Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Blogger Awards

Thanks to all who posted on BBC Blogging Day
Here are the nominations for posts of the month

Jess R: Are Shocking Statements Normal?
Elizabeth R: ODE to BBC from former RD
Heather S: Question of the Day
AJ T: Re-Thinking Sacraments
Natasha E: Pregnancy Insanity
Angela M: I want to be Sassy
Kirk P: Top Weird Al Quotes
Kelly T: 911 YouTube Video

Blogger of the month: Liz Stewart

January: Elizabeth S
February: Kirk P
March: Kirk P
April: Elizabeth S
May: Steph P
June: Julie M
July: Mark B
August: AJ T
September: Elizabeth S

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I've been thinking all week, in preparation for Sunday's sermon, about repentance. Today, to make sure my sermon was as practical as possible, I did a little experiment. First, I tried to think of the 5 worst things I've ever done (whether they were 1 time acts or long-term habits). Second, I tried to figure out the specific sin involved (whether it was fear, anger, lack of self-control, etc). Third, I tried to analyze what methods I used to deal with my sin prior to simply repenting of it (whether I tried to cover it up, blame someone else, convince myself it was OK, etc). Finally, I tried to remember what triggered the 'repentant' moment. I think it was a worthwhile time of personal reflection.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Office Party 1

Tonight is the 1st episode of season 4 of 'The Office.' Each Thursday, if a new episode will be shown, I'm going to have an 'Office Party.' Any 'Office' comments can be left here, but the real goal is to compile the best quotes from the office. Each Thursday (late), I'll post my favorite quotes from the episode and you can feel free to do the same.

There are 4 reasons that I can think of for my lack of recent postings.
1. My blog was my girlfriend, but now I have a real one
2. My boss is away on vacation, so I am quite busy
3. We're in the midst of a building project so see above
4. We currently have no internet at the church, see above

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Teaching Update

I'll be preaching on repentance this Sunday in both A.M. services. It's a message (out of 1 Samuel 15) that has been on my heart for about a month. In between those services, my Sunday School class will continue to go through the book of Acts (we're in the latter portion of chapter 17). Sunday evening I will complete my series 'This Land is My Land,' which is all about a Biblical perspective on the Middle East. Every other Tuesday night our M.O.S.T. group (twenty somethings) goes through a parable or two. Our Wednesday evening prayer meeting study of the post-exilic books is winding down (we're in Nehemiah). Finally, my Thursday men's group is wrapping up a series on the 'foundations' of the Christian faith from Hebrews 6:1-3.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Guess Who

Last night I played 'Guess Who' (the old game). I don't remember ever having played it before, but it was pretty fun (I'm easily amused). When we were done playing we played the verbal version. Katie correctly guessed 'Alf' on her 25th and final question. Other "Who's" included Macaulay Culkin, Angelina Jolie & Leonardo (the mutant ninja turtle). Anyways, I was thinking maybe it'd be fun to play guess who today on my blog. I have selected a person. You have to 'Guess Who'

Here are the rules:
1. I had to select someone we all know of
2. You can ask 2 yes/no questions per comment
3. Correct guesser gets points in my blog standings

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Millennium

I am just curious as to the general opinion of my readership in regards to the 'thousand years' in Revelation. Toward what position do you lean? I will briefly describe the order of events in each view below:
What's Your Millennial View
Historic Pre-Millennialism
Dispensational Pre-Millennialism
Free polls from

Historic Pre-Millennialism (world getting worse) Tribulation, 2nd Coming, 1000 years, Judgment Day Dispensational Pre-Millennialism (world getting worse) Rapture, 7 year tribulation, 2nd Coming, 1000 years, Judgment Day Post-Millennialism (world getting better) Christianized 1000 years, 2nd Coming/Judgment Day (same event) A-Millennialism (world getting worse, church getting better) Millennium (symbolic for church age), 2nd Coming/Judgment Day (same event) Pan-Millennialism (I don't even know enough to guess and I don't care) It'll all pan out in the end

* The above are generalities & sweeping statements. There is actually a fairly wide range of thought within each group.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


What makes those called to be 'Evangelists' distinct? Ephesians 4:11 implies that only 'some' are called to be evangelists, but most would agree that we are all to be active in evangelism. If that is true, what makes the former unique? I don't think there is 1 obvious answer, but I do think it's, at least, a combination of the following 3 possibilities.

1. Most of us are indirect evangelists. We are lights wherever we go, but we don't necessarily go to be lights. What I mean is, we have jobs. While we are working we're still Christians and we, hopefully, have opportunity to share the love of Christ. On a part-time basis, we might do some direct evangelism, but we only have so much time to give. Perhaps those called to be evangelists are 'direct' evangelists. The 'go' specifically to be a light. And many of them do this so often that it becomes their full-time job.

