Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Designed in Mission Interview - 10/27/07: Part 4

Part four of the interview segment from Designed in Mission 10/27. I'm still messing with sound issues (our sound system has a nasty hiss), but at least I've figured out how to get it to letterbox!

Designed in Mission Interview - 10/27/07: Part 3

Here is the third portion of the 10/27 Designed in Mission interview segment. Just to let everyone know, the videos are also being posted on, so once they roll off the blog it might be easier to go back there to find them. I've also decided that youtube is easier to work with than google video (though I miss the downloading feature). So, to get all my weird videos you can subscribe to my youtube channel.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Important Message

On Sunday things got very quiet for 20 minutes or so. Any parent can tell you that such silence usually means that someone is about to get in a lot trouble. Given that it was Sunday afternoon, and on Sunday afternoons I'm actually quite worthless, I didn't seek out the source of the silence.

Then, all of the sudden I heard, "Boo!" And there was a stormtrooper staring at me! Well, there was only one thing to do, and that was catch a quick video of said strormtrooper uttering the wisdom of the cloned...

Happy candy day!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Bible Study Spoof (Final Cut)

I changed some of the video levels, added credits, and some excellent music from Michael Tangen. Here's the final cut:

Designed in Mission - Before the interview

This is an exchange that went on before we began the interview segment on Saturday. Apparently, I suck.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Designed in Mission - One Down

Well, the first session of Designed in Mission has come and gone and all I have to say is that I'm glad I stuck with it! This first session accomplished exactly what I was hoping for when this idea came to me almost 10 months ago - get some folks together who are involved in Christian ministry that is unlike Central Baptist (and even unlike each other) and let them chat and see what happens.

All I can say is, "If you're in the area (and certainly if you're part of Central Baptist), then you'll miss something good if you don't check it out." I'm actually rather excited.

Most of the videos from the sessions will be posted on (under the Designed in Mission menu) - but I wanted to post the first clip I've put on the web here as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bible Study Spoof

In a couple of weeks I'll be heading to Eastern University to lead a session of the Student Chaplain Class. My topic is "keeping grow groups fresh," so I figured I'd make a video to let people acknowledge the types of small groups we've all been part of one time or another. Enjoy!

By the way, 1993 is the first year I was a student chaplain at Eastern.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Designed in Mission - Kick Off This Saturday

The first-ever "toolbox series" is kicking off this coming Saturday, October 27th. Designed in Mission is an on-going conversation on the relationship between mission and community-structure. One Saturday a month, for the next six months, twelve missional Christian leaders will come to Central Baptist and share with all present how the mission of their communities has lead them to structure their communities. Click on the image to find out more!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Titus Refuses To Come Out Of His Trailer

I pretty sure that I'd never be able to do this sketch in Church - but ohhhhhh how I want to. The comments pretty much area commentary on how Evangelicals™ (a) can't laugh about their faith and (b) are really good at missing the point.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thank The Lord For Friends...

I've got to get my last two sermons from our Decalogue series up on the web. I've got the manuscripts and recordings - I''ve just been working on getting Designed in Mission ready to go so I've not had the time to get them properly uploaded and posted.

Truth be told, I've not been very happy with this series (a point which I've made before). I simply don't like taking broad journeys through Scripture to show how the Decalogue was worked out in the life of God's people in both Testaments. I suppose I could just point out what each of the commandments is and then go off on a rant about how evil our world is compared to the world of the Bible - but I'm just not that sort of preacher (I hope I'm not that sort of Christian). Since I'm preaching the Decalogue, I have a compulsion to point out that folks in the Bible were wrestling with the same garbarge we deal with, screw up the same things we do, and depend on the grace of God every bit as much as we do. That way, I can challenge and point people to the grace of God. It's just that the sermons feel so shallow to me - like 10 weeks of nothing but introductions.

Yet, this is why I'm thankful I've got friends in Christ whom I trust, and whose opinions and counsel I value. Why? Because if I were left on my own I would likely have never done a sermon series on the Decalogue - my ingrained aversion to survey-type sermons would have always stepped in and taken me in another direction. In fact, before the suggestion to preach the Decalogue came this past summer I had never considered preaching the Decalogue. It wasn't even on my radar!

