Wednesday, December 13, 2006

thank you GOD for church plants!

i've been thinking lately how AWESOME it is that there are so many planting new churches. it seems like planting groups are sprouting up everywhere! that's SUCH a blessing. it seems to mean that christians in america are contextualizing the gospel in the language of the next generation. it seems like that never happened in places like europe.

thank you GOD for blowing your wind over our land!

Friday, October 27, 2006

send the family to the front line?

so it seems that there are a couple really different views of the relationship between family and ministry for those in ministry.

i've always stuck close to the view that relationship with God comes first, then your spouse, then your kids and then your work or ministry. my dad used to tell me when i was just thinking about entering full-time ministry, "you'd be better off as a used car salesman than with a wife who does not support you in ministry." (nothing against used car salespeople!)

but point taken. an unhappy wife, spouse or family that is falling apart or even just not given what they need is no way to go about things. and probably even more so if you're in a vocational, all-eyes-on-your-family kinda of place in ministry. (which would all of it.)

in the past, there have been lots of guys who for various reasons have left their family high and dry in search of the next ministry breakthrough. i remember reading in college about D.L. Moody in a biography. he did just that and it didn't set right with me...probably because of my dad's voice in my head. but now, i wonder if dad's on to something.

a question i often wonder is, "what level of sacrifice is appropriate for a family?" let me be honest. it feels to me that most of the "sacrifice" of vocational ministry falls not on the minister, but the family. the time away from home, the lack of emotional energy left for the family at the end of the day, the hard to contain work/homelife distinction all end up robbing the family mainly.

"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5). i know this is talking about providing financially (which may exactly apply if in FT ministry!), but how much more important is it to provide spiritually and emotionally? from jesus' teaching, i would guess that he would say, VERY!

of course there's the whole jesus-says-to-leave-your-wife-and-children passages. i read those as jesus asking them to either 1)give up allegiance to them or, 2) give up the right to have a wife and children. i can't see jesus asking people to leave their wives and young children, especially in light of the fact that jesus, on the cross, is still caring and providing for his own mother.

so is it right to take time and emotional energy that is necessary for your family's growth to give to others in ministry? is it right to knowingly put kids or spouse in harm's way? what level of "taking from the family" is wise? of course i trust in God. but let's be honest, we're making decisions that affect not just our own lives, but other's too. it's one thing to trust God with our own life or death, but quite another to make the decision for another.

maybe physically dangerous and emotionally demanding ministry should be saved for those that are single. or maybe the expectations should just be lowered. (and maybe that might be an internal, spiritual adjustment for married ministers who try to do too much!) maybe that's what paul talks about when he suggests to remain single for the sake of the kingdom. maybe married people are trying to minister like they're single and sometimes end up single as a result of it.

would a soldier take his family to the front line of a battle? or what good soldier would have a family and then leave for the rest of his family's life?

i don't think either is a good option.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

fun with media

i like to collect fun christian media on the internet. (especially stuff that helps christian laugh at themselves.) here are some that i think are funny.... Jesus videos

Terminator and Jesus from MadTV

Reformed Gangstas (i consider myself both arminian and reformed, but this is funny!)

Real Christian Heroes (click worship and arts and then creative arts gallery)

Baby Got Book music video

anyone have anymore to add to the list?

why blog?

this was a funny page....

How to dissuade yourselves from becoming a blogger

it brings up a good question....why blog? it seems like there are several possibilities...
1) you have too much time and have nothing better to do
2) you want someone, anyone, to know you and in our disconnected culture and hope this might be a way. (well, now there's myspace for that ;)
3) you want influence and want your name to be on the internet. after all, megaphones on street corners are sort of out in our culture, so how else to get your message out?

my brother in law eric asked me the other day why i started blogging....i said that it's all about influence and fame. what? is that so wrong? :) if none of the good guys have influence, where's the world going to be in 50 years!

my original hope was to start blogging about some of my counter-western culture thoughts on parenting and family. when my wife and i started researching parenting styles (greener grass parenting? :), i didn't find a lot online from a christian perspective from the parenting style we were leaning toward, and i think there should be.

of course, this blog isn't anything about parenting and family. hopefully i'll start it someday soon....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

how does it apply to middle-class-white-christians in america?

in my quiet time last week i read two passages that led to to the same does the bible apply to me as someone who is, relatively speaking, wealthy and in positions of power. (if you own ONE car, you're weathly!)

two passages on the same day... Luke 18:1-8 and Ps. 17. here are excerpts....

Luke 18:6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?" (why did i think that this passage had to do primarily with everyday prayer requests....?)

