Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Top Ten Ways To Know You Might Attend A Mega Church"

"Top Ten Ways To Know You Might Attend A Mega Church"

10.  If your Sunday bulletin has an index page, you might attend a Mega Church

9.   If you have to travel through 3 states to preach at a satellite venue, you might attend a Mega Church.

8.  If you have to take a shuttle bus from the parking garage to the worship center, you might attend a Mega Church

7.  If your Senior Pastor has appeared on Larry King Live more than 3 times, you might attend a Mega Church.

6.  If your main worship service has more attendees each Sunday than a Cleveland Browns home game, you might attend a Mega Church.

5.  If your small group home study meets at the auditorium of your local high school, you might attend a Mega Church.

4.  If your no longer host after service pot lucks and now serve after service catered lunches, you might attend a Mega Church.

3.  If your Worship team employees pyrotechnics, you might attend a Mega Church.

2.  If the jumbo screens in your worship center are larger than the one at Cowboy's stadium, you might attend a Mega Church.

1.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Accidental Ministry"


(6) Ministry often occurs in ways that look incidental or accidental. Christians seem to have a “stained glass” concept of ministry. We think of ministry in very formal, structured, and planned terms. And yet the Book of Acts speaks of much ministry as though it were incidental, unplanned, and even unexpected. When we look at the events described in Acts 24, they look chaotic, out of control. Paul’s ministry seems terminated, and his life endangered, but in the midst of a maze of wrong motives and sinful actions (on the part of Felix and the Jews), God arranged for the gospel to be preached to this ruler and his wife. God was in control, although it did not appear to be this way. Ministry is doing the right thing when everything around us seems to be going wrong. Ministry is living in obedience to God’s commands, in the midst of sin, opposition, and confusion, out of faith in the person of God and in the certainty of His promises.
God is in control when the world seems to be out of control. What a message this has for us today, as we seek to live godly lives in a chaotic world. May He find us faithful, trusting in Him and in His promises, and living according to His Word, faithfully proclaiming His salvation to a lost and dying world.  Source

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Wide Or Narrow"


Start here:  I am not an official member of Pathway Church, an Evangelical Free Church;  the church formally known as Chippewa Evangelical Free Church (CEFC, E-Free).  That is not necessarily an attempt at full disclosure, it’s just a statement of fact. 

Here’s another statement of fact, there are a lot of people at Pathway who predate our attendance there, and there are far far more who postdate our attendance there.  I say “our” because my wife and I started attending “regularly” in 1998.  For two reasons:  1.  To find a home church in an attempt to break away from attending the church where my parents attend; this not as an attempt of rebellion, but as an effort to own a little bit more of our faith.  2.  We were searching for a place to marry; once again an attempt to move out of the shadow of mom and dad. 

In fact, we began attending Pathway while they were between Senior Pastors.  And quite ironically, no current staff member at Pathway has been there prior to our beginning of “regular” attendance.

Continue here:  As a non member, only “regular” I did not attend any session of discussion on the whys, why nots, hows, ifs, ands, buts, etcs concerning the need or non-need of a name change.  I did read items issued to the congregation via mail and in church writings explaining the thought processes behind such a move.

All of this being said, this will be my last talk concerning the subject; one that I agree is sufficiently behind us.

Why I disagree with the move:

  1. Tag line included, who uses one?  I mean really.  We use catchy phrases marketers shove down our throats.  We all know “Just do it”, “A Diamond is Forever”, “Got Milk?”’ “Don’t Leave Home Without It”, etc.  But as pointed out here, who knew the Gideons had “Bible Distributors” officially in their title?

  1. #1 leads to this:  The erasing of the Evangelical.  Yes, Pathway does remain associated with the EFCA; never was it considered to move away from them.  But to remove (which has somewhat been down with the use of CEFC or E-Free) the Evangelical via the drop of the tag line, Pathway removes the stigma society has placed on the word in attempt, in my opinion, to make it every slightly easier to be light in the surrounding community and beyond.

