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Showing posts from 2009

David Bosch & Churches of Christ #6: Local, Worshiping Communities

Okay, here is my conversation (with myself) about the sixth and final component of a Western missiology -- according to Bosch. Let's not forget that Bosch is advocating a missional way of thinking that no longer views mission work as something we do in faraway places. Rather, he suggests (along with many current theologians and church leaders) that we need to view our own Western world as a mission field. These 6 characteristics describe the kind of church that has a chance of connecting with our contemporary Western world. And how would a church reach a mission field without connecting to it? These 6 traits are the foundation -- not the magic bullet -- for becoming missional here in North America.

So how do Churches of Christ stack up against Bosch's vision? We'll tally the score after today's discussion. Here is the 6th component:

6. Local, worshipping communities.Bosch beautifully makes a case for a renewed focus on independent congregations as the source of mission, …

David Bosch & Churches of Christ #5: Laity Driven

Hope you had a Merry Christmas. I'm looking forward to 2010. Should be an interesting year for many reasons.

Here is a summary of Bosch's 5th key component of a Western missiology:

5. Laity-driven.Bosch believes that the restoration of a priesthood of all believers is absolutely essential if we hope to re-evangelize the West. He makes two points in this regard. First, witness will be more credible when it comes from those who do not belong to the "guild of pastors." Second, a mobilization of the membership is the only way to destroy the false dichotomy present in the lives of too many believers -- namely, the divide between public and private, between religious and secular. Too many Christians think that only pastors have to be held to a higher standard.

Wow! If you are familiar with our heritage in Churches of Christ, you know that we have always emphasized a priesthood of all believers. While there have always been those who worked as preachers or evangelists, the con…

David Bosch & Churches of Christ #4: Contextualization

Here's a summary of what David Bosch wrote about the 4th component of a Western missiology:

4. Contextualization.We know that the gospel must be contextually relevant in the 3rd world. But contextualization for the Western world? Aren't most Western societies already based on Christian principles? Bosch states (and I agree) that too many people "still believe that the gospel has already been indigenized and contextualized in the West." Yet the West has mostly turned its back on the way of Jesus. Was Christianity never deeply embedded into our culture? Or did the gospel contextualize so much that it lost its distinctive character? Bosch doesn't know what Western contextualization will look like, and no one else honestly seems to know yet either. But we need to begin to re-contextualize in earnest.

When I left graduate school for the European mission field in 1994, I was prepared to contextualize not only my message but also my view of church. In other words, I was o…

David Bosch & Churches of Christ #3: Ecumenism

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Continuing my analysis of Churches of Christ, I am looking at our compatibility with David Bosch's 6 components of a Western missiology. Like most North American denominations, Churches of Christ are experiencing decline and fragmentation. We seem to be losing our own members while not appealing to new prospects. This is a problem shared by most churches across the board.

In the face of decline, we have two major temptations. The first is to withdraw into private spheres of spirituality where we "blow off" church and just focus on "being a good person" and on "being happy like God wants me to be." I can't say enough about how ungodly and self-centered this direction is. The second temptation is to try to reestablish Christianity as the way of life for our country. It is just as bad as the first because it will isolate us even further from the world that God wants us to reach. This temptation over-glorifies the past and projects a triumphalistic spi…

A Christmas Gift Idea

Here is a Christmas story & gift idea forwarded to me by a family member who had the good sense not to post this on a blog. I have no such good sense. I can only hope that it's a fanciful tale. I present it in its unauthenticated form with only a couple minor edits.

Happy shopping!

Pocket Tazer Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife ... A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Tazer for their anniversary submitted this:

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest...


The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse- sized tazer.

The effects of the tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety.....??

WAY TOO COOL! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. …

David Bosch & Churches of Christ #2: Counterculturalism

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On with an analysis of Churches of Christ (particularly the progressive "branch") through the lens of the late, great South African theologian David Bosch...

His masterpiece work is Transforming Mission, a hefty tome that is not easy to wade through. A small volume called Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture provides the fodder for these articles. In the concluding chapter of this 60-page book, Bosch lays out 6 components that (in his opinion) will mark a healthy missiological approach to Western culture.

