Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Perfect Little Gentleman

I'm working on something, but for now, here's William on Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Preacher Wanted: Must be Able to Walk on Water

I was perusing through ACU’s “Churches Looking for Ministers” page today, and I came across this job description:

“A new congregation seeks a dynamic full-time minister to come and minister to us. The church started in the Dallas area almost two years ago and now has 150 members. We are now at a point where we need a full-time minister to come and join the team. Qualifications: Professional leadership experience and success. Self-Starter. Visionary. Musical Ability. Technological ability. Strong and polished public presentation with a good public speaking voice. Willing to work under the direction and supervision of the leadership committee. Will have a track record of church growth. Theological Training: hold an advanced degree from a theological training institution. Have a good understanding of contemporary culture and be able to relate. Pastoral: have the ability to perform pastoral duties. Conservative theologically and believe that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God and believe in the five steps of salvation. The candidate must not have any liberal leanings. Tradition: comfortable with Church of Christ traditions as well as early church tradition. Small Groups: support of relational small group ministries in the church. Bible Translation: must preach and teach from KVJ, ASV, NKJV, or NASB. KJV or ASV preferred. Additional Training: engage in ongoing training and learning. Knowledgeable of various religious issues. Have a Purpose-Driven ministry philosophy, strong prayer life and engage regularly in spiritual disciplines. Strong relational skills and work well with other people. Should not be success driven, but have a deep, abiding relationship with God that shows in his humility, thoughtfulness, and reflections. Marriage: It is strongly desired that the candidate should be happily married. Children: As per qualifications in 1 Tim 3, it is desired that the candidate have at least two children, or plan on having at least two children. Age: The candidate should be between 30 - 40 years of age. Please send your resume.”

Wow! I wonder if the guy has to walk on water as well? And here’s the irony – the name of this church . . . The Grace Church of Christ!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Safety or Revenue?

I found a troubling story in the Dallas Morning News yesterday that is both sad and funny. Dallas City Hall has turned off more than a quarter of its red-light cameras because many of them are failing to generate enough fines. Dallas’ red-light camera system has been such an effective deterrent to drivers running red lights that some intersections have experienced more than 50 percent reduction in offenders. The article said that, “decreased revenue from red light-running violations means significantly less revenue to maintain the camera program and otherwise fuel the city's general fund.” And then we have this gem of a quote from Dallas' assistant director of public works and transportation, “We did not anticipate having such success so early with the number of people not running red lights. If you have success in safety, you don't have a lot of success in revenue.” This is the same “catch 22” that some States are having with tobacco revenues. They use the tax money to fund child healthcare programs, while doing all they can to discourage smoking. Dallas could do what San Diego did a few years ago – shorten the number of seconds a traffic light stays yellow before turning red!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jack Bauer is More Popular Than James Bond

I’ve never missed an episode of “24.” From the very first season, I’ve been a fan of Jack Bauer. I recently returned to the beginning and watched Season 1 on DVD. Since Jack Bauer is now officially “more popular than Bond” (I don’t know who figures this stuff out, but it was in USA Today), I’ve been thinking about exactly what makes Jack Bauer so compelling. Especially surprising to me is how many ministers are “Jackoholics.” Many times I’ve been tempted to start a sermon with, “The following takes place between 10 am and 11 am! A few months ago Wade Hodges gave some suggestions. I agree. Plus I’ve added a few.

1. Jack Bauer is always on a mission. He has a purpose. He knows exactly what it is and he let’s nothing and nobody get in his way.

2. Every second of Jack’s life matters. Jack can’t afford to waste even a minute of his day. His time is too important.

3. Jack is willing to make and has repeatedly made gut wrenching personal sacrifices for the mission. Such is the cost of saving the world.

4. Jack refuses to play by society’s or the government’s rules because they impede his mission. His superiors have no ability to think outside the restrictions their organization puts on them. I think deep down many ministers, and Christians in general, feel boxed in by unnecessary rules and regulations of our organization (the church). Most of us would love to shed those expectations and time-consuming distractions and recklessly pursue something bigger. But we can’t, so we live vicariously through Jack.

5. Jack gets to say and do things that in the deepest part of hearts we wish we could say and do. My favorite Jack line from season 5: “The only reason you’re still conscious is because I don’t want to carry you.” What preacher hasn’t wanted to say that at an elders meeting or to a church member?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Makes Worship Good?

I have spent considerable time with the staff over the past few weeks talking about worship. We have discussed ways to make worship “better,” and we’ll be implementing some of them soon. That got me thinking – what is good worship? Can we even use words like “good” or “better” about worship? How do we evaluate a worship assembly? I’ve heard people say things like, “Last Sunday the worship was just awesome.” What makes a worship experience “awesome?”

I’ve had worship experiences that left me with a buzz afterward. So what? I’ve also been to movies and concerts that did the same thing. I’m not saying experience is bad. I’m all for designing worship services that help people experience God. I have to wonder though, if maybe we shouldn’t be taking a longer timeline into account when we evaluate worship. Rather than focusing so much on temporary weekly experiences that help people get their “God fix,” we should also be looking at the long-term trajectory of our assemblies and asking: “Are the people worshipping here gradually becoming more and more like Christ?” If they’re not, it doesn’t matter how “awesome” the worship feels. There is something wrong. God isn’t interested in our having cool weekly worship experiences while here on earth. He wants every aspect of our lives to be acts of worship to Him. Maybe that’s the problem. We see worship as something that ends with the final prayer on Sunday morning. What if we saw our lives as a never-ending worship experience being critiqued, not by us, but by God?

After a worship assembly someone once said to author, Marva Dawn, “I didn’t get anything out of that worship.” She replied, “So what – we didn’t come to worship you!” What are some of your most memorable (and forgetful) worship experiences?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Yesterday I voted in the Texas primary. I am part of that magic 5% of Texans who "pulled the lever" for Ron Paul. Yeah - it felt good to go against the flow. Here's a short video clip from the Onion News Network - because they say it better than I ever could!

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early