Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 88: Another Marriage

Today was a great day as I got to once again officiate a wedding. I will admit this one I was nervous going into it because of the people that would be there. I guess you could say it was a “whose who” kind of event. Many great people from the community were there. The parents of the groom are catholic which made me just a little more intimidated. Here is a great couple whose son is getting married and I am doing the ceremony…it went great!

A great compliment was paid to me at the reception. One of the deacons from the large Catholic Church in town made it a point to find me and compliment me on the ceremony. There were many more great accolades from this family as well. I was truly humbled by his remarks…especially when he said, “we need more people like you in our churches.” I was truly blessed by this family.

This was a great day to be there for a great family. I am so happy I was able to help make it a special one.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 87: Confirmation

Today was a great day…it was a menagerie of events. I went from laying patio brick to doing a wedding rehearsal and then off to a graduation party. Everything about it was awesome…it even included my friend Monica stopping by the house to deliver a DQ blizzard while my other friend, Rick and I layed brick (sorry Rick, she came after you left).

As I was kicking back for awhile at a party someone came up to me as I was eating a cookie bar and said, “I really enjoy your blogs…you come at things from a different direction and that is refreshing.” This is a person that is involved in a well established church. I could tell he thought the blogs were refreshing. This is why I blog and do what I do. Not to buck anything but rather bring to light some new truths and hopefully say what others might be thinking through respectful conversation.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 86: Facebook "Friends"?

This morning my friend Amy on Facebook whom I met at "The Asylum" (a fantastic ministry to goths) at Cornerstone Festival this summer had an interesting Facebook status. It read something like this "If you don't want to be my friend in person, don't expect to be my friend on Facebook." For some reason this comment really struck a chord with me...in a good way of course. If you ever get to Cornerstone you need to go to "The Asylum" tent and look for Amy...she has a real heart for ministry. Her husband? Well.....he's a good guy as well.

What struck me about this comment is how true and profound that little statement is. I enjoy blogging and sharing my opinion because I look at Facebook strictly as a personal entertainment thing. I am not on here to play politics to climb a ladder or try to say the right things in order to please some that may be watching. I view Facebook as one of many places to be real. The trouble I find with this is people who would never normally call me and want to hang out or grab a bite to eat somewhere now want to be my friend on Facebook. When you are a pastor you will find there are sometimes spies who want to become a "friend" of yours on Facebook to simply build up an arsenal of arguments against you. This is a sick way to be.

In my case I have many friends that I have never met except on Facebook. These are people that I meet via "That's not my God" and other group pages. One can use discernment to decide if they are someone nice or not by the comments they make. I have come to discover that just because someone wants to be your friend on Facebook, it does not always mean they are truly your “friend”.

I will admit there are some people I would love to see what they are doing these days but instead I choose to block them so they cannot see me and likewise. This keeps my motives in check and then I don’t have to deal with potential hurtful moments. Facebook…a fun thing but don’t take it too seriously.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 85: Church and Politics

I had a great conversation with someone who is older than me by about 17 years on the issue of church and politics. This person is someone I look up to in the business world as he is very savvy with finances and owns his own successful business. We got on the issue of politics and how there is a certain pastor in another state getting quite verbal about his political stance at his church...let's say it is not going well.

As a pastor I believe it is not my role to sway someone one way or the other in their political stance. All are welcome into the body of Christ. The reason we were talking about this topic though, because there are rumors the IRS could be tagging churches that are strong in their political teachings. My friend is an accountant for 30+ years and studies the IRS. It has been rumored that the IRS could pull tax-exempt status from churches that basically use the church as a podium for politics. This does not surprise me given the times we live in but none-the-less churches need to be careful. Pastors need to be careful.

I think it is not the role of the church anyway to preach one party or another when it comes to politics. Plain and simple, love everyone and do your duty and vote.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 84: It's Going to Get Creepy

So I am wrapping up my first message in our new message series "The X-Files of the Bible." This is not a corny Easter message title but truly a series based on some very obscure things in the bible. From giants to salvation we will cover it in this August series. This is going to be in-depth, challenging, mind stretching and perhaps even creepy.

As I am wrapping up this first message I find two things very interesting. The first thing is that I am dealing with the issue of the Nephilim. If you are not familiar with this story from Genesis chapter 6, please tune into the podcast that will be posted on Monday, August 1st. This study has given me a renewed interest in going deeper about the events of the end times. These Nephilim were a huge deal in the days of Noah. If this is the case, and scriptures states that the end days will be like "the days of Noah" then we are in for a real treat (sarcastically speaking of course).

I never want to get weird in my studies of end times but after putting a message together like I am for this Sunday at church...one cannot be a little weirded out by what happened and what is to come.

Oh...the second thing I find weird? My iTunes is on shuffle and Saviour Machine is playing over and over with very creepy end time songs. I like it!

Day 83: Understanding

This morning I discovered something about the bible that I guess I knew but did was reminded of it. When someone does not know a particular scripture very well, some will immediately throw their opinion at it so if fits into their little box. I am going into a series entitled, “The X-Files of the Bible.” The first message immediately tackles perhaps one of the most bizarre stories in the bible about the Nephilim.

