Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Leadership Article

I read this article on Monday Morning Insight and then emailed to everyone at work...

Old Farmer's Advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered... not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tag Up

"You guys are a bunch of hopeless geeks."

That's what the beautiful and charming Susan said when I discovered that I got tagged by Bob Franquiz.

So I have to tell you about:

Four jobs I've had
US Marine
Timber faller
Truck Driver

Four movies I can watch over and over
Blackhawk Down
We Were Soldiers
Enemy at the Gate

Four places I have lived

Four shows I like to watch
Saturday Night Live reruns
Whose Line is it Anyway?

Four foods I like
Baby back ribs

Four websites I visit daily
Drudge Report

Four things I want to do before I die
Write a book
Ride a motorcycle across country with my wife
Run in the Marine Corps marathon
Hike the Appalacian Trail

Four people I'm tagging
Billy Almaguer
Chris Goeppner
Jeff Thompson
Mike West

Calvary Chapel SE Pastors' Conference - Day Three: Pastor Bob Coy

Day Three – Pastor Bob Coy

Pastor Bob Coy always blows my mind. I’ve grown in my Christian life more under Pastor Bob’s ministry than anywhere ever. Most of the times, I close my notebook and just take in when he teaches.

Here are the points Bob made in his message:

Everyone has a chance to have their heart changed by God

Some things we do in ministry don’t need to be changed; some things transcend from generation to generation.

When it comes to the Word of God, don’t mess with the product.

Don’t be a shepherd for what you can get (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Isaiah 40:11
He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

Gather (Matthew 23:37)
Carry (Galatians 6:2)
Tend (Revelation 7:17)

Calvary Chapel SE Pastors' Conference - Day Three: Pastor Bob Franquiz

Day Three – Bob Franquiz: The Emerging Church

Bob walked into the pulpit and laid some brutal honesty on us: he admitted that he was so nervous he had to pee. But now he’s onstage and it’s too late to do anything about it.

Bob gave a talk on the Emerging Church. Bob said that the Emerging Church Movement was a response to a crisis in identity that the church has been going through for about seventy years. Young people are just not sure that they want to be a part of our identity crisis.

Bob, pastor of Calvary Fellowship in Miami Lakes, used Acts 17:22-31 as his text for the message. Paul was a bridge builder. He found something in another group’s culture to use to get a running start into a gospel presentation.

The term “Emergent Church” is about four years old. It moved into main stream church terminology after Dan Kimball’s book The Emerging Church hit the shelves at Christian books stores and at Youth Conferences.

It’s a very diverse and very conservative group that defines itself mostly by what it is not instead of what it is. (This link is a good resource)

These young followers of Christ care about the environment, the poor, Africa, AIDS, and social issues. They don’t want to go to churches that are cash cows for the Republican Party (who can blame them?). They believe it is necessary to show the love of Jesus to build a bridge to share the gospel.

Bob urged us to apply 1 Chronicles 12:32 and understand the times.

We need to understand the language the emerging culture is speaking so that we can lovingly and accurately deliver the gospel of Jesus to this and the next generation.

Great job, Bob. It’s gotta be tough to be sandwiched between two heavy hitters like Ken Graves and Bob Coy. See you when you’re on at Catalyst.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Calvary Chapel SE Pastors' Conference - Day Three: Ken Graves

Day Three – Ken Graves

Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel Bangor walked up on stage wielding a massive two-handed sword. This weapon was a replica of the blade Scottish folk hero William Wallace (of Braveheart fame) carried into battle as he wreaked havoc against English tyranny until his enemies captured and executed him in 1305.

Ken speaks and his baritone voice rattles loose fillings throughout the sanctuary at the Calvary Chapel SE Pastors’ Conference at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.

