Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman Returns: We saw Superman Returns yesterday. The end.

Street Team: Nathan and I are going to head out to the 4th of July fireworks on Tuesday night on our first ever "street team" venture. We're just going to have some water bottles to hand out and keep it simple for this first shot. I'm going to make us some iron on t-shirts that we'll wear to let people know who we are. I'll post some pictures after the fact. It will be simple but I know it's a great first step for us and I know we'll get meet lots of new people and show Christ's love in the process!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blender: Mom walks into Starbucks today with her 2 or 3 year old girl. The girl is being held by her mom and they are talking. As the mom approaches the counter the girl screams like she is being killed. The mom walks quickly to the door and I hear her say "It's ok the blender won't hurt you."

True Story

Tell em...: "Tell em your granddad knows Al King, then he'll take care of you." -Granddad

Score: I'm currently making copies of a book on cd because there is no way I could get them ordered and sent to me in time for them to make a difference. Probably like every other book study in the history of the world the people involved in our wednesday night PDL book study aren't getting read the material in time for wednesday nights or they aren't even trying. But I don't feel back or take it personally and I don't take them on guilt trips or try to coerce them into reading the material. I know better than that.

Today I saw my buddy Brandon at the gym and was telling him I had a hard time getting through the material and I'm tired of reading it so instead I listened to it from the book on cd that someone gave me long ago. He told me the was tired of reading it also. Surveys say that most men don't like to read. The reason men don't like to read is that men generally aren't very good at reading. wait...we like to hunt and fish and work on computers and do other hands on stuff but generally not read. I like reading, I'm not normal but I've known that since the 1st grade. So not all men fit the stereotype but in general men don't like to read...

So I'm going to make copies until I can order some for everyone- crisis averted.

But that got me thinking that perhaps my thinking is messed up. Generally one would think that reading the material before hand like requested shows participation and effort but our discussions were some of the best our little group has ever had. So it was clear people were excited about the material but weren't making time to read it. I was keeping score the wrong way. The better way to have kept score would be to see if people are processing the material and allowing it to penetrate their lives.

Which makes me wonder what other things do we need to reevaluate how we are keeping score?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Currently Reading: I'm currently reading Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow. Considering it is a book I bought because I was attracted by it's title and cover this book has turned out surprisingly insightful and thought provoking. I think what it is more than anything is unique. Afteralll it seems to be the first book written of it's kind and while someone could have written "why atheists hate going to church" or "why earthworms don't go to church" this title had much more ammunition.

He shows some very interesting points just analyzing the behavior and science of men and then what is happening in our churches. Contrary to what Dan Brown says in the DaVinci Code the church IS mostly feminine with feminine behaviors. Ironically I laugh at some of what he is critiquing becuase like him and other men I remember struggling with the "gayness" of church but I suppose over time I got used to it.

Two Cerda thumbs up for the book though...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Rain: We've been getting rain around here like crazy. The first 5 months of the year I think it rained only a half dozen times but since the beginning of June it's been raining almost every other day and I think today is the 5th day in a row it's rained and the past few days have been quite a large amount...and lightning just knocked the power out...again.

Launch Team: Last night was our first ever Launch Team meeting. It was a great night with people that enjoy each other and are committed to making this church a success. We talked about vision for a while and then about the gritty details that need to get done between now and February 11, 2007. That aspect is one of the duties I enjoy the most but can be the most frustrating. It's my favorite when a great thing comes together and I loathe it when I've got writers block.

Money: It used to drive me crazy the way my former ministry dealt with money but more specifically people's contributions to the church. It was this top secret hush hush thing about who gave, who didn't give. How much people gave was a highly kept secret... I used to get frustrated because we would sit around board meetings talking about bad off the church was and how we could barely pay the bills and at one point the treasurer started asking me to hold onto my paychecks till he could make the deposit because there wasn't enough money in the bank to pay me. But while budget weren't being met and ministries were suffering no one was ever asking the obvious question- are people giving their financial resources to the church? It was never asked because certain people knew the answer and then consequence to that question. That no indeed most people were not giving and that something needed to be done about that.