I will not go into detail about this topic in this blog. However, I do think we should be more open minded as a whole about stories in the bible may not know fully. Perhaps we will find new truth’s out there that will continue to make the bible come alive.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 82: Stealing Church People

Tonight at "Church at the Pub" I engaged in conversation with someone who I have seen at church and at the pub. He asked me my opinion regarding a matter at his church that is imploding in a neighboring city. He was wondering whether he should leave or not. Before I could respond he made it very clear, "don't give me the answer in which you try and steal me from my church." We engaged in good conversation while I shared with him past experiences I have had in the church. But this really got me thinking about something as the worship director from Radiant Fellowship brought it up as well while at the pub.

I personally do not believe that a pastor or church could ever be accused of stealing people from another church. I will say that if a church purposefully markets itself or sends congregants out to other churches for the sole purpose of getting people, I dare say that church is not even Godly but rather a group working on the same level of the Pharisees. However, if a church is doing its thing and people from other churches begin to take notice...there is not much one can do about that. As pastors of a church we deal with adults. If a person in the church wants to leave...can you really parent them into staying or leaving? To have someone leave a church and attend another and in return blame that pastor for stealing people is complete foolishness.

I think any church that has been growing, the pastor will tell you that he/she has received emails or phones calls being accused of stealing people. I know I have in Waupaca from others. Have I been sad to see some people leave Radiant Fellowship? Absolutely. Have I been happy to see some people leave Radiant Fellowship? Oh yeah! Do I blame the pastor of the church they now attend for stealing people from Radiant Fellowship? Nope. This is the life of church goers...as pastors we have to get used to is and quit blaming churches for stealing when the people switching are adults and make their own decisions.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 81: Diversity in Church

This morning during our staff meeting I made the comment that Radiant Fellowship needs more diversity. We all know that is somewhat of a joke in Waupaca given the demographic of the area. However, it made me miss my days of youth pastoring in an area where it was Caucasian and Hispanic. You have not experienced a potluck dinner until your church has cultural diversity.

In my opinion you cannot make this kind of thing just happen, it has to be a natural thing. For churches in a more Caucasian area, diversity can still happen through the different types of people that attend. I am glad that Radiant Fellowship has people from all political and social standing areas. In the past few months we have had people living in alternative lifestyles attending and finding rest at Radiant Fellowship. I am so excited about what God is doing through this fellowship of believers.

Though we don’t have the cultural diversity, we sure have other types of diversity and I praise God everyday we have a place to go and love each other and love God.

Day 80: Sheriff Departments and Church Boards

In the news last night coming out of the Green Bay area there was discussion about the Sheriff’s department moving. You can click here to watch the story.

So last night they played this story on the 10 o’clock WFRV news. During the report one of the people on the decision board made a comment that said, “We don’t feel it is really necessary at this point for the department to have a new location when the current one is working fine.” Here is the clincher in this topic, the person that made that statement does not work for the sheriff's department but rather just someone on the city board. BINGO!

Tracy and I immediately said, “what gives that person the right to make a big decision like that? This guy isn’t even in law enforcement.” We both agreed that this is very reminiscent of church boards. It is also reminiscent of committees that Tracy has seen.

This can be the problem with some church boards. I have seen where each person on the board is to “overlook” a ministry and report back to the board. Sadly, it can be a negative thing because these board members may never sit in a children’s church or youth service to really know the needs of it. This is what drives pastors crazy…people elected by a church to make a decision on the ministry when in fact they are not that involved in the ministry of the church.

I am excited for Radiant Fellowship because the people on the board are involved in ministry and know what is going on. This makes for great meetings and gives the hired staff the freedom to do what God has called them to do.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 79: VERY EXCITED

When one is a pastor of a church you have to be willing to say "God....I don't know what you are doing but go for it!" Here is the key....mean it! The spring and summer so far for Radiant Fellowship has been a great time of growth. Today I got some more exciting news of what God might be possibly lining up for this church. One retired pastor friend of mine told me how excited he was for Radiant Fellowship and that the best days are ahead. I SO BELIEVE IT!!!

It is my understanding and has been my experience that some may say "God, please take over...we will lead you where you follow." Sadly, there is still an agenda and when God begins to do something it is quickly wrangled in. For Radiant Fellowship I can tell you that we mean it.

Truly the best days for Radiant Fellowship are still ahead!!!! Oh....and I AM FREAKIN EXCITED!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 77: Very cool


There are times in everyone's life that you remember very well. For me, a time was when I got saved when I was 9 years old. I was raised in an Assemblies of God church where they had a great program for boys called, "Royal Rangers." I guess the best way for me to describe what Royal Rangers is, is a faith based Boy Scouts program. Our group met every Wednesday night at our church. My dad was a commander along with a great guy, Emil Heins.

When you are a 9 year old in this program you were called a "Pioneer" and were officially allowed to go to what was called, "Pow-Wow." These days it is referred to as "Summer Camp." Either way it is a great weekend for the kids from 9 and up. Just 3 short years later I would attend the first National Camporama held at Eagle Rock, MO.

It was my first Pow-Wow and the speaker was Johnny Barnes who was the founder of the Royal Ranger program. After the service I gave my heart to the Lord at the altar call that night. I remember that so well because of the great speaker and God began to do a cool thing in my life. I stayed in Royal Rangers until I was 17 or 18 years old while doing the youth group thing as well. It is a great program!

