Sunday, December 14, 2008

your story with God

communicating your story

1 - Realize the Power of Your story
First and foremost - remember - there is power in your testimony! Revelation 12:11 says we overcome our enemy be the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.


2 - Study an Example of a Testimony from the Bible
Read Acts 26. Here the Apostle Paul gives his testimony.

3 - Spend Time in Thought Preparation
There are a few things to consider before you start writing your story. Think about your life before you met Jesus. What was going on in your life leading up to your transformation? What problems or needs were you facing at the time? How did your life change after that?
4 - Start with a Simple 3-Point Outline

A three-point approach is very effective in communicating your spiritual biography. The outline focuses on before you trusted Jesus, how you began a relationship with him, and the difference since you've been in a relationship with him.

Before: Simply tell what your life was like before you knew Jesus. What were you searching for before coming to know Him? What was the key problem, emotion, situation or attitude you were dealing with? What motivated you? What were your actions? How did you try to satisfy your inner needs? (Examples of inner needs are loneliness, fear of death, insecurity. Possible ways to fill those needs include work, money, drugs, relationships, sports, sex.)

How: How were you transformed? Simply tell the events and circumstances that caused you to consider Jesus as the solution to your searching. Take time to identify the steps that brought you to the point of trusting Him. Where were you? What was happening at the time? What people or problems influenced your decision?

Since: How has your life with Jesus made a difference? How has his forgiveness impacted you? How have your thoughts, attitudes and emotions changed? Share how God is meeting your needs and what a relationship with him means to you now.

5 - Important Tips to Remember


  1. Stick to the point. Your conversion and new life in Christ should be the main points.

  2. Be specific. Include events, genuine feelings and personal insights that clarify your main point. This makes your testimony tangible - something others can relate to.

  3. Be current. Tell what is happening in your life with God now, today.

  4. Be honest. Don't exaggerate or dramatize your life for effect. The simple truth of what God has done in your life is all the Holy Spirit needs to convict others of their sin and convince them of his love and grace.

  5. Be Relevant. Use the language of our culture and then write it; practice it; record it in Mp3 or video it to Blue Ray.

Then give it away!

sworn statement


A screech of tires…the car flips over…then an eternity of silence…


You are stuck in the vehicle upside down, trapped inside. Blood trickles down from your head, and you try to not pass out.

Then suddenly you see another car coming down the highway towards you. It stops and someone gets out. They come over to the car, and smile at you, and you try to smile back. You start to try to explain that you were driving too fast on the ice…that you are trapped inside…that you need help.

And then he does the amazing. He grabs the car with two hands and actually flips the whole car over. He then rips off the doors and gently places both of his hands under you and pulls you out of the wreckage and close to himself.

You wonder if your hallucinating. Or if you are in an out-take of a scene from the next SUPERMAN movie. Then you pass out.

When you awake in the hospital you tell people the story. And there starts to be some buzz about it. Reporters visit the crash site and investigate the car. The find finger dents in the metal where the man grabbed the car and flipped it over. Evidence of what happened. The door to the car as well has fingerprints.

CNN picks up the story, and there is a search in the nearby towns for this stranger. And as you get better you too are obsessed to discover who has saved you. Your insurance agency asks you to fill out a sworn statement about the events. And the police ask for your testimony.

But you never find the man…BUT…what if you did? What would happen? To you and to him?

And after all, weren’t we all in a car wreck call life? And didn’t Jesus rescue us from ourselves? And if we revisit that in our minds aren’t our hearts filled again with wonder and joy?

And in light of the fact that it took his death to save us, shouldn’t we tell somebody.

Couldn’t we tell everybody!

Who should you tell?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

intercession relationships

i had a conversation about prayer with someone today, and thought i would share what intercession means for a church.

this will take several posts, but the simplist one is first

intercession relationships:

we all need to be back to back protecting one another. what this means for us is that we engage consistantly in praying for 3 groups of people...probably daily.

  1. those in authority over us. Our boss, the president, our parents, our pastors, our small group leaders etc. We bring them before God and ask that God would be in thier lives; that his presence and protection would fill them. That His wisdom and agenda would infiltrate and influence them. etc.
  2. those that are our peers. Our co-workers; spouse; other people in the church etc. we do the same as above.
  3. those that are our disciples. our employees; our children; people on our teams or those we are mentoring. we do the same as above.

when we do this we find that prayer also has a call-back feature that effects us. We end up with Gods heart for these people starting to draw us into Gods will for them. we then find we can be gods agents in thier lives and give them grace, mercy, forgiveness etc. we also find that we then understand how to serve and love them. sometimes this means obedience, or confrontation, or 7 times 70 forgiveness, or a word of encouragement...

prayer is an act of God's people [or persons] caring for one another as a spiritual family with a Father figure leading us all.

many times we have unnatural breaks in relationships simply because we don't spend time with our Father searching to understand how he wants the family to operate. When we are with him, we enter into his feelings, wisdom, and will. Sure we can listen to Oprah, Dr Phil, and Dr Laura and all the self help books and therapists. But the 1st place to go is to God.

when a church does this, and invisible spiritual bonding begins to happen. the church becomes God's people...his tribe...his family. And in this context joy, hope, love, mercy, and compassion flow freely and strongly. in the absence of this...striving, resentment, bitterness, passivity, and hopelessness often saturate relationships. and in this atmosphere sin breeds and forms crusts and wounds in our hearts.

pray...and you will find and feel God pull you into his world. and in his world we change and can handle this world 1,000 times better.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We listen to stories, because we find ourselves in them.

Everyone walks or rides a road. And sometimes you have to pull over and somebody you ask directions from says, you can’t get there from here. You need to know…they’re lying.

He goes through a farm road in Samaria. Another place Jesus isn’t supposed to be. But Jesus is often where he isn’t supposed to be; doing what he isn’t supposed to be doing; spending time with people he just isn’t supposed to be with. But this is one of the 1st times he does this.

Even the disciples wonder about this as the come up to Jacobs well. A famous place, infamous now. And as Jesus sits down to rest he sends his followers off to get supplies. Amongst those…they despise. Jesus is sneaky like that, teaching them early something they will understand much later.

And so he sits. Exhausted from so many miles through waves upon waves of undulating and scorching heat. He is weary, both from what is behind him as well as from what he knows is unfolding in front of him. His mind is tired of strategy, his heart is tired from the battle yet ahead, and his body aches from the footprints he has left in the sand. He wipes the sweat from his brow, and his hand comes down on the smooth stones of the well. He is alone, more alone than anyone who has ever lived. And he looks down into the well, and feels the cool breeze that comes up from it splash across his face. 100 feet down is an underground river, an unseen river much like his kingdom, rushing with power and life just beneath the desert that surrounds us. But for now in his human form, the river is inaccessible and the God of the universe cannot reach the very water he created. He smiles at the irony. Perhaps this longing in him, will help him understand the great longing in us.

