The Blog of Gordon Pruitt the Pastor of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Christmas Worship Song

My friend Brian wrote a Christmas song called Glory Hallelujah. Below is an acoustic version (and the version i like better). If you click here you will get cord charts as well as an MP3 version of it. let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Worst Food in America

also happens to be one of my favorites. According to the December issue of Men's Health.. Outback's Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing is the worst food in America (from a health prospective). Check out the stats. 2,900 calories 182 g fat, 240 g carbs. Other than that it is ok.

The article says, "even if you split these "starters" with three friends, you'll have downed a dinner's worth of calories before your entrée arrives."

The sad news is that this will not stop me from getting them the next time I'm there.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's not your birthday

I was asked by the Washington Post to write a Christmas meditaion. Just kidding, it was the Goochland Courier that asked me. Here is what i have written below. Let me know what you think.

It’s Not Your Birthday.
It’s not your birthday that we will celebrate on December 25. It’s Jesus’ birthday that we celebrate. What would happen if on one of my daughters birthdays’ I got myself some presents, my wife some presents, and my other daughters got presents, but the daughter whose birthday it is got nothing? There would not be peace on earth or good will toward men. Everybody would think we were horrible parents. The truth is that is what often happens with Christmas, we forget whose birthday it is, we forget the reason for the season. Jesus!

One of the ways we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday is by giving to the poor. As Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, “whatever you did for one of the least of these (the hungry, the thirsty, the immigrants, the naked, the sick, the prisoner, the lonely) brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” What Jesus says in this passage is that he identifies with the poor. If we serve the poor, it is the same as serving Jesus, and when we don’t serve the poor it is the same as not serving Jesus.

Jesus not only identifies with the poor, he was poor. Jesus was born in a stable. When Joseph and Mary went to present Jesus at the temple and have Jesus circumcised their sacrifice was the sacrifice of the poor, a pair of doves or two young pigeons (Luke 3:24, Leviticus 12:8). You could make the case that when Jesus started his ministry he was homeless. Jesus was always eating and staying at someone else’s house. At one point Jesus says, “foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head.” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he entered on a borrowed donkey. When Jesus and his disciples had the last supper they met in a borrowed room. After Jesus died they placed his body not in his tomb, but a borrowed tomb. Jesus identified with the poor and was poor.

My challenge to you during this Christmas season is to remember whose birthday it is and give half of your planned Christmas spending to the poor. If you normally spend $500 on Christmas this year spend $250 on Christmas and give the rest to the poor. How much of what we get or give on Christmas is really needed? There are people that have legit needs some in our own country. There are over 6 billion people in the world and half of them live on less than $2 a day. 30,000 people die a day from starvation. That is one person every 3 seconds. In the time it has taken you to read this article (3 minutes) 60 people have died. Let that sink in. This is not the way things have to be. This Christmas season, remember whose birthday it is and strive to live a simple Christmas so others might simply live.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Intuitive leadership 1

Started reading Tim Keel's book today, Intuitive Leadership and thought i would try and blog through it. I am 0 for 1 in doing this so wish me better luck this time!
Keel is pastor of Jacob's Well, a church in Kansas City Missouri. I heard Keel speak at an Emergent Conference many years ago in Nashville and also some where else, can't remember where but he left a good impression.
The back cover says, "churches need to dicover new ways of leading that embrace intuition, creativity, narrative, and the chaos and tension of our time."

Chapter 1 is about rediscovering the power of story. Keel is big into narrative and believes that churches don't focus enough on the narrative of scripture.
Keel writes on p 36, "The Bible as encyclopedia of topical religious information? Check. The Bible as blueprint hor how ti make life work? Check. The Bible as a book of answers, especially for refuting those with whom we disagree? Check. The Bible as supporting material for systematic theology? Check. The Bible as the story about the confusing presence of personal deity engaging bizarrely unpredictable people in astounding and mundane ways over long period of time? can i Get back to you on that?"

This was convicting to me. I rotate in and out of preaching on narrative but lately i have not done much of that. Keel also makes a great point about how the words "remember! Don't forget" and found again and again in the Old testament. One of the great gifts I've been given is the fact that i was taught the stories of the Bible as a child, and i have not forgotten them.

