Archive for February, 2009

Good-Bye Sear’s Essential

Posted: February 27, 2009 in Restaurants, South Bend

And another southside store bites the dust.  Sear’s Essential is closing.  Liquidation begins mid-March and the store is expected to be closed by May. 

Great location for a Cracker Barrel!

For reasons I’m not even aware of (I think I would need some therapy to draw them out)…I really wanted this guy to move on to the next round.  I’m sad his time on American Idol is over.  Nick Mitchell AKA “Norman Gentle” is one unique dude…to say the least.

Obama the Anti-Christ

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Culture, Politics

I have no idea why non-Christians would think Christians are a bunch of crazies!

Hey Living Stoners,

Just a few things to draw to your attention that would make for some great opportunities of service, spiritual growth, and/or friendship:

1.  Tonight (2/26) and tomorrow night (2/27) there will be a children’s wing work party oh yea…I said “party”) to move forward in completing our children’s wing.  If you have children at Living Stones…you should commit three hours of your life to one of these opportunities!

2.  Mark Ekdahl is starting a Living Stones Church men’s slow pitch softball team.  We could have joined a church league, but figured there would be too many fights and cuss words 🙂 at those church leagues so we went with the city league with the Parks & Recreation department.  Invite some dudes that you might know who would want to play.  Mark is assessing the interest to see about moving forward.  If you are interested e-mail him here and let him know you want to play!

3.  Sunday afternoon (3/1) from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. the Intercessory Ministry is hosting a Concert of Prayer.  You can come for the whole hour, or just a part.  Spend some time praying on your own, or with others.  It is an intentionally carved out time and space for you to meet with God.

4.  Read Luke 6:17-49 for Sunday’s message.  Just finished the message a few moments ago.  Very excited to preach it!!

Church Speak

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Church

Sometimes Christians say things that require translation.  There is meaning behind the words that if you take at face value you will miss.  Some of these thoughts were sparked at a conference I attended last week.  I hear these phrases from time to time when people swing by Living Stones Church looking for a new church and say things about their former churches…

Things like:

“It’s just not deep enough for me.”  That sounds spiritual and at face value you might think that the one saying it is really longing for some exegetical challenges from the text (preferably in Greek and Hebrew).  But the real translation for this is “I’m looking for something complicated and controversial.”  People who want “deep” really mean they love things that are complicated, hard to understand, confusing, and makes people walk away feeling insecure about the correct interpretation of a biblical doctrine.  So…let’s agree that when you figure out how to love God and neighbor accurately, we’ll move on to something deeper.

“I’m just not being fed.”  Ouch.  They don’t know it, but they just called themselves out.  They just said, “I’m a complete baby in the faith and incapable of feeding myself and thus dependent on my church (or Pastor) to do it for me.”  They didn’t mean to, but they did.  There is an appropriate time for the church to bear the burden of helping spiritually newborn people in regards to nourishment from the Word of God.  But part of that process has to be helping people feed themselves.  Helping your two year old cut his food up to eat is pretty normal.  If he is 27…it is weird. 

“The Lord hasn’t given me a release.”  This means “I really don’t want to do [something].”  It feels weird just saying that, so we lay a spiritual trump card on it.  Who can argue that God hasn’t released them?  Am I going to oppose God?!  In the end, it is just churchy language we adopt to not do something we don’t want to do and aren’t confident enough with our “no” and thus transfer responsibility to God.  Just say “no.”  It’s O.K.

There is always a story behind the story.  These phrases are spoken to give an air of spirituality or vagueness to conceal the real truth.  Often it is that their feelings were hurt, they feel excluded and left out, they don’t care for the church, the preaching style of the pastor, etc.  I get those.  Those sentiments can be legitimate and honest.  But “deep,” “fed,” and “Lord’s release” is code language for something else.  It is church speak.  And someone with the gift of discernment and interpretation of languages is required to give the right translations.

Good-bye Dane.  You can see an after picture here.

The dude dropped 100 pounds in just EIGHT WEEKS!!!  It was a new Biggest Loser record for first one to lose 100 lbs. in shortest amount of time.

And then he goes home and runs a MARATHON with his wife!!  Congrats dude (on both the marathon and the wife).

BUT…why didn’t they disclose his weight loss numbers at the end which I’m pretty sure they ALWAYS do?  Are they trying to hide something?  Just trying to get a controversy going 🙂

Once again, I have to voice my objection to the decisions made by the producers of the Biggest Loser

 I understand that ALL shows have a shelf-life.  It won’t last forever.  Eventually the number of viewers begins to wane and the rankings head south.  So the temptation to keep things fresh and novel is always present.  And I’m not against change…even change for the sake of change (otherwise everyone ends up in a rut and finds even good change anathema).

But Biggest Loser is a GREAT show because of the drama of watching lives transformed through MASSIVE amounts of discipline, hard work, intentional choices, and essential introspective reflection on what brought each participant to the point of obesity and in need of RADICAL change.

And we get to see the RADICAL change EVERY WEEK!!  It is amazing.  And we find ourselves rooting each week for the participants.  This show is great in-and-of-itself.  And switching the teams up and splitting teams and assigning a different trainer doesn’t make any of us more GLUED in to this show.  It just irritates us.  And because we love the show we keep watching IN SPITE of these gimmicky and ridiculous decisions. 

So everyone is upset:  Contestants are crying (which can be a little melodramatic); Bob the trainer is crying (again…a little melodramatic); I’m crying (OK…not really)…

It just isn’t necessary.  And it leaves people feeling irritated and disappointed.  The danger for this show is not in the lack sudden shifts and novel ideas to keep everything “fresh” but doing so with such regularity or absurdity that viewers finally have enough of the feeling of irritation and disappointment and turn to a huge bowl of ice cream while flipping over to American Idol or the Food Network to recover!

(by the way…there is a lesson for churches in this too).

The podcast from this past week’s message is now on line.  It is the first week of a seven week series on the Gospel of Luke entitled, “Luke:  A Story of Jesus.”

In this first week we talked about a brief introduction to the Gospel of Luke and then began with the public ministry of Jesus in 4:1 – 6:11.  The first week’s title is “Who is This Jesus?”

I’ve had more response and feedback from this message than any I’ve given in awhile.  If you haven’t yet, I would recommend reading the first three chapters of Luke, maybe listening to this podcast and this one from the first couple of chapters of Luke, then listening to Sunday’s message, and then reading for yourself 4:1-6:11

You can find Sunday’s message here.

And the Oscar Goes To…

Posted: February 24, 2009 in Movies

In honor of Slumdog Millionaire’s Oscar victories…I am only listening to Indian/Bollywood music in the office today!

Excellent movie.

I asked Kelly yesterday if it would be inappropriate for me to go up to people from obvious Indian descent and congratulate them on their win.  She said it would.  So I didn’t.  But I wanted to!

Fat Tuesday

Posted: February 24, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

This is a paczki.  You are supposed to eat them on Fat Tuesday.  I have never…not once…in my ENTIRE life ever eaten a paczki.  And yet I feel like Fat Tuesday (or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) sort of describes my life.  I feel like I’m missing out on something.  I wonder if someone with any polish heritage in their family (say on their mother’s side) who happens to work at the Living Stones Church is able to score some paczkis (is that the plural) to remedy this injustice of paczki-free living (but I’m not mentioning any names).