Ken is a “man’s man”. Every time I hear him speak, he challenges me. Not necessarily in a good way, though. I mean, he’s a man of God and all, but does he really have to be that macho? Something in my old nature comes out when I watch him swagger on stage swinging the sword of some barbarian hero. I think to myself, you’re probably not so tough. So what if you were a lumberjack. Where? In Maine? You call those trees? Buddy, I fell timber. Yeah. That’s right, but in Northern California. You know – Redwoods. How ‘bout that. And I was in the Marines! I’m trained in the use of deadly force…

Wow! I didn’t know that was going to be such a rant. See what I mean? I just want to one up the guy. Is my own manhood so at stake that I have to over-compensate so desperately? I mean, it’s not what I want. I’m not the one twirling a sword. And if I was, it wouldn’t be the sword of some brute barbarian. I would swing the silent steel of the samurai. Now there’s a warrior for you.

Samurai believe moral relations between master and servant, father and son, husband and wife, older and younger brother, and friend and friend. Not only that, they hold in high regard justice, benevolence, love, sincerity, honesty, self-control… Ah. Self-control. What was it I was trying to say?

Ken gave a great talk about God’s word and its double-edged nature. For every biblical truth taught, there’s another side to it: the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22); the two advents of Christ; first lowly on the foal of a donkey; second as the conqueror on a white horse.

“Hide or seek,” Graves said. “Seek His face or hide from it.”

Ken quoted James Stewart: Jesus is a coalescence of contrarieties.

“So how do we have balance?” Ken asked.

Balance is not hanging out in the middle.

Balance is spending time at both ends; both poles. He said the Lord was bi-polar.

He illustrated His point by describing the cleansing of the temple. Jesus turned over tables and drove out livestock with a whip. He gently handed a cage full of doves over to someone to release them harmlessly. Ken said it comes down to simple barnyard concepts. “What kind of animal is this?”

We should be consumed; driven, to serve God like the men He created us to be.

This is an absolutely freeing truth for a generation of men that has been feminized by culture and the church.

Amen, Ken.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Million Ways

If you liked the dance scene in Napoleon Dynamite, you'll love this video by OkGo.

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Calvary Life E-newsletter

Take a look at the articles in the latest Calvary Chapel Jupiter E-newsletter:

Teen Aged Ministers
Spiritual Warefare in Thailand
Coffee with the Cruces
Upcoming Cross-Cultural/International Opportunities

Friday, January 27, 2006

Calvary Chapel SE Pastors' Conference Day Two: The Ministry of the Assisting Pastor

Day Two – Breakouts
Pastor John Chinelly on the Ministry of the Assisting Pastor

I’ve written about Pastor John in previous posts. John has been a mentor and father-figure in my ministry development for over twelve years.

He gave a great presentation of the ministry of the assisting pastor in a breakout session during the Calvary Chapel SE Pastors’ Conference held at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.

Pastor John put together a ten page handout that I’m sure he’d send you if you email him: john@calvaryftl.org. I’ll just hit on some the points that underlined in my notes.

Only the Lord calls and exalts men into ministry! Today the Church of Jesus Christ has too many man-appointed opposed to God-anointed leaders.

One of the measures of true spiritual maturity is the length of time a person will wait before being recognized for a ministry position.

A man of God does not need to declare his abilities to other people. Others will be able to see them clearly by themselves. (1 Tim. 4:11-16).

Every leader must be satisfied with being only that which God intended him to be. (Eph. 2:10)

John gave us a couple of self-evaluation inventories. The first inventory was a list of attributes related to a “called” man of God. The second was headed “driven people.” I identified qualities on both lists. I hope in a few years I’ll have less on the “driven” list and more on the “called”.

John reminded us of Saul whose life in leadership went in the wrong direction. He went from “called” and moved backwards to “driven”. This is good example to be familiar with but not to follow. (Proverbs 16:2)

The final assessment given was taken from 1 Timothy 3, Titus, and 1 Peter 2:5.

John concluded with his job description and schedule. The man is a machine. He’s definitely an Über Christ Follower.

Calvary Chapel SE Pastors' Conference Day Two: Couples' Ministry Breakout

Day Two – Breakouts
Pastor Fidel Gomez on Couples Ministry

Fidel helped Bob Coy found Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale in 1985. Fidel and family drove across country from Las Vegas, Nevada, with Bob and Diane Coy when they came out to plant the church that now ministers to 18,000 souls a week. Fidel learned how to play a couple of songs on the guitar on the trek across country and became Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale’s first worship leader.

