Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Our Medium Group

I kind of lead our small group. Except there is about 18 people in it, so I like to call it a medium group. But I can't do that too often because it makes it sound like a coven. We meet everyother Friday night and pay to have the kids taken care of. I really love the people in our group.

We are normal people, ex-anythings that are trying to learn to follow and become a community of Chrsitians who are committed to each other, Jesus and those not in our medium group. We want Albany to be better because we are becoming more like Jesus. We want to gather and yet be different so that we have diverse relationships.
We are all similar age and have kids, but that was an accident (not the kids, the formation of the mediums).

So last week we started watching The Jesus I Never Knew with Yancey. When we came back from the video (VHS, we had to watch it in another room) I sat on the floor (like the hippy I am) and the whole group set up in stadium seating on the couch and stools behind the couch. Since I am trying to help us create a group instead of a feeding trough I asked (told) them to move around to the side and make more of a circle. I asserted my leadership. I got a couple weird looks but they moved and we had one of our best groups ever. The conversation wasn't all through me, it actually moved around the room and there was direct interaction between people. I was very blessed.

I am thinking about this, though, becauseo reading Dan Kimball's reflections on pews and thinking through my own theological avariance to pews (it worked in a system that is now obsolete). And I am thinking about our small group last year, where I tried to not be the leader and just be communal. That sucked. The group was great, and I loved the people, but we went no where. Albany was not better because we met on Friday nights.

This year I have been asserting myself as an emerging leader. It feels weird, different, but I am, I think, more truly living out my calling as a pastor when I am leading people (youth, adults, seniors, whoever). Not way out in front, but just barely ahead and helping them to come see more of the Jesus-way (props to Sander's Spiritual Leadership).

Who would have thought all this up? What a blessing to partner with the Lord in what is coming soon and is already here...but has been forever.



Jaws came out when I was very young. I am afraid of sharks and because of that I hate them. I hate being afraid of anything. So I think I need to make it one of my life goals to touch a shark.

maybe a small one in captivity would be a good baby step...


This year I was nervous. I have to admit it. The HEAT just didn't seem to be getting it together. But - SHAQ IS BACK!!

scoring 49 points in two games on only 30 shots (let's see Kobe do that!) and shooting 73% from the line.

Detroit who? Pistons? I might remember them...they used to be the favorites, right? Before SHAQ woke up?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Doug Pagitt, Preaching Reimagined

I read this book before going to the National Pastors Convention (which is a set of blog posts that I need to finish) where I was going to learn from Doug. I went to a early morning book club, but Doug talked for a long time and I didn't get a chance to ask my questions...that sucked and I was disappointed for getting up that early.
This book is a viewpoint that preaching goes more on the pastor side (as oppossed to the prophet side, ala Driscoll and Bell). It has some really interesting insights - if you are one who leads and addresses the whole congregation, it's very likely worth the read. Here's some stuff that I was drawn to:

>> Doug's style of preaching is (self-) called progressional dialogue. He calles traditional preaching, "spreaching". Saying that the church is the only place in culture where spreaching happens. I think comedians do it to though...but I don't know what the implications of that are for preachers...

>> p. 31 "We tell the story of the Spirit blowing where it will. Yet we resort to speaching in an effort to protect the story, to make it digestible and applicable. The gospel is simply too powerful for that kind of control."

>>p. 35 "I'm not suggesting we need a new kind of preaching to reach a target market. Rather we need a new kind of preaching because we need a new us."
And I (james) think the same can be said for forms of church!

So what is the role of apostolic leadership in the emergent church?

>>Chapter 11>>Implication vs. Application>>This chapter put to words much of my thinking on the application/implications that are presented at the end of Purpose Driven sermons..."Think about the ways in which the disciples responded whenever they listened to Jesus preach. They wondered what this call would mean for them. They talked to each other about what they'd heard. They asked Jesus questions about how his words were changing them. They were not asking questions of application, but of reorientation."

