Thursday, December 29, 2005

Evangelism, part deux

There is a part of me that says this particular post ought to be labeled "Evangelism, part 'Duh' " Evangelism has to happen if the church is going to survive. One of the great things is that the church will survive without people ever saying a word. God speaks to our hearts and minds, and the scriptures tell us "the very rocks will cry out" if we fail to speak the name of Jesus. So in that sense evangelism is part 'duh'

The other reason that this post ought to be labeled part 'duh' is some reflections on my own experiences with evangelism. I think maybe I will start with attractional evangelism and address the other methods in another post. Attractional evangelism says that we ought to live our lives in such a holy and distinct manner that others would want to find out how we manage to live as we do. The trouble is that too many of us, myself included, are afraid of what the real message of the Gospel tells us about living differently. We don't want to be uncomfortable so we carry on with life as is, and therefore the "duh" moment is when we realize that there is nothing substantially different about the way we live our lives so that others might want to check us out and become a part of what we are about. I know I am even more scared that if I lived the life of the Gospels noone would want to be a part of Christianity, shunned, herded, ignored, ostracized and berated on a regular basis is not a piece of life I want to share on a continual basis and yet the Gospels and the Epistles tell us that in fact this is what would happen if we were actually living for Christ and the Kin(g)dom of God on a daily basis.

Time to figure out how to deal with the fear I guess...and that is what will lead me to the next form of evangelism, confrontational evangelism.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Evangelism was once the scary word of the Church. I had one leader of church development recently introduce a new "E" word to me -"Elbow". The general idea is to help folks realize the truth of church growth today. The statistics say that for a church of Del Rosa's size (150 members, 100 attendance) we are likely to have 2 new "members" walk in the door during the course of the year. The other new "members" of the church will be folks who walked in on the arm of someone else (~%89).

The interesting thing about the stats is to watch it come into bloom in ways that may not make sense right off the bat. Two persons walked in during the past two years that then walked in with another 5 or more on their elbows (family) and a few more through contacts. When the truth walks through the door in that way it is kinda hard to ignore.

Then I got to thinking about how to reach out to our community here in San Bernardino, and the various pieces we have been working on: realizing who we are, who the community is, and what our mission is to the world in the name of Jesus Christ. We have had some real trouble recognizing the best way to be evangelizing the neighborhood.

All that came charging home when I read a blog from another hat tip about the look of evangelism. Check it out here.

Later, I will work on telling you all some of my experiences in each of these models.


Monday, December 26, 2005


I am working on my sensitivity, and trying to express my feelings in real and good ways. Strangely, this has happened most easily with my writing of late. Maybe that will translate over to the spoken word, and living expression of said feelings.
I was surprised the other day to find myself in tears because a rift in one of the webrings I participate in had been "healed" of sorts. Several of the members who felt they had been run off were back and starting participate again. I told them I missed them and expressed my emotion with the basic *misty eyed* and *grabs a tissue* along with the all-important "glad to have you all back". Something about the Christmas season got me in this way.

As I ponder this I realized I was hurt the last couple of times when I had not been included in the "weekly roundup" of the Methodist Blogosphere that Locusts and Honey puts together each week. I had been missed for the past few weeks. I didn't take it personally the first time because I hadn't written anything of significance and I wouldn't expect anyone to post that. The second time I posted in the comments to John about it and he quickly responded. I am now forgotten for a third time and not sure what to think. I can't imagine how much stuff John has to go through to read it all. I know I don't read all the blogs in the Methodist Blogroll, just a few in the sidebar.

