Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Keyword searches on, and other places leading here...

I always find it interesting how people find their way to my blog, especially those who get here unintentionally. I was reading through some of the frequently used keywords to find my blog and which search engine was used with that search and saw some interesting trends. While Google is the by far most used search engine, I have found Yahoo to be more reliable when searching blogs. Google's new Blog Search function is catching them up though.

1) A lot of people find my blog because of my comments on Tony Campolo (here and here primarily)

2) A lot of people find my blog because of my comments about Eagle Brook Church in White Bear Lake / Lino Lakes Minnesota.

3) A lot of the posts people find me on are interelated. I can find a common set of threads through most of the searches for this bog, though an outsider wouldn't realize them. One very common thread through my posts that people find is that they have something to do with the Baptist General Conference. Eagle Brook Church is a BGC church, one of my most hit upon posts is about Tony Campolo coming to Eagle Brook Church, so that scores twice. I am also found in searches just on the BGC, searches on Spring Lake Park Baptist Church which is a BGC church, Justin Irving who is a professor at the BGC Seminary - Bethel Seminary, searches on John Piper (and Desiring God Ministries) who's church is a BGC church (Bethlehem Baptist Church Minneapolis - and now with a second location in Mounds View). I still pick up a lot of hits because of my comments on Joel Osteen (which I stand by), and I also get a lot of hits for my links and thoughts on one of my favorite preachers - CJ Mahaney. There was a period last month where hundreds of people were coming to my site because of my comments about Cancun and Hurricane Wilma, and how that may or may not impact my honeymoon plans (we're still going to Cancun! - January 1st!!! Anything but more Minnesota SNOW!). I also had a period where traffic spiked because a friend of mine (Dave Tilma - who has been on staff at 3 BGC churchs if I am not mistaken) was transitioning between ministry positions.

What I am still trying to figure out is what kind of impact blogging has on others. I watch how long people visit my blog, so I know they aren't just getting here, realizing it's a mistake and backing up to the search engine. While I obviously don't make every post about Christ, I hope they take a piece of Christ from this blog when they visit. I hope my witness is a good one, reguardless of what subject I'm focusing in on.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My little brother...a blogger...and other random thoughts...

Tonight I discovered that my baby brother is a blogger (see picture). Chad Allen Meirose was born July 19, 1979 and my life has never been the same. A note of warning for my regular readers, Chad's language is a bit more coarse than you'll find here, but I love him anyhow. Also, don't let your children read his blog, as his writing skills will set them back at least a grade or two. But he's sincere, and he's being vulnerable, so rather than bag on him, I'll build him up by encouraging him to remain vulnerable. If I'm lucky, he'll become a reader here. if nothing else, by mentioning his name - Chad Meirose - we'll get him Google indexed! So welcome my one and only brother, Chad Meirose to the blog world!

Second, The Truth Laid Bear has been fiddling with his Ecosystem. I've gone from being a Large Mammal to a Marauding Marsupials, which is like going from being a bench player on the varsity down to the JV team. :-) I'm currently 812th, which is surprizingly high I suppose since I haven't done a lot to promote my blog. I haven't even told my family and friends I blog, though my fiancee is aware of it (and very rarely even peeks in!).

Third, we're getting some strange weather for late November in Minnesota. Today in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro it was mid 50's. That's hard to believe, but it's true. The sun was out, it was almost like Spring. Then early this evening it began to rain, and steadily has grown more heavy. We have serious snow on the way. My family and friends in Sioux Falls and central South Dakota have been getting whalloped by a blizzard all day. I heard thunder a few minutes ago, and expect we'll have a few inches of snow by the time I wake up. The rain turned to snow about 20 minutes ago, and the ground is almost white already. It's those big slow falling snow flakes at the moment. They are so big, that if they were anything but snow falling they would cause serious harm to your body. It seems there is little to no wind, so they are gently and lighly floating down to the earth. It's the kind of snow that makes me want to run outside and catch them on my tongue like I did as child. As I look out my window I can see them dropping slowly to the earth in the light of the building next door. I suppose those who commute in the morning are in for a big mess. Glad I don't have to drive anywhere tomorrow morning. The picture to the left is of the State Capitol building in Pierre, SD earlier today (I used to live 1 block straight South of the rotunda pictured above for 2.5 of the longest years of my life).

Finally, whatever you do, don't eat the YELLOW SNOW!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cultivating the Soul - Spiritual Formation with Gordon MacDonald...

Spiritual formation can happen, without saying a word.
by Gordon MacDonald

Thirty years ago, when real estate in this part of New Hampshire was cheap, my wife, Gail, and I purchased an old farm and called it Peace Ledge. During the 1800s the land's valuable timber had been clear-cut and transformed into pasture where enormous work-horses could be bred and raised. Then around 1900 the farm went belly-up, was abandoned, and, after seventy years, became a forest again.

Occasionally, Gail and I select a small piece of this woodland and clear it. We eliminate unhealthy trees. We rip out the kind of ground vegetation that makes for fire danger. And we dig away the ubiquitous boulders (the gift of ancient glaciers) that might create havoc with the blades of our tractor mower.

Gail and I enjoy our accomplishments—for a little while—until our eyes begin to spot more work begging attention in adjoining areas we'd not considered before.
The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader.

This refreshing of our land is a lifelong task. And when we die, our descendents, presumably, will continue the job.

For me this outdoor labor mirrors the discipline of spiritual formation, for just as one cultivates the land, so one must regularly, systematically even, cultivate the deepest parts of the interior life where God is most likely to whisper (not shout) the everlasting promises into one's life.

To be candid, I've gone through periods where I neglected spiritual formation. I had all the reasons I hear from others: too busy, not practical, unable to concentrate, no clear sense that spiritual formation gets results. My neglect in those moments was pure foolishness.

Spiritual formation involves cutting, weeding, digging, raking, and planting—not with a chainsaw or shovel, of course, but through the work of worship, reflection, prayer, study, and a score of other soul-oriented activities described in books by Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Henri Nouwen, to name a few.

When a piece of our land is renewed, Gail and I are always surprised at the beauty that occurs almost overnight. Wild flowers appear; forest animals visit; good trees mature. The virtues of creation just seem to appear. And when the soul is similarly attended to, there appear the virtues of godly character.

A frank opinion? I don't think a lot of men and women in leadership know this. I mean really know it. What drives my opinion are these impressions.

First, the primary subject matter of most training and motivational conferences on leadership seems to be all about vision, about clever, well-researched programs, about growing large, successful institutions. Admittedly good stuff. But missing is the recognition that soul cultivation goes before institution building. How do you grow large, healthy, and authentic churches (the current rage) without growing the soul of a leader, which sustains the effort over the long haul?

A second impression: the dreadful casualty list of men and women who do not make it to a tenth anniversary in Christian ministry. Burnout, failure, disillusionment are exacting a terrible toll. I'm amazed how many ministers just disappear, drop off the edge.

A third: the constant conversations I have with younger men and women who confide that they are spiritually dry, unmotivated, despairing, and wondering what to do about it.

