Saturday, February 24, 2007

I am a dope!!!

I wanted to update a site I run for youth ministry, .  It is an alternative to myspace, and a fun community for the youth I minister to.  Well, I wanted to update it, but instead, I crashed it.

I am going to go cook something and drown my sorrows in porkfat...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Florida Thoughts Part 2

Living Missionally

 Florida Thought Part 2

 My pastor, Mike Osminski, also spoke at the Master Builders conference a few weeks ago in Florida.  Pastor Oz, as we call him is a man on a mission.  He reminds me of Dan Akroyd in “The Blues Brothers”.  No, he doesn’t look like him, it is just that he imparts a sense of “we’re on a mission from God” when you are with him.

 Anyhow, Pastor Oz spoke about being a missional church.  He talked about the American dream and how it conflicts with the Gospel message.  He outlined church history, showing how in every major church movement and growth spurt, there was oppression, and in every death of a nation, there was a political church.  (This is a very quick summary of the history of the church.) 

 He also spoke of the origins of our country.  How people came here for a number of reasons, one of which was religion and a missional mindset.  This missional mindset is what I would like to focus on.  At this point, I will be writing most of my own thoughts in listening to this word.  Again, many of these thoughts I have had for quite some time.

 Somewhere along the history of our country the American church stopped having a missional identity.  Through time, and significant points in history the church took on a more political end.  I am not going to debate whether or not this was necessary in light of the situations that it happened in, but I am going to focus more on the outcome today. 

 Today we have a church that is involved in so many political areas.  I will say that I am not in disagreement with many of the church’s issues.  I do agree with a lot of the things the church has stood against.  There needs to be a voice for the unborn, and a stand against the rampant immorality in media.  In saying that, however, I wonder if we have gone about things wrong.  I wonder if the cause for these things has overpowered the message of the Great Commission.

 Pastor Oz took this track as he spoke.

Mat 6:19  Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.

Mat 6:20  But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Mat 6:21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Mat 6:22  The light of the body is the eye. Therefore if your eye is sound, your whole body shall be full of light.

Mat 6:23  But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Mat 6:24  No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. “


This is where we have been as a church nation.  We have been serving two masters.  We have been a church, but more importantly, it seems, we have been a political entity.  We need to look a little further in this passage to understand the previous portion in full light.

Mat 6:31  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed?

Mat 6:32  For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.

Mat 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. “


We need to adopt the view of the Kingdom FIRST.  We do not need to put our needs first, we do not need to put our rights first.  We need to put the kingdom first.  Notice Jesus has everything else put in His control when we do this. 


I think about two big names in the church.  Fred Phelps, and Mother Teresa.  Yes, these are two polar opposites, but I don’t want to pick on any of our more normal heroes.  Fred Phelps is known for his stand against homosexuality.  I could have used others, who have a similar view of political freedom through religious interpretation, but as I said before, I don’t want to pick on anyone.


(AGAIN NOTE: I am not saying that the church should not be involved with political issues.  There is a place for that.  What I am saying is that the church can’t serve both the kingdom and the religious right.)


What about Mother Teresa?  What was so different about her?  Well, every time I think of her, this thought pops into my head.  I once saw some TV show where they followed her.  At one point she was very open to have them come and see the sick and the lost and the brokenhearted.  I think, from the way I saw it, that she was getting a little frustrated that the people filming her didn’t understand the vision.  At one point she turned to the camera and asked the man interviewing her, “Do you want to see Jesus?”  The man obviously said yes, thinking she was going to show him something spectacular.  She walked the man around for a while, then knelt down on the ground to a very ill leper.  This person was very torn up by the disease.  She kissed him on the forehead and told the camera, “this is Jesus.” 


Here is where I get choked up and challenged every time I think about that.  How often we stand up for things, or against things when there is a lost, dying world out there waiting to hear of the love of Jesus.  Jesus did do several seemingly political things, I won’t deny that.  But what did Jesus really do?  He lived a missional life.  He went to all the despised people.  The sick, the poor, the hated, and went on a mission to reach them with His love.  Here is the missional impulse as the Gospel puts it:


Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Or in other words, “here is the purpose of eternal life that they may know you, God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent out on a mission". 


Our entire lives revolve around the mission of God.  We need to bend our minds around this.  Jesus repeatedly gives us His vision, but this one stands out in light of my previous thought about Mother Teresa:

Mat 25:31  But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His glory.

Mat 25:32  And all nations shall be gathered before Him. And He shall separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats.