I appreciate those who regularly update. I find myself increasingly frustrated by those who do not, and I can understand being dropped from John's blog reading when I stopped posting regularly for a while. This week was Christmas and I wanted to take some time away. I may not have much to share, but it is my own corner of the universe and maybe somehow someway I will make it through alright. BTW - Natalie if you are reading through this one your blog had some issues the past few days. All I get is code for your pages...kinda scary.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

(time to take it off the bandwidth for a few days to celebrate with family...see you after Christmas)


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Youth Leadership

Tonight is the parents and youth meeting about a different kind of youth group than we have been running. There are several UMCs in our area and the leadership of each has taken a hit in numbers of late. I have been asked by our SPRC and a couple of the other churches to coordinate the possibilities for a cluster youth group. This sounds good, but I want to be clear about staying in the youth leader postion for a season (like 6 months) and then winding it up to get it going on its own. One of the cool things is that during this time there is a conference with Terry Carty, of the General Board of Discipleship, who is going to do a workhop for youth leaders in the California-Pacific Conference. I am encouraging our folks to go and to learn. I intend to go myself. The youth are great and they have fun with whomever comes around. They want to learn about God, they want to be in service and they want to enjoy life with one another. I am not sure what elese I could ask for. Now I have to work on building the leadership of the youth and the parents and concerned adults to a place where we can all celebrate the life of the youth in the San Bernardino area.
Many pieces, and I am just hoping not to fall to pieces with that project ahead of me.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Good Morning

Time to get up! Time to get up! It's time to get up in the morning! I have no idea why but my body does hate me. I get up for the morning relief, and the head says...Okay, I'm up, let's go. What's with that? Does it not hear my body saying, 'sleep, sleep., must have sleep."
It does get me to thinking about John Wesley and how he chastised his preachers for more than 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep per night. He felt that they were wasting good time for God if they slept more than that. He himself often went visiting until late into the night (9 or 10PM) and then got up at 4am to study the scriptures and pray, only to be sure and get out into the fields to preach by 5:30 so that he could preach for a while before the men had to hit the mines or other work they were into.
I'm not sure I could subsist on such a schedule, but I do admire the man. I need more like the usual 8-9 hours per night.
I hope you are getting your sleep...and with the season what it is may you too have sugarplums dancing in your heads.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Which Reindeer?

You Are Donner

The most loveable and sweet reindeer, you're also a total dork!

Why You're Naughty: You keep (accidentally) tripping the other reindeer while flying.

Why You're Nice: You're always smiling, even if you've fallen flat on your horns.

Friday, December 16, 2005


So the latest debate in my church is not the question of whether or not to be open on Christmas day...we have gone ahead with services, even though they will be a little different than the norm with a Christmas concert by our choir. The latest issue is whether or not to hold an offering on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. apparently, there are those who believe that the offering looks too much like Admission and is therefore something that would turn away new people to the church on such an open occasion where folks may be checking out the church for the first time.
I disagree, and think that it is a prt of our giving of whole self to God, and therefore quite appropriate in any church setting. I have trouble with the churches who do not have an open offering, but do it all behind closed doors so as not to make people feel obligated or uncomfortable. Help me clear this one up. I know you all have opinions.

Not sure

So I am sitting here in the warmth of the living room, just hanging out watching a little bit of Fox Soccer Channel highlights from the J-League and find that I really like FSC, They are good stuff. It gets my blood flowing in excitement for the World Cup next year. I am a lot anxious about the teams the US has drawn in the first round of the finals, with the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana. If they do get through, they might wind up facing Brazil in the next round. This is no easy road for the Americans. We have good depth, the real question is whether we have the full complement healthy. There are some very good players and I think we can compete, as long as everyone is ready to play, players at less than full hurt us in 2002. We went into the rounds with players down, and it only got worse. I hope Bruce Arena learned and will take only healthy players to Germany this time around.
Enough for right now. amazing how I can start with nothing and wind up with something of reasonable substance.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


So I have spent a lot of time in the preparation for the ministry doing a variety of personality profiles, leadership style profiles, and some psychological assessment tests. I am still working my way through the learnings from the other day.
This time around it was the DISC assessment. It helps to determine your leadership style, and who you are internally, externally and in perception. For me I came out as an inquirer. I want to look at things from all kinds of different angles. That is all well and good, but it was another connection to another personality assessment that really laid me bare. I like to explore all the options, and that is great. Where it becomes a hindrance to me is when I take a look at my Enneagram profile:

