Making the Most of Your Time(line)

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Just a quick scroll through my Twitter Timeline can be a teachable moment for me. Like everyone else I am busy, and I really don’t need 1 more distraction in my life. However, quick peaks on Twitter throughout the day can be just what I need for a thought provoking moment, a story that captivates and challenges me, or the spark for an idea that requires investigation at a later time.

As a pastor here are 4 follows that are very much worth my time. They may not be the ones for you, but finding and following the right ‘Tweets’ can make the difference between killing time and seizing a moment!

@ScotMcKnight http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/

@WillMancini http://www.willmancini.com/

@CatalystLeader http://catalystconference.com/

@leadnet http://leadnet.org/

Who do you follow that inspires, educates, and challenges you?

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What can your church learn from a hospital?

I’ve spent a great deal of time in and out of the hospital recently. Sitting around various waiting rooms I began to think about what could a church learn from a hospital. In many ways these institutions are dissimilar. However, there are innumerable real life lessons discovered down the hallways of a hospital that bring focus to mission and visions for life both individually and corporately.

Here are a few reflections…

-Bad stuff happens, be ready!
Life inside a hospital causes you to quickly learn that suffering is inevitable in this life, for some more severe than others. Some try to ignore the possibility of pain, others figure out things to blame the suffering on. But ignoring is ignorance and too many people are busy arguing questions that people who are hurting aren’t even asking. Jesus clearly tells us hard times are part of our humanity. (John 16:33…In this world you will have trouble.)

So, as churches and as followers of Christ we need to prepare ahead of time. We need to be ready for the likelihood of suffering and not be swept away by trouble whether that be our own or that of another. In Christ we have the power and the perspective needed to endure any and every trial, as the remainder of the previous verse states…
John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

-The proper diagnosis determines treatment
If it’s discovered that you have cancer, advice to ‘take two aspirins and call me in the morning’ is a prescription that would get many doctors a sucker punch on the chin. Diagnosis is foundational and leads to the proper course of treatment. This is why so much time is taken to determine and confirm the right diagnosis, so that the very best plan can be made.

Often in our lives, and in our churches we are more interested in treatment options than we are fully understanding the diagnosis. Christian bookstores are filled with the equivalent of self-help books, sermons are laced with 6 steps to a happier, holier home and a hotter husband. We love to do stuff, we value helping ourselves.

Yet the gospel truth is that everyone of us are ravaged to our core by sin, a disease more menacing and demanding than the vilest cancer. We are held in sins vice grip, and none of our 6 steps to freedom or self-esteem exercises can break it’s power. Only through the loving and costly grace of Jesus Christ can sin be overcome and salvation found.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For some this does not seem to come across as an encouraging story, BUT I believe that only when we discover the gravity of the diagnosis of our sinful state, will we be able to fully embrace and rejoice in the glory of Christ! The biggest problems in our churches and in our lives are not divorce rates, financial or sexual issues, rather, it’s sin! So then, turn to Christ, run to Christ, and trust Christ today, everyday, and every day after!

Shoot for ‘The Loop’ Magazine

I got to stand on the roof of our office for about a half hour in the HEAT with 2 cool and creative guys. The 2 Chris’, Loope and Hylton are part of our amazing graphics team here at Cornerstone. I am a horrible model, but I enjoyed the attempt anyways. Here are a few of Chris’ shots…

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To see more of his work check this out… Chris Loope.

Come Clean!

I have witnessed way too much avoidance of responsibility this week. First off, Rod Blagojevich continues to demand that he has done ‘nothing’ wrong. In spite of what seems to an inordinate amount of accusations, it looks like he will duck any and every sense of responsibility until the bitter end. Even on the radio today callers were siding with Blago, saying that they think he is guilty but that so is everyone else in Illinois politics so then, the governor should be left alone. This whole story is detestable, and it seems to me that the governor’s ability to govern is already a lost cause, yet still he continues.

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Then even more disturbingly we have exhibit #2 Ted Haggard…

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Ted Haggard has a documentary airing on HBO beginning tonight, and has been making his rounds with the likes of Oprah & Larry King. I watched his interview with Oprah and I was extremely disappointed. I am still not sure what he thinks is right vs. wrong, or exactly what he is taking responsibility for. I finished watching Oprah more confused about Ted Haggard than I was before.

There was one interchange where Mrs. Haggard and Oprah exchanged heated words and Ted sided with Oprah, throwing his own wife ‘under the bus’. The disagreement centered on wheter or not we are responsible for our desires and acting out on our desires. Oprah’s basic point was that Ted’s desires, the homosexual ones, were not ‘wrong’ but rather his lying about having these desires was his ‘problem’. Mrs. Haggard’s point was that our desires are not always right, so then acting out on bad desires is irresponsible.

I think that this whole conversation is clouded by the issue of sexuality. No one would argue that if you struggle with anger, then it is most often wrong to act out on that desire. If a person claimed that’s just my desire, ‘I just struggle with anger’; then they could justify acting out in anger by violence, and even murder.

Ted Haggard just doesn’t seem to take full responsibility for his actions. It seems to me to be premature for his return to public. I don’t understand his need to hurl his family back into the eyes of public scrutiny, especially when he has such difficulty explaining where he is on this journey. Remember, this man has communicated for all of his adult life, he is articulate, educated, and renowned as a speaker. However, he just can’t seem to explain himself, and I wish he would have kept to the privacy of his home and family, dealing with this in more depth before reemerging before coming clean, fully clean!

I read the following article today and I think it addresses this issue in a thoughtful way…

http://tinyurl.com/d62lpy

India/Sri Lanka

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BCM International

This will be my final post journaling our adventures from India and Sri Lanka. I wish I could share more of the wonderful experiences, but there would never be enough time, so here are some highlights…


As I was laughing about this plate, I was told that this was one of the BCM pastors in India. Just spreadin’ the good news!


Where in the world did they get this sign? A great place to eat, if you are ever in the neighborhood! (Sri Lanka)


Smackdown has made it to Sri Lanka. I bet he has no idea what he is wearing!


This is the capital & port city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Only after taking this picture did the guards run out on the beach and tell us that no one is allowed to photograph the harbor, for security reasons. Sri Lanka is currently fighting a war in the northern parts of the country, so tensions and security are a little tight.


We participated in the dedication of this new BCM church facility.


This is the conference/training center for BCM International in India. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with this ministry. They are truly doing amazing work all over the world. For more information check them out here BCM.

Before this trip I had only read about church planting movements like this. Since 1984 in India alone, BCM has started over 16,000 new congregations and baptized over 400,000 new believers in Jesus. Last year (2008) they saw 734 congregations started and almost 3,000 new believers follow Christ in baptism. Each pastor is responsible to reach 10 new villages a year and expected to personally lead 10 people to faith in Christ.

The pastors in BCM are the real deal. These men are a tremendous example of faith and courage and I pray God’s great blessings on them.