Bringing this to the my church, what is our churches story. What are the stories we should not forget in our 150 year history? Who are the characters? What are my stories that i should not forget?
Keel says "we are called to story. To remember. To live. To tell."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Jesus and Football

My friend Tom Houck has written a book about 2 of my favorite things, football and Jesus. It is titled Between the Tackles and you can get it here for only $13. I am proud to announce that we are having our first give away so the first 3 people to send me an email ( will receive a free copy of the book.
UPDATE- The books are gone, Austin, Serena and Ryan Congratulations.

worship with the unchurched in mind

We devoted part of our service to “All Saints Day” on Sunday. We had a candle lighting in memory of all those that were part of our church community that passed away in the last year. What we did differently this year is that we used the screen to project pictures of the ones that pasted away and had family members light a candle as we showed the picture. This worked beautifully and was very meaningful not only to the families but also to the whole church.
Of the 5 people that passed away none of their families have been active in our church in quite a while and this service was an opportunity to show the families that we care and that we wanted to honor their relative and also give an opportunity for them to come back to church.
It would be safe to say that for 2 of the families they had little to no experience in worship. The sat up front, I don’t think they knew how the hymnal worked, and during communion seemed uncertain. And they really did not have anybody to help them (partly because they sat up front). One of the men gave me the attendance pad to me before the service because he thought somebody from the previous service had forgotten it, (I played along). Another gentlemen when he came up for communion starting talking with me, so we had a conversation while everyone else was kneeling around him, which is something I have never done before. For the other 3 families everything was comfortable and familiar. We say we want to reach people who don’t know the good news of Jesus, but would we be willing to change what we do to make that happen. This was a real eye opening experience for me because some of the changes I’ve made to the traditional services have been made I thought with the unchurched in mind. I guess they were not enough so. And is the contemporary service any different?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reading C. S. Lewis today....

"That is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first . But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us." Mere Christianity, Chapter titled "Is Christianity hard or Easy? "

I know this and believe it, but it is still a hard thing for me to do every day. Makes no sense. I have a cure to my problem but i don't always take the medicine.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Post about what kingdom means

From one the best blogs out there, Jesus Creed

Friday, October 05, 2007

As Iron sharpens Iron...

so one person sharpens another." This verse from Proverbs has been on my mind all week. After church on Sunday I left for West Virginia to participate in a prayer retreat with 7 other pastors. I would say it was 3 days of iron sharpening as we prayed, worshiped, studied, ate, laughed, complained, sweated, dreamed, and shared gas (like being in college again) together. It was great for my soul. As God would have it, i just happen to be preaching about the importance of community this week. My scripture reading is from Luke 5 where a group of friends lower one of their own through the ceiling so that Jesus can heal him. While i am new to this particular group it became evident that through their years together they have all taken turns at lowing each other through that roof to get to Jesus for healing. Christian Community is a beautiful thing when it works like it is suppose to, and is one of the most overlooked characteristic of a life following and so many people miss this.
While i have not experienced that kind of community with this group (yet) i have in other groups. When Karis had her surgery to remove her kidney our small group came to be with us at the hospital. We were soaked with God's presence. A member of our groups father died and we took the church bus to attend the service. A lady in my wife's group said that this group "saved her life."
If you want to experience the transformational power of Jesus in your life, Christian community where i believe it is most likely to happen.
As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"I have good news"

Jordan, our 4 1/2 year old had a little incident at her preschool on Monday where she hit a boy, (he had it coming). We had big talks with her after that and when i got out of a meeting this afternoon I had a voice message from Jordan (using her mom's phone), "I have good news, i didn't hit anybody today!" I guess that is good news! That's now my favorte quote as it passes, "sing it like Job."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

new worship service off to a good start

This past Sunday we started our 3rd worship service (9:45) which is really our 2nd (between 8:30 & 11). It was the largest service of the day as it had over 90 in attendance. Many of those was special occasion people, some wanted to see what the service was going to be like others came to the service because it was the first one. I really believe that by this time next year because of the time, and style this will be the best attended service of the three.

We did of course have a few technical difficulties. This drives me CRAZY but whenever you have technology you have that possibility. I tested the projector and words on Saturday night to make sure everything looked like it should look. It did. Before the service we did a quick test and again everything was fine. As soon as it is time for the first song suddenly it does not work. We have to reboot the projector. Luckily we had chosen a hymn for the first song and used the hymnal and the 2nd song was the best known and over played praise song of all time and was also in the hymnal. By the 3rd song we were ready but the screen ratio was off so we sang the songs but had to guess at some of the words!

My biggest concern of the day was that our 11:00 service only had 56 people. Some went to the 9:45 and others were not there. By moving to 3 service we are most likely dividing 220 by 3 rather than by 2 and that could hurt critical mass. I think i will make the 11 more formal by (God forbid) wearing a robe, standing in the pulpit and using more liturgy.