  1. #1 also leads to this:  The loss of the Free; another casualty in the eventually disuse of the tag line.  Free… Freedom.   “For Freedom, Christ has set us free.” 

Why I will move forward with the move:

1.      I trust Jesus.  Period.

2.      I trust those commissioned the serve God at Pathway.  Knowing the amount of prayer that goes into all things Pathway and trusting that God is faithful to answer prayer, I move forward.

3.      Someone once preached a message that included this quote:  “The King has another move.”  I wrote it in my bible then.  And I still believe that today.  I wish I had written down the day I heard that, but I still remember who preached that.  God is doing a new thing.  Who am I to say to question the Master Potter?  Not I.


“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14



Thursday, October 4, 2012

"WalkaAbout"

Saturday, October 6th, the family will be participating in AHA Heart Walk.

To my friends and family who helped us raise over $400, your generousity will heal hearts;
it already has touched mine.


Monday, September 17, 2012

"My POTUS Pick"


So I said I was going to write a blog on why I was voting for Matt Frey for POTUS this November.  And I was certainly working through that when I remembered that I really didn’t care about matters of the political realm any longer.  So I set it on the shelf.

But here I am, back at the keys trying to wordsmith my way to blogospherical supremacy.  In other words, I’m trying to use up space.

Where I will admit that I have never once in my illustrious voting “right” ever considered the faith or lack there of faith as a criteria for extending my duty, I have had decided to allow faith to be thee number one election determining factor for THIS POTUS election.

Where as much as I can stomach researching the faith of two fallible men, I do not undertake to put myself in position to replace God as the ultimate authority of where a man stands in relations to Himself.  Simply, I only have a man’s outward actions, words, experience, history, etc. to make me understand if a man is walking by faith.  God knows the heart.  I can’t.

I make no bones, as my Facebook friends will attest too, that I am more so right resting.  (though truly I am trying to return to a more Apolitcal position and allow God’s truth guide in matters that must involve His established government.)

So to say that I am less impressed with a man who believes in aliens, and even less impressed with a man who believes in illegal aliens would be such a crude and too simple way of explaining why I will be voting for Matt Frey for POTUS.

But what about the politics?  What about taxes, healthcare, stimulus?  What about the Fed, the Middle East, the war on terror?  What about abortion, gay marriage, civil rights?
What about?  What about?  What about?

My head swirls when I consider all of this.  Really, doesn’t everyone’s head swirl when considering all of this?  I can’t solve every issue.  And really, neither can anyone who claims he/she goes into politics to make a difference, or make change. 

Really, how can we expect any sort of sense of any thing apart from God?  Quite simply put, we can’t. 

“I, I am the Lord, and there is no deliverer besides me.”  Isaiah 43:11

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Dear MJD"

An Ode To Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice, Maurice... why do you sting me so?
A Yellow-Jacket kisses sweeter than you.

Understand?  With 1st Pick, we drafted thee.
Reaching,  it was not a reach.
Inexplicably, Inexiplicably.
Could you, Maurice, Maurice, couldn't you
Even consider those who have much invested?

Joy.  Oh the unrealized joy that will never run.
Only if you could see how important are thee.
Never once.  No Not Once.
Eventually.  That is what is said.

Don't wait.
Return
Each of us who drafted thee.
Would love to know that our 1st pick was not wasted.

So... GET TO CAMP YOU BIG CRYING BABY!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"The Heart Of It All"

Leaving in the morning.  Had to write this tonight.

One year ago, two days time... 7/27/11.

I'll never forget the day God walked me through the process of quitting smoking.


Some times God answers our cry for help in the most unusual ways.

But here I am.  CHANGED.  Smoke-free.  
But here I am.  CHANGED.  Free to live the life God has returned to me.

Every day I feel a twinge, a shot of pain, a muscle ache, phantom symptoms...
I am reminded of the healing hand of God; the mercy and grace and love
He pours into this unworthy man's life.

But I am at peace.  That doesn't mean I don't have moments 
of fear... or doubt... or panic;  It drives me, wills me, places me
square into the arms of the only one who loves perfectly.



Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Nothing can convince me otherwise... my heart bears the proof.
 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"The Music In My Heart"

Sometimes some one else captures exactly what you want to say in song.  Enjoy.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Answering The Questions"

I read this article over at Relevant today.

The end of the article poses these:


1. God commands us to love others. What are some of the ways you are able to best demonstrate love to those around you?  First, I must identify who "those" around me are every day.  And given my employmentless status, and where I spend all day... and more to the fact that it is summer in Western PA (schools out)... "THOSE" would be 1. my children, 2. my wife, 3. my neighbors... and going from there wherever I may venture in a day.  

So the question in my heart is "how am I demonstrating love to my children?"  And quite frankly the author of the article has gotten straight to my failure.  I need to take on the role of servant in their lives... a willing participant in serving them.  That their need for constant want should only be met with right attitude in my thoughts, words and deeds.  Never laying aside my role as disciplinarian if need be; yet never out of disciplining out of indignant postures.

Love them sacrificially;  never selfishly.


2. God deserves our gratitude and praise. Where/in what context are you most freely able to praise God? What activities, for you, are most conducive to praising God?  When truth is being delivered, by what ever medium possible, I PRAISE GOD! ... no matter what my circumstance, "how I feel" or where I stand.  God's truth that penetrates my heart brings me to a place of unhindered praise for him!


3. God gives us glimpses of his kingdom here on earth. When do you most clearly feel that sense of harmony, that everything is right with the world? Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing?  I have to go back to #2... with a slight twist.  Some times I wonder if any thing I says penetrates the heart of my children.  Do they understand fully who I am striving to be like, and not whom I am trying to escape (that is, the sinful nature that is in me.)  And whenever they speak or act in a manner that is God honoring, at that moment, I feel that "sense of harmony";  I am with them... and I am receiving back from God an immeasurable blessing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"The Ananias In Me"

Now a man named Ananias, together with Sapphira his wife, sold a piece of property.  He kept back for himself part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge; he brought only part of it and placed it at the apostlesfeet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart?  You have not lied to people but to God!”  Acts 5:1-4

Uh-oh, Ananias. Or should I say, "uh-oh, Jake."
You see, Ananias lied to God.  And what's about to happen, well...

But before he lied, and... well... he did something else;  He kept back some thing from God.
In Ananias' case, he kept back proceeds.  In my case, well... pick some thing.
I do it all the time... hold back from God.

I hold back my finances for sure, just like Ananias.  But I also hold back my time, my passion, my love, my help, my work, my prayers... my... my... my... Selling God short of all of me... well, deserves:

When Ananias heard these words he collapsed and died, and great fear gripped  all who heard about it.  Acts 5:5

... died.  Before he lied and died, he held back from God.
What if I would chose to give all to Him, submit to Him, surrender all to Him?
Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.  James 4:10

Before you lie and die... sin then death, you know, the wages of sin... humble yourself, submit yourself and He will lift you up.

After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, but she did not know what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me, were the two of you paid this amount for the land?” Sapphira said, “Yes, that much.” Peter then told her, “Why have you agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out! At once she collapsed at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the whole church and all who heard about these things.  Acts 5:6-11

And if it wasn't tragic enough holding back from God, there are other ramifications if I do so.
As the husband (and father) my humbleness, my surrender, my submission to God affects others.

But doesn't Sapphire have to make her own choice to avoid lying and dying?  Ultimately yes.
Still, if Ananias doesn't hold back... 


It's time to live it out...
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Jesus, I Surrender
I surrender all.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"10 Things I Hope My Baseballer Learned This Season"

1.  Success Is More Than Winning
 If I am better prepared for tomorrow because of what I learned today, even in defeat, I have succeeded.  It is from some of lifes most disappointing moments we learn the most about others; and more importantly ourselves.  Most importantly, we learn that God still walks with us, even carries us, after we fall.  THAT is certainly success.

