Sunday, March 25, 2007

Good Friends

I mentioned earlier in the week a man named Andrew Favilla, whose wife, Laurel, is Pete Scazzero's assistant and is also the current Director of the Center for Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

Andrew works at Grand Central TERMINAL. I was reminded by Laurel at church this morning that the name is not to be confused with Grand Central STATION. They are one and the same, however, for the last many years, since the terminal has been revitalized, they have made a conscious and concerted effort to be sure that it is communicated that the Grand Central TERMINAL is MUCH more than a "station". When you visit the place, you can certainly see their point.

Anyway, that's not my point here.

What I did NOT mention was, and believe deserves mentioning, is that Laurel, who has served so well in her place as Pete's assistant, and her husband, Andrew, who serves also as Chairman of the Board of Elders at New Life Fellowship, became fast friends of mine over the last couple of years.

Laurel is a true prayer warrior, and we've has opportunity to work together as I've served as a kind of "unofficial" West Coast Representative for the Center for EHS. She so graciously picked us up at JFK on Wednesday and took us back there today.

It was a joy to spend a little bit of time with her and Andrew at lunch yesterday too. I just wanted to let you know a little bit about the Favilla's as I've gotten to know them some and our friendship has been rekindled this week.

After church this morning, I was surprised at the number of people who remembered me and also had the chance to meet several more of their folks. It is amazing to me how deeply the EHS material has been integrated into the lives of New Life folks. Obviously, it's been a number of years in the formation for them, but I believe it is happening for us too as NewHeart, and that's a blessing for me to see.

Anyway, good night for now ... more to come after taking tomorrow off ...

By the way, Orange Chicken it was ... brought home so the boys and I could catch last week's recording of 24 before they hit the sack!

No Place Like Home

Ahhh! The fresh smell of LAX and here I am in the Sepulveda Pass on the Flyaway bus to Van Nuys. Can hardly wait to see Colleen and the boys just on the other side of this mountain range. It'll be so good to hit some place for dinner with them and hear of the week's exploits.

it's my hope to have a nice sit down dinner somewhere, but knowing that one son's fave is In 'N Out (hamburger with lettuce, tomato and special sauce only, fries and vanilla shake) and the others fave is Panda Express (Orange Chicken), I'm not too sure where we'll end up.

I'll post more reflections on the EHS Conference as the week progresses.

It's good to be home!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Exciting Meeting

I keep forgetting to blog about the exciting Church Council Meeting I had the night before (Tuesday, March 20) I left for New York. No, seriously, it was an EXCITING meeting!!

If you are a NewHeart member or regular attender, you might remember that last June, I announced that our Sanctuary expansion that had been in the works for a number of years was shelved. There were a lot of reasons; too expansive to go into here.

We put the whole project on back burner to give it a rest. In the following months, we began to discover some of the projects we had put on hold over the last few years because "it will be taken care of in the expansion." Stuff like electrical service upgrade (badly needed), some cosmetic drywall repair and painting, A/C replacement (system is 25 years old), etc.

In the months following the "shelving" of the expansion, I was surprised at the number of comments I received that said, "Are we at least going to close off our wind tunnel (the breezeway entrance to the church doors)?" I mean, I got a LOT of those comments. Enough to say that the breezeway being closed off is a BIG value to people.

I've learned as a Pastor that when people get sold on a church and start coming regularly and get involved in church family life, we start to let slide the things that once bugged us when we first came. Little stuff like scratches on walls that are never cleaned, worn carpet, burned out light bulbs, AND HURRICANE FORCE BREEZEWAYS!

Last Tuesday night, we took a look at the first draft of plans to provide handicap-accessible restrooms (whose doors would not open right in front of the Sanctuary doors ;^) ), enlarge the foyer (making it more amenable to using it as a space for overflow seating) and ENCLOSE THE BREEZEWAY!

The cost of the project (a MAJOR factor in shelving the expansion plans) will be much more suitable. While we will need to raise a bit more money so that we can do it DEBT-FREE, we have most of the funds already on hand from faithful giving.

Look for more news on this later this Spring!