This was good day for me. This was something i've felt called to do since i got to St. Matthew's and i feel like we are moving in the right direction.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Miracles still happen

I played golf on Wednesday with my friend Tim and i for the first time in my life i played a round without losing a ball. As a matter of fact in might be the first time i have not lost multiple balls.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A good name for a church or not?

We are vacationing in the Outer Banks this week and we saw this church trailer. We assume the name for the church is taken from Acts 2:2 and is meant to reference the Holy Spirit and the mighty winds that come off the ocean. However, that was not my first thought. What about you?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Leadership Summit 4 John Ortberg

John Ortberg who i consider to be the most consistently great preacher gave the the 3rd talk today. As usual he was awesome. The only bummer was that i had already heard him give this message and I used a lot of it in one of my sermons and even blogged on it. With that being the case still in my opinion the best talk so far.
UPDATE: Here is the page you can find the Ortberg sermon. It is the heroes of the old testament, Esther.

Leadership Summit 3 Colin Powell

Bill Hybles interviewed Colin Powell this morning and it was great. This guy should be running for president, i would then be happy about my choice. It was a presentation/interview where you were more interested in listening and soaking it in than talking notes.
Hybles would ask Powell about what called his Powellisms and then Powell would expand on them:
Promote a clash of ideas,
-even as the leader you did to discuss ideas. You make better decisions this way. He expected people to aurgue with him but then to respect the decision as if it were theirs.

Encourage a Noisy System
-Really wants to hear what you think.
-he wants what you know,

Maintain an Open Door,- said this let to a crazy office but it had many benefits.

Probe the Organization-, If people are doing their jobs they have nothing to worry about.

Reward You Best Performers Get Rid of Non Performers- The good followers are always looking, if nothing is done to correct the bad performer the good performer will follow

Be Prepared To Upset People

Check Your Ego at the Door

Have Fun in your Command

Fit No Stereotypes- expectations and sense of shame, you are of this family do not shame this family.

Optimism is a Force Multiplier-

Things Always Look Better in the Morning-

Avoid War if at All Possible- this was very touching, as he talked about the first fire fights he was in during Vietnam , and the people that died in his arms. War should be avoided not only for our young men and woman but also for the enemies young men an woman.

BE Prepared To BE Lonely- Part of being a leader means you will be lonely.

Assignment- What were some of the Powell principles that I need to work on more.

Leadership Summit 2.5 a better Summit summery

Jeff over at smart pastor is giving much better reviews about the leadership summit than i am. Check him out.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Leadership Summit 2, Marcus Buckingham

The last talk of day one was Marcus Buckingham. He was awesome. I've heard him before and he is a great communicator, great use of humor and great content. Buckingham's schtick is that we should focus more on strengths than on our weaknesses.

When asked the question, "which do you think will help you be most successful. Building on your strengths or fixing your weaknesses?" 41% of people said strengths, and 59% said weaknesses. Buckingham says there are 3 myths we need to blow up and 3 truths we need to replace them with.
Myth 1- As you grow, your personality changes
Truth 1- As you grow , you become more of who you already are.
Makes the point that most of the personality traits you have as a child you have when you grow up. We grow and mature but basic traits stay the same.

Myth 2- you grow the most in your areas where you are weakest,
Truth 2-Truth- you grow the most in your areas where you are strongest,
Gave example of Shaquille O'Neal and how instead of focusing on his bad free throws percteage the Lakers focused on his inside play. As a result he was scoring champ 3 times and won 3 championships and his free throw % improve in the process.

Myth 3-that a great team member puts aside their strengths
Truth 3– a great team member volunteers his strengths to the team most of the time.

There are 3 skills we need to maximize the use of our strengths.
1. Identify what your strengths are,
2. Change things to utilize your strengths
3. Talk about your strengths without bragging and your weaknesses without whining.

How does this affect the church? I believe many people in the church are not serving in their strengths areas. If they were they would be more joyful.

Leadership Summit 1

Today begins one of my favorite weeks of the year, as Willowcreek Community Church starts their annual leadership summit.
The highlights of this year include Bill Hybels, Carly Fiorina, Floyd Flake, Marcus Buckingham, Michael Porter, Colin Powell, John Ortberg, and Jimmy Carter.

