Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mars Hill Church

How do we build churches on strong biblical convictions, and still appeal to the local un-churched culture?

How about your family?

This is a fun read. Just to get your going, here's a quote:
"Kate Justus recently professed her faith in a public way, getting dunked at sunset by pastors in wet suits as part of a mass baptism organized by Mars Hill Church.
The 22-year-old heard about the Ballard congregation through a friend who initially considered it "a really weird place," before telling her this: "It is actually very cool. They are OK with drinking as long as you don't get drunk, they are OK with dancing, and they really like sex as long as you are married."
Hold her hand

I was chatting with two of my favorite people, an 87-year old man and his wife of 58 years. I asked them for ideas about keeping a marriage going strong.

He reached over with his right hand, and patted her hand tucked into his left hand.

"This," he said. "Hold her hand a lot, whenever you can. It keeps you together, and keeps the man out of trouble."

That's pretty good advice for us, men. Let's work at hand-holding more often. Start today.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Those Young-uns Today!

For the last few years, folks at Beloit College have prepared a "Mindset List" for each incoming class of Freshmen. It's a good reminder, to me at least, of just how differently they perceive the world.

Some highlights:

They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
Pay-Per-View television has always been an option.
Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker have never preached on television.
Pixar has always existed.
They never saw the shuttle Challenger fly.
They never saw Pat Sajak or Arsenio Hall host a late night television show.
Digital cameras have always existed.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fight for Your Families

Great leadership from Nehemiah:

Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." (Nehemiah 4:13-14)

Notice that he posted them by families. And the families were armed against the enemy. (Do our families know how to fight the Enemy that seeks to destroy them?)

Nehemiah quells their fear. "Remember the Lord."
(Do our families have a gut-level understanding that Jesus is on our team?)

Fight for everyone in your family.
(Do we fight more for houses or for homes?)

You are the leader, Mister. Passivity = Cowardice. Ask your wife to pray for your courage and boldness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Guarding our Speech

Pat Robertsen is getting appropriate criticism for his suggestion that the US Government should simply assisinate Hugo Chavez, near-dictator of Venezuela.

I am not supporting Pat Robertsen, except as a brother in Christ. President Chavez is a serious concern in the Western hemisphere, and the US government must not ignore what he is doing in Venezuela, in Columbia, and with Cuba. Robertsen probably gave words to the thoughts that others have had, but in publicly doing so he just gave Chavez a significant weapon of leverage. Chavez will use this as further justification of his military build-up and control. I believe it is not possible for Chavez to generally improve the internal situation in Venezuela, and so he has (like so many dictators before him) built up a false image of an external enemy to consolidate and reinforce his personal power base.

Why am I writing about this issue here? Because we're men, and men need to guard their speech.

Jesus said, "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." (Matthew 12:36)

Let me be more cautious and quote the larger section of Matthew 12:

33"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

So what we say is really a heart issue that needs the grace and discipline of Christ to change.

We will be held accountable, men. Even for careless words.

I often joke with people that I can be a "babbling Brooke." But it's not a joke, it's a serious issue.

Let's help one another to use our speech to build others up, especially within our families. Bold and gentle speech is the way.

Monday, August 22, 2005

This Dad Speaks for Me

I appreciated this tender-hearted dad, writing about the loss of his son in Iraq.
No Nosehairs Scissors on This Flight, No Sir!

From the Federalist:

"America's skies are safer today, aren't they? Even U.S. troops being deployed aboard chartered aircraft must undergo the same security screening as your average passenger. When the National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team deployed from Savannah, Georgia, to Iraq, the unit's commander, Lt. Col. John King, reluctantly instructed his soldiers to surrender pocket knives, lighters and nose hair scissors, in compliance with FAA anti-hijacking regulations. Having so complied, the soldiers were allowed to keep their rifles, combat shotguns, pistols, bayonets, helmets and body armor. Here we might suggest that the policymakers at the Federal Aviation Administration deploy their oxygen masks ASAP—they've definitely got their heads, err, in the clouds."
18th Anniversary

We were married 18 years ago today. I remember being fine and confident and thrilled until mid-way through the service, when I had to light the unity candle and my hand started shaking. But a look at my beautiful bride settled that down! I definitely married up.

We're better together for God than we are separately. May the Lord continue to bless our marriage!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Great Word Picture

“The Word of God is like cool water from a canteen. During the most difficult times, it brings relief and a feeling of renewal that allows us…to accomplish any mission set before us.” -- retired Marine Corps Commandant Charles C. Krulak
The danger of trying to make everyone happy

Inside I secretly wish I could avoid all conflict and make everyone happy. I intellectually know this is run-off from the chicken coop, but it’s a wish that haunts me now and then.