2. Most of us, from time to time, notice that our evangelistic juices are running low. We need, every so often, to be re-charged. Perhaps it is the role of the one's called to be evangelists to do that charging. Just like those called to teach are really equipping disciples to teach themselves, maybe Evangelists are really equipping others to evangelize. Their role is to ignite the many.

3. Most of us, despite our best efforts and wishes, don't win tons of souls to Christ. We might move someone from a -8 to a -6, but rarely from a -1 to a +1. Perhaps the calling of an Evangelists is a special gifting from God to be a catalyst for conversion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ravi Zacharias

This morning me and 3 gentlemen from the church traveled down to hear Ravi Zacharias @ Houghton College. Dr. Zacharias discussed 3 issues that have changed our culture and built walls between the church and the world. First, atheism has been popularized. Second, relativism has become commonplace. Third, visuals & feelings have become the goal. He concluded his thoughts by describing what it will take to win such a culture for Jesus Christ. I liked his 3 concluding points.

We must have an apologetic that is...
1. Not merely heard, but also seen
2. Not merely argued, but also experienced
3. Not merely a defended end, but also a means

He had to be somewhat brief, but it was good. And afterward, Houghton provided us with a free lunch and some 'apologetic' thought from 3 of the profs. The ride to and from were good times of fellowship. All in all, a very good day trip!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dissing Disagreement

A lot of Christians don't like disagreements. It seems that many have the mentality that unless we all think alike, speak alike & act alike we aren't in true unity. In my opinion when people think, speak & act alike they are in a cult! I love disagreements! In fact, I find it hard to think of anything that has been more affective in my spiritual development than a good disagreement. But I don't just consider disagreements personally helpful, I think they are good & necessary for the body of Christ.

Let's take for example the story in Acts 16 of Paul & Barnabas coming into 'sharp dispute.' The tendency among westerners is to select one side and call it 'right' and the left-over and label it 'wrong.' Well I 'disagree' with THAT! If one insists on categorizing they were both right AND wrong. Barnabas was right to give John-Mark a second chance, but wrong to jeopardize the 2nd Journey. Paul was being a good steward of resources, but wrong to not offer the same degree of grace that he had received from God.

But that's not really the point in my opinion. Too often we think of that dispute from Barnabas' or Paul's perspective, but think of it from John-Mark's perspective. Because there was a disagreement he was able to receive a second chance AND know that his previous mistake had been serious. Think about it, if everyone was like Barnabas, John-Mark may have taken obedience to Christ very lightly. If, on the other hand, everyone was like Paul, John-Mark may have become discouraged and left the faith altogether. It took a disagreement for John-Mark to continue going forward on the narrow path.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Light Force

Yesterday I finished Brother Andrew's book 'Light Force.' The author, most famous for the previous work 'God's Smuggler,' tells the stories of his visits in the Middle East over the past twenty some odd years. Brother Andrew met with a wide range of people including Arafat, leaders of Hamas, Messianic Jews and, mostly, Palestinian Christians. I highly recommend the book for any Christian un-interested in the Middle East. It'll put some faces behind the buzz words and give you a heart for the church in that region.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Middle East

I'm currently teaching a series about the Middle East. Specifically, my series focuses on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The series is entitled 'This Land is My Land' and I've been learning a lot in my preparatory reading which includes Brother Andrews's book 'Light Force,' Colin Chapman's book 'Whose Promised Land?' Norman Geisler's book 'Answering Islam,' Timothy Weber's book 'On the Road to Armageddon' and online resources like this. Wikipedia is also very helpful in terms of getting an overview of all the various Islamic organizations. The series (which will end up being about 6 hours in lecture format) outline goes like this:

Part 1: Middle-East Overview (geography & Islam)
Part 2: This Land is My Land, Israeli Perspective
Part 3: This Land is My Land, Palestinian Perspective
Part 4: This Land is My Land, Dispensational Perspective
Part 5: This Land is My Land, A Christian Response

Right now I'm on part 3, but I think, once the series is over, I'll be turning it into a 5 day blog series in order to share some of my thoughts on this significant world issue.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Crying Shame

I'm not a crier. Sure, sometimes I wake up on my side and a single tear drops on my pillow, but that's just gravity having its way. And it's true that sometimes I have to do that hold-your-breath thing to prevent myself from crying, but even that is a rare occasion. The fact that I'm not a crier as a rule makes the following 2 exceptions all the more blog-worthy.

