Archive for March, 2007

Busy day with lots of things taking place:

1.  I just got back from a Living Stones Church Discovery Class.  I love the Discovery Class.  Especially the Discovery Classes over the past six months.  It has been so fun not only to talk about our mission and vision (which always gets me fired up…again), but also to hear the stories of our mission and vision at work.  It is very encouraging to hear thoughts, impressions, and experiences of people who have recently been coming to the Living Stones Church.  Plus, I just really like the people in the Discovery Class.  Awesome group of people!!

2.  Went to the Oral Surgeon today for my consultation.  The assistant put my x-ray in the light box and said, “Wow!”  My regular dentist, when horizontal-wisdom-tooth.jpgdiscussing with me the results of the x-ray and referring me to the Oral Surgeon spoke softly and in very concerned tones.  Truthfully, I wondered if he was telling me everything, or if there was something I was dying of but he wasn’t saying (not that I have any problems with hypochondria).  The Oral Surgeon explained the risks, but in spite of them, recommended the horizontal wisdom tooth that is sitting on the nerve in my jaw come out (he promised that drooling was not in my future, even if he severed the nerve).  He was very emphatic that it would hurt!  That I would be very sore for a long time.  We scheduled it for Monday, May 14th.  He thought I would not be able to preach the next Sunday and even the Sunday after I would probably want to have a “shorter homily.”  I told him the church would probably thank him for the favor.

3.  Signs are in the front yard for the April 7th Easter Egg Hunt and our Alive Series beginning on Easter as well as the delivery of more VBS material, 7500 postcards, t-shirts, and banners!

4.  Prayers go out for little Virginia Gerndt who was hit by a car today when trying to get on the school bus (the driver failed to observe the “stop” sign).  She is scrapped, has some stitches on her cheek, has a good mark on her forehead, a concussion, but otherwise…should be fine.  They (Memorial Hospital) are keeping her overnight as a precaution.  Many props to Buffy and her handling of the situation, especially since she actually saw the whole thing go down!  Buffy was very calm and did a great job explaining what was happening to Virginia as she asked.  Thank you God that it looks like Virginia is going to be O.K.  

Tired…time for bed.

  10.  At confession, you say, “Forgive me, dawg, for I have sinned”  

    9.  Each week, you vote one of your kids out of the house  
  8.  After sex you say to your wife in a British accent, “Awful. Just pathetic”  
  7.  FOX switchboard operator knows you by name  
  6.  When “Idol” comes on, so do the adult diapers  
  5.  Had your stomach stapled like Randy and you weren’t even overweight  
  4.  You understand what Paula Abdul is blabbing about  
  3.  No number 3 — writer watching “American Idol”  
  2.  Got Adam Sandler to guest host your talk show so you could stay home and vote for Sanjaya  

  1.  Your TiVo recommends you get some counseling  

In spite of tonight’s American Idol results, I am hanging on, even if it is by faith, that God is still on his throne, is in control of all things, and sovereignly in charge of all things…even if Sanjaya is still in the competition (not even in the bottom three) and Chris Sligh (I really like that guy…although I will admit the past few weeks haven’t been his best performance) went home.  I’m now going to read some Lamentation or some sad prophetic passage warning of exile.

 I hope “J” from myspace can hang on.

complaint-free.jpgI was flipping channels on my T.V. (non-HDTV) last night (it is sort of a sport that I’m good at…if it were a part of the Olympics, I would qualify, perhaps medal, in the “remote flipping” competition) when I passed by the Oprah show and she had Pastor Will Bowen of the Christ Church Unity as a guest who came up with a “no complaining” wristband.  That’s right!  A wristband that you wear while pledging the next 21 days NOT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING!!  I thought, “What kind of stupid idea…oops.”  So I listened, and I thought, “You know this might be a good thing.”  And truthfully, I think it would be an EASY challenge for me because anyone that knows me knows I practically ooze positive vibes continually!  I’m so syrupy sweet and positive seeing the good in every person and circumstance that it feels UNNATURAL for me to complain…yea, I’m that good!  So, this should be a piece of cake.  I thought it would be good for me, and the rest of my family (who needs more help than I on not complaining).

sanjaya-mohawk.jpgAnd then, we started watching last night’s American Idol and who do I see…Sanjaya looking like a rooster!!  And the bracelet came off!  That’s right baby!!  Good-bye “compaint bracelet” hello “a little bit of truth smack-down.”  Sanjaya, my dear friend, you really seem like a nice kid.  But please, do the honorable thing, walk away from the show.  You clearly have a fan base (they are all probably wearing a bunch of ridiculous purple bracelets).  Leave the show, make an album, and market it to the little Ashleys of the world.