The gospel is not a prescription!

What does this look like in youth ministry?

>>p. 145 on pastor burn-out rates: "Something is tragically amiss when the life-giving gospel becomes hazardous to the lives of the people most engaged in it."

Divorce kills the Sabbath. Kids spend the week at one place and the weekend somewhere else....where do they rest if both parents are trying to get maximum relationship out of the kids?

I think I like this book mostly because it helps me to go somewhere with my
thoughts. Pagitt doesn't tell me things as much as he gets me going in
directions that lead to really really awesome thoughts, feelings, changes
and expressions of Christianity in a postmodern world.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

We've gone too far...

We should, in the America that is marketed Christianity, take notice when the Christianity we are marketed may have gone too far. This, I believe, is too far.

But it is so dang* funny!!

(*that dang was especially for Cassie...)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Recent Searches

Here's some recent searches that have ended up in the reorientation:

>> mtv overdirve (and yes, that's spelt wrong...)
>> "mark driscoll"
>> leron schults
>> "shed his blood with me today shall be my brother"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Prayer Rug

So I get this prayer rug in the mail, two or three times now and they say that if you mail it back, after using it, that you will be blessed a bunch. So I checked the appropriate boxes (asking for a blessing to cover all of our debt) and sent it in. Thing is, I used the name John E. Rocket. They sent me a book now! It's called the Seed Principle, and you can see where this is going. Apparently now I mail something else in, the little card on the back, and they rush me something else so that God can be my financial partner.

Th church website is here, and apparently they have been accused of being a scam trying to get people's money - I don't know how that could be!

This is even better than doing the publisher's sweepstakes!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Driscoll, Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

After reading this book, I am going to buy Mark's other book, Radical Refomission. It's really, really super. I am going to go through my regualr drill of quotes, questions and thoughts, but you should know that I stayed up until 2 am on a Saturday reading this book, and then spent two hours praying really hard. Then slept for almost three hours and went to Sunday - ministering to/with people from 8 am to 10 pm with a 1 hour lunch and a 15 minute dinner - and I didn't feel all that tired...a little scatter brained, but most people don't notice that as unusual.

Anyways - here it is!!

>> I noticed right off that Mark sees himself as a missionary, and sees it as his job to know the culture and the things that are shaping that culture in order to help his church enter that culture effectively

>> In the introdution, question two had a great little checklist that can help be a diagnostic for some church leaders

>> p.22 "The emerging church is a growing, loosely connected movement of primarily young pastors who are glad to see the end of modernity and are seeking to function as missionaries who bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to emerging and postmodern cultures"

>>AMEN!! Are you glad to see the end of modernity?!

>>p.23 "Will you proclaim a gospel of forgiveness, fulfillment or freedom?"

>>p. 47 "Over the years, I have become increasingly troubled by the frequency with which young pastors simly dismiss the New Testament teaching on church leadership and discipline, so that f four guys are drinking beer in a pub, they can call it a church...[I say] that sometimes a whore wears the same perfume as a wife, and it's no different with the bride of Christ."

>>p.48 (on homosexuality in the church) "It seemed odd that a male greeter who had likely had sex with a man before church chastised me for wearing a hat in church because I was disrespecitng God."

>>p. 59/60 Mark gives an example of his fine counselling skills. Buy the book for these two pages alone!

>>p. 67 on marrying people, "knowing that their marriage is for the gospel as much as the gospel is for their marriage."

>>p. 71 "I can honestly say it was the gayest thing I have ever been a part of." (referring to a church painting party)

>>p. 77 in response to the desires of some to have collective sermon Doug Pagitt's book, Preaching Reimaging, "My people needed to hear from God's Word and not from each other in collective ignorance like some dumb chat room."

>>p. 78 "I decided that being coo, having good music, understanding postmodern epistemology, and welcoming all kinds of strange people into the church is essentially worthless if at the bedrock of the church anything other than a rigorous Jesus-centered biblical theology guides the mission of the church."