And maybe there's a fourth: I never forget how close—how really close—I myself came to missing the cut. Though my own defining moment of personal crisis came twenty years ago, the memory is always fresh.

Saint Paul's words to Timothy are too easily ignored in this high-pitched, high-casualty leadership lifestyle of ours: "Train yourself to be godly … godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come" (1 Tim. 4:7-8) I smell spiritual formation in these remarks.

The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader. This is not an add-on, an option, or a third-level priority. Without this core activity, one almost guarantees that he/she will not last in leadership for a life-time or that what work is accomplished will become less and less reflective of God's honor and God's purposes.

For the rest of this article, read HERE.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Fitting Address

(HT: Justin Taylor)

The following is an opinion piece from WSJ's Opinion Journal.

The speech President Bush should give about Iraq.

Sunday, November 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

President Bush and Vice President Cheney are arguing against critics of the Iraq war who are trying to rewrite history. There is some value in this, but it is a fight about the past and not about the future.

What most Americans care about is not who is lying but whether we are winning. I offer this speech that the president might use to tell Americans that we are winning:

My fellow Americans: We are winning, and winning decisively, in Iraq and the Middle East. We defeated Saddam Hussein's army in just a few weeks. None of the disasters that many feared would follow our invasion occurred. Our troops did not have to fight door to door to take Baghdad. The Iraqi oil fields were not set on fire. There was no civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was no grave humanitarian crisis.

Saddam Hussein was captured and is awaiting trial. His two murderous sons are dead. Most of the leading members of Saddam's regime have been captured or killed. After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents, but now we are prevailing.

Iraq has held free elections in which millions of people voted. A new, democratic constitution has been adopted that contains an extensive bill of rights. Discrimination on the basis of sex, religion or politics is banned. Soon the Iraqis will be electing their first parliament.

An independent judiciary exists, almost all public schools are open, every hospital is functioning, and oil sales have increased sharply. In most parts of the country, people move about freely and safely.

According to surveys, Iraqis are overwhelmingly opposed to the use of violence to achieve political ends, and the great majority believe that their lives will improve in the future. The Iraqi economy is growing very rapidly, much more rapidly than the inflation rate.

In some places, the terrorists who lost the war are now fighting back by killing Iraqi civilians. Some brave American soldiers have also been killed, but most of the attacks are directed at decent, honest Iraqis. This is not a civil war; it is terrorism gone mad.

And the terrorists have failed. They could not stop free elections. They could not prevent Iraqi leaders from taking office. They could not close the schools or hospitals. They could not prevent the emergence of a vigorous free press that now involves over 170 newspapers that represent every shade of opinion.

Terrorist leaders such as Zarqawi have lost. Most Sunni leaders, whom Zarqawi was hoping to mobilize, have rejected his call to defeat any constitution. The Muslims in his hometown in Jordan have denounced him. Despite his murderous efforts, candidates representing every legitimate point of view and every ethnic background are competing for office in the new Iraqi government.

The progress of democracy and reconstruction has occurred faster in Iraq than it did in Germany 60 years ago, even though we have far fewer troops in the Middle East than we had in Germany after Hitler was defeated.

We grieve deeply over every lost American and coalition soldier, but we also recognize what those deaths have accomplished. A nation the size of California, with 25 million inhabitants, has been freed from tyranny, equipped with a new democratic constitution, and provided with a growing new infrastructure that will help every Iraqi and not just the privileged members of a brutal regime. For every American soldier who died, 12,000 Iraqi voters were made into effective citizens.

Virtually every American soldier who writes home or comes back to visit his family tells the same story: We have won, Iraqis have won, and life in most of Iraq goes on without violence and with obvious affection between the Iraqi people and our troops. These soldiers have not just restored order in most places, they have built schools, aided businesses, distributed aid and made friends.

For the rest of the article, go HERE (free registration).
Mr. Wilson has taught at Harvard, UCLA and Pepperdine, and is the author, among other books, of "The Moral Sense" (Free Press, 1997).

Saturday, November 26, 2005

One woman's view on Bridging the Ephesians 5 Divide...

by Sarah Sumner

Marriage is a mystery: The Bible says that husband and wife become "one flesh," as head and body, in the likeness of Christ and the church. The husband is the head; the wife is the body. Together they project a spiritual image, a bizarre picture of a male-headed female body.

The language of "one flesh" and "head" is metaphorical, of course. And as Eugene Peterson wisely puts it, "A metaphor, instead of pinning down meaning, lets it loose. The metaphor does not so much define or label as it does expand."

But as metaphors expand into mystery, we become impatient, and we start reading into the metaphor things that are not there.

For example, it is often assumed that the word head means "leader"—though the Bible never says the husband is the "leader" of his wife. The mystery of one flesh is exchanged for a business model in which the husband is the boss and the wife his assistant.

In addition, many evangelicals assume that the husband is the head of the house. But the Bible does not say that. It says that the husband is the head "of the wife" (Eph. 5:23). He is the head of her. That makes sense in light of the biblical picture of one flesh. It's nonsensical, by contrast, for anyone to think that the husband is one flesh with his household.

The back-and-forth crossfire in the gender wars can, in part, be traced to our tendency to attempt to solve an uncomfortable mystery rather than honoring the biblical metaphor that describes it. But a careful look at the biblical teaching on marriage may well transcend the gridlock that we're in. Let's take Ephesians 5 as a prime example.

One Tricky Passage

Most evangelicals would probably agree that Ephesians 5 contains the most vivid biblical teaching on marriage. Many, however, argue over which verse—Ephesians 5:21 ("be subject to one another") or 5:22 (translated as "wives, be subject to your own husbands")—marks the beginning of the paragraph on marriage. This disagreement is significant because the first line of the paragraph, particularly in this case, may determine the practical meaning of the passage.

Everyone agrees that chapter 5 begins by addressing a general audience of believers. Verse 1 says, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." Verse 2, "And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us. … " If we skip down a ways, we find that Ephesians 5:18-21, still addressing a general audience, forms a single sentence in the Greek. The New American Standard Bible renders it this way:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

It's inconsistent to say that the first four commandments—not to be drunk with wine, to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, to sing and make melody with our hearts to the Lord, and to give thanks to God for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—apply to everyone equally while the fifth and final commandment—to be subject to one another as a matter of fearing the Lord—is suddenly one-directional, applying only to some, but not to others. Yes, we need leaders in the church. But the verse is pretty clear that mutual submission in the Christian community applies to all Christians generally.

If we look at the Greek, the very next verse says literally, "Wives, to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Eph. 5:22). In the Greek there is no verb. Wives do what? To find out, we have to refer to verse 21. In Ephesians 5:21, the verb is "be subject," so that's what it is in verse 22. This, by the way, explains why many scholars believe that Ephesians 5:21-22 are inseparably interconnected. The verb in verse 22 must be supplied by verse 21. Otherwise, Ephesians 5:22 is verbless.

So, then, where does the paragraph begin? In Ephesians 5:21, where the verb is supplied? Or in Ephesians 5:22, where Paul addresses wives?

