Words acceptable for Sunday sermons…

Tim Hawkins suggests over a hundred ‘Christian’ swear words.

How many do YOU say?

How many would be acceptable in your Sunday message?



Should Christians step up and bury the Boston bomber?

I admit that the thought never even crossed my mind.

Nobody wants to bury the Boston bomber, Tarerlan Tsarnaev.


This article asks why no Christian (or anyone else for that matter) has stepped up to show enough mercy to take the body and bury it.

From the article:

“I’ve not heard a lot from the Christian community” on this issue, said Joel Anderle, senior pastor of Community Covenant Church in West Peabody, Mass., and president of the Massachusetts Council of Churches.

“This is one of those curious areas where Christianity, and in particular Protestant Christianity, has come to believe that it doesn’t have a voice.”

The issue isn’t theological uncertainty. Believers of all stripes would say Tsarnaev should be buried — in local soil if necessary, perhaps in an unmarked grave — as a matter of respect for personhood, for the human body and for God, according to Laura Everett, executive director of the MCC. She notes Christians are known for burying even pariahs, including those executed for heinous crimes or left to die in the streets, as acts of faithful witness.

Why then today’s reticence? Some blame the media. Christian leaders would love to tell why even a killer should have a burial, but reporters aren’t giving them a platform to weigh in, according to the Rev. Suzanne Wade, priest-in-charge at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Westford, Mass.

“We have a moral imperative to say yes to the burial,” Wade said. “But I wonder if the voices of those who would speak peace are being muted because the conflict is a much better story.”

Others suspect reticence serves particular purposes for faith leaders who must walk a delicate line in the aftermath of a devastating disaster. These purposes might be lofty and pastoral, or part of something less holy, depending on one’s perspective.

Because the bombings left more than 260 people injured and dozens maimed, pastors across the region are ministering to parishioners who were hurt or know victims and still feel the sting of the attacks. Such pastors might be too upset or angry to champion mercy and respect for a man responsible for their people’s misery, according to Wade.

“It’s much easier for me to be that public voice than it is perhaps for people who have somebody very close to them who was affected,” Wade said. “Distance allows a perspective that you can’t get when you’re living in the middle of it.”

What’s more, the best pastoral outcome would probably be for a burial to take place with consent from Tsarnaev’s family and with minimal fanfare, Everett said. In their reticence, faith leaders might be trying to keep the debate from escalating, she said, since no one is served well by a heightened, emotional spectacle.


Read more here.


Why does this remind me of some sermons I’ve heard?

Why does this remind me of some sermons I’ve heard (and then later found online)?


Found here.


Charting your actual productivity

Does your productivity run in spurts?

Mine does.

And it’s not always at the time I want it to be.

This graphic pretty much sums it up:



I’m a night owl… and some of my best work comes when I’m ready for bed.

That’s frustrating.

I’m slowly learning to be more productive early in the day… in fact… sometimes I can fit what seems to be a full day of work into the first couple hours of the day… when it’s quiet, and when I’m fresh.

What’s your productivity graph look like?

Read more here…


How far would you publicly support an imprisoned church member?

Pastor Ryan Budde from Croswell Wesleyan Church in Michigan has a small problem on his hands.  A member of his church has recently been arrested for hosting a cancer fundraising benefit to help pay her medical bills.  Problem is… she doesn’t have cancer.

The 38 year-old woman is facing eight charges in a couple different investigations (in 2001, the woman said a man raped her in a Meijer parking lot and that she received a sexually transmitted disease from the rape.  That, she said, is what caused her cancer).  And last September, she claimed she was sexually assaulted again.  The police report says she had some signs of bruising, but that that ‘bruising’ was later determined to be make up.

Here is the response of her pastor:

“We always want her to know we love her, and if we could help her in any way, we would… Whatever may come from this, we’re not going to turn our back on her, we want to help her. As Americans and as a church, we want to stay with innocent until proven guilty.”

I do appreciate that stand that the church is being supporting and wanting to not turn their back on the gal.  But there’s something about the last sentence that I’m not quite sure about.

The mixing of the Americans/church and staying with the innocent until proven guilty seems like an odd stance for a church.

Most churches would, quite frankly, distance themselves from the lady.

Few would stand by her as this church is doing… offering support, and, as it sounds, believing her until she is found guilty.

What would YOU do in this situation?