Founding pastor Bill Hybles gave the first talk titled "Vision to Die For." His basic point was that nothing matters more to a vision than for people to have ownership of the vision. The scripture reading was from John 10 and he talked about the difference between the hired hands who watch the sheep and the owner of the sheep. Jesus said that hired hands leave when they sense trouble where as the sheep owner will do anything include give his or her life for their sheep. The vision we share about our church needs to be one that people feel like they own. If not they will not feel invested and might never be on board. When people own a vision watch out.
The process Hybles shared for a shared vision was the following:
Don't create vision alone. Do it as a team. Ask people, "what does God want our church to look like in 5 years?" Most people don't have to have their way, they just need their way considered. This was great for me as our church is in the middle of a visioning processes. Most everything in my body wanted myself to come up with the mission and the things our church should focus on in the future. For once i listened to the part of me that was unsettled about that. It needs to be the churches vision and not Gordon Pruitt's. This was a great reminder and also shows me i need to involve more people in this process.

After you get done with the first draft, have subsequent drafts and present it to different groups. Again people feel valued and the result is a better vision.

Vision leaks. Keep casting the vision because people forget. Celebrate the vison when the vision is being lived out. As you do this more and more ownership of the vision happens.

Are you willing to sacrifice deeply to do what God has called you to do? Are you a hired hand or a owner?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Death to self

Been reading a devotional from Dallas Willard's book, Renovation of the Heart. Here are some of the highlights from my reading today:

“A shift toward self-denial is needed to reorder the six dimensions of the human self in subordination to God. Christian spiritual formation rests on this indispensable foundation of death to self and cannot proceed except insofar as the foundation is being firmly laid and sustained.”

“Our survival cannot be the ultimate point of reference in our world. We must not treat ourselves as God. This selfless life enable us to do for the first time what we want to do: be truthful, transparent, helpful, and sacrificially loving, with joy.”

“At the beginning of my day, I commit my day to the Lord’s care while meditatively praying through the Lord’s Prayer and possibly the 23rd Psalm. Then I meet everything that happens as sent, or at least permitted, by God. I meet it resting in the hand of his care. I no longer have to manage the weather, airplanes, and people.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

what are the essential beliefs? Are there any?

A 17th century Moravian named Rupertus Meldenius said, "in essential beliefs we have unity and non-essential we have liberty." I have seen many Methodist churches quote this when talking about their beliefs or doctrines. What is interesting is that John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church never shared exactly what he believed those essential beliefs were.

In the first chapter of Rob Bell's book, Velvet Elvis, Bell writes about a similar topic. He writes about trampoline springs and blocks. Bell says this about the springs,

"when we jump, we begin to see the need for springs. The springs help make sense of these deeper realities that drive how we live every day. The springs aren't God. The springs aren't Jesus. The springs are statements and beliefs about our faith that help give words to the depth that we are experiencing in our jumping. I would call these the doctrines of the Christian faith. They aren't the point. They help us understand the point, but they are a means and not an end."

Bell contrasts springs with bricks.
"Somebody recently gave me a videotape of a lecture given by a man who travels around speaking about the creations of the world. At one point in his lecture, he said if you deny that God created the world in six literal 24 hour days, then you are denying that Jesus ever died on the cross. It's a bizarre leap of logic to make, i would say. But he was serious. It hit me while i was watching that for him faith isn't a trampoline; it's a wall of bricks. Each of the core doctrines for him is like an individual brick that stacks on top of the others. If you pull one out, the whole wall starts to crumble. It appears quite string and rigid, but if you begin to rethink or discuss even one brick, the whole thing is in danger. Like he said, no six-day creation equals no cross. Remove one, and the whole wall wobbles."

I think i agree with Bell but i not only have springs but i also have bricks. One spring for me is the creation story. I believe Adam and Eve were real people but if it was proved as many people believe that they are fictional characters being used to point to spiritual truth it would not change my faith or cause my faith to crumble. The creation story is a spring that helps me gain a greater understanding of who God is.

A brick in my belief system is the physical resurrection of Jesus. To me, without the resurrection, you don't have anything. If it was proven that Jesus did not resurrect that would cause my faith to crumble.

Below are 2 slides from Dan Kimbell's blog from a few weeks ago that touches on the same topic that i agree with for the most part.

