Saturday, June 30, 2007

June Blogger Awards

By my count, 53 BBC Blogs were updated in June. Below you'll find some of the posts:
Elliott on Distraction
Dave on Psalm 119
Mark is Suspicious
Natasha asks about Bikinis
Brandon's Short-Film

Blogger of the Month:
Julie M & The Story of Us

January: Elizabeth S
February: Kirk P
March: Kirk P
April: Elizabeth S
May: Steph P
June: Julie M

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Here's the Trick

Now that you've read through my coded dating history, mocked me through my secret online dating history, and come to understand the ins & outs & dos & do-nots of the dating world, you're ready for my ultimate advice in 9 easy steps:

1. Figure out what gender you are
2. Name the opposite gender
3. Think of all the people you know of that gender
4. Figure out which of them is your favorite
5. Try to spend more time with them
6. If they remain your favorite, date them
7. If they remain your favorite, get engaged
8. If they remain your favorite, get married
9. If they remain your favorite, be thankful

It's so simple that it only took me 25 years to figure out (well, I had #1 figured out long ago).

Some people get stuck on #4. There are 2 reasons for this. First, some people don't know anyone of the opposite gender well enough to have a favorite. If that's the case, make some friends. And if you can't make any friends, look for my future book "I French Kissed Friendship Hello." Second, some people won't admit that such and such a person is their favorite because they don't have any romantic feelings for them and they know where these 9 steps are headed. I submit that in most cases romantic 'feelings' are simply the product of worldly expectations. True feelings, the kind that matter, can grow with anyone that you truly enjoy being around.

Some people get stuck at #5 because the person they picked doesn't want to spend more time with them. If you get stuck here you have to options. First, you can keep begging them. They'll eventually get annoyed and treat you badly and you will realize they aren't your favorite after all. Second, you can realize right away that you selected poorly. I recommend the latter.

If you correctly identify your favorite opposite gendered friend, things will probably go pretty smoothly from steps 5 to 9. That's what I'm hoping anyways! Then again, I really don't know what I'm talking about :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Adam & Eve

Question. Minus the fall, do you think Adam & Eve would have lived forever? We discussed this question last night at M.O.S.T. (my small group). Basically, are humans by nature immortal? Opinions differed in our discussion. I'm of the opinion that, hypothetically, they would have lived forever had they remained in Eden and continued to eat from the 'tree of life.' In other words, I don't believe that mankind is immortal by nature, but must continue to partake of God's gift in order to live eternally. The true gift is, of course, Christ. And only 'in Christ' do we have eternal life. Death is not so much a punishment for sin as it is a natural consequence of being separated from God. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Death of Jim Halpert

More and more people are cutting & pasting mini-clips from TV Shows to create comedic YouTube videos. Last year, when Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) got in trouble, I stumbled across a hilarious YouTube video using this method. This one is not as funny as that, but I'm glad to this genre growing.

Monday, June 25, 2007


We're doing our Vacation Bible School earlier than usual this year. I think from an adult perspective I like it being earlier. But, if I were a kid, I prolly wouldn't be 'bored' enough with Summer yet to merit a week of new interactions. We have a 'Great Bible Reef' theme, and lots of people really went to town in terms of decorating. As usual, I'm in charge of audio/visual & games. I, for one, have to say that the games that come in the VBS packages are really pretty lame. I always use classic kid games or even make up my own games. Give me a couple water buckets, hula hoops, frisbees, and a kickball and there's no end to the fun. Are any of you participating in VBS this year?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

U.M. Top Ten

Top 10 Reasons Why I enjoyed Preaching at the Faith United Methodist Church

  1. I didn't have to wake up till 8:30!
  2. Closer to home, saves gas money!
  3. I met some nice new people!
  4. Got to see my Grandma & Aunt!
  5. Saw an entire pizza made during service!
  6. Had excuse to use the word 'acolyte'!
  7. The sermon was well received!
  8. They had lemonade afterward!
  9. Everything was done by 11:30!
  10. I had time to go home for lunch!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Prestige

My mom accidentally threw out our 2 Netflix movies and then called me to look through the dumpster to find them. I found the envelopes soaked in wet garbage (I should charge her $100 for such a service I think). Hoping the DVD's weren't damaged, I put 'The Prestige' in tonight once I got in bed. I was very impressed. The character development was thorough and the storyline kept me guessing. A lot of mystery throughout. This is the sort of movie I'll want to see again. Not bad at all, especially for a film that started the day in the dumpster.

