Monday, July 31, 2006

I wanna say something. I wanna put it out there. If you like it, you can take it; if you don't, send it right back.

For all the singles out there, Christian pick up lines.

*Caveat, I am not responsible to the repercussions of your actions. Use at your own risk!

1) Nice Bible; care to share it with me?

2) I would like to pray with you.

3) You know Jesus, Me too.

4) God told me to come talk to you.

5) I know a church where we could go and talk.

6) How about a hug, sister?

7) Do you need help carrying your Bible? It looks heavy.

8) Christians don't shake hands, Christians gotta hug.

9) Oh you are cold? Ever read Ecclesiastes 4:11?

10) Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?

11) What are your plans for tonight? Feel like a Bible study?

12) I am here for you if you ever need a prayer partner.

13) The word says "Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the
hungry", how about dinner?

14) You don't have an accountability partner? Me neither.

15) You want to come over and watch the 10 Commandments tonight?

16) Is it a sin that you stole my heart?

17) Would you happen to know a Christian woman that I could love with all my
heart and wait on hand and foot?

18) Nice bracelet. Who would Jesus date? I, I, mean "What Would Jesus Do"

19) Do you believe in Divine appointment?

20) Have you ever tried praying at a drive in movie before?

21) Excuse me, I believe one of your ribs belongs to me.

22) My friend told me to come and meet you, he said that you are a
really nice person. I think you know Him. Jesus, yeah that's His name.

23) You know they say that you have never really dated, until you
have dated a Christian.

24) Yeah, I predicted David over Goliath.

25) What? Of course friends listen to Amazing Grace in the dark.

26) We have to hold hands when we pray so the circle won't be broken.

27) God has used you to teach me what true love really is.

28) Christians kiss before parting -- it's an old Jewish tradition.

29) I didn't believe in predestination till I met you.

30) I'll turn the other cheek for you, if you'll turn yours to me.

31) When they designed those Precious Moment figurines, I'll bet you were the model.

32) I have an extra dove pin. Want me to pin it on you?

33) Let's read the Bible together tonight. How about the Song of Solomon?

34) Man does not live by bread alone. So how about dinner and a movie?

35) The Bible says, "Greet one another with a holy kiss" and "forbid not the use of tongues."

36) Hi, your name must be Grace because you are AMAZING!

37) The Lord has cured me of all the bad-stuff. So you should get the new & improved me.

38) Excuse me, I believe one of your ribs belongs to me

39) Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead (SOS 4:1)

For the ladies: A classic brush off line ...
When you asked me if I wanted to live in sin with you, I didn't know you meant sloth.

Friday, July 28, 2006

We will be perfect in every aspect. You drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. ... Perfection.

Last night I got to spend some time at dinner with an old friend and seminary buddy, Matt Yaley. He's the youth pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in George, Iowa.

One of the things we were lamenting was the low priority and "optional" nature of church in the mind of so many people. By way of contrast, sports and other activities far outweigh church activities in importance.

People will miss church if tired, but not practice or ballet or so many other things. When activities come in conflict with church activities, church loses.

Why is that? Why is it that so many other things are seen as not optional, but church is?

A kid not wanting to attend basketball practice might be told he's letting the team down, but don't folks realize that when they miss the assembling of the saints they are in the same way letting the team down?

A person (or parent of said person) will ensure that all available means are taken advantage of in order to achieve success in various activities. Players will modify what they eat, listen to coaches, get enough sleep, watch tape, exercise vigoriously daily, attend clinics, study playbooks, rely on teammates for the common good, and seek mentors in the field in order to be the best possible in that arena.

To win the championship, a person will make great sacrifices ... working toward a goal.

Is there a goal with Christianity? For the individual, that would be the glory of God through the process of sanctification. Do we take advantage of all available means to achieve that goal? Do we study the playbook? Do we seek out a mentor (discipler)? Do we listen to the coaches (church leaders/teachers)? Do we get enough sleep the night before to not only be there on Sunday, but be there at our best? Do we exercise vigorously on our knees seeking divine aid? Do they work together as a team, relying on teammates (church family) for the benefit of the common good?
Real community means real responsibility for each other. It means a commitment to be there for each other even when the schedule is tight and when motivation is low. But the typical Christian adult in our culture knows little about commitment to community. -Mark DeVries, Family-Based Youth Ministry
Let's be fair ... for far too many people in far too many churches, being the best ballplayer is far more important than being holy. Folks want to be perfect on the football field, running a mile when missing an assignment, but Christ commands us to be perfect with regard to our lives as Christians.
The life of holiness is the life of faith in which the believer, with a deepening knowledge of his own sin and helplessness apart from Christ, increasingly casts himself upon the Lord, and seeks the power of the Spirit and the wisdom and comfort of the Bible to battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. -Edmund P. Clowney, The Church
Spiritual gut check: Where does the goal of holiness rank on your priorities list? Are you taking advantage of all available means to achieve the goal? Are you instilling that mindset in your kids that they would be winners in their Christian life, not just on the field?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

