Archive for April, 2007

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Reading it ALL

April 23, 2007

The other day I was sitting in Panera Bread restaurant with my sweetie and we were both having a Diet Snapple. I started to read the label (I read labels…they are more interesting than you think) and this is what I read:

“No calories (then an arrow pointing to the bottom)…their agent wanted a multi-year deal.”

Hilarious! I love it. Someone obviously came up with that in the marketing department at about 1:30 a.m.

Then I looked at my sweetie’s bottle and this is what hers said:

“No calories….Yep, one day they just got up and left.”

You miss so much when you read only the stuff everyone else reads. One time, I picked up a book at the library just because of its title. It was called “The First Men’s Guide to Ironing”. I couldn’t care less about learning to iron any better than I do, but the title caught me. As I usually do, I read the acknowledgements. This time, I wasn’t disappointed. Here is what he said:

“I would like to thank all those people who have helped me in my life to become what I am today. I would like to; but I can’t. No one helped me. No one ever helps me. In this project, as with everything else in my life, I did it myself. No one carefully watched over the manuscript or fed me muffins when I had writer’s block or held my hand when rejection letters came in. No, I did this all myself and I face either the scorn or the praise alone”.

See what I mean? When you don’t read it all, you can miss such classic lie-based thinking.

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Revisiting the Stress on Megachurch Pastors

April 20, 2007

In the series I did late last year on the Walmartization of the church, and the postings about Ted Haggard, I noted a trend concerning these megachurch pastors. The job they do is often beyond the ability of mortal man, even with the miraculous help from the Lord.

I personally believe that a large program-based church cannot allow a pastor the time and rest he needs to function as a normal human being. This is what often contributes to the moral and financial decline of men like Ted Haggard.

Just this last week, I heard two significant church leaders in our country bemoan the burn-out that they are fighting. One is the best-selling author and pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Rick Warren. The other is the pastor of one of America’s fastest growing churches, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Both men in public services,and again in their writing, have told of the dark days they have been going through as their energy has come to the end.

Will you pray with me for them? Also, will you pray that they will have the insight to divide up their congregations into many parts as men like Doug Murren have done so that they will not face this again in their lives. Either that or adopt the cell model of ministry. I expect the stories of megachurch pastors running into the proverbial wall will become commonplace in days to come. Perhaps fifty years ago, they could have done this job. But with email, cell phones, and the multiplication of time commitments, there is virtually no chance the pastor of a megachurch can avoid burn-out…or worse.

(Additional Note: I haven’t been shirking my writing duties…I have several postings in final edit for this blog…you may find a lot of material coming very quickly. I apologize).

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Medicine and Quantum Physics Join together Over Religion

April 10, 2007

Quantum Physics teaches, among many other things, that you cannot observe events at the molecular level without affecting the results. Stated more simply, the act of watching atoms do their thing makes atoms do things differently. This is referred to as a Quantum State.

Have I bored you completely? Well, it gets more interesting when this theory is applied to the medical profession.

In a recent study done by the University of Chicago, they found that a patients’ religious background had an effect on the quality and speed of their recovery. Here are some results from the study:

Among the more than 1,100 doctors who returned the survey, the results showed that 56 percent believed religion and spirituality had much or very much influence on health.

But only 6 percent believed religion or spirituality had changed “hard” medical outcomes.

Instead, most doctors believed that religion and spirituality:

– Often helps patients cope with illness (76 percent)

– Gives patients a positive state of mind (74 percent)

– Provides emotional and practical support through the religious community (55 percent)

But the intriguing finding is that the results changed depending on the religious background of the doctor. If the doctor was religious themselves, they saw more value in the role that religion plays in the life of their patients. Doctors with little or no background in religion recognized less of a role that religion plays in the patients in their care.

The question is this: Do Christian doctors actually provide a better foundation for God’s involvement in the life of a patient than someone who does not believe in God? Are non-believing physicians ignoring what God is doing?