And then, I discovered that a girl identified as “J” on myspace has pledged to go on a hunger strike until Sanjaya is booted from the show.  Finally, a cause worth real sacrifice!  It used to be world peace, child labor laws, the exploitation of women…but now, finally, a social cause worth getting behind…starve yourself until Sanjaya (a.k.a. “Rooster Boy”) leaves American Idol.  While I won’t be joining “J“, I do want her to know, as I’m sitting in my office downing another donut, I support her 100%.  Oh…I also just purchased “J” a complaint bracelet.  Starvation and complaining go hand-in-hand so I thought she could use some help.  My contribution to the great social cause of our day!

nacho_libre.jpgThere is a ton of activity going on.  We have volunteers and Jennae Gee painting up a firestorm.  Jennae painted the baptistery yesterday (and was only a little high)!  It is amazing what a fresh coat of some special pool paint can do to a baptistery.  The back rooms are being cleaned, repainted, trimmed, etc.  It looks nice.  Thanks to Jennae, Wally Last, Alex, Elise, and others for painting and helping us get ready!

Doug Harsch is working on a trailer for our new Easter/series entitled Alive.  You won’t want to miss the trailer on Sunday.  Very good.  Thanks to Jaynie Romer for filming some footage from the hospital (who knew you could find so much to film in a morgue!).

Ordering food for the past-baptismal bash, purchasing towels, ordering t-shirts, getting new banners for the front and entrances, a box for the summer’s VBS just came in (oh yea, it will be here before you know it), getting candy for Easter eggs, 7500 postcards have been ordered (and are going to be labeled on Friday), etc.  There is a ton of stuff happening!  I love it.  Very exciting time of the year…which is helped by the weather!  Hello record temperatures!  It is fantastic.

In the words of the famous Nacho Libre, “my life is good…really good.”

img_2701.jpgWell, it finally happened (see previous post).  Caleb got the most Christlike award after his last Upwards Bound basketball game.  Most Christlike!!!  Way to go Caleb

But the interesting thing was that Caleb got in a brew-ha-ha with another little seven year old during the game throwing fists with such fury that the opposing team’s coach had to break them up!  When our coach announced Caleb’s win, another parent, who had witnessed the whole fight laughed and looked at us with that…”isn’t that funny, your kid got in a fight with another kid and won most Christ-like!”  (actually she defended Caleb saying it was just self-defense).  And I thought… “Yea, that’s right, my boy…bringing on the prophetic- righteous-indignation-down-on-that-pagan-seven-year-old like Jesus riding on a white horse to destroy all of his enemies!”  Caleb, with whip in hand (or maybe a basketball…or maybe just his finger), overturning the tables of the opposing team to reveal God’s holy mightFinally, someone gets that being most Christ-like does not mean being the biggest mansy-pansy on the court!  Sometimes the dude that brings the can of whip-&$^#* is the guy who gets the most Christ-like (then again sometimes it is the award for the kid who didn’t get…best offense, defense, sportsmanship, best effort, etc.)!  Ha Ha.  This has been a really fun season!

Way to go Caleb,

Your Pacifist Father

shane-claiborne.jpgWent with a group of guys (David Kneip, Doug Harsch, and Curt Lynn) to Grandville, MI yesterday evening to hear Shane Claiborne speak at Mars Hill Church.  Which by the way, I can’t stand the roads in Grandville.  You couldn’t make a right or left turn without having to find a turnaround and come back, etc.  It was miserable (not to mention it was raining and hard to see…I think I’m getting old).  Anyhow, other than that, it was a good road trip and an interesting experience.

Shane wrote a book called Irresistible Revolution.  Shane took the stage in what looked like his contemporary friar clothing.  He had dreadlocks, a bandana, thick glasses, and thin.  He had a great personality and told amazing stories of love and kindness in a world that desperately needs something that has the power to transform.  He showed a video clip of a little boy who received love and care from one of the sisters in Calcutta.  It was a very powerful image…and very disturbing (in one of those good ways).

Shane spent some time with Mother Theresa in Calcutta.  He quoted her often.  In response to those who spend some time in Calcutta with her and want to stay, she had a habit of discouraging them from staying with her but rather to go out saying, “Everyone has a Calcutta, find your Calcutta.”  It was her way of saying, there are outcasts all around you, all over the world.  Find themServe there.  Another one of my favorite saying (that is also the drive for servant evangelism) is Mother Theresa’s, “We cannot do great things, we only do small things with great love.”  Very good evening listening to Shane, who is a great prophetic voice within the Body of Christ to not forget who holds a special place in God’s heart.

Still struggling with reconciling his life experiences and stories with my own.  I will need to apply the heart he so clearly demonstrated within the context of being married, three children, etc.  But I need voices to continually remind me.

Mars Hill was interesting.  It was my first time having been there.  I found the facilities very utilitarian.  One exception, there was no sign.  Where is the sign?  Had Doug not been there before, I think we would have driven around for quite sometime and never discovered the church.  They purchased an old shopping mall and converted it into a church.

I’m leaving later today to spend some time at the Lindenwood Retreat Center.  It is a great spiritual recalibration place for me!