If we start with Ephesians 5:21, it appears that a husband and wife should "be subject to one another" within marriage. Egalitarians refer to this dynamic as "mutual submission." They say husbands are commanded to submit to their own wives just as wives are commanded to submit to their own husbands.

However, if we start with Ephesians 5:22, it appears that only a wife should be subject to her own husband, since the passage doesn't tell the husband specifically to be subject to his wife. Notice that both sides agree that God commands the wife to be subject to her own husband. Evangelical feminists are not so feministic as to deny the biblical mandate for wives to be submissive to their husbands.

Go HERE for the remainder of this article.

Pointing to another blog - Faithmouse...Stop the ACLU

Faithmouse is a very gifted (and insightful) cartoon artist. If you haven't checked out the art work, it's worth a stop to see his cartoon commentaries. And if you haven't already, check out

Friday, November 25, 2005

Life Church - check this out...

Life Church is a very interesting multi-site church, with churches in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona. I point them out because they have a great web site, where you can watch their current sermon series "Parenthood". The way they have it set up though is quite impressive. It's more than just watching the video. Sermon notes pop up at appropriate times during the messages. It is seamless and smooth, and a model that many churches could learn from. Certainly not every church has the ability (financial or manpower) to accomplish this, but it's nice to know what other churches are doing who are on the leading edge of things. I will say that at first I didn't dig their senior pastor's presentation style, but he's grown on me. Interestingly, Life Church is an Evangelical Covenant Church, which is very similar to the Baptist General Conference and the Evangelical Free churches.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Thanksgiving Proclaimation


By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

How Can I Tell When I'm Spirit Filled?


Some people say that the way you can know you are filled with the Holy Spirit is to speak in tongues or to just "feel it." A lady called one of the counselors at Radio Bible Class, for example, to say that she had times when she was so filled with the Holy Spirit that she couldn't speak a word of English. She said that anybody who doesn't speak in tongues is not Spirit-filled.

When Paul described the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit, however, he didn't mention tongues-speaking or a tingling feeling. But he did mention "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God" (Ephesians 5:19-21; cp. Colossians 3:16). He also listed nine fruit of the Spirit as evidence in Galatians 5:22,23.


According to Ephesians 5:19-21, a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit will know it because of four evidences in his life: joyful fellowship, heartfelt praise, abounding gratitude, and reverent submission. Let's look briefly at each of these.

1. Joyful Fellowship. The first evidence of being Spirit-filled is joyful fellowship with other Christians. Paul described it as "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" (v.19). The texts of these songs often take the form of mutual exhortation.

Singing, with God's s people had its roots in Hebrew worship. Psalms 29, 33, 37, 40, 95, 96, and 100 are only a few of the songs in which the Israelites encouraged one another to join together in praise, gratitude, and obedience.

Spirit-filled Christians love to sing with one another. For example, in our hymns we call on one another to praise the Lord: "Come we that love the Lord, and let our joys be known." We comfort one another: "God will take care of you." We challenge one another: "Must I go, and empty-handed?"

2. Heartfelt Praise. The second result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is heartfelt praise to God: ". . . singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (v.19). The term "in your heart" is sometimes taken as referring to singing on the inside, singing that isn't expressed outwardly. But that is unlikely. It probably means singing from a sincere heart, as expressed in Colossians 3:16, ". . . singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

3. Abounding Gratitude. The third evidence of being Spirit-filled is abounding gratitude: "Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v.20). In his letters, Paul repeatedly gave thanks to God, and he encouraged his readers to follow his example (Philippians 1:3; 4:6; Colossians 1:3,12; 2:7; 3:15,17; 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2:13; 5:18; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2:1; 4:3,4). He told us to give thanks to God in everything and for everything.

4. Reverent Submission. The fourth way we can know we are filled with the Holy Spirit is reverent submission: "Submitting to one another in the fear of God" (v.21). A Spirit-filled person is humble, gentle, and meek. He is not proud, aggressive, or self-assertive. His reverence for Christ is the source of his humility. As a servant of Christ, he possesses a servant's spirit. Therefore, he does not find it difficult to submit to his fellow believers.

In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul pointed out that the life of a Spirit-filled person will be marked by nine moral qualities that he called "the fruit of the Spirit." When they are present, it is further evidence that a person is filled with the Holy Spirit. He wrote, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22,23). Let's look at each of these spiritual qualities individually.

1. Love--an attitude that moves us to put God and others ahead of ourselves. A spirit that impels us to give, to serve, and to forgive.

2. Joy--a spirit of gladness rooted in our faith, expressed through song, and accompanied by an optimistic spirit.

3. Peace--inner serenity derived from God and based on the reality of our peace with God through Christ's sacrifice.

4. Longsuffering--patience in the midst of difficult circumstances and in our relationships with difficult people.

5. Kindness--practicing the golden rule of treating others as we expect them to treat us.

6. Goodness--open, honest, pure, and generous behavior.

7. Faithfulness--we can be trusted and depended on in all our relationships.

8. Gentleness--a tenderness of spirit that enables us to discipline others properly, to endure persecution graciously, and to witness to others sensitively.

9. Self-control--the quality that gives us control over our desires, especially those that relate to the body.

If the Holy Spirit is producing these nine moral qualities in your life, you are Spirit-filled. Paul's comment, "Against such there is no law" (v.23), means that nothing in the Mosaic law or any other law opposes these virtues or is needed to restrain them. In fact, when a person's life is marked by the four evidences of Ephesians 5:18-21 and the nine moral qualities of Galatians 5:22,23, the demands of the law are being fulfilled. When they are present, they provide evidence that you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let me tell you about a friend, an evangelist...

One of the great pleasures of Seminary has been the people that I come into contact with. Today I would like to tell you about Mr. Sammy Wanyonyi. Sammy is a dynamic evangelist with a passion to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the 21st Centuray generation. He is president of Sammy Wanyonyi International Ministries (SWIM). I am proud to call Sammy my brother in Christ, and he is a blessing to my life. If you ever meet Sammy, ask him to pray. His prayer are amazingly deep, a rich communing with God. When he prays, I know I am hearing a man in love with Jesus. Below is his story, taken from his website.

Sammy's Story:

For Such A Time As This

My wonderful parents dedicated me to God's service in imitation of Hannah, the mother of the Old Testament Prophet Samuel, just a few months after I was born in the spring of 1973, hence my name Samuel or Sammy as I have been mostly called. I, however, met and committed my life to Jesus Christ at the age of four. As I grew, I realized seperately that God had his hand on my life and that I was to carry the Goodnews of the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ to many people. At the age of eight, I started my ministry alongside my parents, lay Salvation Army evangelists, in the remote Kenyan countryside after experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Articulate, bold,and eloquent I formatively gave witness to many Kenyan rural folk who would commit their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

At the age eighteen, however, I came across biographies of two missionaries; William Carrey and Jim Elliot. While reading Carrey's Biography, I sensed that God was personally calling me to world evangelism through a statement that Carrey had written, "God is calling you to a glorious future; He is calling you to take His gospel throughout the whole world. My friend, you need this wider vision."

