Friday, January 29, 2010

New Electric Razor plus some Teething Tablets

I have been saving up my earnings from Amazon Associates for quite some time.  I don't make much in any given month, but it slowly adds up.  I was hoping to buy something completely fun and frivolous, but life has different plans.  Earlier this week my old Remmington Electric Shaver finally decided to quit.   Quit isn't quite right, in that after a full charge it still ran.  The problem was that about 60% of the way through my shave it was running so slow that it was chewing skin and ripping hair rather than cutting.  The foil and blades were shot anyhow, and I've been using this shaver for 6+ years so I got my money out of it.

So I began my search on Amazon and have decided upon Panasonic ES7103K Pro-Curve Wet/Dry Triple Head Shaver, Black.  I much prefer the foil style shavers over the rotary kind.  I've owned both, and I've never warmed to the rotary ones I have owned.  I shave more often than not with a Gillette Fusion Razor and do so because of the close shave it gives me.  But there are days where I just want to shave quick and simply, and that is where an electric shaver comes in handy.

I also ordered some Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets for our son Justice.  He isn't teething quite yet, but we want to be ready.  A group of people I know who have kids just a few months older than my son swear by these tabs, so we figured we get some and give them a go.  If it cuts back on the pain and crying even just a little bit they will be worth it.

Plus I order 4 more copies of Wayne Grudem's book Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know.  This is the text we are using in our bible study at church.  We keep having more people join us, and others who simply want to read the book.  This is my third order for this book, and we are approaching 40 copies ordered!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My thoughts on Apple's iPad

First, I hate the name.  iPad - it is the New England pronunciation of the iPod.   Confusion in Boston will abound.

Right now their target market is pretty saturated - Kindle, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, Netbooks, other book readers.  If they can get this to be the platform of choice, eventually people will replace the above items with it, but I can't see it being a game changer like the iPhone or iPod was.  There is just too much overlap with this product.

Sure it has a cool factor, but that is a steep price to pay to be cool if you own another device already.  Plus this first generation is missing a lot of things that I think they'll eventually add.  This seems like a product where early adapters will have some buyers remorse when the subsequent generations come along and are a far greater product at a better price - see the original iPhone for exhibit A.

I'm not an Apple hater, so don't read that into this.  I love my iPod, and if T-Mobile offered an iPhone I'd seriously consider it (but only if they figure out the battery life problem.  2 hours of run time is unacceptable.).  I'd consider a MacBook if it weren't twice as expensive as a PC.  But I don't think there is room in my gadget lineup for an iPad any time soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name Lyrics

All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name

Philippians 2:9-11

Text: Edward Perronet - Published 1780
Music: Oliver Holden - Published 1793

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let highborn seraphs tune the lyre, and as they tune it, fall
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light, who fixed this floating ball;
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye martyrs of your God, who from His altar call;
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race, ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.

Hail Him, ye heirs of David’s line, whom David Lord did call,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget the wormwood and the gall,
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every tribe and every tongue before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.

[John Rippon add­ed this verse in 1787]

O that, with yonder sacred throng, we at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!

The lyrics, written by Edward Perronet while he served as a missionary in India, first appeared in the November, 1779 issue of the Gospel Magazine, which was edited by the renowned author of "Rock of Ages", Augustus Toplady. The text has been translated into almost every (if not every) language in which Christianity is known. The best-known tunes used for the hymn are "Coronation" and "Miles Lane", with "Diadem" the favoured one in Australia, but there are a number of others. "Diadem" is also the most favoured tune sung as a choir number.

One of the most dra­ma­tic in­stanc­es of [this hymn’s] use was found in the ex­per­i­ence of the Rev. E. P. Scott in In­dia. His friends had urged him not to ven­ture near a cer­tain bar­bar­ous in­land tribe, whom he wished to evan­gel­ize. But he went forth with high cour­age, ne­ver wa­ver­ing in his du­ty, and trust­ing in God to pro­tect him. When at last he reached their coun­try among the hills, he came up­on a com­pa­ny of these sav­ag­es. Im­me­di­ate­ly they sur­round­ed him, point­ing their spears at him with threat­en­ing scowls. He had no­thing in his hand but his vi­o­lin; and so, clos­ing his eyes, he be­gan to play and sing, “All Hail the Pow­er of Je­sus’ Name.” When at last he opened his eyes he ex­pect­ed to be killed in­stant­ly. But his life had been spared through the sing­ing of the hymn. Their spears had dropped, and they re­ceived him first with cur­i­o­si­ty and in­ter­est, and then lat­er with ea­gern­ess, as he told them the gos­pel sto­ry and won their hearts to the will of Je­sus Christ.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Replaced the radiator in our 2001 Dodge Caravan today