As a church planter I'm pretty darn aware of money. I've set out to raise $24k for the church plant this year and Heather and I give our tithe money to the church plant. I'm also aware that I'm gathering a launch team and that I need to at some point ask them to begin contributing to the church. The bible tells us where our treasure is there will our heart be also. In my language that says people give money to what they think is important.

So last night at the launch team meeting I knew I needed to mention giving to the church. I didn't have anyone in mind that needs to start giving or they are going to spend longer in purgatory but I did give an invite to our Launch Team to start giving to the church. I have to admit again it was hard to say, these people are my friends and I don't want to convince or coerce them into giving but I felt it was more than appropriate to invite them to give. At the end of the night someone asked me how they could start giving...amen!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Blog Rules: I saw some where that there are rules for blogging like you shoudl categorize your blogs so they are easily organized and that you should only blog about the same topics. well like with other things in life I have broken the rules. I'm not really sure what this blog about or who it's even for. I do know that people read it if not many and I hope that it's at least enjoyable if not challenging. I suppose untimately I'd keep it even if no one read it. On a statistical note I've been keeping this blog for two years now and am approaching my 500th post.

Launch Team Meeting: Our first launch team meeting is this Sunday, June 25. On Wednesday at Starbucks after our book discussion coversation turned to the future, our goals and purpose and it was not only encouraging but exciting. So I'm hoping Sunday is the same way and I'm praying God really gives us clean directions for the future of The Bridge Church.

An article I wrote for a denomination newsletter.

My father was in the Navy for 29 years. This meant frequent and sometimes long deployments where he could not be around very much. I didn’t have as much time with my father as other kids my age did but I also valued the time and the things he taught me more than other kids my age. When I was thirteen my dad came home with a small slip of paper that had a quote on it from a book he was reading. Dad told me that he wanted me to have the quote and he encouraged me to live by the words it contained.

Over the years I kept the paper in my wallet and would come across it at oddly appropriate times. Finally the paper became so worn I had to remove it from my wallet, hoping to salvage it in a keepsake box but realizing it would never make it I threw it away. It didn’t matter though. The words that the unevenly cut piece of paper contained had long been imprinted on my mind and had worked their way into my heart and often pervaded my thinking.

The quote has many variations but this is the one my father gave me: Far better is it to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs and suffer much defeat than to live in the grey twilight where one does not suffer much nor enjoy much.

It’s better to go for something big, something impacting, and possibly (or even likely) fail than to play it safe. Because when you play it safe you may never have to suffer the agony of defeat but neither will you ever enjoy the exhilaration of victory.

Reggie McNeal states in his book The Present Future that just 4% of those born after 1976 consider themselves born again. I have quoted this statistic several times when speaking about church planting and have even heard it quoted from other’s pulpits. I was in conversation with a church worker a few weeks ago and he quoted me this statistic and I just smiled. I wondered if he even knew the source of the statistic, coming from Thom Rainer but quoted by Reggie McNeal. Regardless of the source or even its accuracy I have never heard this number argued.

A quick glance at the previous generations: Busters (born between 1965-1976) and Boomers (born between 1946-1965) claim 15% and 35% born again respectively. At this rate the children of the current generation will claim less than 1% born again! To some of us this statistic has become trite or perhaps so overbearing it’s less painful if we just ignore it. What’s much harder to ignore is when you see your children leave the church as they read adulthood, which is what we have seen and will continue to see unless something changes. I have never encountered a more fitting time to be called to action to “dare mighty things”.

This solution is not programmatic but quite pragmatic and likely will be problematic- but worth every effort. It is a mindset that must pervade our thinking if we hope to see the gospel of Jesus Christ thrive.

Jesus never promised his disciples an easy life instead he told them to leave and take no money. He warned them that people would reject them and not give them shelter. He called them sheep with no protector. He warned them that they would be flogged and hated for what they represented. He said that who ever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will find it.

