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Showing posts from May, 2008

Darrin Patrick @ Whiteboard

Darrin Patrick, lead pastor of The Journey Church, and vice president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, was the fourth speaker at Wibo. Darrin was probably my favorite speaker at the conference. He was not dramatic or technologically flashy, but I felt like he was honest from the gut and the content of his talk was potentially life changing for the heart of the pastor.

Darrin taught from Romans 1 and showed how all throughout the Scripture man has been exchanging worship of God for worship of created things. He challenged us to identify the idols in our lives and repent of those things. Then he concluded by proclaiming the greatness of Jesus by demonstrating that though we are bigger sinners than we could have ever thought, Jesus is a bigger Savior than we could have ever thought.

Here are some notes from Darrin's talk.

Big Idea: We were created to worship, and we will worship one of two things: 1) Idols/created things; 2) Jesus/image and glory of the invisible God.

- we d…

Rollarcoaster Day

Lots of ups and downs on the day off.*

Woke up with no internet. It has been acting up for a couple weeks now.
Went on an adventure to get a new modem with the whole family in the 1993 Honda Civic.
Kids driving us crazy on the way home.
Internet's back on. Didn't need the new modem.
Andrew's not feeling well. Runny nose, very clingy.
Hang out with Izzy and Jake. Watch a movie. Rainy day cuddles.
Dinner time. Table manners not good. No treat.
Dance to CMA show. Clean up toy room. Go for ice cream.
Kids climbing the booth and going crazy. Go home.
Songs, prayers, tuck 'em in. House is quiet for blogging and Sodoku.
Jacob wakes up puking like a freaking fire hydrant.
Jacob's back asleep. Finish this post.

Update: Stephanie wrote a review of the evening activities here.

* Picture from here.

Contemplating Coolness in the Church

Under the concept of pastors who may or may not try to be 'cool' in order to draw people to church, Mike McKinley, pastor of Guilford Baptist Church, wrote something interesting. He says,
Ben Arment, who organized WiBo and is a good friend, attended my church for a few Sundays. One comment of his stood out to me. He was struck by how different I was on Sunday mornings compared to the way I might be on Thursday afternoon over a cup of coffee. He wasn't accusing me of hypocrisy (or so he said), rather he was noting an intentional shift in tone and demeanor. Whereas I'll be sarcastic and (attempt to be) funny in personal chit-chat with a friend, I am much more reserved and measured in my preaching and leading of the church. In short, I'm much less cool.

All of that is intentional. It's not too hard to draw a crowd, methadone clinics and brothels do it all the time. You could flash the tats and play some rock music and preach funny sermons and I promise you'll ge…

What Stops You From Following God's Lead?

My buddy Ben said something provoking today. I think what he is getting at is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
I'm pretty sure the greatest deterrent to following God's leading or most of us is notdisobedience, but rather the deep sadness that comes with moving hundreds of miles away from family and loved ones... the paralyzing fear of risking financial security... and the pant-soiling faith-leap of trying something new. But consider the alternative...Not sure what to do with this on a personal level right now, but I think he's on to something. Sounds a little like this...

More Time For the Good Stuff of Life

I've talked about feed readers to a few of my rookie blogging friends. I've even set a few people up on bloglines. But enough is enough.

People, if you don't use a feed reader you are seriously wasting way to much time!My sister wrote, "Yet honestly, [adding people to my blogroll] just helps me find the blogs quicker than having to go through a 3-step process every time (by linking through the blogs of other people I do know)."

If you are like my sister, and you find yourself navigating around the blog world through links and blogrolls of other people, you need a feed reader. If, you read more than 3-5 blogs on a regular basis, you need a feed reader.

