Tuesday, February 28, 2006
So I bought this incredible book the other day! Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. The basic premise of his book is that the Christian faith (like art) is always changing and evolving. This isn't a bad thing, in fact if you build a wall of belief you will become out dated and irrelevant....(my words not his) Well anyway there will be all sorts of stuff from his book in my future blogs, because it is a great and challenging book. Anyway the thing that struck me was how he started his first church. He had worked as an intern in two churches and then at the age of 28 he and his wife went to Grand Rapids Michigan and started Mars Hill Church (after the passage in Acts where Paul claims pagan truth and claims it as God's and uses it to minister to people). Well they never put up any posters about the church, they didn't hand out flyers, and when some people came with a sign for outside, he sent it away! he idea was that if people wanted to come to church they would find it. Well on their first Sunday there were 1,000 people there! The next Sunday it had grown more, and within three years they had bought a mall because they didn't have enough room, and today there are roughly 10,000 people there on a Sunday morning. What did they do? Well they sang some songs and then Rob would speak on Leviticus for an hour. But something in all of this connected with people and they WANTED to come.
So this brings me to my question, Am I excited to come to church on Sunday? Are you? Now I know that there are lots of people in our church that are excited about God, and I am too, however the thought of coming to church for the rest of my life.... well I'm not totally thrilled at the prospect. I love the Church, and I would defend the Bride of Christ till my last breath, but something’s gotta change. Where is the excitement? Where is the passion? Can a church that has been established for 60 years and has lost some of that original fervor get it back, or do we have to leave and start new churches? That certainly seems like the easiest way to do it, but is that what God wants? Is that what is healthy? So many questions, so few answers.
Monday, February 27, 2006
"So what must we do here in the west
we want to follow you we speak the language
and we keep all the rules
even a few we made up
come on and follow me
but sell your house, s
ell your suv sell your stocks,
sell your security and give it to the poor
what is this,
hey what’s the deal
I don’t sleep around
and I don’t steal
I want the things you just can’t give me"
So yeah, hard to live up to, but a good challenge. Now that you’re thinking about the Rich Young Ruler, go and check out Alistair Begg and Ravi Zacharias and their sermon on what it means to follow Christ. They have some absolutely incredible thoughts on what it means to follow Christ. As well as a great insight into the whole story of the rich young ruler, so I wouldn’t keep you, go and check it out.
Friday, February 24, 2006
The second thing that needs to mark us as Godly people is the ability to pass the grace God has shown us on to other people! Too often we as Christians are reluctant (or unable) to show other people (specifically people we don't like) the love, forgiveness, and grace that we have received from God. Yancey tells the story of a prostitute who came looking for help. When it was suggested to her that she should go to the church to get help, her response was, "Why would I go to the church, I already feel horrible!" We as people who are striving to be more like Christ need to reach out the hand of Grace. When Jesus met the woman caught in adultery did he condemn her? Nope! Did he say ANYTHING about her mistakes, her failures, her promiscuity? Nope!! He just said, "Woman where are your accusers? Did none of them condemn you? Then neither do I!" And then He says, "Now go and sin no more!" I think that we have this great fear as Christians that if we aren't telling people that they are wrong, or that they are living in sin, that then we are accepting what they are doing. But what we really are doing is driving people away from the Grace of God that says, "Come as you are, get to know me and THEN go and sin no more!" I believe that Matthew 18 has a strong warning for those of us who decide not to pass on the Grace of God to others.
Anyway that's all for now. I leave you this line to ponder for the rest of the day. I mean really think about what this means, "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me."
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
So there was this really interesting article in Relevant about the "dark side of ipods" (Click Here to read the whole thing) the basic idea of it though is that ipods, and digital music in general don't allow artists to fully express themselves with their cover art and such. Now, you have Brittany Spears (manufactured crap) next to intelligent witty bands like Death Cab for Cutie or Jack Johnson. I thought it was an interesting take. I also read yesterday in Macleans Magazine that Apple is working on a new ipod that will be able to judge what your mood is, and then play music that would fit the mood. So if you're angry it would play some metal or rap, and if you were feeling all passionate and such it would play, some smooth jazz or classical. Two thoughts about that. One is, if Microsoft wants to take over your living room with the xbox 360 and computers etc. Then Mac must be trying to take over the rest of your life. And the second thought comes from my wife, she said, "I'm not sure I would want to be on the other side of a person who is angry, and who's ipod is making them more angry." hmmm could Apple be sued one day in the future for inciting violence?