Fidel Gomez oversees the discipleship ministry at CCFL. He gave a talk in a breakout session at the Calvary Chapel SE Pastors Conference about Couples Ministry.

Fidel behan his presentation an explanation of the origin of marriage.

“God created marriage. He didn’t just create a woman, but a wife; a suitable woman that was a fit for Adam.”

So what do we want couples in our churches to do? There’s got to be a target; a mission statement. What is the objective? The goal?

Here’s where to begin: strengthen the leadership team. Test them. After seeking the Lord, choose leaders that are mature and also seeking the Lord.

Working with the right people is the key. Move slowly when putting people in leadership. Time is the great revealer. It’s better to have no one helping rather than the wrong person.

This is an acronym used around CCFL for training leaders:
T: tested
E: effective
A: available
M: ministry minded

This is a good one to adopt.

The heart of a servant needs to be tested. It doesn’t matter exactly what one wants to do. The issue is the heart behind what is done. The bottom line is that it’s about people/couples being lead into a deeper and stronger walk with Christ. It’s a ministry to couples.

Fidel wrapped it up with Psalm 128:

How happy are those who fear the LORD--
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How happy you will be! How rich your life!
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine,

flourishing within your home.
And look at all those children!
There they sit around your table
as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.
That is the LORD's reward

for those who fear him.
May the LORD continually bless you from Zion.

May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.

And may Israel have quietness and peace.

The Wounded Healer

While down in Ft. Lauderdale at the SE Calvary Chapel Pastor’s conference, I stayed at my buddy’s condo on the beach. Eleven floors up with a view of the ocean. Thanks, Kelly.

I had some time of solitude to reflect and read while I was there. I finally finished The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen (can somebody tell me how to pronounce that?). It’s a great little book. It’s only about 100 pages. A quick read for most people, but it took me about three weeks. I first heard about it over on Bob Fanquiz’s blog and I ordered it immediately.

“For a Christian, Jesus is the man in whom it has indeed become manifest that revolution and conversion cannot be separated in man’s search for experiential transcendence. His appearance in our midst has made it undeniably clear that changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.” (p.20)

To tell you the truth, I had to read and re-read many areas of the book. I got out my pen for the first time in a long time and underlined passages and copied them into my journal. This book was written in 1979. I didn’t think people had much of a handle on the deep concepts of God back then (unlike now). Maybe that’s because back then I was in middle school and only cared about Kiss, Ted Nugent, and Farrah Fawcett-Majors.

Get this book. Nouwen has a whole stack of books out. I will definitely be working my way through them in 2006.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Calvary Chapel SE Pastors' Conference Day Two

Day Two
Session Two
Pastor Chuck Smith

I was late this morning and missed the first session with Don McClure. Don is one of my favorite conference speakers and I’m sorry I missed it. There was some sort of flap around something he said about the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets that have been so en vogue lately. This isn’t a direct quote, but I heard that he said something like: “What’s with these ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ bracelets. What do you mean? He’s in you. Why do you need to look at your wrist? You’re an… well, you’re an idiot.”

Hey. Ease up! I didn’t say it. Don did. But I’ve thought that for sometime.

Thankfully, Pastor Chuck came out to save the day. He introduced his talk by talking about reconciliation (appropriate after the WWJD comments from the previous presenter).

His text was 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. We have been given the “Word of Reconciliation”; we are ambassadors of Christ. The apostle Paul says this about himself. We are co-laborers with Christ. Never see yourself as alone in the ministry. The Lord said, “Take my yoke upon you”. But the ministry isn’t supposed to be a heavy burden. His yoke is light.

Chuck flipped back a page or so and referenced 2 Corinthians 4:3-9. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.” (At this point, Chuck referenced Gayle Erwin’s Book, The Jesus Style).

Serve the people. Don’t lord over the flock with presumed authority.