Rating: 8.2

Friday, June 22, 2007

Moral Dilemna

A couple weeks ago in church a cell phone went off during the sermon. This is, of course, not unusual and I barely remembered the event a few days later when my mom brought it up. "Did you hear that cell phone go off during the service on Sunday?" she asked with a smile before continuing, "It was the tune from 'Sex in the City.'" I knew who's cell phone had gone off. And I had serious doubts that said person would have said tune as their ring tone. So I made a friendly bet that my mom was wrong. Through an investigative friend, however, I found out that my mom was right indeed. And so here is the moral dilemna...Should I:

A) Keep my word and give my mom the wagered money, making me a gambling hypocrite (but a good son)
B) Keep God's money and not tell my mom that I found out, making myself a lying hypocrite (but a good steward)

Of course, my mom will probably read this and she probably won't even make me pay since we were just joking around (right mom!?!?). But, just for the fun of it, what does the majority rule that I should do?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Places I've Preached

I just found out that I'll be preaching this Sunday at the United Methodist Church in my hometown. That caused me to wonder how many places I've preached on a Sunday morning so far in my life. Here's what I came up with:

Curriers Wesleyan Church (2x)
Fillmore Wesleyan Church (2x)
Hess Road Wesleyan Church (?x)
Olean Wesleyan Church (1x)
North Collins Wesleyan Church (5 or 6?)
Bradford Wesleyan Church (1x)
Da Qiao Three Self Church (1x)
Faith United Methodist (Sunday)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Me Last Year(s)

One thing I like to do for fun (I'm easily amused) is look at my own blog archives (also, very self-centered). Specifically, and now that I've been blogging every day for almost 3 years, I like to look back at what I was blogging about exactly a year or two ago. Today's was sort of interesting. On this day in 2005 I was blogging about the 'end of the world.' And exactly a year ago I posted what I thought might have been 'my last post' as I prepared for my first long bike trip in a long while.

Figuring out the connection and meaning of same-date blog posts could be a whole new field of study. I'll call it 'archivology.' June 20th obviously has some apocalyptic significance. Perhaps something significant & life altering will occur in the next 24 hours (ie, the 2nd Coming or World War 3 or the end of my singleness)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Twelve

A few weeks ago, a guy in my men's group asked if we could do a study of what happened to 'The Twelve' Apostles. Could we? Sure. But, for quite a few of The Twelve there isn't much material to work with. As I sit in my office this afternoon gathering and preparing a Bible study on the life and times of Matthias, I am half tempted to make up some cool stories about what happened to him from Acts 1 onward. I more fully understand the temptation to fill in the narrative gaps, and that's without the gnostic ambitions of making Matthias say what I want him to say. It is of little surprise that so many pseudopigraphal works exist. But I'll try not to make another for Thursday night :)

Monday, June 18, 2007


I have been wondering lately why it is so often 11:11 or 6:13 when I look at a clock. There are multiple theories. 1) It is quite likely that I don't look at the clock at those times any more regularly than I do at other times. The 'difference' is simply in my 'noticing' that I looked at the clock. 11:11 is a memorable time to observe. 6:13 is my date of birth. 2) It is also possible that my internal clock has trained itself to trigger my eyes to look at a clock at that time. Perhaps the sensation of seeing 11:11 or 6:13 is pleasing to my brain. 3) Perhaps my clocks are broken and they get stuck on those numbers. Are there specific times that you seem to always look at the clock?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

100 Mile Mark

Yesterday I finally hit the 100 mile mark
Here are the current 'bike bet' totals

Calvin 6,500
Kirk 532
Goal: 500 miles
Bryan 468.6
Steph 300
Matthew 225
Jo 200
Dena 175
Jessica 125
Current Total: 100 miles
Elliott 2

Saturday, June 16, 2007


This week, I have not done any chatting on MSN or surfing of the world wide web. Tonight at midnight this experiment will end. I was interested to find out what things about the internet I'd miss the most and how I'd spend the extra time.