May each of you see the same thing in your own life today.
Oh! And about meeting with those youth pastors? Well there's always next week right!?
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
So if you've ever been in my office you might have noticed that I got a couple of Playmobil guys sitting on my desk. Well yesterday afternoon I had a bit of time to kill, a digital camera, a movie editing program and some Playmobil. Well it didn't take long for some stop motion action to start in my office. I got to say it made me wish I had my billion boxes of the stuff from home. I would have loved to have been able to spend a bit more time on it with some cool backgrounds.... does anyone else ever wish that they could step into a time machine and go back to when they were 10 years old and all they had to do was play Lego and Playmobil. Maybe go out and play cops and robbers with their friends? Man! I wish I could.... oh well. Here's longing to be 10 again.... I think I'm going to have to turn on John Mayer's song 83 (“If only my life was more like nineteen eighty-three.”) and go down memory lane.
Monday, February 20, 2006
One hour into the meetingSitting at Annual meeting wondering when it’s going to be over. To make things worse I know that the Men’s hockey team is down two nothing right now. Now I don’t really mind meetings…. Well actually I do... but it’s just not how I want to spend my Saturday morning… and afternoon… sigh* Oh well I guess that’s the life of a pastor. I guess it gives me some time to work on a post for my blog. I’m really tempted to run home and get my router so I can have internet access here in the basement. Hmmmm sounds good...
5 hours later
Well I never did go get that router… man this is LONG!!! Help SAVE me!!!!!!!!!Good question to ask though was how can we work to bring the older people (20 and up) and the youth (19 and down) together in a non-intimidating way. ‘Cause lets face it, on Sunday morning I’m not that likely to go over and talk to a senior, and I don’t very often have older people come and talk with me, so what we need is a safe middle ground for us all to get together and hang out. Yup, maybe a bit of a pipe dream but still worth thinking about.
Ok so I should just say that if anything there made you think badly of me or the church, I can't be held responsible, something happens to me after sitting still for a more than two hours... I become a different person (see pic of my alter ego)!
Anyway just had to say that my past time the last couple days (and the greatest annoyance to my wife) has been Sid Meier's Pirates!! Seriously I used to play this game when it was on our computer using those big 5 inch disks. Now they've updated it, and made the graphics better etc. but the game play is still the exact same!!!! It is so relaxing to sail at 3 knots against wind and slowly bring your ship around to give the 'ole broadside to the English Ship...
man I'm such a geek! But really it is so amazing how four hours can slip by without noticing... such a good time.
Well now it's time to actually do some work
Thursday, February 16, 2006
This post is a little later than normal today because I've been working on a little movie project for Sunday morning (highlights of the tourney) Anyway all I have to say about that is, Macs are SOOOOOO much better when it comes to video editing. Microsoft... bite me!
Well last night after I got home I watched American Idol (go old guy) and Lost. I don't normally watch lost (since it's on a youth night) but I'd seen a preview for this one and I just had to see what was going to happen. I must say it was an interesting walk into the dark side of humanity and the things that we can be capable. Sayid Jarrah (who was an Iraqi soldier turned torturer for the Americans during the gulf war) returns to the skills he learnt a lifetime ago. Very interesting, very scary. But all in all a great episode, and almost enough to get me hooked.... but not quite.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
So I was chillin listing to the guys from Relevant Magazine on their podcast. And they made a very interesting comment, “We as Christians need to stop seeing Hollywood as Sodom and start seeing it as Nineveh. Instead of this place that we need to burn to the ground we it’s a place we need to go to and be a positive witness to.” *GASP* You mean that as christians we shouldn't just condemn them and pray for fire from heaven? If you are an actor or musician, keep going for it, the world needs you!
