Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Want This Guy Playing At My Wedding

(ht Scot McKnight)

Center For Congregations Presentations

Here are the presentations that Doug Pagitt shared at Thursday's C4C meeting.
* Session 1
* Session 2
(They are not currently working but check back in a few days.)

Another Trip to Camp

I made another trip to Rainbow Christian Camp to attend a Wilderness / Spring Break Camp meeting. Though a spring break trip does not look likley, a summer trip may be possiable. I shall have to wait and see. On my way home I took this picture. It's the most rediculous tombstone I think a person in Indiana could ever get.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mr. Deity and the Evil

This video was shown yesterday at the Center of Congerations meeting.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Day with Doug Pagitt

I was reading Doug Pagitt’s blog two days ago where it mentioned an event in my hometown of Indianapolis. An Indiana based group know as The Center of Congregations, supported by the Lilly Endowment and unknown to me at the time, hosted a one day seminar. The cost was just $30 which included a free book and provided a lunch so I went for it. I’m glad I did. “Rich,” is the word that would describe my day.

Here a few random quotes that grabbed me from Pagitt’s presentation…

• “There is no privileged time in history for the Gospel. Change is a reality of all history.”

• “The pew might not be full but the leadership positions might be.”

• “Churches don’t discipline people. People discipline the Church…by not showing up.”

On a side note that had nothing to the educational component of the day, I was blown away by the number of ministry connections I had with the other attendees. Starting with some people at my table; Jim Teller, a former minister at the Vineyard church in Bloomington, likely the same church my friend Lucas once lead worship at. Then there was a Mrs. N. Cooper that had a family connection with the Hooker family in the community of Francesville. I ran into a youth minister, Kevin, which I meet at an ICYC meeting. I meet a minister named Rick form Martinsville that had connections to AICM. He pointed out another guy named Terry who is a board member at AICM (one of my elders is also a board member). Finally, a presenter a the ’06 Core of YS was present. I honestly thought I would know no one at this event. It was refreshing to see our paths connect.

A lot was said today. I'll likely be thinking and blogging about some of the things I walked away with. It was a great day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Trip to Camp

A few weeks ago I received an e-invitation from the staff at Rainbow Christian Camp. Area ministers from supporting churches where invited to a late Holiday Dinner. Having been some time since I’ve been at camp I felt that it would be fruitful for me to attend. Last night was the dinner and the 90+ minute trip to Converse was well worth it.

The highlight of the night was meeting Joe Wisley. Joe is the brand new Director of Programming for the camp. As apart of his ministry, Joe and his wife Melissa are set to hike the Appalachian Trail starting in March. Their goal is to raise $50,000 to raise support for their new ministry and to fund a high ropes project for the camp. As we talked, it dawned upon me that Joe was the speaker at last year’s Spring Retreat on the campus of JBC. He made quite the impression on my students, particularly the girls (he talked very fondly of his “beautiful wife” and our girls feel apart.) I’ll be keeping track of his AT journey on his blog (once it's running) and I hope to work with him in the future.

Another highlight was the after dinner talk. Bruce Cameron talked about the importance of a sabbatical rest. He shared that the pressures of being the camp director almost caused him to quit him ministry. After taking three months away from camp and pursing God in other areas, Bruce learned the importance of getting away to reconnected with God. So convinced that his staff needed this same rest, he wrote into the contract of every camp employee to spend one hour a day, one day a month, one week a year to connect with God. This idea may seem a little radical for some local churches but it is increasingly becoming more accepted as a legitimate and needed experience for ministers. Years ago I asked my leaders if I could take a day off once amount to share in that same experience. They gave me the thumbs up but I have yet to take them up on their offer.

Another nugget of information I learned was that Rainbow now has paintball capability. It’s on! I’m taking a group in April or May.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tony Dungy

As a fan of the Colts, I was hoping Tony Dungy would remain the head coach. As a Christian, I was hopping he would resign. His very public message of putting family first doesn’t’ seem to match with his actions. His family moved for “private reasons” back to Tampa, FL. After a week of prayer and family input, Tony Dungy will remain the head coach of the Colts with his family a 1,000 miles away. I’m still proud that the Colts have a Christian guy as the head coach. He’s great of the community and NFL. But I think his message has been slightly tampered.

Bob Kravitz of The Star had some interesting things to say. Read HERE.

