Archive for April, 2012

Martin Luther once said that when he preaches he doesn’t aim for understanding among the doctors and magistrates in his church but rather he sinks himself down deep and aims his message for the poor, the servant, and the children.  I like the idea of having an intentional aim when it comes to the delivery of the message.  One of the aims for me is to be aware that at the Living Stones Church on any given Sunday I have a handful of people who are battling cancer.  Knowing this, I believe, helps me in regards to preparing and delivering the message:

1.  Time is precious and it ought not be wasted on a stupid sermon.  For someone with cancer, time has become a precious commodity (not that it isn’t for all of us…but they are now acutely aware of this reality) and they don’t have the luxury of wasting this precious commodity on a sermon that is ridiculous (and there are a lot of ridiculous sermons).

2.  Hearing good news is more important now than ever.  The name of Jesus is greater than any other name.  Even the name “cancer.”  Jesus is good news.  Now, in their present affliction, and in their future glory.  They need to hear, somehow, that cancer doesn’t get the last word – Jesus gets the last word.

3.  Humor is good, being trite is not.  After dealing with IV’s, medical charts, blood tests, scans, x-rays, being poked and prodded – the chance to laugh is welcomed.  What is not welcomed is a long oration about Paul’s shifting eschatological expectations as revealed in his epistles to the church in Thessalonica.  To someone with cancer – this is trite.  So are long-winded messages on what we are against, why we are the only ones that are right, and that sermon that uses “PNEUMATOLOGY” as an acrostic.

4.  God’s sovereignty and his goodness are still true.  If I have cancer I’m struggling with all sorts of questions.  Why is this happening to me?  Will I overcome this?  Etc.  These questions naturally lead to an overwhelming feeling of being out of control.  Thus, I need to know that God is control and that he is sovereign even in this situation.  I want to know that I’m not at the whim of cancer.  But I also want to know that God is good because after puking for the majority of the week I have doubts and I need to be encouraged again.

If I were teaching a class to preaching students, I would have in the instruction – “Remember, when you get up in the pulpit to preach, you are preaching to someone who is dying of cancer.  Let that shape your message and delivery.”

From Sunday’s welcome in our Walking Dead series…

After watching, you won’t forget.  And if you’re ever in East LA…you’ll want to play Caine’s Arcade.

This post was inspired by Elizabeth Esther who wrote on her blog what ENFPs think about all day.  You can find her list here.  Very funny.

  1. How am I not in charge of this?
  2. How do I become in charge of this?
  3. I’ve just decided I’m in charge of this.
  4. If you didn’t want me to solve it, why did you tell me about it?
  5. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.
  6. I’m trying to listen.  But you said something that made me think of something so I should probably tell you what it is because it will help this conversation.
  7. Because that is the way things work!
  8. It’s just a little conflict – why are you so upset?
  9. I love lists!
  10. I’m going to run for office.
  11. You’re not going to cry are you?
  12. We can do this!!!!
  13. It’s called a turn-signal – use it!
  14. Why do you keep asking me, “do you like it?”  If I don’t like it – I’ll tell you.
  15. It is possible that I might be a super-hero.
  16. When do you think the President of the United States is going to call to ask my advice?  Maybe I should BE the President of the United States.
  17. I bet everyone is glad I showed up to this party.
  18. How am I feeling?  Rational.  Please don’t ask me that question again.
  19. Why would they not write that down?
  20. I can’t wait to write more New Year’s Resolutions
  21. I have logically calculated what would be worth going to jail for.
  22. You hurting my daughter is in that calculation.
  23. What do you mean you don’t organize your socks by size, color, and thickness?
  24. I would delegate that but don’t we want it done right?
  25. You call it pugnacious, I call it being thorough.
  26. Oh…I’m sorry…now man up!
  27. It’s due on the 1st of the month, why is that so complicated to understand?
  28. You call that a poem?!  It didn’t even rhyme!
  29. There’s no such thing as a sixth sense!
  30. No, I asked “what did he say”, not “what you feel” he said.
  31. Dear God please don’t let them try to hug me.
  32. I have a rash.  I think it is an allergic reaction to this chaos.
  33. What do you mean you disagree with my systems and beliefs?  Are you suffering from insanity?
  34. Robert’s Rules of Order!!!!
  35. No, we can’t stop to go to the bathroom.  I’m trying to beat my time.
  36. You call that art?  A monkey can paint that.
  37. What do you mean you can’t see it?  How do you not see it?!
  38. Can I be the mayor, the superintendent of schools, and on the city council at the same time?
  39. When you say “emotional sensitivity” you mean what, exactly?
  40. I should probably rescue this social situation with my wit and winsome personality.
  41. Sex is awesome.  Especially when it is goal-oriented.  What do you mean you want to cuddle after?  What for?
  42. I love legal pads and office supplies.
  43. Why would I order something new when I know I like this?
  44. I have an opinion about this.  I bet everyone can’t wait to hear it.
  45. I love meetings!  What?  I’m not leading the meeting?  I hate meetings.
  46. What do you mean you don’t have a plan?  “Winging it” is not a plan!
  47. I just sent you an e-mail copy of the schedule for our super fun family vacation.
  48. What do you mean winning isn’t everything?