So what did I miss? The thing I missed most was MSN. I like to have at least 1 good chat a day with someone, especially at night while I'm waiting to get tired. Another thing I missed was being able to find information instantly. Many times throughout the day I depend on the internet to quickly access such and such a fact, but this week I had to actually think or ask someone. I also missed reading your blogs and participating in message boards, but it wasn't super difficult to lay those things aside for a week.

How did I spend the extra time? I actually talked on the phone a bit. I'm not a phone person, so this was surprising. I went to Wal-Mart and Mini-golf with my friend Katie (who doesn't update her blog). I watched more movies than usual. I biked some. I played Xbox 360. I think I spent quite a bit more time with my family. I went to sleep about 1 hour or more earlier than usual each night.

It was a worthwhile investigative fast. I tend to think I'll spend less time online in the future. And the time I do spend online will be more purposeful.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Privileged Planet

Last week & last night I watched a DVD-Documentary called 'The Privileged Planet' which argued against popular secular thinking that earth is simply an insignificant 'pale blue dot' in the universe. The film gave all sorts of evidence for 'design' and 'purpose' in the formation and location of our planet.

Without ever mentioning God or even hinting toward Christianity, the movie reminded me of two key points: 1) God exists and 2) God cares. The 1st half of the film focuses on that first point by showing that it is all but impossible for the earth to have come about randomly (minus an intelligent being). The second half declares that not only was the earth specially created, but it was specifically designed so that we could observe and grasp the greatness of the universe. In other words, not only is there almost certainly a Creator, but there is a Creator that wants us to know more about Him & His work. God exists. God cares. To me, that is the general revelation that we can learn from nature.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Christian Movies

I'm trying to collect 'Christian' movies that are worth having & showing. So far I have the following movies. Feel free to make some recommendations or disagree with anything currently on the list:

End of the Spear
The Passion of the Christ
The Privileged Planet
Facing the Giants
Time Changer
Chronicles of Narnia
Ben Hur

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Final Exam

I was just helping my sister prepare for her final exam in global studies. She had a practice test with an answer key. I found the questions and answers to be quite 'left-wing.' For instance, one of the question/answers stated that religion was a form of social control. Europeans come across as pretty much scum whereas Natives as practically faultless. If the word 'diversity' appeared it any of the multiple choice answers, it was certainly the correct choice. Of course, religion & imperialism can be very bad things. Natives were mistreated & diversity can be a good thing. But in my opinion the liberal slant was obvious.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Yesterday I played mini-golf for the 2nd time this Summer. It took me 58 shots to finish, which is my worst performance on record. My goal is to get a 45, so I have a lot of work to do. But while I'm feeling bad about my real mini-golf game, I want to share with everyone that last year I perfected my online mini-golf skills. That's right, I got 18 straight hole in one's on the following course:

2007 Results
Matthew (58, 48, 45, 50, 48, 44, 44, 45, 49)
Lauren (68, 64, 58, 57, 59, 49)
Amanda (70, 69)
Katie (65, 67, 59, 56)
Mindy (54)
Jeff (55)
Nick (55)
Amanda (59)
Mandy (59)
Scott H (60)
Dad (51)
Mom (60)
Ryan (76)
Rozz (59)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Office Quotes

Well, the first 24 hours of my partial internet fast have passed. Few things I noticed. I ate more. I called people via telephone. I played X-box with my brother. But enough about that. Now that Gilmore Girls is over (though there is talk of a tv-movie finale), I have to find a replacement show for my tv-type blog posts this Autumn. I think I'll pick 'the office.' Instead of 'survivor,' it'll be my favorite quote from that night's episode (and commenter's can post their favorite quotes). I am quite certain that 'the office' is the best show on television. It is 1 of only 3 shows I now watch (the office, lost, american idol). What are your favorite 3 shows?

