Category Archives: Personal

Ten Jobs I Don’t Want

I’ve learned the hard way that God has a sense of humor that I don’t always find funny. It seems that when I say I will never do something or go someplace God winks and smiles as he leads me to do that thing or go to that place. (I’m not joking about this!). So, it’s with fear, trembling, and holy reverence that I write this post. I got the idea from Tony Morgan, one of my favorite bloggers.

Until recently, Tony was on staff at NewSpring Church. Currently he is unemployed. On April 21 he announced that he and Perry Noble (NewSpring’s Sr. Pastor) decided their philosophies of ministry didn’t match so they were parting company. The cool thing is that they did this on friendly terms. Tony will continue attending NewSpring until he finds his next adventure.

Now that he’s unemployed Tony is thinking about what jobs he might want to take (or not take). The other day he posted a list of the ten jobs he wouldn’t ever do. That got me to thinking about the ten jobs I would never do. So, for what it’s worth, here’s the list I came up with (no particular order):

  1. Proctologist (Tony listed this one too)
  2. Youth Pastor
  3. Worship Pastor (I’d love to do this, but my singing is so bad I’d be fired before the opening song is over)
  4. Skid-O-Can Vacuum Truck Driver
  5. Bouncer at a bar
  6. Nanny
  7. Shamwow Spokesperson
  8. Barber
  9. Hallmark Salesperson
  10. Driver’s Ed Instructor

Narrowing the Search, Part 3

As we continue to zero in on a church to call home it’s time for us to move beyond first impressions.

[Warning: Soapbox Ahead]

Music preferences, building styles, and preaching outlines are only a small part of what matters. How ironic, though, that those things are what often split a church. The sign at a local church reads, “We’re not fighting each other”. While I’m glad they aren’t fighting each other I can’t help but wonder why they thought that was the most important message they could communicate.  Have churches gotten such bad reputations that we need to advertise we aren’t fighting?

How sad.

So, what am I looking for in a church that moves beyond first impressions?

First, I’m looking for a church. . . . Kinda obvious, I know. . . But I’m looking for a church in the New Testament sense.

I know that seems fundamental. After all, isn’t that what I’ve been blathering about for the past couple of months?. . . Looking for a church?

Well, it depends on what you mean by “church”.

We use the word “church” so easily. It fits our vocabulary nicely. “Did you enjoy church today?” Isn’t that a nice church building?” “What kind of church do you attend?” But the New Testament rarely uses the word “church” in such a way. It has taken a word that was common and made it extraordinary.

The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery has this to say about the word “church”:

The Bible provides a rich kaleidoscope of imagery about the church composed of around one hundred metaphors and statements. The thread on which all other jewels are hung is the idea of the church as an ekklēsia (“assembly,” “gathering”). This word, taken from common usage where it applied to the “calling out” of citizens for a civic meeting or of soldiers for battle, is used extensively throughout the Old and New Testaments to refer to the people of God (e.g., Deut 4:10; 9:10; 31:30; Mt 16:18; 18:17; Acts 5:11; Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 1:22; 3:10; Heb 12:23).

The word that first century Christians adapted was originally used to talk about any gathering of people. It was a common word. It didn’t have any spiritual connotations.

I’m afraid when we talk of church what we really are talking about is a group of fellow citizens gathering for a meeting. It could be ANY meeting for ANY purpose. We could gather for a meal. We could gather for philately reasons. We could gather to be entertained. We could gather for group therapy.

It seems to me (in my very judgmental–but mostly accurate opinion) that MOST churches are little more than gatherings of people who simply like being together. We enjoy the same kind of music. We have similar political views. We want someone to entertain our teenagers. We may even have a somewhat Christian worldview. But really the main reason we get together is little more than to be together.

We get upset if someone sings a song we don’t know or like. We complain if the preacher calls for too big of sacrifice from us. We don’t like someone else sitting in our seat or parking in our spot. We don’t want too many new people around because it will change things. And we certainly don’t want people around who haven’t learned the same morals we profess; after all, they may be a bad influence on our kids.