And his irony looks out into the wind tearing desert, and off at a distance he sees a small black dot on the horizon. It bobs back and forth trudging forward resolutely against the driving winds, against the sun, and against exhaustion. And as it comes near him, he knows his Father is brining him someone. And so prays for them, and himself, as the sands of time fall all around him and the stage is set for the sacred to gush forth in the desert of the secular.

She is exhausted. She has come so far, and has so far to go. The rope on her shoulder and the bucket at her waist rub her skin raw; they are usually not just carried by an individual but a group. But she doesn’t have that option; she lost that option years ago. She is coming to the well at noon, the hottest hour of the day. The other women come at dusk, a cooling, and comfortable time. But she comes as a displaced daughter of Sychar with a scarlet letter upon her veil. She can take the sun starring at her, but the withering looks and blazing glares of accusation of the other women coupled with the whispering winds of their gossip about her…these she can no longer bear. 5 husbands, 5 weighty stones have come and gone as she has come her alone. And so her shoulder is torn and bloodied by the rope, and the bucket digs into her side. But she has learned to live with pain; it has become her 1 true companion…her bitter BFF. On her other shoulder is the water jar, and as hard as it is to carry it now, it will be worse when it is full. But she trudges on, as we all do from time to time. A survivor, an outcast, forsaken, broken and bruised…but still moving. Relentlessly moving. Running on empty.

And then she sees him at a great distance and her steps stumble and become heavier and harder somehow. Nobody is supposed to be there. She grits her teeth, trying to gather strength for another challenge she isn’t up for. She asks God for help, expecting none.

The bucket jostles when she takes a bad step, and it cuts into her ribs. And she thinks about the empty bucket. How alike she is to it. Once she was a bucket full of potential and options…now she is a bucket of emptiness and alleys. And as she walks forward she thinks about all that has gone wrong. She thinks about the wild liquids she has drunk and then drowned in, the great laughter and joy that they first seemed to offer and the hangover and regret they eventually-inevitably brought. She thinks of the empty relationship she is now trapped in. She has gone been passed around the boys. Each looks like an oasis, but in the end she finds herself drinking burning sand. Love has become a mirage to her, and even the man she lives with now offers nothing but a shot-glass of satisfaction. But for one such as her she knows that is all that is left. One there was laughter, then their were tears, and now there is just deadness and a great numbness that has scarred and calloused her heart into stone itself.

And then suddenly she is jostled back awake to her surroundings. The well is right in front of her, just a few yards away. She checks her veil, making sure it is adjusted for a modesty she no longer owns. But the man in front of her shouldn’t be here, and after all she knows she needs to be careful around men. So she averts his eyes while studying him from the edges of her view. He too is alone, but he is far more than that…he is hopelessly out of place. He is alone yes; but he is also a Jew [is he lost, they don’t come here amongst us “dirty” folk]; he has no bucket or rope for the well which is odd and amusing; and so her fear and weariness slowly drains out and is instead filled with humor and curiosity as he silently sits there watching her as she puts down her water jar…uncoils the rope…and carefully stands on the other side of the well. A safe distance from him, a length she believes no bridge will ever span. He is already unsettlingly close, best to maintain it as best she can.

She throws the bucket into the well, and as she does so he startles her with his words:


Will u give me a drink?

She can only be surprised, while we are shocked and chagrined as the God of the universe approaches one of us and asks for of all things…help.

But she isn’t some naïve seeker…she is a battle tested cynic and skeptic. And the sands of sarcasm scorch out with her words in return.

You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?

And her words are full of warnings, condemnations, and perhaps a slight edge of curiosity. Because Jesus in his simple words of asking for a drink is breaking a lot of taboos. Taboos that dam the distance between them.

1. Jews aren’t supposed to be here
2. Jews don’t talk to Samaritans anywhere
3. A man does not speak directly to a woman that is a stranger

And she wonders, doesn’t he know!!! But he does know, and as is so common for Jesus he uses the taboos of the world to build a bridge between himself and others. To rescue those trapped in a well, Jesus knows he will have to take risks and get dirty.

And so he smiles at the sarcasm and the banter…he retorts

If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

So many things are dripping tantalizingly in these words.

1. What is the gift of God of which he speaks, and is it really available to me? Aren’t I disqualified…an outsider…a cast-aside
2. And who is this man that is talking to me, is there perhaps far more to him than has initially been perceived
3. And what is the living water? What is the water that makes life…life again?

Now they finally lock eyes. And as he looks at her he sees the cavernous cistern of brackish misery and parched emptiness that has made her heart and soul hollow and empty. And he knows he alone can fill it.

And as she looks she finds herself unwilling to stop believing that she can throw her bucket into him and finally pull up the water of life that has escaped her for thousands of desert noon’s.

Sir…she says respectfully…you have nothing to draw with and the water is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons, his flocks, and his herds?

And he smiles again. She takes the literal path, cautiously sliding around risking her heart and the growing hope that is bubbling up within her. And so she challenges him on several levels.

1. You don’t have anything to give, nor the means to give it. At least not to the observations of the naked eye.
2. And who are you…are you greater than our patriarch Jacob? Who do you think you are…who are you…to me?
3. We all so easily Jesus

Jesus uses his arms in a sweeping way as if to an unseen crowd of thousands who are listening…and indeed as the years stretch on billions will come to this story, this well, this Jesus. And he says everyone who drinks of this well will thirst again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

And as she stands there a refugee of failure and burnout, he offers her an internal everlasting oasis of refreshment and regeneration. And he uses big words like NEVER and ETERNAL. Her eyes are now wide open, even as she is overwhelmed with this staggering offer from a man who just a moment ago seemed to have nothing to offer her.

So she rushes headlong into the moment, diving like a bucket into this well of promises and opportunities. Sir! Give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water…she is almost giddy now.

But Jesus is about to stop this conversation on a dime, and turn it far deeper than she has expected. He tells her go call your husband and come back.

she says I have none


Jesus presses in, not to wound her, but to pull up the wound so he can lance it…bleed its poison, dress it, and heal it. And so he says You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had 5 husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.

The bucket stops on a ledge ½ ways down and lingers almost in mid air.

She speaks back slowly…looking at the ground, ashamed.

She retreats. Sir…she says coolly…I can see you are a prophet. Our fathers worship on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place to worship is Jerusalem.

This dodge Jesus understands. She feels shamed…exposed. But she takes her own situation and tries to duck around it by asking a religious question. A question that she hopes will distance him from her again, because she is mad she allowed herself to be tricked into a moment of intimacy and hope.

So he declares, in the plural to an audience of one. Believe me woman a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you don’t know; we Jews worship what we know, for rescue is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming, and has arrived right now when true worshipers will worship the Father is Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father is seeking. God is Spirit and he must be worshiped in spirit and in truth.