Metta World Peace (who is that you are asking?  That is Ron Artest…an NBA basketball player who changed his name to METTA WORLD PEACE…I think I would have preferred a symbol like Prince) is taking very seriously the Bible’s admonition in Ephesians 5:20 to – “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here, Metta, or Ron – thanks God that we don’t lose our baby teeth as adults.  I kid you not!  This is just priceless:


Posted: April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve said it many times, but I want to be on record here as well – I AM FOR COUNSELING.  Really.  I don’t get people’s resistance to counseling.  When our cars break down we take them to a mechanic, when our bodies aren’t functioning right we go see a doctor, when  we’ve sprung a leak in the house, we call a plumber.  But when it comes to our emotional/psychological/mental/or thought life needing a diagnosis or tune up we all of a sudden resist the idea of seeing a counselor.

Kelly and I have been to counseling several times in the course of our marriage (and I highly recommend it).  All three of my kids have seen a counselor at some point in their lives (hey…when they have my genetic linkage there are going to be issues!).

BUT…counseling should never be an ad nauseam experience.  You wouldn’t hire a contractor to work on your house and have no end vision/goal with stated deadlines.  I don’t get on-going counseling that has no end vision/goal in mind and that doesn’t have deadlines attached.  I’ve seen people see a counselor weekly for years and it doesn’t seem to have made any difference in their life at all.  This to me seems insane (or maybe that’s the issue).

I think you have to go through the important work of understanding family systems, certain dysfunctional proclivities, finding explanation to patterns of behavior and the why and hows of where they came from.  But after the self-discovery and tools and resources to “manage” or “eliminate” the dysfunctions…what other counsel is needed other than – “stop it!”

I saw this video clip on Michael  Hyatt’s blog ( and thought it was funny, but also, very appropriate at times in the counseling situation.

Post Easter Thanks

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Living Stones Church

Last week was an incredibly busy week.  A LOT going on at the Living Stones Church in preparation for all that happens on Easter weekend.  Yesterday we had a staff meeting.  Every staff meeting we take a moment to share a story of success or celebration that we had witnessed over the past week.  And the predominant thought among each of us was simply the number of people who volunteered over the past week whether it be in labeling post cards, stuffing Easter eggs, helping with set design, the time invested by our worship team to prepare for the Good Friday service and Easter, to the number of people who showed up a week ago Saturday for a clean-up day around the property, to the number of people who served on Easter – all of it incredible.

SO…I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you Living Stoners for being so generous and sacrificial in your time and helping us have a great Good Friday service, a great Easter Egg hunt with the families from Monroe School, and for a great Easter celebration!!!

I also want to give a HUGE shout out and thanks to the LSC staff who worked hard and I know is tired from the events of last week.  Thank you for all that you do and with the excellence you demonstrate in it.  To illustrate their wearied state, once a month we have a wider leadership meeting.  It is supposed to be tonight.  But after everything that has/is going on I thought I would cancel it for this month.  When I announced at the staff meeting I was canceling it, they applauded, cheered, cried, sang praises to my name, threw flowers at me, and promised to name their children “Sam.”  So…I’m thinking postponing a meeting was a good idea.

Postcard sent out to 10,000 homes on the South Side of South Bend!

A lot of people are interested in discovering how to survive the impending zombie-apocalypse.  Well…we won’t be covering that topic.  BUT…how to survive and recover from a “living dead” state in your spiritual life, marriage, finances, job, etc. (or just life in general)…THAT we’re talking about!!!  And we begin the conversation this coming Sunday, April 8th – EASTER – @9:00, 10:30, or 11:55 am at the Living Stones Church!!!!

The church has been buzzing with help and activity all week:  labeling post cards, putting candy in plastic easter eggs (for our easter egg hunt on Saturday with the families at Monroe School), putting together the set design for our new series (I love it by the way!!!), preparations for our Good Friday service, practicing for our Easter celebration, invite banners in the front yard, etc.  It is going to be a great weekend!!!!  See you there…and rent vans and bring as many people as you can find!!

Good Friday – noon

Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday 10:30 am

Easter Celebration (Walking Dead series) – Sunday 9:00, 10:30, or 11:55 am

Good Friday Service

Posted: April 3, 2012 in Living Stones Church

In THREE days (hey…that’s the same time between the death and resurrection of Jesus!!!) the Living Stones Church is going to observe a Good Friday service.  It will begin at noon and last approximately 45 minutes.  It has been YEARS since we have done a Good Friday service and I think this will be a very contemplative, powerful, and moving experience.  I’m really looking forward to taking some time as a community of faith to reflect well on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  If you’re coming from work on your lunch hour, invite some of your co-workers to join you.  See you Friday!!!