Monday, October 31, 2005

Christian Communication - With Open Hearts

User FoxTrotDelta over at the Ooze wrote the following quote in a post in the "do you have an inner hippie thread"

When we begin to open up to each other from our hearts and communicate on that level we are entering a new dimension. You can feel it. It's sacred, or holy ground and we can feel very uneasy because our heads, or intellects, are having to give over their authority and they do their best to pull us back by making us feel guilty and inadequate etc. They don't give up easily! You see our intellects are really programmed and ruled over by the world we have been brought up in and that is not who we truly are. In practice it's the front we have been taught to put on to survive in this world.

Now I'm going to stick my neck out here and try to explain the spiritual significance of all this. I can vouch that I have tested these things and they work and they also line up perfectly with scripture but in a slightly different way to the normal Christian interpretation.

JC said, from memory, "Where two or three are gathered together in MY NAME there I am in the midst of them," or something like that. Now most Christians interpret this to mean that we literally tack his name on the end of our prayers etc. and he'll be there. Well anyone can do this if they wish but I think we find, that in most cases, it doesn't really work that well. It's like chanting a mantra!

In practice MY NAME means MY NATURE and when we enter into 'heart mode' we are entering into 'the holy of holies' into the presence of our Father. (We are the temples of God - they dwell in us!) So when we speak from there we speak in HIS NATURE and you all should know how much authority is behind that nature! He, Jesus, gave his nature over to us when he died.

All I can say is wow! That last paragraph would should be read at the begining of every meeting at church. We need to deintellectualize and be more open hearted as the entire church!

Soul Lift Video and Mp3

Back in August I spoke at Soul Lift in Chicago. At that time I blogged that I would post a video file that had been taken by one of the mothers at the youth rally. Well it only took me 3 months to get around to it. Yesterday when I was doing all the work for seeing how video and sound could work for our church website, I decided to take out the VHS and copy one of the sermons over to web format as well.

She was having techincal difficulties and there are chunks missing where the camera was not working, and she changed tape, or stuff like that. BUT, for the most part the talk is now available for download.

Convicted - 08/05 - Part 3
-Full Sermon - WMV Video - MP3 Audio
-4 Minute Sample - WMV Video - MP3 Audio

The full sermon is 40 minutes of video and audio and includes my teaching and a skit that was part of the service. The 4 minute sample however is the section that I most reccomend watching. It is only 4 minutes and I am sharing with the kids the gravity of the nature of the gospel.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

An Input Test

Here is a WMV file of the Little Einsteins Intro. I place it here merely to show the difference in input from the camera's own lens and using it merely as a video encoder. As you can see, if we were to set up a nice camera with some good pan and tilt, and then use the input coming straight off the board, we could get a very nice video, and a very nice audio file for our new church website.

Church In Mp4

John Wright the canidate from Stockton CA for our pulpit position was at church this morning for his second interview. I recorded the service using a Panasonic SV-AV30.

There are 3 versions to download here. Version 1 is the full 113 MB service. All 1 hour and 10 minutes of it. The camera was in the back of the room and so the video is basically useless. Version 2 is like a 5 minute sample of the sermon so you can see it without commiting to the whole service. Version 3 is an MP3 audio file you can download and put on your Ipod. It is only the sermon.

I am also going to post a few files after small group tonight that are made with a real video camera and then just encoded with the panasonic. They are from the youth rally I spoke at at CD back the end of July. It is being encoded right now and we are leaving.

Saved - A Movie About Sanctification - Sort Of!

Let's talk about "Saved". This is an irrevernet sacreligious movie that is written by Brian Danely, produced by Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and stars Mandy Moore, Mary Louise-Parker, Macaulay Culkin and Jena Malone. In fact it is so "offensive" I believe EVERY Christian needs to see this movie. I bought it and you are welcome to borrow it if you live here in the area. This is a movie about a star pupil at a Christian Highschool who gets pregnant and therefore becomes the Pariah of the institution. She finds solace in the only 2 non-Christians at the school, being they are the only two with a heart available to love a person in her condition.