Mat 25:33  And indeed He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats off the left.

Mat 25:34  Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Mat 25:35  For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in;

Mat 25:36  I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.

Mat 25:37  Then the righteous shall answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? Or thirsty, and gave You drink?

Mat 25:38  When did we see You a stranger, and took You in? Or naked, and clothed You?

Mat 25:39  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You?

Mat 25:40  And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me.

Mat 25:41  Then He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

Mat 25:42  For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink;

Mat 25:43  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.

Mat 25:44  Then they will also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?

Mat 25:45  Then He shall answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

Mat 25:46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.



Monday, February 12, 2007

He's Thirteen and He is a Son to be Proud of!

He is very smart.

He is very handsome.

He is capable of doing whatever he sets his mind and will to do.

He is learning to grow into an awesome man of God.

He is now 13.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, my son, Nathan.

My Son

Of Elephants and Eggs

The local Kroger had prime rib on sale so I bought a 7 pounder for the family.  This was our second celebration of my oldest son's 13th birthday.  Well, we got home after the boys basketball games and I got it ready to throw on the grill.  A couple hours later and we had yet another great meal.  We then settled down to watch Superman Returns as a family. 

We went to bed pretty late.  It was around midnight when my wife and I finally settled down.  I closed my eyes and fell into a wonderful sleep. All I remember was this:

I was walking around in what appeared to be Russia.  I was searching for ideas of my latest food creation (somehow I was wearing a chef hat and apparently had a tv show).  I walked up to a bay door of an old abandoned factory building.  There was a regular door next to it, so I walked through it.  There in the bay stood two very large gray elephants.  They were standing on a wet floor eating straw.  Not expecting an answer, I said, "what are you two doing here?"
In broken english, the elephant replied, "we are waiting for you."

"What for?"

"We want teach you a recipe."


"Yes, recipe.  Sit down please."

From there these two giant elephants began telling me of their exotic cooking ideas and how they felt I was the chosen one to bring this recipe into the world.  They talked all about one of my favorite foods (that I know I shouldn't eat too much of), eggs.  They then began to prepare for me what they called an "egg loaf toast". 

"What you do, is take loaf of bread.  You know good bread recipe.  Use trunk to poke two holes in dough. (I don't have a trunk, but I didn't want to get into that with them.  I would make do later.)  Shoot egg yokes into holes, then bake..."

"When you pull out of oven, yokes will be nice and firm and you can serve bread like toast, or do what we do and make french toast."

The larger elephant finished making french toast and was just about to hand me a plate and I woke up.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The No Walled Church

Florida Thoughts Part 1

The No Walled Church

 I spent the latter part of last week in Florida.  We were right near the tornado area.  As a matter of fact we were less than ½ mile from it.  I remember hearing the sound of the wind, but not knowing what it was at the time.

 Well, I was there for a Master Builders church leadership conference.  For those who would like to know more about Master Builders, it is an apostolic ministry that provides support to the local church.  The Master Builders website can be found here.

 I love to go to things like this and see the diversity and still the unity of the body of Christ at work.  Watching worship leaders from at least 8 different states come together to worship is awesome.  Listening to the teaching of apostolic leaders from other networks and hearing the heart that beats so similar to ours is unreal.  Sitting down and talking with other Pastors, Youth Pastors, and church leaders is inspiring.  All of these things show me that we are all on the same team.

 This brings me to the focus of what was shared at the conference this year.  In a nutshell, we as a body of Christ send too much time focusing on becoming the church community and not the community church.  These are my own words and I have had this feeling for quite some time, and they were echoed many times at the conference.  Neil Silverberg, the leader of Master Builders spoke about the future of the ministry and the future of the church.  In his message he outlined where churches fail.  They fail when it comes to Matthew 28:18-20:

Mat 28:18
  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19  Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20
  teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.

 Too often the church is focusing on getting people into the church.  “There is a safe community inside here, come on in and sit down” seems to be the mentality.  Many times I see people leaving churches and going to bigger churches because the programs are better.  Many times people focus on the Superbowl party for the church, instead of the Superbowl party for their lost friends.  Many times we see Christians who know very few unsaved people.  I could go on but I think you understand my meaning.  From here, Neil spoke about the fact that we need to change our culture. 