Late last week I ordered a radiator from Radiator Barn online for our 2001 Dodge Caravan with the 3.3L V-6.  Original radiator with 212,000 miles had sprung a leak and was losing fluid and had me worried it might rupture in an inopportune time.  I called around locally and discovered there isn't a radiator shop in Waseca, with the closest being in Waterville - 15 miles away.  Radiator replacement is usually pretty straight forward, so I decided I have more time and skills than I have money so time to do it myself.  Radiator Barn had my new unit here in 4 days for only $133.06.  The two local parts stores in town wanted $160ish and it would take a day or two to get it in.  I called Advanced Auto Parts in Owantonna, and they had it in stock but wanted $280!!!!! for their unit, claiming the "lifetime warranty" was the difference in price.  I don't need a lifetime warranty for a van that has over 200K miles on it, let's be real here.

Mechanically, I can hold my own.  I grew up in my grandfather's car shop watching my dad work on our cars, plus watching grandpa whenever I could.  I also spent many years working along side of my father in his motorcycle shop, where I really learned to be competent with a wrench.  Add to that my whole life I've had to work on my own vehicles with money always being tight, and this seemed on the surface like a no-brainer job for me.

So at 4:00PM started taking the radiator out.  I've done many radiators in my years, but this one is unlike any other.  A little over 2.5 hours later I finally had the radiator out, and was now missing a sizable chunk of flesh from the palm of my hand.  My hand slipped and caught a sharp metal post on the radiator housing about an hour in, just in time for me to bleed on everything and just before I started draining the system.  Fun.

Little did I know when I tackled this project that you have to disassemble most of the front of the van.  Honestly, it would be easier to remove the front bumper, quite likely saving you time and headache if you do so.  I did remove the grill portion that is attached to the bumper.  There are some little clips that hold this on that are an absolute nightmare to get off, especially if you have arms larger in diameter than a 4th grade girl.  You have to remove a cross member (one of the few easy things), all the plastic above the engine, the hood latch and both electric fans.  The fans fight you the whole way, but if you stick to it, they eventually come.  By this point your lower back is barking, and since I'm 6'3" and fat my is really barking.  And then the fun begins.

Getting the radiator to separate from the air conditioning radiator is a real chore.  On the left side where the AC lines run there is a peg on the AC cooler that sticks into a hole on the radiator.  This is darn near impossible to lift out with the AC lines fighting you and the tolerance being very slim.  After fighting and fighting, and contemplating opening the garage door and pushing it out into the street and lighting it on fire, I finally got apart.  But the fun doesn't end there.  Now you have to get the radiator out.  Everything possible fights you - all the wiring and everything else in the front half of the engine bay.  They didn't leave much space to get it out, but slowly and surely if you wiggle it back and forth and pull off everything that seems to grab it on the way up, you will eventually be holding the radiator in your hands.

It seems like a victory, until you realize you still have to put the other one back in.  The good news is that reassembly take only about half the time as removal, since all the rusted bolts are now loose and you've now kinda figured out how everything goes.  But it is by no means easy or enjoyable.

Check the hoses, refill the fluids, double check everything is tight and make sure you don't have any left over parts - check.  Now time for the test drive.  If it comes up to temp and holds pressure you are in the clear.  Thankfully everything checked out after my test drive.

On a scale of 1-10 for special skills, this really isn't all that special, probably a 4.  But on a difficulty scale this was an 8 or 9 simply for the continual frustration you will experience because of the design.  There are few other shadetree projects I have undertaken that pegged my frustration like this.  I wanted to break things about half way through, and that never helps the work process.  Add to this the horrible experience of putting the rear spark plugs (front are easy) and both O2 sensors in this van, and I am quickly learning to loathe this vehicle.  The only good design I've encountered on this van is the fan relay switch that was burned out when I got the van.  Remove the glove box, 2 small screws, one wiring plug and you're done.  A 3 minute job.  Otherwise, everything else I've touched on this van has taken at least three times longer than I'd like, and twice as long as any similar project on a different vehicle.

But in the end I achieved victory.  I no longer have to worry about my van stranding me on a cold winter night in Minnesota, and that piece of mind is worth a lot with a 5 1/2 month old son.