EHS Conference - Day 2

My feelings were confirmed today. A TWO day EHS Conference is definitely more impacting than ONE. Had a chance to chat more about this with Pete Scazzero today.

Areas covered today were Contemplative Spirituality and 5 Skills for Growing Into an Emotionally Mature Adult. The way the conference was presented this time around gave me a slew of ideas about how to make the material more easily presentable in a class/small group format.

It's been almost 4 years since I read the first book, The Emotionally Healthy Church. Ever since then, I've been pondering/praying about how to bring the material to the church in a format that is digestable.

When I taught the series, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality in the Fall of '05, I said then and believe now that it would be a ground-shifting series for us. It's a "way of life" kind of thing. That means that when people become a part of our church family, there has to be a way that we bring them along in that way. It's called discipleship.

When Pete's next book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, was released last Summer, I knew it would be the "textbook" for however we teach this in the future. Where the first book is written primarily for church leaders, the recent one is written for everyone, leader or not. It goes even deeper into your life than the first book.

If you are a member of NewHeart, or considering becoming one, let me urge you to get this book (we have them available at church in the foyer) and read it. Newly released at this conference is the workbook that goes with this book. We will have them available soon.

Keep your eyes open this year for the release of a new class that I see being part of our "Building Bigger Hearts Growth Track", covering this material. That is how FOUNDATIONAL I see this material for all of our lives as we grow together into our future as a church family!

Chuck and I considered trying to do the Empire State Building right after the final session. Midafternoon was beautiful here. However, 6:00 pm EDT was a different story. About 15 degrees cooler, fully covered in clouds and a discovered forecast of rain. In Chuck's words, "next time."

We ate dinner at a nearby Chinese place and headed to our rooms to get packed for tomorrow. We plan to visit New Life Fellowship's 9:15 service. Our ride to JFK Airport picks us up at 12:00 noon and my flight leaves for LAX at 2:00, arriving at 5:05 PDT. I am very much looking forward to being with Colleen and the boys tomorrow night!

Chuck flies directly to Christiansburg, Virginia from here, where he will spend about 10 days at the Foursquare Center for Spiritual Renewal that is being developed. I blogged about that here.

For now, a good night to you, and I look forward to great reports about NewHeart tomorrow!

Friday, March 23, 2007

EHS Conference - Day 1

It was helpful that today's Conference didn't start until noon. Gave us a chance to recover from yesterday's activities. Should've thought to bring a pedometer along. I don't know how many miles we walked throughout Manhattan, but it was at least a few.

After a good night's rest, I was excited to see what the day had in store. This is the 2nd of Pete Scazzero's EHS Pastors/Leaders Conference I have attended in New York and one of a handful since I've done a little bit of traveling and helping at others in Southern California.

Each conference has been a little more developed than the last. This one is turning out to show the same pattern. Where past conferences have been only 1 day, this is the first one they've done over 2 days. I can definitely tell that the added day will make a difference.

When we hosted the first Southern Cal EHS Conference 18 months ago at NewHeart, the biggest piece of feedback we received was that folks felt by the end of the day that they had taken a drink of water from a fire hose. There is so much to digest and process.

In reality, I am of the opinion that one would be best exposed to the EHS material and process by having it even be a 3 or 4 day retreat. At this point, the Scazzero's feel that most Pastors would not take that much time.

I agree that it would be somewhat of a stretch to get Pastors there, but it's a stretch I think would be well worth it. This material goes deep and requires much introspection. Sometimes, that introspection can be more readily handled if you have a chance to wear out less through long days of presentation and interaction and allow more time for rest, adequate sleep and down time. Just my opinion.

I realized again today how the Lord is always ready to do something new in us all. It's always been a true thing to me that God doesn't just save us and then call us done. We would never be able to handle the intensity of such transformation in our humanness. Instead, he is patient, loving, loooonnnngggg-suffering and willing to work with whatever we will give Him.

I, for one, am very grateful for that!


I am being reminded this morning of the place that the expectations I live with in myself are too much for anyone to live with. It's true for most of us. Who needs to be reminded?