As I have said previously, the Western world (US, Canada & Europe) is in need of being re-missionized. We can't assume that churches as they currently exist will be effective in reaching Westerners who are increasingly rejecting the church as they know it.

In light of this thought, these posts ask how Churches of Christ stack up against David Bosch's 6 suggested elements of a Western missiology? In other words, do we in Churches of Christ…

David Bosch & Churches of Christ #1: Ecology

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I've not been the most faithful blogger lately. Lots of good things are happening, but this has left me less time for posting. Back to our subject...

How do Churches of Christ stack up against David Bosch's 6 suggested elements of a Western missiology? In other words, do we in Churches of Christ already have any of these components in place? Or do we have to completely reinvent ourselves if we hope to survive beyond the next generation or two?

There are multiple factions within Churches of Christ, as with any Christian denomination or fellowship. My experience is with the more moderate or progressive elements in our fellowship. We all have strongly sectarian roots, but most progressives have jettisoned big portions of this heritage. As a matter of fact, the most popular pastime among Church of Christ progressives is bashing their own heritage. The preachers who get the biggest laughs and have the widest followings are those who are not only good speakers but who also cleverly po…

David Bosch's components & Churches of Christ

Having spoken of David Bosch's 6 components in 2 previous posts (Nov 23 & 24), I thought it would be interesting to examine Churches of Christ through the lens of Bosch. I'll try to do that today and tomorrow and perhaps beyond.

What were Bosch's 6 components? You can go back & read this or this, but let me summarize. David Bosch, the late South African theologian and missiological researcher & teacher, spent much of his career investigating and writing about the components of mission for our era. His hefty work Transforming Mission was a seminal tome in missions. Bosch was at the forefront in identifying our Western world as seriously in need of re-missionizing (not a word, I know). Mission work is not just something we do "far away" in remote places. Mission is about expanding the Kingdom reign of God. And the Western world needs PLENTY of that!

Out of his massive research, he proposed 6 elements of a potentially effective mission to the Western world…

4 Uniformed Officers Gunned Down

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What is wrong with our world?! Why would a person walk into a coffee shop in Seattle and kill four uniformed cops in cold blood? Our men and women in blue serve us in so many ways. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. But instead of thanks, some lunatic walks in and ends their lives. How meaningless!

These murdered officers have families, friends and loved ones who will never forget the horror of this event. Why? Why must this happen, O Lord? How long must we suffer and toil in vain?
The words of scripture teach us to be blunt with God. The psalmist cries out (Ps 13), "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?"
It's no credit to you to deny your confusion and anger in times of pain and suffering. We all have moments when we want to scream out to God: "How long?!" Scripture teaches to go ahead and yell out to Him. He hears. He can take it. Let Him have it.
In the midst of such anguish, I pray that we turn to God, not aw…

California City, California

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Does anyone know much about California City? My father-in-law found this VERY interesting post on the BLDG blog about a planned city near Mojave. The blog contains fascinating aerial pictures. It's 100 miles northeast of LA, and the people who planned this desert community believed it would grow to 100s of thousands of people.

The population is only about 15,000 today. Guess those dreams didn't quite come true. Many of the planned streets and neighborhoods are visible from the air -- but they lie empty.
Quite an interesting story. I'd enjoy hearing more about it you know much about it.

Components of a Western Missiology, Part 2

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Continuing David Bosch's suggested components of a Western missiology: 4. Contextualization. We know that the gospel must be contextually relevant in the 3rd world. But contextualization for the Western world? Aren't most Western societies already based on Christian principles? Bosch states (and I agree) that too many people "still believe that the gospel has already been indigenized and contextualized in the West." Yet the West has mostly turned its back on the way of Jesus. Was Christianity never deeply embedded into our culture? Or did the gospel contextualize so much that it lost its distinctive character? Bosch doesn't know what Western contextualization will look like, and no one else honestly seems to know yet either. But we need to begin to re-contextualize in earnest.
5. Laity-driven. Bosch believes that the restoration of our priesthood of all believers is absolutely essential if we hope to re-evangelize the West. He makes two points in this regard. Firs…

