Monday, March 29, 2010

some clarifications and other stuff

Okay, I messed up last week's blog saying that I am preaching on Good Friday at Mt. Pisgah. Well, it's NOT Mt. PISGAH...It's Mt. Moriah (old high school downtown Bloomington). Again, that's Mt. Moriah 12 noon! I'm preaching on the saying from the cross from John 19 - "woman, behold your son." Come if you get a chance.

Other clarification. I announced yesterday that J.K. Jones is joining our staff on June 1st as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation. I've already had one inquiry as to whether or not he is the guy who will take my place when i leave (I'm serious...can't make this stuff up!). While J.K. will do a good amount of preaching, he is not "the next" guy (unless of course I get taken out by some truck or something - which is totally not planned, but out of my control). I am honored to have him on the team, but we won't be announcing my replacement until around 2025 or so (unless the Mayans are right, then it won't the way, "no" I don't think the Mayan date of 2012 has any significance at all - c'mon people talk about something more important!)

Other stuff: Sunday we open our upper balcony for Easter. The work has been a God thing from the start. You know some Eastview leaders in 1994 had a vision for this facility and by God's grace we get to minister in it. Very humbling stuff.

Had a young man of 8 come up to me yesterday to tell me he wants to be baptized. You'll see that become a reality on Easter if you are here. Tomorrow the motorcycle comes out of the garage..can't wait to ride! Also, I'm back on for the Champaign marathon. After some illness in February I was going to just do the half...but it's full. So, I've been hitting extra miles...should be ready by May 1.

Easter candy: Go for the solid chocolate eggs from Cadbury. The other ones with gooey yolk stuff in the middle is too much for me. My wife favors the marshmallow peeps, but I never had much use for marshmallows that aren't smashed between hershey's bars and graham crackers. Jelly beans..forget about it...waste of mandible exertion.

Man am I all over the board today or what? See you resurrection Sunday

Monday, March 22, 2010

season of preaching

Well, I'm having a blast these days with this whole thing God allows me to do called preaching. First and foremost, I love preaching at Eastview each and every week, the series through Luke is everything I thought it would be and more. I'm just so blessed by the weekly encouragements and feedback I get from the congregation these days. To preach here every Sunday is a dream come true (this is what I dreamed of when other kids were dreaming of being firemen, pro athletes and garbage man [I think it's about riding on the back of a truck]).

I'm also blessed at the places God is allowing me to preach around town. Two weeks ago I was privileged to preach at a men's breakfast at Grace Church over on Hovey. Great food and greater bunch of men who want to live for God. Fun stuff. Then this past Saturday I was invited to the family harvest worship center in Bloomington to preach at a monthly ministry to handicapped people in our community. What a blessing to be surrounded by such sincere and loving people. Finally, I've been asked to come and preach at the Good Friday service at Mt. Pisgah again. If you are off work and want to come and worship and hear the word preached from seven different pastors - you're welcome to come.

Finally, our preaching conference kicks off tonight. We have exceeded the number of people we had last year and the momentum and excitement are growing now hours before our event. I'm blessed to join JK Jones and Mark Scott in sharing the Word. Did you hear that? I get to preach to a group of preachers - from five states and over 35 churches at this point! What a rare privilege and honor. Besides that I get to hear two great sermons and hang out with other preachers. It's a good time of refreshment heading into our Easter Sunday. Awesome.

Monday, March 15, 2010

thumbs down for time change

Here's my list of why I don't like time change (yes I'm complaining, but I'm doing it in a thankful way and I still love Jesus)
1. It ruins the saying, "there are only 24 hours in a day". C'mon 24 hours seems rushed most days - I can not deal with 23!
2. More light in the evening doesn't help in the spring anyway when it's raining all the time.
3. People skip church because the "forget" to set their clocks forward.
4. Staring at the ceiling at midnight because your body thinks it's 11:00 is really boring.
5. God made seasons with different lengths of days for a reason...just leave the daylight thing to the guy who invented daylight.
O.K. enough of that...

Sermon nirvana for me is to be working on three or four sermons simulatneously. Last week I had a sermon for a men's breakfast (for grace church here in town - great time with some great guys) spinning on one plate. While I was studying for Sunday's sermon and putting some final thoughts into my sermon for the upcoming preaching conference we host here at the church (for the second year in a row). If you could see three or four bibles spread every where with commentaries and my lap top on my lap (where else would it be) and a white board with stuff scribbled all over it, and two or three legal pads going in all directions with different Scriptures. It is so fun, I can't tell you...It is amazing that one sermon ever gets written in these kind of sermon sessions, but they actually do and the preacher is inspired! Love it!

