Monday, December 31, 2007

Fasting for Spiritual Break Through

With the start of 2008 I fill compelled to use the spiritual discipline of fasting more frequently in my faith journey. To start this endeavor I dusted of the book Fasting for Spiritual Break Through, that has sat on my bookshelf for years, and read the first chapter. Using Isaiah 58:6-8, author Elmer L. Towns, finds nine different reasons why God’s people should. The text reads (numbers added are mine)…

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen to (1) loose the chains of injustice and (2) untie the cords of the yoke, (3) to set the oppressed free and (4) break every yoke? Is it not to (5) share your food with the hungry v and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then (6) your light will break forth like the dawn, and(7) your healing will quickly appear; then (8) your righteousness will go before you, and (9) the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. "

Towns goes on in the next nine chapters to describe nine types of fasting. It is my goal to read one chapter a week and participate in the described fast.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Check it Out

I just read a great blog about alcohol by Andrew Jones called We Baptists Do Not Drink ( . . . in front of each other). The best line was, "Now that makes me wonder - Why is everything literal in hell but figurative in heaven? Can someone tell me that?"

The Principal of Progress

Progressive…I hear that word a lot in ministry talk. I like’s definition, “favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are.” I would consider myself a “progressive” guy, thought I doubt if anyone in ministry would say they were not. A possible leadership principle may have emerged last week when the guys from Church Development Fund came to town. As I have blogged before, they recommended us replacing the pews in our sanctuary with removable chairs. They said we could likely fit more people into chairs than pew. But they also added, “If it does nothing else, it will communicate a more progressive atmosphere.” Also, “If you ever move to a second service it may be easier for people toe accept the change.”

This logic got me thinking. Should a ministry team utilize every opportunity to make progress? Something is telling me the answer is no. Progress isn’t cheap. Progress may step on the toes of stewardship. Progress could exacerbate creative energies. The pursuit of progress in-and-of-itself is not a biblical value.

But the harsh reality is that we live in shallow world. People are not ready to make needed changes without years of being prepped for progress. People will spend hundreds of dollars to feel like they are making progress. A lack of progress will turn away creative people. The pursuit of progressing the Gospel’s Mission is very much biblical. Therefore, I am not willing to let go of the possibility of the Progress Principal.

I am forming a mental list of ways my church/youth ministry has passed up opportunities of progress (which will never be posted on the net). I am also looking limitations to this principle, ie. when not to progress. Outside input would be appreciated.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Church Development Fund, Inc

Tom Warner and Chris Davenport from the Church Development Fund, Inc. came to Francesville to give our church leaders advice on ways to use our facilities better. It was a very encouraging meeting. One of the suggestions they made was to replace the pews in the sanctuary with chairs before the possible move to a second service. This ideas was so simple, I’m truly embarrassed for not thinking of this idea before. They pretty much said that modifying the current structure would not be advised. That’s not to say we wouldn’t but that was simply their suggestion.


I just watched a six part video teaching on youtube by Mr. Roger Oakland who has just come out with a book to “expose” the Emergent Church. What does he think about emergent leaders? How doe the words false teacher, secularist, humanist, universalist, liberal, anti-christ, and non-bible-believers sound? What I found shocking was his inability to say one positive aspect about this movement. Not one! How can a group of Christians (as misguided as they might be), that draw some inspiration from scripture, who follow some example of Christ make no positive contribution to the Kingdom/Church what-so-ever? It was if the Emergent Church was equal to Satanic worship.

What I learned from Oakland, as with many anti-emergent critics, is their emphatic assumption that the Holy Scriptures are not authoritative. It’s as if they believe the Scriptures have been forgotten and have no place in this “new” Christian expression.

I left this comment on the last video, “Thank you for posting these teachings. They were very insightful. After watching all six parts I am reminded of the words of a wise man, "Leave these men alone!...For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God (Acts 5:38, 39). May the Peace of Christ be with Mr. Oakland, GNNHemet, and to all who watch these videos.” I wonder what response it will receive.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Golden Compass

Rae and I watched the movie The Golden Compass in the theater last night. The preview alone caught my interest. It looked like a fantasy, “good vs. evil’ type of movie that is typically right up my ally. As the movie’s opening drew closer, Christian media began to criticize it before it was released. The Catholic League, not officially associated with the Catholic Church, condemned it in fear that the movie would hook kids into read the books of Philip Pullman (a self-proclaimed atheist). This controversy provided enough motivation for this youth minister to buy a ticket and form my own conclusion.