So yesterday was Valentines day... I must say it passed without too much fanfare in our house. For most of our dating life Niki and I were either apart or had something up on Valentines day so it doesn't really mean much to us (although last year I did record a CD for her) Instead we chose to celebrate 9 months of married bliss. Hard to believe that it's been that long, and at the same time it's hard to believe it's only been nine months. I love her more each day! She really is the most incredible wife in the world!!!
Ok so enough bragging. Yesterday I was reading my issue of Discipleship Journal and I found this interesting quote to share, “Stop praying for persecution in China to end… We, in fact, are praying that the American Church might taste THE SAME PERSECUTION so revival would come (there) like we have seen in China.” - A leader of the Chinese house-church movement quoted in World, October 1, 2005
Just found that very interesting, since it goes against everything that we think we should be praying for. It fits so well with what Leonard Sweet said about Mark 4:35-41. In the storm the Disciples went for the lesser blessing in asking God to calm the storm. They could have ridden it and enjoyed the wild waves and thunder knowing that they were safe but instead they were afraid and didn’t trust God to carry them through. As a result they got less than they could have. I wonder if we as the North American church are missing out by praying for safety, and that God would spare us from the trials of persecution?
Monday, February 13, 2006
Well I started walking again (Groan) yup! after months of taking the car back and forth from work, I've decided to get out smell the fresh air and get some exercise. This winter has seen the 'ole waist line increase, so back to that torture called punishment. Well on my way to work yesterday afternoon I had a couple thoughts. The first is that (like Matt) I only spend time quiet and thinking when I am walking. It is one of the few times that I am actually able to quiet myself down before God. For all of my high hopes and dreams about my prayer life, I actually struggle a lot to turn it into true practice. Which is probably the only reason I like walking. I can pray and think, and spend time with God. Sometimes it even feels like He is walking right there with me. So, you Altona people if you see me walking by myself and my lips moving, don't worry I'm not crazy. Or at least this isn't the proof you're looking for.
My next thought comes from this very nice bike I saw on my walk. It was this sweet Giant bike with shocks etc. And my first thought was, "Man I'd like one of those!" But why? I do have a good bike (brand new in fact) it has shocks, shimano parts (what bike doesn't?) and it's perfectly good. The only thing it doesn't have is a sweet brand name. So here's the question; At what point does our desire for nice things become plain old greed? I've always believed that God doesn't want us to be poor beggars on the street. He does bless us with the things that we need (no I am not spouting health and wealth) but where is the line were we have too much? Is it different for everyone? Is wanting a 42 inch TV when you have a 21inch bad? sinful? silly?
One final thought from my walk. Old people shouldn't be allowed to drive! I was like a block away and this old lady stopped in her driveway and waited for me to pass her. And then when she pulled out onto the road I passed her, walking! Oh dear... I really think we need to do what Alberta is talking about, mandatory drivers tests for people over 70. Good idea? I think so.
This is Nikolay Valuev he just won some heavy weight title or something like that. Who really cares, The reason I put him on here is because LOOK AT HIM! He's some giant out of a Bond movie. He's 7ft tall and Russian.... Do I smell movie contract?
And finally Niki and I went over to Ben and Cindy's last night for a friendly game of spoons. Let's just say that when you get enough pastors into a game chaos is not far behind. Cindy has video of the whole event and I think I'll have to try and steal it and put it up for sale on ebay. Anyway, thanks all of you for a great time. Let's do it again soon.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Jr. Youth was cancelled last night because of the weather. So it didn't look to bad in town, but my sources said it was pretty bad outside of town, so we didn't have youth. I did go out to the hill where we were going to be sledding (to make sure that everyone knew it was cancelled) and I was able to talk to two of our girls, it made me wish that we were still having youth, every other week is just not enough.
On the plus side though I got to watch Survivor again. Niki and I are both pretty hooked. Another good twist last night, they did a "School yard pick" to take the four teams and turn them into two. Very nice, I wasn't expecting that yet. Anyway Melinda got voted off, too bad, should have been Shane, what a jerk. Anyway at least he has another week of detox, that'll be good for him.
