Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lost Returns Tonight

With the writers' strike continuing well into this year, television has really suffered. Tonight, however, a glimmer of hope comes. The fourth season of Lost is on tonight and I am really looking forward to it. With no 24 in sight, Lost is my favorite show on now. Part of that reason is that Lost had the most shocking and well-written ending last year of any show.

If you are not a fan of the show, ITunes has a recap of the first three seasons. It was free for a while - don't know if it still is.

If you are a fan, you might interested in this article of 48 pending questions on the show.

Random Quote

_____"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them."
Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

List of Redeeming Films

Each year Christianity Today releases a list of the 10 films that they find to be the most redeeming films of the previous year. That does not mean that the films are Christian or clean. It simply means that the film have an element of redemption in their stories.

To see their list click here. Yet again, the only movie I have seen on the list is Ratatouille. I would love to see several others on the list. What about you - which of these films have you seen? Is there another movie you think should be on the list?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy 50th Lego!

My son Eli has officially become a fan of the Lego blocks. In the last few weeks we have built Star Wars ships, Mars Mission vehicles, and City Rescue Cars. This afternoon, Lego celebrated its 50th anniversary. Here is a timeline of some events in the Lego era. It is amazing to me to see some of the works that people have done using Lego blocks. For instance, this blog post shows some work by a man who is a self-proclaimed Lego artist.

My son's 5th birthday is coming close and I am sure that Lego's will be part of the celebration. I just wondered if someone can figure out how to keep Luke from playing with Eli's blocks just to bother him.

Is America a Post-Christian Nation?

One of my classes for this semester centers on church planting. Today I ran across a site that showed some startling statistics about the state of the church in America today. While I have seen many of these statistics in other places, seeing them together definitely raises some questions.

Take a look at the video called Post Christian Church Planting.

What reactions do you have to these numbers and quotes?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Random Quote

_ "It is my opinion that art lost its creative urge the moment it was separated from worship."
Ingmar Bergman

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar Nominations

Oscar nominations were announced this morning (For a complete list, click here). As usual, I have not seen a single one of the "Best Picture" nominees. In fact, the only movie I have seen that is nominated at all is Rataouille. So, what about you? Have you seen any of the films? What do you think should have been nominated? Do you even care?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Random Quote

_____"Never give great responsibility to someone who cannot live without it."
George Shultz, former Secretary of State

Playing Golf in January

I ran across an article in Fortune about the next big thing on the Internet - World Golf Tour. Right now this website based game is only in a demo mode where you play a closest to the pin challenge for 9 holes.

The website promises more courses and full games when the site goes live later this year. In fact, they are claiming that you will be able to play foursomes with friends around the world on some of the greatest courses in golf (including Pinehurst and Kiawah). With big sponsors like TaylorMade and the PGA Tour, it looks like this might be something worth looking out for in the near future.

If you are interested check out the site for World Golf Tour.

Excuses, Excuses

A story from this morning lists some off the wall excuses that people give for missing work.

My personal favorites include:

While at a circus, a tiger urinated on the employee's ear, causing an ear infection.

An employee was upset because his favorite American Idol contestant was voted off.

An employee said he wasn't feeling well and wanted to rest up for the company's holiday party that night.

For the rest of the list, go here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

You Tube Friday

This week started another season of American Idol. With the writers' strike ongoing, television programming is very limited. While I wait for the return of Lost, I will be watching America's talent search.

The early part of the show always features a mix of good auditions with tragic ones. While this week did not seem to have any showstoppers with good performances, there was an inspiring song in the other category.

Conjunctivitis Delay

I apologize for the lack of posts this week. Susan and I were both diagnosed with conjunctivitis on Monday. While that sounds like we are both on our death beds, it actually means that we have "pink eye." We are starting to improve and you can expect more posts to follow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Quote

"We will have eternity to celebrate the victories, but only a few hours before sunset to win them."

Amy Carmichael, Irish missionary to India (1867-1951)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Glaus for Rolen

It appears the Cardinals are on the verge of sending Scott Rolen to the Blue Jays for Troy Glaus. Aside from Glaus' mention in the HGH issue, I think this is a great move for the Cards. You can see stories about the trade at ESPN and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There is also an instant analysis of the trade by Jeff Gordon of the STL Post-Dispatch.

Friday, January 11, 2008

YouTube Friday

Another video from Tim Hawkins. I especially like the part in the second half of the clip about the games boys make up. And I give my apologies to Chuck E. Cheese on the front end.