 As I listened and later reflected on this, my mind went to a mission trip to Honduras.  In Honduras, I noticed something.  The church buildings we saw had virtually no walls.  My mind began to reflect on the “no walled church” in light of the Gospel.  Jesus calls us to go out and reach the lost.  He calls us to do this in three ways according to Acts 1:8:

Act 1:8
  But you will have power, when the Holy Spirit has come on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

  1. Jerusalem and Judea-This means to minister to those closest to you.  It can be your house, your family and closest friends, and people you see on a daily basis.

  2. Samaria-I read this as “some area”, meaning areas not far from your home where you can see the lost and broken hearted.  It is obvious who Jesus was referring to when you look at His life.  He was reaching out to those counter-culture to Him.

  3. The ends of the earth-I think this one is pretty self explanatory.

 What if we adopted the concept of a no walled church?  What a difference there would be in the kingdom if we would get a hold of this vision and make it our lifestyle.  This focus, instead of worrying about our political rights and comfort zones being violated could, and I believe would change the world.  If we taught our children to live in a mindset of the kingdom first, by the time they became leaders, they would see the value of the body of Christ networking and working together to reach the lost.  If I remember correctly, Jesus didn’t come for the well and the prosperous; He came for the lost and the poor in spirit.  He didn’t seem to be too interested in the current status of the big churches of the day; instead He put His focus on those that the church overlooked.  He wasn’t worried about getting people coming to His church because it had great programs or a great community; He was interested in being in the community and ministering on the streets.

 These are some of the thoughts from my trip to Florida.  I will be sharing more as time allows.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Grill Therapy

 For Christmas I got a new grill.  Some might say, “okaaayy, nothing too exciting about that”, but it really is exciting. 

 First, let me tell you about the grill.  It is a Primo Kamado grill.  It is basically a big ceramic egg shaped grill.  This grill uses two vents and maintains temperature very well.  It can also be used as a smoker.  For more information about the grill go here.  If you want one, please order from my dad as he is a Primo Grill dealer.

 Let’s get into why this grill is therapy.  Well, for starters, I have talked more with my dad in the last month or so than I can ever remember.  This has been very good for me.  Yes, our topics basically include meat temperature, cooking technique, recipes, butchers and cuts of meat, but we seem to talk a lot about everything.  This has really created an open door for me to communicate with my dad.

 Another area it has become therapy for me has been that we, as a family, have slowed down together.  The kids get excited if I come home with a white wrapped package and get into helping get the meat or chicken ready.  Usually it takes about three hours to cook something well.  Then it takes an hour to eat, and another ½ hour to clean up.  From there we can sit down as a family in the family room, relax and listen to our latest audio book.

 The boys help with the rubs and putting tasty creations together, and assist me in grill prep.  Notice I said the boys.  This is really a good thing for the family that it is the boys doing this.  Andrea is a very good cook in her own right, but the boys usually resist home cooking.  They have, unfortunately, tasted too early the sinful delights of fast food, and for the past eight years are convinced that a family must not eat at home.  Ahh, but with the grill they get to enjoy some wonderful creations like apple cider beer can chicken (beer can is the method, it is not made with beer nor a beer can.  I actually have a Primo Chicken Sitter), smoked pork loin, armadillo eggs, sirloin tip roast, and our favorite, prime rib.  What is better is that they are learning and working without even a thought or complaint about it.

 Andrea and the girls have a little less to do.  Since I have cooked nearly every other day since January 2, the girls and the wife aren’t as stressed about “what are we going to eat?”  This is nice.  Another thing that helps reduce my wife’s stress level is that there is less mutiny from all four kids.  Finally, as I get more organized with each cook, she has less clean up to worry about. 

My therapy is the cooking itself.  All of the things above have been good therapy for me, but, I have wanted to really be a grill aficionado for quite some time.  I am no longer afraid to buy a choice cut of meat to cook.  I know how this grill works and am very confident that it is the best design for a grill.  I know I won’t get things like hot spots and burn one spot, or several hamburgers because this grill doesn’t do that.  I get to do something I love to do and the whole family can enjoy with me.  I also love the outcome.  I like the thrill of seeing everyone’s faces light up at the first bite of a perfectly cooked chicken.  I like the time at the table.  I can’t describe everything about why it is therapeutic just for me, but I think you get the idea.



Thursday, February 1, 2007

I'm in Florida

I just waned to say I'm in Florida!!! 

I am at a Pastors conference.  Things are going well.  I have very limited access to the web, so I will say what I wanted to say.

I love you Andrea

I love you Nathan

I love you Jordan

I love you Allyson

I love you Kathryn

I will see you in a couple of days.