Saturday, January 31, 2009

Urban Ministry in 2008

Passing along these best-of lists. dg

UrbanMinistry.org has just compiled the top Urban Ministry speakers, websites and blogs for 2008 at:

Here is a summary...

Top Speakers (by downloads)
1. Shane Claiborne
2. John Perkins
3. Brennan Manning
4. Jeremy Del Rio
5. Alistair Begg
6. Tony Evans
7. Tony Campolo

Top Websites (by traffic)
1. World Vision
2. Salvation Army
3. UrbanMinistry.org
4. Outreach.com
5. Sojourners
6. Christian Aid
7. Christian Volunteering.org

Top Blogs
1. Jim Wallis
2. Eugene Cho
3. Jordon Cooper
4. DJ Chuang
5. Anthony Bradley
6. Ed Gilbreath
7. Today at the Mission

You can find the full list and the methodology we used at: http://www.urbanministry.org/top2008

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cinderella Story?

I heard some of this story on the radio this morning. It jives with this I received by email. Great story of the grace of God in action. dg

Kurtis the Stock Boy and Brenda the Checkout Girl

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry-out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished and wanted to get some fresh air, so he decided to answer the call. As he approached the checkout stand, a distant smile caught his eye ~ the checkout girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card, punched out, and then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night, he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, and then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair.He was born a paraplegic with Downs Syndrome.

Kurtis told Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us." Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities ~ just like her first husband and father of her children had done. But Kurtis was not ordinary ~ he had a different mind set.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids and went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything, Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the rest-room, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him, and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added five more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy at a grocery store in Cedar Falls , Iowa and Brenda the checkout girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the hunt for a Super Bowl victory. Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI...and he has also been the NFL's Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player. He established the First Things First Foundation in the spring of 2001 with wife Brenda to promote Christian values and bless the lives of those less fortunate with projects such as trips to Disney World for ill children, building recreation centers in children’s hospitals, helping single moms achieve the dream of home ownership and teaching Special Olympians the football basics. All projects are
centered on Kurt and Brenda’s life theme: faith and family come first. The official web site is:http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.kurtwarner.org

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is L.O.A.D.? Love on Anita Day! (slides)

A big thanks to Linda and all the wonderful ladies (& youth) at Grace who helped make a special day for Anita! It's nice when a church loves on their pastor but it means more to me when they love on his family. Thank you all!

Here's a slide show Steve Dean put together for the rest of us. Thanks Steve!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I found this post by James Emery White not only funny but wonderfully insightful as I continue to need encouragement in this area of my personal life. Perhaps I'll get hooked too...

A Most Reluctant Convert
I’ve become a recent convert to something that I swore I would never give my life to.  Yet now I’m all in.  I’ve invested hours trying to catch up to the place where other true believers are, even though it has taken time away from other pursuits.  I’ve committed myself to learning the history, the people involved, including their backgrounds. 
My commitment to discipleship is getting ready to pay off.  I’m now caught up and ready to go.  This is important, because it is time for the Holy Grail, the moment of moments, the night of nights.
Yep…the season premiere of ABC’s “Lost.”
I mentioned that I was a reluctant convert.  That’s putting it mildly.  My four children – all in their teens and twenties - have been after me to get into this show since it debuted back in 2004. 
I had my reasons for keeping away.  I didn’t have time to go back and catch up with the complex plot-line.  Also, it sounded,…well, pretty stupid. 
For the Lost-illiterate among you, it’s about a group of passengers who crash on what they believe to be a deserted island, only to discover that the island is not only anything but deserted, but also that the island itself possesses some kind of supernatural power.  They try to get off the island while battling both its mysterious power and the “others” who inhabit it.  These “others” have somehow tapped into the island’s mysteries, and are obsessed with keeping the island and its powers to themselves.  All the survivors of Oceanic 815 want to do is get off the island, but the island seems to be keeping them there as they discover its secrets.
Sound a bit much?
That’s just a warm-up.  You then find out the island was at one time in the hands of the scientific group called the Dharma Initiative, who built stations all over the island in hopes of harnessing the island’s unique properties.  Throw in some time travel, the island being able to move, six getting off the island and then finding they have to go back, and you have the show.
And someone like me saying, “I don’t think so.”
Yet four people went on a mission.  Not in a way that bugged me, or harassed me, but in a way that was continually inviting me, wooing me, enticing me, encouraging me to experience this for my life.  It took years, but I finally broke down and said, “Okay, I’ll watch one.”
They said, “Wait – no – not on your own!  We’ll watch it with you – and help you – and explain things.”  Little did I know that while I was watching the first episode, they were silently praying that my defenses would drop, my heart would soften, and that I would see how my life could be forever changed.
One episode, and here I am – the most reluctant convert to “Lost” in all of America.
And I became one the way anybody becomes one.  Those closest to me reached out consistently with something they genuinely thought would be of joy to my life.  They did it relationally.  They were patient - there was a lot to understand before I could begin to appreciate the larger story.  And they were willing to walk each step of the way with me.
And come this Wednesday, I will be glued to the set for the season premiere.
By the way, this works with more than TV shows named “Lost.”
It also works with people who are.
James Emery White
For a thoughtful engagement of Lost, and a good summary of its story-line (from which I’ve benefited here), see Andrew Root’s article “The TV Show Lost and Eschatology” athttp://www.the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue114/index.cfm?id=37&ref=ARTICLES_FEATURED%20ARTICLE%3A%20SPOTLIGHT_529
On the phrase “most reluctant convert,” I am indebted to C.S. Lewis who attributed the title to himself in relation to coming to faith in Christ.  On this, see David C. Downing, The Most Reluctant Convert: C.S. Lewis’s Journey to Faith (InterVarsity Press).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How often should you read?