By the end of the movie the infidels have been expelled after being framed by the "star" Christian of the school, the father of pregnant teen's baby has returned with his boyfriend, and an affair between the school's pastor and the pregnant teen's mom has been exposed. In the final moments after the baby's delivery the entire bunch of "wastes" are in the hospital room sharing precious community.

You know in your heart, if you are honest, that in this whole crowd of characters Jesus would have loved the losers in the hospital room over the "pharisee" crowd that was in the school. Yet the crowd at the school is how "we" appear to the world. If we are not genuine about our own struggles, and our own ongoing growth in Sanctification we come off as judgemental and self righteous. We must remember that we have been clothed in righteousness and called to be sanctified in our LOVE relationships with people.

The movie got me onto my soap box.

Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
(9)Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual (10) offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

The plank in the church's eye is that we treat verse 9 as if it is of a much greater importance than verse 10. The church so often seems an institution of "American idealism" that exists to encourage greed by promoting many fiscally succesful rather than spiritually successful people to the position of elder. So many in our fellowships leave the sins of their past only to adopt gossip and slander as a more righteous form of self indulgence. Our plank, that the world see far more clearly than we see ourselves, is that we do not embrace the "Love of Christ." Greed and slander, the most prevelant sins in the American church, stand as the polar opposisite of Christ love. This makes us look like the ineffective, out of touch, pharisees of the movie.

As we are sanctified we are more FREE to love people trapped in sin. We should not retreat from these people, until they embrace righteousness, instead we should embrace them in their unrighteousness so that they can see the dynamic amazing love Christ demonstrated in his physical life. The Christian life is not the avoidance of people caught in sin, but instead the willingness to love and be with these people while having the freedom to not be caught in their destructive sin cycles. That is the goal we are being sanctified to.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like Great Sex

I want to plan a mens retreat, but I don't think the elders at my church will approve it. It is called "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like Great Sex."

I think that men understand the excitement, the thrill, and the enjoyment of great sex. I think that every bit of the passion of great sex is found in God's longing to redeem his people. I think it is SUCH a perfect illustration for explaining this passion in a way that is relevant to lukewarm pseduo-spiritual men to enable them to embrace this passion and become passionate about being involved in going the direction God is going..

Here are my topics for the weekend: (They are very rough right now and need to be hashed out much more before I formally submit this to anyone for approval and planning. Any comments appreciated.)

Flirting and Courtship: God's passion to know his Lover.
Spiritual Foreplay: How God Pursue's the individual.
The Big O: The Perfection of Salvation.
Improved Intimacy: How Sanctification makes relationship w/ God Better
7 Year Itch: Being Robbed by Carnal Christianity
Kiss and Tell: The exciting side of evangelism

I feel so much like most the men in my church see going as a chore. There is no "spark" or "passion" in their understanding of God. So any other ideas for men to understand the passion God has to redeem his people, please let me hear them.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blue Like Jazz

I could see Satan lashing out on the earth like a madman, setting tribes against each other in Rwanda, whispering in men's ears in the Congo, so that they rape rather than defend their women. Satan is at work in the Cults of the Third World, the economic chaos in Argentina,and the corporate driven greed of American corporate executives.
I lay there under the stars and thought of what a great respnsibility it is to be human. I am human because God made me. I experience suffering and temptation because mankind chose to follow Satan. God is reaching out to rescue me. I am learning to trust him, learning to live by His precepts that I might be preserved.
Donald Miller - Blue Like Jazz - Chapter 9 Pg. 101

Ok, so I know I am rather passe and Don Miller "rage" was like a year or 2 years ago, and now I just look like a wannabe follower, jumping on the Don Miller bandwagon. I probably should not even quote a guy who preaches as the opening act for Jars of Clay since that means he is "cool" and I like to think myself an independent- nonconformist- Live on the Edge, James Dean Christian :-) but WOW!!!! what an amazing book this has been. There is a reason this guy is cool!!! If (for those of you uncool like me) you have not read this book already and the quote above did not convince you to read this book itself, please consider this my hearty reccomendation!

A P.S. For My "libertarian" and "republican" friends - Don Miller is a socialist. An although I am a social liberal, I believe social liberalism is the responsibilty of individuals. I think socialist government, robs the church and individuals of social responsibilty and steals the power of the social gospel. This man has amazing thoughts on God, please look around his socialist views, and see that his heart is pure and right, even if his politics are askew.