I personally think that a doctor who believes in God and expects God to be involved in the life of those they care for actually will see God do things that may not happen with non-believing doctors. I think I may look to be care for by Christian doctors in the future…as long as they have the same training and skills as my current doctor.

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Proof of the Resurrection

April 5, 2007

Dr. William Lane Craig has done a phenomenal job at explaining the reason for the Resurrection of Jesus and the proof of its authenticity.

As a teaser, here is a portion of what he has written:

“Man,” writes Loren Eisley, “is the Cosmic Orphan.” He is the only creature in the universe who asks, Why? Other animals have instincts to guide them, but man has learned to ask questions. “Who am I?” he asks. “Why am I here? Where am I going?”

Ever since the Enlightenment, when modern man threw off the shackles of religion, he has tried to answer these questions without reference to God. But the answers that came back were not exhilarating, but dark and terrible. “You are an accidental by-product of nature, the result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All you face is death. Your life is but a spark in the infinite darkness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever.”

Modern man thought that in divesting himself of God, he had freed himself from all that stifled and repressed him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had also killed himself.

Against this background of the modern predicament, the traditional Christian hope of the resurrection takes on an even greater brightness and significance. It tells man that he is no orphan after all, but the personal image of the Creator God of the universe; nor is his life doomed in death, for through the eschatological resurrection he may live in the presence of God forever.

This is a wonderful hope. But, of course, hope that is not founded in fact is not hope, but mere illusion. Why should the Christian hope of eschatological resurrection appear to modern man as anything more than mere wishful thinking? The answer lies in the Christian conviction that a man has been proleptically raised by God from the dead as the forerunner and exemplar of our own eschatological resurrection. That man was Jesus of Nazareth, and his historical resurrection from the dead constitutes the factual foundation upon which the Christian hope is based.

For the rest of this unique essay, please go here. Happy Resurrection Day this Sunday.

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Bring Sanity to Your Daily Schedule – Part 4

April 3, 2007

A popular misconception in time management is that you must plan every second of your day in order to be in charge. Not only is this misleading, it often does the opposite of what it intends to do. The idea is that if you control all the smaller sections of time, all of time will reap the reward. But there are several things that go wrong with those assumptions.

First, it all depends on what mood we are in as we plan the time. How distracted are we at that moment? How frustrated with our calling? How trivial in our outlook? If we come into a planning time with emotional upheavals, we may certainly fill up our future timesheet, but it is unlikely that it will be filled with life-giving, call-centered activities.

Second, this approach is not realistic. It fails to account for all the interruptions that we cannot avoid in a given day. Even the best manager has to face numerous challenges to the day plan. The best managers, however, know how to evaluate each interruption. They also know which interruptions are actually more important than what was planned. In John chapter 12, Jesus hears that a group of Gentiles are looking to meet with him. It is this interruption which prompts him to tell his disciples that the Crucifixion was now going to take place. It was the sign he was waiting for. We used to call it serendipity. Now, it is just good time management.

Third, the idea that we can or should control all our time will not be lived out by certain personality types. That approach may cause certain types to rebel constantly and thereby ruin all the good work they were doing. Creating a regimented approach for a person whose mind cannot function with extreme regimentation will cause more harm than good. If you are more interested in this, check out any site that gives good background on Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and look at the difference between Judging and Perceiving people. Perceivers will not abide regimented time schedules.

So what is the answer? Go back to the idea that we must know what is most important to us in life. Every morning (or evening if that suits better) a person should take a few minutes to look at the next day. Is that person doing what matters most to them? Are they taking steps to make these most important things the centerpiece of the day? What can they remove to make sure the critical life goals are accomodated?

Here are three practical steps to take that will help make each day more controllable.

1. Before starting the day, write down at the most two or three things you really want to achieve.

2. At the beginning of your day, work on one of those things right away.

3. Watch during the day for moments when something unexpectedly opens up in your time. Instead of filling that with television or wasted activities, immediately work on one of the most important items. You will be amazed at how many times you can work on your critical goals when you were sure there wouldn’t be any place to do them.

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