These are the ABCs of me, baby!

One of the greatest things about the Southern Baptist Convention is its missions efforts. So many are able to spread the good news of Jesus Christ due to our concerted efforts and joining forces.

Yet, one of the greatest drawbacks of how we do missions is the way the individual missionaries can be detached from the individual churches. In our program, missionaries do not have to raise their own support, but that also means it's not imperative that individual churches and missionaries develop relationships.

One of our deacon's parents are full-time SBC-IMB missionaries in Japan, so we're able to have a strong relationship with them. One of the greatest things we as Southern Baptists can do for our missionaries is pray for them.

Here one can find some SBC missionaries to single out for prayer, though any and all types of Christian missionaries could use your prayers.

How to pray for them?

Here's a nice article in OnMission magazine that answers that question, particularly helpful for those who know the alphabet: Praying for our missionaries from A to Z.

Your Giving - Your Praying
Your Going - Your Missionaries
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Here's your hat. What's your hurry?

Last night was the first worship service of Providence Church, a Reformed & Southern Baptist congregation. Consequently, I started a new job as the pastor of Providence Church. It's a long story how I left one church and was part of forming this one.

I'll just say this, I'm not the first and I certainly won't be the last pastor who was no longer welcome. As a member of the congregation for ten years and the pastor for more than 6.5 there's an element of sadness and personal hurt from being treated with suspicion and distrust to the point of having the locks changed and seeing your name quickly painted over on the church sign.

Yet, it's only fair to note that I was also disgruntled, being unhappy with that had transpired. The three trustees repealed the bylaws and removed the advisory council, leaving themselves in charge with no accountability to the congregation. With every indication being that would not change, I could not in good conscience submit to that type of government ruling over a disenfranchised congregation. In spite of it all, I was really hoping it would be an amicable split, but that has unfortunately not been the case.

Murphy Road Baptist Church was gracious enough to allow us the use of their facility tonight and we are so grateful. Ironically, I was entrusted with a key to their building. Their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Mark Forrest has been a great support, encouragement, and advisor during my first pastorate and for that I will be eternally grateful. I'll have to handle up if his congregation ever gives him some of what I received.

But, oddly enough I'm not bitter or even still harboring feelings of disappointment. Instead, I'm grateful for the experience I gained and the relationships I have cultivated during that time. I'm appreciative of God's providential care that has brought us to this place and time.

I can honestly say that I'm excited about what the future holds, because I know Who holds the future. God in His providence has put me in a situation that I never would have sought or chosen, starting a church plant. I know I would not have chosen this because I have friends who are doing it (e.g., Christ's Community Church & Destiny Church) and I know the uphill battle it can be. But I also know the joy they've experienced in being a part of the birth of a congregation.

I'm an inertia type and I know I would have stayed in the same congregation unless something forcibly compelled me to no longer be an object at rest, but rather one in motion. God knew what He was doing getting me some pastoral experience from which to rely and some great relationships that have been formed with people who will make this adventure successful.

I preached on Ephesians 4:11-16 last night about the marks of a church that is dangerous to the forces of darkness in advancing the kingdom of God by being light in a darkened world. I look forward to going forth with such a great group of people.

I felt hurried out the door, but I think it will be for the best. God in His providence has formulated Providence Church in His timing and with His people. I ask your prayers for us in this time of transition, which will be difficult starting from scratch (needing hymnals, chairs, our own location, etc.). But, God has demonstrated His faithfulness in the past and we trust Him for future grace as well.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

be a thinker, not a stinker.

I used to really enjoy "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey on Saturday Night Live. I'd like to share with you some of my favorites.

If I could be a bird, I'd be a Flying Purple People Eater because then people would sing about me and I could fly down and eat them because I hate that song.

