Showing posts from May, 2008

Links of the Week - May 31st, 2008

Lots of good stuff this week. First just a few reminders... I still have a song to giveaway. Check out Captivated. Second, if you haven't seen the video clip of Touching Them All, you've got to check it out. It is the epitome of sportsmanship.
Now on to the links...
Godin has a good post about playing within the spirit of the game... Kruse tells us that sometimes self interest is proper.
What if Walmart ran the government?
Piper shares some tremendous advice from Adoniram Judson...
Is August really the new September?
Second best quote of the week:There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but
it's good." - Stephen Colbert
Best quote of the week: (from Crystal's son)"Hey, one nice sunny day in a row."Ed Stetzer interview Mark Dever. An interesting combination.
Russell more tries to move us beyond a Veggie Tales Gospel. (HT: Challies)

Friday is for Photos - Play Ball

Play Ball
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture) It's that time of year again. I'm not quite up to par yet, but shooting little league baseball is one of my favorite things to do. If I get a chance later in the summer I'll try to build a small gallery, but here's some interesting shots from the first few games of the season...

Wind 'er up...

Hold the line...

Look out below...
I bet that guy can really limbo...
This one's for your mom...
How do they get their arms to do that?

Ittai the Gittite

Now here's a name you don't hear much on the playground nowadays... Ittai. (Actually I did find an Israeli violinst named Ittai Shapira.)

From today's reading...
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be.”
Ittai is willing to serve no matter the consequences. Whether for death or for life, he will serve.

Lord, grant me the courage to serve for death or for life.

Touching Them All

I'm a sucker for a good sports story and this video has to be one of the best sports stories I've seen in a while. (HT: Kruse.) If you've got 5 minutes, this clip is worth every one of them. (Oh, and you might want to get a box of Kleenex.)

Help Desk - Problem Solved!

I couple weeks ago I posted about an interference problem a friend of mine was having. He tried a lot of different things and finally ended up trying out a Digital Converter Box. He bought the DTX9900 Converter Box from Digital Dream. He said as soon as he plugged it in all of the lines on his TV went away. I'm glad he solved his problem.

Now my question is why would plugging a digital converter box make the difference? Was the interference between the analog signal and the Wireless Internet Receiver? Weird.

Oh well, as long as it's working!

Thanks for everyone's ideas. I'm sure I'll be bringing some other tech questions to you on some future Thursdays.

Words that Rescue

Yesterday, I read about "recognizing righteousness." It was clear that the faithful God sometimes delivers affliction. But today I found out how to make it through the afflictions - delighting in God's words.
Psalm 119:92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
It has been so true in my life that God's Word is most precious to me when I am in the storm.

I will never forget going to church the Wednesday after my nephew Miles passed away. Because we were gone on Sunday they had postponed our Church Training Service demonstrations. One of the things that our kids do in CTS is called Bible Sword Drill. It probably sounds strange to some, but these kids learn the books of the Bible and quotations and doctrines and then they try to locate them as fast as they can.

On this particular Wednesday evening, my heart had been ripped open by the loss in my family. But every passage that was searched and read was like a soothing balm poured on…

Recognizing Righteousness

From today's reading...
Psalm 119:75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
This is a hard passage to me. The Psalmist trusts the Lord in the midst of their suffering, even realizing that God has delivered the affliction. Not only has He delivered it, but He was faithful in doing so.

Lord, please help me to trust You, even when it means affliction.

Music Tuesday - Shawn McDonald

This week I thought I'd share a song I've heard on the radio recently, Captivated by Shawn McDonald. My brother reminded me about the song; he really likes it too.

You can listen to the album and check out his bio - he is truly a changed man - on Rhapsody.

Tuesday Giveaway: First person to reply can get an iTunes gift copy of Captivated. (Scott, if you're out there, send me an email so I can send you the song from last week.)


You can check out an acoustic version of Captivated on YouTube or watch below.