Go check out Bloglines. Bloglines only takes a minute to set up, and once you have your account you can begin subscribing to blogs immediately. You do this by
Cicking on the ubiquitous little orange square (either on the side of a blog or up in the address bar) which is the link to their RSS feed Choosing which…

Tim Stevens @ Whiteboard

Tim Stevens is the Executive Pastor at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN and he blogs at LeadingSmart.com. I had never heard Tim speak before but I read his blog and have attended his church. Tim spent the majority of his talk in a way that felt to me like a combination of defending his church's strategy for reaching people and pimping his new book Pop Goes the Church. I don't disagree with much of what Tim had to share, this just wasn't the most compelling session for me.

Here are some notes from Tim's talk:

Big Idea: The church needs to leverage culture or we risk losing our impact.

- Two realities of current culture...
1. Most churches aren't impacting their communities.
2. Spiritual interest is growing in our culture.
- Acts 17 is an example of Paul leveraging is culture for the sake of the Gospel pronouncement
- Jn 1:14 (MSG) Christ "became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood."

Vince Antonucci @ Whiteboard

I had never heard Vince Antonucci speak before. I won't forget him. He is one of the most passionate people I have ever heard speak on reaching out to lost people. Vince pastors Forefront Church in VA.

Stephanie and I both loved Vince's talk. We also picked up a copy of his book I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: Replacing Souvenir Religion with Authentic Spiritual Passion, which I'll blog on soon (and which it might be the longest book title I've ever seen), and we've really enjoyed Vince's humorous yet impactful writing.

Here's some notes from Vince's talk:

Big Idea: We are called to seek and save God's lost children.

- I need new eyes to look at people and see them the way Jesus did, as lost sheep without a shepherd
- Jesus was sent to 'seek and save' the lost, and then, before he left earth he said to his followers (us, now) "As the Father has sent me I am sending you"
- Questions to consider as you think…

What Do You Want to Hear Preached On?

NewSpring Church is the latest church on my radar who has taken on the challenge of asking attenders to submit and vote on questions they'd like to see answered from the pulpit. Interesting, though not surprising list of questions that made the final vote at NewSpring, with lots of questions focused on relationships. You can see the list here. A couple other churches that have recently done this are Mars Hill Church and Quarry Community Church.

Mark Batterson @ Whiteboard

Mark Batterson kicked off the conference. Mark is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. He is the author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars and the soon to be released Wild Goose Chase: Reclaiming the Adventure of Pursuing God. I've been reading Mark's blog for a couple years and it was cool to finally get a chance to meet him and talk in person.

Here are some notes from Mark's talk.

Big Idea: Our dreams are too small

- we need lots of different churches because there are lots of different people
- God's favor: His ability to do something for you that you can't do for yourself
- Is 55:8-9...when you study the size of the universe it is comical to think that man will ever completely figure God out
- theological pride has a tendency to short circuit spiritual curiosity
- get alone with God and confess your small dreams, then sit quiet and let Him refuel and refine you
- the danger is that we do min…

Home

We made it home. Man it is great to be back. Stephanie and I were excited to the see the kids and they were excited to see us. My sister was excited to be done. Three kids is a lot. Thanks so much Carrie we really appreciate it! This week I'll try and throw up some pics from the DC and some notes from Whiteboard.

Wiped Out

What a awesome day! Stephanie and I got back about an hour ago from a long day of walking around Washington DC. The weather today was fantastic, with clear blue sky, a light breeze, and warm sunshine which gave me some pretty cool white rings around my eyes.

The buildings in DC are simply amazing. So huge and so historic. Some of my favorites were the Washington Monument, the Holocoust Museum, the Lincoln Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress.

My favorite part of the day was being on a new adventure, all alone, with my bride. We got lost driving to DC, we couldn't figure out the Metro passes, we backtracked multiple times, we didn't make it to the National Art Museum before it closed, and we still had a FANTASTIC day!

All the crazy things didn't matter. We walked, we talked, we held hands, we shared food, we took pictures, we laughed at other people, we laughed at ourselves, and we built an experience together that can never be taken away.