Enneagram Type Six

Enneagram Type Six Enneagram Type Six

The Committed, Security-Oriented Type:
Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious

Basic Fear: Of being without support and guidance
Basic Desire: To have security and support
Enneagram Six with a Five-Wing: "The Defender"
Enneagram Six with a Seven-Wing: "The Buddy"

What's more is that I am a counter-phobic personality. Therefore if I fear it and come in contact with it I am going to confront it, with authority and confidence. So not only do I like to explore and check things out, but if I come across someone or something that doesn't believe as I do then I want to find out more. I do this by confronting it. Not so comfortable for others. The real kicker to it is that in order to discover more I will take a side that doesn't really match my own, especially because it allows me to discover more about the situation, by arguing a point I don't really believe and by learning the other position.

Now to the real to move forward with all of that. And then to tie it in with the other stuff I have discovered about myself through the MMPI, the Myers-Briggs, and others.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


There are a lot of things going on around me these days. I have just gotten back from a conference. I have had sveeral good visits with congregation members, both active and regular, and not so regular in their attendance. I have had some good times with my wife recently watching the Chronicles of Narnia and learning about life. I had a great game of hoops with some of the youth in the church the other day. My dog has been very loving and friendly. I had a wonderful visit with my folks this past weekend, and my sister by phone last night.
So for all that I just want to say thanks. To my family and friends. I have enjoyed hearing about life form other friends on the other side of the country through their blogs and generally making for some exciting days.

Which makes the tough discovery of yesterday so difficult. I am a target. People like to pick on me and find it very easy to do. I have seen it in all kinds of settings. Now, I can understand it when I get going. Folks who know me know that I can be very inquisitive and pointed, as well as very determined. This makes for additional target practice as the day wears on. But yesterday, I was taken to task before I even said a word. I hadn't done anything, been unruly or out of order. I hadn't made side comments while others were doing their thing. But, it made me sit up and take notice that I have this target somewhere on me that says I am a viable person to have strong and pointed interplay with. I don't know whether I relish this, whether I have learned to like it because it is the case, or whether I bring it upon myself with some other cues. I don't really know what to do with all of this insight.


Monday, December 12, 2005


Blogs all over the country today are celebrating the engagement of Gavin and Erin. Congratulations to them both.
I remember the Sunday I got engaged. I had a rough morning at church, and wanted to celebrate a decent day anyway. I hadn't seen my dearest in a few days and felt the need to visit with her. I made a mad dash down the LA freeway system and landed on her doorstep. We sat and talked for a while, and then I popped the question. She was very excited about this and said yes. I asked if she wanted to see the ring that went with it. Her response was that I was more important than the ring. What a great thing for a man to hear. I did however go and gather the ring from my coat pocket and presented it on one knee. She said, "ask it again!". So I did, and she said, "yes" again. Then she said, "ask it again!". So I did, and she said, "yes" again. Then she said, "ask it again!". So I did, and she said, "yes" again. (and for those of you who thought that I just double typed that last sentence because I was slow and didn't realize that I had already said that, you would be mistaken. I wound up asking four times that night). The answer was yes every time. We had the two year anniversary of that day just last week, she said, "The answer is still yes."
Pretty cool in my book.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


So tonight we went to see Chronicles of Narnia. Very good film. Apparently, several of the characters needed a mommy and one of the girls down the row from us found every character a mommy among the other characters. She was very preoccupied with this. Fun, and funny.
I also understand from my wife that if you saw the PBS version from oh so long ago it was very easy to follow. (I lived a derprived childhood, or at least deprived of this great movie) The book certainly gets you geared for this. But, even if you haven't read the book (like my dad) then it should be very enjoyable, and maybe even more fun than if you have read the book or seen previous versions of the movie.
Very good movie, lots of fun and the Queen of Narnia is very scary (in my book at least). Great symbolism, and much fun. Keep talking and have fun.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