Five years later while employed as a liason manager with Air France I ran into Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, one of my two most admired world evangelist (the other being Billy Graham) who prayed with me on two subsequent occasions. On both the 29th of September 1996 and 29th September 1997 in unplanned dramatic encounters, Reinhard laid his hands upon me while I knelt aboard identical Air France flights flying from Nairobi to Paris. During the second meeting, Reinhard prayed declaring, "As from today henceforth, you will no longer work for Air France; you will be on the pulpit. Next time I see you, you will be on the pulpit!" Sensing the inevitability of the call, I resigned my airline job.

In the last eight years, my evangelistic work has taken me around the United States, Africa, Europe, and Asia. I have held city-wide festivals, conferences and crusades in partnership with the local churches, ministered to single congregations, and been keynote speaker at University and college mission and evangelism Conferences, businessmen's forums, and prayed with political leaders.

I have served in a pastoral capacity with two large Suburban congregations here in the United States: Cedar Valley Church, Bloomington, MN and Cape First Assembly, Cape Girardeau, MO, and currently with Westwood Community Church, in Chanhassen, MN. I have published articles on evangelism, missions, and issues of Discipleship with Bethel Seminary and in my first book, Scenes from Under the Sky Cathedral: In Passionate Pursuit of God. I hold a B.A in cross cutlrual studies and I am currently completing a Master in Divinity from Bethel University Seminary, St. Paul, MN.

I strongly believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit that through our ministry of SWIM, entire cities and nations will be transformed by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Healing, refreshing and deliverance will come to the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and that many believers will be raised up as servant leaders to this generation.

You can reach Sammy at:

Sammy Wanyonyi Int'l Ministries
10410 Normandale Blvd
Bloomington, Minnesota, 55437
Tel: 612-220-7999

He has also receintly published a book called "Scenses From Under the Sky Cathedral". The book was self published through Bethany Press of Bloomington, MN.

Egalitarian argues in ETS paper that Christ submits to the church

Monday, November 21st, 2005
by Jeff Robinson

VALLEY FORGE, Pa.—Does Christ submit to His church?

Luther Seminary professor Alan Padgett, argued in a paper at the 57th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) that Christ submits to the church. In the question and answer session that followed his presentation, Padgett—who serves as professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.—asserted an even more radical idea: in the New Jerusalem the church will no longer submit itself to Christ.

Padgett used passages such as Ephesians 5:21-33 and Philippians 2:5-10 to make his case for mutual submission between Christ and the church. While he argued that it is clear that Christ serves the church, he essentially equated the notions of submission and servant leadership.

Randy Stinson, executive director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), said Padgett’s argument is fundamentally flawed. Stinson pointed out that the Greek word in Eph. 5 used for "submit" (hypotasso) means one-way submission to authority and not two-way.

Scripture also makes clear the doctrine of Christ’s sovereign headship over the church that explodes the argument of mutual submission which egalitarians commonly make, Stinson said.

To prop up his case for mutual submission between Christ and the church, Padgett drew an even stranger conclusion in response to a question following his paper. When asked when the church will cease to submit to Christ, Padgett answered "in the eschaton" at a time when "the church will be 'knocked up a bit.'" In Christ’s eschatalogical kingdom, the church will no longer submit to Christ, he said.

Theologian Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said Padgett’s bizarre take on mutual submission and its concomitant teaching that submission ceases in the eschaton is sub-Christian.

"Alan Padgett’s proposal is not even Christian," Moore said. "The idea that Christians will, in the eschaton, no longer submit to Christ is more than simply an unbiblical error. It is virtually pagan. In the new creation, as Paul tells us, and as John sees revealed in the Apocalypse, believers continue to serve Jesus as Lord to the glory of God the Father.

"Moreover, the concept that Jesus submits to his church is ridiculous. Jesus serves the church, but he serves her by leading and leads her by serving. The church does not initiate the plan of salvation or send Jesus on his mission.

"Instead, Jesus sets his face like flint toward the cross even when the foundation stones of the church, the apostles, tell him they will never allow him to be crucified. If this is where Christian egalitarianism is going with "mutual submission," then it is clearer than ever that evangelical feminism is more feminist than evangelical."

Stinson echoed Moore’s analysis, adding that Padgett’s view is further evidence that the slippery slopes of feminism and egalitarianism lead quickly toward a downward spiral away from orthodox Christianity.

"This is just one more example of what lengths egalitarians will go to in order to bolster their otherwise untenable position," Stinson said. "Unfortunately, there will no doubt be many more theological aberrations such as this coming from the egalitarian camp. But as for me and my house, we are planning to submit to Christ for all eternity."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Reformation Theology Free MP3 CD Giveaway

With the generous permission of Arlington Presbyterian Church, is giving away 2 excellent lecture SERIES' by Tom Browning and Tom Ferrell on (1) Reformation History and (2) Life Together: Called into the COmmunity of the Church (What is a Reformed Church?) for free in MP3 format on a CD to be mailed directly to you. We only ask that you would cover the cost for S&H and raw materials. While in the store if you choose to purchase other materials in our store at the same time, we will ship unlimited items together with your free CD for the same low $5 flat rate shipping cost (in the USA). Thank you and may the Lord richly bless this material in the edification of you and your family.
Only one (1) CD per visitor please.

Click Here for Order Page at Monergism Books

Free MP3 CD Includes the following 27 lectures/sermons:

Series 1: History of the Reformation: How Christ Restored the Gospel to His Church
Reformation Day: October 31, 1517
The Goose That Became a Swan… John Huss
The Morning Star of the Reformation… John Wycliffe
De Haeretico Comburendo… The Lollards (.Pdf) (Download MP3)
The Little Red Bible Chained to the Wall… Martin Luther
The Cowl ... Martin Luther
Rome and Romans ... Martin Luther
The Door… Martin Luther
The Three Trials… Martin Luther
Mass Confusion & Marriage… Martin Luther
The Law and the Gospel… Martin Luther
We Are all Beggars… Martin Luther

Series 2: Life Together: Called Into the Community of the Church (What is a Reformed Church?)
Ecclesiology 101 (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Our Common Life in Christ (1 John 1:3-7)
The Marks of a True Church (Selected)
What Does a Maturing Church Look Like? (1 Thess 1:2-3)
The Business of the Church (Matt 28:18-20)
The Body (1 Cor 3:9)
Members of One Another (Rom 12:5)
Encouraging One Another (1 Thess 5:11)
Sharing Gifts (1 Pet 4:10)
Sharing Possessions (Acts 2:44-45)
The Fellowship of Suffering (1 Pet 4:13, Heb. 10:32-34)
Church Membership (Col 4:7-18)
The Worship of the Church (Psalm 84: 1-12)
Elder's Joy (Heb 13:17)
The Pleasantness of Peace and Purity (Rom 12:5)

Click Here for Order Page at Monergism Books

©Arlington Presbyterian Church
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 1,000 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by Arlington Presbyterian Church.

