Showing posts from March, 2009

If We're Not Playing to Win, Then Don't Keep Score

I can't remember what famous coach said this, but my former church-planting teammate Allen Diles used to quote it frequently. He was competitive. I am, too. Frankly, lots of people are. I know this fact.

Still, it's been educational to step back from sports and just watch. I'm too old to play anything competitively -- and I'm not even supposed to with my reconstructed knee. But that's not new. What is new? I'm not even coaching my kids anymore.

Now that we've moved to Fresno, I am an outsider when it comes to youth sports. As you certainly know, "recreational" youth sports programs in the well-to-do neighborhoods of our cities are "managed" by carefully selected groups of parents and interested individuals who want nothing more than to see their children have fun and learn how to play a sport. It all sounds so altruistic.

There is one problem with the scenario. It's the scoreboards. And they use them. Quite effeciently. E…

Reflecting on Vision Sunday

Whew! Vision Sunday has come and gone, but I hope it's not behind us. The conversations are only beginning. A large portion of work is ahead of us. But we have a great start. Who could ask for a better place to begin? The College Church is a place of healing and blessing to so many people. Good people here are committed to the Lord and to one another. They have paid the price to get us to this place. I pray that we as a church will now be worthy recipients of the sacrifices made by those who have gone before.

This past Sunday was SUCH a blessing. So many people worked hard: arranging, organizing, baking, buying, praying, talking. I received as much or more than I gave. Thank YOU!

Our financial team is a ministry that will provide a key, skeletal framework for service and outreach as we move forward. I'm grateful to Fausto, Pam, Brett, Steve and Bill for the calming presence of their ministry. A good financial team is kind of like good officiating in a sports match:…

G. L. Johnson

This morning I had coffee with a Fresno legend. G. L. Johnson was the senior pastor for People's Church for 45 years. It's a 4,000-member church that clearly has a leading voice in the community. Though G. L. recently retired from active ministry, he is still the spiritual father for many pastors and churches in this area.

He recounted to me some history of conservative, evangelical-type churches in Fresno. When he came in 1961, all the large congregations that today dominate the landscape of northeast Fresno & Clovis either did not exist or were miniscule. In a few short decades God's Spirit has opened the door for massive growth. New churches have sprung up all over. Congregations that were small and dead are now massive with budgets and buildings to match.

Those who claim that the US is a post-Christian country obviously have not visited Fresno! I don't know what all the keys to success have been. Clearly, this is fertile ground. But good earth is worthl…

Is Fresno a Christian City?

I'd better get used to days like yesterday. We spent several hours at the opening-day festivities for the River Park Little Baseball Association. This is a massive production with over 900 kids. Their parents & family members come to watch the teams parade in. There are games, activities & catered tri-tip sandwiches to follow. This is CLEARLY a big deal. Sports here seem to be big in general.

I had volunteered to help the caterers serve the food -- it's a fundraiser -- and wound up putting pieces of smoked tri-tip meat on buttered rolls. Great stuff! At any rate, I was talking with another "dad" as we fixed the food and squirted the barbecue sauce. Our conversation eventually turned to our jobs which led into talking about church. As is so often the case when I have these conversations, he and his family go to one of the many community-type churches in the northeast part of Fresno/Clovis.

I know the Central Valley is sometimes known as the "Bible…

Starting Off

One should normally listen to wise counsel.

I am not a blogger. I don't have enough "material" to write entertaining blog posts AND interesting sermons -- or so it seems. My wife is much cleverer writer than I. Me? I'm still an engineer by training. The right side of my brain must be regularly shocked into alertness and activity to keep the left (or "a.r.") side from overdoing it. So trying to grab people's attention through a blog doesn't seem like a worthwhile venture for me.

But I received some excellent advice about needing to connect with the College Church & with others not just through the spoken word on Sundays but also through the written or virtual word through the week. So I'm pushing myself out of the comfort zone and risking a bit more in order to connect with a few who will want to listen and dialogue in this way.

For those in the College Church who read this blog, I want you to know how much I value the shared process of listenin…