Month: September 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now? mp3 file

Luke 16:19-31

Verizon Asks Can You Hear Me Now?

In 2004, Verizon launched a new ad campaign aimed at a recurring problem in the cell phone industry — the inability to actually hear the person you’re talking to. The ad had a simple premise — have a nerdy, tech guy dressed in a Verizon jumpsuit walk around with a cell phone to his ear, asking, “Can you hear me now?” Interestingly, the ad resonated with cell phone users, most of whom had shouted into their own phones at one time or another, “Can you hear me now?”

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Sermon for Sep 30, 2007

I have just posted my sermon, Can You Hear Me Now?, for Sep 30, 2007, to my sermon blog.  This is my reflection on the lectionary reading, Luke 16:19-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  Have a great day tomorrow!

Rolling over 30,000!

30,000 and rollin’ over We’re rolling over 30,000 page views by this weekend!

That’s right!  We’re going over 30,000 sometime in the next couple of days.  And to celebrate this milestone in the digital world, here’s what I’m gonna do —

Add me to your blogroll and I’ll add you to mine!

Now for the tiny print:  This offer is good for a limited time only, and subject to all federal, state, and local taxes.  Rebates do not apply, and the dealership reserves the right to withdraw this offer at anytime.  🙂

So send me an email or comment on this post, and I’ll add you to my blogroll for all the world to see…if you’ll do the same.  There’s lots of good stuff out there and together we’ll reach more people with more good stuff.  Okay, I’m waiting….

Reinventing worship in the small church

I read yet another article today on “How You Can Make Worship More….Something.”  I forget exactly what the author said, but it amounted to doing better music, preaching better sermons, screening better videos, and so on.  Which is really not reinventing worship at all. 

Frankly, there’s not much difference in —

  • Using a piano versus a praise band;
  • Featuring a choir versus a trio;
  • Sitting around tables versus in pews;
  • Preaching with or without video.

Okay, so more contemporary worship appeals to a younger crowd.  But you still have a spectator vs. performer setup — lots of people watching a few people do stuff they call worship. 

I remember going to a temple in Taiwan (stay with me for just a minute here), and being amazed at the riot of activity taking place around me.  Of course, tourists were everywhere, wandering around while worshippers were saying prayers, burning josh sticks, and talking to monks.  I think this was a Buddhist temple, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, my point is that a lot of stuff was going on at the same time.

Of course, we’re not Buddhists, but that got me thinking that the Temple in Jerusalem had a similar atmosphere — lots of stuff happening all at once.  We know in the Jerusalem Temple (I’m thinking 1st century now) people came to make offerings, do sacrifices, give money, listen to teachers, and on high holy days, participate in communal ritual.  And where did the first followers of Jesus worship?  In the Temple. 

It wasn’t until much later in the history of worship that we started seating people in pews, all facing the same direction so they could listen to the choir sing, “God is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him.” 

Why couldn’t we go back to a more participatory, multiple experience worship?  Some emerging churches are staging labyrinths, video meditations, prayer stations, and table fellowship — all going on at once.  Small churches can do this in very limited space.  Actually, churches without buildings can do this in borrowed or rented space. 

I realize that this would take a big leap of imagination, but reinventing worship might be the small church ticket to reaching a new generation or a different demographic.  Of course, most of us in small traditional churches would keep our tradition worship service.  This would be a new thing designed to appeal to a new set of worshippers. 

For a visual of what this might look like, go to a really cool site, small ritual.  You have to scroll sideways to see the space design and read the explanation.  I think it has real promise for the future of the small church.  What do you think?

A book you must read..Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, is a book you must read.   Without knowing that it was already a bestseller, I ordered Three Cups of Tea:  One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time.  It arrived on Friday.  I started reading it on Saturday.  Tonight is Sunday and I just finished all 338 pages — it is that good!

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Eternal Economics

Eternal Economics

Download mp3 of Eternal Economics.

Luke 16:1-13

The Way Things Really Work

In the best-selling book, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors examine several interesting economic problems, like “Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?” The conventional wisdom is that drug dealers make a lot of money and drive pimped out luxury cars with 17″ chrome wheels and a sound system that produces more decibels than a 747 taking off. At least that’s the picture the media presents, and the one that’s in our community consciousness.

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Sermon for Sep 23, 2007 — Eternal Economics

My sermon for Sep 23, 2007, Eternal Economics from Luke 16:1-13, is posted on my sermon blog.  I’m following the lectionary using the Gospel readings for my sermon texts, so let me know what you think.  Have a great day tomorrow! — Chuck

Tending the flock

I announced in our September newsletter that Debbie and I would be visiting each family in our church in the coming months.  A frequent complaint in small churches is “the pastor doesn’t visit enough.”  Which usually means, “the pastor doesn’t visit me enough.”  Not that our folks were complaining, but I’m trying to be more intentional in my pastoral care. 

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Happy Birthday, Smiley :-)

smiley_svg.png A rare photo of Smiley snapped by the paparazzi. 

CNN reports today that Mr. Smiley, better known as :-), turns 25 today. 

When asked to what he attributed his long life in the rather short-lived digital world, Smiley said, “Keyboards.” 

So, there you have it — the secret of life in the digital age.  Have a nice day! 🙂