By Tom Ferrell & Tom Borwning©Website: Email: . Phone: (817) 261-8938

Vatican takes tough stand against homosexuals in priesthood for full article
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says homosexuals who are sexually active or support "gay culture'' are unwelcome in the priesthood unless they have overcome their homosexual tendencies for at least three years, according to a church document posted on the Internet by an Italian Catholic news agency.

The long-awaited document is scheduled to be released by the Vatican on Nov. 29. A church official who has read the document confirmed the authenticity of the Internet posting by the Adista news agency. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the document has not yet been officially released by the Vatican.

The document said that "the church, while deeply respecting the people in question, cannot admit to the seminary and the sacred orders those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support so-called gay culture.''

Vatican teaching also holds that homosexuals are "intrinsically disordered.'' The church, however, says gays and lesbians should be treated with compassion and dignity.

The addictive nature of pie...

Late last night after work, I had to make a trip to the grocery store. For those who don't know me, you should know I really enjoy shopping for groceries. I especially enjoy going to new (to me) stores to see what they offer. If I could figure out a way to combine grocery shopping, ministry, and watching football, I would have created the perfect job. With it being the holiday season, I found myself in the frozen foods section, staring at the now large display of pies.

As I stood there, contemplating the benefits of pumpkin pie over apple, I began to wonder about the addictive nature of pies in general. Without a doubt, there are good and bad pies. When you get a good pie, you know it. When I find a place that serves good pie, I will continue to frequent that restuarant, sometime just for the pie. I think my fondness is rooted in the pies my great grandmother would cook for each Christmas. Our family tradition was to go out to Bridgewater, SD, and attend Christmas Eve service with our extended family. After church, everyone would pile into my great grandmother's house for oyster stew and pie. I usually skipped the stew (never been a big fan of oysters) and saved myself for what I knew was a once a year eating experience. My great granmother cooked a blue ribbon quality blueberry pie. She cooked many other pies, but it was the blueberry I was after. I could always get pumpkin somewhere else, especially during Thanksgiving. The key to the pie was the crust. I'm not sure all the steps she took, but she had a crust light enough that it would melt in your mouth. I know it was made with real lard, which is from what I am told, the key to a good crust. One piece was always enough, to eat two was to risk diabetic shock or heart stoppage. It was the best pie I have ever had.

So I find myself looking at these frozen pies, wondering about the last time I had pie. Since I moved to the Twin Cities, I'm not sure that I've had pie. I've found Cafe Latte, who make excellent deserts, but no pies. I've been to quite a number of restuarants, but no pie. I know I've had a few bites at Baker's Square in the past few year, but nothing that sticks out in my memory. So if you know of good pie places, drop me a note.

I did end up with a couple of pies in my cart. That will be my contribution to wherever I end up for Thanksgiving later this week. I suspect it will be at my future in-laws, which presents a challenge. My future father in law is what I would call a food inventor. He used to invent desserts that came to be served in places like Red Lobster (the Key Lime Pie for instance was one of his creations). So the expectations are a bit higher there than most other places. So rather than the lower end, I splurged for the high end frozen pies, one apple, and one pumpkin. Hopefully they will pass muster. I don't have the time (or skill) to make them by hand. Hand made is the way to go if you want the best and most fresh pie, but frozen will have to work this year.


Pumpkin Pie

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/4 cups milk
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. When these ingredients are well mixed, stir in the eggs followed by the pumpkin and milk. Transfer mixture to the pie crust.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the pie comes out clean. Cool before serving.

Add Whip Cream or Cool Whip to taste. Ice cream especially cinnamon ice cream, can be a great compliment. Home made ice cream is the best if you have the time. This is of course just a simple pie recipe, and you can modify/improve as your taste buds see fit.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I'm a member of the MOB...

...that's the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. I had thought of joining this group a year ago or so when I discovered Frater's Libertas and Powerline (it was Powerline that outed then news anchor Dan Rather's incredibly poor journalism). I had decided not to, figuring my blog a bit lowly when compared to a group including powerhouse blogs such as these. Last week I decided on a rather spur of the moment type thing to see if they would let me in. Within a day of my application being submitted, I was accepted and added to the MOB blog roll (see my lower right side of my blog as you scroll down). In talking with another member of the MOB, I was informed that I was actually a blog with quite a bit of traffic compaired to most. I've been a Large Mammel in the TTLB system for a good while now (I'm 995th thanks whoever is reading this!!!!), and that puts my average readership as fairly high according to this source. I had not considered cracking the top 1000 blogs on TTLB to be something of significance, but perhaps it is. Either way, I'm glad to be part of the MOB, as it has driven through some traffic I might not otherwise every experience. I blog for myself, because I want to. It is my hope that my blog is God honoring, informative, and fun. I've been at it for more than a year now, and have really enjoyed the process of putting my thoughts down in a fairly permanent way. I've met some fantastic people, been challenged by some deep thinking, and been enormously entertained through my blogging experience. Thanks for being part of that experience!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Metro Deer...

(photo credit: Janet Hostetter - AP)

The last couple of weeks the deer living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area have risen to near celebrity status with all the news coverage they have been given. They've been on most of the local TV news stations, and now the Star Tribune is covering them in a story titled "Oh, Deer; they're everywhere in Twin Cities." (shouldn't there be a "the" in that title?)

Earlier this week on Tuesday afternoon, I was driving along 694 between Lexington and the Hamlin/Snelling exit, and just as I was getting off at Hamlin/Snelling I saw three large moving brown/grey things. As I got closer to the stop sign, just 15 feet off the road where the bushes and tree begin were three large deer, a buck and two does. This was 5:15 pm, the middle of rush hour, where the volume of traffic a hundred feet away is insane. And here stood three deer munching away on some grasses for supper. I know we have some deer on campus here at Bethel, but I would guess that is a fairly safe place for them, whereas standing next to 694 in rush hour isn't something I would reccommend for anyone, especially not a large dumb animal (I'm talking about the deer, not myself).

I hit a deer 3 1/2 years ago adjacent to the airport North of Mitchell, South Dakota. I was traveling at 65mph and it was about 10:30 pm. I was in a Dodge Stratus (great car), when I saw a large blur out of the corner of my eye. Before I could react this deer had run up onto the road, realized he had made a mistake, and came to a stop in the middle of the road. I swerved instictively, and manage to mostly miss him. His antler caught my driver's side mirror (yes, just inches from my body!) and ripped the mirror off the car and snaped half of his antler off. The deer survived and bounded off into the airport, with what I would suspect was a splitting head ache. I circled back and picked up my mirror and tossed the segmet of antler off into the ditch. My adrenaline was really pumping as you can expect. I've had a number of other close encounters with my vehicles and wildlife that I'll add to this post later.

What is the Emerging Church Movement?

Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds blog and Desiring God Ministries has been working on a series of post this week trying to nail Jello to the wall. He is work on and working through answering the question of what is the Emerging Church Movement. I think he has presented it in a fair and balanced way, but you should check it out your self. It's 8 posts, none of which is very long, all of which are very informative.

Post 1
Post 2
Post 3
Post 4
Post 5
Post 6
Post 7
Post 8

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Free John Piper MP3 disc - give away...