Philmont Scout Ranch Video

I worked at Philmont Scout Ranch for three years - 1994 and 1995 as a Ranger and 1996 as a Trail Crew Foreman in McBride Canyon. I also went as a camper in 1988, 1990, and 1992. I've returned as an adult for Professional training when I worked for the Boy Scouts of America (we were the first Professional Development II class at Philmont!), as well as for a National Camp Director conference when I was Camp Director at Lewis and Clark Scout Camp. Philmont is near and dear to my heart, and while this video only captures a few locations, it nonetheless shows a glimpse of the beauty of this land which I love. Longing for Philmont.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Efrem Smith to leave Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis

Efrem Smith Nominated to Lead Pacific Southwest Conference

CHICAGO, IL (January 22, 2010) – Efrem D. Smith has been nominated to replace Evelyn M.R. Johnson as superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), it was announced today.

Smith, who currently serves as senior pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will stand for election during the Pacific Southwest Conference Annual Meeting April 23 at Mission Springs Camp and Conference Center located near Santa Cruz, California. If elected, Smith will be installed during the 125th Annual Meeting of the ECC in St. Paul, Minnesota, in June.

His selection by an 18-member search committee follows a months-long search process that began last fall shortly after Johnson announced that she will conclude her service as superintendent this year. His nomination also has received the unanimous endorsement of the ECC Executive Board.

Smith“Upon meeting Efrem, you will find him to be a person of great humility and reliance on God,” writes Will Davidson, chair of the Conference Executive Board, in a letter to conference churches. “Efrem has described his vision for the future of our conference as a ‘kingdom’ vision. His personal and ministry commitment to God’s mosaic is unwavering. We are confident in his leadership as we seek to change lives and transform communities.”

See the full article HERE.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Teen Media Usage Increases

A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation — Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds — found that, with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. The study, the third in a series of large-scale, nationally representative surveys, also found that heavy media use is associated with behavior problems and lower grades.

Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of seven hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week), compared with less than six and a half hours just five years ago — a conclusion that shocked the authors. And because they spend so much of that time "media multitasking" — for example, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those seven and one-half hours.

"This is a stunner," said Donald F. Roberts, a Stanford communications professor emeritus, one of the authors of the study. "In the second report, I remember writing a paragraph saying we've hit a ceiling on media use, since there just aren't enough hours in the day to increase the time children spend on media. But now it's up an hour."

The heaviest media users, the study found, are black and Hispanic youths and "tweens," or those ages 11 to 14.

While most of the young people in the study got good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest media users — those who consumed at least 16 hours a day — had mostly C's or lower, compared with 23 percent of those who typically consumed media three hours a day or less. The heaviest media users were also more likely than the lightest users to report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents and were not happy at school. But, the study could not say whether the media use causes problems, or whether troubled youth turn to heavy media use. [Kaiser Family Foundation,]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Equipping Pastors and Church Leaders to Deal with Issues of Science and Faith

Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?

Are science and faith at war? Does science undermine or corroborate belief in God? Does faith suppress or inspire scientific research? Explore these questions and more at a series of regional two-day conferences sponsored by Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Designed especially for pastors, seminary students, and other church leaders (educators, elders, deacons, board members), each conference will explore similar topics and themes and feature nationally prominent speakers. Each conference also will include information about practical resources for use in churches, church schools, adult education classes, and small groups. For more information about currently scheduled conferences, click on the conference of your choice below.

Westminster Seminary will be hosting a Science and Faith Conference on March 12th and 13th, and would like to invite you to join us.  This conference will be tackling some important questions:  Are science and Faith compatible?  What is the role of Christianity in the founding of modern science?  How do we respond to the effect of Darwinism in our culture?

Speakers will include Dr. Vern Poythress, author of Redeeming Science; Dr. K. Scott Oliphint, author of Reasons for Faith; Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design; Dr. Jay Richards, co-author of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed For Discovery; Dr. C. John Collins, author of Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?; Dr. John West, author of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science; Dr. Bruce Gordon, co-editor of The Nature of Nature; and Dr. Paul Nelson.

This conference will be of special interest to anyone in church leadership, seminary and college students, or those involved in both a scientific and a Christian community.  The speakers will be available during breaks to go into more detail about some of the issues and topics they will discuss, and on Saturday there will be a formal question and answer period during lunch.