I'm always in need for folks to point out blind-spots like to me. Without their encouragement I'd never grow as a pastor, preacher, and Christian- even if their encouragement leads me to preach a series of sermons that people find informative (and to be honest, I'm getting some great questions from these sermons - particularly from a woman that I wouldn't have expected in a million years to pose them me), but I can't personally stand! I only hope I can constantly return the favor!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What Kind of Reader Are You?

My friend Jim took a quiz on what type of reader he is - I took it too. Apparently, I like to read...

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader

Book Snob

Literate Good Citizen

Fad Reader


What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Should Clergy Wear?

There's an interesting discussion happening over on Church Leadership Conversations about "appropriate clergy fashions." It's interesting to me because the point of the conversation seems to make three-points:
  • We project an image whether we think so or not.
  • Trying to be "cool" is dumb, as "cool" changes so quickly.
  • Hiring "fashion consultants" to figure out how to project an appropriate image for a particular group is a waste of resources.
Here's where I am with appropriate dress for anyone coming to Worship:
  • If people want to wear their "Sunday Best" to worship because they believe that best honors God, I have no problem whatsoever with that . Just as long as their actions the rest of the week continue to reveal a "Sunday Best" lifestyle. If not, then let's not dress it up with "honoring God" language - "Sunday Best" clothing is nothing more than a white-washed tomb.
  • If people simply want to be slobs in terms of style and hygiene because they don't care about themselves - I do have a problem with that, but it's because those folks need to learn what's good in them as the image of God. It grieves me when seem to hate themselves - and the image it projects is gut-wrenching to me.
  • If people want to come "casual" to worship, I'm totally fine with that - just as long as they understand the Christian life is anything but casual. A life of discipleship is work, and the process of being more and more and more formed into the holy image of God in the likeness of our Lord Jesus is often painful.
So what's my dress-style? Business casual. It's about as fancy as I can get while still feeling that I'm not a complete fraud. Yet I do value being "presentable" to show that, (a) I do care enough about myself to give a rip what I look like and (b) so I'm not instantly written-off by people as a "kid." Business casual get's me "in the door," but it flexible enough that I can crawl around on the floor if I need to (this is a reality I learned working IT). It's a good thing - and if occasion warrants it I'll dress-up/down to fit the setting or occasion. No worries.

Now, if I were currently in a tradition in which the outfit of the clergy had any liturgical purpose I'd have absolutely no qualms "dressing the part" as that would be an integral part of the communication of worship. That's not where I'm currently sojourning, however, so I'm not going there at the moment.

Friday, October 5, 2007

New Phone

The battery on my cell phone has been getting worse and worse for the last couple of months. As early as July I was wondering if it would be better to get a new phone (I was eligible for an upgrade) or a new battery. As my battery was still functional (though the time between recharges was getting a bit ridiculous) I kept putting off a decision until either my battery went completely or a good deal on a new phone came up which would cost less. It finally happened.

Last week I ended up upgrading to a Razr V3xx for the price of $0 without any rebates. As this is a 3g phone (should I decide to get a data plan at some point in the future, not likely but you never know) I thought it was worth checking out. Given that my battery life has taken a nose-dive in the past two weeks or so the timing was great. So I popped on line and ordered it. I almost didn't order it because, while the phone didn't cost anything, there was an $18 "upgrade charge" that would go on my bill. Given that I already had a functional phone, I figured I might as well just go out and get a battery - until I found out the price of the battery was around $50! At that rate $18 was a bargain.