Ps 17:13 Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword.

my trouble is this: i'm not in any position to need justice about anything and i don't have enemies. with the passage in luke, i'm not even associated with anyone who is in need of justice. i'm just not around anyone who isn't also in positions of power and affluence like me. with the psalm, i suppose i could spiritualize it...i have enemies of the world, the flesh and the devil. and believe me, they are certainly enemies. but david is obviously talking about real enemies...flesh and blood enemies.

so maybe in order to have the bible apply to me more, i need to make some enemies and get around those who experience injustice. i have no idea how to even begin doing that....and i'm not sure that i really want it bad enough to follow through if i did know.

the bible is hard....

intro to lark news

this website cracks me up. they're a little edgy's good christian news satire. this one's pretty funny....

Mega-church downsizes, cuts non-essential members

Saturday, September 02, 2006


in good postmodern fashion, i want to have a disclaimer on my site. if i'm going to start putting my thoughts on various things online, i thought i had better warn you: i'm prone to changing my mind. :)

one of the students i work with at purdue calumet had a great quote as a signature on her email for awhile. it describes well my disclaimer:

"Although it may be unnecessary to state the obvious, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the opinions that I express here are but my own, and naturally, that I reserve the right to change them at any time that I am convinced, by the use of reason and better logic, of the error of my ways." (Juan R. Torruella)

that describes me well. i'm obviously not that postmodern :). i'm pretty swayed by evidence...although sometimes if i get a picture in my head of what could or should be, i may disregard evidence on the way to fulfilling that picture.

so there it is. that's my disclaimer

Friday, August 11, 2006

fun with eggs

so since my wife has been pregnant, she's craved scrambled eggs just about every morning for breakfast. i have wikihow on my google home page, and one day, this how-to came up. it's surprisingly simple and easy to do. fun!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

jesus franchises

i just finished watching the willowcreek leadership summitt 2003 interview with ken blanchard and john maxwell. i was really struck by a picture that ken blanchard painted. when he was asked how american pastors are doing with leadership, he responded with a charge for churches to unite and "kill the competition," by focusing on jesus. churches are like franchises promoting a product, the message of jesus. he called us to get over our club rules, regulations and rituals and work toward the same goal. (of course, the church is much more than that....all illustrations break down either quickly or somewhere down the line.)

that's always been a value and passion of mine. working with ivcf, i get to move in and out lots of different churches, denominations and christian circles. i count that a priviledge. i dream of a time when churches of an area like mine in nw indiana could unite and kill the competition. it seems possible to actually focus on proclaiming the message of jesus in a way that unites people of differences.

but that dream has been challenged recently for me. because in order to unite, that would mean that christians would all have to adopt my "united" framework. what i mean is that i believe with all my heart that there are certain things that are central to the christian faith and certain things that are periphery. if we could all just focus on the central things, we could kill the competition. but who gets to decide what's central and periphery? and is it just pride to think that i get to say what is peripheral?

lots of folks wouldn't agree on what is central and what is not. that's why the differences. and sometimes i wonder if my" dropping of peripheral things" is just pushing my framework on another. some folks i've found recently would not even agree that there are central and peripherial beliefs. for them, everything is central....and to acknowledge a periphery is to acknowledge weakness, lose respect and to become ineffective in leading people to jesus.

would jesus or paul have said "well, that's not central and i'm not sure if what i believe is right or not.... there have been so many perspectives over the years." part of me doubts that.

at the same time, humility and a biblical understanding of the human condition, even after jesus changes a person, would seem to include some doubt at all times of our own ability to get it right. i just can't believe that having an attitude of absolute correctness would be something jesus would want.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

greener grass

i've been thinking about starting a blog for awhile. so here's my first post.

so i'm the kind of guy who's always trying to make something better. that has it's good and it's bad. i like to download talks by mark driscoll. my brother in law got me listening to him. (thanks scott!). mark has a great talk on masculinity. check it out. one of his thoughts is that God has made men to be cultivators....we like to fix things and make them better and better. of course that's a generalization, but i think there's truth in it.

that's me. i can be obsessed with it. take my grass for instance. i don't think that i'm obsessed with it, but my wife says that i talk about it a lot. i just want nice grass...i want to be able to lay in the grass face-up without getting my butt dirty. it's nowhere near that yet. but i keep working on it. i don't work on it like the lady down the street...she mowes her grass like 3 times a week and hand pulls out every weed. that's cool....i just don't have that kind of time.

for me, lots of things are like my grass...i spend a lot of mental energy thinking up new ways to make things better.

i know the saying, "the grass is always greener on the other side." i think that the grass is greener about a lot of things. i'm working on striking the balance between helpful cultivation and perfectionism. i definitely still fall on the perfectionism side. one day i'll get it that jesus doesn't care about perfectionism like i sometimes do. but i don't want to miss out on something as simple as better grass or something as huge as people making a decision to follow jesus

so until i get there, i still like to work on greener grass.