Once while walking through the mall a guy came up to me and said "Hey, hows it going?". So I grabbed his arm and twisted it up behind his head and said "Now whose asking the questions?"

I think a pillow should be the peace symbol, not the dove. The pillow has more feathers than the dove, and it doesn't have a beak to peck you with.

If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong, though. It's Hambone.

Instead of studying for finals, what about just going to the Bahamas and catching some rays? Maybe you'll flunk, but you might have flunked anyway; that's my point.

If you're a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it's real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you.

When I was in the 3rd grade, a bully in school started beating me up every day. At first I didn't say anything, but then I told dad. He got a real scared look on his face and asked if the bully had a big dad. I said I didn't know. But he still seemed scared. And just a few days later we moved to a new town. Dad told me that if anyone picked on me, not to fight back. Unless I knew the kid didn't have a dad or the dad was real small. Otherwise just curl up in a ball.

If you're ever shipwrecked on a tropical island and you don't know how to speak the natives' language, just say "Poppy-oomy." I bet it means something.

One thing vampire children are taught is, never run with a wooden stake.

If you work on a lobster boat, sneaking up behind people and pinching them is probably a joke that gets old real fast.

I think college administrators should encourage students to urinate on walls and bushes, because then when students from another college come sniffing around, they'll know this is someone else's territory.

I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.

Love can sweep you off your feet and carry you along in a way you've never known before. But the ride always ends, and you end up feeling lonely and bitter. Wait. It's not love I'm describing. I'm thinking of a monorail.

If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, forget em', cause, man, they're gone.

Probably the saddest thing you'll ever see is a mosquito sucking on a mummy. Forget it, little friend.

To me, it's a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when you walk around. That way, if anybody says, "Hey, can you give me a hand?" you can say, "Sorry, got these sacks."

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It's a shark riding on an elephant's back, just trampling and eating everything they see.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said, "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

Laurie got offended that I used the word "puke." But to me, that's what her dinner tasted like.

Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.

When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we'd all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn't until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear.

Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling.

The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw.

Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, we should be thinking about getting more use out of the ones we already have.

If they ever come up with a swashbuckling school, I think one of the courses should be laughing, then jumping off something.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

A good way to threaten somebody is to light a stick of dynamite. Then you call the guy and hold the burning fuse up to the phone. "Hear that?" you say. "That's dynamite, baby."

If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like "Hey, look. He's carrying a soldering iron!" and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, "That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice." Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink.

I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.

I don't think I'm alone when I say I'd like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of our solar system.

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.

I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don't want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, "What was THAT?!"

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

I'd rather be rich than stupid.

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.

We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

I think someone should have had the decency to tell me the luncheon was free. To make someone run out with potato salad in his hand, pretending he's throwing up, is not what I call hospitality.

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.

Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you're coming home his face might burn up.

Even though I was their captive, the Indians allowed me quite a bit of freedom. I could walk freely, make my own meals, and even hurl large rocks at their heads. It was only later that I discovered that they were not Indians at all but only dirty-clothes hampers.

I wish outer space guys would conquer the Earth and make people their pets, because I'd like to have one of those little beds with my name on it.

It's true that every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings. But what they don't tell you is that every time you hear a mouse trap snap, an angel gets set on fire.

If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it.

The next time I have meat and mashed potatoes, I think I'll put a very large blob of potatoes on my plate with just a little piece of meat. And if someone asks me why I didn't get more meat, I'll just say, "Oh, you mean this?" and pull out a big piece of meat from inside the blob of potatoes, where I've hidden it. Good magic trick, huh?

A funny thing to do is, if you're out hiking and your friend gets bitten by a poisonous snake, tell him you're going to go for help, then go about ten feet and pretend that *you* got bit by a snake. Then start an argument with him about who's going to go get help. A lot of guys will start crying. That's why it makes you feel good when you tell them it was just a joke.

Too bad when I was a kid there wasn't a guy in our class that everybody called the "Cricket Boy", because I would have liked to stand up in class and tell everybody, "You can make fun of the Cricket Boy if you want to, but to me he's just like everybody else." Then everybody would leave the Cricket Boy alone, and I'd invite him over to spend the night at my house, but after about five minutes of that loud chirping I'd have to kick him out. Maybe later we could get up a petition to get the Cricket Family run out of town. Bye, Cricket Boy.

I think a good product would be "Baby Duck Hat". It's a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.

If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy.