The 1 Movie that Makes me Cry
I've cried at a few movies through the years, but there is only 1 movie that I cry at every single time I watch it. In fact, I've seen it a hand full of times in my life and I can't even stop myself from crying. I tried really hard last time. My men's group watched it. It took all my energies to not cry during men's group. But as soon as I got in the car, I balled the entire ride home. It was a pitiful display provoked by Mr. Holland's Opus.

The 1 TV Show that Made me Cry
This one is surprising. It's nearly impossible for a TV Show to make me cry because I tend to only watch comedies. I only remember crying at 1 show in my entire life. I was home alone. It was a series finale. I don't know what happened or what was going on in my life at that time, but I just cried my eyes out. Sadly enough, the tears were provoked by the final episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!

What movie can make you cry? What's the strangest movie/show that has produced tears in your eyes?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

#9 Track the Facts

So far, in our '10 Commandments of Blogging' series, we've discussed...

#1 Pick a Platform
#2 Win the Name Game
#3 Find your True Colors
#4 Hit Your Target
#5 Be Consistent
#6 Comment Unto Others
#7 Think Themes
#8 Add On

The 9th Commandment of Blogging is about one of my favorite subjects: Statistics! By adding a simple stat-tracker to your sidebar, you can know the who, what, where, when, why & how of your blogs popularity. For instance, I use the CQ Counter and it tells me that this month is my blogs best month ever. What's more, last week was my blogs best week ever. Still further, last Tuesday was my blogs best day ever. It tells me that my peak hours are from 8-10 pm. It tells me that for some reason most of you still use Internet Explorer. It tells me which of you link to me and how many people get to my page from yours. It tells me that people can get to my site by googling very strange phrases. Etc, etc, etc.

Information is good, but it's only helpful if you apply it. The key is figuring out how to utilize the numbers. For instance, one would be wise to reward your best referrers with extra comments. One would be wise to post an interesting blog on the busiest day of the week in the blogosphere. It'd be smart to make sure your blog looks good on IE & Firefox and in different resolutions. And it's always just good to know if you're gaining momentum. So if you want to be a better blogger, get cracking on your tracking.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Derek Webb

Tonight I'm going to a Derek Webb concert @ Houghton College. My favorite thing about Webb is his willingness to write lyrics that not all Christians will like. Here are 3 examples...

there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash

Monday, September 10, 2007


It's all happening very quickly
And it's all because of this blog

Not me silly. Two of the best BBC Bloggers, Kirk & Joanna, are now engaged. Who would have predicted this a year ago? Might I point out that my blog 'knew' it all along? Yes, I might and I will. In a post entitled 'Alphabet Match-Maker', my blog predicted this couple's fate before they were even a couple. My blog is all-knowing (ignore the other 13 'matches')!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Wedding Day

Today I'll be officiating my 4th wedding. Well, not MY 4th wedding. I haven't been married once, let alone three times. But I'll be leading the ceremony. The first two weddings I did were family weddings. I married my sister and then my cousin (again, don't misunderstand). This Summer I led my first non-family wedding when I officiated for a couple that attends my small group. It was an outside ceremony at the beach. Very nice. Today's wedding will be pretty big since it's the pastor's daughter getting married.

Despite the busyness of the week, I managed, Thursday night, to end my 4 year run of singleness. My favorite friend has, at minimal financial cost to me, agreed to be my girlfriend. Her name is Katie and she's a caligraphy enthusiast with a slight overbite and hair the color of strained peaches. I'm quite excited and also interested to see what kind of reaction (or lack thereof) this will produce amongst the congregation (though, I'm sure, many saw this coming).

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bad Dream

I think I had some good dreams last night, but I only fully remember a very bad dream from early this morning. I was alone. I was visiting an open casket at night (not a good start for a dream). The body of this old man (who's a real person I know and is not dead in real life) caused me great sadness. I was startled as the body twitched, but I assumed it was just postmortem spasm. Not so much. He woke up and was moving freely. At first, I wasn't extremely scared. I was interested in his story and asked if he had seen heaven, but he said he hadn't gone anywhere yet. But then something changed in him (he took on a very wicked personality, opposite of the man I know) and it was apparent he was not benevolent. I ran from the room purposefully screaming to wake everyone up (it seemed to have been a dormitory of sorts). Quite a few guys came out and I pointed them to the bathroom where the body had entered. It was throwing up into the toilet, but gave us all a violent look as we peered in. At that point he looked more like that skinny monster from The Lord of the Rings. Then I woke up.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