Here's a…

Whiteboard is Over and It Was Sweet

Whiteboard totally rocked today. Ben Arment did an amazing job of putting the whole thing together. I'll write some more later on the people I met and the content of the sessions. In the meantime, check out some videos and pictures from Whiteboard at the Conference Channel (Stephanie is sitting at the registration booth in the facility tour video!).

Right now I have to go hit up the jacuzzi with my wife!

Whiteboard Sessions Here We Come

We made it to Reston, VA! Our plane arrived safely at 4:30pm. Our luggage arrived safely (on another flight) at 6:45 pm.

While waiting to get our stuff and check in to the hotel we drove around aimlessly and ended up in Herdon, VA. I had heard before coming here that there was a fun little old fashion bar in Herdon called Jimmy's Old Town Tavern so we decided to find it and grab some dinner. When we went in we felt like it was the kind fo place where you needed to have a beer and a burger, so I did, and they were both delicious!

I can't wait for Whiteboard tomorrow. Looking forward to connecting with some blogging friends and hearing from a dynamic speaker line-up. It is goning to be sweet.

(Just met one of the speakers in the business office! Cool!)

Preaching Opportunities Coming My Way

I have received two emails this week from pastors asking if I am interested and available to preach at their churches this summer. That's awesome! God knows the desire of my heart to preach, and as I stay faithful and content in where he has me with Target, he is giving me bits and pieces of ministry again.

Praise Jesus!

Off to DC!

Can't wait to get out of town for the Whiteboard Sessions. Stephanie and I are getting all the packing finished up and we'll be heading out tomorrow morning. My sister is watching the kids, so please pray for her!

I'm looking forward to being inspired and challenged by the speakers. I'm also looking forward to connecting in person with some guys I've met through blogging. But most importantly, I'm looking forward to spending some quality time all alone with my hot stuff of a wife!

Still can't decide on whether or not to go to a Washington National's baseball game...

Softball Stuff

- Had a great time playing softball today. I look forward to it all week long. Now you can follow along on my season in the sidebar (looks like I need to get a few more hits and get my throws to first online!).
- When I was rounding first on my triple tonight I felt something kind of funny in my right quad. Looks like I'm getting older than I want to admit.
- One of the main reasons I wanted to play softball was to meet some guys from the church. I have a good group of guys and I'm starting to develop some friendships.

Answering Our Children's Questions

My friend Casey Ross recently blogged that our job as dads is to answer one very important question for our sons and daughters as they grow. Casey wrote,
I just finished John Eldredge's You Have What It Takes: what every father needs to know (only 50 pages and $3.00). He says us dads need to do one thing for our child. Now, come on dads, we can get on board with a plan that only gives us one thing to do to be successful dads! He says:

"I'm going to make fathering very simple: answer your child's question."
So what's question?

If you are familiar with Eldredge at all you know the answer. Eldredge believes that every boy is looking to his father for the answer to the question, "Do I have what it takes?" Sons need affirmation that they are brave, talented, strong, smart, and successful. They look to their fathers for support, encouragement, coaching, and acceptance as 'a man.' As dads we need to be constantly looking out for times when w…

Early Sunday Morning pt. 1

A young father was awaken by the feeling of scratching on his face, accompanied by the sound of grunts and moans from the two little ones who had worked their small bodies into his previously warm, cozy space. Turning over, and then back over again, exhausted and not at all ready to face the light beginning to stream through the windows, the man wondered if he had beaten the roosters to sun-up and by how long. The grunting and moaning didn't last long. It never does. If it did, it might be bearable, because at least those small sounds indicate that the noise-makers are still in one place and in some form of slumber. Unfortunately for the wanna be sleeper, the noises simply morphed into cartoon songs, petty arguments, banging on the floor and the wall, and a seemingly endless flow of questions that began with "Daddy....um....Daddy..." and never progressed much further.

