10 Random Things

10 Random Things:

(1) Today is when voters here in Maryland, along with Virginia and D.C., get a shot at the national spotlight. I’m registered Independent, so I can’t vote. In my 14 years of voting eligibility, I’ve been registered as a Democrat, Republican, and now Independent. I’m thinking about switching back to Democrat so I can vote in the early rounds. Might as well. As you can see, I’m not exactly a strict party guy. (Good thing, since I don’t have a party.)

(2) Carolyn and I recently finished watching the complete series of Voyagers. That’s “complete series” as in the whole one season it ran. Too bad it didn’t go longer! Great ’80s show, complete with hokey one-liners such as, “I work alone, kid,” and those fantastic corny ’80’s not-so-special effects. And of course Phineas Bogg, with his open shirt, falls in love with a different woman in every episode. But it’s still a classic–I definitely recommend the show!

(3) Recently I’ve been getting hits on this blog from people researching Babe Ruth’s infamous called shot. Let there be no doubt about it–the Babe called it. In the third game of the 1932 World Series, the New York Yankees were playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were heckling Ruth, and finally he’d had enough: he’d let his bat talk for him. So he pointed to center field and knocked the next pitch over the wall–exactly where he’d pointed. I know of at least two sources which confirm the truth of this story. First of all, I’ve heard a recording of that at-bat, and the announcers themselves mention the Babe calling his shot. Second, a friend of my dad’s who passed away in the mid-1980s was there at the game, and he confirmed the story. Below is a picture of Ruth pointing, right before he homered.

(4) Speaking of blog traffic, there are two topics that repeatedly bring more hits to this blog than anything else: searches for surfing, and searches for chapstick–more specifically, chapstick conspiracy theories and chapstick expiration dates. In fact, if you Google “chapstick conspiracy theory,” this blog is the first listing that comes up. Weird.

(5) Last night I cleaned the house because we were going to have a church meeting here. The meeting ended up getting rescheduled, but at least the house is clean now.

(6) Carolyn is off from work today because of the election, so she’s going to visit the Training Station with me. She hasn’t yet met the Tuesday/Thursday kids. She’ll love ’em!

(7) Butch Marvin, whose ministry has had a significant impact at CrossWay the past couple years or so, is doing a two-week series at CrossWay in May. (If you’re reading this and you’re on our Worship Planning Team, I’m not holding out on you–I just got the email confirming the plan!) His messages are about “Becoming a Hope Dealer.”

(8) Today a group of ministry leaders in the Berlin area are meeting to plan a special event called “Celebration of the King.” It will be held on Friday, April 4th, which marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s an attempt at bringing together the black and white communities in this area, which is the most segregated place I’ve ever lived. We’re going to honor Dr. King and worship his King, King Jesus, who is also our King!

(9) Next week I’m getting to meet with some pastors from the Ocean City area. I’m really looking forward to it, because I’ve been wanting to meet these guys and get to know them.

(10) CNN.com is the dumbest news website on the Internet. I need to find a good source for up-to-the-minute news. They used to be a great news source, but now they mostly just have stories about people doing horrific things to children. Whatever happened to real news coverage?

Published in: on February 12, 2008 at 5:45 am  Comments (2)  

February in Brrrlin

Five days ago I blogged about it being 73 degrees.  This morning when I came to the office it was 16 degrees.  The wind chill factor was one.

February is back!

Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 11:29 am  Comments (2)  

Hollywood God: The Pursuit of Happyness

“Hollywood God” kicked off at CrossWay yesterday with The Pursuit of Happyness. We watched several clips from the movie about how Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) chased after what he thought would make him happy, letting absolutely nothing get in his way. The movie ends like so many others: happily ever after. We see the goal achieved, and are left to assume that now everything in life will be great and everyone will always be happy forever.

The problem is that at the end of the movie, the main character’s happiness is still dependent on circumstances. And since circumstances are constantly in flux, such happiness is fleeting.

The good news is that there are other, better, more long-lasting things we can pursue that do not depend on circumstances–things like contentment (Philippians 4:11-13), joy (John 17:13), peace (John 14:27), and a full life (John 10:10). All of these things can be found in a personal friendship with Jesus Christ.

That’s the good news. And the Good News is that as we pursue friendship with Jesus, He’s pursuing friendship with us.

All that might sound simple and trite, but the truest and most profound things often appear that way on the surface. Sometimes the Bible gives us a spiritual answer when we’re looking for something tangible; but as A.W. Tozer put it in The Pursuit of God: “The spiritual is real.” More real than anything else.

Someday everyone who has a relationship with Christ will leave this old life behind and begin a new life in which they will always be inexpressibly happy. In the meantime, we can experience a foretaste of heaven by having such wonderful, unshakable gifts as peace, joy, contentment, and a full life.

During the service we had popcorn and sodas. The windows were darkened to enhance the movie clips we watched (about 10 minutes worth). We gave our first-time guests popcorn bags containing a Blockbuster gift card, microwave popcorn, a CrossWay pen, and several other things. At the very end of the service we collected all the Connection Cards and drew one for the winner of a DVD of The Pursuit of Happyness.

One of the best parts of this weekend was seeing how so many people from CrossWay really came together and worked hard to make it happen. I won’t even try to begin naming names. But for those of you reading this who are a faithful part of the CrossWay team, THANK YOU!!! It is an honor to serve Jesus with you! And I need to give a shout out to Pastor John from the Gathering Tree who designed the graphics for each week.

Something else about yesterday that was really cool: It was our first day of not having Sunday School, which we did in order to strengthen Children’s Church, and we had some children who were first-time guests who participated in Children’s Church! Seems like confirmation that we’re making the right move.

I’m really looking forward to next week when we do Ratatouille. (And forget it–we’re not serving ratatouille! I looked up the recipe for this “chunky stew”–its literal translation–and it looks like pretty funky stuff.)

Oh yeah, one more big answered prayer: all the technology ran smoothly in the worship service!

Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 5:29 am  Comments (2)  

Family Movie Night: Ratatouille

On Friday at CrossWay we had our first Family Movie Night and showed Ratatouille.  We had about 30-35 people–not bad considering how little promotion we did.  We had visitors from four families that had not been connected to the church.  It was a lot of fun!  The popcorn machine made some pretty good stuff, and of course it made the place smell really good too.  It also provided good practice so we’d know how to use it on Sunday.  It was a good launch to “Hollywood God”!

Published in: on February 10, 2008 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Sunday: Hollywood God!

At long last, after a long time of planning, we’re kicking off the “Hollywood God” series this Sunday!  It’s weird how after months of working on something, we can come down to the wire with a lot still left to do.

This Sunday the featured movie is The Pursuit of Happyness.  The clips are all pieced together and the message is largely done.  The trick will be making it flow smoothly during the worship service.

Tonight we’re having a family movie night and showing Ratatouille, which is the film we’re using next week.

“Hollywood God” is finally underway!

Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 5:16 am  Comments (3)  

Pursuing Happiness with EasyWorship

Pastor John from the Gathering Tree helped me out in a major way yesterday.

I’d been working on piecing together some video clips from The Pursuit of Happyness for this Sunday’s worship service.  It wasn’t working.  Apparently EasyWorship has a problem with Vista, and I couldn’t get any audio.  I cannot overstate what a major hold up this was to everything happening at CrossWay over the next four weeks!  Our whole “Hollywood God” series that we’ve been promoting hinged on being able to put these clips together.

John stopped by the church to take a look at it.  After some time, maybe an hour, he figured it out.  The problem was so technical and complicated that I can’t even begin to try to explain it.  Bottom line: it worked!

We hooked everything up and got the video AND audio to play just fine through the system.  Whew… what a relief!  He also helped make some minor adjustments which made major improvements in the sound.

One of the biggest things he helped with was walking through the sanctuary with fresh eyes.  It’s too easy to become accustomed to our surroundings, and I’d been wanting someone from  outside the church to walk through and tell me what they saw.  Yesterday was a great opportunity for that, so I made a list of some of his ideas.

Now I can once again look forward to the “Hollywood God” series without so much concern about the technology working right.  Thanks John!

Published in: on February 7, 2008 at 6:30 am  Comments (2)  

Celebrate Canine Obesity Month!

No kidding. I couldn’t make this up. See for yourself:

Published in: on February 7, 2008 at 5:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Might As Well Open the Boardwalk

Today is February 6 and it’s 73 degrees outside.  How is that even possible?!?

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 10:33 am  Comments (4)  

The 113-Year-Old Babe

Today is Babe Ruth’s birthday.  He’d be 113 if he was still alive.  The Babe was the greatest hitter ever to pick up a baseball bat.  Just in case you feel inclined to argue, click here to see his numbers and you’ll change your mind.

(Of course, his stats don’t tell the whole story.  For instance, you wouldn’t know that in 1921 he hit more homers than eight major league teams.  He reinvented baseball the way Alexander Graham Bell reinvented communication.)

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 7:57 am  Comments (4)  

Giving Up Sunday School for Lent

We had our monthly leadership meeting at CrossWay on Sunday. Two major decisions were made: to set aside Sunday School for the time being and to back up the time of our worship service to 10:30.

Our mission as a church is to make lifelong followers of Jesus Christ in our community and around the world. An important part of accomplishing this mission is creating a friendly and exciting environment for our worship services, both for children and adults, so that everyone has the best opportunity to have a personal encounter with God.

This is where Children’s Church is essential. When families with children visit CrossWay, it’s important for the adults to be able to worship without the distraction of having to keep their kids under control. It’s also important for the kids to learn about Jesus in a way they can understand and enjoy. Families will stay together in the sanctuary through the music and offerings, and after the children’s offering (“Nickels for Neighbors”) they’ll leave for Children’s Church.

Here’s where Sunday School created a problem: We simply don’t have enough children’s workers at this time to have both Sunday School and Children’s Church. It’s important for Children’s Church to be as high-quality as it can be, but some of our best kid people were already committed to Sunday School.

So we decided to give up Sunday School for Lent. (Our worship pastor, Josh, is nutty enough to make that astute observation.) We’re going to try it out for awhile and see how it goes.

With no Sunday School, we decided it would also be a good idea to have the worship service a little earlier. Potential guests might be more drawn to a service at a time that doesn’t run into lunch. This way I don’t have to preach any shorter… heheheh….

As a pastor, it’s times like this that I’m really proud of people for making hard and uncomfortable choices for the sake of the mission that God has called us to!

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 5:42 am  Leave a Comment