That’s probably why I really liked this comment from Tony Morgan, pastor of Granger Church in Indiana: “We learned long ago that to try to make everyone happy, you have to be comfortable with this ‘zone of mediocrity.’ It’s a place where there are few critics but it’s also a place where few people become really passionate about ministry and their relationship with Christ.”

Oh, Lord, help me to be Hot for you in all the right ways, not cold or lukewarm. (Revelation 3:15-16)
Get Your Family to Church on Time

You just have to see this.
Back to Basics

We never get away from the basics, men.

“Peter’s word to us about [refreshment] is: ‘Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’ Acts 3:19 Repentance is not just turning away from sin, but also turning toward the Lord with hearts open and expectant and submissive.” -- John Piper
Leadership Principles that Still Hold

Eric Mack rediscovers some outstanding leadership principles from Edward White Benton, a former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Real leaders don’t complain

Hey guy, pay attention to this. Marshall Goldsmith recently said, “Real leaders are not people who can point out what is wrong. Almost anyone can do that. Read leaders are people who can make things better.”

Think about that for your family.

Let’s make things better.
Great quote

“Can you imagine if Christians actually believed that God was trying to rescue us from the pit of our own self-addiction?” -- Donald Miller

What a perfect illustration of our sin – “the pit of our own self-addiction.” Wow. Just let that image roll around in your mind for a while.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Real Thing

The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn't even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn't want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten,
not sex-begotten.

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John 1:9-14, The Message
Quote of the Month

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW--What a Ride!" -- Kenneth P. Bowles

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sobering money facts

More Americans will declare bankruptcy this year than graduate from college.

The average credit card debt per American household is $8,400. On most cards, the "minimum payment" strategy will cost you $24,000 over 25 years.
39 Things I Bet You Didn't Know

This makes for fun dinner conversation with your family.

1) Debra Winger was the voice of E.T.
2) Pearls melt in vinegar.
3) It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for ayear's supply of footballs.
4) Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating arealready married.
5) The 3 most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, andBudweiser, in that order.
6) It's possible to lead a cow upstairs...but not downstairs.
7) Humans are the only primates that don't have pigment in the palms oftheir hands.
8) Ten percent of the Russian government's income comes from the sale ofvodka.
9) The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," usesevery letter in the alphabet. (Developed by Western Union to testcommunications)
10) The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating aletter is uncopyrightable. Stewardesses is the longest word that istyped with only the left hand.
11) No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver,and purple.
12) "I am" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
13) Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.
14) A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.
15) The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days ofwhen the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on theground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.
16) The name of the Don McLean song.)
17) Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king fromhistory. Spades - King David; Clubs - Alexander the Great; Hearts -
Charlemagne; and Diamonds - Julius Caesar.
18) 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
19) Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down-hence the expressionto "get fired."
20) Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th:John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2,but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
21) Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that makes themlooks like it's kissing the conveyor belt.
22) An ostrich's eye is bigger that its brain.23) The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.
24) The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army forthe"General Purpose" vehicle, G.P.
25) The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point inColorado.
26) Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.
27) If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have$1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without beingable to make change for a dollar.
28) The only two days of the year in which there are no professionalsports games (MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL) are the day before and the dayafter the Major League All-Star Game.
29) Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
30) The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" wasactually a Captain Kirk mask painted white.
31) If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floatingto the top and sinking to the bottom.
32) Snails can sleep for 3 years without eating.
33) Actor Tommy Lee Jones and vice-president Al Gore were freshmanroommates at Harvard.
34) The fingerprints of koala bears are virtually indistinguishable from
35) Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a "Friday the 13th."
36) James Doohan, who plays Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott on Star Trek,is missing the entire middle finger of his right hand.
37) The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in everyfive must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstripsin times of war or other emergencies.
38) There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
39) All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20.
It's the Little Things

Is there anything harder than being a good husband and good father -- consistently?

(Being a consistently good wife and mother is probably at least as hard :-)

I find it instructive to hear women praise their husbands or children praise their fathers. They don't mention the diamond ring, the big vacation, the bouquet of roses, or coaching the championship game. It's about the little things every day, every week, every month. Smiles and hugs, encouragement, bringing them coffee or treats, short notes and phone calls to check on them, the "I'm home" kiss, filling up the cars with gas, taking out the garbage, a $1 bill slipped to them at the store when they needed it, a wink across the crowd, the hand signal that says "I love you."

What's one little thing that you can do more consistently today?

Next week, add another one. C'mon it's not hard. We just have to do them.