Oh and I guess it wouldn't be a complete Canadian blog without talking about the Gretzky scandal. Here's my two cents, 25 Billion dollars a year is illegally gambled on NFL football (by the way there is more money bet on one month of NFL than a year of Baseball... because football is better) Anyway my point is simply this, the only reason they are going after this particular ring of gamblers is because it might be connected to the mob. So whatever, leave the Great One alone, he's not connected and his wife was dumb, whatever, forget it. Oh on a side note did you know that the mob's greatest source of revenue is illegal gambling? So once again I have to ask, "How does Gretzky fit?"
Finally because it's the weekend... in a few hours a small laugh for you.... following the island theme, "If you're ever shipwrecked on a tropical island and you don't know how to speak the natives' language, just say "Poppy-oomy." I bet it means something." - Jack Handey
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The setting is a nice green hill in Israel. The disciples are chilling with Jesus, no crowds, no miracles, no big storms, just a nice sunny day to relax. The disciples are probably enjoying it, thinking about how great it is going to be when Jesus is king and they are all rulers and leaders of his new kingdom. And then Jesus asks this seemingly harmless question. He says, "Who do people say I am?" The disciples think about it for a bit, and since it's a nice day, they choose not to tell Jesus all of the bad things they've heard (you know the, "Jesus is Satan or at the very least the son of Satan stuff) and so they go light hearted instead. They say, "Some say you're John the Baptist back from the dead." and everyone laughs because we know that's impossible, and so the disciples continue to one up each other. Then Jesus says, "Who do YOU say I am." And Peter with a brainwave says, "You're the Messiah!" Jesus says "Bang on you got it, and soon I'm going to die..." and as Peter listens his view of Jesus is shattered! So he takes Jesus aside to tell him that to lead a country he can't be dead. And Jesus says, "Get behind me Satan!" and then maybe in a gentler tone, "You are seeing things from a human point of view and not from Gods."
And now we get to the hard part Jesus says, "If you want to be my disciple then you need to take up your cross and follow me." We think take up our cross so I put on my little gold chain and tuck it into my shirt. But in this culture the cross meant ONE thing. It meant death of the body and spirit. The cross wasn't just about killing you, it was about humiliating you, shaming you and making you long for the hand of death to take you. To say to some one, "go to the cross!" was the equivalent of saying, "Go fuck yourself" or maybe worse. The cross was an insult, the cross was shame, and the cross was death. This is why Paul talks about the shame of the cross.
So what does that mean for us? Well if we aren't standing for what is right, at the risk of humiliation, shame, and pain, then we are not taking up our crosses and following Jesus. We are failing to be disciples of Jesus Christ. And in Mark 8 Jesus says, "If you are ashamed of me in these sinful and adulterous days, then I the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when I return in the glory of my Father and with the heavenly angels."
And now, like Peter, my view of what Jesus will do for me is shattered. I always expected Jesus to welcome me into heaven with open arms and the big "Well DONE!" But Jesus is saying, “if you've been ashamed of me then I will be ashamed of you!
So how do we live up to it? How do we carry the cross? Not just the youth who I shared this with last night, but how do I live it myself?
(Verses from Mark 8:27 on)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
So yesterday I was typing up some application forms and such, while listening to both the Simply Youth Ministry and the Relevant Magazine podcasts. It was a refreshing time of learning, laughing and keeping up to date on the things of this world. Good times! Anyway while listening to the Relevant podcast I heard of a great new band... well actually it's only one guy, named Derek Webb. If you were a big Caedmons Call fan then you already know who I'm talking about. This guy spent a good 10ish years playing for this staple Christian band, before going solo. The thing that struck me about him was his profoundly deep lyrics and his heart for social justice, not to mention some sweet guitar and a great ability to write songs. So yeah feeling like some mellow songs, with challenging lyrics, check this guy out!
So now the secret is out. What do youth pastors do? Well apparently hundreds of them subscribe to Doug Field's podcast for, "Just enough youth ministry so you don't feel guilty for not working." Well I try to multitask and do both at the same time, but I'm not really that good at that. But like I said, there are hundreds of other youth pastors all over Canada and the United states who find half an hour in their busy day to listen to Doug and his friends spew on the World Wide Web.
Just so you don't think I don't do anything here is a picture from our last Sr. Youth event at the Hill. It was pretty incredible to watch these guys go over the kicker. Now everyone knows that I actually do do some work.... sometimes.