This week a great thing happened to me, a truly humbling experience. The coordinator for the Royal Ranger program for our state asked me if I would be the speaker at the 50th anniversary Pow-Wow..."Summer Camp" in June 2012. This is truly an honor....this goes to prove that you never know what God is going to ask you to do...just remain available.

Day 76: Got Originality?

This is a very simple and short blog. Perhaps it is the shortest blog ever. If I could give advice to pastors looking to do something original with a message series, it would be this. Simply drop the books you are reading and be original in your message series, do your studying and come at stories from the bible in a new light! Check out our next message series by clicking here.

I know I know we have see the X-Files used in message series before usually around Easter series. Bear with me as you see the "X-Files" logo again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 76: Dress Up for Church?


Today I got to conduct a wedding ceremony, this is one of the few times that I wear a suit and tie. It was funny because a mom that I have known since I was a teenager told me, “Pastor Bob….you look hot! However, I prefer the way you dress for Sunday service.” She was referring to the way our staff dresses for church…usually blue jeans and a nice shirt, okay sometimes the occasional POD t-shirt as well. This conversation got me thinking about the issue of “Why do some dress up for church?” After reading some non-flattering reasons and scripture being used way out of context, I thought I would post the most reasonable….still not the best.

It is always the heart God is looking at, rather than the exterior. However, what we wear to worship our holy, pure God may be an indication of where our hearts are. If you have never considered it before, ask yourself, "Does it matter to me how I look when I am going to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? More importantly, does it matter to Him?" We must all be the judge of that for ourselves. It's a personal choice, keeping in mind that having a proper attitude toward God Himself is important preparation for worship at church. We take this point from Genesis 35:1-3.

In my humble opinion this is how legalism in church begins. Take for example the issue of standing in church for worship. I am not sure where in the bible it talks about standing makes a song any more spiritual. If a congregation is sitting in a church and the worship team begins to play “How Great Thou Art”, I can guarantee you that there will be people who will begin to stand whether they are asked to or not. What happens is that those who are still sitting feel kind of goofy because the others are standing. I have seen it to the point where those who did not stand are kind of looked down on as if there is some higher level of worship if you stand instead of sit for worship. This is just like "the sinners sit in the back rows of church" mentality.

Honestly, I have been a part of churches where it seemed like a fashion show. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice. I would just humbly submit that we should not look down on people or churches that don’t care to go down that road and would rather just be themselves. Now…where is my Living Sacrifice t-shirt for church tomorrow?

Day 75: Lessons of Forgiveness via Pink Floyd


It always amazes me when I hear stories of forgiveness that has taken years to accomplish. This past week proved to a be a big news week as David Gilmour and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd decided to work together again. Here is a clip from Roger Water's Facebook.

"In the wake of that evening, someone, I think it was David himself, came up with this 'Wouldn't it be funny', idea. What if he (David that is) were to sing the old Teddy Bears song 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' with me (Roger that is), what with us having been so famously at each other's throats for years and years. Get it!!!! Anyway he E-mailed me with this suggestion and I loved it, so then it was just a question of juggling dates and deciding to do 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Comfortably Numb' to round out our little set. Or so I thought, until he sent me a number of very musical and eloquent demos of how we could do the song in two-part harmony. I listened with a sinking heart, knowing that David, with his superior vocal skills, could sing either part standing on his head, whilst I would have to search for a different key and then struggle through hours and hours of routining a performance that lay way outside my vocal comfort zone. To my eternal shame I bottled out and told Dave I would happily do 'Wish You Were Here' and 'C. Numb', but that 'To Know him is to Love him' was beyond me.

Some weeks passed with David cajoling me from time to time, telling me how easy it would be, but I clung resolutely to my fear of failure until one day he made one final entreaty. I quote "If you do 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' for The Hoping Foundation Gig, I'll come and do 'C. Numb' on one of your Wall shows". Well! You could have knocked me down with a feather. How ___________ cool! I was blown away. How could I refuse such an offer. I couldn't, there was no way. Generosity trumped fear. And so explaining that I would probably be shite, but if he didn't mind I didn't, I agreed and the rest is history. We did it, and it was ______________ great. End of story. Or possibly beginning."

This band split in the 80's because of differences between each other. I am quite confident that over the years they were offered insurmountable amounts of money to rejoin and tour as the original, Pink Floyd. In 2005 they got together for a one off concert for Live 8 and fans were thinking...THIS IS IT! That quickly fizzled and again they went different ways.

Sadly, in September of 2008, Richard Wright who was the keyboardist for Pink Floyd passed away. Today with the news that David Gilmour will be joining Roger Waters for one stop on "The Wall" tour has fans excited. I am hoping it is the one on September 21st in Chicago because I won tickets for that one! Many fans say "this is the tour we have been waiting for...PINK FLOYD!" However, the original Pink Floyd will never tour again because of the passing of Richard Wright (Syd? Well...he was gone so early). If this group would have buried the hatchet and forgiven years ago...yes...it would be even MORE spectacular because Richard could have been with him.