I was listening to a great podcast today that's new to me by Sovereign Grace Ministries. They were talking about the pastor and his reading.

I've often felt guilty reading during my work week. I love to read so I've always felt like it's cheating if I don't read on my own time. As a result, since I don't have much free time, I don't read books like I should. (I'm still pretty good at buying them though) 

These guys (Joshua Harris, CJ Mahaney, and Jeff Purswell) did a great job of showing how important it is for a pastor (and his flock, for that matter) to read a steady diet of good books. (good=books that point you to God and His word) So I'm now ready to read a lot more...during my work week. 

So how often? John Stott provides a suggestion many pastors have taken to heart. I appreciate these guys sharing it:

Read 1 hour a day
Read 1 chunk of 3 hours once a week
Read 1 day a month
Read 1 week a year (or 2-3 weekends a year)

Now this is his advice to pastors. Dial it back a bit but all of us as followers of Christ should seriously consider scheduling this into our calendar. (that's the only way it's going to happen, right?)

If you want to check out this podcast, go to the itunes store and search "cj mahaney podcast."

I also stumbled across a great blog post on organizing your personal library.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bridge Run April 4. Are you registered?

It's just over 12 weeks until the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. (April 4th)

I hope you'll consider coming down and running (0r walking) it with me.

Here's the training plan to consider whether your a beginner or experienced runner.

BEGINNER Training Schedule
Week Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Total
1 2E OFF 1E/1W/1E OFF 2E OFF 1E/1W/1E 10
2 3E OFF 1E/2W/1E OFF 2E OFF 1E/1W/1E 12
3 4E OFF 1E/2W/1E OFF 3E OFF 1E/1W/1E 14
4 5E OFF 3E OFF 3E OFF 5K E 15
5 5E OFF 4E OFF 4E OFF 1E/1W/1E 16
6 6E OFF 1E/1M/1E OFF 4E OFF 3 E 16
7 6E OFF 4E OFF 4E OFF 5K Race 18
8 6E OFF 1E/2M/1E OFF 4E OFF 4E 18
9 7E OFF 1E/3M/1E OFF 4E OFF 4E 20
10 7E OFF 4E OFF 5E OFF 5K Race 20
11 8E OFF 1E/3M/1E OFF 5E OFF 4E 22
12 8E OFF 5E OFF 2E OFF The Bridge 22

Races are in BOLD; Easy (E) is a slow jog; Walk (W) is a brisk walk; Moderate (M) is about 1-2 minutes slower than your projected 10k per mile pace. Remember to stretch (before and after), warm-up and cool down (1/2 mile of jogging/walking before and after racing) and to keep yourself well hydrated!

EXPERIENCED Training Schedule

Week Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Total
1 6E OFF 1E/2H/1E 6E 6E OFF 2E/3H/1E 28
2 6E OFF 1E/2H/1E 6E 7E OFF 2E/5K/1E 30
3 8E OFF Int 8X400 6E 6E OFF 2E/4H/1E 32
4 8E OFF Int 4X800 7E 7E OFF 5K Easy 34
5 9E OFF 1E/2H/1E 7E 7E OFF 1E/6M/1E 34
6 9E OFF Int 3x1600 7E 7E OFF 2E/5K/1E 36
7 10E OFF Int 10x400 6E 6E 4E 1E/3M/1E 38
8 10E OFF Int 5x500 6E 6E 4E 1E/10K/1E 40
9 10E OFF 1E/3H/2E 8E 8E 4E 2E/3M/2E 42
10 12E OFF Int 3x1600 5E 5E 6M 6E 42
11 12E OFF Int 6x800 5E 5E 8M 5E 44
12 10E OFF Int 8x400 5E 6E OFF The Bridge 36

Races are in BOLD; Easy (E) is a recovery pace; Hard (H) is at your 10k race pace; Moderate (M) is about 1-2 minutes slower than your 10k pace; Intervals (Int) run 400 meters at 10 seconds faster than your 10K race pace, 800 at 5-10 secs faster, miles (1600) at your 10K race pace (ie an 8 minute toK pace is 2 mins. per 400m, so run 1:50 per 400 and 3:50-3:55 for an 800). Walk 400 meters between intervals. Remember to stretch, warm-up and cool down (all Interval sessions should be preceded by 1 easy mile, and ended with 1 easy mile)!

Friday, January 09, 2009

A weekend to remember!

Hey Gang,

Anita and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary by going to A Weekend to Remember. (While today is our actual anniversary, we went in early Dec.) Not the most romantic anniversary, you say? Perhaps. But for us, it was special. We came home with a more honest, intimate marriage than ever before. God showed us that he could make our "A" marriage even better! That's why we encourage you to seriously consider investing this time and money into your most important relationship on earth: your spouse.

We're gathering a group to go December '09 in Charleston. As a result, you'll get a killer discount (see below) and we'll get in free this time. We hope you'll join us!

In Christ, Darien & Anita

PS Select "Join My Group" to see upcoming conferences across the nation. Save $80 per couple by registering for any conference with our Group Name at least 10 days before the start date.

Put it on your calendar today! If you don't plan to do it, something else will crowd it out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It's mine! (nope)

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, 
       the world, and all who live in it;" Psalm 24:1 NIV (emphasis mine)

I'm not an owner but a steward

stew·ard  (strd, sty-)
1. One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.

My prayer, "Lord, help me move from sentimental owner to responsible steward."

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Read the Bible this year

It's doable. You can do this! Read the whole Bible through this year. Here are some plans that will help:

1. This is an online option from YouVersion.com


2. These are daily Bible reading plans that will chart your way through the New Testament.

30 Day | 90 Day | 1 Year
http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/en-US/FrPublish PosteeTools/FreeResources.htm