Components of a Western Missiology, Part 1

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If we were to think of ourselves as missionaries here in the Western world, what would that look like?
Just the question probably seems strange to some people. Missionaries are supposed to travel far away, learn another language, pick up foreign customs and attempt to tell the good news of Jesus in a way that makes sense to the locals. We picture people of European descent squatting in mud huts, talking to "primitive" villagers about Christianity. The stereotypes are set.
But if the Western world is increasingly non-Christian, shouldn't we become missionaries to our own culture? I believe the answer is YES. The next question to answer is HOW? What would a missiology of Western culture look like?
David Bosch suggests 6 components that we would do well to consider. (David Bosch, "Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture," Trinity Press, 1995)
1. Ecology. The time is past, he argues, for Christians to ignore the environment. Part of being good s…

A Mea Culpa to Fresno State Basketball Fans

I messed up. It wasn't intentional. I assumed this as a given. But my language did not reveal that, and now I must pay. When a second person points out my guilt, then I figure it's time to publicly repent.

A couple weeks ago I blogged about my love for college basketball. I expressed my hope that some equally crazy souls might enjoy a trip to some of the many, surrounding D-I basketball venues. I mentioned St Marys, Stanford, CS-Northridge, etc.

In my mind it was already assumed that I would try to see several Fresno State games at the nearby Save Mart Center. I've already got their schedule and have circled a few games that should be great to see.

But I can't prove that intention. I didn't say this in my post. I didn't preface my comments with words about wanting to see Fresno State in action. Nothing. Just my silent assumptions.

And I got called on it. Doug Baker and now Dan Allen called my post suspiciously silent about the Bulldogs. So I repent. I'm sorry. …

Irish Lose to French When Refs Miss Obvious Handball

If you follow college football, you no doubt realize that there have been a ton of controversial calls BY REFS this fall. Well, here's proof that all sports struggle with officiating.

France was playing Ireland yesterday for a spot in next summer's World Cup. The match was played before a huge crowd in Paris. The game had gone to overtime. The winner goes to South Africa for the World Cup. The loser goes home. Watch this goal and see how the Swedish officials blew this one in a BIG way.



If you speak French, you can understand the guilty party Thierry Henry. It's translated into Czech on the video. Here's the English translation of his words:

"Yes, it was a hand. I told my Irish colleagues. It's hard to come to terms with it when I look at it on video. My teammate Toto was fighting for the the ball with two Irish players. The ball came to me. It jumped up on my hand. I played it in front of the net. I already told the Irish, 'I'm not the referee.'"…

Believing in the Future of Church

It's easy to be depressed about church. One study claims that 9 out of 10 Americans claim to be Christian, but only a third of those attend church. Why is it so easy to hate church? Why do so many people claim to like Jesus but can't stand church?

I recall a project we did on the campus of West Virginia University. It's a major, secular campus. Students can get a good education there, but they are often distracted by the "good life" of partying, gaming and goofing off. Church attendance is not high on their priority list. Like at most major universities, less than 5% of the student body attend a traditional worship service on a given weekend.

We constructed a giant stand covered with butcher paper and asked students to write their impressions of church on one side and of Jesus on the other. People overwhelmingly wrote good things about Jesus. Random students filled up several large sheets of paper with glowing comments written in Sharpie.

Their comments about church…

Nov 17 (17. listopadu), Prague & the Velvet Revolution

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Twenty years ago, I was clipping articles from newspapers and stashing them in a giant scrapbook. I was dumbfounded by the events occurring in Central and Eastern Europe. All my life I had heard about the evil Soviet empire and the Communist bloc countries. They were America's sworn enemies.

In the fall of 1989, however, I was shocked by the rapid geopolitical changes. First Poland and Hungary. Then East Germany. Then it was Czechoslovakia's turn. Little did I know that in just 9 months I would be moving to Czechoslovakia to begin a major period of my life that shapes me to this day.

On November 17, 1989, a giant group of students held a rally near one of Prague's university campuses. (I would later study there.) You can see this rally in the photograph above. This rally by brave students led to the wave of events that would topple the communist regime in Czechoslovakia within one week. (An article in today's New York Times discusses the mystery surrounding one curious e…

61-Year-Old Kicker scores in D-III college game

Okay, here's a sappy blogger story. I saw a small blurb in yesterday's LA Times that put me on to this story. Tom Thompson is a 61-year-old man who started college at a non-traditional age. I guess going to class wasn't enough, so he tried out for the football team as well. And made it! As the backup kicker.

