Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Ten Network

We currently are subscribers to Dish Network. Dish Network does not have an agreement to carry the Big Ten Network. The local cable company does not carry the network. All Big Ten games that are not on ESPN or one of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, etc.) will be on the Big Ten Network. This is only football season but if I want to see any Illinois football games, and I actually do, then I will have to consider making a change. Direct TV is carrying the Big Ten although it does cost more we are considering switching because I may be able to miss a few football games but come hoops season I will not be a happy person to merely listen to said games on the radio.

The deal I am looking at will cost $15-20 more a month. But if I can come with it I will switch because for that price I will get NFL Season ticket and that would mean I could watch all the Vikings games. I want to see the Juice and the athletes Ron Zook has recruited win some games this year. I am not please with the Big Ten and its greed. But I apparently will follow along like a sheep and pad the pockets of these institutions of higher learning because I am a fanatic about Illinois football and basketball.

As I am looking into this I am also asking myself questions about how much I would be willing to invest in the kingdom of God. Would I go to great lengths to find another $20 a month to give to missions or outreach?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vick and RR Tracks

There is not a lot going on around here beside the fact that it is going to be almost 100 degrees today. That is way too hot for me to do much outside work. I need to get to some brake work for my dad and some painting and cleaning out the garage etc. But it can wait a few days until it cools. I am hoping tomorrow will be the last 90 degree day of this year.

I was trying to find highlights of the Braves win over the Marlins last night but every time I turned on ESPN there was a clip of Michael Vick or someone talking about him. I couldn't sleep again so I was up until at least 2:00. I tried turning the channel every fifteen minutes or so. I am not exaggerating that every single time I turned on Sports Center, NFL Live or what I thought would be Baseball Tonight they were talking about Michael Vick. Enough already!!!!

We live across the street from the Railroad crossing. Today they tore up a fifty foot section of track in order to replace it. Seth has spent the morning watching the guys working. Very exciting stuff for a two year old.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Yesterday I turned 32.

These are books I am currently reading or they are in the stack waiting to be read:
No Perfect People Allowed
Comeback Churches
Buying Property with out cash or credit
Flipping Properties

I know it's an odd list but that's what I am reading.

We went and saw Bourne Ultimatum again last night. I really like those movies. Some of the camera work is disconcerting but still an entertaining movie. We also tried to get more information before signing a new contract for cell service. But everywhere we went they were busy and I didn't want to wait more than ten minutes. It was ridiculous.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Breakout Church

Tomorrow night we will begin a discussion centered around the principles found in Breakout Churches which is based on Good to Great by Jim Collins. The question we are wrestling with is whether a church in a village of 1300 in a county of about 14, 000 break through the barrier we keep hitting of 50 people. We have come close a few times and then flattened out attendance wise. A good number of people either don't think it can happen or don't want it to happen judging by the events of the last eighteen months.

By it I mean becoming the church God wants Abundant Life to become. A church that is (re)connecting people to God. Our mission field are those who don't feel welcome in church, those who have been wounded by church folks and those who have made life altering mistakes that they feel like nobody can forgive them for. But God loves these people. While it will challenge many of us in our church who have been in a church all of our lives to understand those folks who currently would never think of attending a church let alone becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, nothing is impossible with God.

We could be discouraged but I choose instead to take courage and rely upon the Holy Spirit believing that God wants to do something great and we are about to experience a sovereign move of His Spirit.

Mainly we are trying to train leaders on our Sunday night discussion but we also want to challenge people's perception of what is possible and how it could be done. It should be fun and a stretching time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

How Far

It came home to me again today that there are people that other Christians don't want to reach. Those Christians will literally say to them, "You can go to hell." Sure they may not use those words but in avoiding them they might as well say it. Their attitude show that either they believe some people are beyond the grace of God or that certain people are worth getting your hands dirty for. This shouldn't surprise me because there were plenty of Pharisees in Jesus day who felt the same way.