A somewhat mean P.P.S. for my social conservative readers - You're Wrong! It is the God designed responsibilty of the rich to protect and to serve the poor. Christianity should be the MOST humanitarian organization on earth. We are called individually, and corporately to be servants to the disenfranchised of the world. If you disagree, please see the next post, that I hope will have an MP3 of my sermon today very soon.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fields of The Fatherless

Here is the PDF of my sermon for tommorow. It is based on a book by the same name by C. Thomas Davis. This book and the thoughts presented in the sermon are so much based on the direction God has been directing my life recently. I am coming to more and more understand that this is the very heart of God.

I have been a social liberal for years, but the more I understand God, the more I understand that the heart of his message is humanitarinism. Salvation is the ultimate act of humanitarianism. We reflect that by involving ourselves in the live's of people. We reflect that by a commitment to the widow, the orphan, and the alien. We reflect that by a commitment to the helpless, the hopeless, and the disenfranchised.

I hope to have an MP3 here soon.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A List Of Tommorow's Technologies

This is a list of companies that have been nominated for an award for upcoming video, and other on demand delivery services. Innovation is cool, and seeing the companies that are innovating today to shape the landscape of tommorow is WAY cool.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Windows Vista - Screen Shots

For those of you who like myself having been salivating over the relase of Windows Longhorn, which is now called Windows Vista, you have only a few more months to wait to until this notroious vaporware comes into true existence.

If you can't wait those few months, PC Magazine has post 25 screen shots from an early Alpha they were sent by the Big Green over in Redmond.

Also, on an illegal note, if anyone is a MSDN subscriber and wants to get me a Beta copy, I will be ever so grateful :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

MATH: Giving Nerds something to Do

This is a cool little Flash Animation sent out by the Linky Dinky guys. Notice that all possible variable solutions are covered by the same object:

10 - 1 =9
11-2 = 9


All 2 digit numbers when added together and subtracted become divisble by 9.

Kewl Huh?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mopping McDonalds For Jesus

This is from a post called High Noon Part Three over at Patrick Meads Blog:

Or the time that a single mother who struggled against all odds to raise her children ran up against school regulations and an uncaring employer. She wanted to be at her kids' school for the parent teacher conferences but her employer -- a manager at McDonalds -- wouldn't give her the night off. The elders volunteered to go to the conferences in her place but the school wouldn't allow it. State law said only the parent or legal guardian had the right to confidential info about the child (understandable). One of our elders, who owned stores all over the state and was a very well to do man, went to the McDonalds manager and asked him personally to release the woman for that evening. When the manager refused, our elder volunteered to work in her place. He came in three nights in a row to learn her job and then worked that night for her -- for free. By the end of the week the entire town had heard about it. It's hard not to notice when a wealthy man is working at McDonalds mopping floors and cleaning toilets... without a word of complaint.

NOW THAT IS CHRISTIANITY. That is being Jesus! That is deomstrating what it means to be a servant. I need to get out and get uncomfortable with some junk like that. If I had been the elder I'd have done the easy thing and hired her at one of my places, but no he took the role of the servant, and Christ was glorified. I LOVE IT!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The New Hair Pics

Picture 1 of the new Hair Color

Picture 2 of the new Hair Color

My cool new Trendy Profile Pic

My New Hair Color

Here is the top of my head while the Orange Dye was in.

Here is Whit adding the second tube of colored mousse, after I had shaved my beard.
Here is the top of the head as I waited for Orange to set.

The finished product photo will be coming in the next post.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thoughts On God's Goodness

I am posting some thoughts I posted to a bulletin board over at The Ooze. It was reccomended to me by a fellow named Calvin I met at camp this weekend.

My thoughts are in response to the entire thread called "I Can't See How God Is Good" but most importantly this quote,

"Often I can't even experience love because my fallenness is so heavy upon me."

Here is my response:

I think this is the crux of the entire thread. One camp argues that God can not be good because he allowed evil in the world. He allowed the fall and therefore since I am fallen I can not "experience love" and therefore God can not be good.