Last week I mentioned that Sanjaya Malkare was unjustly being kept in the American Idol competition by little girls and grandmothers.  And last night’s show revealed the truth.  It is Ashley!!!  Ashley is keeping Sanjaya Malkare in the competition!  Did anyone else see that?!  What is the world was wrong with that girl?  She sobbed and sobbed!!!  Where is that girl’s parents?  Do they know their daughter is having a break-down and is disconnected to reality?  Is counseling in order; serious therapy?  How about just unplugging the T.V. and not allowing her to watch anymore American Idol.  I could understand if it was Menudo up on stage, menudo.jpgbut Sanjaya Malkare…come on.  So, I seemed to have falsely accused the grandmothers.  To you, grandmothers of the world…I humbly apologize.

You can see the horrific incident here:

Irresistible Environments…do you have any of them in your life?  You know…those places that you love to go.  It could be some close friends in whom you love to spend time; the kind that you would drop about anything to hang out at each others’ home.  It could be a restaurant that you ALWAYS want to go to.  Whenever your spouse asks, “Where do you want to go eat?” it is the first thing you want to say (even if you hold off for fear of everyone getting sick of it).  For others it could be a particular coffee shop, sports bar, park, or retail store.  We each have places that for whatever reason, are simply irresistibleto us.  It could be the mood it creates for us, the feel, the experience, the sights, the sounds, the relaxed setting, etc.  But they are places that are absolutely irresistible.  I have several of them.  I love Tippecanoe Restaurant.  If I ever get a chance, I’m there.  I love Logan’sSteakhouse (I know you are starting to see a pattern…all food).  I love Lindenwood Retreat Center.  I love Caribbean Cruise ships.  I love Disney World.  I love going to the zoo.  There are lots of places that provide lots of different environments that I find irresistible.  It would have to be something very serious for me to ever say, “I’m just not in the mood for Tippecanoe.”  or “I just don’t feel like going to Disney World.”  or “A cruise…I don’t know, I’d rather mow the yard.”

I’m curious how irresistible people find the environment of church.  Is it one of those places that people just HAVE to be at, or is it one of those place I go because I feel like I have to…you know the obligation thing?  My guess is that often times, church feels very resistible.  So resistible that when the first better offer comes along (e.g., more sleep, the golf course, the shopping mall, the T.V., etc.) people jump at the chance to resist the environment of church.  And for all you churchy people who want to start preaching about how people are supposed to go to church…blah, blah, blah.  That’s the point.  Supposed to go to church and finding church irresistible are two totally different things.  Guilt only lasts so long.

What is ironic about that is that when Jesus walked the face of the earth, he was absolutely irresistible!  Everyone wanted to be around him!  People crammed houses when he entered them, they filled mountainsides to hear him speak, they would crush the available beach space so much so that Jesus would literally be forced to speak from a boat further into water.  People cut through roofs to get to him; they climbed sycamore trees to get a peek at him.  Even people who hated him were drawn to himHE WAS ABSOLUTELY IRRESISTIBLE!!  What happened!?!?!  It took the church 2000 years to make Jesus resistible!  Good job church!!!  Come on…we are supposed to be following after the dude that everyone flocked too.  The guy who every sick, lame, twisted, and demonized dude tried to get to; the guy who every marginalized and discouraged person tried to be around; the guy who could simply say, ‘follow me’ and people would literally put in their two week notices at work!  How did so many people find Jesus irresistible, but now the church of Jesus very resistible?  How is he so relevant, but we tend to be so irrelevant?  How did he draw thousands, and we get all giggly if we draw an extra family or two!  Hello…anyone out there?! 

It is time we rethink this whole church thing.  Really…from beginning to end!  What made him so irresistible, and what makes us so resistible?  Don’t you want the Living Stones Church (or any other church if you go to another church) to be one of those places that people find absolutely irresistible.  I mean, even if they don’t buy this Jesus thing yet, I want their experience in this place to make them think, “I can’t help but go back…it is irresistible!”  I want what happens here to be the most life-giving, dynamic, exciting, relevant, irresistible moment of their week.  That little piece of time that we carve out to meet in Jesus’ name and it is so powerful; so awesome that who would ever think of sleeping in, or going golfing, or skip out to head to the beach…or…miss it for Disney World…come on (oohh coming close to my heart…o.k…I’ll back off).

The Living Stones Church…providing the irresistible experience of Jesus Christ.  I like that! 

From another blog:  10 Ways to Not Be Irresistible.  

I had three out of my four wisdom teeth pulled about 5-6 years ago.  The remaining tooth was too impacted, too difficult to reach, etc. so the oral surgeon at the time left it alone with this warning – “someday you may need to get that one removed.”  I guess this is the day.

I went to my dentist this morning because of a sore tooth on the bottom left hand side.  I thought it was a cavity or a filling that needs to be repaired.  Nope.  It is my fourth wisdom tooth pushing against the roots of the other teeth and creating all sorts of problems.  I have a neat x-ray to prove it.  I have to have it removed.  Not pleased.

Showed a “How to Baptize” video at church yesterday morning.  A humorous look at what baptism looks like at the Living Stones Church: