Semper Reformanda

...some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help.

[Monday, September 28, 2009]

Intangibles

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Dana Hungerford was a math teacher at my high school (unfortunately I never had him for a class) that recently died. This article is a compelling insight into the importance of teachers in the classroom and the intangible metrics by which they are measured.

Mr. Hungerford, I'll miss ya, I wish I would have gotten to know you better.

[Thursday, September 24, 2009]

...To the ends of the earth

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(Click to enlarge)

This is a map of the world circa 18 AD, according to the Greek geographer Strabo.

An interesting point showing that to the Apostles, carrying the gospel to "the ends of the earth" had a much different meaning than what we think of today.

[Tuesday, September 22, 2009]

The Godfather of Video Venues

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As we near the point where The Crossing expands from Chesterfield into their new site in Fenton, I've been having lots of questions about our future, and how it will look. One of which, being: "There are so many question marks in my head as to how this will work... is leadership aware and working on these?"

I randomly found this article where Larry Osborne is interviewed on his church's use of "video venues." If that phrase is familiar to you, then you'll understand why I was immediately intrigued and became more relaxed as I read through the article. The Crossing staff ISN'T making this up as they go along. They've done their homework. We've been using "video venues" for quite a while now. And, just the general tone of the article, and how Larry, "the Godfather," talks about his church's path and what they emphasize has a resemblance to The Crossing. I believe our staff is taking an approach as student, rather than visionary when it comes to our multi-site move. We have some great resources to learn from, and all signs point to the fact that we are.

Yes, there are still questions, some very scary ones. Yes, multi-site is a "new" trend in church strategy. No, they haven't been around for that long... its not a standardized method. But there is a ton of information and experience out there from many churches who are doing it and doing it well. I don't think The Crossing will be any exception.

May we be humble learners and open to whatever God has in store for us both in the near future and the far. May we raise up leaders who raise up leaders. May we carry the gospel to all parts of St. Louis and beyond. To the praise and glory of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Leaky Tub

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Yesterday I was finishing up my shower, and when I turned the water off, the water kept flowing... not like drip........ drip...... drip, but like goooooooooooooooooooooosssshhhhhhhhh!

Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated... This house has been great, but it seems that nothing decided to go wrong until I decided to sell it.

Anyway, I'd always had a leaky tub that was annoying... and I'd even asked a contractor to fix it while he was here doing other things (which appeared fixed for about a week). So I wasn't really too keen on hiring it out again. I did a bit of research on the internet, and started disassembling. Two trips to Home Depot and about 2.5 hrs later I ended up diagnosing and fixing the problem! A small rubber washer had eroded away. This washer was responsible for forming the seal around the valve where the water comes out, thus causing my leaky, and now flowing faucet. A 100 pack of assorted washer sizes was $5, the tool needed to remove the encasement from the wall was $8 (basically it was a huge socket). So, all in all I fixed that sucker good for less than $20 and not too much of my own time.

After it was all said and done, and I turned the water back on to test the seal, several things raced through my mind in a flurry...

It started with: "Wow! I did it!"

Which led to: "Wow! *I* did it! And I didn't need ANY help!"

But then I started thinking about how weird that felt to say that. I remembered that all of my gifts and skills that I use in my life ultimately come from God (thank you Dr. Douglass). So I did the only thing I could...

"Thank you God! Thank you for giving me the skills necessary to work through and solve this problem and fix it with minimal effort. Thank you for allowing this problem to be minor enough that the likes of me could fix it without royally screwing something up. Thank you for permitting this to be done in a couple of hours, knowing that my house is on the market right now, and I cannot afford to miss any showings."

Which led to this:

"Thank you God for reminding me of where my abilities and talents come from. Thank you for bestowing those abilities and talents on me through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who lives in me and works through me, which you have given me in your abounding and merciful grace. Thank you for bestowing on me that saving grace to deliver me from my own sin, for redeeming me and making me alive in you."

I'll be honest, I don't "get it" that often, but I think this is a glimpse for me of what a proper devotion to God looks like. In our daily lives, we use talents, gifts and abilities all the time. These should be directing us back to the Giver, the Author of those gifts -- God. A natural outflow of that, then is to be reminded of the greatest gift we have received as followers of Christ - Christ Himself. Thus, it would be a normal progression to start at point A (being happy that I didn't flood my upstairs by forgetting to turn off the water) and end up at point B (praising God for my salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life).

I hope this event has opened your eyes more to the reality of God working in and through your life on a daily basis. I can't say I'm always going to "get it" from now on, but I've definitely become more aware of my surroundings and I encourage you to stop and look around every once in a while as well.

[Monday, September 21, 2009]

Semper Reformanda

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If you've frequented my blog before, you might notice I've changed the title from Chopstick Bandit to Semper Reformanda.

Chopstick Bandit had no meaning... it was a nonsensical conglomeration of words that I formed by looking at random things. That being said, I thought it was a good name for a blog. However, Semper Reformanda seems better.

I'm reading through Os Guinness' The Call, for one of my classes and ran across a section where he mentions the Latin phrase "semper reformanda." In English it means "always reforming," and was the cry of the reformation that formed what we now call Protestant Christianity. The point of the phrase is to show that no one this side of glory has arrived. We should always be evaluating our beliefs and practices and how they compare to Christ. To be content to stay where we are currently will begin to breed pride and contempt for those around us. Only by humbly bowing at the throne of grace can we prevent ourselves from being puffed up with our own self-worth and eclipsing our view of Jesus Christ.

May we never think so much of ourselves that we think something or someone is below us. May we always be reforming our thought, speech, and actions in accordance with what Christ would have us do. May we always remember that we are all sinners, saved by grace, to the glory of God the Father, amen.

[Thursday, September 17, 2009]

A Minister's Bible

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O God of truth,
I thank Thee for the holy Scriptures,
their precepts, promises, directions, light.
In them may I learn more of Christ,
be enabled to retain His truth
and have grace to follow it.
Help me to lift up the gates of my soul
that He may come in
and show me Himself when I search the Scriptures,
for I have no lines to fathom its depths,
no wings to soar to its heights.
By His aid may I be enabled to explore all its truths,
love them with all my heart,
embrace them with all my power,
engraft them into my life.
Bless to my soul all grains of truth garnered from Thy Word;
may they take deep root,
be refreshed by heavenly dew,
be ripened by heavenly rays,
be harvested to my joy and Thy praise.
Help me to gain profit by what I read,
as a treasure beyond all treasure,
a fountain which can replenish my dry heart,
its waters flowing through me as a perennial river
on-drawn by Thy Holy Spirit.
Enable me to distill from its pages faithful prayer
that grasps the arm of Thy omnipotence,
achieves wonders, obtains blessings,
and draws down streams of mercy.
From it show me how my words have often been
unfaithful to Thee,
injurious to my fellow-men,
empty of grace, full of folly,
dishonoring to my calling.
Then write Thy own words upon my heart
and inscribe them on my lips;
So shall all glory be to Thee in my reading of Thy Word!

[Monday, September 14, 2009]

Colorado: Part 3

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Aug 25
  • Climbed Quandary Peak (4000 vertical feet in 5 hrs - up, then 2.5 hrs down... total height 14,265 feet)
  • Felt like dying for a while
  • Took a bubble bath in the whirlpool tub
  • Ate an awesome burger from Empire Burgers for dinner
  • Ate my first crepe for dessert
  • Slept REALLY good
Aug 26
  • Did some reading and just had some down time
  • Bought some Smith ski goggles for 50% off
  • Had Wendy's for lunch (hey, it was vacation!)
  • Went to the Red Orchid for dinner (family style Chinese and Sushi)
Aug 27
  • Headed to Vail to meet Steve's family for lunch
  • Shopping in Vail was very reminiscent of Disney World
  • Lunch somewhere... don't remember. I had pasta
  • Went to Ford Park... as in Gerald and Betty
  • Took a gondola to the top of one of the peaks for a better view
  • Ate Giampietro Pizza for dinner back in Breckenridge (tiny restaurant, good pizza)
  • Packed
Aug 28
  • Headed home

Colorado: Part 2

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Aug 23
  • My birthday
  • Went to a non-instrumental Church of Christ since it was Sunday. (ecclesiastically stimulating)
  • Went to the Whale's Tail for my birthday lunch. Had a crab melt.
  • Ate Fatty's Pizza for dinner. Pretty nice little joint.
  • Went to a muscial -- the Fantasticks that evening. Not too shabby.
Aug 24

Yeah, God's kinda like that...

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As soon as you think you're all that... He knocks ya down a few pegs.