So, how do I like my razr? Well, let's review:
  • I ended up naming my razr Hevel (הבל) because I want to remember that it's all smoke. This makes me happy.
  • The inside screen is kick-butt. The screen on my old phone was functional, but that's about all I can say for it. The Razr screen is larger, and has a resolution of 320x240 with anti-aliased fonts. I like this. I also love with AT&T did with the menu layout of the Razr. A lot of folks complain about the look of the Razr UI, and I've not been that impressed with the ones I've seen in the past either, but this is clean and clear with a great screen.
  • The charge port is a ordinary usb port. This makes life soooooo much easier in case I have to charge my phone while I'm out as I only have five or six compatible cables. Another plus is that my wife's headset charges the same way and Motorola says I should have no problems charging with that charger (just that it might take longer). The biggest draw for me and the Razr was always that usb port. I like.
  • The Razr V3xx has an expandable memory slot for micro-SD (up to 2 gigs) which I can use for a music player if I want (I don't, but ok). However, if I get a card that means I could use my phone as a flash drive (or even just bluetooth files to folks). I like that. The phone also has 56.7 mb of free memory right now, which is a huge increase from my Nokia 6102i. Again, I like.
  • Voice dialing is significantly different. In my Nokia I had to create "voice tags" for specific numbers in my address book - and I had a limited number of them (10, I believe). The Razr, on the other hand, has several commands that I can use for voice dialing, including name recognition and number dialing. That's a powerful feature as it means that I can dial a number from memory without taking my eyes off the road and that any number in my address book is able to be dialed with nothing other than my voice. The down-side is that it takes another step (or two if you have more than one number for a contact) - but the power of it blows my mind. I do wish there was a voice trainer so the phone would get accustomed to my intonation - I've had some mis-cues.
  • The sound quality has be suburb so far working with my bluetooth headset (actually, I haven't even used the actual headset to make a call yet) - there is a lot less static with the Razr, which is what I would expect with a newer bluetooth stack running the phone.
  • I have a 1.3 megapixel camera on my phone now. Not as much as other high-end sets (most have 2.0 megapixel cameras now), but it's a significant increase from my 640x480 vga camera on the Nokia. No flash though, bit of a bummer there.
All in all, I'm happy with this upgrade. Since it cost me less than a battery for a phone which usable and not much else - I'm especially pleased.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

The "No Longer Interested Spouse of Christ"

My friend Ron King gave me the link to this blog entry. I have to say that I'd never considered a disconnected spouse as a metaphor for the malaise of the Church - but it's dead-on. Challenging stuff.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Meeting An Unreach Committee...

Today I had a lunch with a guy who is a student pastor in a near-by town. He's a nice guy who puts interesting messages in his IM status-line. From his status-line I discovered that he's having a bit of a difficult time with the church's "outreach committee." Let's summarize:
  • His church has a summer VBS that the entire town attends. There were over 100 kids there this year.
  • Looking at the registration cards he noticed that 20 of those kids have no "Church home."
  • He figured that, as these folks have already started a bit of a relationship with the congregation, it woudl be a good thing for outreach committee to call these families and personally invite them to attend worship some Sunday (preferably for a "special" worship like Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve).
  • When he suggested this to the "outreach committee" one person in-particular grew really flustered and started stammering about it being "the pastor's job."
  • Sigh.
It's a story a pastor in just about any congregation has faced. People get so ingrained in a system of dependence on "the specialist" making sure that the work of ministry gets done that they resist being empowered to do the work of the Kingdom themselves. It's a system that depends on unaccountability, the cold shoulder, and intimidation to survive - a fact that was reinforced to me when my conversation with my new friend was briefly put on pause.

See, as we chatted a woman came up to our table, stood right next to me, and proceeded to have a conversation with my friend that went something like this,

"Hi, I was waving at you from the door, my husband is ordering for me so I came over to say hi. See you later."

As I had been ignored in this exchange I stuck out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Wes."
[Looking startled] "Oh, Hi Les."
"Actually, it's Wes."
"Oh Wes, Les, close enough."
"Well, Les worked at WKRP and Wesley founded a religious movement - as I'm a pastor I'll stick with Wes."
[turning away and addressing my friend] "another pastor?" [walks away without looking at me].

I was chuckling to myself when my friend said, "That's the person from the Outreach Committee."

Welcome to the wonderful world of unreach.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

For Cryin' Out Loud, Rest!

Here is the sermon for the fourth word of the Decalogue - it deals with the Sabbath. Frankly, this is a sermon that I'm not quite sure hit what it was aiming for. I got near the mark, but not quite "there." I really just should have sat down and said, "OK, I will now live-out the Sabbath." I didn't, so you get to read my manuscript. Lucky you.

Click here to read along.

If you would like to listen to the audio for the sermon, go ahead and subscribe to the podcast.