The New Testament came to use the word church in a much deeper, more significant way. Yes, it still used the word at times to talk of a gathering of people. But the heart of what the New Testament meant by church is probably far different than what most churches look like today.

I’ll have more to say about that in my next post. But suffice it to say for now, most of the places I see today that call themselves churches, really aren’t.

And those are NOT the kind of places I’m looking for in a church home.

Glen Kelly’s Long Lost Identical Twin

This morning I meet Glen Kelly’s long lost identical twin. Actually, Glen doesn’t have a long lost identical twin, but if he did, this guy would be it. (My apologies to those who don’t know Glen. You’re missing out on something great).

The guy walked into Keva with a huge grin, long hair, and a friendly greeting for me and the customers. (I know Glen cut his hair, but he needs to grow it back-IMHO). Judging from his clothes he is a painter by trade; but judging from the encounter he is an encourager by spiritual gift.

In the short time he was in the store not only did he make me feel like Keva Juice was the coolest place he had ever been in, but that our smoothies are the best tasting things in the world, and that the  recession is just God’s way of  preparing us for a new blessing. While he wasn’t some sort of Jesus-freak (in the worst kind of way), it was easy to tell that he was a Jesus-freak (in the best kind of way). God’s love just oozed from this guy.

We shook hands before he left but I suspect had he thought it wouldn’t totally freak me out he would have jumped behind the counter and hugged me.

Lord, help me be that kind of encouragement to others.

Best Compliment Ever

Not long ago someone sent me an email that I have re-read countless times. It blesses me again and again. It is from a self-proclaimed Christian  turned atheist turned Christian again. In this email he blesses me with one of the best compliments I’ve ever received when he said, “I believe you are one hell of a preacher and a great person overall.”

That’s not something a (former) preacher hears every Sunday as he’s shaking hands by the door on the way out of the church!

Preparing to Win

As I “prepare” myself for a new career I’ve come to really appreciate this quote:

Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.
Bobby Knight

Swing Your Life For God

My 8 year old daughter and one of her friends wrote their first song. I’m not exactly sure what it means and the theology may be a bit shaky, but I think her heart was in the right place.

We can swing around a pole.

We can swing in the air.

But there’s one kind of swinging we can’t do. But there’s one kind of swinging we can’t.

The swing is swinging your life for God. There’s only one person that can do that and that person is you. Ya, that person is you!

Random People Thoughts

People are funny (myself included). Here are a few of the people I encountered during the last two weeks.

The other day I overheard four janitors talking about the space-time continuum. Apparently, they had first-hand information about secret government test programs where scientist were on the verge of breaking the light-speed barrier. They reasoned that once this is accomplished it will be a simple matter to traverse the stars. Of course, according to these janitorial experts, people will need to get used to having their bodies disfigured during such journeys (an obvious side effect of travel at such speeds). They shouldn’t worry, however, because once travelers return to regular space-time their bodies will return to normal. Unfortunately, as proved by the theory of relativity, travelers will experience time differently than non-travelers. This will cause emotional struggles as the world they return to will undoubtedly be different than the one they left.

I didn’t know they taught such things in janitor school. Go figure. 🙂

I met a man in passing today who must be very sad. As he walked by me we made eye contact. To be polite I asked, “How are you doing?” His reply has stuck with me all day: “Oh… I suppose things could be worse, but I’m not sure how.”

I wish I could sit down and talk with him about what makes him so sad.

Today, I was gossiped about by someone I respect. Yesterday, I gossiped about someone who respects me.

Someone saw me reading, “The Shack”. They asked about the book. I told them about what I had read so far. . . a guy’s daughter gets kidnapped and murdered, he lives with the pain for years before getting an invitation in the mail from God to meet him at the shack where his daughter was killed. Once there, he meets God. . . who happens to remind me of Aunt Jemima.

From the look on her face, I gathered the woman was sorry she asked about the book.

My father-in-law, my daughter, and I went to a museum. My father-in-law spent part of the tour correcting our tour-guide.

Poor tour-guide.