Growing up in pastors home I experienced this many times. At one point our church was reaching a growing number of minorities. One precious older saint made it very clear that they weren't welcome in her church. And that's just one example. But if Abundant Life is to be the church that God wants it to be we have to reach the people no one else wants to reach. It is hard at sometimes and inconvenient. There will be slings and arrows and disappointments but in the end we hope to hear well done from one Master. If He approves it will be worth it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Illinois Budget

It looks like after a record special session more than sixty days after the budget should have been passed a budget might be in place. The problem was that the democrat governor and the democrat legislature couldn't agree on a budget. The governor insists that health care for all uninsured people must be included as well as more money for schools, etc. Which of course means that there will not be enough money to go around. It has taken this long to put a deal in place because of the impasse. Now that the deal has passed without the money for health care the governor is going to move the money around to fund his programs anyway even though it appears they aren't in the budget. Will the senate do anything to stop him? Apparently not. So why did it take this long to get here? Why didn't the senate and house just acquiesce to Blago's demands in the first place?

It would be nice if the Illinois republican party could make hay over this fiasco and provide a real alternative to voters. But given the ineptitude of the last several years beginning with Gov. Ryan's corruption I won't hold my breath. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Resolution 4

I have read on a number of blogs the disappointment that resolution 4 didn't pass at General Council last week. This resolution would have added additional General Presbyters. They would have to be women or under 40. In some ways this would be a good thing. But I really felt that an advisory board may be a better idea. We have recently approved this change in Illinois to help the executives keep in touch with what is going on in the churches.

My biggest problem with the debate was the attitude that came across from some people who supported resolution 4. The implication that if young pastors don't get a voice and don't get it now doesn't not seem to me to be in keeping with Scripture. I heard young pastors and older ones stand up and say that if this doesn't pass many young pastors will leave the fellowship. I don't know about you but I don't like to be threatened. These kind of threats seem childish. In some ways it seems like one my kids stomping there feet and demanding they get what they want.

As a young pastor I want to be a part of the solution. I want to work to bring growth to the Fellowship. But I have the attitude that even if my ideas aren't implemented or if I feel I haven't been heard I am not going anywhere. If my attitude was if things go well I will stay if they don't I will leave, then when things didn't go as I wanted them to I could say I told you so and leave. This seems to be a part of the spirit of the age.

1 Timothy 5:1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,

I urge us to take this approach to the conversation that needs to happen in the Assemblies of God. Even if the older pastors fail to treat us as younger pastors with respect it does not eliminate the burden on us to speak with gentleness and love.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sour Grapes

I have heard of some rumblings about the election of George O. Wood as General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God. Some people are upset that a younger person was not elected. I admit that I had another candidate in mind that I would have liked to see elected. However I prayed for a month before the council for God's will to be done. I am sure that not everyone prayed the same thing. However I believe that the vast majority of the delegates are Godly people who want to see the will of God accomplished in our fellowship. So to complain afterward that your guy didn't get elected is just sour grapes. If we believe in the sovereignty of God then we trust that God has placed this man into this office.

For the record I believe that he will do a good job. He is a brilliant man who loves God and this fellowship. That is very important. God can speak through anyone and I feel that this brother can certainly lead the fellowship for the next few years.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

General Council reflections part 1

One thing that you will notice is that from a distance it is hard to tell a lot of AG pastors apart. Between the hair cuts and the style of dress from 50 feet away in a crowd it is easy to mis identify someone. There a lot of bald pastors who have shaved their heads. There are a lot of balding pastors with gery or silver hair. There are a few other hair styles as well so that I though I saw several people who upon closer inspectoin were not who I thought they were.

The most moving moment I think came late on Friday toward the end of the business sessions. Zollie Smith was elected as director of US Missions. When the results were announced there was the first of many sustained standing ovations. This is an important moment for a fellowship that refused to follow black leadership at its inception. I pray that it will pave the way for even more diversity in the Assemblies of God. We desperately need this if we are to reach our cities!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Conflict and Fear

2 Corinthians 7:5 "this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. "

Sometimes I don't know which is worse the conflicts or the inward fears. But we know that in this struggle we are not struggling against flesh and blood but against a very real enemy who doesn't fight fair. In spite of all this we continue to go forward (Re)connecting people to God.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Baptism and Dedication

We celebrated a baby dedication and baptism today. God is doing wonderful things in that family! Looking forward to hopefully having another baptism service in a couple of weeks.