What are your essentials and non-essentials?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Put down the bottled water and pick up the tap water

This month's fast company has an article about the $50 billion bottled water business. Here are some of the highlights (low lights) and quotes.
-24% of bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi
-Fiji Water produces more than a million bottles a day, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have reliable drinking water.
-We pitch into landfills 38 billion water bottles a year--in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic.
-Worldwide, 1 billion people have no reliable source of drinking water; 3000 children a day die from diseases caught from tainted water.
"Bottled water isn't healthier, or safer, than tap water. Indeed, while the United States is the single biggest consumer in the world's $50 billion bottled water market, it is the only one of the top four- the others are Brazil, China, and Mexico--that has universally reliable tap water. Tap water in this country, with rare exceptions, is impressively safe. It is monitored constantly, and the test results made public."

The article closes, "once you understand the resources mustered to deliver the bottle of water, it's reasonable to ask as you reach for the next bottle, not just 'does the value to me equal the 99 cents I'm about to spend?' but 'does the value equal the impact I'm about to leave behind?' Simply asking the question takes the carelessness out of the transaction. And once you understand where the water comes from, and how it got here, it's hard to look at that bottle in the same way again."

I figure 50 Billion dollars could solve the world's water problems. What do you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

2 home runs in one night

The first home run came at our worship committee meeting as we agreed to move forward with a 3rd worship gathering! This worship gathering (service) will be alternative, contemporary, postmodern, nonorgan, type of thing. I'm pumped as i have waited 2 years to do this! This service will be at 9:45 and will start in September. Will keep you posted.
After the meeting i rushed to our church softball game, (i missed the first one because of the meeting). First at bat i doubled, second at bat with the bases loaded i flied out but it was a sacrifice fly. Last at bat i go yard with the bases empty. As i stepped on home plate, the question start coming, "why didn't you do that with the bases loaded?" They started calling me A Rod. I quickly pointed out that ARod would not homer in a 1 run game like i did but only in a game that was already decided. Where is the love? It's sad when the church softball team doesn't give you any grace. We won by 3.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Good News for Insomniacs!

My sermons are now available online. Well they have been for a while, I've just been waiting for a good one and I've realized that's not going to happen. Also you can get them on itunes.
Also we have created a church blog during lent was a daily devotion type of thing that matches up with the sermon. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Northern Virginia and khakis

Dan Kimbell's has a great post about observations he made this week while being in Northern Virginia. Everywhere he looked he saw guys wearing khakis, a blue blazer, an oxford shirt, and a tie.

"I felt like there is some supernatural unspoken dress code, or that we were in some school district uniforms were required. But we weren't. "

I must confess, this is my ideal choose of clothing and do consider northern VA home. If i had my way i would never wear a tie. Unfortuantely no body asked me and i our church is not there yet. So when i have to dress up i try to dress down as much as possible which is why i often wear khakis, a blue blazer. I still dream of the day where i won't have to wear a tie at St. Matthew's.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hope for the United Methodist Church

Bishop Scott Jones of the Kansas East and West conference believes the United Methodist future is bright. Thank you Andrew for the reference.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bill Hybels (or Hebels as i like to call him) Rocks

This is a post from the Jesus Creed today. It's about Bill Hybels pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. I subscribe to Willow's podcast and it was on my computer this morning. I've searched their website and itunes and can't find it. If i do i will let you know.

Anniversary Trip to Myrtle Beach

Leigh Ann and I finally celebrated our anniversary last week. We went to Myrtle Beach for 3 nights and had a blast. Did i mention, the kids stayed home! We stayed at the Marriott's Ocean Watch Villas.
Several months ago we received a phone call from Marriott offering us one of these 3 nights for $200 type of deals. The catch is you have to go to an hour presentation where they try to sell you a time share. Our room, or apartment (3 beds, and a sofa bed, kitchen and washer dryer )was normally $300 a night out of season and $600 in. Our guy took "no" pretty well and did not pester us. If you get a chance to do this, do it.
Here are a few pictures, one from our room, (we were on the 6th floor to the far left of the center building) and the other from the beach.

Don't Try This At Home

While playing with the girls on Sunday i took one of their bath toys and stuck it to my head. It was very funny until i looked in the mirror later in the day and again this morning. I now have hickeys on my head. Did i mention i have a funeral on Wednesday? Enjoy the photos, one is a reenactment and the other is the result. The good news is i am sure i can use this in a sermon at some point.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Jesus was not the only resurrection I celebrated on Sunday, though Jesus' resurrection was the most important. My pants, my wrinkle free Dockers have been resurrected!! Only $6 and you can't even tell that they were ripped.
My pants have risen, they have risen indeed!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy 5th Anniversary to us!