While she struggles to take in the enormity of this theological statement, she asks dumbfoundedly a question. A question all the Jews and Samaritans have been asking. A question that is all the more poetic and ironic given she doesn’t know who this stranger is.

She says I know that Messiah is coming and that when he comes he will reveal everything to us.

And the smile on Jesus face is now a full grin. His eyes open with wonder, awe, and love for this woman who has waited so long to be filled.

And a hush of silence fills the desert, the winds die down, and a fresh breeze of coolness comes up from the well to splash upon her face.

And he says I who speak to you am he!

The bucket breaks loose and falls to the bottom of the well, and for the 1st time she can remember in several decades…she cries.

This forgotten lonely woman. On the backside of nowhere. Trapped in a loveless survival. This is for whom the God of the universe has come this day. And perhaps for you.

And we, who watch the story, may find ourselves in it from time to time. He states her past, but doesn’t crucify her on her sin. He gives no call to repentance but to refreshment. There is no structured plan of salvation, no prayer…ultimately he offers only himself-and what he alone can give her from inside himself to inside of her.

He shows her a true reflection of herself, and she is repulsed…but he is not. He who knows her even deeper than she knows herself is here. Here to be her Lord. Here to be her true love. A love far more secure…and infinitely more satisfying than the mere love of a lover.

So wherever you are at, and if you think you can’t get home to God from where you’re at. This story reminds you…you can. Or more importantly HE can.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

“Religion has declined not because it had been successfully argued against, but because it has become irrelevant, dull, oppressive, uninteresting. When faith is replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crises of today are ignored because of the remembered splendor of the past; when faith becomes an inherited heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority and rules rather than the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

video stories

check out www.iamsecond.com and listen to stories of surprising people who have come to faith. Joe Gibbs, guitarist for Korn, d Waltrip etc.

very dynamic

staying fresh as a christian

I am as susceptible to spiritual droughts as the next pastor. Because I know my vulnerabilities, I work hard to keep my passion alive.

Here are a few things I try to revisit:

See God working in another part of the world. God is so much bigger than what we see week in and week out and our churches. visit the operation world website or the blogs of some missionaries. The voice of the martyrs is good as well. Sometimes I also read stories from Butler's book of Saints

Visit an impoverished place / neighborhood and serve at least once a year. Some moms choose what to feed their children. Some moms have to choose which children to feed. Putting yourself in a place that crushes your heart keeps the passion alive. A friend told me once [who worked in the poverty of mexico city] that christians are to live life with [full but broken hearts]

Fasting. I don’t know why fasting works, but it does. Fast from something that consumes your time and use that time to feast on God's presence.

Develop friendships with non-Christians. Caring about people far from God helps keep me closer to God. Just to enjoy them and get to know them without pressure. Trust God and enjoy the people he has created. Someday his perfect timing may make room for more.

§Devoted time to prayer. If I don’t spend time with my wife away from all the other pressures, it is hard for us to stay close. My relationship with God is the same. If I don’t spend time with Him, how can I know Him? Get a copy of Richard Fosters book on prayer or get a copy of the Common book of prayer...or...in a pinch pray some of the Psalms out loud. I go to the park several times a week and pray about all sorts of things; and late at night sometimes just take a prayer-walk around the neighborhood.

Give extravagantly. Something about giving big breaks the grip of this world and connects me closer to God.

Cry hard and Laugh hard. Do some deep breathing. Do some deep CONFESSING and you will cry over your own faults; laugh at your own stupidity; and be able to give empathy and forgiveness to others in MUCH bigger ways.

Visit a cemetery. Seeing today in light of eternity always changes me. Jonathan Edwards [famous old pastor] and his wife used to go to the cemetery once a day on horseback and ride through it in silence. While there they asked God [silently] what they MUST do if today was their last day on earth. Then they shared with each other when they got through. This helps keep a dynamic sense of immediacy alive!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"O, Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life. Amen."

Hey Dave -

This reminded me of something you said a while back about gifts and getting up in front of the congregation. Thought you'd like it.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing
enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel
insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our
own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission
to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our
presence automatically liberates others.


~Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prayers

My prayers today:

For Kyle who just lost his father
For my church family and those struggling with laying down condemnation
For the couple that just loss a child
For fred finks, john shultz, and dan lawson
For several pregnancies
For the men of our church to lead themselves and their families
For this weeks service
Nate and his car
For faithfulness in our tithes in tough times
A/U students still struggling with the suicide
For a widow
For divorced persons
For those in Ashland that don't know god
For those here that are sick
For the lonely during the holidays
For boldness sensativity and love in telling others about Jesus
For breakfast lovin at a/u
For revival and churches being united in Ashland
For 3 churches mosaic westwinds and new hope
And Lifechurch ezekial and park street
For park street search team
For our new youth pastor
For vision
For heart renewal

Monday, December 1, 2008


oh the weather outside is frightful

But the fires of fellowship are delightful.
And since we’ve no place to go [I mean really…in this weather]

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Tonight at planning meeting we will enjoy fellowship, creativity, maybe some hot coffee and cocoa…and plan what God has in store for our church family this week. Pray about being there, and what you might contribute to having a service where all our gifts are experienced by our friends and family.

This week we have a fun one…

John 4
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman


1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

[why?]


4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.


[What is weird about Samaria?]


7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)


[Is this odd in some way?]


9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[
a])
10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."


[when was the last time you said something like that around the water cooler?]


11"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"


[she takes it pretty literal…as nicodemus did a chapter back]


13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."


[what is this like in the Christian experience?]


15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
16He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."


[this seems a little odd…like he’s selling Amway or something]


17"I have no husband," she replied.
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."


[yikes…who’s been hacking my computer and reading my e-mails?]


19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."


[why is she distancing herself with religious arguments and jargon?]


21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."


[what does this mean, and why does it matter….what’s he trying to do to her…and me and you?]


25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."


26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."


[…]

john 3: 17-21

John 3
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."


Relevant reading and verses
Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Romans 14:3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
John 12:47 "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.
Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
James 4:11-13 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 5:9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Matthew 18:21-23 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Homework:
1.Who do you need to stop CONDEMNING
2.Who do you need to FORGIVE
3.Who do you need to CONFRONT with love
4.Who do you need to forgive 7 times 70
5.Ask God for help!



Johnny eight [modernized redux]

Jesus went to Ashland Ohio. At 10:30am he appeared at 5 stones community church, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
But then things got interrupted. A group barged in suddenly with their own agenda. These were the professors and the fundamentalists who brought in a person caught in the very act of a sexual sin [but it could have been: lying; cheating; stealing; drinking too much; gluttony; gossip and slander; disobeying parents; being judgmental; lazy; addicted to meth; etc you pick the sin].
They made her stand before the church ½ naked wrapped in a bed-sheet and said to Jesus, “preacherman, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the Old Testament law Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. Now what do you say?" [uh oh…what’s Jesus gonna do?]
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus just started to write on the whiteboard with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and sneered to them,
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
Again he wrote on the whiteboard. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you,"
Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your sin.“
And then all the protest signs came down; and the negative petitions; and the slandering blogs-talk-radio-spam stopped being sent. And the crowd that was so focused on holiness finally learned to be truly holy by learning that love, grace, and forgiveness are a part of holiness. And people learned to confront each other with truth THROUGH love instead of accusation, judgment, and abandonment. Or at least that what should have happened….