Apparently, this is the man that will be leading the Vols' offense this coming year. His name is Dave Clawson and the article from Knoxville News-Sentinel talks about accomplishments. All I know is that it appears his last name sounds a lot like former quarterbacks at UT.

Another note: It appears that Urban Meyer is not excited about our hire for RB Coach. Two articles (here and here) mention Meyer's disposition when he heard of the move.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Running from God (Jonah Part 1)

Last Sunday, I started a series of sermons called "God in Pursuit" based on the book of Jonah. In the first sermon, we talk about listening for God to speak and then obeying his voice.

To listen, just click play.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Three for Two

Are the Vols about to add an Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach, and former high school All-American 5-star Quarterback all at once? It seems that the Vols have interviewed the OC and QBC from Michigan. And apparently, their highly regarded quarterback Ryan Mallett may follow suit.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel article talks of the father speaking of the possibility.

I don't know if the Michigan guys are the answer. If you were to compare UT to one program in college football - the best comparison would probably be Michigan (Both are usually higher rated than they show - both can choke in big games - both have problems with biggest rivals - both have/had coaches living off a National Championship from several years ago). So, I don't know that this is the hire I would prefer.

What about you? Do you think the Michigan guys are the way to go?

Random Quote

"When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost. When character is lost, all is lost."
Dr. Billy Graham

Wednesday Video - Cletus Take the Reel

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wedding Madness

Take a look at this story on CNN (I-Reporter on Wedding Cake) and determine if it is:

A. Indulgent
B. Excessive
C. Disturbing
D. Creepy
E. All of the Above

Update: I did not realize when I posted this story that it was actually sent in by the bride herself .

Monday, January 7, 2008

Alarming Trend with Younger Leaders and the SBC

While the recently released study of Lifeway Research about the age of attenders at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention does not surprise me, seeing the research in black and white is still disturbing. Since I became a pastor at the age of 25, I have tried to faithfully attend conventions, conferences, and meetings within our convention. In local meetings, I have often found that I am the youngest attender by 10, 15, or even 20 years. At the national events that I have attended, it is obvious that the average of the attenders is definitely pushed in an older direction.

Both Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer have written insightful posts on the research. And while I do not have the years of experience or credentials that they do, here are a few reasons that I as a 31 year old pastor think the trend might be happening:

1. Perceived Lack of Importance - Many of the young leaders with whom I talk mention the fact that there seems to be no real purpose in the meetings. Many of them feel that the convention is a distraction or hindrance to doing effective ministry in their local setting. I have talked recently with people who are men of great character and leadership potential. Our conversation centered on whether they would be attending the convention this year. Their response was "I just don't see any point in going."

2. Perceived Lack of Desire for Our Involvement - One of the conventions mentioned in the report is the 2005 convention in Nashville. One of the events that I was most excited about in the weeks before the convention that year was the Younger Leaders meeting that happened before the convention. While I enjoyed the event, I walked away feeling that again I had been talked to and not heard from. I still felt after that meeting that no "real" attempts were being made to reach out to a younger generation of leaders.

3. Perceived Exclusivity - Part of the real disillusionment with the SBC among younger leaders is the idea that leadership is hand-picked among a select group of individuals. At a recent meeting of young leaders in the Nashville area, we spent a great amount of time talking about how we really wanted to participate, but did not know how to "break into" the group that always seems to lead. The election of Frank Page a couple of years ago may have signaled a change in the SBC, but many younger leaders feel that they do not want to put the effort into the national convention that is needed to "break in" to the groups that select the leadership.

4. Perceived Legalism - I don't know that legalism is the best choice here, but I think it fits. Our generation seems to be much more open to cooperating with people across denominational lines to spread the Gospel than our predecessors. We are more willing to look over issues that are not biblically mandated (although they have been taught as such in our churches for years) but are interpretation choices. We are willing to work with people who are building up the Kingdom. We are not liberal or moderate, but we do feel that we need to cooperate more with Bible believing organizations outside the convention to see people saved.

5. "We keep bombing the rubble" - I am appreciative to the great men of God who fought the battle for the Bible in the mid 80's and early 90's. While I was not there, I have been fortunate to hear the stories of my father-in-law who did attend those meetings. I heard with admiration as he talked about the votes and the battle. But now it seems that we kept on fighting after the battle was won. The quote above comes from a recent discussion with Dr. Jim Henry who captured what many young leaders feel about the convention. Consequently, they feel that they don't want to be a part of a convention that continually fires on one another.