Maybe Jesus was just painting a worst-case scenario? Maybe not! Just read the book of Acts, it appears he was right about all of those things. Jesus was possibly the worst motivational speaker ever! He broke all the rules of discipleship and all the rules of rallying people to his cause yet he began the most successful movement in history with a handful of underdogs and saying things that were hard to hear.

Church has become a very comfortable thing for all of us ranging from paid staff to infrequent visitors. We are far removed from the days of dangerous Christianity, the Christianity that Jesus inspired and warned about to his first followers. We seldom blaze new paths or even try things that could possibly fail. We try so hard to minimize failure that we also eliminate any chance of success.

The call to church planting was incredibly frightening for Heather and I. It is easily something that could grip me with fear if I let it because the reality of the situation is that we might FAIL. Fortunately when we were faced with the decision to pursue a dangerous ministry God gave us the courage to go for it. Regularly I remember those warnings of Christ in Matthew 10 and I remember the quote my father gave me- the two go so well together!

Here we are in Suffolk not certain of success but certain that God delights in people willing to be adventurous to expand his kingdom. Let me encourage you to remember or perhaps discover for the first time the adventurous lifestyle you were called to when you signed on as a follower of Jesus Christ. Adventure is not just for church planters but for all followers of Christ. There is nothing safe in following Jesus Christ but there is much victory to be gained for those willing to step out and ask God for the victories while embracing and not fearing failure.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Honesty: We were talking at Stabucks last night for our Wednesday night group. I'm not really sure what brought us to it but we got to talking about the ways of God and frankly stuff that he does or has done that has disappoint us or pissed us off. I'm sure groups of Christians get together to do the same thing. Keep in mind we are all friends, and all believers and all honest. One of the guys starts sharing about what sparked his journey to the faith but then away from the faith. It was spoken in honesty and from the heart which I value more than any other attribute about a person. While talking he was honest about his disgust with God at times and even gave an hand gesture to mark the occasion in our minds forever. I couldn't help but chuckle at what people were seeing that might have been watching our group. But I couldn't help but be proud of our group being willing to be honest to each other and to God. You know I believe and I act as if God can handle my anger. He can handle me being upset with him and he can handle us forgetting that he is God in heaven and we are not or that we are the clay and he is the potter. But he is the God who allowed Jacob to wrestle him and win and the God that was willing to die on the cross for us so that we may live!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

From Psalm 22
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even when I was still nursing. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me for trouble is near and there is no one to help. (New Cerda Version)

From Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his sould to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (NIV)

¿Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
¿Who may stand in his holy place?

Monday, June 19, 2006

This is one of those delayed blog entries. I’m sitting in Starbucks, the new one in Suffolk, and they don’t have wifi yet. I’m also assuming that this Starbucks will be a t-mobile hotspot which means it will cost money. It seems that my general hangout is the only Starbucks in the world that has free wifi…don’t tell anyone.

Fatherhood: Yesterday was my 2nd father’s day and two days before that my 5 year anniversary. I find it really incredible and a great privilege that I get to celebrate the two relationships that mean the most to me so close together.

Our anniversary went great. We went down to the beach and ate at Catch 31, where BJ works, and then we checked out the art festival taking place on the board walk and then went down to the water for a few minutes. Nathan liked the beach and wasn’t afraid of the water…he kept trying to run into the water by himself.

Yesterday we went to church and then took my dad out to lunch. Dad gave me a great little book by Tim Russert. He’s the guy that does Meet the Press and this is a 2nd book about fathers. I started reading it yesterday while Nathan and heather were getting some afternoon naps. I got a good way through it and it’s a great little book. Celebrating fathers’ and their positive influence on their kids. All of the stories are heartwarming and make you fell good about fathers. It’s a great gift especially from my father.