My Week in Review

- Won our softball game on Sunday night. I was 1-3 with two RBIs and a walk.
- Met our new store manager Monday morning. She seems really high energy. I think she'll be a great teacher and developer, which I'm excited about.
- Had a blast on Monday night at the Twins game with my buddy Jon. Every time we get together we realize that we don't hang out enough.
- Stephanie interviewed Tuesday for a teaching job. She got denied on Thursday.
- Took the kids on a one hour nature hike at a local county park on Wednesday. They all got wood ticks. Then we all got root bear at A&W.
- Spent Thursday night celebrating the birthday of a good friend's son, with some great people we haven't seen in a while. One guy brought me some home-brewed beer and wine. Yum.
- Had a couple drinks after work and said goodbye to a colleague who's moving to Texas. Then we grilled and hung out with our neighbors. Fun times.
- Tomorrow we're hitting up the Lakeville city wide gara…

Will You Join My Fast?

I'd like to invite you to join me tomorrow; I am going to begin a 24 hour fast at 1:30 pm. Why you ask?

A few months ago Stephanie heard that there may be some elementray school teaching positions opening up in the Northfield school district. At that time we began praying and thinking about what life would be like if Stephanie started teaching again. We need the supplemental income and we have struggled to find a job that Stephanie would enjoy and that would pay our bills. Teaching seemed to be the best fit.

So Stephanie gathered all her materials, talked with a few teachers and principals she has met through her time as a student and a coach in Northfield, and she submitted her application in early April. After applying she heard that the school district was expecting over 1,000 applicants for only 6-7 positions. Long odds, but our God is great we thought.

Last week Stephanie received an email letting her know that she had been selected (along with 17 other people) out of 400…

The Downward Mobility of God Displays His Glory

How then do we come to see and receive God's glory? In his Gospel, John shows that God choose to reveal his glory to us in his humiliation. That is the good, but also disturbing news. God, in his infinite wisdom, chose to reveal his divinity to us not through competition, but through compassion, that is, through suffering with us. God choose downward mobility. Every time Jesus speaks about being glorified and giving glory, he always refers to his humiliation and death. It is through the way of the cross that Jesus gives glory to God, receives glory from God, and makes God's glory known to us. The glory of the resurrection can never be separated from the glory of the cross. The risen Lord always shows us his wounds.

Thus the glory of God stands in contrast to the glory of people. People seek glory by moving upward. God reveals his glory by moving downward. If we truly want to see the glory of God, we must move downward with Jesus. - Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak,…

The Need For Unity Among People Who Choose Different Educational Options

Below is a snipper of the comments left on Josh harris' blog by his father regarding the recent words Josh spoke to his congregation concerning the need for unity among people who choose different educational options for their children,
Just for the record, I heartily agree with what you have said so well in this video clip. Educational choices have always been a matter of parental responsibility, not of some extra-biblical standard. Every householder should make an informed decision before God. All should research their local schools, public and private and become fully convinced in the way in which he (or she) decides to use his God-given liberty under the Lordship of Christ to bear the best and most abundant fruit he can for the glory of God. The only moral issue at stake is whether we are willing to walk in the obedience of our faith in God and His will as we understand it from the Scriptures. Though wisdom and foolishness are called into play, there is no moral superiority to …

Giving Everything to Jesus and Making Him the Center

Here's a couple of Nouwen quotes that are resonating with me tonight. First, on making Jesus the center of all I do...
I now know for sure that there is a long, hard journey ahead of me. It is a journey of leaving everything behind for Jesus' sake. I now know that there is a way of living, praying, being with people, caring, eating, drinking, sleeping, reading, and writing in which Jesus is truly the center. I know from [...] that this way exists and that I have not fully found it yet. - The Road to Daybreak, pg. 71Second, on the impossibility of finding peace when I live a divided life...
As I try to understand why i am still so restless, anxious, and tense, it occurs to me that I have not yet given everything to God. I notice this especially in my greediness for time. I am very concerned to have enough hours to develop my ideas, finish my projects, fulfill my desires. Thus, my life is in fact divided into two parts, a part for God anbd a part for myself. Thus divided, …

One Reason I Blog

A good friend recently left this comment on my wife's blog,
Hey Steph, One of my favorite things is to click on to your blog and "catch up" with your life...today was the day! This is one of the reasons I blog. There are many others, but there is something really cool about being able to share the thoughts and stories of life with people you love all around the world.