We ALL do!! Unless we are reminded, we just keep living the same way, and it tends to NOT be the way of Jesus.

An additional truth is that no one is going to take care of that for me. Nobody else can take care of such things for you. We are each responsible before God to allow His Spirit to change us and give us the strength to do life His way.

Just a thought for your day....

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Great day

NOTE: A few folks have emailed me, and I HAVE received them. However, due to a glitch in the hotel internet service, I found tonight that my replies did NOT send. I hope to have this fixed in the morning. Any and all are encouraged to leave a comment. You will have to sign up with Blogger to leave comments, but I have found it to be non-spam producing, so go for it and let me know you are tracking with us!

What a day! After a great breakfast at Pop Diner, we hit the subway at about 9:15 EDT, arriving at Times Square 30 minutes later. We found the Gray Line Tour bus and got our tickets.

If you're ever in New York, be sure to do the Gray Line All Loops Tour. It's the best way to soak in the city over the course of a couple days. You can get on and off at several points and the ticket is good for 48 hours. And between the double decker bus and the subway, you've got all the transportation you need around Manhattan.

Anyway, our first stop off the bus was Ground Zero. Wow! St. Paul's Chapel is an amazing testimony. Check out their site.

Last time I was here was only 19 months ago. The progress they've made is incredible. I just can't get my brain around what this city must have been through with the events of 9/11. We walked all the way around the World Trade Center site just trying to imagine what must have gone through people's minds as the events unfolded.

It remains to me an absolute miracle that the tallest buildings in the world collapsed within moments of each other and did not do more damage or take more lives than what it did. When you are physically here and get to see the proximity of the neighboring buildings, without a doubt, I can almost see the hands of God upon those buildings, making sure that they did not topple onto more surrounding area.

From there, we walked the southwest section of Manhattan down to the southern tip to catch the red bus again. While waiting, we enjoyed a genuine New York street vendor hot dog that hit the spot and held us over for what was to come!

We rode the bus to the United Nations, which, as interesting as it sounds, is actually a fairly mundane area of Manhattan. From the UN, we walked the "New York short" distance to Grand Central Station.

On the way there, we developed the phrase of the day. Chuck would ask, "how far is it?", wanting to prepare himself for the jaunt. The phrase of the day became, "just a couple of blocks."

Once at Grand Central, we connected with Andrew Favilla, who just crossed 30 years of service there, the last 11 as Deputy Chief of Operations in charge of Safety & Security. As such, he was able to give us the highlight of the day, a behind the scenes look at Grand Central. We got to see their Situation Room, where top leaders gather in a crisis to monitor and strategize. He also shared some fascinating tidbits with us about Grand Central.

  • The City of New York actually had plans to tear it down, but it was saved by the influence of none other than Jackie Onassis. She saw what a shame it was for the city to have torn down the old Penn Station to replace it with the current Madison Square Garden and believed Grand Central should be saved.
  • Grand Central sees 600,000 people come through it DAILY!
  • The terminal has its own Police force of about 400 officers. They each carry a bio-chemical detector as part of their equipment that would instantly let them know if anything dirty was nearby. The building also has sensors that do the same thing.
  • After 9/11, all trash containers were replaced with specially designed cans that will not blow outward if a bomb were placed in them, thus saving injuries from shrapnel. Any debris would blow only straight up into the air.
  • Grand Central closes from 2:00-5:15 am so that every square inch can be cleaned by a crew of over 200 workers. The floors, the walls, the fixtures (I could not find ONE burned out light bulb among THOUSANDS!), and the brass (LOTS of it).

The tour there was a real treat. VERY interesting.

From there, we took the subway into the Upper East Side (ritzy area near Central Park), where we made our way to Lady M Confections. Check out what we had to treat .... I mean, eat! They were amazing! Excuse the low quality phone camera, please.

From there, we had our first downer of the day. We waited 45 minutes for our tour bus, which was supposed to be running every 15 minutes. We were wanting to get to go up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, but darkness was falling. I called the dispatch center and was told the bus should be there in about 10 minutes. 45 minutes later, still no bus!