Calvary Setlist for May 25th:
Great and Mighty
He is Exalted
Holy is the Lord
This is My Father's World
Worthy, You are Worthy

Biblical Instruction for Blog Readers

Here's a prayer for all of us who spend too much time reading things that don't really matter...
Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Our Present and Ever-Present Help

Today in our Storm Series we looked at Psalm 46...
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
This series has been a real encouragement to me. It has been a reminder of just how much God loves his children. We also used Rob Bell's Nooma video entitled RAIN. You can check it out on YouTube if you like.

I know Bell is pretty controversial, but his Nooma series is well done, and will encourage and inspire. That being said, it is still a good idea to check what is being taught - no matter who is doing the teaching.

Bursting Brawn

Today I noticed something that I had never seen before from God's word...
2 Samuel 5:19 And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has burst through my enemies before me like a bursting flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.
The "bursting brawn" of God is shown as he defeats the Philistines. It is exciting when God uses His power to tear down your enemies.

2 Samuel 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 And David wa…

Seeing the Big Picture

From today's reading...
2 Samuel 5:12 And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

It would have been easy for David to take credit for all that he had done. He slew Goliath, he evaded Saul's onslaught, he conquered the Jebusites and built up Jerusalem. But he was smarter than that. David realized that it was God who had established him. And not only was the Lord the source of his victory, but it was also for an even greater purpose. God wasn't exalting David for David's sake, He was doing it for His people.

Lord, forgive me when I take for granted your blessing. Please help me to grasp the bigger picture.

I Hate My Life

One of the hard sayings of Jesus...

John 12:25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Lord, I love the life you have given to me, but help me to serve you over all things instead of serving things over You.

Friday is for Photos - Purple Passion

Purple Passion (Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)

A few years ago, one of my friends gave me a large collection of perennial flowers. The next spring some of these Purple Irises started popping up. I remember the first time I noticed them, I couldn't believe the detail. (This picture just doesn't do them justice) They are small but majestic, if somehow that makes sense.

They show themselves just a little bit after Mother's Day every year and are usually the first thing to bloom at our house. And the best part is -my wife loves them too.

Here's another purple shot from some flowers just down my street. How can you not see the design of the Creator in things as beautiful these?

(Click for a full resolution shot)

One Prayer.

I'm getting so excited about the One Prayer Series. As of tonight there are 975 churches participating all around the World. We will be participating starting on June the 8th. I'm going to be speaking on Desperation, Chris will be speaking on Passion and James will be speaking on Unity. We are also going to be selecting 5 video messages, one we will be using on Sunday the 22nd and 4 others on Wednesday evenings.
I almost started preaching my message this past Wednesday morning at Bible Study, but I held it in. I really think God is going to use this series to stretch us and to unite us as we strive to work together for the Kingdom around the world. Please, Please start praying for this series.

With A Little Help From My Friends...

Do the guys and gals at Google ever stop innovating? One of the latest things to come out is Google's Friend Connect. This service basically will be able to turn any website into a "facebook" type site. Through these google apps, people will be able to interact with each other when they are logged into your site. They will also be able to leave comments throughout a string of networks. It will be a way to allow friends of friends to interact with comments throughout many sites.

For some examples check out the friend connect website. Or head over to

I'll try to share more when I get some time to test this out on one of my sites.

Only God Will Do

I often say that God is all we need, but when have I actually lived it out?

1 Samuel 30:1 Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire 2 and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 3 And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5 David's two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
It appears in this passage that…

Purpose Driven Community Gathering

Perry Noble is blogging about the PDCommunity Gathering. He's relating a lot of good stuff to consider.

Here's a quote that I'm chewing on right now...
The pastor who is available to people all the time isn’t worth much when he is there.
I'm still trying to figure out how to develop and disciple when there's only so much of me to go around. I've got to find a better way to delegate.

The Day the Music Died

Swamped. That about sums it up.

