Monday, March 27, 2006

Something You Don't Find on the Web Everyday

Apologies are hard. Public apologies harder. Agree with Mark or not, his heart is right. He listened. He acted. Good man. Good heart. 'nuff said.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Now Here's Something Fun . . .

G-TRAX Devo's Book 1: What's in a Leader is cool. Ron Fast is a co-worker and friend. Ron has a unique background in that he was born in India to missionary parents.. He lived in India until he entered 7th grade when his family moved to Dallas, Oregon. Ron worked for Microsoft where he did database testing. Sensing the call of God to move into the youth ministries, he left the land of the Golden Handcuffs to become Director of Junior High Ministries at Crossroads Bible Church. Currently Ron is the Director of Technology at Crossroads - but many of us think he's still a Junior Higher still! One of the things he did best was G-Trax, really creative Bible Study devotionals for kids. He is now publishing these as e-books. Junior High kids are wonderful and mysterious all at once. They are just beginning the wild ride of adolescence and discovering the new insights that come with abstract reasoning. And they need teachers that can bring the deep truthes of Scripture to them accurately, simply, and appropriately. Their attention span is usually short. They tend to learn even when we think they are distracted. They need heroes who care about them. Their parents are important but most kids are beginning to look for someone other than mom and dad to understand life. (That's why church youth group leaders can be so powerful - competent adults that reinforce the same biblical values that are not their parents). Anyway, Ron's stuff might help a Junior Higher you know. Check it out. Digital books at Amazon are also a pretty cool idea.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Make Your Point, Look Good, Forget the Facts

You can use to create some great statistical research that looks authoritative. And it only takes a few minutes. Sure its a total lie, but who would know -- it just looks really good. Put it in a nice report with lots of lorem ipsum text, and a really cool, professional cover and no one will know. Kind of reminds me of the way some people live their lives. OK, how I sometimes live my life. The funny thing is that someone will eventually read the chart and see the fake and toss that really cool report in the recycle bin. I've found the same thing happens with posers and others who take of the look and feel, but not the real. But have some fun with esolutions. I don't think they created it so that bloggers reflecting on life late at night would have something to say.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

...Without a Shepherd

I've seen this news article from Turkey on a couple of blogs this week so I'm guessing that it will become a well used illustration in numerous sermons across the decades. It does make a point ... one that church leaders across America need to take to heart. We would be wise to take a moment to ponder our call and reflect on God's concern: "“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 23:1, ESV) "The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:" (Ezekiel 34:1-9, ESV) "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:36, ESV) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11, ESV) Shepherds! Keep your eyes on the flock! "So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." (1 Peter 5:1-4, ESV)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Have you ever wished ...

... that you could start over and have everything still ahead of you? Some days that sounds like fun ... but then I remember that it would mean doing EVERYTHING over again. I guess it would be pretty cool to start again knowing everything I know now, but then it wouldn't be quite as fun. Watching little ones discover the world is great. Sometimes they just enjoy the same thing over and over (ever had a kid with a book he loves?!) A walk with a little guy is pretty instructive. They seem enamored of things we take for granted - like a flower. They find "insignificant things" interesting. They notice bugs and birds. And they even seem to notice little things about people that us big folks miss. My grandson is aware of whether you came into the room wearing your glasses. If you take them off, he wants you to put them on. He notices if your sleeves are rolled up or not. I think God would like us (me) to notice more little things just to enjoy them. It was Jesus who told us to consider the lilies of the field ... Nothing really significant, but maybe that's the point. The simple thought? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 11, 2006

An Easier Way to Read?

Christian Book Summaries is a cool place, with a great mission and purpose, and they hit the target most of the time. With all the books there are to read, the readers and summarizers try to provide a helpful service of summarizing the essential thoughts and key themes of some of the major books addressing Christian living, thought, and action. (Not commentary or Bible reference oriented that I can see). They have a helpful notification service that lets you know when they have a new book summary available, and each summary can be printed out in an attractive format - especially if you download the pdf format. So ... now you can develop your thinking in less time. And you might even be able to make pithy, smart comments when hanging out with the pastors at church. This month's summary is Shattered Dreams, by Larry Crabb. Many in my circles might find Running on Empty by Fil Anderson to be a lifesaver. I can't discern a theological bent and some of the books would not make my recommended list due to viewpoint or theology. But it's nice to be able to check them out without spending the money.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Happiest Flower

What a great day! The first daffodil in the yard has opened -- spring is just around the corner! I'm not sure which of my kids decided to call them "Laffodils" but it made sense. As my daughter says, they are a very happy flower. As a family, we always look forwared to "laffodil season". Spring is a great season - it kind or reminds us of the newness of life in Christ that comes after the darkness of Sin. So "Happy Laffodil Day!"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Counseling Methodology

Al Mohler made the following comment at the Shepherds' Conference tonight (I know this thanks to coffeeswirls who is "live blogging" the sessions):
"We live in an age where the ministry is misperceived as a profession. The world wants statistics and we show up with a message. That is one reason why the culture is so drawn to the therapeutic. Everything then becomes a subjective question. My counseling method is short. 1. what is your problem? 2. what would God have you do about it? 3. why are we having this conversation?"
The message was not about counseling but Dr. Mohler's comment on counseling reminds me that much of counseling is teaching people what the absolutely true Word of God says. What his method leaves out is the connection, the community, the relationship, that deepens the redemptive nature of our churches. I tend to believe that what most people need instead of professional counseling is an authentic Christian community where truth is valued and taught in the context of relationship. Of course that would require that people - even 'non-professional' people - keep growing deeply in their knowledge of the Scriptures so that there is biblical truth to be applied.