Choosing not to forgive can leave you walking with a limp. It can make you a bitter person and one that is very unhappy. I chose to forgive the pastor I served under in Milwaukee....It was me that had to make the first step. It always seems the ones who do the hurting are the ones who won't make the first step at reconciliation. However, I am glad we forgave and moved on. Do I walk with a limp to this day? Does Pink Floyd walk with a limp to this day? Yes. But all of us dealing with forgiveness issues eventually move on and are all the more smarter for it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 74: New Friends

Today it was good to get back in the groove of something Tracy and I used to be a part of. Since this blog is for pastors or pastors to be, let me share a little insight with you. It becomes very easy to get caught up in this bubble of church friends. Please understand that it is not bad to have friends from church (obviously) the fact of the matter is some of our best friends are from church. However, the problem becomes that all you talk about then is church stuff. Sure you will have fun and enjoy some great laughs but it seems it always goes back to church things.

Today Tracy and I re-joined the Waupaca Jaycees. This is a great group of people from 20's to 40 year olds. I am glad I rejoined because I only have 4 more years until I am 40 lol. With this group though are people that have kids...in fact many kids and they are great people. You have everyone from a dentist to family practice doctors to graphic designers to pastors in this group. They are a sharp group of business minded people wanting to make a positive change in our community by providing scholarships and community events. Of course the meetings that happen twice a month are always around a picnic at a local park where the kids can play, the adults can talk and we may get some business done along the way.

What is nice for a pastor and I am sure anyone in their career is that you can talk about life, kids, etc. and won't have to worry about someone stating a concern about the church. Pastors need their time off as well and when we are kicking back with the family on the boat, at the park or at home...last thing we want to talk about is church stuff. It would be like my wife coming home and me talking with her all the time about nursing things and problems at the hospital. Imagine, "hey babe, I made tacos for dinner tonight...oh...and did you notice that the toilet paper has not been restocked at the hospital? I could have done it but thought I would just tell you." Even pastors need time each day to turn off the phone, not talk about church or ministry and just hang out with friends. I would dare say pastors all the more because this calling in life scoffs at 40 hour work weeks sometimes. A pastor can think he is done for the day and than that phone call comes. You know the one...hospital visit, crisis counseling, etc. We love it and that is why we do it...but pastors need their time as well.

I love all of my friends and am grateful to have them. It is also great to have a diverse group to hang out with. To any pastor that is reading this...I cannot suggest to you strongly enough to join a Chamber of Commerce, Lions, Rotary or Jaycee's group. NOT SO YOU CAN THINK IT IS A GREAT WAY TO GET MORE PEOPLE IN YOUR CHURCH!!! GET THAT THOUGHT OUT OF YOUR HEAD. Many of these great people already attend a great church. It is for the friendship and getting to know new people in the community. It will be good for you.

Day 73: Coming Up....5 Years!

I am a pretty sentimental person and am truly humbled as we move into the fall of 2010. You see on September 29, 2005 I received a letter from the former A/G district superintendent saying "This letter is to put in writing what I shared with you on the telephone that the Board of Presbyters has appointed you as the new pastor for Radiant Fellowship." The fact is, I have kept all of the letters I received from the district office during that trying time. It was always my dream to someday pastor a church...I just never thought it would come about this way. After serving under a pastor in Milwaukee that had two affairs, then a year later dealing with what I did in Waupaca...to be honest...I was ready to quit ministry. It was because of good friends/mentors that told me "I am glad you went through what you did in Milwaukee so that you can help this church get through this" that I stuck with it.

The A/G presbytery and leadership saw something in me and asked if this is something I want to do. In fact, it was asked "should we keep it going or shut it down?" I love Waupaca and therefore said, "let's make a go of it." To say "this was going to be easy" would not be true. It was probably the toughest thing I have ever done in fact. To restart a church with 8 people and a mortgage just about made me go batty. Not only was I dealing with disgruntled former Radiant Fellowship goers, I had to deal with the former staff as well because they stuck around in town. It was the norm to get letters, phone calls, and verbal attacks (a few times screaming). This was pretty much a bi-weekly occurrence for 2-3 years. Fact is, there are some still in town that used to go to Radiant Fellowship who won't even say "hi" to me when we pass in public. I enjoyed the ministry but was really close to leaving. The first three years I was the pastor of Radiant Fellowship I was offered 15 positions from other churches around the U.S. from youth pastor jobs to tech team positions. God would not let me go from this place.

I am proud to see all that God has done with this place since then. We have become a general council status church, currently there are two part time staff pastors and the church has grown to 70+ with a massive online ministry. We have been referred to as "that church not afraid to try new things." With outreach ministries like Church at the Pub and other things we are seeing people come to Christ in some great ways. It is exciting to see emails come in from other pastors and churches that tell us "we love what you are doing....what can you teach us about....." For a church that has 70+ people, we generate 6000+ hits a month on our website, blogs, and podcasts.

Tracy and I remain excited about the future of Radiant Fellowship. So far in 2010 we have seen God open many unique doors with speaking engagements at churches and Christian music festivals. I got word that my book is going to be published on Amazon in January 2011 and we continue to see God's blessings in our own life and church. I will admit that I almost went mental in 2009 adjusting to two children with our adoption. Jokingly I will tell people to please forgive me for my conduct in 2009 because I was not myself as I was on a serious rollercoaster emotionally. When I wanted to bail on ministry, my friends who are older than me and have been in ministry longer encouraged me to stay the course.

I am honored that this September marks my 5 year anniversary as the pastor of Radiant Fellowship and with a support group like I have...it has made my time all the more easier. I am looking forward to MANY MANY more wonderful years of ministry at Radiant Fellowship!!!!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 72: Church at the Pub....Again

I would like to thank my friend, Pastor Bob Beeman 1.0 (I was dubbed Pastor Bob 2.0 at Cornerstone this year) for telling his Facebook friends about a new ministry I started called, "Church at the Pub." There was allot of great conversation about the pros and cons of doing something like this. It is important to know that I tell my church often that this is not a ministry for everyone. This would not be a place for people struggling with alcoholism. That would be like sending someone who struggles with being unfaithful to their spouse to Panama City Beach during spring break. There are some things that unless you are mature in Christ...you should not do. It is okay not to participate in something like this, but for those who are strong and find no temptation with alcohol...this is a great ministry.

My biggest "gripe" is towards people who do not think this kind of ministry should happen at all. It has been my observation that people who don't care for "Church at the Pub" will get excited to hear about foreign missionaries doing ministry in shady places. Some will even go on a missions trip and come back talking about how they did this kind of ministry or that kind of ministry. Perhaps some will get excited because they did pub ministry...but, because it was in Germany or other European areas, now it is okay.

Below is a blurb from a blog I wrote in May about what happened one night at "Church at the Pub."

Tonight the jukebox was in full effect. We heard everything from Lady Antebellum to the Black Eyed Peas (requested by Ben from our church because we played a snip-it of their song in church for the announcements lol). As always a classic rock song comes on and a lady in her 50’s at the end of the bar started to sing along to is and I said, “Ah….Marshall Tucker Band…just downloaded this one to my iPod.” She was pretty happy that someone knew the name of that band given the younger crowd in the pub tonight. I said, “Not too bad for a pastor is it?” Just then a friend of hers asked me what church I was the pastor of in which I responded, “Radiant Fellowship.” The lady that asked me knew where it was but what was key is the other lady asked, “Are you Pastor Bob?” It ends up that this lady is the manager of the pub and was there on her off time to celebrate her birthday. See, this lady originally told me that we could not meet at the pub because we were a church. After I talked with her on the phone a couple of months ago she finally gave us permission to meet there. Tonight she got to meet about ten of us from the church and kept telling us how great it is that we are there. She was really impressed by our group and that we just enjoyed conversations with people without ulterior motives. The only thing I do is pray before I go in and pray when I leave that God would work on these people’s hearts (and mine as well) to show them that they have a friend in this church that meets there on Sunday nights.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 71: Welcome Opinions

Today was a great time to contemplate a few things going on in my brain. I decided since the kids were at daycare, and my wife had to work, why not take out the boat for a cruise on the Chain O' Lakes. The biggest thing I was kicking around while cruising was the question, "why do people think you hate something because you talk about it in perhaps a constructive-criticism way?" I understand at times giving constructive criticism can appear to be pompous, hurtful, or worse hateful. For years there has been a Christian radio station in Milwaukee that seem to base their ministry on tearing down the body of Christ so it fits their mold. Though I disagree with them vehemently...if you were to ask them why they are doing this? You would probably get the answer "because we love the body of Christ too much to let it fall away." I have been involved in many committees and boards especially while I have been in Waupaca. From the Chamber of Commerce, to the Pregnancy Information Center, to my very own church board....there will inevitably be a time that someone will make a hurtful comment. Why? Not because they hate it but rather because they love it and really want to see it change for the better. Or what they would call for the better.

I will be honest and transparent (which sometimes gets me in trouble). There have been a couple times in my blogs that I have talked perhaps sharply towards the Assemblies of God (as a whole). Usually it is to vent a frustration or concern. Do I hate the Assemblies of God? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I was raised in it from baby up. It provides great fellowship for pastors, and freedom to do what you see fit for your church. So why would I or, for that matter anyone sometimes talk openly about it? Because we love it so much that it would be great to see a change in one area or more. Does that make my idea of what change is the right thing to do? Maybe not, but in my opinion it is something I believe in none-the-less understanding it may not happen and that is okay. That is why we have resolutions at business meetings. In my book it is okay to have a spirited debate about these matters as long as we are willing to realize church goers have a right to their opinion. At the end of the day whether something is agreed on or not...whether I or someone else who raises a point agrees with it or not....so be it. We all move on.

It is no mystery I can be very opinionated about church boards and politics. Why? Because I believe (because I am living it) that a board at a church can be the very life blood of that fellowships existence. When a board is clicking and listening to the members and ministry is happening....WHAT A JOYOUS EXPERIENCE!!!!! That is my only desire in talking about things like this. What about people that post comments, blogs, etc. about organizations I am a part of? How do I handle the person that takes pot shots at me or my church (because it happens....A TON back a few years ago)? I figure they have the right to say what they wish and I move on. I cannot tell you how many people I have "unfriended on facebook" from these parts(fact is....I have been dropped by MANY as well) that were once involved and got caught up in the politics we dealt with here in Waupaca. The way I look at it? The reputation of my church, me and my ministry are in God's hands and he will take care of anything that needs to be taken care of. People are entitled to free speech and in this age where Facebook and blogging seems to be the norm....I must be ready to accept it.