Paul speaks of treasure in 2 Corinthians 4:7. That treasure is the glorious knowledge of the glory of God in Jesus Christ.

Earthen vessels are mentioned in that verse. God takes his most valuable treasure, and places it in a vessel so common place that it is almost worthless (how’s that for your self-esteem?).

Chuck said, “I contain a valuable treasure. I’m not the treasure. I’m not God’s gift to the church.” Chuck continues, “I need to impart this gift so that I don’t get the glory, but I impart so that God gets the glory. I’m not to draw attention to the earthen vessel [myself]. I want to draw people’s attention to the treasure [Christ].

Keep the treasure pure.

Chuck illustrated this point the way only Chuck can. In his refrigerator is a plastic jug full of ice water. After awhile, if the water sits in the pitcher for too long, the water takes on the flavor of plastic. Yuk! That’s not very refreshing. “How about an ice cold glass of plastic flavored water to satisfy you thirst?”

Remember those sweaty summer days of playing outside and drinking out of a hose? The first guy gets a mouthful of warm, hose flavored water. Disgusting!

We need a pure drink of water. That’s what we need to present to the world. Jesus unflavored by the earthen vessel.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

2006 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors' Conference

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Day 1
Session 1 –
Gayle Erwin

Gayle delivered his message in classic Gayle style. Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale is a venue that seats 3500 or so people. But when I closed my eyes and listened to Gayle, I thought I was sitting in my living room listening to the encouragement from a father. Gayle’s style of delivering a Bible study is simple and unassuming. He’s not trying to impress. He just wants you to know that he’s just a guy like you or me. And God has something He wants you to know because He loves you.

Gayle taught that God forgives. Forgiveness is an Old Testament concept. Ancient Jewish tradition teaches that God forgives no matter what. And God proved this by wrapping Himself in skin and walking among men. Enter: Jesus.

Jesus chose the disciples He chose – not men of great stature or talent – because He wanted to prove that He could work with and teach anybody. That’s why God chose you and me. God will work with anybody.

In Matthew 6:7-14, Jesus teaches His disciples to pray.

Luke 5:17-26, is the story of the paralytic brought to Jesus by faithful friends. The Pharisees said this man was paralyzed because of sin. Jesus gives the man the remedy for suffering from sin: forgiveness. Of course, the Pharisees huff and harangue, “Who does this guy think He is, forgiving sin?”

Jesus answers the question by commanding the man to get up and walk. Make no mistake; Jesus has the power to forgive sins.

If we don’t forgive those who wrong us, our lives are ruled by those people. We need to forgive. If we confess our sins, God forgives us (1 John 1:9). We need to be ready and willing to forgive those who’ve wronged us. Our sin against God is out of proportion to the sins committed against us by anyone. If God forgives us, we need to forgive others (Col 3:12-13). Not fun, not easy, but necessary if we expect God to work in our lives.

Gayle shared a couple of funny lines about our attitude in prayer toward those that have wronged us. Our prayers go something like this: “Dear Lord, give him lockjaw and nausea at the same time.” Or, “Strike him with palsy and arthritis all at once.”

So how do we really and truly forgive? We pray for our adversaries like we would want someone to pray for us: “Lord, work in his life. Forgive him. Use him to reach others for your glory.”

That reminds me of something my pastor taught this past Sunday: “Obey God and the emotions will follow motion.”

Session 2 – Joel Sonnenberg

Pastor Bob introduced Joel Sonnenberg after sharing some thoughts from 1 Corinthians 1:26-27. I’ve never heard of Joel. I like these kinds of surprises.

Joel came out from backstage wearing a baseball cap; I noticed that he was different from the way he walked. An image was projected onto the high definition screens of Joel that was, well, a picture of a horribly disfigured man. One hand was a little more than an appendage that was like a claw and his other arm ended at his wrist. His face was totally scarred.

Joel was in a car accident as a baby. On the way to a family camping trip, Joel’s car was in lined up at a toll booth. Joel’s normal life was instantly and horribly altered when a tractor trailer slammed the line of cars at full speed. Joel’s car burst into flames as he sat in his car seat until someone, risking his own life, pulled Joel in his burning car seat from the car.

