Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Platt tells of his own experiences of being called to pastor a large church. However, his own lens seems to be the main focus of the book. He doesn't quite bridge the gap between a mega-church and the smaller churches. I did like his emphasis on the priesthood of all believers. That the people of his church were taught to understand that they were in ministry 7 days a week and not just on Sunday. He does give some advice for equipping the saints.
He totally lost me at the end of the book. When he goes from making a difference in the world to a message about heaven and salvation. It kind of falls apart at the end, in my opinion. It goes from talking about making a difference in the world to our role for evangelizing the world.
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.
Monday, October 17, 2011
I see glimmers of hope and that will sustain me for now but I hope to get things rocking here soon.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
It is a fun book to teach because James is like the New Testament version of Proverbs. It tells it like it is and speaks to universal truths, so teaching it will be a chance to explore some of the problems that face most churches.....gossip, faith and good works. I will try to be better about updating everyone and telling you how the study is going. I am teaching it to both churches and that will be fun because of the different personalities between the two.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
God has given us a vision for the future of our church, also. A vision filled with life and hope, to reach this vision though it will take hard work and for people to be willing to share in the vision. My first two Sunday’s at this church our attendance was 60+. Last Sunday, we only had 28 people show up; half of you couldn’t make it to church. God deserves to come first. This is your church and to make it a success it will require you to show up.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I have only been in these churches for a little over a month and have been observing the food pantry. It seems like the need for people to have food is growing in our community. It is a shame that so many go hungry in the United States -- the breadbasket of the world -- but it is a reality for many Americans.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The new house is wonderful and my garden is giving me more cucumbers than I know what to do with and two eggplants so far.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Do we succeed? You might say no, but I think that for the majority of us we are doing just as good as anyone else is and maybe just a little better. I am not trying to convert you but ask you not to group all of us together when you hear (another idiot) Pat Robertson saying America is going to fall because of gay marriage. I am a Christian who believes that two people of any gender have the right to live their lives out together with all the privileges and pitfalls that come from being married.
Now I am not holier than thou either, I like to have a glass of wine and I have been known to say a few choice words (especially if I stub my toe). I, also, help hand out food to the hungry and visit those who are sick and dying in the hospital because of my religion. I am not uneducated or naive. I am not a Republican or a hater. And I'm not trying to convert you. This is my path and I came to it later in life than many but it is working for me. I just ask that you don't make blanket generalizations about Christianity. We are not all bad.....or all good.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I do have to move into the parsonage back into the part of town that I left last year. I won't lie, I really didn't want to move back to that part of town but I will survive and thrive. The cool thing is that my new garden is really thriving there, so that will be neat. What many people don't know is that I actually chose to move back into the neighborhood because I know the people that are working so hard to make it a better place to live.
I won't actually move into the parsonage until next Saturday. I have my current house until the end of the month and that will give them five days to put some new carpet in and paint.
Wish me luck.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
God isn't punishing people but He is giving us (humans) a chance to show that we love our neighbors as ourselves. So get off your butt and find a way to help, write a check to UMCOR or put together a mission team to help with the clean-up. Send supplies, send prayers, do SOMETHING, we have a chance to be the Good Samaritans of this story.
Friday, May 20, 2011
This will be a short blog. I am trying to blog from my phone. I don't see this being a daily occurrence but it is nice to have options. I have done some good today though. Worked at the dental Mission of Mercy providing free dental care to those who can't afford it. We helped over one thousand people today and doing it again tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
I never thought this day would come but I am now a Doctor of Ministry. This has been a long, hard road and I really thought about giving up (several times). Still not sure what I think about the entire process but I never like to entertain the idea of quitting at anything, so I am glad that this part of my journey is finished. I don't know if I would have made any of this without the love and support of people that follow me on this blog. This has been my "safe" outlet, a place to vent my fears and frustrations and for that I thank you all.
