Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here (http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=7676659&page=1) about Cindy and her titles When the Heart CriesWhen the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.

And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee Challenge Video & My Home Group

I had to post this hilarious video of my home group getting pumped up for our Ultimate Frisbee challenge with the youth group. I love my Home Group! 

This is them getting ready to play:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hero Blog Tour

Several years ago I read the book Every Man's Battle. It was one intense book on what men deal with as it relates to sexual purity and how to get and stay pure. Fred Stoeker knows how to speak to men in our day. 

Here's a summary of his latest book Hero:

You already know it’s not easy being a single man in this culture today. But it is easy to be overwhelmed, to feel helpless and hopeless about living by God’s high standards for singles. It’s easy to cave in to the pressures of this sex-soaked world and accept defeat—blaming the media, the culture, even girlfriends who don’t know how tough it can be.

But many men have read books like Every Young Man’s Battle and Tactics and have committed themselves to stand strong and pure in the power of God, and to go on the offensive against the onslaught of negative stereotypes. Some have suffered. Some have fallen. But many have experienced victory—and you can be among them.

What makes those committed men so desirable to women? Be Her Hero is their motto. From best-selling author Fred Stoeker, along with his son Jasen, come the straightforward insight and real-life examples you’re looking for to help you take personal purity to its logical conclusion. Here’s straight truth with irrefutable evidence of what makes an ultimate hero to women who long for men of faith—men who stand by their convictions and make their world a safer and better place.

Are you ready to accept the challenge?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Atheist Prof teaches New Testament Class @ UNC

This is the second time I've heard of a professor teaching New Testament at a major university. (FSU is the other)

I heard this story from the college pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh. He was talking about the professor his wife had for NT at UNC. This is the gist of his story:

The first day of class this professor (Bart _____) asks his students how many have read all of the Harry Potter books. Many hands go up. 

He then asks, how many of you believe God wrote the Bible?

Then he asks how many have read the whole Bible. Few hands go up. 

He continues, so you're telling me that God wrote a book and you haven't read it? "Your faith is a joke."

He then proceeds to tell them that he's going to share why he's renounced the Bible that semester.

I was stunned by this for several reasons:

* We've set the bar so low for high school Christians that few are graduating having read the Bible through once. That's pathetic. My kids may not read the whole Bible before they graduate, but it won't be because I don't challenge them to. (Confession: I didn't read it through myself until I was in seminary and in my 30s. However, I'm currently reading it through my 4th time and my plan is to read it through at least once a year for the rest of my life)

* Probably few of us who've already graduated college or are already in the work place have read the Bible through. Yet most of us would say we believe it's written by God. What does our lack of interest say about our faith?

* Reading the Bible does not = Faith in Christ. Clearly there are genuine Believers who haven't systematically read through the Bible cover to cover. But a passion to follow Christ is fueled by God's word. It's the fuel to our faith! 

This isn't about a legalistic reading of the Bible so we can say we did (although it speaks volumes when a skeptic asks us if we've even read the whole Bible we claim to believe. It's a pretty tough thing to respond to when someone asks you if you've ever read the Bible as you try to defend it.)

I share this to challenge you now to read it all. 

Here is a link that includes several bible reading plans: http://gracetoday.net/templates/System/details.asp?id=34928&PG=resources&CID=20042

Pick a plan or make up your own and go for it! I suggest you challenge a friend or your small group to join you in doing this for the next 12 months.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Travel to Charleston, SC

For those looking for excuses to travel to the Charleston area, here are some upcoming events that include runs and triathlons. 

05/23/2009 - The Lowcountry Splash 2009 - Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
05/30/2009 - ALS H.O.P.E. Race 2009 - Isle of Palms, South Carolina
06/01/2009 - Sol Surfers Surf Camp, LLC 2009 - Folly Beach, South Carolina
06/06/2009 - 1st Annual Leslie McCravy Memorial 5K - Folly Beach, South Carolina
06/08/2009 - Charleston Summer Squash Week 1 - Charleston, South Carolina
06/13/2009 - floppin` flounder 5k - Sullivan`s Island, South Carolina
06/14/2009 - "Run for the 9" Memorial 5k - Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
06/15/2009 - Charleston Summer Squash Week 2 - Charleston, South Carolina
06/21/2009 - 2009 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #1 - Charleston, South Carolina
07/04/2009 - July 4th Cross Country Run - Johns Island, South Carolina
07/09/2009 - Daniel Island Twilight Fun Run 5K Series - Charleston, South Carolina
07/12/2009 - 2009 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #2 - Charleston, South Carolina
08/02/2009 - 2009 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series - Race #3 - Charleston, South Carolina
09/20/2009 - Kiawah Island Triathlon - Kiawah Island, South Carolina
09/26/2009 - 2009 Carolina Children's Charity 8000 Meter Run/2 Mile Fun... - Hanahan, South Carolina
09/26/2009 - Tour de Round O Benefit Ride - Round O (Colleton County), South Carolina
10/25/2009 - Barrier Island ECOthon - Isle of Palms, South Carolina
11/14/2009 - Folly Beach 10 Mile Run & 5 Mile Walk - Folly Beach, South Carolina

I haven't checked out any of these links but get them as part of the active.com enewsletter. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Accountability Group Questions

Accountability groups can be a great way to grow spiritually. But sometimes they can become just gripe sessions or friendly chats with no real catalysts for change being incorporated. 