I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. "You don't have to tell me," I said. "I'm off the team, aren't I?" "Well," said Coach, "you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you're wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times." It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on.

If I ever opened a trampoline store, I don't think I'd call it Trampo-Land, because you might think it was a store for tramps, which is not the impression we are trying to convey with our store. On the other hand, we would not prohibit tramps from browsing, or testing the trampolines, unless a tramp's gyrations seemed to be getting out of control.

I wouldn't be surprised if someday some fishermen caught a big shark and cut it open, and there inside was a whole person. Then they cut the person open, and in him is a little baby shark. And in the baby shark there isn't a person, because it would be too small. But there's a little doll or something, like a Johnny Combat little toy guy---something like that.

Monday, July 17, 2006

C'mon in boys, the water is fine.

I found the following allegory while organizing my office. I probably picked this up in college, but can't recall for certain. Regardless, or even irregardless, its message is timeless, unfortunately.

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought of themselves went out day and night tirelessly, searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were brought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew.

Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as sort of a club.

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in the boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of the shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore.

Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

You can be my wingman any time.

Who is regarded as the greatest flying ace of all time? I'd have to go with my namesake.

That would be Erich Hartmann (1922-1993), the Blond Knight of Germany. His 352 confirmed aerial victories in World War II are unrivaled and especially impressive considering that was from November 5, 1942 to May 8, 1945 (about 30 months).

Major Hartmann was shot down and captured in 1943, but escaped his Soviet captors. Unhappy regarding his success in the Russian front, Russia kept him as a POW in Siberia from 1945-55, a sentence which the Russian government would later declare to be illegal. Upon release he was reunited with his wife and served as an officer in the West German Air Force, training USAF pilots as well before his retirement in 1970.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Did I hear a "niner" in there?

Were you calling from a walkie talkie?

I dig this sort of math trick slooge. Who came up with such ... and how? Could we get that person to ensure lower gas prices, even with some fuzzy math?

1.GRAB A CALCULATOR (you won't be able to do this in your head)

2.KEY IN THE FIRST THREE DIGITS OF YOUR PHONE NUMBER (not the area code)

3.MULTIPLY BY 80

4.ADD 1

5.MULTIPLY BY 250

6.ADD THE LAST 4 DIGITS OF YOUR PHONE NUMBER

7.ADD THE LAST 4 DIGITS OF YOUR PHONE NUMBER AGAIN.

8.SUBTRACT 250

9.DIVIDE NUMBER BY 2

Do you recognize the answer?

Friday, July 07, 2006

I gotta have more cowbell.

A little Friday fun to cure what ails you, because, like you, I gotta have MORE COWBELL [try this one].

I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!

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One of the funniest SNL skits of all time (transcript).

P.S. At this high school talent show, they definitely got more cowbell.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Love cannot drown truth

One of the reasons cited for the exodus from England to the colonies was religious freedom. The Church of England was such that there was little tolerance for divergent views.

Subsequent happenings led to the independence of the United States and the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Well, what a difference a few centuries makes. Now the Church of England is perhaps one of the most tolerant out there.

So tolerant in fact that the sovereign of England is seen by the heir aparrent as no longer the Fidei defensor, "Defender of the Faith," but rather defender of "faith", in other words faith of all kinds or defender of faiths plural. Should he become king of England, Prince Charles would not see himself as defender of the Christian faith, but rather faiths of all kinds. In other words, though a Christian nation in the official sense, the future monarch does not see Christianity as distinct but as part of a "multi-faith mish-mash" as is feared it England might become.

Instead, it appears that the Anglican church is having to be defended by those outside of its geographical borders. Many Anglicans have been angered over the direction the church has been going for years and the recent consecration of openly gay priest Gene Robinson by the US branch. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, would like to preserve unity, including the US branch. But some wonder the basis for unity and legitimate compromise for unity.

For example, Williams made a proposal that would distinguish two categories of the Anglican Communion, to give the Episcopal Church a lesser role. The Nigerian bishops saw such as revealing the heartbeat of a "a leader who wants to preserve the unity of the Church by accommodating every shred of opinion no matter how unbiblical." The more conservative African contingent sees the US church as a "cancer" that needs to be excised for the health of the patient.

It's interesting that the American church is the segment that is not seeking independence, but religious tolerance in such a way that the Anglican church compromises its beliefs and practices to accomodate.

The values of the US branch are fueled, we are told, by love, but love cannot drown truth.

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