You can register online at or by calling 1-817-923-1921, x2440.  For each day there will be a box lunch available for an additional cost, with an option for a  meat or a vegetarian meal.

For more information visit, or contact Janine Dixon, Discovery Institute, at or 1-800-685-0632 ext 108.

The Science and Faith Conference is sponsored by the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and Westminster Theological Seminary.

For additional information see:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris - Book Review

My Thoughts:
I appreciate Joshua Harris writing this book. I appreciate his openness and honesty as he has grown and as his faith deepened.  I was first exposed to Joshua Harris via his dating book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", and honestly I wasn't a fan of that book.  But having seen a number of his sermons now that he is the lead pastor at his church, I can say he is really growing on me.  This book really helped change and cement my feelings that he has grown by leaps and bounds since I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  While Harris doesn't break much new ground with this book (though it is new territory for him), he does an excellent job of writing in an engaging and compelling way.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book.  There is a lot to gain from reading it, especially if you are newer to Christianity.  You will find in it solid theology, and many places where you will be challenged to really live out your faith and grow personally rather than just coast by.  This book is an excellent source as part of a foundation of faith for someone who is just getting started.  There are other great books in this same category, but few are as enjoyable of a read, and few bring it down to such a personal level so well.

Each chapter fits well within the whole and makes for a very solid book.  My favorite section is probably chapter 4 "Ripping, Burning, Eating" where Harris is at his earthy best.  Throughout the book he does a great job of connecting on a very personal level because he ties it in with his own story and journey.  If you have a new Christian in your life, or someone just now finally getting around to growing in their faith, this book is a great tool to go along with personal bible study.

Summary from the publisher:

What will you build your life on?

With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.

For the indifferent or spiritually numb, Harris's humorous and engaging reflections on Christian beliefs show that orthodoxy isn't just for scholars—it is for anyone who longs to know the living Jesus Christ. As Harris writes, "I've come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong."

Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:

What is God like and how does he speak to me?  What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?  How does Jesus's death on the cross pay for my sins?  Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?
With grace and wisdom, Harris will inspire you to revel in the truth that has captured his own mind and heart. He will ask you to dig deep into a faith so solid you can build your life on it. He will point you to something to believe in again.

Author Bio:

Joshua Harris is senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which belongs to the Sovereign Grace network of local churches. A passionate speaker with a gift for making theological truth easy to understand, Joshua is perhaps best known for his runaway bestseller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which he wrote at the age of twenty-one. His later books include Boy Meets Girl, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), and Stop Dating the Church. The founder of the NEXT conferences for young adults, Joshua is committed to seeing the gospel transferred to a new generation of Christians. He and his wife, Shannon, have three children.

This book is available on Amazon and at WaterBrook Multnomah if you would like a copy!  This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Church Donations Down, Budgets Cut

According to two recent surveys, the recession is having a serious impact upon church contributions and budgets.
A November survey of 1,002 Protestant pastors by LifeWay Research revealed that:
  • Twenty-eight percent of the churches surveyed raised less money in 2009 than they did in 2008.
  • Fifty-seven percent said the poor economy was hurting their church.
  • Seventy percent reported increased requests from people outside their congregation for financial help.
  • Three percent were considering closing down their churches.
The Barna Group, which surveyed 1,114 pastors and church leaders from October to December, discovered that:
  • Across all Protestant churches, budgets were down seven percent.
  • In churches with attendance between 100 and 250 adults, budgets were down an average of 13 percent.
  • Only nine percent of churches had higher giving in 2009 than in 2008.

Mars Hill Church of Seattle is turning 14 years old this month!

Pastor Mark Driscoll planted Mars Hill Church 14 years ago this month.  He shared some thoughts on how that went and what he would change if he did it all over again.  And then at the end of his post he shared the photo of him, his wife Grace, and I'm guessing their oldest daughter Ashley.  You can tell Driscoll is learning humility, because there is no other way he'd ever show this photo!  I actually wonder if Grace Driscoll is aware that he has posted this.  My wife would slug me (lovingly of course).  Congrats to Mars Hill and Mark and Grace Driscoll and may God continue to pour out his blessing on your ministry to both the Seattle region, as well as the whole world.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Recommended Haiti earthquake disaster relief agencies

These are some particularly good groups on the ground in Haiti working disaster relief.  They are all well run and will do a good job to stretch your donation.