Locked in a Prison of My Own Making

Henri Nouwen writes....
"My decision to leave Harvard was a difficult one. For many months I was not sure if I would be following or betraying my vocation by leaving...After I decided to leave Harvard, I was surprised that it had taken me so long to come to that decision. As soon as I left, I felt so much inner freedom, so much joy and new energy, that I could look back on my former life as a prison in which I had locked myself." - The Road to Daybreak, pg. 22Are you facing inner turmoil regarding a major decision in your life? Are you putting off a decision you know you should make for fear of future unknowns? Don't lock yourself in a prison. Follow the quiet voice of the Spirit inside you that is calling you onward. It will be difficult, but it will be rewarding.

Go and Sell All You Own

Nouwen reflects on Mark 10:21:
It struck me that selling what you own, leaving your family and friends, and following Jesus is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. You must do it many times and in many different ways. And it certainly does not become easier. - The Road to Daybreak, pg. 46

Feelings on Sunday

- Loving the warm sun today. The kids have been outside since we got home from church.
- Discouraged with my devotional habits. I need to improve here.
- Pumped about my softball game tonight. Can't wait to use the new glove and cleats.
- Excited that I won a little money on the Kentucky Derby yesterday. That's a first.
- Enjoying my Henri Nouwen book. Lots of great thoughts to consider.
- Tired from push mowing the yard today. I miss the townhouse yard service.
- Satisfied with life. This is a good place for me to be.

What I'm Reading

I usually like to start one book and read it all the way through before starting a new one. However, right now I'm working my way through a whole list of titles.

Here is what's currently on my 'nightstand' along with the amount of time it has been there...

Stumbling on Happinessby Daniel Gilbert (4 months)
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonistby John Piper (1 year)
Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World (Motherhood Club)by Jill Rigby (1 day)
The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journeyby Henri J. M. Nouwen (2 hours)
Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theologyby R. C. Sproul (2 months)

Doing What the Word Says

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. - Matthew 5:38-42

This comment was made on the Intersection blog recently:
I’m tired of hearing myself, as well as others, ask [what did Jesus really mean?] as an attempt to soften the blow of what the Bible often tells us to do....

...Maybe Jesus was on to something, and we would be wise to take Him at His word.
Great word. Check out this NPR story, also from Intersection, which illustrates the point further.

What Happens to Babies that Die?

The churches that I spent my growing up years in were from the Assemblies of God and Covenant denominations. They were wonderful churches and I have good memories of the friends I made there. Besides my parents, the pastors and teachers in these churches built in me the faith foundation that I would take into my college years and beyond.

Almost all my life I have held the belief that man chooses God. I knew from the Bible that God reveals himself to people and as I got older I learned that the Holy Spirit played a role in our coming to faith, but I still believed that ultimately a person needed to decide for him or herself and say a prayer if they wanted to be saved.

One issue that was always problematic for me was the issue of children dying before they could make such a choice. I grew up learning the truth that all people are born sinful (in fact, it wasn't until my time in seminary that I even encountered the idea, albeit a heretical one, that a person could be born without b…

Pictures of Some Northfield Churches

Stephanie is substitute teaching today, so this morning the kids and I went for a drive around Northfield.

We stopped every so often and took photos of some of the older church buildings in our town.

I think the buildings are wonderful, it is too bad the theology in many of them isn't.

You can check out all 15 pictures here on my Flickr page.

Thanks

The note on infant baptism and women in leadership sparked some great comments. Someday down the road I have to dive deeper on these issues. Thanks to everyone who weighed in...even you anonymous commentors (why don't you sign your names?).

Stephanie and I haven't made a decisions yet. We are still talking and praying and gathering information before we decide one way or another. I'll try to keep you updated.