Fortunately, we were able to joke about it and made our way "just a couple of blocks" to the subway, which took us to Times Square. Once there, we hopped on the Night Loop for a 90 minute ride throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Funny thing was that about 5 minutes into the Loop, it started to rain. We're on top of an open air double decker bus, and it starts to rain. Being prepared, the tour guide hands out "Gray Line ponchos". White trash bags complete with holes for arms, a hood for the head and the Gray Line logo! Souvenir it is! Here's Chuck in his ...

After a good dinner near Times Square, we headed back to our hotel in Queens. The Conference starts at noon tomorrow. A good chance to get some rest from an early day and late night.

I only slept a few short hours (I won't say how little) the night before we left. 3:00 am came early, but fortunately, I do OK sleeping on planes. I slept almost the whole way yesterday. Eye masks and ear plugs baby! They work wonders!

However, my body is still on Pacific time, so it was a late night and early morning. While I'm stating that, I should put this body down for some rest. Good night all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New York and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality ... An Oxymoron?

We departed LAX and arrived in New York on time at both ends. We were picked up by Laurel Favilla, who serves as Pete Scazzero's assistant. We've become good friends over the last couple years as we've worked together. It was great to reconnect with her and a real honor that she wanted to pick us up at JFK.

Navigating through JFK seemed flawless. As soon as we arrived at the baggage claim, our bags were right there. As soon as we exited baggage claim, there was Laurel!

Checking in at our hotel around 4:00 pm EDT, we settled in and prepared to depart for Manhattan, about a 15 minute walk and 30 minute ride on the subway. Just before we left Chuck's room, I remembered to go and grab the really nice camera graciously loaned to me by my brother-in-law, Dan.

When I went back to my room to pick through my suitcase, I discovered the camera WAS MISSING!! It had been removed from my suitcase. Instead of making our way to Manhattan, we spent the next 45 minutes or so on the phone with the airline to report the theft.

I felt horrible, as my brother-in-law had somewhere around 350 pictures on the memory card in the camera. The airline representative was so careful to apologize for the inconvenience and yet remind me that the airlines expressly state they are not responsible for electronic equipment in luggage. OUCH!

Off we went into the 38 degree New York air (brrrrr...) and down Queens Blvd., which you'll find to have an unfortunate reputation if you click the link. However, we made it through with no problems, and found our way to Times Square, my favorite part of New York. The lights and energy of Times Square are amazing!

Tomorrow, we'll leave the hotel after rush hour to head back to Manhattan. Some of the days anticipated highlights will include Ground Zero, the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station. Laurel's husband, Andrew, works at Grand Central. He has offered to give us a "behind the scenes" tour and some history about Grand Central. That should be a real treat!

As we are approaching this conference, I've had the thought strike me that it is surely interesting that God would have a Pastor from New York birth something called "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality".

A large part of EHS has to do with Sabbath rest, slowing down long enough to allow the Lord to really work deep into our lives. Seems to me that Emotionally Healthy Spirituality in a place like New York City is almost an oxymoron. Talk about swimming upstream!

We could say something similar about trying to teach and disciple people in Emotional Health and Spiritual Maturity in Southern California. Our lifestyles are way too fast to allow this to be the powerful truth that it is.

Fostering an atmosphere in your life where the Lord can truly move and shape and re-work and re-wire our hearts requires intentionality about our spiritual and relational growth in the Spirit and with one another. But who has time for that?

Hear me everyone! I believe it is possible, but not without some cost! We can't live life the way everyone else is living it, even when it comes to (maybe ESPECIALLY when it comes to) busy-ness and activity.

Jesus constantly modeled a pattern and rhythm of life and leadership that included sufficient time for rest, refreshment ... Sabbath ... daily, not even just weekly. Why would we expect it should be any different for us? Why would we buy into the way of the world around us when it relates to busy-ness and activity?

Enough of my soapbox .... Good night for now!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SVPD Ministry

Most of our church is aware that I serve as a Chaplain with the Simi Valley Police Department. I don't often mention it here, and thought I'd blog a bit about some of the calls I go out on.