I ALWAYS welcome comments on my blogs and would love to hear from you. Will I apologize for what I write? On the rare-occasion I have been known to do that. Do I make a habit of it? NO, because they are my opinions. I talk about church, boards, ministry, etc. because I love it and wan to see all bible believing churches survive and make it. Could I be wrong in someone's opinion? ABSOLUTELY! I guess that is why there will always be differences in opinion on how to do ministry. Let's keep the goal the goal though and win people to God.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 70: Facebook "FRIENDS"


If there is one thing I have discovered about doing a daily blog where you can be free to share what you like, it is this...you will begin to get friend requests on Facebook from people you know only want to spy you out or stand waiting ready to pounce on you, the minute you make a comment referring to Christianity that cuts across their legalistic standing of what they believe.

I began to weed out my Facebook "friends" back in the winter of 2008 when I did a Christmas series at Radiant Fellowship entitled, "A Beetles Christmas...The Christmas story as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, George and Ringo." It was then that people I thought were friends were basically bashing this message series, my ministry and me personally. Let me tell you that nobody needs to live with that. I did what any person in their right mind would do and I dropped them as a friend.

Fast forward a couple years and now I have this daily blog going. Some of the very people I dropped are still requesting to be my friend on Facebook. I know for a fact that the minute I approve them they will sit back and observe...than in one swift hit they will post something that rips me a part. Now of course they do this under what they would call, "the true understanding of the scripture" when in fact they are nothing more than Pharisees living under the law and not grace.

Pastor, leader, etc. you don't have to befriend everyone that asks...especially if it is someone you don't care for or you know is going to hurt you. Your opinion is your opinion. Your Facebook is your Facebook. If you let the ones on your Facebook that have hurt you in the past and expect something has changed....unless there was an apology from them...it hasn't changed. Keep your life free from being polluted. Focus on the positive or neutral relationships you have online.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 69: Michael Jackson, Star Wars and Church

This week I witnessed two pop-culture events that really got me thinking. The first thing that I watched was completely unintentional. It was one of those nights that the kids were in bed so I did some channel surfing. I stumbled on Michael Jackson's "This is It" movie (come on...who doesn't like the Free Willy theme song?). Think what you will of Michael Jackson, the documentary about him practicing with his crew for the Las Vegas show that never happened was really cool. More on that in a minute.

The second thing I saw was today called "Star Wars Live." This was an AMAZING spectacle that would wow even non Star Wars fans. This live event had a massive orchestra and choir along with Anthony Daniels in person narrating it (C3PO). This event boasted the largest traveling HD screen...it was OMAZING! From the massive technical feat it was to pull something like this off to everyone being on cue...it was really an amazing sight to behold.

So what does a pastor....or should I say an artistic pastor see when watching these? I notice there are things that churches can take from both of them. As I watched "This is it" I began to think about those who are into dancing should really check this movie out. In regards to musicians this movie will show how tight knit a music group can be. It also helps show how to communicate nicely on a team. I look at the Star Wars live event and again think about excellence in music and doing your best with your tech team. I think it is important to look at things like this and realize we will not be THAT necessarily. But, in every churches own way these pop-culture icons can teach us a few thing. This should ultimately help us strive for excellence in our own ministry.

I realize at first look we could say "I would never want to apply things I see on a Michael Jackson video to my church." But....I would just encourage you to be healed. I would hope we would want excellence in all ministries of our churches and we have to learn somewhere. When I was in the Saturday Night Live audience I began to take mental notes. You truly can learn something from everywhere.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 68: I Miss Church

Today was a great day! I am looking forward to Sunday at church. It was last week that I missed our Sunday service because I was doing ministry at Cornerstone Festival. This raised a question for me that I have been kicking around all week. How do you know you have a healthy pastor and church? I believe it is when the pastor is gone for a week and feels like a part of him/her is missing. Radiant Fellowship is my family and I love them. From the worship to kid’s ministry and the youth I really dig all aspect of this church. It is going to be good to get back in the saddle again this Sunday!

Day 66: Staff/Board Fun at Church

Today reminded me how much fun church can be. Each Thursday we have our staff meeting here at my house. It is a great time for the kids, youth and music directors and me to get together and plan for upcoming events. We also take time to talk about the book we are reading and most of all just enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being a family. This is a very important part of a church that the staff gets along and to be free to say and share what they think unhindered by church politics/business. Today for instance we joked about everything from why anyone would have bothered to make "The Wizard of Oz" (sorry Amber) to of course "Skillet." The amazing thing is that creativity flows out of these meetings. Anytime your worship leader is rolling on the floor laughing....you know you are with family.

The same can be said of our church board. Here is my take to pastors going into a board meeting. Don't take it too seriously. Follow me on this for a minute. Talk to most pastors and the one thing they dread the most are the board meetings. Talk to any board member and the thing they like best about church are board meetings. Why is this? Because board members (in some cases...NOT IN ALL) can be a real pain in the butt. They come with a facade on to do anything to please the pastor but lying under it is a person with their own agenda that is nothing more than a cancer to that fellowship. Any pastor that is dealing with a person like this should do the church a favor and kick them off the board (it is easy to spot these people...just ask me how). You may take a hit in your church finances because there is no maybe...they will leave and pull people with them. However, this will make your church VERY healthy. I have been asked about this church and that church with what I would do if I was a pastor....to be honest? If I had to step into a church where the board has a history of losing pastors and handling processes wrong so they can secretly run the church and control the pastor....I would tell the church to get ready to sell the building. Why? Because the pastor is typically the chair of the board and should wipe the slate clean and start with a fresh board in cases like this. This would result in a downward spiral of giving and people leaving, HOWEVER it would lead to life and growth in the long run. Think about it...the healthiest thing a farmer can do to their field now and then is burn it down. When Yellowstone went up in flames a few years back...out of that came new health and growth! The same is true for a church.