And because I’m feeling especially patriotic today, a quote from one of the most famous Scots of all time, “There’s narely an animal alive that can out run a greased Scotsman!” Groundskeeper Willie (The Simpsons)Feeling mildly guilty for not working as hard as a lumberjack... or Groundskeeper Willie
Now here's a movie I'm looking forward, Nacho Libre (click here to watch the trailer) For those of you who say, "Just tell me what it's about already!!" It stars the dashing Jack Black as a priest who becomes a Mexican wrestler. As if this isn't great enough, it's written by the same guy who wrote School of Rock (one of my top five movies of all time). Now I know you are all thrilled for sure to go and see it, BUT it gets BETTER! It is directed by Jared Hess the director of Napoleon Dynamite. If this isn't a winning combination I don't know what is. I think I'll wear a diaper when I go and see it. The problem? It only comes out June 2nd. Oh well all the more time to anticiapte!
On another note. Looking for a good clean fun website? Check out Google Fight. For the record Dan King killed me 121,000 hits to 17. yup, I barely showed up. Go check it out, fight it out and lets see who will stand and who will fall.
When someone comes over for supper we spend the afternoon cleaning, and stuffing the boxes full of stuff that was supposed to go to MCC in a back room were no one will see it. We light the candles and fry some onions, so the house doesn't smell like the old people who live next door.
The other day Niki and I were in the mall wandering around (I got a great deal on a new winter coat!) and I was having my caffeine withdrawal so I went into the Starbucks in Chapters and bought a coffee. Two things! One, if it is that awkward for a Christian to come to church and understand what they are getting our churches need to change! and Second, I don't get all the hype. I mean it's not a bad brew but..... Anyway the whole point of the story is that even though I don't even really like the coffee I keep the cup in my office because it looks cool, and all post-modern pastors should drink Starbucks. Yup appearance is very thing. If only I could take on the only appearance that only matters, that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Well thanks to all of you who prayed for me yesterday. The whole sermon thing went really well. If you feel like listening to it sometime you can go here and listen to it. It's called "The Good the Bad and the Ugly." The site hasn't been updated yet, but it should be there in the next day or two. My sermon was on the importance of mentorship and how to be a good mentor. One of the things I said in my sermon was that Mentorship was going to win the Super Bowl. And I was right! One of my highlights was when they put on mic on Bettis and you could hear him giving advice to Parker! Yup! Mentorship is a powerful thing. And it doesn't hurt that there were a few iffy calls that went my way. I had a good time watching the game with a bunch of Seahawk fans. I was the only Stealers fan in the room until about the end of the third quarter when a few of the youth decided that they were Stealer fans. All in all a good night. It was a decent game, with some pretty good commercials so I can't really complain...... and now that I've held it in as long as I possibly can.... EAT IT KOEHN!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, February 03, 2006
"If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like "Hey, look. He's carrying a soldering iron!" and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, "That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice." Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink." - Jack Handy
Ahh the joy of deep thoughts. How it reminds me of the good 'ole days at Bethany staring at Dave Carey's door. If you think about it I'm preaching on Sunday, and I'm still a little unsure of what is all going to come out of my mouth. Just pray that it'll be God honouring!
And for you music lovers a few more bands to listen to Triumph At Sea a post-hardcore/metal band from Altona (two of the guys are from my youth) and then one of my new favs Silence Through Injustice a post-hardcore/screamo band from Russell worth the listen. But for originality and spice make sure you go and listen to Bella
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Yeah I know two posts in a day, but I was checking out a blog from a friend I had a billion years ago and I followed the links to his bands website. If you haven't heard Bella, then you ain't livin! Check out this awesome indie-pop band at My Space OR check out their official site Here It's worth the time!
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Just in case you need a laugh today, here's a wonderful site Link Here Check it out and find out how you too can own a PS2 complete with Tony Hawk Underground (with God mode) and if you're more for the Computer games check out the "Bible-based-maps and characters in Unreal Tournament as part of their Christian Soldier training to help Jesus slaughter sinners in the final battle of Armageddon." Wow how life has changed since I was a kid :)