Sunday, January 29, 2006

End of the Spear

I haven't see this movie yet - plan to this week. By now you have probably heard about the controversy that has surrounded this movie and that is the fact that the lead role is played by a homosexual activist, Chad Allen. OH NO!!! OMG! What are we as followers of Jesus Christ supposed to do with that? (let me be foolish for a minute to prove a point)

Choice #1: We could PICKET the movie theater - take a stand! Yeah! Get out and let these people know how you feel about this "poor choice." If you decide to do this, please don't call (or even tell) me.

Choice #2: PREACH a sermon series on the ills of homosexuality and "tell it like it is." Let's rally people against this great sin! Again, please leave me out of your plans if this is you.

Choice #3: BOYCOTT! That's right! We'll teach them a lesson! Cut off the cash.

Choice #4: LEARN THE FACTS (this one gets my vote!)

Yes, I'm sad that a movie depicting the lives of these modern-day martyrs has become the subject of controversy. Hiring a homosexual activist to play the lead role of Nate Saint goes against everything we believe as followers of Jesus Christ. But what are the facts in this case? Ready?

The reality is that Steve Saint (the late Nate Saint's son) who helped oversee the movie discovered that Chad was a homosexual activists AFTER he had been cast. In that situation, how could Steve ask him to step down? He was truly in a no win situation.

The problem is simply this; we want to sing Amazing Grace and then decide who gets it! Isn't it wonderful that Chad Allen was given the same grace you and I were given when we trusted Christ as Savior! I think so! Maybe as a result of this, he'll eventually come to faith in Christ. Check out what Steve Saint says about this from Christianity Today:

"It is hard to see people have to defend a decision that I was responsible for, for people to have ugly things said about them because of a decision I made. But I have total peace about the decision, and that Chad Allen was the man God intended to act in the movie. I knew that there would be a price to pay for any position I would take on this issue, regardless of the fact that I had not wanted to be involved. I knew one thing for sure: I would rather face the anger and even hatred of people who feel I have let them down, than to take any chance of having to stand before my Savior and have to answer for messing up his plans for Chad."

Click here to read the entire article. Before you go judging another person's motives and actions, be certain that you have all the facts. Also, let's be salt and light to EVERYONE and not just those who we feel are deserving. Pray that Chad realizes his need for Christ and accepts him as Savior and Lord.

“Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, “A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!” Ro 10:14-15 The Message

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Passing the Baton: Developing the Heart of a Shepherd

Bill Donahue and me at the small groups conference

I had the opportunity to travel to Johnston Evangelical Free Church in Des Moines today for a conference on small groups. It was a great day and as you can see in the picture I was able to meet and chat with Bill Donahue, a virtual small group guru. He took time to answer some of my questions and also direct me to a more appropriate seminar up at Willow Creek in May. I'm glad to add another servant-leader to the list of leaders I 've had the privilege to meet.

I also enjoyed meeting the worship leader, Brad Merkle (he's really tall!) and chat with him. What a nice man with a really cool testimony. I also saw Pat Drury who is the brother of a pastor that I knew back in Wadsworth, OH at Valley View Chapel. Pat and I met in Des Moines "accidentally" several months when we were 2 of only about 6 guys in a conference. It was great seeing him again!

The NCBC small groups ministry is in formation right now and will be for quite some time. But, I believe more than ever that we need an thriving small groups ministry to help people connect and grow. Pray for our leadership team as we begin to organize and launch this ministry.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Barbeque This!

Andrew, Amy, & Allyson

Andrew and Allyson started their new jobs here in Cedar Rapids at Barbeque This! They serve really good BBQ, cornbread, and other delicious meals. Tyler, their boss, is really pleased with their work and we couldn't be more proud. The first night they were open to family and friends and everything was free! I had beef brisquet with HOT bbq sauce, cornbread, and apple crisp. They fixed chicken fingers for Mackenzie and they were even good.

Congrats to Andrew and Allyson (and friend Amy too!) on their new employment. Congrats to Tyler on his new business. Best wishes to you and your great team!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Serving up the love of God one breakfast plate at a time!

(L-R) Matt, Henry Davison (founder), me, Mark

I've been here in CR now almost 7 months and I finally made my way down to the HD Youth Center founded by Henry Davison about 7 years ago. Monday through Friday volunteers start arriving at 5:30am to prepare a delicious breakfast for ANYONE who stops in FREE of charge. They don't have to hear a sermon first, pay a dime, nothing! They just walk right in, PLACE THEIR ORDER (I'm blown away!) and then they sit down. The volunteers then get right to work fixing their eggs - just the way they like them - and then they are served at their tables, no tipping allowed.

God up in heaven must be smiling from ear to ear. If you love me, feed my sheep. Thanks to the vision of Henry Davidson and the partnership with NCBC that makes this possible. Take a minute and pray for them and the many volunteers (NCBC serves on Wed. morning and Thursday afternoon).

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ Matt. 25 The Message

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mackenzie got her hair cut too!

I have to say that I like the haircuts my daughters got Monday night. My previous post was about Morgan. I decided that Mackenzie would get her own spot. Take a moment and notice how much she looks like Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia.

We love you too Mackenzie!

Locks of Love

Our wonderful daughter Morgan (12) has been growing her hair out so she could donate it to Locks of Love. This is a non-profit organization that creates hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children 18 years and younger suffering from long-term medical hair loss. They meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure.

We are so proud of our daughter and we are thankful for the heart that God has given her for people who are physically and mentally challenged. We love you Morgan!!!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Parents of Teens ABF Party

Judy, Sandy, Karen, Lorrie, Lisa

Judy and I have been waiting for a good opportunity to have everyone over from our Parents Of Teens Adult Bible Fellowship. This ABF adopted us as their very own and they have demonstrated God's love to us in so many ways! They helped us move in to our house and have been there for us right along.

So, last night we had a New Year's DAY/evening party at our house. It was a lot of fun and wouldn't you know it, we wound up watching Napoleon Dynamite! Ha!

Let's read through the Bible this year!

Have you ever read through the Bible? It's only three chapters a day! Would you like to join me this year in a read through the Bible? Yes? Well, let me help get you going with some ideas! Here's what I recommend:

1. Get a plan! Online plans are available to keep you on track: has a site with four different reading plans and over 50 translations in many languages! Back to the Bible has a similar site as well. I am using a site called Yearly Bible Read Through. It was a bit frustrating to figure out, but once I did I really like it! You can register, set up a plan, and then use the site to read. It features over 60 translations and even a "reward" system. Pretty cool!

2. Get an accountability partner! The founder of Rex Kwan Do (Napoleon Dynamite) calls this the buddy system. (Did you see Napoleon Dynamite?) Find someone who will partner with you to encourage you as you read through.

3. Get a time and a place! A Bible reading plan deserves a plan for when and where you will read. I read first thing in the morning and it works great for me. I either read at the dining table, or at Panera's depending on the day of the week.

4. Get a good translation! I highly recommend the NIV. I also like the NASB95 - our pastor's fav. I am planning to read through The Message this year.

5. Get started! I always try to get a jump start and get ahead. READ, READ, READ!
Why not get started right now? Would you join me this year as we read through the Bible together? Let me know how you do!

15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:15-17NIV