Thursday, March 30, 2006

Just another reason to reconsider that call to South Dakota

'Tis the Spring -- that time of year when the voice of the Ministerial director is heard throughout the land, and the calls to pastor another church doth begin to multiply and increase.

Well, yeah . . . and just to give you one more thing to think about, you can click on the title to this post for a quick, easy, and amazingly detailed comparison of the cost of living in just about anyplace you might think of living with wherever it is that you're living now.

Perhaps they should have read Joel Osteen's book?

So this researcher with the Harvard Medical School spends $2.4 million to study the effects of prayer on 1,800 heart patients . . . and the good news is that prayer does have some effect if the patients know you're praying for them.

The bad news is, they do worse.

Don't believe me? Click on the title of this post and read it for yourself.

Well, it certainly works for him

God wants to make you rich -- and if you need proof of that, consider this article in The New York Times. (And do I need to keep telling you to click on the title of this post in order to link with it?) It seems that Joel Osteens's last book on "the gospel of prosperity" has already sold three million copies . . . and he just got a $13 million advance from Simon & Schuster for his next book. (And for his third book in the series, he's going to tell us why Job's friends were right after all.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kosher cell phones?

Myself, I'm beginning to think that cell phones are a form of demonic possession . . . but click on the title of this post for an article in the Wall Street Journal on some of the ways people have found to make their religion go wireless.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dealing with DaVinci

The DaVinci Code will be coming out soon as a movie -- and if you're like me, you're already getting questions about it.

Click on the title of this post for a link with an article in The Christian Science Monitor about all the ways different Christian groups plan to deal with the questions raised by this movie. (Some are even seeing it as an evangelistic tool -- go figure!)

Friday, March 17, 2006

In the end, it's still the Word.

Know what's really hot in New York City?

People on stage, talking. (Really! Click on the title for a link to the article -- and if it wasn't true, then it wouldn't be in The New York Times, right?)

So . . . if the New York Public Library can pack them in for lectures, then maybe the Sabbath-morning sermon is ready for a comeback?

Is the M.Div. the new M.B.A.?

Seminary enrollments are up -- but the number of students who plan to make a career in the pastorate is down. Click on the title for an article in The New York Times that explains why more and more people want to work for God . . . but don't want to work for a church.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

House churches

Click on the title for a good, balanced article in Time on the house-church movement. The pluses: intimacy, authenticity, and low cost. The downside: sometimes the crazies take over. (Think "David Koresh.") And what the article doesn't mention is something that's a problem with any small group -- it's great for the adults, but what do you do with the kids?

Monday, March 13, 2006

The best book ever written about the ministry

I'm not a youth pastor.

And I've been a pastor way longer than two years.

But Doug Field's book, Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry, is the best I've ever read on being a pastor.

Period.

Doug is the youth pastor at the Saddleback Church in southern California (and yes, he's written a book called Purpose Driven Youth Ministry). But don't let that scare you. Your First Two Years won't leave you feeling depressed and inadequate. Instead, it's like having a cup of (decaf) coffee with your best friend from seminary as the two of you chew over what's been happening this past week.

And yes, even rapidly aging Senior pastors (like me) will appreciate Doug's advice. Take, for instance, the fifth of his Ten Essentials for Minstry: "I will avoid the comparison trap." Think about that one the next time someone you know gets called to a bigger church than the one you're currently pastoring!

So stop whatever you're doing. Drop whatever you're reading. Click on to the title of post -- it will take you straight to the Amazon web-page for Doug's book -- and BUY THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY!

Got that done?

Then the next time you're in Lincoln City, drop by and we'll talk about Doug's book.

I'll even buy the coffee.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Rebel with a cross

They're young. On the edge. And deeply committed to Jesus. But as The New York Times reports, the current proliferation of Christian groups that are into Goth, hip-hop, and alt-rock may owe more to marketing than genuine rebellion.

With God on our side

Interesting article in the Washington Post about the impact of evangelical Christians on Bush's foreign policy. The big "winners" so far: Darfur, AIDS in Africa, and religious liberty.