Archive for November, 2007

Emerging Jewish Practices

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007


The New York Times ran an interesting article on some of the emerging practices within some Jewish communities that in some ways mirrors some of the practices of what some call, “The Emerging Church.” It’s interesting to me to see how cultural realities are affecting different religious contexts.

If you’re interested in the Emerging church, take some to read about some “emerging” Jewish communities.

Here’s the article.

The God who yearns and waits for us

Monday, November 26th, 2007

The following is a prayer from Walter Brueggemann’s book, “Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann” , a wonderful book of prayers that I have enjoyed using in worship. I shared this prayer during our Saturday worship this weekend.

We are strange conundrums of faithfulness and fickleness.

We cleave to you in all the ways that we are able.

We count on you and intend our lives to be lived for you,

and then we find ourselves among your people

who are always seeking elsewhere and otherwise.

So we give thanks that you are the God

who yearns and waits for us,

and that our connection to you is always from your side,

and this it is because of your goodness

that neither life nor death

nor angels nor principalities

nor heights nor depths

nor anything in creation

can separate us from you.

We give you thanks for your faithfulness,

so much more durable than ours. AMEN.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007


Thanks to Josh for this pic.

What’s next for Rob Bell?

Saturday, November 17th, 2007


Rob Bell has 13 more stops on his speaking tour this fall, so if you are reading this blog and you happen to live in San Antonio, Atlanta, Orlando, Raleigh, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Louisville, Indianapolis, Cleveland, or Grand Rapids, get your tickets. It’s was another incredible message that he shared last night which finished in just under an hour and a half. If you’re never heard Rob, I know what you’re thinking. “He talked for an hour and half.” If you’ve had the privilege of seeing Rob before, you know that time flies by pretty fast.

I don’t know what Rob has up his sleeve next. Perhaps a major motion picture? Sounds ridiculous at first, but maybe not. I just find it absolutely fascinating the way in which he is blending genres and having such a major impact. That being said, after last night, I thought to myself, “He’s just getting warmed up.”

What dooes this mean?

Friday, November 16th, 2007

In the November 19th, 2007 issue of Newsweek in an article entitled, “The Authenticity Test,” is the following quote.

Although just 40 percent of Americans go to church every week, 70 percent say they want a president with strong religious faith, and 94 percent believe in God, according to an August survey by Pew.

So, here is the question.

What do those statistics tell us about what Americans believe about God?

Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you think. I’ll post my response to the question in a few days.

Interesting quote about companions

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Working on my Christian Education paper tonight, I ran across an interesting quote… [That’s what happens when you’re reading the book as you’re writing the paper]

Referring to the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus from the Gospel of Luke where the identity of Jesus is not understood by his traveling companions until Jesus breaks the bread, Karen Tye shares in her book “Basics of Christian Education” the following.

It is interesting that the moment of clarity in this story came when Jesus broke bread with them. When we look at the root meaning of the word companion, we find that it comes from the Latin prefix com, which means “together,” and panis, which means “bread.” Companion literally means “one who eats bread with another (98).”

Coffee snob?

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Over the past month or so, I’ve gotten better about brewing my own coffee in the morning at home instead of stopping by the coffee shop. When I have felt the need to run by the coffee shop, I’ve also been avoiding Starbucks. I love Starbucks coffee, but, like many, I’m “uncomfortable” with their business model. Here in Mansfield we got a new local coffee shop called Americas Best Coffee which offers free wi-fi, so I’ve talked myself into getting a cup from there when I really feel the urge. I’ll admit it. It’s not as good, but for some reason it makes me feel better…

Holiday Trio

But all that gets thrown out the window for the next month and a half as Starbucks brought back their holiday coffee cups this past week. This is truly another dumb consumer idea, but I love going to Starbucks during the holidays and getting my fresh brewed, hot and wonderful coffee served to me in a festive, red cup.

I would like to think that I’m a smart consumer… and then something like this happens and I recognize that I am a zombie just like everyone else.

Finished Tweaking… now on to writing

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

I’ve finished the design changes to the blog, and like all great hobbies, it’s time to put it to bed for a few days and finish up my really important projects for the week; writing this weekend’s sermon and my Christian Education paper due on Friday. This is another weekend where I am preaching at all four services which is a lot of fun and physically exhausting at the same time. I had a flu shot last week and every since then, I’ve felt kinda “gunky.” My voice has been suspect through the first part of the week. Hopefully it will hold up until Sunday afternoon. After that, I’m home free.

This week’s message is from Psalm 16. I don’t have a title yet for the message, but it’s from a two week series we are doing called, “A Life of Gratitude.” I think it will flow nicely from our Stewardship series into the Thanksgiving season. We’ll see. I’ll share one little sneak peak.

If you haven’t heard of the AJ Jacobs book, “The Year of Living Biblically” I am going to share a few quotes from him that I read in an article about the book. The basic premise of the book is that he spent a year trying to faithfully live out the commands of the bible. I’m interested in the book because Jacobs professes to be raised as a “secular” person.

“I grew up in a totally secular home. No religion at all. I’m officially Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the way the Olive Garden is Italian. Which is to say, not very.”

Jacobs lists giving thanks as one of the top five most unexpectedly wise and life-changing practices prescribed by the bible. He shares the following.

“Never have I been so aware of the thousands of little things that go right in our lives.”

He goes on to talk about how he dealt with his desire to covet.

“Perhaps the most effective was to overcome coveting with gratefulness. Every time I coveted something, I’d counter it with something I was grateful for.”

More to come this weekend!

Design tweaking

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

To spark some creativity this week, I have been messing with the stylesheet on the blog. I’m going for a Web 2.0 feel. Banner image will be changed this afternoon. If you have any comments, feedback, suggestions, let me know…

Unless you hate it… In that case, give me a couple days before sending that along.

Dove Campaign continues…

Thursday, November 8th, 2007