Joel should have died. He was given a 10% chance to live. He was four and a half months in the hospital and then, says Joel, “the hospital followed me home.”

Joel said, “Suffering doesn’t make people a candidate for sainthood.”

Joel never wanted to be labeled as a “Special Needs” person. He didn’t want to draw undue attention to himself.

Joel went to seminary, and at an early age, began to speak in churches and to groups around the world. Joel is now 28 years old and is grateful for the influence God has given him due to his disabilities.

Joel says that we all have “Special Needs.” We all have the need to feel loved, we need to feel accepted (not just tolerated), and we all need Jesus.

About 19% of the population is stricken with some kind of disability. No one is immune. Disabilities do not distinguish between race, tax bracket, or social status. Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, and Christopher Reeves are all examples of people stricken without regard or respect for who they were.

Ministry to these people – the blind, the lame, the deaf, and the leper – was a high priority to Jesus. Joel challenged listeners stating that we all live by faith, not by mobility, sight or hearing (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Jesus can use anybody to minister to the masses no matter what he has to offer. Jesus used a small boy’s lunch to feed a multitude (John 6:9).

Breakout Session with Mark Davis
Church Finances Workshop

Pastor Mark Davis is Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale’s Executive Pastor. If I learned just the things that Mark has forgotten about ministry, I’d be a wiser man than I am now.

Mark gave a practical talk about church finances. This is one of those areas that churches just kind of learn as they go through trial and error. I like the idea of learning from Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale’s mistakes and possibly preventing blunders of my own.

Mark put together an informative handout packed with more information than could be covered. He’d probably email the packet to you if you asked for it. Contact his office at mark@calvaryftl.org.

The verses Mark bases his ministry on are 1 Corinthians 4:1 & 6-7. Mark discussed stewardship (the church needs to model it; teach it; live it).

On the topic of Expense Guidelines for staff, facilities, ministry and missions/outreach, Mark emphasized the need to stay dependent on the Holy Spirit for guidance. There needs to be planning, but flexibility is key. It’s a walk of faith. Mark says that at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, they don’t have a long term “business plan”; they have long range dreams, hopes, and prayers. He challenged us with this question: “Can you be obedient to the command to ‘live by faith’ if you’re executing a business plan?” Good question.

The cost of doing ministry as it relates to purchasing property can involve borrowing money from lenders. The approach to borrowing needs to be cautious and conservative; not presumptuous.

There needs to be good reporting systems in place. Budgets need to be tailored to serve ministers, not accountants. Budgets are tools for both those who spend the money and those keeping track of the money. When making reports, give explanations with the information listed. Otherwise confusion followed by difficult questions to answer will result.

Mark talked about professionalism. When making proposals to businessmen in our community, we need to be prepared and professional. There needs to be a strong leadership team from the church lending credibility to proposals. The church needs to model integrity and good stewardship in the business community where God has placed it.

Evening Session with Pastor Chuck Smith

The evening session began with an amazing time of worship and praise lead by Clay Hecocks. The music had a very gospel and blues feel. The singers and band were engaging. The crowd was not an audience or spectators. They were actively praising and worshiping with as much energy as those leading from the platform.

Bob Coy began the evening by recognizing his brother Jim and sister-in-law, Theresa. These were the ones who introduced Bob to Jesus Christ and the relationship with a Savior that transforms lives. The fruit of Jim and Theresa’s example to Bob is a multitude of lives touched through the ministry of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.

Bob continued by explaining that Jim introduced Bob to a man whose ministry has spread from just a handful of people meeting in a church in Southern California to more than a thousand churches around the world during the past few decades. Chuck Smith came out with the huge smile of a proud father and gave Bob a hug. Chuck read the account of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-9). Chuck recounted his visit to the campus Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale now occupies. It used to be an industrial complex but has been transformed into an amazing ministry center that 18,000 people call their church home.