Hopefully I'll get some time to listen to some new music soon. Until then...

Tuesday Giveaway:
I'll give away a copy of Don McLean's American Pie The Day the Music Died to the first person to post or reply.


Calvary Setlist for May 18th:
Blessed be the Name of the Lord
Solid Rock
Made Me Glad
The Love of God

Links of the Week - May 17th, 2008

Sometimes I wonder why I read so many blogs. Not a lot of interesting reads this week, but here's a few things that caught my eye...
If you haven't already seen this, you need to check out Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff. It is rather lengthy, but so worth the time. My brother has been trying to convince me that less is more, and this clip is convincing in many areas. Also check out the 10 Things You Can Do.Also on the environmental theme, have you heard about the fair trade coffee? Well Tony Payne has an interesting argument for NOT buying it. HT: Challies.Quote of the week..."To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent." -- Robert CopelandKruse shares an interesting map from Gas Buddy.

Friday is for Photos - Little Red Ride

Little Red Ride (Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)

(You can check out a small
on picasa. Some pics are duplicates.
I was playing with different Photoshop effects.)Gramps has a brand new ride. With gasoline hitting almost $4 a gallon (and maybe over for Memorial Weekend) my father-n-law did some shopping. This bike gets 105 miles per gallon. But it only holds one gallon. Of course, with 105mpg who needs more than one gallon at a time? It looks like a lot of fun and it'll save a few dollars too. I don't think I'll be buying one anytime soon, but I hope to be riding my bicycle a little more.

What are you doing to save on your petro bill?

Are You Crazy?

I can imagine more than one time someone said to David as he was about to face Goliath... "Are you crazy?"

You're too little.
He's too big.
You don't have the right equipment.
You don't have the right game plan.
You don't have experience in war

And yet David said that God had something to prove in all this. Two things actually...
1 Samuel 17:46b And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.” 48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead…

Help Desk

I need some help today. I'm hoping one of you "geeks" out there can come to the rescue. One of my buddies just got wireless to his house from a rural ISP (Internet Service Provider.) Problem is, when he plugs in his wireless antenna to receive the signal it messes up the reception on his television. And if he plugs an ethernet cable into his computer the reception gets even worse.

He has tried plugging in the wireless receiver into different circuits, but to no avail.

Anybody got any suggestions about how to fix this problem?


By Many or By Few

Sometimes I get discouraged (I think it's a pride issue mostly) because I'm not part of a larger than life church. I read about Newspring or Elevation or Mosaic and I get really excited about the things that are happening there. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the church that God has allowed me to serve. They are some of the greatest people on the planet! But sometimes I really wonder what can so few do among so many.

And then of course, God smacks me on the head!

Today's reading...

1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by

It is the Lord who saves
. Why do I so easily forget that? I am not called to be big. What can be bigger than my God? Nothing. It is His battle and His victory. I've just got to obey His command.

Lord, Thank You for saving by many and by few. Help me to be obedient …

Music Tuesday - United

Can you have too much United? All of the Above was done in the studio so it's quite a bit different than their live albums. But it still has some quality music on it.

Break Free, Saviour King, and Hosanna all debuted on this album. Desperate People is a great reminder of God's grace coming to rescue us. I think you'll like the "smooth" sound of Found. It is a reminder of the fulfillment that Christ brings.

Solution is standard United. Strong Message and strong riffs. If you like to "jam" this is why you'll love United. Love this song.

As I said in my last Hillsong post, if you like Saviour King, then this is the album for you. It contains a 12 minute and 16 second track of Saviour King.

But I think the best song on the album is probably Lead Me to the Cross. Brooke is great as usual. This song can easily be sung in your church and it has a powerful message as well. You can check out the video clip from youtube.

Tuesday Giveaway:
Just post a comment below …

For Mom

We showed this video clip from Anita Renfroe on Sunday and it cracks me up every time I see it. How true!

