Monthly Archives: July 2014

Unsolicited Advice for Seminaries

Seminaries have tremendous influence in church life- for good or for bad. I prefer the good. (Does that make me a legalist?) So, with that in mind, here is my unsolicited advice (which is about the only advice I am usually allowed to give) for seminary leaders and professors.
1. Be practical. Seminary needs to be about more than imparting information. We can be educated, intelligent, knowledgeable and still be terribly ineffective in ministry. Don’t forget that that the goal of the M.Div. is more than just training students to get a Ph.D. Help us prepare to become pastors and staff members and missionaries. Make Hebrew practical. How does it help us preach to a diverse congregation? How can it help us translate the OT into the language of an unreached people group? Go beyond imparting information. Help us apply that information to hands-on ministry.
2. Teach leadership. (See point 1 for more information on why.) Pastors can leave seminary woefully unprepared (yes, woefully, I say!) to give the leadership that will be needed by them in the pastorate. They will be called to give leadership in congregations with great diversity of opinion. (I haven’t noticed any shortage of opinions on what a pastor should do.) Ineffective leadership can lead to dictatorial mandates or waffling indecision or unhappy power struggles. Ministers do have leadership responsibilities so teach us some basic principles that will help us to lead in an effective and Christ-like manner.
3. Recognize the twin dangers of Continue reading

When I become the Commissioner of Major League Baseball

I would imagine my election as commissioner of MLB is imminent. Afterall, I collected baseball cards when I was young, watch baseball on TV some, and caught foul balls at a Cardinals game and a Rangers game. I’m obviously qualified. It should come through any minute now. Here are the changes I will implement when that takes place. (Outside of the massive raise I will give myself- that just seems so obvious.)
1. The All Star game won’t count. It is an exhibition game for crying out loud. It shouldn’t count for home field advantage in the World Series. Let it be a feel good, make an overly big deal about retiring Yankees, have fun, see the guy in the other league that you don’t know much about, play everyone, kind of game.
2. No more DH. The Designated Hitter robs us of the joy of seeing people like ourselves. We miss seeing pitchers who can’t hit. We miss seeing aging fat guys chase pop ups. We like seeing people try to hit who can’t hit. (I’m not speaking of the Cubs, just Continue reading

“I’m a Missionary’s Helper”

Good thoughts from my wife. Pray for a missionary today.

I love to give.  I give to love.

If you are aware of the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you’ll remember the five basic ways we show love:

  • Acts of service
  • Gifts
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Quality Time

Yep.  I’m a giver.  All of these are ways that we give/receive love, but most of us tend to lean toward one or two of them… mine being gifts and acts of service.

1-Love Is All You Need

SO… from the moment my daughter, son and grand baby boarded a plane for Madagascar, I started collecting things to send.

It’s not an easy task–it takes approximately six weeks for packages to arrive, so planning ahead is key:  I mailed Jane’s birthday package right after they left so that it would arrive in plenty of time for her November birthday.

It never arrived.

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How to be a knucklehead in 10 easy steps

Looking for some simple ideas on how you can be a knucklehead? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Follow these 10 simple steps and you will be well on your way to the exciting world of life as a knucklehead. Good luck on your wonderful adventure! (Good thing I didn’t mention sarcasm as one of the steps.)

1. Write snarky emails, letters and responses. (Bonus points for writing them with the shield of anonymity. Double bonus points for mockery used while anonymous.)
2. Respond to mean emails while still angry.
3. Don’t give others the benefit of the doubt.
4. Be angry when others don’t give you the benefit of the doubt.
5. Consider nuances in the tones of the voice of others who talk with you. They must say the Continue reading

A Patriotic Worship Service

I love the patriotic worship service we have at FBC O’Fallon, IL each 4th of July weekend. It is exciting, moving and fun.
Once in a while, I read others who complain about churches having a patriotic service. They remind us of the dangers of patriotism replacing worship and zeal for the nation replacing zeal for the Lord. Duly noted.
But I do believe we can keep a proper perspective of the role of God and country. The first point of my sermon on Sunday was “We have earthly responsibilities but a greater allegiance.” (I preached from the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from Daniel 3 and the greater allegiance referred to the Lord, not D.C. My wife says it was the greatest sermon preached in the history of Christendom- but Continue reading