It’s interesting because I have been feeling a strong call of God to focus on the father relationship of God. Mainly to bring attention to it and to revel in the beauty of this relationship we have. So pure, so strong, so solid. Earthly fathers, even the best ones, make tragic and life altering mistakes when dealing with their children. John Eldgridge talks about this and is one of his primary focuses. He’s onto something. One thing that I value so much in my relationship with Nathan is the fact that I get to show to Nathan the father heart of God. That’s one of the roles God gives father’s, to show and display his love. One of the greatest hesistations of people in allowing God to have their hearts and lives is that the have a mistrust of father’s.

This whole theme fits in with another book I’m reading called Why men hate going to church. I think the title is funny and that’s why I bought the book. I think the author is onto something and basising his ideas on his opinion alone I have to say I like his opinion. He’s not saying anything new- just something seldom said.

God the Father…what does that mean? What should it mean?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

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Peanut Butter: I was on Nathan duty the other night so I figured we'd have peanut butter for dinner. I gave him a spoonful and he went for it then I decided I'd better give him some crackers to help wash it down. Viola'.

Quote: One of my players mom works for 106.9 the fox which is a classic rock station. She is part of the morning show. Someone was asking her about the upcoming Willie Nelson concert and if she'd be going. She says "I'm not going anywhere near that man, Willie Nelson is gross."

Friday, June 16, 2006

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Tony Dungy head coach of the Colts speaks about the tragic loss of his son. written by one of my Around the Horn favorites, Michael Smith.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

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5: Tomorrow Heather and I have been married for 5 years. I can't express in words how much I love Heather and how great she is. She is the most unselfish person I know and anyone should be blessed to be able to call her friend. She is my best friend and closest companion and an incredible mother to our son, Nathan. Heather, I love you with all of my heart!

Kiss: I forgot about this until this morning and I'm not really sure what brought it up. I live very near my Grandparents and with my Grandma being almost 91 and Grandad trailing 10 years behind at almost 81 I figure I better get over to see them as frequently as I can manage. You have to understand my Grandad. He's from upstate New York but he swears he's never going back and he calls himself a damn yankee. He carries a gun all the time, even while cutting his grass, and he's a republican because they let you carry guns. He believes 9/11 was a government conspiracy. He loads his own ammo and tells me that if his house ever catches fire and I'm anywhere near it to just run. He also tells me that if we're ever attacked by another country or even our own we're to meet at his house and I'm to bring my guns. His nickname for me growing up was Porkchop and fathead. He has manuevers that can inflict pain on any child aged 2-99, they are known as the "one finger hurt" and the "ham". But one thing we always know about Grandad is that he'll do anything for us and he loves us very much.

So with all that said about my Grandad last time I was leaving his house he gave me a big hug..and he kissed me on the cheek.

Then on Saturday after the wedding I was officiating the grooms father who I know pretty welll gave me a big hug...and kissed me on the cheek. I was surprised but not bothered. It was a surprisingly appropriate thing to do. So there it is maybe the kiss is coming back.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Revolution: I just finished reading Revolution by George Barna. I wouldn't say it's one of the more life changing books I've read but it was interesting and sparked some interesting thought in my brain. It's ironic because I genuinely have a heart that is passionate about the Church of Jesus Christ. I recognize that this church is going to look different as time passes particularly with a mere 4% of our generation claiming to be born again. The idea of The Revolution that Barna has observed says that there is actually a moderately large group of people following the teachings of the bible, claiming Jesus Christ as Lord, and serving others with the love of Jesus Christ but not affiliated with any local body of believers.

One of my ministry friends here in Suffolk is a youth pastor at a fairly large Baptist church. Gary is a great guy whom I respect not just as a ministry partner but also sort of as an older ministry brother. He's wise, he thinks before he speaks and God is doing phenomenal work through him in his student ministry. I also have other ministry friends that are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian or whatever else denomination comes to mind. They value their denomination and are bonded to it. The reason I bring this up is because the idea of revolution and what it means for denominations is not encouraging. But what it means for the kingdom of God is very encouraging.