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I watched the church softball game tonight (Saturday). After everyone left I was still here waiting for the appropriate time to pick up my sister from work. I didn't have anything to do so I just sat quietly. The thing that came to mind was AJ's partial 'internet fast.' And so I'm going to run with that. Each morning when I wake up I will check my email. Each night before I fall asleep I will blog something. In between I will do my best not to be online. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


One thing was said during the preaching workshop that has stuck with me through the remainder of the week. The group was discussing the 'problem' of local preachers being compared to preaching superstars on TV and Radio. I think it was Michael Walters who said the real advantage of a local minister is our presence. It's a simple concept, but in some ways I feel like I haven't been 'truly' present in our church community. Sure, I've been physically present almost every time the church gathers for the past 4 years, but it has been, at times, a lonely kind of presence.

There have been certain times in my life where I've truly been part of a community. As an early teen there were 4 of us at the church. We were best friends. Ryan, Joe, Tom & I did everything together. But things changed. Then, of course, there were certain times at BBC where I was totally 'at home,' so to speak. I had a core of friends that I was totally comfortable with.

But in the past 4 years, I realize now, I haven't really let anyone get very close. I didn't purposefully prevent it. Perhaps I was just concentrating so much on being a good minister TO the church community that I stopped being part OF the community. Each of the past year's I've looked forward to Family Camp as the 1 week of the year where I can just relax and enjoy a great friendship or two, but I'm starting to wonder why I couldn't experience that all year long. I think I can. And I know there are some great friends to be had in our church community. And I'm glad to be starting to build those friendships. And I think I'll find that in becoming a closer friend, I also become a more effective minister.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Preaching Workshop 3

The final 2 sessions of the preaching workshop dealt with specific preaching topics. First, John Tyson shared about 'preaching holiness.' I wrote down a lot of notes, but it really seemed more like an introductory course on what holiness is and didn't have much to do with how to preach holiness except at the very beginning and very end of the lecture. I wasn't surprised that there wasn't much participation from those of us listening, but I, at least, did agree with his view of holiness.

The second topic was 'preaching the trinity.' Richard Eckley seemed like the kind of guy I'd love to have as a teacher. He described the void of 'trinity' preaching in the past century and discussed the errors that preachers stumble into when they do comment about the triune God. The most interesting part of the discussion was in whether to teach the 'economic trinity' or the 'immanent trinity.' He suggested that we not be afraid of mystery. So many preachers want to give full answers to questions, but the Trinity is mysterious and cannot be fully explained. He recommended that we use narrative texts over proof texts and emphasize the practical consequences of the Trinity in our lives. Finally, he said we should embed the Trinity n all of church life, not just as a doctrinal sidebar. I found his presentation thought provoking.

After that we had a closing time of worship, lunch, and headed back to the church. After visiting the nursing home I led prayer meeting. We've changed our prayer meeting format a bit and I look forward to it more nowadays. We start with a 'story behind the hymn' devotional and then sing the hymn. Then we read a missionary newsletter/report before taking praise & prayer requests. Finally, after prayer, we do a Bible study. Right now we're going through the 6 post-exilic books of the Old Testament. I have really enjoyed this study (so far, Ezra 1-4, Haggai, Zechariah 1-4). After prayer meeting we played basketball for almost 2 hours. I am feeling much more energetic than a year ago.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Preaching Workshop 2

After 6 more glasses of Upstate Farm Chocolate Milk, I'm toward the end of the 2nd Day of the preaching workshop. It was nice to eat breakfast for a change. I truly love breakfast foods and it's sad that I never see these hours. After breakfast I sat in on a textual workshop led by Kulli Toniste. She focused on the parable of the wicked tenants. I connected with her love for Scripture and approach to interpreting parables (this topic was still fairly fresh in my mind from my 17 week series on the parables).