Today Leigh Ann and i celebrate 5 years of marital bliss. It just keeps getting better. I'm a blessed man. Check out some of our statistics,
5- years of Marriage
3- children
4- moves and homes
0- moves in the next 40 years
2 years and 3 months- time Leigh Ann being pregnant
11- months we had no diapers to change
200- approximate sermons Leigh Ann has had to suffer through
22- months until we bought a mini van

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Good News for the Child Rescue Center!

Thanks to all of you that give a donation for the war orphans in Sierra Leone. We made the top 10 which gets us a $10,000 grant! That is huge. We ended up #6 with 1041 donations for a total of $19,699 plus the $10,000 from Kevin Bacon for a grand total of $29,699. Thanks again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Last week to help War Orphans

We are very close to getting a $10,000 matching grant from my good friend Kevin Bacon for war orphans in Sierra Leone. Look what $10,000 can do.

$10,000 could support for a year 25 new foster care children (kids who don't have a home); or it could feed 60+ resident children for 1/4 of the year; or provide 75% of the annual education costs for the resident children; or cover 100% of the Child Support Program children (100 kids) in 2007! Please don't ever underestimate the impact you each have with your prayers, your time, your resources and your support of the CRC. If the CRC charity badge is successful in remaining in the top six charity badges by the end of the contest, it will certainly generate even more publicity.

Thank you so much if you have already donated.

The CRC charity badge is currently in fifth place and over $9,000 has been raised for the children at the Child Rescue Centre! Woo hoo! The contest ends March 31st. Even though we are in fifth place as far as the number of different donations, there has been lots of activity around us, and one charity badge that was not even on the radar since the beginning of the contest, rocketed into 7th place yesterday out of no where.

If you want to check out the progress this last week of the competition, go to and click on "Top Ten Badges" and look for the picture of Sallay ( beautiful little girl with orange print cloth on her head). Click on that picture and it will tell you what to do. The minimum donation is $10. If you haven't had a chance to donate, now is your chance. Many of you may have meant to donate, but forgot about it, or deleted the information before you had the time to make a donation.

Thanks for your help.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Holes in My Pants

Two weeks ago after church i was playing with my girls and i ripped my wrinkle free dockers right up the crotch. I was bummed as this was my favorite pair of pants, i mean how can you not love pants you don't have to iron. Today after church when we got back to the house my wife noticed i was was wearing those pants! My wife had washed my holy pants and hung them back in the closet. To make matters worse, today was "bring a friend" Sunday and we had over 300 people in church, and i was preaching with a big hole in my crotch. Unbelievable!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jordan's 4th Birthday!

It is hard to beleive but on Sunday Jordan celebrated her 4th birthday! We had a little party for her, it was a great day. Here are a few pictures.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

1st Round NCAA Picks, My Wife is like butter...

..she is on a roll! My wife got 28 out of 32 games in the first round. That is one of the best rounds i have ever heard of. The good news is i did pretty good as well, 26 out of 32.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Missional Leader, chapter 1

My friend Dwight said to read the Mission Leader first and then read the Missional Church. So i will do as i am told. (see previouse post about the Missional Church).
Chapter 1 of the Missional Church, "Six Critical Issues for Missional Leadership"
"This book was written out of the conviction that we need a new approach to leadership for missional communities," and the authors have identified six key issues.

issue 1- Missional leadership is the key, but how do you do it? There has been a lot of buzz about the idea of the missional church and people have come to love missional theology but not much has been written about how to lead in this way.

issue 2- Most Models Repackage Old Paradigms. -Many books about Church leadership and Church are just repackaging the old paradigms from outside the story of God's people. We borrow from business models, medical models, teaching models, psychology models, but not from the narratives found in scripture.
"when the church borrows and applies such models to the community of God's people it misses an opportunity to shape leadership around the biblical sense, in which leadership is about cultivation an environment that innovates and releases the missional imagination present among a community of God's people."