I'm left standing in the middle. I do not believe it is essential for a person to be a part of an organized local "church" but I do believe being a part of an organic body of believers is essential to spiritual growth. So catch the semantics the organized church is not always an organic body of believers but a social fraternity or a swell program for the kids.

The rub is, and why I brought up my Baptist friend in the first place is that people by nature are not disciplined. They go to work because they’ll get fired if they don’t and people in general stay healthy and lose weight because they don’t want to die at an early age. We drive the speed limit because we don’t want a ticket, etc, etc. So basically what I’m saying if left in our own depravity people will resist being in community. By removing the responsibility or obligation of going to church people will in turn stop being part of a community of believers. It’s that dichotomy of discipline and passionate love. In a perfect world we would all be in love with Jesus and his people and would love going to be part of our community groups but in reality we live in a fallen sinful world where in bursts we are in love and in bursts we despise the bondage of being bound in community. Our bondage is our liberation though and that’s the irony. When we bind ourselves to others we are in turn made free and are free to be who we are. (sounds like song lyrics brewing!)

Well I've sufficiently walked all over this one and all over the place in the process. So read the book it's worth the $10 and the 130 pages it's printed on. Even if you disagree...

Monday, June 12, 2006

0-3: Ouch! US loses to Czech. We actually got crushed. The best part of it for me was the fact that I was watching it in a sports bar with a bunch of other Americans. Americans excited about soccer- it was a neat feeling. I hope we do better against Italy on Saturday. I'll also be anxious to see how Brasil does tomorrow against Crotia. Because if Brasil isn't careful they are going to be upset by Czech in the tournament round. Netherlands looked good as well.

Truth: Truth be told I'm also rooting for Mexio in the cup.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rolling: World Cup play has begun I was able to watch some of the first half of the Germany game yesterdy and am currently watching England and Paraguay. It's a great thing I tell you. Just being curious I wanted to see how much the WC official ball was...$130...holy crap!

But the matches are free so I'll stick with those.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stuck: I just finished reading Between a rock and a hard place by Aron Ralston (google either). Most people are familar with his story if not his name. He is the guy that was hiking through a slot canyon when a large boulder fell on him and trapped his arm. Here he remained trapped for 5 days with minimal food and water. He had to resort to drinking his own urine. A hundred and some hours with no sleep and hypothermia threatening at night, the story is amazing.

I've got some quotes from the book that I might post in a few days- I'm just too lazy to go and find them right now.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Roll it back baby: Last night at Harbor Park was "roll back the clock night". Which means that hot dogs, drinks and popcorn were 25 cents each. It's a heck of a deal. We paid $8.50 for our tickets to watch the baseball game and then only a few bucks to eat like hot dog kings.

PDL: Tonight we are starting a book study at Starbucks from 8-9pm. The book is Purpose Driven Life and while I know it's dated I also know there are plenty of people wanting to read it that never go to it in the first place. I really have no idea what to expect and I was merely doing this out of obedience to what God was telling me to do. So I'm excited about tonight I know it will be good and just trusting him to bring out the right people.

Wedding: I will be officiating my first wedding. I woke up Sunday night at about 2 am and remembered I didn't have a suit to wear. So on monday I rushed around to a few suit places found someone with one I liked and made sure I could get it in time for not only the wedding but in time to leave for the wedding. The couple is one that I've known for about 4 and a half years now and I don't think I could ask for a better couple for my first wedding. They are very much in love and have been very wise in their relationship.

The comes up right as Heather and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary. In many ways I can't believe it's been 5 years and then in others it feels every bit of 5 years (that's a good thing).

Monday, June 05, 2006

First of all: Hockey is still going on? I had no idea!