In the afternoon I attended another textual workshop, this time led by Kelvin Friebel whom I had previously encountered at BBC when he taught Ezekiel. On this occasion he was utlizing Genesis 22 when God tested Abraham as an example of how to build an Old Testament narrative sermon. He warned against inappropriate typologizing, filling in of narrative gaps, and/or taking verses out of context. I enjoyed some back and forth discussion with him near the end of class.

In the evening the panel of faculty opened up to questions from the floor. We asked about using multi-media, how to increase application, use of personal stories, where to find illustrations, how to evaluate your preaching, different styles of preaching, length of sermons, comparison with other preachers, etc. Their answers and the group discussion were insightful. All in all I was pretty happy with the day. And my internet is working again so all is well in the world (cept, of course, for all that bad stuff).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Preaching Workshop

What makes preaching so tough? Jack Connell answered this question during the 1st session of our preaching workshop. He noted the challenges that preachers face (for example, the fact that another Sunday is always just around the corner & the fact that the congregation has access to 'superstar' preachers). On top of these challenges, a preacher must find a way to communicate with a 21st century congregation with a short attention span, a consumer mindset, and diminished confidence in authority. The preacher must have something for the seasoned Christian and at the same time the biblically illiterate. It's a tall task! Connell went on to point out 4 keys to effective preaching in this contemporary environment. Quality preaching must be biblical, relevant, creative & passionate. All in all, it was a pretty solid session. The only downside was that his discussion of what a 'biblical' sermon was left far more questions than answers. There was a lot of tension in some of his points that simply wasn't fleshed out.

The second speaker was Kristina LaCelle Peterson on the topic of preaching to/about women. It was about what I expected. She cautioned preachers to be thoughtful about the language they use in their preaching (are we all 'sons' of God or are there 'daughters' also, should we use the term 'mankind' or 'people'). She also called for balance in our metaphors of God. Do we always focus on God's masculine roles or do we make known the female metaphors as well? It was a decent reminder to think through our sermon language.

Michael Walters, Monday's final speaker, opened with a good question: If people listened to you preach for 4 Sundays in a row, what would they think of your view of Scripture? He challenged us that good pulpit preaching starts with a genuine and personal interaction with the text in the pastor's study. How do we SEE Scripture? Do we view it as merely a resource to preach from or is it the Word of God? How do we HEAR Scripture? Doesn't the 'inspiration' of Scripture imply not only that the writers were inspired, but that the Holy Spirit also inspires the hearers of the Word to interact with God through the text? How do we speak Scripture? Are we bold enough? His hour was filled with good questions and quotes. He'll be our speaker at Family Camp this year and I'm looking forward to that based on this session.

Monday, June 04, 2007


I'm at Houghton today, tomorrow & Wednesday for a 'preaching' seminar. I always enjoy being at Houghton. It's a special place for me. It's where I've enjoyed Family Camp each Summer for the past 22 years. It's where I experienced my first big crush. It's where I surrendered my life to Christ. It's where I sensed a call to pastoral ministry. It's where I found Upstate Farms Chocolate Milk. Big stuff. If the seminar is super I'll prolly share a few thoughts. If it is average I'll just post whatever comes to mind, like normal.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

3 Kinds of People

There are only 3 Kinds of People

Those who like Bluegrass
Those who don't know they like Bluegrass
Those who pretend not to like Bluegrass


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Baptism Story

I would like to hear some baptism stories. They can be brief or lengthy. Have you been baptized? Why or why not? Were you baptized as an infant, kid, teen, or adult? Where were you baptized? How? Were you baptized more than once? Thanks to any who share their story!