The evening was then turned over to Chuck and he opened up his Bible and began to teach. “Ever feel like running away?” asked Pastor Chuck. This was Zerubbabel’s (Zechariah 4) feeling when he came to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem that was leveled several decades earlier by a conquering army. He and his team set out with high hopes and expectations. They knew all the old stories about the former glory of Jerusalem and knew that the city’s restoration was their God given task.

There are times when we work all day and it seems like we are in a deeper hole at the end of the day than when we started. We’ve all had times like that.

This is often what God brings our lives to in order for us to understand that it is “’Not by might nor power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6). God is not going to accomplish His work through physical strength or abilities and He doesn’t depend on human effort whether physical or mental.

Chuck explained that when he first began his ministry, he tried every known church program available.

It’s time to let the Lord do the work. That way, the work will actually get done. The tasks that wear us out, God can do without effort.

It’s time to go ahead and quit. It’s time to let God do it.

Here’s what Chuck challenged pastors to do: Simply teach the word of God simply.

Bob Coy wrapped up the evening by quoting two words from Zechariah 4:7: “Grace, grace.” Not “work, work,” or “push, push,” or “manipulate, manipulate.”

Grace, grace.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Boss

The greatest singer/songwriter that has ever graced music charts is Bruce Springsteen. I can’t deal with his politics, but I love his music.

Music and words. Most males don’t listen to the words, but I do. And I love what Springsteen says and how he puts a tune to it. It’s the words. Then add music and energy and the show. This package has impacted a generation of musicians in rock and roll and country. Deny it if you dare.

His songs are real. They’re stories about people you know. He brings to life characters like Wild Billy, Rosalita, Crazy Janie, Wendy, Davey, Killer Joe, Frank, and a girl named Mary. His songs have made you re-think the death penalty and what you think about the victims of AIDS. He makes you think about people as individuals you know and can even love.

His songs are about the memories of youth that has slipped away, regret, broken dreams, redemption, and hope. Who doesn’t experience these every day or think about them in the middle of a sleepless night? Bruce identifies best with us regular guys and gals.

There’s something about listening to someone that personifies and identifies your feelings; how deeply you feel. Not what you wish you were, but what you are. We really don’t know what the future holds, but we know we know the past and the present. The Boss helps us remember and feel.

Is melancholy so bad?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 12 – Wes Bentley

Wes Bentley is a hero. He challenged me the first time I heard about him. My pastor came back from a regional pastors’ meeting and told me about Wes’s ministry. Wes was introduced and proceeded to talk about Far Reaching Ministries, a ministry he founded that trains and sends out chaplains in the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in South Sudan.

We invited Wes to come speak at our church. The text for Wes’s talk, Counting the Cost, came from 2 Corinthians 11:1-29. In this text, Paul the Apostle lists for his readers the cost of obeying Christ. The jist of the message was twofold: following Christ is not comfortable and cowardice does not please the Lord.

Our church began to partner with Wes over the next several years. I began to travel to South Sudan with men from our church and we began to work with the chaplains training program. Those projects were followed by an eight month period involving my church sending my family to work in Sudan and at FRM’s California office. What I observed was that Wes’s life and faith matched his message.

Wes has asked God for big things: a Continent for Christ. Wes continues his work and many people in the world of Christian ministry are jumping on board.

The main thing I’ve learned through ministering with Wes Bentley is this: if you ask for big things from God, you receive big things from God.

Vicky & Wes Bentley along with Steven Curtis Chapman & family and friends

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Guvinator

A couple of months ago I blogged a confession: my failure to comply with Florida State Law. I've gone twenty-something years and owned five motorcycles and never had the proper endorsement on my license. I did this without shame. I did, however, spend a great deal of time driving with my eye on the rear-view mirror. I was ticketed for speeding, but, mercifully, not operating a motorcycle without a license.

But that just doesn't happen when:
  1. You ride a Harley
  2. You have an accident with your son on the motorcycle
  3. And you're the honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California

Check out the following article I found through the Drudge Report:

The Terminator has done it again. But this time in real life and that too as governor of California. The other day, while taking his 12-year-old son out for a spin on his Harley-Davidson, Hollywood action hero-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger collided with a city attorney’s car but escaped with a bruised lip.