I am so thankful for Radiant Fellowship's church board that comes ready to take care of business but does not take so seriously that they have secret agendas. We know how to handle trouble but we know how to love each other as well. We are in this thing together and it is very important we stay a family and be the best stewards of what God has entrusted to us.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 66: Wednesday Night Bible Studies

The church I pastor is not different than most in regards to having a midweek bible study. There are many different things being taught all across the nation in bible believing churches. One thing that frustrates me though is the lack of people sitting in on these studies. Over and over you hear people talk about the need for discipleship and personal enrichment. I can tell you as a pastor that true discipleship never has and never will happen in the realm of a Sunday morning service. True discipleship happens in fellowship groups and small group studies.

This is the interesting thing though, when a church has a program in place for discipleship and than pulls it because nobody shows up or attendance is minimal at best, you always get the ones who say, "we really need a good program" and than never show up.

I cannot stress enough how important these times of discipleship are. It is during these times that they build our knowledge in the word so we don't fall for just any teaching or ideal.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 65: HOLY.......

It used to be said that "if you want to draw a crowd at your church than speak on end times." I find that statement to be untrue. Throughout the course of a pastors time you will prepare many messages and sermon series. In my experience as of recently I am finding that my upcoming series entitled, "The Non-Weird Approach to the Holy Spirit" is generating allot of discussion both good and not so good.

I believe this series to be a refreshing time as we give our viewpoint on the issue of the Holy Spirit. What will people do with it? Who knows. What I do know going into this series is that people can claim they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and are constantly praying in the spirit but I have to be honest...if I don't see fruit, if others don't see fruit and you are constantly mowing down people living a life contrary to a spirit filled life than I question your salvation.

I believe that when you are living a life in the spirit though, that you and others will see fruit in your life. You will be the person that others want to be around because you are acting like Christ!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 64: Who Am I?

The question God was asking me as I went to Cornerstone was "Who are you?" Over and over this kept playing in my head. To be honest I headed to Cornerstone yes, to participate in the ministry of Sanctuary and be a blogger...the bigger thing I went there for was to hear from God about 2010 and how it is a year of change for me. There are some things in particular that I needed firm peace on.

Before I became a pastor I really dug deep into outreach and working with people that were definitely the outcast type of people. It is funny but I even liked to dress a certain way (hippie meets metalhead) and really went into being a youth pastor as a bit of a rebel...I guess some things never change. I had no other family go before me as a pastor, I joke around that I am a PK (a polisher's kid) but immediately saw things that began to change me. I was not a suit wearing person and the first church I went into was a fashion show in which I was required to wear a suit. From that point on I began to morph into someone that was being tamed by the institution. When I did get away to camps, outings, etc. I would wear shirts and things that made some Christians wonder. They were Godly t-shirts but some refused to see it. I remember a directors wife at a camp scolding me in front of my teens for wearing such an "ugly/ungodly" shirt. The funny thing is it said, "Dead to the World, Alive in Christ" on it in a big skull. I kindly responded..."I feel the same way about your shirt" (probably from Dress Barn or something). I have always had a rebel streak in me though I never want it to get out of control.

When I moved to Waupaca I continued to become a people pleaser for all the wrong reasons the first year or two. After I began to see the ugly side of religious politics I decided to throw it all out the window. The biggest eye-opener for me was the minute I became the youth pastor to a district official. At big meetings people would come up to me and be buddy buddy that were never that close to me before. It appeared to me that because I am now in this position working with that particular person, I am now someone that others will hang out with so they can get in with the pastor I served under. It was then that this persons silo came crashing down and I lost 90% of those "close" people as friends because of a fall-out that happened. I still get random pot-shots taken at me via email, facebook, or face to face conversation. This made me all the wiser for what was ahead as a lead pastor (senior pastor).

So here I am now in the desert and what an exciting place it is! There is a negative connotation that the desert can be a bad thing, however in the bible the word "desert" means "without inhabitants", not "without vegetation or water". I love how one author describes the desert vs. forests. "When a man walks or rides into a forest, he is lost among the trees, can't see ahead, doesn't know what might be lurking there. The forest surrounds him, obscures him with shadows, confuses itself with him by its vertical composition and competitive detail. But when a horseman appears on the desert plain, he dominates it instantly, his view extends as far as the eye can see, and enemies are exposed to his gaze. The desert flatters the human figure by making it seem dominant and unique, dark against the light, vertical against horizontal, solid against plane, detail against blankness."

The openess of desert space also symbolizes infinite access. As Tomkins notes, "There is nothing to stop the horseman's free movement across the terrain...Distance, made palpable through exposure and infinitely prolonged by the absence of obstacles, offers unlimited room to move. The man can go, in any direction, as far as he can go. The possibilities are infinite."

It is time to run free after a refreshing time of re-finding who I am while at Cornerstone Festival where I truly feel at home among the wierdos, goths, metalheads, preps, jocks (though few), hippies and free-thinkers. Fact of the matter is two tents down was a lesbian couple that felt at home at Cornerstone. I am not downplaying the fact we all need Jesus and some things are not okay. What I am saying is God created us uniquely and we should not stray from that to fit some kind of mold or to appease some person/people/institution. God spoke to me in such awesome ways this past week through song, teachings, and one on one conversations with people I look up to.