>>p. 83 on his church changing meeting locations, "In the move, we lost some of our least-committed people, as I was hoping we would."

>>p. 103 "As I studied the Bible, I found more warrant for a church led by unicorns than by majority vote."

>>p.112 "As people completed the [membership] class, they were encouraged to either sign up as members or leave the church and go elsewhere."

>>p.113 on giving "So we started asking members for annual pledges, tracked their giving, and contacted them if their giving was significantly below their pledge."

And finally, why I love Driscoll...


When we started the church, I was full of pride, and by God's grace, I am now down to perhaps half a tank. I routinely critiqued the work of other men, particularly older men who had faithfully served Jesus be reaching modern and suburban types of people. It was typical young-buck-in-rutting-season folly.
But now that I've had a few years of ministry beatings, I am increasingly grateful for the Christian leaders whom Jesus is using even if they are considerably different from me.

If you are a church leader, paid or not, buy this book. Make your mission the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 10, 2006


This is my final opinion on Mark Driscoll....drumroll: I love the guy.
Like he cares.
I don't always agree with his statements, or with his apporaches, but I do agree with a huge stinking lot of what he is doing and how he is doing it. Why do I put this post up? basically because I have been wavering for three years with what to think about the pastor who I totally relate to, but is just so different than me at the same time. Finally, three things have cemented my thoughts:

1. He changes. His opinion on things 5 years ago is diferent than now. This gives me permission to be the same. So I can blog and not have to worry about it when my kids read it 3 years from now, because I am in process.

2. I just finished his new book. I am going to go through it on this blog. It has moved me.

3. The advertisements for the men's retreat at marshill seattle are posters with the picture of David carrying Goliath's head over his shoulder back home. That is what men's ministry should be about. The MEN in the Bible....

4. I know I only said three...but on Mark's blog today he put a whole post on Ulimate Fighting and had this line about why more men aren't in church:

So, I’ll just say that while young men are watching tough men compete, the reason they don’t go to most churches is because they could take the pastor and can’t respect a guy in a lemon-yellow sweater, sipping decaf and talking about his feelings.

Bring it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

You have to read this...

I came accross this article today on Mike King's blog (see Sidebar). The main points are thus:

How has this unfortunate situation come about?

1) We have been more focused on sin than the sinner.

2) We have been more concerned with creating a safe society than with making a positive impact on culture.

3) We have bought into the notion that we could effect a change upon society through politics.

4) We have opted for morality over the gospel.

5) We have become the self-appointed last line of defense that God doesn’t need and never asked for.

And the best line is:
Who told us to become the Moral Majority? Why was that the most important thing? If we were listening to Jesus, why wouldn’t we have become the Merciful Minority, infiltrating the world with God’s love?

You can read John Fischer's article here: The Separation of Church and Hate.

Illness and Production

So the family is mostly sick. Lj is getting over it, Heather is in the middle of it and Khobi is about to get it. I went two nights with 2 hours sleep this past week. Really feeling stupid - which is awkward when people ask you something really simple and you can't figure out what's going on. It's probably my deconstructionist philosophy slowed down that is most frustrating. I kind focus on things in a holistic sense and answer the question at the same time!!

That being said, I have been productive lately:

>> I preached in church last week on the latter parts of Mark 12. Used the term revolution frequently and feared that people would dismiss it as "that young pastor" I prayed that I would never lose my belief and passion in the revolutionary ways of Jesus Christ. You can listen to the sermon online at our church website (it will only be there for 6 weeks - so get it while it's hot!). Also, I referred people to two websites within my spreaching, The Simple Way and the Jesus Creed. I also told people to google Gamaliel the Elder so that they could understand where Jesus was putting Himself in the theological context of His day...wondering if anyone did that....AND I gave an NT Wright article about the Historical Jesus and Christian Theology from his website. Can you tell I was trying to make the sermon more than a 20 minute speech? Check it out!