Excellence (Part 4 of 4)

Continuing in excellence, I refer to Paul’s writing in I Corinthians 13. Paul writes,

And now I will show you the most excellent way. 1Co 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1Co 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1Co 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Clearly, Paul’s most “excellent way” is love. Maybe it would be helpful to temporarily adjust Paul words as he continues writing. Since love is the excellent way, let’s replace “love” with “excellence”.
• Excellence is patient (vs. 4)
• Excellence is kind (vs. 4)
• Excellence does not envy (vs. 4)
• Excellence does not boast (vs. 4)
• Excellence is not proud (vs. 4)
• Excellence is not rude (vs. 5)
• Excellence is not self-seeking (vs. 5)
• Excellence is not easily angered (vs. 5)
• Excellence keeps no record of wrong (vs. 5)
• Excellence does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (vs. 6)
• Excellence always protects (vs. 7)
• Excellence always trusts (vs. 7)
• Excellence always hopes (vs. 7)
• Excellence always perseveres (vs. 7)

That puts a slightly different spin on things. It’s not really the same definition of excellence that I’ve heard during high school graduation ceremonies or the even in the ministry articles, seminars, books, or teachings. I think its clear; we need to monitor the way we understand and pursue excellence. Are we using the Kingdom’s version or a hybrid of American culture with a splash of traditional Christianity?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Excellence (Part 3 of 4)

Titus 3:1-11 was the first text I studied for Sunday’s teaching. It had some great things to say about excellence. I actually thought I would use the text in my message but Mary and Marthar’s example simply worked better. You may want to pause to read Titus 3:1-11 HERE (sorry, the link uses the KJV).

To find out what Paul’s “things that are excellent” you have to read the text somewhat backwards. Paul writes…
• "...Stress these things, so that those who trust in God will devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (vs. 8)
• Paul was shown the excellent way “when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared [to Him]” (vs. 4-7)
• Paul admitted that before the “appearance” of God, he did not know what “excellent” was (vs. 3)
•“These things [that are excellent]” are...
- Be subject to the rulers and authorities...of the community (vs. 1)
- To be those authorities in the community(vs. 1)
- To be ready to do what is the community (vs. 1)
- To slander no the community (vs. 2)
- To be peaceable...within the community (vs. 2)
- To be considerate...within the community (vs. 2)
- To show humility toward all men/women...within the community (vs. 2)

I interjected “in the community” on my own free will because Paul is not excluding “things that are excellent” to the Church. The context of his list is the governing authorities...who govern the community...therefore Paul told Titus to stress excellence in living in a local community.

As a minister, I know that I need to be a greater presence in our community. I simply spend too much time in the office. But as I look at our church, I see many people doing excellent things (Fall Festival, Volunteer Fire Dept., and Cub & Boy Scouts just to name a few). With that being said, I’m sure there are ways we can be more excellent to our community of Puski county and neighboring White, Jasper, and even Stark counties.

Looking over Paul’s list of excellence...
1. What are your areas of excellence that you should improve upon in your community?
2. How could FCC be more excellent in our surrounding community?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Excellence (Part 2 of 4)

(Be sure to read Part One first.)

Daniel Schantz’s article “Recovering from Excellence” in the Christian Standard provided great insight for my personal understanding of Biblical excellence. Read his whole article HERE. In last Sunday’s teaching I used Schantz’s six sublet dangers of excellence. Here are his alternatives to excellence.

1. Efficiency – “Instead of aiming for excellence, we should aim to be efficient. You can be excellent, and still not be efficien....People with average ability can be efficient, even if they are not capable of excellence. I remind my students (he’s a professor at Central Christian College of the Bible) that, ‘You don’t have to get straight A's to get a diploma or a good job.’ Indeed, some of my most brilliant students have made a mess of their lives, and some of the average students are productive for a lifetime."

2. Patience - "It’s OK to have high goals, as long as I don’t expect to reach them by Easter. Just because the church down the road doubled in attendance in six months does not mean we can do the same. Every situation is different and requires a different schedule of progress. I’m always suspicious of rapid growth. The only thing that grows fast in my garden is weeds. Growing too fast does not allow time for people to adjust to the growth, and the result often is conflict and confusion."

3. Inclusion - "Instead of highlighting superstars, we need to find ways to include people of average gifts and intelligence. No, that doesn’t mean we have to give Charlie Croak the lead solo in the Christmas musical. Nor does it mean we have to tolerate lazy, sloppy preaching. Yet, some of the most beautiful singing I ever heard came from average singers whose heart overshadowed their technique. And it’s possible for an ordinary preacher to have a growing church because he has the sense to preach the Truth instead of Web jokes."