So this morning is a little more chaotic than usual as my folks have made their way to town. they are off to visit my cousin who was recently married for his stateside reception. They were married in Fiji...must be nice. I thought Santa Barbara was pretty, but Fiji sounds awesome.
Later it is time to visit with one of my youth either over coffee or basketball. If I am serious about this weight loss thing it probably ought to be the basketball.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Party, Party, Party

It is that time of year again. I don't know if others are having the trouble I am with trying to determine whose party to go to. There are just too many. I have the usual array of family gatherings, a few District Events, the local church gatherings, a camp christmas party and I just can't do it all. A few things have got to give, and sometimes they make it easy putting parties right on top of one another, but I look at next week alone and there are between Saturday (tomorrow) and the following Saturday I have a total of 5 parties I have been invited to. I can't do that. There is no time to focus, but the social aspects of it all matter too, and how do I reconcile all of those requirements.
I hope your life isn't quite so crowded, or that you have the ability to say "no" as well.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A time away

I hear of all the other folks who are busy, busy, busy with work and such and preparations for the Christmas Event. (Yes, even the folks who have chosen not to have church on Sunday, December 25th) We want to take time away. That is good. Today I go to do just that with some clergy friends, not to get away from work...after all we do talk about lectionary study. This is great time. We visit, refresh and debate...all good stuff in my book. So I don't really get away from work. But, the kicker is that I do get away from the church, the phone (it doesn't receive much up there) and I get to go back to the mountains that I so dearly love.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


So I spent some more time trolling through the blogroll the past few days, and I may yet get all the way through all the many bloggers. But I must say I am getting more and more distressed that I have yet to come across anyone in the Western US. Now I know there are folks who consider themselves the West, and my apologies to you folks, but it just doesn't cut it. West of the Mississippi may be the dividing line for Easterners. So, the folks from Kansas also qualify under that context and Westerners. For most Westerners the dividing line is actually the Great Rocky Mountains. Texas still qualifies as the Midwest.
The reason this is distressing to me is that we live in the technology sector of the United States. We are so media driven here in the West thanks to the great distances from one place to another, and the fount of many media known as Hollywood. I have also noticed very few folks posting form the Northeast which raises another similar kind of musing. What is it about blogs that are so appealling to the South, and is this a Southern phenomena? When I lived there I found that many "Hot New Trends" of the South had been quite popular in my California HS while I was still early in my HS career. How did this happen to start and be driven by the South?
I want to know what is going on in my local areas as well, though I do tend to get a large portion of the "national news" from the bloggers east of the Mississippi. Is there a California blogger to be found, maybe someone talking about pastoral issues, or UM stuff? Anyone, anyone, or am I working in solo?


Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I try to read through the other blogs I follow each morning before I start my own writings and musings. The nice thing for me is that the majority of the folks who blog that I know of and follow are on the Eastern Time Zone. So they manage to get their stuff up early, or very, very late at night, I haven't figured out which for certain. As much as I would love to hear of California based bloggers, especially UMC bloggers here on the West Coast, I take my muse whereever I can get it.
In reviewing this morning's blogs I found a few of interest. And this is where I borrow from Locusts & Honey and give a recap...if this trend continues the only things on the blogosphere will be recaps and more recaps and so everyone will just direct you to one another's blog. That sounds like something to talk about (hmmm)...but back to the recap.
Gavin's car passed 200K. I try to sell mine before they hit 100K, but once you hit that landmark then you might as well go whole hog and see how far it can take you I guess. I saw one the other day at the dealership service photo board that was well over 500K, a Saturn. Kinda cool.
I am all about the Chronicles of Narnia and have been excited about this movie for some time. I remember sitting down with my parents to read the Chronicles when we were kids. I think we petered out on that when we got into the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so I have since gone back and read the books two or three times, the only ones I have done that with other than a couple of Ayn Rand books and a slew of them when I was a kid, like the Berenstain Bears. (Which reminds me that this week marks the passing of Stan Berenstain - thanks for the memories and the learning opportunities for reading) So thanks to Jonathan for the full length trailer.
Maybe I should save my comments on Shane's Wesley Blog and Demons until he finishes the post. I only saw part 2 today, maybe I need to go back and read part 1, or wait until it gets printed, not sure what the real scoop is there.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A Picture is worth a thousand words