2.  It Certainly Does Take A Team
 The mistakes of others, and our own mistakes, added together hold back the team.  How we come together, how we lift each other, how we push on through what bogs us down, all these will define who we are.  When each of us does what we are trained to do, this will also define who we are.

3.  Be Forgetful
One bad play HAS to be immediately put behind us.  A call that goes against us immediately HAS to be put behind us.  The home run we hit HAS to be put immediately behind us.  There will be time after the game to reflect on all of our successes and failures;  but that time is not in the middle of the game.

4.  Nobody Is Perfect
We are not perfect.  Teammates are not perfect.  Opponents are not perfect.  Umpires are not perfect.  Parents are not perfect.  The girls playing the softball game on the other field are not perfect.  NO ONE is perfect.  And where there is imperfect people, don't be surprised by mistakes.

5.  Sacrifice Is Necessary   
The players who make what most consider the highlight reel play are the ones who are not afraid to use there body in the process;  a short stop who uses his chest the keep a ball in front of him, an outfielder diving to make a catch, a first basemen running into the fence after a foul ball, a runner sliding into a base, a catcher blocking home plate...  The pain in the moment may be tremendous, but the outcome of the sacrifice will be the difference in the end.

6.  It's Still A Game
The fun of the game;  the rules of the game;  the results of the game;  we're going to play a game.
IT'S STILL A GAME!

7.  Be A Sponge
GOOD advice should be absorbed, listened to and applied.

8.  You Have To Want It
 Our nature is to want to sow a leaf and hide.  Leading by example is wanting to be the one who has to make the play, get the hit, throw the strike that makes the difference every moment.  And even it we fail at a moment, we want the next play to come to us.

9.   Go Crazy
Mostly fun, partly mind game; never rude, crude or obnoxious... GO CRAZY.  
Yell for your teammates... congratulate an opponent who makes a good play;
Kick some dirt around, get dirty... chant, cheer and lift each other up. 

10.  My Dad Is Crazy About Me
That not matter what I do, if I hit the game winning homer, or walk in the winning run, my dad is my biggest fan.  That love is not conditional because of success;  but that HIS love is unconditional because He loves me. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"The Plank In My Eye"


I do believe I have finally seen it all after
almost two whole years in the 10-under baseball league.

Tonight, a coach from the opposing team got tossed;
And not just tossed from the game, but from the whole community park.

And this didn't happen late in a game that was close.

This is was in the bottom of the 1st inning, with no outs, and after his
team had grabbed a 4-0 lead.

So much that is wrong with me wants to post more than the moniker
"coach from the opposing team".

And whereas I do believe the coach should be suspended from coaching
for the rest of the season ( I don't even believe the league has an any-game
suspension), what can one parent really do?

Even as I sit here 6 hours after it happened, I am still in shock, a wee bit
angered... and then, I am suddenly and overwhelming saddened...

Saddened on so many levels.

 But even more than that, I am convicted.

How much every day do I take whatever my beef may be, and blow it up into some thing more than it ever is, was, or should be?

How many times do I lose control, get impatient, run my mouth (or brain) and deserve the ejection?

I can sit here and overblow the sawdust I saw on display tonight... but if I do that, I sure better be ready for the plank to fall out of my face.

 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:3-5

Friday, May 25, 2012

"All"

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace."  Acts 20:24 NIV






Thursday, May 17, 2012

"T-Balling"

So Luke(nstein) has made it to the big time. 
Well, maybe not the BIG time, but to his
5-year-old brain, he's made it. 
Game totally on!

He had 3 really nice hits during his first game, and also
made a few nice plays from the pitchers spot and third base.

Tonight is "Game 2".  Looking forward to another good night.

Swing for the fences, Luke.  Your have a servant's heart that
will lead you to the prize!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Am I A 3-Year-Old At Heart?"

Reading my daily scripture reading for the day
was interrupted by the screams and cries for help.

To the rescue.

But I did not find hurt... or pain... or injury.

I found the 3-year-old unable to turn on the basement light.
SO, he resorted to attention-grabbing screams and cries to elicit my help.