Last Saturday, he was called upon to put one through on the extra point. It wasn't enough as his Austin College Kangaroos got pummeled. But he still made the record books.

Here's proof:

Missionaries in Our Own Culture

It doesn't take a genius to realize that the world around us is changing. Some people have lived in a way, however, that isolates them from these changes. Others of us live in enclaves of homogeneity and monoethnicity. But if I pay attention, it's not too hard to see that I live around people who are very different from me.

Here's a key example of how we can start to become missionaries in our own culture:

LANGUAGE AWARENESS
I just went to the bank to deposit a check. It's the branch near the church office, not the one closest to my house. I had to wait a few minutes. The clerks were busy helping other customers. At first I realized that one teller was talking to a customer in Spanish. Then I heard another teller speaking Spanish to his client. All of these tellers are also very capable English speakers. But did I know that so many Hispanic clients do business at my bank? No, I hadn't noticed.

This should not surprise me. The Census Bureau says that nearly …

Painting our Boys' Rooms

I'll return to yesterday's post later. But for now, I thought it might interest you to see what Julie has been up to on the redecoration front. You may know that our 1982 house had tons of wallpaper in almost every room. And while it seems to have been put up professionally -- the seams are just oo perfect -- they cut a BIG corner by putting it up directly on the drywall with no paint under it. Taking wallpaper off is bad enough. Taking it directly off drywall is almost impossible.

At any rate, Julie worked VERY hard on this project. Her blog now has before and after pictures of most of her work. Check it out by clicking this link.

A Missiology of Western Culture

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First, some definitions:
1. Missiology -- The study of Christian missions; an area of practical theology that investigates the work of Christian missions.
2. Western Culture -- The societies, nations and peoples of the Western World (primarily Europe and North America), birthplace of the Enlightenment, imperialism and industrialization, and now heirs to the major cultural shifts caused by these .
Admit it. When you think of a missionary, what image or thought first pops into your mind? Do you picture a person who travels to a faraway, foreign place to teach people about Jesus?
Okay, so what kind of work do these kinds of missionaries have to do? First, they have to learn the language and figure out some things about the culture. Right? For example, in some cultures it is considered extremely rude to cross your legs in a way that allows someone to see the bottom of your shoe. In other cultures, it is rude to visibly use a toothpick. In other cultures, you should burp if you enjoy the food.…

Looking for Some Basketball Fans

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I'm a basketball junkie. Used to be a gym rat. During college I would sometimes spend two hours a day playing pick-up games, occasionally against Tech players who were temporarily suspended. I was no MJ or Dr. J, but I could hold my own.

This experience translated into 7 years of basketball in the Czech Republic. I played for a police club team. It used to be associated with military police and had the name Rudá hvězda or "Red Star." They changed their name after Communism to Sport Club Olympus. We were a lower level team that never advanced up to the higher echelons, but it gave me some great experiences and improved my Czech language skills for all kinds of reasons that I won't get into now.
Sadly, I no longer play any b'ball. Two knee surgeries have done me in. I did coach the boys in Morgantown and usually enjoyed that, even though Julie had to initially twist my arm to make me commit to coaching.
My point ... I'm looking for volunteers who also enjoy basket…

RENEW 2010: This Year's Theme

As we think about the RENEW conference, February 19-21, we want to make sure that we keep times of exciting and moving worship. These periods of praise allow God's Spirit to move mightily within, triggering renewal and giving us strength to carry on. I praise God that we have Sandra Henderson and a tremendous praise team here. They can lead us right up to the throne of our glorious Creator, causing us to fall on our knees in humility and awe.

As we fill our cups in the presence of the Almighty, we also need to remember why he gifts us. God pours out His Spirit on us so that we might bless the nations. He gifts us so that we might pass His gifts along to others. "It is too small a thing for us to simply bless ourselves," said Isaiah. "Instead God wants to make us a light to the nations" (my paraphrase). We worship, but a key component of worship is service. And we serve God by remembering and fulfilling our obligation to care for the world and for each other. We …

RENEW 2010 Conference

Many folks are wondering about our upcoming conference, RENEW 2010. The dates are February 19-21, here at the college CHURCH building.