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Test

Hi there testing posting from iphone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

facebook, blog, website

ok. I think I finally have all three linked in some fashion

if on facebook, link to blog and automatic blog insertions
if on blog, link to facebook [but you will need an account]
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John 3: 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

or to put it another way

God did not send his CHURCH into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world

or

God did not send YOU / ME into the world to condemn the world, but to save it

so...why...

  1. why do we spend so much time protesting things?
  2. why is christian talk radio so full of venom?
  3. why do we expect non-christians to act like we should act as followers of Jesus?
  4. why do we try to manipulate morality through politics instead of focusing on transforming peoples lives through influencing them to follow Christ?
  5. why is church the most dangerous instead of the safest place to confess 'sin?'
  6. why do people split churches and bail from churches instead of forgiving 7 times 70 and obeying the command to 'love one another?'
  7. why is love such a low priority and 'holiness' such a high priority?

I guess i am frightened that we have become the very thing Jesus was opposed to: Self righteous; judgmental; mean spirited; thugs.

Jesus confronts...but notice the verse above and see that he doesn't condemn

Jesus forgives...even from the cross

and at times i wonder why we don't look, act, speak, and have the attitude of Jesus.

i am spending some time today looking hard at myself at who i have not yet forgiven and still hold in a position of condemnation. I suspect this won't be fun. But I also suspect that there will be more freedom in the flow of love, than the dam of emotional energy wasted on bitter roots and condemnation.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just in case those frozen signs held up in the bleachers that say JOHN 3:16 at Football games has caused us to numb over with a cliché white-noise when we read these words; let me try to remind us about just how incredible these words are that Jesus said long before before bumper stickers; t-shirts; and wristbands. Words that reveal realities behind them that are FAR FAR larger; more shocking; nearly unbelievable; and amazing…words that tell us about God…ourselves…and where we intertwine!

This is how much God [how much what…what quantity is about to be talked about? How much stuff God has at his disposal…how many pickles, or how many stars or electrons?] loved [ok this is the subject…love…and a lot of it…mountains, valleys, galaxies of limitless love is at his command and he about to do something with that massive amount of limitless and eternal love….what will it be? Where will that loved be aimed…who will be worthy of it?] the world: [the world…you’ve got to be kidding…why the world…why those who have rebelled against him, those that ignore him, those that cause human trafficking…pornography…wars…kidnappings…pedophiles…liars…thieves why in the world would he leverage all of his love towards the one place in the universe of eternity that is so most obviously in opposition and at war with him?] He gave his Son, his one and only Son. [whoa…what kind of a Father would send his son into this mess? What kind of a Father would put his child at risk in the hands of his enemies? What kind of a Father would ask his son to go to certain death? And what kind of a son would choose to go?] And this is why: [ Yes please, tell me why?...what could possibly be worth this? Why in the name of reason would God send his only son into the ghetto of his creation; the trailer-park torn apart by twisters, the hood being held hostage by gangs of the godless?] so that no one need be destroyed; [ oh so that is what he is trying to stop. Our self destruction. The justice we deserve for all those secret and not so secret things. He is trying to rescue us from the insanity of our self-destructive nature-nurture-and civilization. But how…how will this happen?] by believing in him,[is it really that simple? That profound? It’s like doing a u-turn in the garden of Eden where humanity made the choice to not trust God and started trusting demons and themselves. All he is asking is for us to reach out and re-engage again with him. To let him be what he has always been…EVERYTHING. He just wants to be the trust of our hearts; our minds; our money; our everything. But who is this available to? The Jews, good people, moral people, who gets to win this lottery ticket of eternity?] Anyone [are you serious? Anybody…everybody? Me. You! This is too much. The love of God…placed in his ONLY son…killed by us …somehow made alive again…given to us freely…asking us to re-enter into the way it always should have been…available to anybody no matter who they are or what they have done. And if we do this what will happen? If we accept this love is there a catch?] can have a whole and everlasting life. [Are you serious! Not only will the quality of my life here be dramatically better and full of Gods presence…but…the quantity of life will last forever! God wants to be with me forever! Limitless time stretching into a mind numbing forever! Never bored by me, always intimate with me. Wow! Those signs at the ballgames don’t seem big enough now.

Slow down and read this again till the whiplash of the ideas has slapped you fully awake again with the shocking avalanche of undeserved love that is offered to you. The staggering bigness of God, the huge limitless oceans of his love, focused on one small planet…one small group of creatures…one small person nearly microscopic…you! And his love and desire for you is given a razor sharp focus and will cost him watching his own son suffer and die in order to bring you back into right relationship with him. All of eternity; all of his emotions; all of his thoughts; all of his being crashing into you through his son dying on a cross to take the penalty of our rebellion against him. No love story; film; novel; or song. No painting; poem; or even imagination could ever create a greater story of love. It is so colossal it is almost impossible to even bring it into our hearts and minds to comprehend it. He made you; created you; he knows all the hairs on your head. And he wants you so deeply; his longing is so overwhelming; his ache at unrequited love is so massive; that he will sacrifice his most precious Son for you.

For you! [Romeo and Juliette; Twilight; Pride and Prejudice; all of these stories and more are a joke compared with this]

Stare up at the clouds today. Look through the stained glass windows. Lift your voice in the songs we sing. And listen for God in between the words the preacher says. And if you search you will find that He is signing back, shining through the sun, dancing invisibly all around you, and screaming and shouting through His SON “I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, ILOVE YOU!”

For God so loved ________________[your name goes here]______________ that he…

what is a missional church?