I know these alternatives used “the ministry” to flesh out the point but these alternatives are great for life as well.

Leave a comment. How can efficiencey, patience, and inclusion replace “excellence” in your home, work, or social life? Leave a comment and log on tomorrow for more insights on Biblical excellence.

Excellence (Part 1 of 4)

This past Sunday I said the pursuit of “excellence” can present sublet dangers to us. With over ten years of training and ministry experience under my belt, I have come to understand that our perceptions of “excellence” do not always line up with scripture. This past month I read a great article in The Christian Standard entitled “Recovering from Excellence” by Daniel Schantz. Click HERE to read it. His insights along with my long time concern provided the motivation to prepare a teaching on Biblical excellence.

Using Paul’s advice to the Colossians, “What ever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” (Colossians 3:23), I warned that we shouldn’t assume God wants us to do something just because we worked hard at doing it. Our “excellent” effort may have been for not. Using Martha’s example (Luke 10:38-42), we saw her hard working effort to provide Jesus with an “excellent” visit were misguided. She missed the point of Jesus' visit.

The thrust of my teaching was for hard working Christians to ask themselves the difficult question, “Are my life’s efforts like the Christ focused Mary or like the distracted Martha?” I had to use all my time on Sunday to set up this question, therefore, I did not actually state what it meant to be an “excellent Christian.” That would have made a great three part sermon series but I’ll have to settle on a blog series. I hope you keep reading.

Extra: If you are reading this, chances are, you listened to Sunday’s teaching and/or read about it in the last edition of The Currier (and if you did neither I am glad you are here anyway.) I’m going out on a limb here to assume that you’re not much of a blog reader. That’s alright...I just started. May I recommend something to you? Click on the word “comment” just below this entry and leave a comment of your own. I would love for others to read your insights. Keep you comments brief and to the point. Feel free to disagree with what I have said...but be nice about it. Thanks.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The second test from my cell phone.

This is a test.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Word of the Day

"Self-indulgent" - Read it in an article about the declining American Church. Read HERE.

(HT to CatalystSpace blog)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Look at My Gay Porn"

The wife of the chairmen of the elders at my church called me at the office in a calm manner but with a grave concern. After reading my article in the church paper, which had a link to this blog, she attempted to check it out. She said, “Chad…I went to your blog…I’m looking at gay porn and things-to-keep-in-mind-for-hunting-08.”

My first thought was, “Oh no…I made a typo in the church paper now hundreds of people in my church are looking a gay porn because of me.” So I told her I would call her back. I looked up the church paper to found no error. (What a relief!) I called her back to tell her things on my end checked out but I was coming to her house to see what was on her end.

She welcomed me into her house by saying, “Come on in Chad and look at my gay porn.” (LOL) I sat at her computer and this is what I found. Instead of entering my blog URL in the URL field she entered it in the Google search field on the toolbar. A Google search of appeared and listed: 1. A link to my blog. 2. A link to my Youtube channel 3. A link to an unknown educational site and 4. A link to a GAY PORN STAR NAMED CHAD HUNT! Google has connected a blog entry I published on Dec. 3 about deer hunting with gay porn star Chad Hunt.

Funny stuff.

Birth Control

I’ve never heard a sermon on birth control…until today. My blog reading directed me to the teaching of Mark Driscroll. His church is in Seattle, in my mind the capital of “progressive culture” (in the U.S.), and a congregation of young progressive Christians. Had I read a manuscript of his teaching to my congregation on a Sunday morning I would have likely been fired (you’ll have to listen to know what I mean) but it’s a teaching I wish every Christian young adult and late teenager would learn.

His teaching was one hour and eleven minutes long! I’m not going to describe the whole talk but one section grabbed my attention. To combat the notion that birth control is sinful (a notion a good many of Christian have), birth control can be a matter of stewardship. Four examples are…

• A victim of rape, who already has a child, needs time to get help and work out her traumatic experience. Would it be alright to delay her fertility in order to heal emotionally?

• A man marries a woman with rebellious teenage kids. Before having children of his own, he feels that it best to pour Christ’s love into his stepchildren before they leave the home. Would it be alright to delay his fertility to better connect with the children already in his home?

• A father, the sole provider of his family, wakes up with a disabling disease and now the stay-at-home mom needs to work in order to provide for the family. Would it be alright to prevent his fertility so she can provide for the family?