Allow me to reword and you tell me if my rewording is valid. "God made me to love, and to desire love, yet I can not experience what I was made by him to experience, therefore he is not good."

I am in the other camp. The camp that says God is good because by the power of incarnation I can be RESTORED to the ability to love again. The incarnation is about FREEDOM.

I beleive we all agree that we were created for Love, Life, and Peace. We were givent the choice to choose these things we were created for, or to choose to our own desires.

The choice of the Fall unilatterally destroyed all three of the reasons we were created for. Now we had the result which was fear, seperation, and death. We call the results of dealing with these consequences evil. They are not evil, instead they are as the old cliche goes, "the abscence of God"

Now in the act of incarnation, culminating at the events of the cross God proved his own goodness in choosing to experience fear, seperation, and death himself so that we could be restored to the freedoms that we were created for, which were Love, Life, and Peace.

The alternative here is not a God who did not allow evil, instead it is a God who did not allow free will. Since God did allow freewill his goodness is not proved by the lack of evil, but instead by the gift of incarnation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What do we value?

I just don't understand how a church can feel that they need more young families and yet be SOOOOOOOOO bad at the subject of nursery care.

Seriously, I am so close to stopping attending on Wed night. Like tonight, the preschool teacher was late and so I immediately said I'd take the preschoolers, so who has the nursery?

No one had the nursery! That's right So I had the preschoolers I was trying to teach and my toddler I was trying to care for. I love teaching, and it was no problem for me to fill in, BUTTTTTTTTTT AGAIN I would like some assitance with the baby.

My biggest issue here and the reason I bring it up over and over is I am treated like a second class citizen because I need child care so I can serve. How much more of a burden is the seeker going to be treated like who just wants infant care so he cam hear the gospel message.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Rockford Christian Camp Columbus Day

I have now completed my first weekend as the actual director of a camp session. It was blessed experience. I feel it went well, I believe that the teens were blessed and had a great deal of fun.

We had an "Amazing Race" and a Amazing Sunday Night Campfire. We had a torch light communion, and a glow light ultimate game. We had "Romans and Christians" and a punk band called "Fighting Chance." We had hoodies for warmth and near freezing temps to make them strangely inadequate.

It was a great session. We had two new youth groups Cardinal Drive and Moline and were blessed by both.

Patrick, Rob, and Chris were all outstanding. The quality they demonstrated to the teens was far greater than the time I left them to prepare once I got my shcedule set.

We had old faithful counselors like Tim Miller, Whitney Jinkerson, Greg Peck, and Nichole Flatt. Some new faithful counselors named Cindy Perez and Ken Lake. Albert Hunt was able to move up from camper to counselor. A few others we were able to round up to assist us with this session, including 4 from Rochester College that were such a blessing to the weekend.

I am so thankful to Betty Foss for filling in at the last minute as Nurse. I am so thankful to Sid Fryer for coming out and making sure that all the "physical needs of A/V and Fires were met. I am abundantly thankful to Lori and Cliff Plummer who were there to ensure we ate, and in their amazing way found time to serve and be among the kids despite having the most taxing job there.

I would be amiss to not mention my wife, who came out to get all Kevin's crap jobs. She did them with grace despite the fact that they always seem to land on her. I love her so much. She cleans up and helps in the background to make me come through as shining and brilliant in the spotlight.

I could not have asked for a better first session as a director. I had 0 behavior problems. Weather though cold was never crippling. My staff was better than one could ask for with the disorganized mess I am at the helm. We were rarely on schedule, but always seemed to get everything done we wanted to.

To everyone who came out and served, and to all the teens who came out to be a part of it, I say thank you. God was among us, and I am not ashamed!!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"Oh No, He's Gonna Curse Me Out Again"

I had a person say this to me today after they called me back from a previous call where I was very upset by their customer service.

This company canceled my Tuesday appointment and then called at 2:30 this afternoon to cancel my Thursday morning appointment. They wanted to reschedule for NEXT wednesday morning. I was upset and I refused to settle the matter with an appointment a week out.

I was firm, but respectful. I NEVER raised my voice and never swore. I must admit I was quite surprised when the caller, who thought she had sent her techs to the wrong address due to my boss' name rather than mine being on the order, implied that I had treated her inappropraitely.