Description of a Missional Church
A missional church is a collection of missional believers acting in concert together in fulfillment of the
missio dei.1
A missional church is one where people are exploring and rediscovering what it means to be Jesus' sent people as their identity and vocation.
A missional church is faith communities willing and ready to be Christ's people in their own situation and place.
A missional church knows that they must be a cross-cultural missionary (contextual) people and adopt a missionary stance in relation to their community.
A missional church will be engaged with the culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (not of the world). They will become intentionally indigenous.
A missional church understands that God is already present in the culture where it finds itself. Therefore, a missional church doesn't view its purpose as bringing God into the culture or taking individuals out of the culture to a sacred space.
A missional church is about more than just being contextual, it is also about the nature of the church and how it relates to God.
A missional church is about being -- being conformed to the image of God.
A missional church will seek to plant all types of missional communities.
A missional church is evangelistic and faithfully proclaims the gospel through word and deed. Words alone are not sufficient; how the gospel is embodied in our community and service is as important as what we say.
A missional church understands the power of the gospel and does not lose confidence in it.
A missional church will align all their activities around the
missio dei -- the mission of God.
A missional church seeks to put the good of their neighbor over their own.
A missional church will give integrity, morality, good character and conduct, compassion, love and a resurrection life filled with hope preeminence to give credence to their reasoned verbal witness.
A missional church practices hospitality by welcoming the stranger into the midst of the community.
A missional church will always be in a dynamic tension or paradox between missional individuals and community. We cannot sustain being missional on our own, but if we are not being missional individually we cannot sustain being mission-shaped corporately.2
A missional church will see themselves as representatives of Jesus and will do nothing to dishonor his name.
A missional church will be totally reliant on God in all it does. It will move beyond superficial faith to a life of supernatural living.
A missional church will be desperately dependent on prayer.
A missional church gathered will be for the purpose of worship, encouragement, supplemental teaching, training, and to seek God's presence and to be realigned with God's missionary purpose.
A missional church is orthodox in its view of the gospel and scripture, but culturally relevant in its methods and practice so that it can engage the world view of the hearers.
A missional church will feed deeply on the scriptures throughout the week.
A missional church will be a community where all members are involved in learning "the way of Jesus." Spiritual development is an expectation.
A missional church will help people discover and develop their spiritual gifts and will rely on gifted people for ministry instead of talented people.
A missional church is a healing community where people carry each other's burdens and help restore gently.
A missional church will requires that its leaders be missiologists.

facebook

my facebook page just got updated with a ton of photos and groups and comments and a host of other thngs.

take a look and tell me what you think

Saturday, November 15, 2008

  1. you can get your e-mail immediately
  2. you can update facebook immediately
  3. you can access all your music on your home computer anytime using the free ap simply media
  4. you can access the bible anytime
  5. maps is a GPS tracker and search engine so you can never get lost
  6. you can search ebay anytime
  7. jott ap lets you talk to your phone while driving or walking in the woods...it records it...converts it to text...and sends you an e-mail
  8. shazam lets you find any new music you hear...tuner lets you listen to any radio station in the world..and white noise lets you listen to rain on the beach while going to sleep
  9. gas bag tells you where the cheapest gas is
  10. urban spoon and around me ap's tell you the best food and sights around you
  11. air share ap lets you have access to all documents on your home computer anytime

i think my next laptop is gonna be a mac!

sick makes you pray

i have been sick for about 2 weeks.

and when i am sick i pray a lot.

and i usually find that i have gotten off-page with God and that he uses this [for me, not necissarily others] to draw me back into what he wants me to be doing.

these are my prayer discoveries:

  1. i decide to do things so that people will be impressed by me, instead of choosing to do the things God wants me to do as his servant.
  2. i give my leftover energy to my family far too often instead of giving them my best.
  3. prayer gives me FAR more insight than study, dialogue, or my own thinking.
  4. the best way to influence the visible world is to spend time in the invisible world.
  5. i run at a speed-of-life that is unnatural and unhealthy, thus when most unhealthy i try to do things in the midst of exhaustion and absent of being connected and focused on God.
  6. my mouth says a lot of useless stuff...what if i spoke only what God would send an angel to say?!
  7. people are rarely villians, but are often victims speaking and reacting poorly to thier wounds; they need help not judgment or gossip.
  8. denial doesn't work.
  9. trying to explain everything you do to the people looking in the fishbowl is a fulltime job that is impossible to even start not to mention finish.
  10. god is good all the time...alll the time god is good!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nehemiah 4
Opposition to the Rebuilding


1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed.

How might Satan oppose your marriage being built / rebuilt?
How might you oppose it?

He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?"

Do you ridicule your spouse?
In front of others…the kids?
How can you instead build up your spouse in the presence of others?


3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!"

Do you believe it can be rebuilt?
Do you believe in one anothers potential?

4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of [a] the builders.

Do you ask God for help?
How often?
Does he…how?


6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.

Are you working on marriage with all your heart…1/2 hearted…no heart at all?
What do you expect to happen?


7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

Do we punish our spouse when they try to improve?
Are we testing them to see if they will fail so we can say to ourselves “I told you so” and then not work on what we need to work on?


10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."

How much rubble [bad memories] do you have? Is that all you look at?

11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
13 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. 14 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."


How can you fight for a great marriage!

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.


What does it mean to build and defend your spouse and your marriage?

19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, "Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day." 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.


What do we guard by night and work on by day?

Friday, September 26, 2008

when you're dead...

What will the ripples in the pond be?
What will they say at your funeral?
What will your great, great, great grandchildren say?
What will God say?


The day before we are born God hands every man a bound book in which to write their autobiography. He also hands them a pen, and thus there can be no revisions of what really happened. And then this broken image of God is set loose to collide with planet earth, in the midst of billions of other intertwining stories. Most simply write their lives mindlessly mimicking what others say and do…but…a precious few stop suddenly one day and are awakened to a very different story and song. It calls out to them and collides in them in the midst of beauty, truth, and pain. It calls them home, home to the true author and architect of life. This spiritual supercollider creates a civil war within where each man must either choose to continue his life in ravenous and rebellious autonomy; or let the song become his own and merge with it learning to live life as a jazz improvisation of the song sung in his own unique voice. And if they listen hard enough and understand the song of creation they are liberated. And the liberation, far from fading, becomes a revolution within [building in power and passion day by day]. Eventually what is happening inside must be birthed outward and become a revolution around them, through them. And then their true story starts to collide with those around them with sparks of moral grandeur, spiritual audacity, and missional love the mere biography becomes a Gospel for all eternity to read and be remembered.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