Links of the Week - May 10th, 2008

Some pretty good stuff this week...
Jeff has a great thought about a broken clock.Marko's usually good at finding something to make you laugh.Papa John's is using the power of the web. Collide shared a link to 50 of the top church website designs. (We weren't listed, but after seeing these sites I can see why. There are some excellent designers out there.) I do have a pretty good idea for a new blog design. I only hope I can implement it before Christmas.I'm really liking what I hear from Tim Keller.Tony Jones is a nut sometimes, but he tells great stories...Piper again with some great words of wisdom - this time about not wasting the pulpit.Quote for the week: "When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty."--Norm CrosbyCheck out this graphic on all of inflation's little parts... (HT: Kruse)

Friday is for Photos - First Favorite

First Favorite (Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)

I remember how excited I was the first day I got my Canon 20D. I have really enjoyed this camera. Shortly after it arrived I received my favorite lens: a 70-200mm. I had seen some of the amazing shots that professional photographers had captured with this lens. So I took my first shots hoping for glory, but I was less than impressed. I wasn't sure if I had a bad copy of the lens or my abilities were just that poor.

Then one morning at church I took this picture of one of the horses next door. When I looked that picture over I thought, "Maybe this lens isn't so bad after all. Now if only I can improve my skills to match the ability of this lens."

I've taken thousands of pictures with this lens since, and I have to say that this is still one of my favorites.

Censoring Cyberspace

I subscribe to a tech list called "tech-geeks." This week one of the community members had this to add to a discussion about all of the mess on Second Life...
Back in 1994, in an essay called "Why Censoring Cyberspace is Dangerous and Futile," Howard Rheingold gave some advice that is still relevant today:
Sooner or later, our children will be exposed to everything we have shielded them from, and then all they will have left to deal with these shocking sights and sounds is the moral fiber we helped them cultivate.

Teach your children to have no fear of rejecting images or communications that repel or frighten them. Teach them to have a strong sense of their own personal boundaries, and of their right to defend those boundaries. Teach them that people aren't always who they present themselves to be and that predators exist. Teach them to keep personal information private. Teach them to trust you enough to confide in you if something doesn't seem right. HT: To…

Storm Warnings

We're starting a brand new series at Calvary. Recently I have been really burdened by all of the suffering and hurting in my own community. I have long had a burden for the "uttermost," but recently I've been seeing the need for Christ to change lives in my own backyard.

Everybody deals with storms. It's part of life, but the trick is how do we give God glory when we are in so much pain. I think this series will address that question and will also give comfort and hope to those who are dealing with these storms.
Please pray that God will use this series to His Glory.

Cultural Exegesis

In my inbox today was a newsletter from This paragraph really caught my eye, especially after just posting about Pop Goes the Church.
Cultural exegesis is an important task for the preacher, so we thought we'd help you figure out what to keep an eye on for illustrations or key points of connection.
The Preaching Today Blog has a post every Friday that deals with what's going on in the culture. It deals with spiritual themes in books, music, movies and the like. I thought the term "cultural exegesis" was a pretty specific way of naming the discussion over culture in the church. I know that Christianity Today also publishes discussion guide studies that work with different movies as well.

This is probably too simplistic, but this whole discussion is really about how we can be in the world but not of it. I hope we are doing this here at Calvary.

Music Tuesday - Steve Fee

This Tuesday, I wanted to break out an older song from a newer artist. Steve Fee has been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years. His music is very upbeat and "alive."

A while back I found a song from the album Sacred Space. The song is called What Else Can I Do. It's not upbeat, and it's very reflective, but it is beautiful. If you haven't heard it, I'd encourage you to check it out.

You can see it on youtube, but I think the Sacred Space version is much better.

Tuesday Giveaway:
Last week I gave away a song, and then that person actually bought the album, so this week I have two songs to give away. Just be the first person to leave a comment and you can have your pick of an iTunes gift song from any Steve Fee Album or Hillsong Album.