You perhaps know that we hosted a worship conference in Fresno the last 5 years. We didn't actually organize the program. The Zoe group brought a major part of their program out and repeated it here for anyone on the West Coast who couldn't make it to Nashville for the bigger conference. Zoe has decided to pull back to just the Nashville conference.

It seemed good to us to host our own conference. We wanted to build on the momentum of hosting Zoe, but we also wanted to add new impetus that would connect worship to the need for missional Christianity. Here is some of our thinking:

Churches everywhere are struggling to cope with our changing world. Many feel that young people are abandoning faith and/or organized religion. Some wonder what future Churches of Christ have, especially on the West Coast where our best days seem to be somewhere in the re…

All Saints Day, Prague Memories and Jerry Rushford

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I grew up in a preacher's family in the sheltered world of Churches of Christ. It was a good environment for growing up. No complaints from me. That would have been more than enough if I had stayed in that world.

When I went to Europe after the collapse of Communism, I discovered that I was woefully unprepared to understand the world around me. My understanding of faith was equally limited. I understood the ways of doing things "in our tribe" and knew a few things about "neighboring tribes" (like Baptists), but I was ignorant (and dismissive) of the largest branch of Christianity -- Catholicism.
I do not wish at this time to discuss Catholicism as a whole. Allow me to simply state that my lack of knowledge about Catholicism proved a roadblock in understanding the Czech culture and mindset.
Admittedly, very few Czechs practice faith of any kind. But the Catholic faith (and questions of faith in general) permeate almost every level of Czech society -- even if many …

Lucky Me! Mountaineers Play in Anaheim 76 Classic

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Can you believe my good luck?! I love college basketball and have already been scouting out all the D-1 teams in the region here, hoping to catch a game at schools like St Marys, Santa Clara, Sacramento State, etc., and of course Fresno State. Fun, fun. I didn't figure on seeing any games with my WVU Mountaineers.

As I was recently perusing the basketball schedule for WVU, I saw they were playing in a Thanksgiving tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center. It's called the 76 Classic. That got my attention.
Now get this! Believe it or not, we had already agreed to be in the Los Angeles area over Thanksgiving weekend. What a confluence of events!
The Mounties are playing in a pretty cool tourney, one sponsored by ESPN. WVU is ranked #8 in the preseason poll. Here are the other teams in the field:
Butler, ranked #11 Clemson, #24
Long Beach State, unranked Minnesota, unranked Portland, unranked Texas A&M, unranked UCLA, unranked
WVU starts off against Long Beach State. Assuming they wi…

A Tribute to Mountaineer Football

A few people may have heard that I am a fan of the West Virginia University Mountaineers. This was the team of my youth. I lived in Morgantown, WV (NOT Virginia, thank you very much) from 1971-77, during the formative years up through 4th grade.

Though I lived elsewhere until 2001, I remained a fan as West Virginia football became something of powerhouse, yet something like a Boise State or Utah -- outside the mainstream. In spite of this underdog status, the Mountaineers played in national championship games (before the BCS system) after the 1988 and 1993 seasons. After the '88 season, they lost to Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Their star quarterback Major Harris was injured on the opening drive and WVU never recovered. After the '93 season, they got walloped by Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

With 678 wins, WVU is the winningest program in major college football to have never won a national championship, more than schools like Miami or Virginia Tech. They were close again in 2007,…

91 Years Since the Founding of Czechoslovakia

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Today is October 28. Just an ordinary day here in the States. But in the Czech Republic where I spent nearly 8 years, this is a national holiday, perhaps the most important of the year.

It's a holiday kin to our July 4 commemoration of independence. On this day Czechs hearken back to 1918 when Czechoslovakia was formed out of the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Thanks to the diplomacy of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the right to self-determination was one of President Woodrow Wilson's main tenets. Wilson trumpeted 14 points that he thought would iron out the problems that created the First World War.
Czechs had enjoyed independence before but had never been united with Slovaks. Though Czechs and Slovaks speak very similar languages, their paths had always been quite different. The creation of a multi-ethnic state was awkward but successful. Czechoslovakia flourished in the interwar period (known in Czech as the "First Republic"). The gross national product of Czechosl…

Urban Christians and Poverty

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Slightly over half of the world's 6.8 billion people live in urban areas. In 1900, only 1 in 7 people lived in cities. The enclosed map shows cities with over 5 million inhabitants. Wow! There are over 4,800 cities in the world that have populations of 100,000 or more. Compare this to the year 1900 when only 300 cities were that large. The world's cities are growing like crazy!