SVPD has 5 Chaplains. The longest serving one is legendary in our city. Frank Witman served 28 years as Pastor of the Simi Valley United Methodist Church. He's a hero in my eyes! He's served as a Chaplain for the last 28, and was the first Chaplain in the history of the SVPD.

The next is Kurt Fredrickson. His legend is growing (in GOOD ways!). Kurt and I share similar ministry paths. He started as a Youth pastor at Simi Valley Evangelical Covenant Church, eventually becoming the Senior Pastor there for about 20 years. About three years ago, he accepted a position at Fuller Theological Seminary as their Director of the DMin (Doctor of Ministry) program. Since he still lives in Simi Valley, he has continued his ministry as a SVPD Chaplain.

Then there is Denise Dunbar, who came on the Department same time I did in 2000. Her husband was a Sergeant then and she has served as a Youth Pastor at a Foursquare Church in Canoga Park.

Next is myself. This has been a long time dream of mine. My "fallback" career was law enforcement of some kind. A story for another day. I thoroughly enjoy my role in the SVPD!

Then we have Brian Clements, who serves as a Deacon at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. Brian works for Ventura County as a Director of a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. He is a wonderful man!

We have an "auxiliary" member of our Chaplains Team who is NOT a Chaplain. Sgt. John Cooley retired from the LAPD a few years back and lives in Simi Valley. His last several years in the LAPD were invested in helping fellow officers as a Liaison with the LAPD Employees Assistance Plan. Over time, he became a specialist in Police funerals.

John works alongside us to help keep our eyes open to matters that aren't spiritual, but are, in the lives of Officers and their families.

My last call was just last Friday at 5:00 am. A 55 year old wife and mother was found dead by her daughter and husband. I was called in to be with the family with the waiting period ... waiting for the Coroner to arrive to assess the situation and advise the family of their next steps.

We call the Chaplains ministry a "ministry of presence". Lots of people ask, "what do you say to them?" or "How do you know what to say?" Well, you don't really. Most people will never remember what I said to them. They WILL remember that I was there and that I prayed and that I listened.

Our role as Chaplains is for both citizens AND Officers. Most people don't stop to consider that what is traumatic for them may be traumatic for the Officers involved in their case, whatever it may entail. So we look out not only for victims and family members, but for Officers and Civilian employees as well.

For now, I'm rollin' 10-7!!

Headed to New York

Tomorrow morning will come too early! 3:00 am early that is, and I haven't even STARTED packing!

I'm headed to New York to attend the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Pastors & Leaders Conference at New Life Fellowship in Elmhurst (Queens), just east of Manhattan. I am excited to see and hear more of what God is up to in my own life as well as others.

A very good friend and mentor will be going with me. He's never been to NY before, so we're taking Thursday to take him around some of the sights. No way we'll be able to hit everything, but we'll do what we can.

One place I'm looking forward to is Lady M Confections. They were featured on the Food Network a few months ago, and I noted that I would stop there whenever I'm in the area again. Bet you didn't know I used to decorate cakes, did ya? Yep, for those following my blog, this is where the stuff all comes out about me! I will NOT really be following my eating plan while in NY, I can tell you that!!

Anyway, the Conference is on Friday & Saturday and then we fly home on Sunday. I'll post about it whenever I get a chance, so come on along!

Waiting .... Part 2

Well, Sunday came and went, and went very well I might add. My anxiety was for nothing (as is often the case!).

In all actuality, our services were POWERFUL because of the waiting. It was beautiful to watch the Holy Spirit speak such congruous things to people.

At the end of each service, we allowed for some sharing of the things God was saying to individuals. The response was truly amazing!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Colleen and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this past Thursday. She is the MOST beautiful woman on the planet!! One cool thing is that she has become even MORE BEAUTIFUL the longer we've been married!

She is a priceless jewel, and a man can NOT have been MORE blessed than me with her!

We love to travel together, though any with kids will tell you that travel is a different story than before you had them! Anyway, we took an overnighter to Heritage Valley Inn in Piru. I would definitely recommend it!