Many churches that i am aware of have used the business model and i believe have been very successful and have impacted me and motivated me in positive ways. Are these not missional?

issue 3- Discontinuous Change Is the New Norm- Continuous change is expected and can be prepared for, like you know your child is going to grow up and there is going to be continuous change in how you relate with them. Discontinuous change is disruptive and unanticipated and challenges our assumptions. I totally agree with this. I know a pastor who in many ways had great success at a previous church, he came to his new church and figured he could do the same things and have the same results. Well its not happening and he is trying to repackage (issue 2) things other have done and are doing, but the truth is he is not prepared because he is experiencing discontinuous change. What do we do when this happens?

issue 4-Congregations Still Matter - This convicted me and this is the quote that was like a dagger to my heart,

"Through the Incarnation, we discover that God's future is at work not where we tend to look but among the people we write off as dead or powerless to make things different."
I am sad to say i write off a lot of people and say "they are not going to change." But they are the people of God and they matter to God and can be used by God.
issue 5-Leaders Need New Capacities and Frameworks- the role of the pastoral leader needs to change. Because in a situation of rapid discontinuous change, leaders must understand and develop skills and competencies to lead congregations and denominational systems in a context that is missional rather than pastoral. Say amen if you can.

issue 6- A Congregation Is a Unique Organization- "A congregation is not a business enterprise and cannot be treated as one." Guilty. There is a sentence about how a congregation should not be strategic planning around some big plan, (part of my study break was to begin this process, i guess i better skip to that chapter now) but we are called to be formed into a unique social community whose life together is the sign, witness, and foretaste of what God is doing in and for all creation.
Good chapter, a lot of information and i am sure the next chapters will unpack this.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bacon from Bacon for war orphans in Sierra Leone

Actor and good friend Kevin Bacon recently created a new organization called He refers to it as "a social networking site with a social conscience." The idea is that we're all connected in some way, that what happens to one of us affects all of us in one way or another. is holding an exciting contest right now… The six Charity Badges that get the most number of donations by March 31st will receive a matching grant from Kevin Bacon for up to $10,000! The Child Rescue Centre has registered with and now has its own Charity Badge under the Helping Children Worldwide name

I've been blessed to be a part of Helping Children Worldwide since it was started five years ago and have been to Sierra Leone and strongly believe in the work that is being done there and need to continue it. Check out the web site below. Thanks.

§ Go to the Top Ten website:

§ Click on the Helping Children Worldwide Charity Badge for the Child Rescue Centre.

§ Click on “Donate”, and donate as you wish.

§ The minimum donation is $10, and the entire process takes less than 5 minutes.

§ Increase your power to make a difference for the CRC - Each household can donate once for each person.

§ Remember all donations must be received by March 31st, so act now!

§ God is doing amazing things in Sierra Leone! Thank you for supporting such an important, life-changing cause!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Donuts with Dads Day!

Today was donuts with Dads day at Jordan's preschool. You gotta love it. I got to eat donuts (2 of them Jordan does not like them much), drink orange juice, color a dinosaur, play with blocks, get a wonderful work of art and a coffee mug. If only they had nap time. It was a great morning!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Will the real Gospel please stand up

David Fitch gives a summery of a recent Dallas Willard presentation on his blog. As some of you know Dallas Willard for good or bad has been one of the biggest influences on my life. This is the gist of one of his presentations, from David's blog.

"Dallas asserted that there are "3 Gospels Heard at the Present"

1.) YOUR SINS WILL BE FORGIVEN and you will be in heaven in the afterlife if you believed that Jesus suffered for your sins
2.) JESUS DIED TO LIBERATE THE OPPRESSED and you can stand with him in that battle.
3.) DO WHAT YOUR CHURCH SAYS and it will see to it you are received by God.

Dallas said compare these 3 gospels with the following:
4.) Put your confidence and trust in Jesus and live with him as his disciple now in the present Kingdom of God (Matt 6.33; Rom 8.1-14; Col 1.13; 3. 1-4; John 3.1-8).
Dallas said 'Salvation is participating now in the life which Jesus is now living on earth - Of course that involves forgiveness and heaven afterward and much more.'"

As usual, Dallas is so right. In the Virginia United Methodist Church, of which I am a part of this is how you could separate the pastors and the churches from each other. The conservatives are all about the first gospel, the liberals are all about the 2nd gospel but in my perhaps arrogant perspective there are not many churches that live out the 4th gospel Willard describes which i believe to be the correct gospel.
One of the many growing areas i have experienced in the last 10 years has been my view on the atonement and salvation. About the atonement i would have said the one and only meaning to the atonement was substitutionary, that Jesus death on the cross. That would have put me in the 1) gospel camp. Over the years as i have studied the Bible and read many books, including Willard I have came to the conclusion that there is more to the atonement than the forgiveness of sins. " With the forgiveness of sins you have to trust in something Jesus DID, not in JESUS. Please here this, I get on my knees every morning and thank God for the forgiveness of sins, believe me I need it, but Jesus came for more than to forgive our sins.