Calvary Setlist for May 4th:
Here I Am To Worship
Everlasting God
All in All
My Jesus I Love Thee

Pop Goes the Church

There is a really interesting discussion going on recently about Tim Stevens book Pop Goes the Church. Tim is the executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana. Granger is known for their innovation in methodology. You can check out a video clip from their Easter Service here. Or watch it below.

The big question is this: Should the Church embrace the Culture in its ministry, or should the Church reject the culture.Collide's next issue deals with this subject. (This is their latest cover.)

For a really good look at the discussion check out the comments over at A Little Leaven. There are people on both sides chiming in.

What do you think about using "Secular" music in the "Sacred" service? Does your church play U2 or Coldplay or Madonna or Bon Jovi in it's services? What do you think about using these songs as tools to convey a message or as an illustration? Would this be any different than Paul quoting a secular poet in the scripture?


Links of the Week - May 3rd, 2008

This week was crazy, but I think I still found a few worthwhile links. I didn't mean for so many of them to be for pastors, but sometimes that stuff just happens. There's still a few for those of you that won't be standing in the pulpit anytime soon.

Probably the best post of the week - The Hardest Working Pastor in the World.JT shares Thorn's "Questions to Ask before you Preach." (If you're not a preacher, you may want to pass these along to your pastor.)Ben Witherington has an excellent post about "the opposite of predestination."Morgan has another good post about how we communicate.Beautiful Quote... "It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are."
--O. HenryJeff Myers is preaching through books this summer. He's picked some that will really stretch your thinking. I can't wait to hear how it goes.Here's everything you need to know about the Democratic race for president in seven minutes. I wish we could trade th…

Friday is for Photos - Home of Popeye

Home of Popeye (Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)

I had a really enjoyable Friday this week. That's part of the reason why the Friday Photos is late. My daughter has been in a school academic competition in Chester, IL and I decided to do a little sight seeing. I didn't know that Chester was the home of Popeye, but after one visit, it is thoroughly etched into my memory.

There were Popeye statues, gift shops, signs, murals and the works. I don't think I've ever seen so much about this sailor in my life.

Here's his statue right next to the Mississippi River...

Here's a shot of the mural downtown...

If you ever get a chance to go to Chester, you'll also need to check out the view from Fort Kaskaskia. This picture really doesn't do it justice. You'll just have to see it for yourself.

If you want to see some more of Chester, you can check out my Picasa Gallery.

Samson's Lady Problems

There may be a reason why Samson seemed to have so many problems with the ladies...
Judges 14:18 “...If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.”
If you need a refresher on the plot check out Judges 14 from today's reading.

I'm not sure that "heifer"was a pet name for Samson's love. My advice: don't try this one at home! :)

If Jesus Taught A Bible Study...

I have always wondered what it would have been like to listen to Jesus go from Moses through the Prophets and interpret the scriptures regarding himself. That must have been the most incredible Bible study of all time!
Luke 24:25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all he Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
I also found it interesting how suffering and glory work together in the scriptures. Here is the passage we were studying on Wednesday.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.I don't care what any prosperity preacher would tell you…

Can You Read My Feed?

I bet you didn't know that today was RSS Awareness Day did you? :) Someday it may be as big as Casimir Pulaski Day. (Love to hear some Sufjan) I digress. Back to the post...

A feed is a format for delivering frequently updated content to readers. RSS, otherwise known as Really Simple Syndication, is one way to deliver feeds to readers. There are feeds for all kinds of things. You can get feeds for weather updates, for "This Day in History", for comic strips, and even for google searches. They are getting more powerful all the time. But the most common use of RSS is to share blog feeds.
So how do you "subscribe" to a feed or read a feed? Well of course you need a "feed" reader! :)
There are tons of feed readers out there, but they basically break down into 2 camps: Desktop Readers and Web-Based Readers.
Desktop Readers download content onto your computer. This way you can take what you're reading with you wherever you go. You also can search these fee…