NFL Predictions

American Football Conference

12-4 New England
8-8 NY Jets
7-9 Buffalo
5-11 Miami

11-5 Cincinnati
11-5 Baltimore
7-9 Pittsburgh
6-10 Cleveland

12-4 Indianapolis
8-8 Jacksonville
7-9 Tennessee
6-10 Houston

13-3 San Diego
9-7 Denver
5-11 Oakland
5-11 Kansas City

National Football Conference

11-5 Dallas
9-7 NY Giants
9-7 Philadelphia
3-13 Washington

12-4 Chicago
6-10 Detroit
6-10 Green Bay
5-11 Minnesota

12-4 New Orleans
9-7 Carolina
4-12 Tampa Bay
4-12 Atlanta

9-7 Seattle
9-7 San Francisco
8-8 Arizona
8-8 St. Louis

Super Bowl
San Diego over Dallas

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Failing Forward

In the spirit of John Maxwell I am going to fail forward. Did I fail? I did. Blogging Day only reached 29 bloggers/blogs instead of 33. But will I move forward? I will. BBC Blogging Day will be back next 9/4 and we'll try to break our record of 29. But there are plenty of positives to take from our 1st BBCBD

~ 29 is the most ever for 1 day
~ Over 850 hits in the past 48 hours
~ I can now get back to real blogging!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

BBC Blogging Day!

Today is the 1st Annual BBC Blogging Day! As your host, I invite you to be part of reaching our goal of 33 updated blogs. Each person that updates their blog on 9/4 will be listed below. I am confident in both my power to control your actions AND in your ability to obey. Give yourself some ***'s if you post so that I can add you to the list. Let's get this party started!


Steph P, Matthew R, Kirk P, AJ T, Jessica B, Robin W, Kelly T, Sarah G, Elizabeth R, Renata T, Kristie I, Tami P, Matt P, Heather D, Kayla H, Jessica R, Elizabeth S, Jeremiah G, Gloria C, Gloria C2, Scott R, DJ S, Julie M, Heidi B, Matthew R2, Roni O, Shane G, Angela M, Jon H

Monday, September 03, 2007

Blogging Day Prep

So, you want to be part of BBC Blogging day (tomorrow) but you don't know what to blog about? Here are some suggestions:

1. Your testimony
2. Recap of your past 4 years
3. 'I support BBC Blogging Day'
4. 'I don't support BBC Blogging Day...doh!'
5. An essay on 'labor day'
6. All about your best friend
7. Lessons learned at BBC
8. Lessons learned since BBC
9. Courses you wish they had at BBC

Remember, our goal is to have 33 BBC'ers Blog tomorrow (9/4)

Saturday, September 01, 2007


In men's group we just started a series on Hebrews 6:1-2 in which 'repentance' is listed as one of the foundational teachings about Christ. In discussing the whole idea of repentance, I was drawn to 1 Samuel chapter 15, which seems to be on my mind a lot lately. In context, King Saul had disobeyed a direct command from the Lord, but instead of repenting, he attempted the following methods:

First Saul tried to conceal his sin. In v. 13 Saul simply pretended that he had obeyed the command as given. It was a direct lie, but perhaps he thought Samuel wouldn't notice the stolen sheep and cattle round the corner. The fact that we try to hide our sin proves that we know that it is sin indeed. But usually when our actions can no longer be hidden, we move on to other tactics. Saul, for instance, tried to cast the blame on others. It was the soldiers (v. 15a) fault for not annihilating all as commanded! Once again, though, shifting the blame proves that there's blame to be cast. Next, Saul tried to compare his sin with his general obedience (v. 15b). Sure he hadn't annihilated the Amalekites, but he'd certainly squashed the vast majority. He'd done more good than bad! What was the big deal? Three excuses in just 3 verses. But Saul wasn't done, after being rebuked by Samuel he continued to try to slime his way out of his sin. He actually convinced himself that what he had done was OK (v. 20). This level of self-deception is best reached at the end of a process of self-justification, but there was 1 more avenue to pursue. Saul, finally, claimed to have had pure motives for his disobedience. He had failed to annihilate all the sheep and cattle because he wanted to sacrifice them to the Lord. The end, for Saul, justified the means.

Saul tried all the tricks in the book, but there is only 1 thing to do with sin: Repent of it! Repentance is foundational to the Christian life. As Christians, we don't conceal our sin. We don't cast the blame on others. We don't compare our sins with our general goodness. We don't convince ourselves that sin is alright. And we don't try to claim pure motives behind our sins. If Christians sin, they repent. It's what Christians do. It's foundational to our faith. And God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.