What about the church? Are Christians poised to reach out to new urban dwellers? According to David Barrett's annual data on Global Christianity (the overview of his study is published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research), the trend toward urbanization is expected to continue in coming decades. He and his research team estimate that there are 151,000 new non-Christian urban dwellers every single day. That's 151,000 new city-dwellers per day who don't know Jesus!
To complicate things further, over half of the world's urban dwellers live in poverty. Nearly one billion live i…

San Joaquin Valley drought

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I read Friday's San Francisco Chronicle. No, I don't usually read the Chronicle. It doesn't strike me as being that great of a paper. The LA Times is so much better. Even our local Fresno Bee has good coverage.

But I was in Columbia, gold-mining country, at the end of my exhausting (poor me!) three-day field trip with the Ft Washington 6th-graders. Not relishing the 2+ hour ride home on a cramped school bus, I was looking for a paper. And there, right next to the Sarsaparilla soda, was a stack of SF Chronicles. Best use of 75 cents ever. Made the ride home go SO much more quickly.
At any rate, they had an article about the drought here in the Central Valley. It wasn't by one of their own reporters. Just an AP story off the wire. It mentioned a tidbit I had never heard before. If the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley were there own state just by themselves -- which many here probably wish for -- it would be the top agricultural producing state in the US. This is so…

I Don't Like Luke's Parables

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Today, I preached the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This was the final of 3 Lucan parables I've preached this month. I had no real agenda here. Just knew that I needed three sermons this month & knew that I hadn't preached from the gospels for a bit. So I fairly randomly picked 3 parables in the 2nd half of Luke's gospel, trusting that God would speak His word for us at this time.

As soon as I began preparing for the first sermon from the parable of the Soils, I thought to myself, "Oh no, what have I gotten into?" I felt the demand of the text to discourage our desire to judge soils and instead to sow seeds. Are there people, I asked, that we would just as soon not sow seeds to? The sermon went well, I guess, though I felt angst in preaching it.
Two weeks ago, I preached the Good Samaritan. Jesus turns everything upside down in this parable, and I felt the need to follow suit. Who are the people in our lives whose help would shock us? Jesus calls us, howev…

Why I Am Not a Children's Minister

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I get along okay with kids, I guess. I'm sure some of our church kids find me amusing. Others probably see me as the "preacher" man. For all I know, some may be terrified of me. I do work hard to learn children's names, but I admit that I don't always get them all.

Over the last couple days, I spent some serious time with 11- and 12-year-old kids. My mission? Chaperone the 6th-graders on their outdoor learning trip in the mountains above Sonora -- old gold country.
83 kids. 4 teachers. 14 parent chaperones. We signed up for this. Even paid for the honor. $171 per child and chaperone. That's a chunk of change that we weren't planning to spend. Clovis schools definitely have this way of constantly sticking it to you in one way or another -- anything for the kids, I guess the theory goes.
The teachers sat mostly together at meals and slept in special cabins. The parents were the ones who had to keep the kids in line. We slept with the kids in the bunk rooms. We…

Announcing RENEW 2010 Conference

We've all been saddened by Zoe's decision to scale back their activities. Finances are very tight during this economic downturn. Parachurch organizations and other non-profits have been especially hard hit as donors with deep pockets are suddenly unable to afford such discretionary donations. So we hurt for Zoe in their period of hardship.

Every loss, however, is an opportunity for something new. We have therefore taken up the challenge to carry on even without Zoe. We're planning our own "worship" conference for Feb 19-21. Here are some questions and answers about our plans:

Why have a conference? The conference we hosted for 5 or so years was a tremendous blessing to West Coast Christians who need a boost. For those who already attend large churches in the Bible belt, the need for a special time of encouragement is not so great. They get to experience high quality worship and teaching week in and week out. But for those in struggling churches far from the resourc…