One of my long-time frustrations with Christianity has been the adherence to censorship. I am not so in tune with that kind of thinking. And it was an article I saw on Yahoo Oddly Enough that brought me back to it. (Beware that some pornographic material lies on the other side of the web address listed in the Yahoo article) The frustration with Christian Censorship is that no matter what "they" try to censor, there is some form of it in the scriptures. It says it may not be good for you, and that I can deal with. But then to say that it doesn't need to be out there and "they" have the right to tell everyone else what to think is just not cool with me. Then something like the calendar in the article comes out and I wonder if this is the "right" way to bring the Bible to life. I guess in a couple of instances it does seem to Eve in the Garden of Eden. But Rahab nude doesn't make much sense and even less Delilah. Yes they were women of the bedroom, but really? Then again, so much of the Sistine Chapel is done in nudes, male and female and I wonder what thanks we really ought to be giving to Augustine who helped instill this modesty into the life of the church. The flip side is the Hedonists who caroused nude for the joy of the Grace that was to come from sinning so well.
Ahh, well, just part of the journey I guess.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Today is championship day in the college football world and I have some interest in a few of the games, USC-UCLA foremost among them. You may ask how this is a championship game as UCLA is #11 in the nation and USC is #1. The interesting piece to me is that if UCLA wins they win the Pac-10, with a win over USC they have beaten the #1 team. Statistically I don't know if Oregon actually wins the PAC-10 because they lost their 1 game to a higher ranked team (USC) and haven't played UCLA. Texas-Colorado has some nice bits to it too, with a plug for Colorado on my end. I would be happy to see Vince Young struggle. Then you throw in the SEC championship game, with LSU and Georgia. I hate to see either one of those teams there, but am happy that Florida and Tennessee have been shut out of such a game. The bummer is that Alabama was so close and then let it all fall apart with a loss to LSU and then Auburn. Auburn is the team my wife roots for and so that hurt too when they were unable to make it into the Championship after they beat up on UA.
Enough of those thoughts for today, back to the readings for the sermon.

Friday, December 02, 2005

That's Heavy

Thanks Jay for the reminder about what I need to be doing. Weight loss has been on my mind lately too. Of course going to the doctor helps that. I had a couple of appointments yesterday, and a lab visit today. Not so much fun. The real kicker was that the biggest reason for it all was the need to find a new doctor so that I could get my prescriptions refilled. My old doctor retired. He got sick and decided to call it quits. So that was a major bummer. The weight was one of the first things they take care of at the doctor's office. I was quickly made aware that I had put on another 10 pounds since I last checked. Now I gotta figure out the plan of action to bring it down. How far down, well 40 pounds would be nice, and 50 better. Food is so much fun though. On with the exercise it is...and then I gotta lay off the foods too in order to make this work.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blog, blog, blog

I must say I ran through my usual array of blogs this AM before trying to write mine and saw several things of amusement. I also checked out my email and found a thing or two that scared me. The biggest amusement came after flipping to the Locusts and Honey page and seeing the latest installment of the caption contest. Funny stuff.
In email I also ran across a few elephant jokes, most of which are inappropriate for printing here, but this one looked good
Q: What was the elephant doing on the motorway?
A: About 5 mph (8kph in the rest of the world)
The scary part of my emails was reading about a friend who has trouble with her current computer virus. This is what she is facing...

WinTasks Process Library
mrjj - mrjj.exe - Process Information

Process File: mrjj or mrjj.exe
Process Name: Puper-E Trojan

mrjj.exe is a process which is registered as the Puper-E Trojan. This Trojan allows attackers to access your computer, stealing passwords and personal data. It is a registered security risk and should be removed immediately.

Hope your day is brightened by a joke, and not daunted by fighting a virus, computer or personal.