Well, I suppose you have filled out your bracket by now...mine's sitting on the desk - Mark Warren (our executive pastor) coordinates the yearly staff picks. Winner gets lunch bought by the loser (really there are no losers on our staff, but you know what I'm talking about). Truth is, I'm not really that stoked because my hoosiers are so far from the tournament it's ridiculous. But I'll get around to it soon. I will tell you this...this may be the year a 16 seed beats a 1. I may have to go for it! Maybe syracuse goes down. We'll see.

Funny how people get excited about this isn't it. The funny thing is that we'll talk about this for three or four days and by mother's day, most of us won't even know who won! Oh well, that's how we humans go. I would write more, but I lost an hour over the weekend...back to work!

Monday, March 8, 2010

it was so nice...

...outside on Friday in Indianapolis (over there to get a way with Sara) that I spent a couple of hours sitting outside on the monument circle soaking up the sun (and all the people). I think I got a little sunburn!

...on Saturday that I finally took the outdoors Christmas lights down at my house. We were within a couple of months of just leaving them up for this upcoming Christmas.

...on Saturday that i got the motorcycle out of the garage and took sara for a ride. Nice to take a ride (a little chilly) around Lake Bloomington and see how the seasons are getting ready to change. see so many respond to the invitation Sunday in second hour. To see so many tears of repentance and desire to pour everything out like the woman who poured out her perfume on Jesus' feet. see 1400 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in our building over the weekend growing in their faith as we hosted "super start" by CIY. Very cool to feel the energy (and smell it). see a bunch of kids parents dedicate to raise them in the word and the church. This continues to be a real joy to me to perform this child dedication four times a year. make Matt laugh in first hour at my silly "aqua velva" joke. I sincerely caught him off guard and he was laughing (which makes me laugh too). I'm glad we have a church that is a genuinely fun place to be.

...see matt and nancy (workers in north africa) yesterday in our services. Good to catch up with them. see that we are putting carpeting down in the balcony expansion project (four weeks from completion and it's really taking shape). receive a $20,000 check from a group of good Christian brothers in town ("with no strings attached and to be used for hte ministry of Eastview as the leaders see fit") get to another Monday prayer time with the staff and experience my co-workers pouring out their hearts to God on their knees. This continues to be one of my favorite times of the week. run on the canal in Indy on Saturday capped by a quad grande americano at Starbucks.

Monday, March 1, 2010

preaching and technology

One of the things we talked about at the recent sr. pastor's round table I attended was the use of technology during the preaching event on a given Sunday morning.

The first technology to hit the preaching profession was the P.A. system (microphones and speakers)...believe it or not that's a relatively new (in 2,000 year history of preaching) technology. I'm sure my voice would be shot if I had no microphone every week. It gets tired at the end of the second service now!

Of course, nearly all preachers use such technology as IMAG (image magnification - screens with my big face on it:-) to allow people to see facial expressions, etc... This technology can be helpful to make a big auditorium smaller and closer. In other words, someone in the balcony can connect like someone in the front row (it amazes me how some people in the second and third row look beyond me to look at me on the screen!). All in all, I think this enhances the preaching that I do. Some have taken this further and show a video or live feed of the sermon to another location. Or post the sermon to be seen on-line (like we do).

Some other technologies are making their move. Some congregations have people tweeting and texting questions during the sermon so that the pastor can respond in the middle of it all. Some set up computer areas for dialogue between pastor and congregants during the sermon. Several already use their phones/hand held device as their Bible - so someone may actually have their phone out and be following along.

Where do I land on all of this? Well, I'm sort of an old school guy. I like this event each week called preaching. I like the fact that there are very few places where people go and listen to someone speak for half an hour (or more:-) and that the church is one of them. I'm not a fan of sattelite because I think there is value of actually having the preacher in the room. (Just like a person you know on facebook from China is not the same as going to starbucks with a good friend in person - there is more to the relationship between pastor and congregation when the pastor is actually in the room where you are hearing the sermon). I also wonder how much listening to the word of God is missed when people are "chat" or "tweeting" or checking e-mails while their phones are out. You know, there is a time where we should stop tweeting and know that I am God.

So for now, I prefer the preaching to be a live, personal event where you can actually go hug the pastor (or talk to him anyway) when the whole thing's over. Again, technology is not a bad thing, there are many things we already use to enhance the message, but there is a point where "the medium becomes the message" and then of course, the eternal message of salvation is lost.