If you were to ask what the Methodist church is known for, what the strength of the church is, you would hear that we are good at liberating the oppressed and social action/social justice. It would be hard to find any other Christian organization in these areas than the Methodist church that does this better and we should be proud of that. This is where we thrive at that is awesome because God has called us to do so, but again there is more to the gospel. Here you have to trust something Jesus said, but not in Jesus himself.

The good news is with the help of the Holy Spirit as people begin to put their trust and confidence in Jesus and become his disciples, the forgiveness of sins and the liberating of the oppressed will naturally happen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Missional Church

The 2 years i was a Lewis Fellow i met some awesome people. Among the coolest and perhaps the most intelligent person in the world today, (I'm not kissing up to this dude,) Dwight Zscheile (I googled Dwight's name after i wrote this and found an article that he wrote about the Missional church) introduced me the the Missional church. I still don't fully understand the Missional Church but one definition of it is,

"A missional church is a community of God's people who live into the imagination that they are, by their very nature, God's missionary people living as a demonstration of what God plans to do in and for all of creation in Jesus Christ."
Instead of having a program for missions or evangelism the very nature of the church is mission and evangelism, there is no seperating. Anyway, Dwight recommend 2 books, the seminal book on this topic, Missional Church and The Missional Leader. I got these books in July but have not read them yet. Today is the day of salvation and i am going to start. As i go through these book i will try and provide a summery on what I've read.
Also check out this website.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bono is the MAN!

Bono from the NAACP awards

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What is a Christian?

I found this posting a couple of weeks ago about what is a Christian. and really liked it. It comes from one of my favorite blogs, Jesus Creed

Friday, January 26, 2007

Really, What was Michael Vick thinking?

Michael Vick did get exonerated for his water bottle episode but SNL had a good skit about it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Battle of the Bulge

I have not exercised in the five months Chloe has been with us. Needless to say i have put on a few pounds, (up to 225ish). So today i went to the gym to start the slow track back to getting in shape, (200). I ran for 20 minutes and did 40 push ups and 40 dips. That's when my shoulder started to hurt and i stopped. I am looking forward to the pain i will experience in the morning.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Playoffs, Round 2

I love sports, but when my teams loose i get over it 5 minites later, I'm not one of those guys that the worlds stops when their team loses. That being said, a day has not gone this week that i don't ache because of the Cowboy game last week. Please continue to pray for me and more importantly for Tony Romo. Thanks.
Last week I was 3-1
This week
Colts 28, Ravens 24
Eagles 17, Saints 35
Seahawks 21, Bears 17 Nobody is picking Seattle so i will
Patriots, 21, Chargers 24

Thursday, January 11, 2007

For all you sir mixalot fans

an oldie but a goodie. Can any of you name any other sir mixalot songs? I've got 2.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cowboys choke:(

heart breaker. It's going to be tough to preach tomorrow. What a crazy game. The good news is that they deserved to lose. What a crazy year for the Cowboys. Down then really up and just about the worst ending to a season you could have.
Here are a couple of questions i have. Why did the Cowboys not attack Seattle's defencive backs? Not one deep pass all game. Only threw to TO 3 times. What about Romo? I still believe in Romo but you have to wonder if he will be able to recover from this. First last week's play and then the fumble of the snap tonight.
It's a long time to September. They will be back. I guess i'm pulling for the Saints now.

Go Cowboys!!

Chloe and I will be pulling for the Cowboys tonight. I am pumped as i get to watch it live, i usually watch games on tivo because of church and youth group. The cowboys will fix there defensive problems and Romo will not turn the ball over. Barber I believe will start tonight and have a huge game. Three touchdown passes by Rome and the Cowboys will win 35-21.
My other picks for round 1 are:
Colts 40 Chiefs 35
Giants 10 Eagles 28
Jets 10 Patriots 24

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Reading the Gospels

I was having lunch with my friend andrew and he was telling me about the youth specialities conference. One of the speakers Ray VanderLaan said

if you call your self a disciple of Jesus and are not constantly reading the gospels you are on crack
(my interpretation). The Holy Spirit spoke to me and i decided that was what i was going to do. For 2007 i am going to read one gospel a week for 52 weeks. I originally was going to rotate through the 4 but then i thought i would spend a month on each gospel. If my math is right that is 13 times and 3 months on each gospel. I started early and am in my 3rd reading of Luke and have already been blessed. I am reading a different translation each time through as well, I started with the TNIV, then the Message, then the NLT, and finish with the NRSV. Lets pray this is one resolution i can keep.