Now I'm still in the process of waiting on my new appointment and I am not the only one. The process is moving at a snail's pace this year. It is frustrating several of the 'elder' elder's..... who are also still waiting to hear about their appointments, so I am not alone. I am sure there are several very reasonable explanations for the delay, but it is of no comfort to those of us who are sitting in the dark.
Still excited about my upcoming Ordination though. I really would never recommend working on a doctorate while working towards ordination at the same time to ANYONE. It worked out for me but it has not been the easiest course that I could have travelled on.
Now, as I sit watching the potential for yet another tornado hit my state, I ask that you pray for everyone in the path of these storms. And thank you for following my blog over these years. It has made a difference in the life of this pastor.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
On to other news: Still waiting on the news about my new appointment. It is lucky that I have other distractions or I would be a basket case. I actually think that I am less stressed than a lot of my other friends. I am worried that Ryss will have to move during the middle of High School and she is worried about that too. I don't know enough about the Conference to really care about where I am geographically.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
The cabinet is taking a long, lonnnggggg time telling all of us where we will be appointed. Now I have plenty of free time to obsess over this new church that I will be going to serve. Ryss was gone for the week-end and if I hadn't had three novels to read (Nelson DeMille, who writes really long novels) and a fun evening with friends, I would have had even more time to get into full obsession mode. Luckily, I had a sermon to preach this morning and my District Superintendent was there so that gave me a totally different distraction.
The week-end has felt like it came in segments. Times of complete silence (home alone reading) followed by incredibly busy social interactions. Ryssa being gone really reinforced this perception. So I did something kind of weird. I made a coffee-date with a single pastor a few towns over. I haven't really went on a date in close to fourteen years. I have been busy and really not interested. It might be a disaster but hopefully not.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Now I get to go through the rest of the dissertation and make it just as "pristine" as this chapter. Frankly, I am so tired of making sure that my punctuation is perfect that I'm ready to give this up. I know that I will be glad when this is over but right now I just want it to be over.
When this is over, I will get to start obsessing over where I will be appointed next. Yippee!!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
This is a story about how can we get to heaven. Andy Stanley argues against the belief that “Good people go to heaven” (10). This is starting with the presupposition that there is a heaven to go to after death. If you don’t believe in heaven, then this book is not right for you. The idea that only good people go to heaven is troubling for Stanley. How do we determine what good is and how much good does a person have to do? Is there a scale of goodness and where does one have to fall on the scale to be allowed through those pearly gates. Are we rejected if we fall one good deed short? It does point to the flaw in this type of thinking.
Stanley does say that “the logic behind good people go to heaven is seemingly impenetrable on two accounts. First, it is fair. Second, it coincides with the notion that there is a good God.” (19) He deals with a good God notion first in the book and with the fairness issue at the end of the book.
I did appreciate the analogy that he uses in his argument that only good people go to heaven by using the bible story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. That argues against the only good people go to heaven worldview and against the fairness all in one fell swoop. The thief wasn’t good and it wasn’t fair that he lived a life of crime and yet Jesus promises him heaven at the end of the day.
Stanley goes on to make the case for Christianity versus just following the Ten Commandments or other systems of rules and regulations for goodness. He says that if we are going to follow this particular set of rules, we can just pick and choose which Old Testament rules one follows. He says, “Christianity is the fairest possible system in a world that is irreversibly unfair.” (77) And let’s face it, in the end, we really don’t want to be judged on fairness, what we really want is mercy.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I passed my ordination interviews. This has been one of the longest goals that I have ever strived for; longer then my time in the military, longer than undergrad, longer than grad school and even longer than my doctorate.
I know that God was with me through the entire process even when I felt the most abandoned. There were times that I wanted to give up but I am stubborn and felt that this was what God wanted for my life.