Compassion International
Colorado Springs, CO 80997

Mercy Ships
P.O. Box 2020
Garden Valley, TX 75771-2020

Samaritan's Purse
P.O. Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607

World Vision
P.O. Box 9716, Dept. W
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716

The Peacemaking Church

About six weeks ago I was sent a free review copy of some of the materials for The Peacemaking Church from Peacemaker Ministries.  If you aren't familiar with Peacemaker Ministries I've mentioned them numerous times here on my blog and you can check them out at  Ken Sande leads this organization, and his book The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict is one of the best books I have ever read.

The materials I received are not a full set of study materials, but let me state up front, from the portion I received it is clear that this is some very well done materials that will be a blessing to many churches.

Peacemaker Ministries has some videos on Vimeo to support these materials. Below is an introduction to the resource:

The Leadership Opportunity
This resource is a DVD-based group study for church leadership teams.  It is intended to guide that church through the process of how to deal with conflict within the church in healthy ways.  Of course these are lessons we can transport outside the church into day to day life as well.  Anywhere there is leadership, there will be conflict - the question always is will that organization handle it in a healthy way.

Along with the DVD is a study guide workbook that you would need to get for each participant.  The workbook is truly an excellent resource.  It is well constructed, nicely laid out, and easy to use.  But above that, and most important in my opinion, is the fact that it is dripping with scripture.  Peacemaker Ministries are soundly grounded in the Word of God, and this resource is no different.  The study guide is great enough to be a stand alone resource, but clearly it was created with the DVD in mind.

Each session of the study guide starts with a brief "In This Session" paragraph that gives you a nice snap shot of what you will be studying.  Then it gives a brief bio on the person who was the primary source for creating that session.  The people they use as resources are remarkably well qualified for this sort of work.  From there the workbook gives you loads of things to think about as you read through it.  Much of it challenging your preconceptions on leadership and conflict.  Without question this resource pushes you individually, as well as the groups as a whole to grow in faith and leadership.  Each section concludes with some insightful and discussion provoking questions to work through.

I really believe many churches would greatly benefit from this resource.  Few churches are really living out their faith in their leadership in the deeply Biblical way that is advocated in The Leadership Opportunity study.  Almost everyone has something they could gain from this resource.

The only drawback that I see is that with the materials being so comprehensive and so in depth, that they at times are literally overwhelming.  I would highly recommend that if you are thinking about leading your church through this, that you really work through it by yourself before leading your church through it. That way you can build a foundation for your own thinking for biblical conflict resolution prior to having to guide others to change how they've "done church" for many years.  This is in no way a light resource, so if you are looking for a quick fix to your church's problems, you need to look elsewhere.  But if you are serious about changing your church's culture and are willing to put in the time to wrestle through this with each other and God, then you will truly be blessed when you come out on the other side of this as a healthier leadership group.

CJ Mahaney reviewed the full set recently and his review is also worth checking out. (I guess I'm not as much a big-wig as CJ since they trusted him with the whole set!)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Identifying Caregivers

According to a new survey commissioned by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with the AARP and the insurance group MetLife, about one in three adults in the United States cares for a loved one who is elderly, sick or has special needs. Two out of three unpaid caregivers are women.

Results from interviews with nearly 1,500 caregivers chosen at random found that — more often than not — caregivers are raising families and working outside the home in addition to caring for aging parents, chronically ill spouses, or children or grandchildren with special needs.

Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president of Livable Communities Strategies for AARP, told WebMD that some 65 million American adults are providing care to loved ones independent of traditional parenting roles. The typical caregiver, according to Ginzler, is a woman in her late 40s caring for a parent, most often her mother, who is in their late 70s or older. She notes that nearly three out of four caregivers who responded to the survey had paid jobs outside the home, and two-thirds said they had missed work as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. "Caregiving is traditionally women's work," she says. "And women are usually juggling work and family responsibilities while they are providing this care."

Other survey findings include:
  • Seventy percent of caregivers were taking care of loved ones who were 50 years old or older.
  • Caregivers provided an average of 20 hours per week of care.
  • Caregiving lasted an average of 4.6 years.
  • Older care recipients generally needed help because of deteriorating physical health (76%). More than half (51%) still lived in their own homes and 29 percent lived in their caregiver's home.
  • Old age was cited as the main reason for needed care by 12 percent of respondents, followed by Alzheimer's disease (10%), mental or emotional illness (7%), cancer (7%), heart disease (5%) and stroke (5%).
Many people don't recognize themselves as caregivers, even though they are, says Donna Schempp, program director for the Family Care Alliance. "As a result, they may not think to look for resources that can help them. Most caregiver support programs focus on teaching skills to improve patient care," she says. "While this is certainly important, it is also important to teach caregivers the skills they need to take care of themselves during a very stressful time." []

(From FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

James Dobson to leave Focus on the Family

Saw that James Dobson is leaving Focus on the Family to do his own thing.  Hadn't given it much thought until I saw an email from FotF's H. B. London in my in-box a while back  Below is that message that gives some details about what is going on in Colorado Springs.  I hate to say it, but my guess is that neither organization will flourish moving forward with FotF already struggling.  Maybe I'll be wrong.