I am sitting here debating, is there a way to be firm, and not make the other person feel disrepected?

RCC Columbus Day Retreat

So after 9 years of serving on various staff positions at Rockford Christian Camp the board of directors has given me my FIRST session as director. Starting tommorow we will attempt to TOP the fun and spiritual impact of every session there has been before.

Allow me to share some highlights:

Friday Night: The Comedy Club
I am bringing with me a Brad Stine DVD called "A Conservative Unleashed" and we are turning our Mess Hall into a Comedy Club. Low light, Rootbeer Floats and Chocolate Cigars in a pine and glass humidore are all among the ideas I have so far. This will be an hour for the kids to visit and laugh.

Saturday Speakers: Patrick Odum and Rob Carris
Without bringing in speakers of great cost I could not imagine a better speaking team than these two. Both are great Godly men and wonderful at expressing that to teens. I love both of these guys a great deal and they will be a real blessing to our session.

Saturday Night: Meditation Walk and Midnight Communion
Starting at about 10:30 PM the teens will go on a meditative walk written by Tim Miller. The walk will conclude at a dark unlit camp fire. There will be torches, a rustic table, a video, and hot unleavened bread for our candlelight communion.

Sunday Evening: A NEW Romans and Christians
At the request of the teens we will be playing a new variation on Romans and Christians. Our hope is that the teens will be less knowledgeable about who is who. This should make a great game.

These are a few of the activity highlights. We will also have sweatshirts for the camp shirt and for the warmth which should be a highlight for the teens as the evening temps are going to be in the mid to high 30s.

I would ask for your prayers. Pray for impact and protection over the teens. Pray that God will be honored and Christ will be more real as we worship and teach together as a group. We asks for your prayers.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bob Parsons - My Favorite Humanist ( I think)

I like Bob Parsons alot. He seems to be a very well centered person. I read his blog a lot and have always been impressed with the way he thinks through a situation. In this post he points out a reality we all need to relaize. The reality that we are all imperfect.

I think that if more people in the church showed the "realism" that Mr. Parson's does so regularly on his blog many people would be much more attracted to Christ. I think that Christ's attitude was much more like Bob's than Jerry's or Pat's. I do disagree with the way he objectifies women, yet he seems to have class and character even in that issue.

I encourage you to check out his stuff and apply it to your thinking, yes you will need to "chew up the meat and spit out the bones" but there is a lot of great meat there.

Google - Sun - My Comments

I have held my comments on this annoucement for days now waiting to see what would materialize before I left my mark. I must say, I was going to praise Google for teaming up with Sun to bring us GOffice or that would be based on the StarOffice code but would be a completely web based application. I was going to shout and laud the new day of dumb terminals. This "Office" annoucement and Google San Francisco along with the Google National Wi-Fi rumor seems to to be the usher for the day when my entire "My Documents" is all web based. I would much rather pay a small fee a month ($10 per family member per month seems fair) to have all my 4-6 GB of stuff safe and accessebile no matter where I am without regard for OS or Hardware

Imagine, I am at a customer, he needs a doc I did not bring, jump on GOffice and hand it over. I am church and forgot the Powerpoint, jump on GOffice and run it right there through the net. Imagine, my video files stream down to me. My pictures always available to run as a slide show from anywhere. The Java side promising unfettered access depite my desktop OS.

I want a web based information world. Although Seth Jayson makes some good points in this Motley Fool Article. I think that this is the future we need to go into. I was expecting that in todays annoucement. So mind you I was severly let down.

My comments to Google or GoDaddy (the only 2 companies I think have the flare, innovation and capital, to pull it off) I want my Office Suite and My Documents Online.

(Aside - You may note that I mention GoDaddy and they offer Online File Folder which is a GREAT PRODUCT but it still not what I am talking about here. The problems with Online File Folder is my documents are basically just "backed up to them" and even with the Sync tool. If I do not put them in the one particular folder it does not sync them. GoDaddy's System needs to at least make the sync tool "index and search" for all new documents of file types I assign and copy them at every change. This would be a great step until the Web is the PRIMARY housing of My Documents both the files themselves and the editor to manipulate them.)