After watching the movie, I can honestly say that I would have never connected atheism to this movie unless someone had told me in advance. But since we have all been forewarned, I can see why some people will have problems with the movie. It talks about finding another Truth, questioning authority, and repressive ideologies. I am sure that most will find these themes to be an attack on Faith. But I saw it much differently. As a Christian who is aware of the “emerging” culture that we live in, I found God’s finger prints all over this film. Truth, questioning authority, and understanding repressive ideologies are some of the basic values of emerging Christianity. These issues are at the heart of finding new/forgotten aspects of God and new focal points for the Christian faith. Therefore, I suggest people look for God while watching this movie, instead for attacks on God. As for the kids...the PG13 rating says it all, keep the little ones at home. As far as the 13 and over crowd, it opens a great conversation about faith, God, truth, authority, and ideals. As for the books at could be purcased for kids, it wold be wise for parents to read before letting their kids do so. I have no doubt Pullman is an athesist. Athesim, dispite what they say, is a form of faith for which people of faith can still find God in their teaching.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Good Bye Sweet Friend

In an unforeseen and unfortunate turn of events, a travesty has just occurred. I may never be the same. While “caping” up my guitar with my Kyser capo,” the tension grew too great as her spring-loaded bar snapped thus ending her glorious life. She was better known as the “Freedom Capo.” Purchased in a crappy music store in Crawfordsville, IN over six years ago, she was not my first choice to purchase. Had her brother (the traditional black) been available I would have purchased him but fait prevented that from happening. The Universe brought her red, white, and blue color scheme into my life. We danced. We sang. We worshipped. We grew togther as musicians. Our time together was magical. We lead hundreds, maybe even thousands of songs before God and His people. There will never be another one like you. God bless your metallic soul. May you reign in the music accessories section of heaven forever and ever.


The good people at the Mars Hill Bible Church put together an online resource to lead people through the season of Advent. Advent is an ancient spiritual practice that leads people to the celebration of Christmas. Yet for some reason, my Christian tradition has neglected this practice. I have given little attention to Advent which makes this resource very helpful to make this Christmas season more focused on the faith instead of the frantic nature of what we call Christmas. Check it out.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Courier Artical (Nov. 26, 2007)

With Thanksgiving behind us the Wednesday Night youth program will resume to it’s normal schedule. We have just three remaining youth meetings before Christmas break begins. It’s hard to believe that 2007 is nearly over.
Just to let you know, I am on the calendar to preach on December 16. Jim Ketchen will be very busy that week with his son’s wedding. Jim asked if I would preach in his place. I agreed to do so. I’m never postive what my sermons will be about but I think my teaching will be on humility. The Christmas story is the most humble of stories ever told. God removed himself from heaven to be born in a barn for the welfare of all mankind. There is nothing more humble than that. Yet the holiday we celebrate is anything but humble. Immodest shopping budgets, a blitz of Christmas functions to attend, and a load of unneeded stress all lead to the possibility that a “humble” Christmas might be impossible. With Christmas gifts already purchased and most Christmas events already scheduled, it maybe too late to have a “humble” Christmas this year. Therefore, teaching will have the Christmas of 2008 in mind. I hope you can be there. Please keep me in your prayers. And if you have anything to add to the subject of humility and Christmas, please share. I would love to share your perspective.

Things to Keep in Mind for Hunting '08

The shotgun season for deer hunting has come and gone. Because I still have a doe tag to fill out I went out a few times since my buck but came up empty. I can still fill it out during the muzzle loading season but I have yet to fire my gun. I’m not sure if I should or will hunt deer any more this year.

Here are a few things I should keep in mind for next year:
• It might be better to hunt for does on another property instead of the Delph’s. That woods is next to a field that is always plowed before the hunting season. Look for new spot next to a food source.
• Buy a blind to hunt in. The hunt in KY made me a little fearful of tree stands. I’m still comfortable with ladder stands. A blind would offer more flexibility to hunt different places plus others could hunt with me.
• Do some tree trimming. Both the stands I hunted out of needed to have a few small trees and limbs removed to improve visibility.
• Do some target shooting in the summer/early fall. I need to find the range of my guns.

By the way, I made deer sausage for the first time. How redneck is that. Hummm…deer sausage.