The headlines in last Thursday's, Colorado Springs Gazette read, "Dobson embarking on a new venture. After Focus, he'll start a nonprofit and radio show." And so, the end of an era becomes more apparent with each passing day.

                James Dobson
A transition that began nearly seven years ago — when James Dobson passed the baton as CEO to another — will most likely culminate with his last radio broadcast the end of February, 2010. The reality of this happening is difficult for a lot of us to imagine, but nevertheless, it is happening and will no doubt create questions and some confusion as it all unfolds.

The more you learn about his decision, the more you understand that the passion James Dobson has for the family and the state of our nation is enormous. He could retire, but he is not ready to retire. On his Facebook page this week he announced that he and his son, Ryan, would act as host and co-host of the new radio program called James Dobson on the Family.
In the Colorado Springs Gazette news story, Focus President and CEO, Jim Daly, made it clear that ministry to the American family is not exclusive. There is so much to be done on behalf of the family that a new James Dobson ministry certainly will not be about competition, but another strong advocate for marriage, raising children and, in short, "helping families thrive."

Dr. Dobson invited me to join Focus on the Family in 1991. He felt that the clergy in America needed an advocate. I was honored by that invitation and believe that Jim Daly feels very strongly that your role as spiritual leaders in our nation deserves the full support of our ministry. I pray that be so. We will begin the New Year and decade more committed to you and your family than ever before. We covet your prayers. If we can serve you in any way, or if you have comments about the news I have just shared with you, please feel free to write us at

Jim Daly — whom James Dobson handpicked as his Focus successor seven years ago — stated, "Focus wishes Dr. Dobson well in his venture. He has the chance to share his life's work and passion with his only son. What man wouldn't choose to do that?"

We all know that change is inevitable. But, let me tell you, this represents big change for all of us who have been connected with Focus on the Family. We covet your prayers.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails" (Prov. 19:21).

Bible School Merger

Michigan Theological Seminary and Moody Bible Institute merged as of Jan. 1, 2010. The merged school is now officially Moody Theological Seminary — Michigan. This merge brings together the 400 students of Moody's seminary program with the 200 students at MTS and moves Moody into the middle-tier of seminaries. The combined size of the Chicago and Michigan graduate student bodies places the seminary in the top 15 percent of seminaries in the country. []

Bible Study Book Covering Basic Christian Beliefs

Ordering 30 of the following book today:

We will be using these in a bible study starting next Thursday at First Congregational Church. I'm very excited to dig in with all who are coming!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Changing Religious Climate in America

According to the Barna Group, an analysis of research from the past year reveals six major religious trends in America. These "megathemes," as Barna calls them, should encourage Christian leaders to "revisit their criteria for 'success' and the measures used to assess it." According to Barna, the research also reveals that, "In a society in which choice is king, there are no absolutes, every individual is a free agent, we are taught to be self-reliant and independent, and Christianity is no longer the automatic, default faith of young adults."
The six trends that Barna identified are:
  1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate. For example, research in 2010 showed that while most people regard Easter as a religious holiday, only a minority of adults associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented. Less than one-third of born again Christians planned to invite anyone to join them at a church event during the Easter season.
  3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life. Spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity are rare, while the importance of lifestyle comfort, success, and personal achievements is growing.
  4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating. Christians are becoming more open to involvement in the community, especially as it pertains to justice and service.
  5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church. Possibly because of the fear of being labeled judgmental, Christians have become tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies.
  6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible. While contemporary Americans find it difficult to identify any specific value that the Church has added to society, they have no problem identifying the faults of the churches and Christian people.
According to the Barna Group, "The Christian Church is in desperate need of a more positive and accessible image ... and the most influential aspect of Christianity in America is how believers do — or do not — implement their faith in public and private." For the complete report, go to The Barna Group.