Four of the above reasons start with the word "perceived." The reason for that wording is that there may be real attempts to reach out, but younger leaders do not see it that way. I would argue that there is great importance in our annual meetings, but younger leaders do not see it that way.

I hesitate to post this entry, because I feel like I have only given the problems without offering solutions. I don't have the answers to the trend, but I do think it is a problem that we need to seriously think about in the days ahead.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Random Quote

"It is not difficult to be relevant if you don't care about being biblical. And it is not difficult to be biblical if you don't care about being relevant. The real challenge is to be both at the same time."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Looking Ahead to 2008

Well, since I have looked back at 2007, I thought it might be good to think about what interesting things are coming in 2008. And while it is a significant year for many reasons (i.e. Leap Year, the International Year of Planet Earth, the European Year of Intercultural Exchange, the International Year of the Potato [both my sons will be excited about that], and the International Year of Sanitation), it is also a year of great promise for the work God is doing in the life of our family. So here is my list of ten things about 2008 that excite me:

10. Summer Movies - During the Christmas break, I saw I Am Legend and National Treasure 2 on consecutive nights. And just to let you know - that means that I saw as many non-animated movies in 2 nights as I had seen in the previous 2 years. Both were good - but the previews of a couple of movies got me really excited about movies coming out this summer. I am most excited about Prince Caspian - the second movie in the great C.S. Lewis Narnia series. But I am also looking forward to the new Indiana Jones and the latest int he Batman series.

9. Vols, Cards, and Titans - I am a big sports fan and always look forward to the start of new seasons with my favorite teams. All of three of my favorite teams had interesting years in 2007 and have questions to answer in the year ahead. Who will be the new offensive coordinator at UT and will he know how to call off-tackle right? Will Crompton play to his ability? Will the BasketVols make it to a Final Four? Will Chris Lofton remember how to be the "dagger"? How will Colby Rasmus fair in CF? Who will be the Cards' 5th starter (or 4th or 3rd or 2nd or even 1st for that matter)? Will the Titans draft or acquire some WR help for Vince? All of these questions will be answered in 2008. Here's hoping for the best.

8. SBC in Indianapolis - It has been a few years since Susan and I have been able to attend the Southern Baptist Convention. This year we already have plans to go to Indianapolis. It ought to be an interesting year with a real election for President and other issues that are in discussion.

7. Cohort at Southern Seminary - By the time 2008 ends, I will only have two weeks of class remaining at Louisville in my PhD program. I am already excited about my classes in May as we talk about church planting, leadership, and the authority of Scripture. I look forward to seeing the guys again and being pushed intellectually and spiritually.

6. Olympics - I am a sucker for international competition. In the coming year, I will watch a lot of coverage of the Ryder Cup and other international competitions. But the event that I look forward to every four years will happen in China this year. The 2008 Olympic Games should be an interesting competition and forum for the world's largest nation. I look forward to hearing of the athletes and stories that will abound. I am also looking forward to hearing how Christians can impact the world in a place where Christianity is rapidly growing.

5. Election - Just as every leap year brings the Olympics, it also brings an election for President of the United States. With the shakeup that happened in Iowa, it promises to be a very interesting year as we approach November. I know that I will be checking out Rasmussen Reports on a daily basis to see where the candidates stand. Let's just hope for a clear winner this year.

4. Full-Year at FBCG - I am really excited about what God has in store for us here at First Baptist Church Goodlettsville. I truly believe that God has a great future here and look forward to seeing Him move in this year.

3. Eli Starts School - Somewhere around Monday, August 11, our oldest son will officially begin Kindergarten. There has been very little in my life that reminds me of how fast time flies as writing the above statement. In fact, I don't really know why I just put this on the list because I really don't want to think about it.

2. A House - At some point in the first part of the year, we are going to buy a house here. We have been living on the second floor of an apartment for over four months and are very much looking forward to having a home to call our own.

1. 10th Anniversary - This July 25 marks the 10th Anniversary of our marriage. In those 10 years, I have grown to love my wife on a daily basis. We have been blessed with two boys when we were told we might not ever have children. We have been privileged to pastor in two great churches. This July we hope to be able to get away to celebrate those ten years. While we will not make it back to where we took our honeymoon,I look forward to spending time with her as we celebrate what God has done in our lives over the past 10 years.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Are You Ready for 2008?

In a message that looks forward to 2008, I look at the two ways that you can approach a year of unknowns. Will you face 2008 with fear or embrace it with faith?...

To listen, just click play.