what we see

We see what we want to. Jack Black in the movie “shallow Hal” sees women only through the lens of their physical appearance and our cultural values of beauty. Then he is given a gift. He becomes in a sense blind to the physical and somehow sees the inner beauty of a woman he then falls in love with. The tricky question then is…which one is truly “seeing?” The Jews of Jesus day were much the same. They had a cultural expectation about what the great rescuer would be like [the messiah]. And while their Bible told them a lot, they tended to see what they wanted to and ignored the rest. Today it’s really the same. People have assumptions and idea about Jesus and God. But very few take the time to really investigate him; really listen and study his words and actions; they know what they want…not…who he is. In essence they want to make him up, and make sure that he makes their “best life now” happen and love them just the way they are. Beyond that cliché…they really aren’t interested. How sad. The God of the universe knocking on a hearts door…and somebody saying [after the ‘knock, knock] “whose there?” God…Jesus. “Jesus / God who?” The Jesus God who loves you! “Oh….i gave at the office…I just stepped out of the shower…I don’t have any cash on me…the mormons were here yesterday give me a break…no I don’t want to take a survey or sign your petition…and Jesus says “I just want to come in and talk…love you…teach you…give you peace and rest…move into the spare bedroom” and we say “sorry lost is on and my Tivo is on the fritz…it’s the 4th quarter hit the road…come back later…I’m calling the police right now…I’ve got a wedding / funeral to go to now isn’t a good time…I’m holding up a finger, guess which one…”
And Like Jessie from Toy Story Jesus is discarded by those he most deeply loves.
No tragedy…not Romeo and Juliet…not Atonement…will ever be as sad. No wonder Jesus said “the son of man has no place to rest.” God’s truest home MAY be in heaven…but he left that place for something he valued even more…YOU!. Your heart…head…soul…you are his truest home.
Pull up the blinds. Unlock the door. Don’t worry about cleaning up [he likes to do it]. Then open the door and let him in. He may look different than expected, a stranger even. But once you get to know him, and you find out just how much he loves you, you will never be the same.
We all long to be loved, and that’s what he wants to do!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Preoccupied
John 1

“What do you want?”
I don’t want. I need.
Need to do the laundry,
vacuum, dust, wash, scrub.
He’s coming – I haven’t lit the candles,
the chandelier doesn’t sparkle just so,
rain-dust has dried on my windows.
These stains won’t come out –
call a steamer, chimney sweep,
plumber, landscaper. I need…
some flowers for the table,
cut and watered, captivating
in crystal, I need some time,
just a little more time.

“What are you looking for?”
Idon’tknowIdon’tknowIdon’tknowIdon’tknow
I looked under the sofa, but it isn’t there,
I even dug between the cushions –
I’ve pulled up goldfish crumbs
and a few dirty pennies, looking.
The trash’s innards are scattered,
soggy tea bags, a broken wine glass,
moldy bread. I combed the cold spaghetti
for some sauce, but all was hardened, stiff.

“Come and see.”
No thanks, I’ve been there before.
I’ve heard your type; you say you’re different
lamb, light, life, word, savior… yada yada yada
but I know. The water’s better over here,
thank you. Living water? I’ve got mold
growing in mine, does that count?
Living water… is it bottled? No?
The boil alert in town says boil it, or buy it
bottled. Nothing about living water.
I’ll check again and see if it’s safe.
Not safe, but good?… does it come in a jug, then?

“Follow me.”
My mother said not to talk to strangers.
This living water, it must be a trick. You want me
for my body… oh. You want me for my soul.
That’s odd. Well look, my friend said you weren’t
so bad. Okay, so he said you were the messiah.
I thought that was a bit of a stretch…
you came from where?! Nothing good can come
from there. Where are you staying?
Maybe you can show me this water.
I’ve got a few goldfish crumbs stuck under
my fingernails, do you mind? I only have
a few pennies to offer for your time.
Two cents, really. You want my two cents?
Who are you, really?
Oh.

Monday, September 8, 2008

john 1:1-18 redux


This is mostly from Lynda Marshall a Christ follower in the UK. She posted it on a website as a creative way to modernize how the gospel of John has effected het.
Hey, in the beginning which was before or yesterday there was the reason why. The reason why sweat and stink, the reason why cornflakes, the reason why trees, grass, flowers break into purple VW Beatles, Mac’s, feet on babies, faces-hey, faces-there was a reason why when in a moment before now, that which was not, big black all over us became…one of us.
By us I mean the one to one squillion ape-likes, wondering why they like a bad cigarette lighter were snapped into a blue faming moment of existence, and a moment later which was always too soon, not sometimes even able to inhale life they more or less were caught and blown away.
The reason why became flesh and made his dorm and dwelling among the TV sets and buildings with no windows and we did not recognize, kept eyes glued to green screens, quiz shows, news, reality, sports-good feelings, happy endings, never think of this end, this matchstick of a life we are decreasing in the smoke of our vanity.
Hey, stood next to my shoulder this reason why, but I wasn’t looking in the peripheral vision just yet. But I began to see him like Brad Pitt blinking into my fight-club life. And then somewhere, somehow, someday I heard someone say “he loves you!” and it was him and he had been whispering this into a thousand moments I could finally hear.
And then somehow on that beach he unexpectedly breathed into me, and I was suddenly alive and awake for the 1st time.
Yeah the reason why became flesh and blood and we have perceived him, the glory of the one and only, woke up life and the colors in my eyes changed as I saw red, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange for the 1st time. And life cracked open and I climbed out of my shell, and looking down at who I was and feeling the wet water of who I am I smiled.
And deep inside the hey now reason smiled at me and laughed, for now he had made his dwelling within me

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

homesick

Going away to college, no matter how far or close to home you are, the first few weeks may be a time of home sickness, when you just aren’t feeling like yourself, and when you’re longing for home. Don’t give up on college yet. You can beat it.To begin with, before you even move in, you should start thinking about what items you’d like to have with you. Pictures of family and friends are a must; I have yet to see a college student that doesn’t have pictures of friends around. You can put the pictures in frames and place them around your room in easy to see areas, or you can put them on your wall. If you have anything special from graduation, such as a gift given to you by a group of friends, or something signed, bring that as well. There are no limits to where you can place items such as these. Also, don’t forget pictures of the beloved family pet. You’ll find you’ll start to miss them as well.Other special items such as yearbooks, CD’s and video tapes can help as well. A list of family and friends email addresses and phone numbers will help you feel closer to them as you always have a way to contact those who you are close to. Websites such as Myspace offer a way for people to keep in touch. So if you don’t have all of friends contact information, don’t forget you can find many friends there or on Facebook. After you are moved in, take the time to decorate your dorm room and make it home. It is your home away from home, so make it a place where you are comfortable. However, the joy here is you can now make it your own home away from home. Don’t let it stop you from being creative. Don’t forget it’s important to go out and make friends! Don’t stay in the room the entire time hiding because you’re afraid to meet new people, college is a time where you are supposed to meet them. Have fun. Go to a few events offered during the first weekend you are there, say hi to the person you see on your floor a lot that you keep bumping into. Little contact like that can help you feel more involved with the campus community, and you won’t feel so alone.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

christians are from mars



At least they should be. Mars Hill is a famous place in Athens Greece. It was there that the parthenon presented the world with many great ideas; it was there that Socrates was tried and drank hemlock as a death sentence; and it was there that the Apostle Paul presented Christianity to the greek people.
But it was very different from Peter’s preaching to the Jews on Pentecost. Why?
Well Peter could take a bullhorn and yell at the Jews because they had witnessed the events around Jesus life for themselves and they were familiar with the Bible and the stories of a coming messiah [rescuer] So he could tee-off in a religious rhoid rage like any good flipped-out Old Testament prophet and the people understood.
But try that in Tokyo…or New York City…or Ashland. And what do you get?
Paul on the other hand is a much better example for our situation. He uses a poem about Zeus written by a famous stoic “in him we live and breath and have our being” and sets the stage for talking about God with pop-culture. On Mars Hill he uses what they know to explain what they don’t know. Just like if we use u-tube; films; music etc. This was Paul’s style…but the substance was the same as what Pete talked about at Pentecost. The substance was still Jesus.
So here’s the gig for you. What is your evangelism style? Do you really wanna act like a used car salesman shouting through a bullhorn?! Probably not. How about instead inviting people over for dinner…or making a video testimony…or some graphic art…or a short film…or baking some cookies…or…
This is the martian way of evangelism. And everybody loves martians because they are just strange little people from another world usually with cool powers. And yes our citizenship is from another world. Heaven. But while we are still here we have a job to do for Jesus. We need to tell people about him. The trick is to tell it in a way that provokes the response Paul got when they said in my paraphrase “freaky dude, let me mull it over…come back tomarrow and we’ll pick it up where we left off.”
“count conversations NOT conversions”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