It was only subsequently that the fact was revealed that the California governor did not have a licence for driving the motorbike after years of taking it out on the roads and highways. “I just never really applied for it,” said Arnie. [click here to read the rest of the story]

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Christmas Card

This picture was supposed to be used for our family Christmas Card. We've never actually had a family Christmas Card. Not getting our pictures back from WalMart until January may have a little something to do with that.

Left to right: Charity, 18: Bryon, 40: the beautiful and charming Susan, (like I'll be able to post her age and live); Aaron, 16.

Idaho Goes Soft on Slaughter

If you're a cow at a slaughter house in Salmon, Idaho (a red state), and you are fortunate enough to make it over the fence after you hear, "dead cow walking," you go free.

What is this country coming to? Next, we'll be offering cows free cable TV. We're headed down a slippery slope, my friends. It won't be long before the cows will be slaughtering the butchers. Mark my words.

Molly the escaped cow will be sipping Cappucino in Seattle or grazing green pastures in Montana for many years to come.

Über Christ Followers – Part 11 – Kelly Lyon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything in the Über Christ Followers series. For those that are new to this blog, click here for a definition of “über”. This is the eleventh post in the series. If you’re interested, click these links to read past Über Christ Followers posts: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.

I have a passion for reaching across cultural barriers with the gospel of Christ. Kelly Lyon has been instrumental in igniting that passion in my heart. He has helped me walk through doors in ministry that few ever have the privilege to walk through. I can’t even write about one of the places we’ve been because it would compromise the work in countries where the Gospel of Christ is illegal to teach and preach.

It’s not my intention to sound “cloak-and-dagger” or “place drop”. Kelly has made sure I experience rare opportunity. I can’t think of a better way to learn missions ministry than to follow a leader like Kelly.

Kelly has taught me to be creative in ministry, to expose as many church people to missions as possible, and to be willing to work with just about anybody anywhere in the world. I’ve learned that I need to train people well and do my best to set proper expectations for those traveling with me to a foreign land. When in a foreign country, remember that we represent Christ, we are an ambassadors of Heaven; servants and students. Be humble. Understand that as we are working for the Lord, He is working in us.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Police Talk

I received the following humorous list in an email today.

The following 15 Police Comments were taken off actual police car videos around the country: #15 "Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch out after you wear them awhile."
#14 "Take your hands off the car, and I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."
#13 "If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."
#12 "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? In case you didn't know, that is the average speed of a 9mm bullet fired from my gun."
#11 "So you don't know how fast you were going. I guess that means I can write anything I want on the ticket, huh?"
#10 "Yes, Sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh ... didI mention that I am the shift supervisor?"
#9 "Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."
#8 "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"
#7 "Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy, and step in monkey DOO."
#6 "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."
#5 "In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC."
#4 "Just how big were those two beers?"
#3 "No sir we don't have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we want."
#2 "I'm glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."
#1 "You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? You're right, we don't. .... Sign here

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Disney Marathon Results

Well, I was shooting for a time in this year's marathon of less than four hours. Last year I came in at 4 hour 12 minutes. This year I came in at 4 hours 4 minutes and 4 seconds. I'll take it.

Here are some of my friends' results:
Billy Almaguer half marathon: 1:56:08
Billy Almaguer full marathon: 4:29:37 (Billy took up the "Goofy Challenge") Emily Edwards half marathon: 1:54:02
David Reback full marathon: 4:02:27

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Goofy Challenge

My buddy Billy and I are heading to Orlando to run in the Disney World Marathon. Billy will be running the half-marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. Doing both races is called the Goofy Challenge. Billy will run a total of 39.3 miles in two days. A full marathon is 26.2 miles the half 13.1. I’m only doing the 26.2 on Sunday. At the end of the half-marathon, runners receive a Donald Duck Medal. Runners completing the full marathon receive a Mickey Mouse Medal. Running both races is a really goofy. But it earns competitors – you guessed it – a Goofy medal.