Little Piru is about the sleepiest little town you'll ever see! Colleen thought it reminded her of the little town in "Cars" that had long been forgotten and left behind.

The only thing I would add to my recommendation is to bring earplugs. Simple reason: it's on Main Street in Piru. Sleepy as the town may be, it's on the way to Lake Piru and the traffic noise during the day was a bit much if you're into naps.

Here she is for any who may not have met her ...

Waiting ....

It's Saturday night, and I can hardly wait to bring tomorrow's message. We've been in a series called, "Turning Challenges Into Miracles." Based on a word the Lord gave us early this year that this would be a year of challenges, but also a year of miracles.

So much of life is made up of formulas...IF you do this, THEN this will happen... But I'm not sure that life is that way every day or most of the time.

Given that, I've been asking God to show us NOT some nifty formula for figuring out how WE can turn our challenges into miracles. Instead, I've been asking Him to show us what the components are to seeing HIM turn our challenges into miracles, because HE is the only One Who can do it anyways!

That said, two weeks ago, I was teaching on the topic of waiting on God. I had three points, but when I got the first two done, I was strongly impressed to WAIT to bring the third. I wasn't sure why. I just knew I was NOT to bring it then.

I hadn't necessarily gone long in my message. People seemed to be connecting. I can usually tell when you're done with my message. How? That's for another post.

For now, my additional thought was that the third point alone in a message is going to be pretty short! I know you're loving that! But hang on to your britches and slow on down now. I'm not giving it away right now, even though there probably aren't many reading this tonight anyway.

Tomorrow morning will NOT be our "typical" Sunday morning service. What do I mean by that? Well, I guess you're gonna have to WAIT to find out. ;^)

Saturday, March 10, 2007


WOW! Like I said, a whirlwind of a weekend!

The last 36 hours have been non-stop, but worth every moment! The time with Pete Scazzero was great. It's always good to catch up with friends, especially when you haven't seen each other in a while.

The Foursquare Live Satellite Broadcast went well today. I was THRILLED beyond words to have Pete's Emotionally Healthy Spirituality material exposed to our Foursquare family in such a large way. While the live venue we were at in San Dimas had about 100 participants, it's estimated that there were a total of about 9,000 in 350 sites across the country!

After dropping Pete off at LAX, I went by the hospital to check in on my friend. He is recovering so well for someone who just had major back surgery. I was able to be there when he was getting out of bed for the first time! We were able to walk together from ICU to his room on another floor. Needless to say, we took the elevator!

For any who are wondering, my tooth seems to have settled down today. As long as I don't put pressure or cold on it, the pain is non-existent. To the dentist on Monday (hopefully).

Sounds like Colleen is having a great time at her Ladies Retreat. I am so glad for that, as she has had a rough month or so. This coming week is our 21st anniversary. I'm working on plans for us to get out of town for a couple of days to celebrate.

On to church in the AM....

Friday, March 09, 2007

Whirlwind Weekend

Ever had one of those weekends that seems like a few weeks crammed into a few days? That's yesterday through tomorrow for me.

Thursday morning, I was in La Crescenta with the staff from our Foursquare Pacific ARC (Administrative Resource Center...there are 3 across the nation). I have been leading their staff through The Emotionally Healthy Church workbook. It's been a fun journey so far.

Early this morning, I had breakfast with my Pastor, then headed to Hollywood Community Hospital to hang out with a gal in our church whose husband is having long-awaited back surgery. He should be home Sunday or Monday.

From there, I am right now near LAX, waiting to pick up Pete Scazzero (author of The Emotionally Healthy Church). As we've cultivated a friendship over the last couple years, I try to hang with him whenever he is in the area. I'll take him to Pomona, where we'll stay overnight.

In the morning, I'll take him to LIFE Pacific College (the Foursquare Bible College and my alma mater) in San Dimas. Our denomination is having their 2nd Annual "Stewarding the Life of a Servant Leader" Live Satellite Broadcast.