Have you had a situation like this where a member is arrested and held for a very public crime?

How far would you publicly support an imprisoned church member?

Read more here…


Rick Warren offers use of Saddleback campus to nearby church if necessary

St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, CA may be without a building soon.

They are trying to retain their building since their split from the US Episcopal Church over widening differences of biblical interpretations and the confirmation a few years back of the first openly gay Episcopal Bishop.

The Episcopal Diocese is suing St. James and two other Orange County churches for their property.

As it currently stands, St. James will need to appeal the current decision of the court, giving the property to the diocese.  If the appeal does not go through, the church will have to vacate the property soon.

Rick Warren has offered the Saddleback Campus in Lake Forest for the church to use temporarily if they are forced to leave.   The leader at St. James said “We are overwhelmed by his generosity.  It is an encouraging sign of support from Christians in the community.

QUESTION:  Would your church make a similar offer to help out a church in your area in a similar situation?  Why or why not?

Read more here.


Exponential Heads West Coast – October 7-10

Press release from my friends at Exponential:

On the heels of Exponential ’13 in Orlando selling out and drawing 5,300 leaders on site and 40,000 to the live Exponential ’13 Webcast, Exponential has announced plans for an Exponential West 2013 this October. The conference will be hosted by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., Oct. 7-10, and like the recent Orlando event will focus on discipleship.

For the last several years, Exponential has been asked to bring the annual event held in Orlando each April to the West Coast. However, Exponential leaders have been deliberately slow and cautious to expand, not wanting to lose one of the conference’s unique distinctives—a family reunion-like, highly relational environment fueled by the energy of more than 5,000 entrepreneurial church planters gathered together in one place.

“Overwhelmingly, the feedback we get from different leaders is that there’s not another experience like Exponential where the speakers are so accessible, just hanging out with everyone,” Exponential Director Todd Wilson says. “Where else can you walk up to Rick Warren at a picnic table and have a conversation? We have been very careful to not lose that dynamic. We’re now confident we won’t.”

Wilson points to the intersection of several variables indicating that the time is now right to expand to the West.

“With selling out the Orlando conference two months early combined with the tremendous response to the solid discipleship content on the webcast, we had to come face to face with the fact that we have a demand for more people wanting to come than we can handle.

Wilson draws the parallel to Exponential’s focus on reproduction and multiplication of churches and leaders. “We realize that when we reproduce to another Exponential, we reproduce who we are,” he explains. “And we don’t want to lose those positive things—the family reunion feeling and the energy of 5,000 planters. So we’ve been really careful about adding another conference until we were certain we could multiply with that dynamic. Ultimately, the customer for us is the church planting leader that we want to help accelerate. And we believe there is a large customer base in the West that we should be serving.”

To register for Exponential West 2013, click here.

A heart-felt word word to pastors and church leaders from Dallas Willard

As we mourn the death of Dallas Willard today, here is a recent short (15 minute) word of exhortation recorded by Dallas for all pastors and church leaders:

Dallas Willard Dies at 77

According to Christianity Today, Dallas Willard, a prominent philosopher on a “quiet quest to subvert nominal Christianity (according to a 2006 CT profile), died today after losing a battle with cancer. He was 77.

Not long after news broke, InterVarsity Press associate publisher Andrew T. Le Peau wrote on his blog that the University of Southern California philosophy professor will be missed for his “strong, gentle wisdom, remembering him as someone who was soaked in the presence of Christ.”

Our prayers go out to the Willard family.

Louis C.K. on Patience and Hard Work

OK… I know we don’t take our cues from foul-mouthed comedians, but Louis has some great words on patience and hard work.

He is one of the most successful comedians working today, and made headlines in the past couple of years for going out on a limb and creating his own distribution system for his comedy… sidestepping production companies and the Comedy channel.

But that has brought him questions like this (and surprisingly, I’ve heard this same question asked of successful church leaders):

Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special, and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?

Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?

You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.

So why do I have the platform and the recognition?

At this point you’ve put in the time.

There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.

Why is your church so big?

I could never do what you have done.

We could never compete with that.

They have everything.

They’re stealing our people and our talent.

To those people saying those things:  There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life.

Sure, God’s hand of blessing is involved.  But don’t think for a minute that things happen overnight without much work.

They don’t.

Hardly ever.

Read more here…



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