Now it feels as if this is not the end of the journey but the beginning of a new one.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This is kind of funny because I just posted my review of "Shattered Dreams" and I'm aware that this is not really a shattered dream but it was a disappointment. I thought that I had almost finished this chapter of my life and was looking forward to having it behind me. My advice for people who are thinking about getting a D.Min. degree, think long and hard on it because I am not sure that it was worth all of the pain and aggravation that it has caused me.
Crabb uses the story of Naomi from the Book of Ruth in the Bible as the guide for his book. He begins by telling the devastating loss that Naomi faced in a foreign land with the loss of her husband and both of her sons. The story of Naomi is woven throughout the entire book in an interesting and touching way. This woman lost everything that she thought was important and yet God was able to use her story and her life for a deeper purpose. Crabb says that “a profound encounter with pain brings us to make a choice. Either we change or we sink into bitterness, despair, or hedonism” (84). By using the illustration of Naomi, he teaches us the way to become closer to God through the grief of a shattered dream.
“Life is not an opportunity for things to go well so we can feel good. Life is an opportunity for us to be forgiven for requiring God to make us feel good and for turning from Him when he doesn’t.” (140) Crabb is trying to turn us from cheap grace and get in tune with the true grace that comes from a deeper relationship with God.
This is not a book that you will probably pick up and read in one sitting. It requires time for some of the concepts to sink in. It would make an excellent book for a small group to study together, especially since it comes with an eight week workbook.
I received this book for free from Waterbrok Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I'm still waiting for my dissertation to be returned from the doctoral committee. That should be enough patience practice for one person to endure in a month, right?
I did finish a book that I am reviewing, "Shattered Dreams" by Larry Crabb. I will post it here later this week after I actually write the review.
So this week hasn't been totally wasted. I spent a lot of time with my daughter as we were locked in the house. This coming week with 68 degree temperatures will probably be even better for our relationship. Being locked in a house with a hormonal teenage girl is not the most relaxing thing in the world. Luckily, she spend most of the time asleep.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Therefore, I have taken the class over effective immediately and will teach it until it is up and running again and we have some competent leaders for the class. The former class leaders have decided to visit the fundamentalist church down the road (this was before I took the class over). I guess it was there last act to try and find like-minded people to sway to their way of thinking.
My Senior Pastor is very upset that they have left ($$), while I think "good riddance". They were like a poisonous dart and it was spreading. I am glad that they are going somewhere else and I hope that they are happy in their new church.
I wonder if we are so conditioned to hold onto people so our numbers aren't affected that we don't see the benefits of letting people leave the church.
Monday, January 31, 2011
On another note, Ryss was accepted into a Marine Biology Summer Course for Duke University in Florida. The bad news is that the financial aid wasn't enough (the scholarship was for 2/3rds), so we will probably have to decline. I really feel bad and a little like a failure. I know that money isn't who I am but it still hurts when you can't provide such a wonderful educational opportunity for your child.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
On another topic, we had the informational meeting last night for the "Strong Women" program. I'm trying to get my elderly ladies to start working on building muscle mass. The benefits to strength training for women (and men) is enormous and I think it will be a good program for the church. With that said, the women who came last night made me want to pull my hair out. The county agent trying to explain the program had to say the same thing over and over and over, simply because ladies would be talking in little groups and miss the explanation. Not very pastoral of me but I wanted to yell "Sit down and shut up"......my common sense kicked in and I just kept smiling on the outside and screaming on the inside. The meeting should have taken 30 minutes but ended up lasting 1 1/2 hours. I made it home without saying or doing anything. And people don't believe in miracles :)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I have already started delegating and setting plans into motion so that my pastoral care responsibilities will not flounder after my departure. I know that is important but as I turn more of these jobs over to laity there is less and less for me to do. I don't want to set up new programs without knowing what the possible goals/ambitions of the next senior pastor might entail.
I should be relishing the fact that I have less to do but it is coming at a point when my doctoral studies are ending and I have finished all my paperwork for ordination. I go before the BOM for my interviews on February 9th. It makes me feel lazy not to have a crushing burden of duties clamoring for my attention.