On the light went.

How much do I act in this same manner?

Instead of going to Father to seek His help... I get my 3-year-old self on.


What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3 NIV1984

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Teach & Preach"

It is interesting to me to observe that Jesus never actually gave an evangelistic message (so far as the gospels tell us), nor did He ever give an invitation (as we know it -- see Matthew 11:28-30). When Paul speaks of the conversion of the Ephesians he describes it as "learning Christ" (Ephesians 4:20). Frankly, if we are teaching God's Word as we should people will be learning of Christ, including the lost. I have seen a number of people saved by listening to teaching addressed to believers.

For these reasons I would say that many churches need to quit trying to attract unbelievers to church, seeking to win them to Christ there, but they should start teaching believers the Scriptures, helping saints to know and develop their spiritual gifts, and then sending them out into the world with the gospel.

-- Bob Deffinbaugh

Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Twi(...)tter"






We as a society are on a social media overload.  We can't get enough.  We want more. 
 Give me, Give me, Give me!

I am as guiltily pleasured by the soft caress of my social media.  And why wouldn't I be?

Nothing exist (yet) that makes me the object of my own attention more than social media.

SOCIAL...


Just because we are connected today by more ways than ever before doesn't actually mean we are.

It's a lie.  Yet, somehow, we all already know that.  Because the lie strokes me my way;
whereas the truth rubs us all the wrong way.

As I said, I'm guilty, and... hold on... let me text mom back before I fini...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"The 1%"

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you.
Judges 7:2a NETBIBLE

32,000 to 300. That's a little over a 99% decrease.

DECREASE.

Do you get that?

My desire is to be the 1% in God's plan.


Monday, February 20, 2012

"February"

February has middle child syndrome. You know, there but relatively forgotten, unless of course there is some sort of horrid weather pattern... Bitter cold... Ice... feets of snow...

Seriously, unless February is bad, it's unnoticed.
Super Bowls, Valentine's Days, Presidents days, Leap Years, Black History Month... February is not redeemable by any of it.

It's the 2nd month...
the shortest month...
Most missed spelled...

The list can go on for a while.

But even in this rather misunderstood month
there are two days that for me make the month
most worth it.

The 11th and the 20th.

Both days that altered my life in some significant ways.

Happy Birthday Abby... Happy Birthday Noah.

There is sunshine on a dreary Feb(R)uary day!

I love you both!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"8 Days In"


So, 8 days into the self-imposed free from Facebook February (4F)
I've got to admit that I have not just given up an unnecessary evil,
but may have propelled myself into other unnecessary evils that
I really didn't want to be involved with.

I maybe suggesting that more than giving up Facebook should be
imposed for another month. How about a full blown stay away
from the internet for a full month? Nothing I do on a daily basis
requires the internet. NOTHING.

But I'm not so sure I am ready to commit to this severe of an act.

But I am considering it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Super Failure"

Other than this...



and this...



...THE SUPER BOWL ADS WERE EPIC FAILURE!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Misty Taste of Moonshine"

I tend to over think things. There's not need expounding
on that. But I have been thinking through a lot of
end of life issues... especially the fact that there is one.

It's not that I didn't think that before; It's just... well
it's more than an inevitable fact that I ponder about.

I guess the idea of pushing it from my mind is no longer
how I want to approach the topic in my mind and with
others any more.

Merely a mist.

NIV© James 4:14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

or

NET
© James 4:14 You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes.

These days, I tend to avoid the puffs of smoke that certainly
has in some way lead to these given thoughts.

Back to the mist.

A moment in time has been appointed me (all of us really) to
move from mist of today to ...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"A New Year"

All that happened in 2011...
All that God blessed us with...
All my failures...
All my successes...
All the memories...
All the things I've forgotten already...

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this.
Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting
the things that are behind
and reaching out for the things that are ahead,
with this goal in mind,
I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14 NETBIBLE

All my joy...
All my praise...
All my...
All..
2012 for God alone!