With the generous permission of Desiring God Ministries, is giving away another John Piper's lecture SERIES' on Christian biography for free in MP3 format on a CD to be mailed directly to you. We only ask that you would cover the cost for S&H and raw materials. While in the store if you choose to purchase other materials in our store at the same time, we will ship unlimited items together with your free CD for the same low $5 flat rate shipping cost (in the USA). Thank you and may the Lord richly bless this material in the edification of you and your family.

Only one (1) CD per visitor please.

Free MP3 CD Includes:

Jonathan Edwards: The Pastor as Theologian
Charles Simeon: Brothers, we must not mind a little suffering
David Brainerd: Oh, that I may never loiter on my heavenly journey!
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Passion for Christ-Exalting Power
William Cowper: Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint
J. Gresham Machen's Response to Modernism
John Owen: The Chief Design of my Life - Mortification and Universal Holiness
Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity
Martin Luther: Lessons from His Life and Labor
John Calvin: The Divine Majesty of the Word
The Swan is Not Silent: Sovereign Joy in the Life and Thought of St. Augustine
To Live Upon God That is Invisible: Suffering and Service in the Life of John Bunyan
"You Will Be Eaten by Cannibals!" Lessons from the Life of John G. Paton
Peculiar Doctrines, Public Morals, and the Political Welfare Reflections on the Life and Labor of William Wilberforce
"How Few There Are Who Die So Hard" - The Cost of Bringing Christ to Burma Suffering and Success in the Life of Adoniram Judson
John Newton: The Tough Roots of His Habitual Tenderness
George Mueller's Strategy for Showing God: Simplicity of Faith, Sacred Scripture, Satisfaction in God
Contending for Our All: The Life and Ministry of Athanasius

Click HERE for the give away.

A new blog - Reformata

(HT: Phil "Pyromaniac" Johnson)

This is a new blog I would suggest is worth reading from time to time. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Home Improvement - New Thermostat and saving energy...

Today I tried something new. I installed my first building thermostat. I went over to Banana's house this afternoon after work, and put in a thermostat I purchased this past weekend. I had the best intentions of installing it Sunday, but life happened.

Having never done this before, I made sure I read the directions. Twice. I am not particularly experienced nor fond of working on electrical things. I was shocked a number of years ago, and that has made me a bit gun-shy in working on all things electric. Nonetheless, I forged ahead. I shut off the system at the furnace, and began to remove the old thermostat. The thermostat was a Honeywell just like the one in the picture to the right. It is a pretty simple process, though this is the original thermostat, so the screws were really tight. What I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, when I got the top two layers off, was that this was a 5 wire system. Not a big deal, but each wire increases my chances of screwing this up. And since it currently 11 degress fahrenheit here in Minnesota, screwing this up could have serious (and expensive) ramifications.

I loosened all 5 wires, and removed the unit with no sparks or funny tingling sensations. I installed the back plate for the new unit, and figured out where each of the wires attached to the new thermostat. I then proceeded to program the new unit, stuck it onto the back plate, and said a quick prayer. Banana has been at work the whole time I am doing this, though she knows I am working on this project. I pray that it works, and if it doesn't work that I can get it working before she gets home in 15 minutes. It was beginning to get cold in her house. I turned the system back on, and went back to the thermostat hoping to not see any smoke/sparks. Thankfully it appeared to be working. I fiddled with the temperature setting, and within seconds I heard the furnace turn on, and the blower spool up. Hot air began to fill the house (no..not that which emanates from me!), and I did a small dance of joy. The new unit is a Lux Thermostat, which is a programable system. It has different settings for week days and week ends. It is Energy Star rated, and it will hopefully pay for itself in short time. This new unit will allow us to keep the house cooler during the day (or warmer during the Summer) when nobody is home, saving energy. It turns the heat up shortly before Banana gets up in the morning, turns it down when she leaves for work, comes back up in the evening before she gets home, and cools down again after she goes to bed. With the increasing cost of natural gas, this is a no brainer. We hope to save 30-40% with this system, which in theory should keep the gas bill about the same price as last winter (assuming same weather conditions).

If you own a home, or are responsible for paying the heating bills somewhere (your church, business etc.) and you have an old style thermostat, I encourage you to think about doing a conversion to a new programmable system. The total time involved in my swap was 20ish minutes, though the instruction manual suggests that it takes 30 minutes. The control unit I purchased is a fairly simple model, and it cost me $35 at Menards. There are ones with more bells and whistles and more settings, and you can spend up to $90 for these units depending on your need. Just make sure the electricity is off before you dig into this project. The only tools I needed were a flat head and phillps head screw driver, and a pocket knife to open the package containing the new thermostat.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dr. Adrian Rogers died today...

From Love Worth Finding:

11/15/2005 - 5:30am(CT)


September 12, 1931 - November 15, 2005

Dr. Adrian Rogers, Founder of Love Worth Finding Ministries, Pastor Emeritus of Bellevue Baptist Church and a gifted man of God passed away in to the presence of the Lord early this morning after battling cancer and double pneumonia.

I imagine literally thousands who came to know Jesus because of his ministry met him at the gate as he stepped over to glory and beheld the face of Jesus.

Details are incomplete at this time, but please continue to check this web site for updates and also please continue to pray for the Rogers' family.

Dr. Albert Mohler's thoughts on Adrian Rogers' passing.

Michael Redd is a man of his word...

Michael Redd is an extrodinarily talented player in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is also a man of his word. He receintly purchased a church for his father who is a minister. Below is an excerpt from an article on about how with his new contract Redd was able to afford this move.

But the new contract allowed him to make good on the vow to his faith, to his father, and to himself. So a few months before James' 50th birthday, Michael made it official: it was time to bid on a prime piece of church property on the east side of Columbus.

"That was the first thing in my heart," Michael says. "The Lord, he gave me life. What I did was to give it right back to Him. That's the least I could do, is buy a church. The very least I could do."

The Redds won't divulge exact figures, but those familiar with the church purchase say Michael wrote a check in the millions. There were other contributors, but nothing close to all those zeroes and commas given by Michael.

"Without hesitation," he says of his decision. "You reap what you sow. You reap what you sow."

Monday, November 14, 2005 give away!

November Giveaway

My Referral # is 110765.

This just in from Tim Challies at

It is time, once again, for a giveaway. I have arranged quite an unusual prize this month, but one I trust will grab your interest. As always, two equal prizes will be awarded based on a random drawing from all entries received.

Each winner will receive two prizes. The first prize is a copy of The Outdoor Bible (NASB). The Outdoor Bible, a perfect gift idea for someone this Christmas,is printed on 100% plastic material, which makes it a fully waterproof Bible. It can be rained on, snowed on, or fully submerged in a body of water – with no damage. The Outdoor Bible is made to withstand the rigors of the outdoors – whether used on a backcountry trail, a boating trip, or at a park with your family – The Outdoor Bible will endure your chosen adventure. It comes packaged in a small burlap sack.