Wall: Our tournament is double elimination and we've already lost once so if we lose again we're out for the season. Tonight we played the Yankees and I'll spare the suspense- we won. Funny moment worth mentioning. Noah has been scared of the ball all year and I can't get him to pay attention on the bases, in other words it's pretty tough for me to play him in the infield. The problem is he's a smart kid and he knows that the infield is where the good kids play. Lately he's been doing well and is a lot less afraid of the ball. Still not ready for infield but doing much better. Well tonight was Noah's night because me in my moment of insanity and empathy I put him in at second base. Noah calls out to his mom "hey mom I'm playing second." "oh you're batting second?" "No I'm playing second base" Noah's mom says "Dear God..." and crosses herself as she speaks.

I'm not sure if my connection with Blogger is good right now so this entry might be a waste but we'll see. It's been a long weekend since I posted...

Too tight: Do you ever tie your shoes too tight? Generally I don't notice I've done this until I'm sitting in a tight place like an airplane or a cramped car. Then no matter how much I try to ignore it the cramped feeling comes over me and I can't sit still and start going crazy podering the whole time if this infact is what Hell might be like. I also figure that this is what it might be like to be stuck in a box without enough room like solitary confinement but not the american style the turkish prison style.

This is what it felt like to watch the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie The Break Up. I would actually prefer getting punched in the face a few times as opposed to having watch this movie ever again. It was horrendous! If you feel the need to waste $8 on this movie don't...if you still need to waste the $8 then you can send a check to my address- email for more information.

Lost: Not the TV show but with the same result. After a rain out on Saturday and sitting in the BLAZING sun for 2 hours on sunday we finally played our first playoff game. The kids played ok but not as good as they can and they made some very critical errors at pretty much the worst possible time. But what was most discouraging them acting so poorly in the dugout. Stuff we've dealt with over and over and over again this season and they are still doing like spitting sunflower seeds at each other. My person favorite, waiting till someone spits a seed and then trying to run into it so you can tell on them. Playing in the dirt while at shortstop and the list goes on.

We play what might be our final game tonight. If we lose we're done for the season if we win we will play on Friday, frankly I just want our kids to play their best and to end the season on positive note whether that's win or lose.

Worry: While on vacation I really felt God talking to me about not worrying so much. I find this a reaccuring theme in my life but one that I don't mind working on. The worry was in regards to what God has called me to do and encouraging me to work but not worry at planting this church. God will provide and I will be faithful. The thought kept occuring that if it's all stripped away- all of it. I'll still be ok and even better than ok because I'll be a child of God.

Then as I'm thinking these thoughts and just exploring the divine process of not worrying about life we meet these people. They probably worried very little about life but with the abscense of worry didn't come freedom but it seemed like apathy. So I had to ask myself and God what the difference is. They aren't worried but they held jobs with minimal impact on the world, their whole goal in life was to stay alive and have as much fun as they can until they die. It was then that worry didn't seem like such a bad thing as long and I'm worried about the will of God and not the will of Nick.

So I'm not sure where I landed on all of this worry talk- i guess I won't worry about it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Headphones: I often work at Starbucks, I enjoy the same wifi as I do at home and can work pretty much just the same. Generally I can work with very few distractions aside from the ones I enjoy like meeting people or drinking coffee. Sometimes though I'll put some music on either ipod or computer and enter into my own little world complete with sountrack.

Wearing headphones is funny for two reasons. The first is that people tend to stare more, I'm assuming this happens because they get confused and can't decipher if you're wearing blinders or headphones. The second reason I enjoy wearing them is because if there is someone sitting beside you having a conversation they will reserve what they say to whispers or avoid embarrassing situations but you put those headphones on they assume you're jamming you and they talk completely free about all of life's problems.

Fathom: You might have heard by now about this story. Our friend Kristy went to Taylor University and she told us a month or so ago about the awful accident that killed 5 students when a truck collided with their van. Among the survivors was a young woman that was in a coma and here family was caring for her at bedside. Yesterday they discovered that the daughter they were caring for wasn't their daughter at all but another young woman that was involved in the accident. Their daughter had been killed in the accident. Read the complete story here- no commentary will follow. Complete Story