  1. Go to all orientations. Do you really need to go on yet another campus tour? Yes. The faster you learn your way around campus -- and around all the red tape -- the more at ease you'll feel and the better prepared you'll be when issues arise.

  2. Get to know your roommate and others in your residence hall. The people you live with, most of whom are going through similar experiences and emotions, are your main safety net -- not only this year, but for all your years. You may change roommates after the first semester or you may stay roommates for all four years -- just take the time to get to know your fellow first-year students. If you can join a 242 group through the center for religious life. These friends and a mentor make all the difference in the world.

  3. Get Organized. In high school, the teachers tended to lead you through all the homework and due dates. In college, the professors post the assignments -- often for the entire semester -- and expect you to be prepared. Buy an organizer, a PDA, a big wall calendar -- whatever it takes for you to know when assignments are due.

  4. Find the ideal place for you to study. It may be your dorm room or a cozy corner of the chapel, but find a place that works best for you to get your work done -- while avoiding as many distractions as possible.

  5. Go to class. Obvious, right? Maybe, but sleeping in and skipping that 8 am class will be tempting at times. Avoid the temptation. Besides learning the material by attending classes, you'll also receive vital information from the professors about what to expect on tests, changes in due dates, etc.

  6. Become an expert on course requirements and due dates. Professors spend hours and hours preparing course syllabi and calendars so that you will know exactly what is expected of you -- and when. One of the lamest excuses a student can give a professor: "I didn't know it was due today."

  7. Meet with your professors. Speaking as an instructor at the Seminary, I can assure you there are only upsides to getting to know your professors, especially if later in the semester you run into some snags. Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students -- take advantage of that time.

  8. Get to know your academic adviser. This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, deciding on majors and minors. This person is a key resource for you -- and should be the person you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts. And don't be afraid of requesting another adviser if you don't click with the one first assigned to you.

  9. Seek a balance. College life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don't tip the balance too far in either direction. One of my favorite former students always used to say her motto was to "study hard so she could play hard."

  10. Get involved on campus. A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group -- and be careful not to go overboard -- of student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. You'll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school. Go to 5 stones community church on Sundays and find a midweek service like the well, FCA, or Newman to attend as well. It will recharge your batteries.

  11. Strive for good grades. Another obvious one here, right? Remember the words of the opening paragraph; while good grades could have come naturally to you in high school, you will have to earn them in college -- and that means setting some goals for yourself and then making sure you work as hard as you can to achieve them.

  12. Take advantage of the study resources on campus. Just about all colleges have learning labs and tutors available. If you're having some troubles, these resources are another tool available to you. Another idea: form study groups.

  13. Make time for you. Be sure you set aside some time and activities that help you relax and take the stress out of your day or week. Whether it's enlisting yoga techniques, watching your favorite television shows, or writing in a journal, going to the chapel prayer room, be good to yourself.

  14. Don't feel pressured to make a hasty decision about a career or a major. It doesn't matter if it seems as though everyone else seems to know what they're doing with their lives -- believe me, they don't -- college is the time for you to really discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you're good at, and what you want to be. It's not a race; take your time and enjoy exploring your options.

  15. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Don't look to place the blame on others for your mistakes; own up to them and move on. Being an adult means taking responsibility for everything that happens to you.

  16. Make connections with students in your classes. One of my best students said his technique in the first week of classes was to meet at least one new person in each of his classes. It expanded his network of friends -- and was a crucial resource at times when he had to miss a class.

  17. Find the Career Services Office. Regardless of whether you are entering college as undeclared or have your entire future mapped out, seek out the wonderful professionals in your college's career services office and get started on planning, preparing, and acting on your future.

  18. Prioritize your life. It may have been easy in high school to wait until the last minute to complete an assignment and still get a good grade, but that kind of stuff will not work for you in college. Give yourself deadlines -- and stick to them.

  19. Stay healthy/Eat Right. A lot of problems first-year students face can be traced back to an illness that kept them away from classes for an extended period of time that led to a downward spiraling effect. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven't heard the jokes about college food, you soon will. And without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or cookies. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra "Freshman 15" pounds by sticking to a balanced diet.

  20. Learn to cope with homesickness. It's only natural that there will be times when you miss your family, even if you were one of those kids who couldn't wait to get away. Find a way to deal with those feelings, such as making a phone call or sending some email home.

  21. Stay on campus as much as possible. Whether it's homesickness, a job, or a boyfriend or girlfriend from home, try not to leave campus too soon or too often. The more time you spend on getting to know the campus and your new friends, the more you'll feel at home at school. And why not take advantage of all the cultural and social events that happen on campus?

  22. Seek professional help when you need it. Most colleges have health and counseling centers. If you're sick or feeling isolated or depressed, please take advantage of the many services these offices provide students. You don't have to face these issues by yourself.

  23. Keep track of your money. If you've never had to create a budget, now is the time to do so. Find ways to stretch your money - and as best you can, avoid all those credit card solicitations you'll soon be receiving. The average credit card debt of college grads is staggering.

  24. Don't cut corners. College is all about learning. If you procrastinate and cram, you may still do well on tests, but you'll learn very little. Even worse, don't cheat on term papers or tests.

  25. Be prepared to feel overwhelmed. There's a lot going in your life right now. Expect to have moments where it seems a bit too much. As one student says, be prepared to feel completely unprepared. The trick is knowing that you're not the only one feeling that way.

Top 10 Reasons College Students Leave/Drop-Out


Too much fun at the expense of classes and grades
A sense of not belonging; a sense of isolation, homesickness
Academically unprepared; burned-out on education
Financial constraints; low on funds
Personal family issues
Academic climate/fit
Choice of wrong major; major not offered
Lack of advising, guidance
Demands from part-time or full-time employment
Move to a different geographic location

7+19+364

I dated my wife Amy for 7 years [she was 14 when we started!]
we have been married for 19 years
and 364 days

wed it will be 20 years of marriage
27 years of relationship

with that in mind i thought i would give some of you singles a few things to mull over at the 20 year point.