• During the delivery of her bay, a woman tore so badly that her organs were falling out of her body. Would it be alright for her to delay her fertility until she has healed?

In regard to these situations, Discroll (as well as myself) agree that these are God honoring ways to use birth control. These examples are not about being selfish or even related to sin…its about being good stewards of what God has already given.

If you want to listen to the whole teaching then go to the religious and spiritually section of iTunes/podcast and download it or watch it HERE (I’m sure it will not be posted for very long but if you catch it in time go to 01.06.08 Religious Saves #9.) I would love to know what you think.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Proverbs 26:11

"As a dog returns to its vomit,so a fool repeats his folly."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Area Flooding

A friend sent me some pics of the flooding down in White County. (That's the county south of me.) Give a quick prayer for those that are effected.

Christian Students and Homosexuality

I spend most of yesterday studying the subject of homosexuality. I’m planning a three week teaching series on the subject for Wednesday Night Youth Meetings. This might be the most difficult subject I have ever navigated in my teaching. It is difficult because there may be gay students listening to my talks and I want to provide more hope than condemnation. My hope is to lay a foundation of compassion and convection; compassion for those that struggle and convection that scripture, therefore God, can not endorse homosexuality. The catch phrase I created is, “God loves homosexuals but they can not be fully bless by God.” (I’m not completely sold on that…it’s not very catchy…but that’s what I have so far). I’ve referred to many resources about the subject. The internet is loaded with pro-gay Christian theology. The resources I have been using are more emerging in theology that express compassion over the need to be right. These resources include Speaking My Mind by Tony Campolo, Helping the Struggling Adolescent by Dr. Les Parrott III, the 11/11/06 podcast taught by friend Todd Burkholder of the Purdue Christian Campus House, the 10/9/06 teaching taught by Greg Pinkner of the Fellowship Evangelical Free Church in Knoxville, TN, and above all else…the Bible. Any insight or other suggested resources would be greatly appreciated.

Winter Worship

These pictures were used as worship backgrounds. I took these the day after my "rabbit hunt" that I blogged about earlier. Click HERE to see the rest of my winter pictures.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 07, 2008

Political Talk

I just used the Candidate Calculator. It tells me that my political positions line up with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at 90%. Before Iowa, I was leaning toward Big Fred Thompson but I doubt if he will be in the race during the Indiana primary. But in the long run...Jesus wins every time.

On a couple other political fronts

1. Saturday I listened to an awesome lecture given by Tony Jones. He said, "It's an absolute sin for a Christian to register as a Democrat or a Republican." While I'm not willing to call it sin, I have been thinking about declaring myself as an independent...despite the fact I typically vote Republican on the State and National levels.

2. As few weeks ago Scott McKnight started a e-conversation about the presidential race. It surprised how the Democrat supporters out numbered the Republican. I wonder if the "emergent church" is made up of more Democrates than Republican?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Thanksgiving Pic

My sister-in-law just sent me this family pic taken at Thanksgiving. It's a little dated but I thought it was blog worthy. Thanks Jamie for sending it to me. (From left to right: Brock, Angie, Mya, Aunt Betty, myself, and Dad is in background.)

Illustration of the Power and Joy of Partnership

(ht to MyLordandMyBlog)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Blog Is Worth

My blog is worth $564.54.
How much is your blog worth?

One of my favorite blogs used an online tool to gauge the worth of his blog...$78,000. So I took the quiz...I have alot of work to do.

Guns and Youth MInistry

Guns & Youth Ministry: I never thought my job as a youth minister would bring these two things together but today it did. Logan, a student of mine, and I went rabbit hunting today. He said it was just ten degrees and I believe him. It was cold and it was windy. For those of you that believe hunting is silly or immoral then you will be happy to know that our hunt came up empty. We didn’t even see one furry bunny to shot at. We did, however, see a heard of deer and some amazing scenery. Three inches of snow was on every branch on ever tree. We both agreed it was beautiful. We found a snow drift to make two snow chairs. We sat for ten to fifteen minutes and simply talked. After making our way to the house, he invited me in for a cup of hot-chocolate. It was a great way to spend a cold afternoon with a great student. Thanks Logan for the hunt, conversation, and the hot-chocolate. The highlight was Logan saying, "I can't believe I'm hunting with my youth minister." I laughed and told him I was thinking the same thing.
Dan Kimball posted this pic on his blog. It was to funny not to post it on mine.