Accountability ought to include truth, grace and a safe environment in which to freely share what's going on in your life. The aim is to become fully devoted followers of Christ. Remember the key ingredients for that:

* Word of God
* Spirit of God
* People of God

Learning to trust and obey God so fully that you are bearing His fruit in your life will be your satisfying outcome. To stay on track in your group time, here are some suggested questions:

At least once a month ask each other some or all of these seven questions:

1. Devotions: Have you been spending time praying and reading Scripture each
2. Worship: Have you been taking your family to church each week?
3. Vocation: Have you been consistently putting in an honest week of work
for your employer and for God?
4. Stewardship: Have you been staying above reproach in all your financial
5. Fidelity: Have you found yourself with a woman in the past weeks in such
a way that would be inappropriate or could be viewed by others as a
demonstration of poor judgment on your part?
6. Purity: Have you exposed yourself to any illicit material over the past
7. Priorities: Have you been spending sufficient time with your family each

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From Carlos Whittaker...

I thought this spoke volumes

I twittered this a few weeks ago…
Remember,the only measuring tool to measure “worship” on Sunday mornings is the level of surrender in your heart. Not experience & feeling.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Drive Conference takeaway

I just got back from hanging with Andy Stanley and his church staff for 3 days (along with 2 friends and a few thousand other strangers) to try and learn from them how to better do church. I went mostly thinking I needed help with nuts and bolts type things as they relate to administrating a growing church. (Administration is not my strength, to be sure)

I wasn't disappointed. 

I just learn a lot anytime I sit and listen to Andy talk. 

The first night his talk was on leading in uncertain times--extremely relevant. His takeaway was simply this: To lead well in uncertain times you must lead with clarity and flexibility: clarity of vision and flexibility in your plans. 

In the times when things seem the most certain, we have our greatest opportunity to show God is most relevant. Think about the cross. That was clearly an uncertain time. Even with the resurrection, things were chaotic. But once the disciples got their clear vision/mission, they were motivated and mobilized.

Flexibility gives us permission to separate a failed attempt from the vision itself. Just because something doesn't work doesn't mean the vision is wrong. It just means we need to change how we carry out the vision. And during uncertain times, change is most easily attained. (This could be a blessing or a curse depending on the integrity and competency of your leader, of course. George W. Bush and Barak Obama are both case and point)

Couple of quotes to leave you with:

"Repeat after me, 'I will always be uncertain. I'm certain of it." -Andy Stanley to room full of church leaders at Drive09

"In times of uncertainty, people want clarity." -AS

"Clarity around vision clears the fog of uncertainty." -AS

Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu: Are you prepared?

I got this today and suggest you take a few minutes to consider what you and your church would do...dg

From: Disaster Relief Update - Friday, April 30, 2009

Southern Baptists and Swine Flu

We have all been following the news reports of the spread of swine flu. We are not at pandemic levels, but the situation is being monitored by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leadership. There has been freguent communication between Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leadership and officials from FEMA and the CDC.

Southern Baptists should use this time to consider what their response will be when a pandemic outbreak does happen. As with all disasters, planning is the key. Health officials have said that at some point there will be a pandemic flu outbreak and the recent news should be another reminder to the church to plan to be the people God has called us to be, even in the midst of difficult situations.

Your Family – What happens with your family? Do you have enough food and water to last for two weeks? What about communication? These are good things to think about for any kind of disaster. View more information on family preparedness.

Your Church – How does the church respond? In the event of Pandemic Flu, congregations could not meet together for worship, Sunday school or other events. Pastors would not be able to visit in hospitals or homes. How will the body of Christ continue to function in these situations? How will the church be the conduit for ministry? How will she minister to families who experience the loss of a loved one? Read more about church preparedness.

Your Association – What would be the role of the association in a pandemic flu outbreak. Churches would need to pull together to minister to the community at large. The association could help all congregations facilitate communication and develop creative avenues for worship and ministry.

Manuals for Family, Church and Associational Prepareness are available for download on the Disaster Relief resources website.

The Department of Health and Human Services has published achecklist to assist churches and faith-based service organizations in preparing for a pandemic or other disaster.

The greatest tool we have is direct access to the Father. Please pray for individuals, families, churches and communities affected by this flu outbreak. Please consider making plans for your family, church and association should an outbreak occur.

The US Centers for Disease Control has information about the current outbreak and how to protect yourself anf your family from infection.

Specific information on Pandemic Flu is available atwww.pandemicflu.gov

The World Health Organization is maintaining updated information on the situation around the world.

National Disaster Relief Leadership

  • Bruce Poss, Disaster Relief Unit Coordinator
  • Terry Henderson, Disaster Relief Operations Consultant
  • Karl Ragan, Disaster Relief Planning Consultant