Pastor Jack Hayford will speak the first 90 minutes. Pete will follow for 90 minutes, then Ted Roberts will conclude with a 90 minute session. The event is being broadcast live to over 350 Foursquare churches across the nation.

As soon as Pete is done speaking, I'll drop him off at LAX and he'll fly home from there. I'll make a stop at the Hollywood hospital I was at this morning to visit my friend, then head home.

Meanwhile, Colleen is at our Women's Retreat this weekend in Oxnard, and just this morning, I started to feel a slight toothache that has increased in intensity just in the last hour. Yes, Friday at 5:15! Anyone who knows me knows some of my dental history. YIKES!!!

All of the above (except the toothache of course) is why Todd Hacker is preaching Sunday. I can't wait to hear him again. He spoke on New Year's Eve and did great. If you're in town, don't miss it!!

One last thing...don't forget to turn your clocks ONE HOUR AHEAD on Saturday night!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Finding your tempo

I just started a book called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. Very interesting so far!

Bottom line: it's about balance. It's not about finding out how fast or slow you can live and still get by. It's about challenging the cultural shift that has taken place globally to speed up the pace of everything we do.

It's not about how to live life without deadlines. It's about how to find your rhythm and tempo in life so that we're not dying inside while everything around us progresses at warp speed.

While we all have our own tempo, nobody can truly sustain all of life at the speed at which life currently moves for us all. God made us in such a way that rest is necessary, regardless of how any of us may feel about how much time there is or isn't for it.

There are some things in life that CANNOT be rushed!

Helping Pastors

On Monday, I had the opportunity to be involved in an exciting project. I've written before about our denomination having set aside an old Bible College property in Christiansburg, Virginia for the purpose of creating a Pastor's Retreat Center.

Two days ago, I got to be part of a group of denominational leaders and Pastors who are tasked with defining what Sabbath, Sabbaticals, Study Breaks and Overall Pastoral Wholeness is, what they look like, how they best happen. We are also working on how the Center for Spiritual Renewal can best be resourced to make these kind of things happen for Pastors, not in a financial resource sense, but in practical resources (books, DVDs, CDs, sabbatical planning resources, local recreation resources, etc.)

Being a burnout survivor, I hope to be able to help put together effective resources. I've had the fortunate opportunity the last few years to work with church leadership that has learned alongside me that Pastors need regular breaks away from the everyday demands.

The culture of our denomination has not always allowed for the Pastor to be able to break away for anything more than "vacation". I've learned through hard experience that Pastors MUST break away regularly to get a sense of what God is doing and desires to do, both in them and through them as they lead.

I've been speaking lately about the components necessary to see God turn challenges into miracles. One we've been focusing on (and that may be the most critical) is the act of waiting. None of us like to wait, but we must wait on God in order to really connect with Him.

Sometimes, when things are going haywire, we want our answers NOW, and are unwilling to wait. So, instead of waiting, we rush ahead on our own and do what we think best, which may not be what God desires.

The issue of waiting is just as hard for Pastors as anyone else. It is particularly a challenge to wait in a place that everyone knows they can find you and call on you. Some of you know that in your work, too.

Thus, it is important for any Pastor to have places he or she can go to find quiet, peace, rest and ability to wait upon God. I am honored to be able to create and lead others to such resources.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jesus bones?

Some have been asking my thoughts on the recent Discovery Channel show claiming to have discovered the bone boxes of Jesus, his "wife", Mary Magdalene and their "son".

My thoughts are pretty simple. Obviously, they start with the thought that it's not true. The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus rose from His grave and ascended to heaven.

The hard time we have with the truth humanly is that we can't see Him or prove that what the Bible said actually happened. It seems that man will never really get over the issue of faith.

At the same time, while I am no archaeologist, nor a true "scholar", I've studied enough to know that we have plenty of physical evidence of Who Jesus is and what happened to Him.

The season of Lent, being these six weeks prior to Easter, will always see these kinds of supposed "expose's" attempting to claim that we finally have "the truth" on Jesus.

The real Truth is that we don't need any more Truth than we already have! We just don't want to believe it! Those are my thoughts ...