You can read all about it at

The second prize will be one of a selection of books that includes titles written by R.C. Sproul, C.J. Mahaney, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Horton and others. Some of these books are autographed, others are not. The complete list will provided to winners at the close of the giveaway. The first winner whose name is drawn will have first selection of available books.
I would like to thank Bardin and Marsee Publishing for co-sponsoring this giveaway. Please visit their site to read about The Outdoor Bible and other products.

The giveaway continue until 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time on November 24. As always, you can increase your chances of winning by accumulating referrals. See the entry form for more details and the smallish print.

November Giveaway


I've been working as teaching assistant to Justin Irving at Bethel Seminary this year. Justin teaches many of the Transformational Leadership courses at our seminary, and is one of the most knowledgable people on leadership theory I have met. As part of one of the classes I am helping with, I was reminded of the work of Robert Greenleaf. I spent a whole weekend a couple of years ago reading virtually everyting on the website, and I thought I'd share just a taste with what they are about with you.


What is Servant-Leadership?

Servant-Leadership is a practical philosophy which supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant-leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions. Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and the ethical use of power and empowerment.

Robert Greenleaf, the man who coined the phrase, described servant-leadership in this way.

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. He or she is sharply different from the person who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such it will be a later choice to serve – after leadership is established. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

The difference manifest itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer , is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, will they not be further deprived?”

Taken from the Servant As Leader published by Robert Greenleaf in 1970.

Larry Spears, the CEO of the Greenleaf Center, describes servant-leadership in this way.

“As we near the end of the twentieth century, we are beginning to see that traditional autocratic and hierarchical modes of leadership are slowly yielding to a newer model – one that attempts to simultaneously enhance the personal growth of workers and improve the quality and caring of our many institutions through a combination of teamwork and community, personal involvement in decision making, and ethical and caring behavior. This emerging approach to leadership and service is called servant-leadership."

Taken from the Introduction to Reflections on Leadership published by John Wiley in 1995.

Great worship today at Eagle Brook Church...

Eagle Brook Church is my home away from home church. I have commitments to my church to fulfill, but on special ocassions I am able to catch a service here and there, and today was one of those days. A lot of fantastic stuff going on there today, and an ending of some church services as well.

1) Jason Anderson (husband to the amazing Amy Anderson) preached today. Jason is the new speaking pastor for Eagle Brook. His sermon was based out of Exodus (mostly Ch. 4) and examined the change in Moses' life, and how we respond to change. A powerful message with some great illustrations. Jason is physically more animated than Bob Merritt is, and it was a nice change up for the congregation I think. Jason really nailed this message, and though we were supposed to leave the service a little bit early, we didn't because we didn't want to miss any of the message. We did end up being late to our next appointment, but our friend was understanding.

2) The worship was stellar! If I could bottle the essence of a worship band, today's 11:45 upper sanctuary service would be the one I would want over and over. Steve Duede and team helped me and my fiancee connect with God. I so appreciate talented musicians, good song selection, and great sound systems, but today went beyond that. The lighting was excellent. Lights came up and down during different portions of songs. A light on the Cross would come on during certain segments of some songs. It all blended seamlessly and wonderfully into a great worship experience. It was great to see so many people in this service.

3) The service was at 11:45, which was a problem for us. I seem to remember this service being 11:15, and nobody notified me of the change! Banana (my fiancee) and I were sitting in the parking lot of the church right at 11:00, and could have made the service in the main sanctuary, but chose not too, because it looked awefully full. So we trudged up to the other end of the church complex for the 11:15 service. At 11:15 we were the only people in the sanctuary, and I found that rather odd. No musicians or anything. So I double checked, and realized the service started a half hour later. Banana was able to grab a cup of coffee and we relaxed a bit. Unfortunately this crunched us for time, but that I my fault for not paying closer attention.

4) At the end of the service, I had a chance to chat with Amy Anderson and Kathy Resler Chambliss. Amy is the Executive Director of Worship Ministries, and Kathy is the fairly new Sr. High Pastor. I was reminded about what a great staff Eagle Brook has assembled. But that's not my point, though talent is important. It was nearly 1:00 Sunday afternoon, with SEVEN church services completed, and both of these women took the time to talk with me. I'm sure both have very busy schedules, and have no doubt both were beat and ready to head home, but there they were. Eagle Brook is a huge church, the second largest church in Minnesota from my understaning (Hosanna Lutheran I think is the biggest). It's easy for things and people to get lost when a church grows to this side. Eagle Brook staff are intentional about being available before and after services. When you walk around their campus, it is not uncommon to run into the staff, and they are all easy to converse with. Whoever is preaching (generally Bob Merritt) makes themselves scarce, but almost everybody else is mingling with people as they come and go. And today with Bob not preaching, I was even able to catch him for a brief conversation. This is why Eagle Brook works. They excel at paying attention to details. They have put a premium on excellence, and strive for it in all they do. Many churches, both large and small, could learn much from this.

5) Today was the last church services in the upper worship center at Eagle Brook Church. The next two weeks, those normally worshipping in those two services have been asked to join in during one of the other 5 services in the main sanctuary. December 3/4 Eagle Brook will open their new facility in Lino Lakes, MN, near where 35W and 35E join in the North Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro. The new sanctuary will seat 2100 people, and there will be 4 services. Eventually they will bring back 2 services to the old facilities in White Bear Lake, but those dates haven't been released to my knowledge. When those services return to the old campus, they will be the programs called "The Edge" and "The Brook". Edge is an edgier (is that a word?) service, with rocking/loud worship. Brook will be the other end of the spectrum, with a bit more of a traditional and mellower worship. I think this is a great set of services that will hopefully blossom when they get up and running.

6) Bob Merritt was interviewed for The Leadership Blog. Joshua put out a call a month or so ago for who we thought should be interviewed, and I offered up Pastor Bob. I hooked Joshua up with some contact info and Bob's secretary's name and it appears it worked. I've mentioned before that Bob is one of my favorite Pastors I have ever met/listened to. Sure, I was his teaching assistant for two years at Bethel Seminary, but beyond that, he has had a great impact on me. He is a great communicator, and a man of integrity. He leads well, and enjoys life. He has Kingdom centered priorities, and for all of that he has earned my respect. Bob is good people.

So, if you live in the North Metro of the Twin Cities, and you are looking for a church, check out Eagle Brook when they open their new campus. I think a lot of exciting things will happen there! I pray that God will bless them in this time of transition.

7) Look through the staff directory of Eagle Brook Church, and count the # of people who have a last name that ends in "son". There's almost enough Andersons to field a basketball team!

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

What does it take to be a Christian?

I was asked: What (in your opinion) would you say those "fundimental tenants of the faith that when not embraced/believed will potentially exclude them".

My response was:

In short, confess, believe, Jesus is Lord and Savior, He raised from the dead, and He was/is both man and God. Those would be the core elements. I think scripture is clear on that. Now how God judges that those requirements are met I cannot fathom.

Personally, I would add subscription to the Trinity, the Creatorship of God, the virgin birth, the future return of Christ, the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the judgement. These would be the "1A" beliefs though.