Who am I? I am a unique free-thinking pastor that won't be bound down by ideals that don't line-up with scripture. I am a black t-shirt wearing person that loves everyone and hates no-one. I am a pastor that has little to no tolerance for religious crap (politics) that bogs a church down so it cannot be free to find God unless it goes through a filter. I am person that is a Christ follower first, husband and father second and pastor third. I am a pastor that welcomes questioning and skepticism in a church so that it leads to a deeper understanding of who the one true God is. I am a person that invites you to journey with me on through life understanding I am not better than you and you are not better than me. Rather we are following the one true God together which will tighten our bond to each other and to God.

I am telling you...God is at Cornerstone and he always reveals himself to me among what some might call, "THOSE PEOPLE!"

Day 63: Cornerstone Update 9 of 9

Yesterday Tracy and I got home from Cornerstone. It was an amazing week of meeting new people and seeing some cool things happen in ministry. I am always amazed at the path God takes me down in life. So what do I do with what I just experienced? I am going to kick-back this week and process the information of everything that happened and begin praying about my next steps. I cannot say it enough that as a pastor I am not going anywhere but God is up to something with me personally.

I would encourage any couple to go on a get-away without your children. I remember my parents went to couples camp a few times and left us my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Barb's house a couple of times. Even if your child is only 2 and 1 like James and Emma, I would encourage you to get away for more than one night. It is a fact you will miss them like crazy but the time you and your spouse will have is awesome. Please forgive me if this sounds odd but when you come back to your kids....your love and relationship with them will have grown even more. It is a very cool dynamic.

That is it for Cornerstone updates.....until next year!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 62: Cornerstone Update 8 of 9

Today begins the tear down of our campsite here at Cornerstone. It has been a week that I will never forget. Usually, when I am on vacation or retreat I do not like to tear down the day before but here you have to. I always tell people that go on a get-a-way “don’t leave before you go.” What I mean by this is, don’t mentally check out before you physically go and that is what Tracy and I truly believe. We will soak up every last minute of this day before we head home first thing in the morning. I am already beginning to dream of flush toilets, nice showers with curtains that don’t fly open so people see way more than they care…..I think Sunday when I get home is going to include BIG OL’ FATTY STEAKS on the grill. The best part of going home though? I get to see my munchkins again!

So, now we begin to tear down the campsite before it turns into a big dust bowl here tomorrow and reflect back on what God has allowed us to be a part of. To go from a family camp that we really loved at Spencer Lake to this Family Camp…aka CORNERSTONE where I got to share a message each night to MANY people all I can do is say “thank you God for expanding my territory!”. It was great to be ministered to at this camp as well and to have people confirm things for me in my life. I know that 2010 has been a year of fresh, new and exciting changes for me and I am pretty confident it will continue.

Should you ever get the chance to come down to Cornerstone I would highly suggest it. Amongst the many artists from folk to black metal, God is here and he connects with you in such a great way!

Day 61: Cornerstone Update 7 of 9 A Night With the WIERD ONES!

I would like to dedicate this blog to the Star Trek character............7 of 9

So last night was pretty epic! It began with the community gathering at the mainstage on the Cornerstone grounds. When we were done meeting new friends from Indiana in this contemplative service we made our way over to see the Crossing for a little bit. To not see the Crossing at Cornerstone would be like going to Six Flags Great America and not going on a rollercoaster.
Because the Crossing was late to go on we could only take in a half hour or so and we were off once again. I brought my wife to her first ever Living Sacrifice concert which was AMAZING! I have a t-shirt to prove it. When we arrived to the HM tent we were standing around shooting the breeze. We were suddenly joined by my new friends in the group Grave Robbers. These guys are so great! While I was at this concert I began to think about maybe in the spring to put together an all-out hardcore Christian concert in Waupaca. I think it would be really good and the youth director would probably dig it.
Cornerstone has such a great way of inspiring thoughts....probably because it is totally focused in on all of the arts.

I will have pics up later of me with Grave Robber.

Day 60: Cornerstone Update 6 of 9

Today has been such a busy day that I can hardly get my blog updated. Between the slow internet connection in the press trailer and late night ministry....my time has been zapped. Sorry but update 6 of 9 is nill.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 59: Cornerstone Update 5 of 9

Today is a humbling day for me because at 8 p.m. I go on stage at the Sanctuary tent to share with them something God has laid on my heart. I am looking forward to sharing “God Loves When You Go on Vacation.” In the past days, I have had the opportunity to kick-off a record label party and share a little here and there. What has been a lot of fun for me is the endless conversations from people coming up and chatting. The ministry here is really going well. I get to talk to everyone from hippies to headbangers and goth to RIP YOUR FACE OFF HARDCORE ROCK people (I am like a pig in mud at Cornerstone). I will be the first to admit not all the music is my favorite, but I think it is really good. That is just one aspect of this festival though.

It is a humbling here on the grounds walking around the same place I did 15+ years ago with friends from my youth group. A lot has changed since then, but now God has thrust me into a place of doing ministry here. I guess He saw something in a kid back in 1993 who was rocking a mullet and experienced his first mosh pit at “Wish For Eden” which was my first C-Stone concert.

I am humbled and honored that God would choose me to do this! It will never get old for me.