Archive for October, 2007

Happy Halloween at Chipotle

October 31, 2007 2 comments

Will the Balvin’s be there? Um, YEAH!

Categories: Food

Day Off Thoughts

October 31, 2007 1 comment

Today is the first day I have had off in 9 days. I’ve enjoyed laying around, wrestling with the kids, drinking coffee, doing some reading, and napping a bit. Stephanie is harassing me because it is 3 pm and I’m still wearing my sleeping clothes, but you know what, I think I deserve a slob day. Anyway, this piece of Scripture has gotten me thinking today,

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

As many of you know I have gone trough a theological shifting of sorts in the last 18 months. Part of this change is my understanding of the condition of man and the role of God in the saving of individuals. I am definitely not ‘arrived’ (and I hope I never think I completely have because people who are too sure usually end up being jerks) but I am spending more time wondering how someone who is sinful and anti-God from the womb, could in anyway on their own, make a choice to follow Jesus.

This verse from Corinthians seems to imply a similar conclusion. A person who is far from God cannot even understand their own sinfulness and need for a Saviour without some illumination of the mind and soul done by the Spirit of God. In my experience my free will choice will always be a selfish one, moving me further from God not closer to him.


Please Call Me By My Name

October 29, 2007 Leave a comment

One thing I am currently trying to do, in an effort to expand my leadership/management skill set, is to develop the habit of using people’s first names when I speak to them. Sounds, maybe, like a small thing, but I think that calling someone regularly by their first name dignifies and humanizes them. It shows that you care about them as an individual and as a team member, simply as some worker bee. In my experience I see a more positive response when I say, “Good morning Bill” instead of just a stale “Good morning.” My biggest struggle in strengthening this practice is exerting the mental energy to actually learn and remember someone’s name. I am working on it though and I think it is paying off.

Categories: Leadership, Work

What has Willow Creek Learned in 30 Years?

October 29, 2007 Leave a comment

Willow Creek is a church that has had a dramatic impact on my life and my philosophy of ministry (this same statement could have been written on the blog of hundreds of pastors around the country who are modeling themselves and their churches after Willow). Through its program-driven, seeker-friendly emphasis, Willow has reshaped the way Sunday morning service operates in thousands of churches.

So how do we react when Willow’s pastor, Bill Hybels, says things like this,

Speaking at the Leadership Summit, Hybels summarized the findings this way:

Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.

Having spent thirty years creating and promoting a multi-million dollar organization driven by programs and measuring participation, and convincing other church leaders to do the same, you can see why Hybels called this research “the wake up call” of his adult life.

Hybels confesses:

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

On a few of the blogs I read people are showering Hybels with kudos, declaring this a some kind of public repentance over the way Willow has organized it’s ministries. I doubt that Hybels sees his confession that way, but I do admire his willingness to say something went array. I am inspired that his devotion to Christ influences his leadership so much that he is willing to switch gears and do something new after 30 plus years of seemingly successful functioning.


Categories: Hybels, Ministry, Willow

1/2 Caf, Venti, Sugar Free Vanilla, Non-fat, X-hot, Latte

October 27, 2007 1 comment

This morning was by far the most fun I have had in my 8 weeks of training. That’s because I spent 4 hours taking orders and learning to make drinks at the Starbucks in our store. I got a cool black hat and a green apron and I rocked the place. It took my a while to learn all the different drinks and their espresso/flavor shot quantities but I had a blast.

The staff in my store is awesome and greeting and talking with the guests made the time fly. Plus, with all the drinks I made and samples, my body was running on high speed. If I was 18 again I would definitely get a job at Starbucks.

I wonder if they would let me make my own drinks now? Hmm…

Categories: Work

Bye Bye Ministry Fair

October 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church on what Granger is doing to encourage people to join in and serve.

A few years ago we moved away from what we called a “Ministry Fair” to a “Volunteer Expo” (I’m sure we borrowed it from another church). We found that the mere label was more understandable and less intimidating for people new to our church and/or Jesus. In years past, we set up large areas using tents or other temporary structures in a designated area on the campus and pointed people to the Expo following services. We experienced some measured positive outcomes in people stepping into the varied opportunities.

This year we opted to create space inside our auditorium where services are experienced. No one had to leave the room. However, we needed to help people visit ministry booths quickly and effectively. So, using tear-off cards in every program (bulletin), guests were invited to choose ONE area to start with and drop their card at that selected table. There they received a printed sheet that provided a bit more detail and information about the next step. That next step might be to participate in an orientation, visit/observe a ministry function or expect a return phone call for an individual conversation.

Categories: Ministry

To Stand or Flee in the Face of Persecution

October 25, 2007 Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered what you would do in a situation where you faced persecution for your faith? As I think about the people around the world in places like Iraq, Sudan and Indonesia who daily die for their faith I wonder what I would do if I was in their place.

  • Would I flee the country?
  • Would I try to go underground?
  • Would I boldly stand and suffer?

John Piper has a short reflection on Matthew 10:16. In it he poses the questions above and quotes a thoughtful and heart-freeing response from a man named John Bunyan. I encourage you to reflect on what Bunyan writes,

In 1684, John Bunyan published a book called Seasonable Counsels, or Advice to Sufferers. In it, he addressed this question: When does a sufferer fly (from danger) and when does he stand (and suffer the danger)? Bunyan knew how to answer for himself. He had four children, one of them blind, and he chose to remain in prison for twelve years rather than promise not to preach the gospel. How does he answer the question for others? May we try to escape?

Thou mayest do in this as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly; if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Anything but a denial of the truth. He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled, Ex. 2:15; Moses stood, Heb. 11:27. David fled, 1 Sam. 19:12; David stood, 1 Sam. 24:8. Jeremiah fled, Jer. 37:11-12; Jeremiah stood, Jer. 38:17. Christ withdrew himself, Luke 19:10; Christ stood, John 18:1-8. Paul fled, 2 Cor. 11:33; Paul stood, Act 20:22-23. . . .

There are few rules in this case. The man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly. . . . Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word, Matt. 10:23. . . .

If, therefore, when thou hast fled, thou art taken, be not offended at God or man: not at God, for thou art his servant, thy life and thy all are his; not at man, for he is but God’s rod, and is ordained, in this, to do thee good. Hast thou escaped? Laugh. Art thou taken? Laugh. I mean, be pleased which [how]soever things shall go, for that the scales are still in God’s hand. (p. 726)

Categories: Piper, Quotes, Suffering