What do you think? Leave me a comment.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Church Sign Generator - Real Church Signs

"You've seen them - the signs in front of churches, with a witticism or a pun that made you groan. I think they're hilarious, often unintentionally so. I've decided to start collecting the ones I see around Austin and on the web."
I found the above the other day. Some of the "signs" are fakes, but some are not, and most are quite funny. If you are looking for something light this weekend to tickle your funny bone, check it out.

Kevin Garnett donates $1.2 MILLION to Hurricane Katrina relief...

I thought this was worthy of note. Kevin Garnett is one of my all time favorite NBA players. Yes, I do live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro, but I would really like KG no matter where I live. Many readers of this blog may not be aware of the fact that I am a huge NBA fan, and I blog regularly on the Seattle SuperSonics at So when I saw on tonight that KG was kicking in $1.2 million dollars to Hurricane Katrina relief, I felt I should make mention of this generous gift. KG could remain in his house in Medina and keep his money to himself. Instead he is giving it away to make an impact on people's lives. I think many professional athletes could learn a lot from KG. He shows up every day, pours his heart out on the court, and rarely do you hear him complain. He leads by example.

Friday, November 11, 2005

John Orberg on Spiritual Formation during Seminary...

John Ortberg said the following in the November edition of MinistryMentor.

How should students think about spiritual formation during seminary?
I can remember when I was in school, people would come to chapel and say, “Here’s stuff that you need to think about when you get into the real world.” The reality is that seminary is the real world. There’s no place that you can go to escape the world.

When you’re in seminary, ask yourself introspective questions: How is my spirit being formed? What am I learning about myself in terms of the initiative that I take? How competitive am I? How often do I compare myself with other people? How honest am I when I write papers and take tests? How do I seek to follow God, and how do I resist God? All of those same patterns will be there when you’re working in a church, ministry organization, school, or wherever else you work.

How do you counsel seminarians to experience God’s presence while studying the nuts and bolts of ministry and theology?
The nice thing about seminary is that the discipline of study is woven into your schedule. One of the dangers is that it can become all head knowledge. Then a discipline of worship becomes very important.

While it’s important to worship in the context of church, it’s also beneficial to give pause while I’m studying, God must be great to have thought this up, or to have made this person to be bright enough to be able to write these words or to think these thoughts.

It’s important to build worship into the process of study.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm a Pro-Government Conservative...

Below are my results from a quick survey you can take from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It's a typology test that attempts to locate you politically in comparison to a national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December 2004.

Pew typology test


Pro-Government Conservative

Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Pro-Government Conservative typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

Pro-Government Conservatives represent 9 percent of the American public, and 10 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
Pro-Government Conservatives stand out for their strong religious faith and conservative views on many social and cultural issues. They also express broad support for a social safety net, which sets them apart from the other two core Republican groups. While backing George W. Bush by roughly six-to-one, this group has one of the lowest incomes levels in the typology. Pro-Government Conservatives are skeptical about the effectiveness of the marketplace, favoring government regulation to protect the public interest, and government assistance for the needy.

Defining Values
Religious, financially insecure, and favorable toward government programs. Support the Iraq war and an assertive foreign policy, but less uniformly so than Enterprisers or Social Conservatives. Back government involvement in a wide range of policy areas, from poverty assistance to protecting morality and regulating industry.

Who They Are
Predominately female (62%) and relatively young; highest percentage of minority members of any Republican-leaning group (10% black, 12% Hispanic). Most (59%) have no more than a high school diploma. They also are poorer than other Republican groups; nearly half (49%) have household incomes of less than $30,000 (about on par with Disadvantaged Democrats). Nearly half (47%) are parents of children living at home. 42% live in the South.

Lifestyle Notes
Most (52%) attend religious services at least weekly; nearly all describe religion as “very important” in their lives. Gun ownership is lower (36%) than in other GOP groups. Just 14% trade stocks and bonds in the market; 39% say someone in their home has faced unemployment in the past year.

2004 Election
Bush 61%, Kerry 12%. Fully 21% said they didn’t vote in November.

Party ID
58% Republican, 40% Independent/No Preference, 2% Democrat (86% Rep/LeanRep)

Media Use
Most Pro-Government Conservatives consult traditional news sources, including newspapers (48%) and network TV (31%). No more or less engaged in politics than the national average.

Parents Overruled...

(HT: 10ft2ft)

Rate the following activities according to how often they experienced the thought or emotion:

1. “Touching my private parts too much.”
2. “Thinking about having sex.”
3. “Thinking about touching other people’s private parts.”
4. “Thinking about sex when I don’t want to.”
5. “Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside.”
6. “Not trusting people because they might want sex.”
7. “Getting scared or upset when I think about sex.”
8. “Having sex feelings in my body.”
9. “Can’t stop thinking about sex.”
10. “Getting upset when people talk about sex.”

Now imagine you’re 7 years old and your teacher gave you this test. What do you do?

[Parents take another hit in the culture wars]

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Christian Mind: "This is My Pin."

This is squirt milk out of my nose funny. I didn't have any milk at the time, but really, it would've happened if I did. I too get a TON of hits from people searching Osteen stuff (HERE, HERE, and HERE). 10 days ago I was at 600+ visiters per day because I blogged a few thoughts on Hurricane Wilma and damage to Cancun. Little did I know my musings about my scheduled honeymoon spot would move me to #7 (at the time) of the listings with Hurricane +Wilma +Cancun as the search. I get hits from strange and random things I never expect to be worthy of people searching for. Oh well, hopefully they'll see a bit of Christ when they pass through.

Are you rude?

(HT: FOTF Pastor's Weekly Briefing)
Public Attitudes on Rudeness

A recent Associated Press-Ipsos telephone poll on public attitudes about rudeness found the following: (scroll down, I have a formatting bug!)

1. Compared to 20 or 30 years ago, do you think people are more rude, less rude, or about the same?

More rude


Less rude


The same


Not sure


2. Where does the blame for this increase in rudeness lie?

(Asked only of those who answered "more rude" to the first question)

Celebrities, athletes and public figures behaving rudely and being poor role models

A great deal


A fair amount


Only a little


No blame


Not sure


Parents not teaching good manners to children

A great deal


A fair amount


Only a little


No blame


Not sure

TV shows and movies that show rude behavior

A great deal


A fair amount


Only a little


No blame


Not sure


People leading busier lives and not taking time for politeness

A great deal


A fair amount


Only a little


No blame


Not sure

3. How often do you encounter the following situations?

People using their cell phones in a loud or annoying manner in public









Not sure

People using rude or offensive language in public









Not sure

People talking loudly or using cell phones at movie theaters









Not sure


Drivers who are aggressive and reckless on the road









Not sure

Sales people in stores ignoring customers or treating them rudely









Not sure


Children behaving rudely in public









Not sure


Rude behavior on television and in movies









Not sure


4. Which of the following have you yourself done in the last few months?

Used a swearword in public





Not sure

Used your cell phone in a loud or annoying manner in public





Not sure


Gotten impatient with someone in public and spoken rudely to them





Not sure

Made an obscene gesture at another person while driving a car





Not sure

Asked someone behaving rudely to stop their behavior





Not sure

Made a formal complaint about someone behaving rudely





Not sure