every now and then I like to go "Westminster." Sadly many believe that God's will can be trumped by ours. By God's grace I'm not one of them, so you shan't be getting facebook messages from me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Learning from those who are different, but better

I'm in lovely San Diego right now. It really is lovely here by the way (you were right Adri). I'm attending the National Outreach Convention put on by Outreach Media Group. Unfortunately, one of the few presenters I'd really heard of and desired to see, Ed Stetzer, is speaking after my mother and I are leaving. Oh well.

I definitely feel the diversity of the body of Christ. I'm surely the only PCA person here (although I can't prove that), or at least that's what it seems to me. Lots of Baptists, Independents, Methodists, some Lutherans, but lots of other folks as well. There are a bajillion little exhibits, tons of books, publishers (I always dream of being published one day so I "networked" during breakfast with fellow exhibitors-though I'm really not one.....) and some great speakers here that have been quite challenging.

So why did I leave behind my wife and little baby for this trip? And it wasn't easy by the way. Other than the fact that my conference fee was completely funded by the ministry Somebody Cares to be an exhibitor (that feels a bit weird but as long as I'm not behind the table no one reads my name tag and asks me questions!) and my mother's purchasing the plane ticket, why would I come here and listen to folks who definitely have different theological leanings?

Because they have a greater passion for outreach than I do, along with greater applications for actually bringing people to faith and discipling them. That much is shamefully clear.
Someone already established at Hope-it's easier to criticize and actually be constructive when you are part of that which you're criticizing-gave some thoughts on my denomination the PCA. He matter-of-factly said, "It seems like the PCA is a Grad School for Christians. They come to a PCA church not because they've been converted to Christianity through a PCA church, but because they've been a Christian a while, are interested in theology, and read R.C. Sproul."

I laughed my head off when I heard it. Sad, but funny. Sad, but very true to life. Now I don't want to leave my denomination because I think I do think its the "best show in town." But it's not the only show in town. And it needs to grow in this area, among others. I will gladly learn from these others who may not agree with me on the non-essentials of the faith, but currently know way more and do way more in this area. They have much to instruct us on evangelism. More thoughts on that later. I hate (or rather don't) read long blog posts (hopefully I haven't lost you by now), and I assume you may be like me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The DVR, the Bucs, and the comfort of knowing the end

On Sunday I "missed" the Bucs incredible comeback: their biggest in history. Well I say "missed" because I didn't watch it live. For 7 dollars a month, the DVR feature has become an NFL lovin' Pastor's dream come true (you know with Sunday being a work day and all).

But even with the game being recorded, I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it. I really didn't. If they lose, I sometimes watch the games REALLY fast (skipping plays). Yet if I know they are going to win, I savor them a bit more and simply skip the huddles.

On Sunday they were playing as poorly as was humanly possible, so I didn't have great expectations. I couldn't watch this game-when I got home from youth group-without knowing the end first. So I timidly checked ESPN.Com and found out they won in Over Time. It was the same case with the movie The Sixth Sense; I had to know the ending was "good" before I would suffer through the scary parts (except this time I didn't need to keep the lights on).

When I got home I simply savored the game, despite the fact they continued to turn the ball over 2 more times in the red zone. I wasn't worried when they made stupid penalties. I wasn't worried when there was 25 seconds left and they were 25 yards away. Even though they rarely ever come back, I wasn't scared. I knew the ending. I knew they would eventually score a touchdown and get the 2 point conversion.

That's not to say I wasn't excited. That was probably one of the more exciting games I've seen. But because I knew the final score, I had nothing to worry about. Life definitely isn't like the DVR; and we should be glad-if you've seen the movie Click, you know what I mean.

But there is some parallel. It's important to know the end of the story. God doesn't give us all of the details (supposedly the devil is into those). Even how the end comes about is a little fuzzy. However He does give us enough that we don't need to await further revelation. And here's the end. We will one day get a new world, and Satan will be crushed under our feet (Romans 16:20). And in that new world, we will be without sin (Rev 21). And He promises to get us from here to there (II Tim 4:18), even when we, like the Buc's, just about "fumble" away the game. So because we have the end in mind, we can struggle, fight, and still enjoy this life he's given us. We know we will literally come out on top (Romans 16:20).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't waste where you live

On Saturday we had another neighborhood cookout. It was decently well attended and quite a blessing for all involved. One question that we really need to ask ourselves is "Why did God put me in this house/apartment/condo/igloo (if you're an Eskimo)? He has placed us in specific locations that we would bless those around us. We may like where we live; we may not like where we live. However we are not to "waste" where we live, but instead live among and love those whom God has ordained us to live among and love.

A verse that my mother (via her Tea Calendars) has brought to my attention is Acts 17:26-27

"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

A neighborhood cookout is a great place to build relationships which may eventually lead people to "seek him (via YOU) and perhaps reach out for him and find him." In addition, such cookouts bring community to people who are naturally (and now more than ever) isolating themselves from deep relationships. It's been a blast to see relationships begin to form from these simple get-together's.

If you're interested in hosting one, and I think yo ought to at least consider it, I recommend simply sending out an online poll to find a suitable date, and then sending it again to coordinate who's bringing what. It may take a little effort to eventually break through the inertia. But in the end, you''ll find it well worth the effort and prayer.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Connar Pictures

It has been brought to my attention by several folks that I have not had any Connar pictures in a while. So for those of you who like seeing baby pictures, click here for some Fall Festival and Halloween pics.