  1. attraction is VASTLY over-rated. 3 things are real. 1 we all make-love in the dark! 2 making love is an act of intimacy with the whole of a person. 3 getting wrinkled, gray, and fat is a wonderful sign that vogue magazine and GQ are no longer your slave-masters.
  2. having a mutual MISSION is more important in terms of compatability than you can imagine. Enjoying the same music, tv shows etc will seem crazy when you are up to your ears in diapers. But having the same mission in life will keep you drawn together.
  3. FEELINGS are the product of actions and attitude. Feeling like you are in or out of love is funny to married people. We see each other sitting on the can...we do things that drive each other nuts...our emotions are all over the map. Covenant and committment are driven by a choice of attitude and a set of consistant actions. Feelings will follow.
  4. ROMANCE matters and people want to feel pursued. BUT, learning to trust and feel comfortable with each other is really, really nice and losing the competative nature of neurotic pusuit is one of the great things about staying married. ENTITLEMENT attitudes suck...but so does Conditional love.
  5. You will fret and fight over MONEY, SEX, and Child-rearing more than you think. Have a good plan for handling these things. and understand you are not alone, each decade will have new challenges which can be met with good communication, regular couselling, and a lot of faith.
  6. The ability to give GRACE and COMPASSION for your spouses weaknesses and immaturity cannot be over-exaggerated.
  7. This won't sound hip, in fact it will be VERY old fashioned. But men thrive and grow in ADMIRATON and RESPECT and women love to have true INTIMACY and nourturing PROTECTION.
  8. He will never be JERRY McGuire, and she will never be ANGELINA Pitt. Get over it.
  9. Having a sense of HUMOR and an ability to laugh at yourself and roll-with-it will get you through the hard times far more than skill, reason, etc.
  10. Your spouse is the most dangerous person in the world, and the safest. Nobody will ever have the keys to your heart that they will. Marry somebody that is TRUSTWORTHY.
  11. PS: Girls...try not to marry a boy...guys, frigin put down the PS3 controllers and grow up!
below is a book to look at. Not perfect but some good advice.

The Twenty Something Manifesto: Quarter-Lifers Speak out about Who They are, What They Want, and How to Get IT (New World Library), is out NOW! This book for women and men delves deeper into the issues of Expectation HangoversTM and the life skills needed to create the life you want! The book's format includes stories & guidance queries from twenty-something's, followed by commentary by Christine; Life Coach and quarter-life crisis expert. Order your copy today! Be sure to visit the 20 Something Manifesto WEBSITEThe Manifesto survey continues! Please take 5 minutes to share your twenty-something experience and become part of Christine's mission of "Transforming the Twenty-Something Experience!" CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Monday, August 25, 2008

luke 15 redux

"There was once a Father who had two sons. The younger said to his father, 'Father, I want to go to college and have a limitless Visa card while I’m there, and a Mustang convertible. "So the father cashed in his portfolio and most of his retirement. It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant universe-city. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his [dad’s] money, there was not as generous a bell curve as he had expected, and he flunked out as well. He signed on with a local citizen who assigned him to clean at his farm. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. He even missed Convo... "That brought him to his senses. He said, 'All those union guys working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I'm going back to my dad. I'll say to him, dad, I've rebelled against God, I've taken advantage of you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.' He got right up and went home to his dad. "When he was still a long way off, his dad saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, wrestled him to the ground and kissed him. The son started his speech: 'Father, I've rebelled against God and you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.' "But the dad wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants, 'Quick. Go to American Eagle and dress him. Put the family AMEX in his wallet and Adidas on his feet. Then go down to the BBQ and fire up some ribs. We're going to feast! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!' And they began to have a wonderful time. "All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day's work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard Death Cab for Cutie playing and dancing. Calling over one of the caterer’s, he asked what was going on. He told him, 'Your brother came home. Your dad has ordered a feast—barbecued beef! And brewski’s—because he has him home safe and sound.' "The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His dad came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!' "His dad said, 'Son, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he's alive! He was lost, and he's found!'"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Are you alone?

Every time you move, this question will jump up into your heart for at least a few seconds. If you indulge it the other questions will follow: “Will I make friends; do I have what it takes; was this the right decision?”
Nobody can answer all the questions that will creep into your heart and mind, but I can answer one with extreme clarity. The question might come in a lot of forms but the answer is “you will be loved and accepted…just the way you are.”

Our church is a sanctuary. A place of grace where “you can belong, even if you don’t believe” and “no perfect people allowed” are part of our spiritual DNA. You can be exploring faith; asking the question ‘church, why bother?’; or simply asking God how to be transformed more into someone who looks like Jesus-and how to teach and serve others as he did. We are passionate about being servants to the university and the community.5 stones community church exists to love God by helping others to become fully devoted followers of Jesus. It’s a tall-order, and none of us have it all figured out. But God is leading us into transformation; a world-wide revolution of love; spiritual experiences; moral grandeur and soulish audacity. We learn from each other and we love. We laugh and we cry. We ask questions and when we don’t have answers we don’t barf cliché’s and platitudes on people. Super ‘religious’ people don’t understand us; we are into relationships not religion.

And I’m the leader of this rag-tag group of misfits. Expatriates from heaven who are more than we were and less than what we will become. And we have made a few choices. 3 actually. 1 we will love God, because we choose to and because he loves us; 2 we will love each other, because we choose to and because God has shown us how; and 3 we will love YOU because we choose to and because this is part of the mission of our church family. So when you’re ready come see us. We will love ya, feed ya, cry or laugh with ya, answer questions as best we can, and in general just be that “safe place” you can go to if it is time to explore faith; come home to God; or need bail money after way too much drinking and assorted unsavory behaviors catch-up to you J And yes my teaching is full of Bible verses, sarcasm, and movie clips. I get paid to annoy people…it’s the greatest job in the world. I comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.

We meet at Miller Chapel on the A/U campus every Sunday at 10:30am. Bring your doubts, hangovers, desire for God etc. and join us. I have an office in the building right next to common grounds and I am available 24/7 for you as well. My cellphone number is 419-554-1447 and the e-mail is
david@5stones.org.

PS: believe it or not God loves you more than you can even imagine. And you are never really alone; he is just a prayer away!


soon you will see some posters around a/u, they function as a public service warning for packs of angry chihuahua's that are roaming the campus.


these animals are dangerous. However they fear miller chapel for some strange / spiritual reason. Thus we [5 stones] are providing the chapel as a refuge / sanctuary.


they like to attack between the hours of 10:30am and noon on sundays.


and no...your dorm isn't safe.


before they complete thier revolution...and the coming concentration camps and cultural revolution. Join with us as the last refuge of safety.


 

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