Sunday, December 25, 2011

A G-N-R Christmas!

Nothing says Christmas like a Guns-n-Roses song. Think: Contemporary service for next year! (For those of you who take me seriously, I kid).

Epic Fails of 2011

If the human race is dependent on these people we will be extinct before too long! You may want to mute this so you don't have to listen to their language.

The Myth of the "War on Christmas"

Here are some final thoughts on the myth of the "war on Christmas" that some evangelicals try to inflame every time this year.  Let's not focus on something that makes Christians look ridiculous and actually repeals people away from Christ.  Instead let's take advantage of attracting people to the love of God expressed through the birth of Christ.  Click HERE for the article.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

For Parents of Teens who Live on Their X-Box

If you are one of those parents who have teenagers with X-Box Live you need to read this article. Priceless! This has become a new concern for me in my house also. Just who is "listening in"? Click right here HERE for the article.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Occupy Cincinnati Event Tonight that All Christians Need to be Aware of

I do have to say that what we see on the news of the "Occupy" movement seems like a lot of street theatre to make a point.  It is usually the troublemakers that seem to get on the national news (and that would include protesters who break the law or law officers who over-extend their ability to apply force).  But I do like our Cincinnati Occupy Movement.  They are targeting specific, local issues that are targeting the homeless and low-income people and standing in support of those less fortunate.

     I would love to join them tonight for the "Occupy the Nativity" event.  I know.  When I read that title at first I thought that this did not sound good!  I thought they were gong after a church and making a mess of their celebration of the birth of Christ.  But thankfully it is not that at all.  Instead they are identifying themselves with Jesus by dressing up in nativity costumes to stand in protest to a major corporation that is trying to seize a property that is used for homeless and battered women so that they can demolish it and turn it into high end condos.  Shame on Western and Southern for their greedy use of the courts to try and get what they want.  It reminds me of 1 Kings 21 when Jezebel stole the property of Namoth for her husband, King Ahab.  Instead of respecting the wishes of the property owner, they found a way to just take what they wanted with no regard to Namoth.  It was Elijah that called them to account and let them know that their evil deeds did not escape the eyes of God and that they would be held accountable. 

I wish I could join this group tonight but it is more important for me to celebrate my 20th anniversary with my wife!  Maybe I can join the group for a future event.  But I did want to make others aware of what was going on tonight so that if you wanted to lend yourself to the fight against greed and show your support to the poor of Cincinnati that need this place to help them begin a new life, then by all means join the protest!  Details below:

Occupy the helping homeless (as Jesus did and as Western Southern does not) Peace to All.)

When: Wed, December 21, 7:30pm – 8:00pm

Where: Western and Southern's live Nativity at Krohn Conservatory Eden Park-Krohn Conservatory 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH

DETAILS: Jesus was born homeless to poor parents, and he devoted his life to the cause of justice. 

WHAT: Wearing period garb at Western and Southern's live Nativity at Krohn Conservatory, distributing creative holiday literature This Nativity scene, commemorating Jesus' life, has been brought to us by Western and Southern, a major corporation that has tried to displace the Anna Louise Inn, a charitable group that provides support to abused women in the spirit of Christ. Western and Southern, a powerful corporation, has been allowed to occupy this park 24/7 with barnyard animals; however, Occupy Cincinnati has been told that political speech is not allowed to be granted a space in the parks. This has been told to us by Parks Director Willie Carden, who is paid not only by the City of Cincinnati, but also by the Parks Foundation -- a private corporation that receives gifts from Western and Southern. Come join Occupy Cincinnati, our coalition of Faith advocates, and our merry band of carolers as we stand in solidarity with the homeless women and children of The Anna Louise Inn, and all the Magdeline's of the world.

 Proverbs 22:22-23 “Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.”
 Eden Park-Krohn Conservatory 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH

Monday, December 19, 2011

Calvin and Hobbes Snowmen Tribute!

Love it! Best comic ever!

Required Reading for ANYONE Going on a Mission Trip

If you are going on a mission trip anytime soon you must have your team read the posts in this article that can be accessed by clicking HERE.  Jamie "the very worst missionary" give a perspective from one who IS a missionary and what she observes when the short-term mission teams come racing into her community to throw their faith grenades at everyone and then head back home patting themselves on the backs for what they perceive as a job well done when that may not necessarily be the case from the people they "ministered" to.  You must have your team wrestle with the truth in each one of the posts Jamie has written.  It is really good stuff to consider so that you mission trip can have the best possible outcome for your team AND those you are there to minister to.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apologetics 101

An Interpretation of the Christmas Story that ROCKS!

Now here is a version of the Christmas Story that is just AWESOME!  This alone could carry the lesson for all those churches having services on Christmas Sunday!  Priceless.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Creativity Gone Wild!

To appreciate the full impact of this video you must watch it to the end.  Do not check out half way through !

Looking for Bibles for My Kids

I was thinking of getting new Bibles for my kids this Christmas.  This new Bible might be the one that will get them much more interested in learning about their faith.  Seems like it would be expensive though.

The Millennials

Here is a very fascinating chart that dissects the differences between the current living generations.  What do you think?  What makes you smile? What infuriates you?  Is this a correct evaluations of the Millennials in comparison and contrast to the others?

Created by: Online Graduate Programs

United Methodists Garner Highest Favorability Score

Check out this study HERE that rates United Methodists as the most favorable religious organization in America.  It is pretty fascinating to consider what this might mean.  I serve in the United Methodist Church and all to often you hear a lot of doom and gloom when it comes to church attendance.  Many denominations have been experiencing decline in giving and attendance for some time now.  But if this article is true, then should this be a wake up call that we are actually doing well, or a "green light" for the UMC to move forward boldly and aggressively with the Gospel?  

The Real War on Christmas ... by Fox News | Jim Wallis | God's Politics Blog | Sojourners: Celebrating 40 Years of Faith in Action for Social Justice

Jim Wallis writes an excellent article HERE on the apparent "War on Christmas" that always seems to pop up during this time.  His theological and cultural analysis is right on.  I grow tired of well-meaning Christians feeling the need to "defend" Christmas without questioning the context, motivation and purpose behind those who want to force this apparent "war" on us.  Let our love and generosity be the most visible sign of our faith this season instead of arrogance, idolatry, and superiority.  Jesus is certainly not in anyway associated with the attitudes and behaviors that push this false war.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wake Up Call: Teen Statistics - YouTube

This is a powerful video about the pain and suffering that many teens face today.  A few things, I am always curious where they got their statistics.  Oftentimes you can find statistics to say anything you want.  That is not to discredit this video.  I just am curious.  I wish when you are having statistics thrown at you they would also say the source.  Besides that, I find the last line of this video very, very interesting.  The video is not necessarily a wake up call for teens but for someone else in their lives.  I won't give it away.  Just watch.  Why do you think the video ends like that?

What Rick Perry Actually Said in His Strong Ad

How Evangelicals Are Learning to Be Pro-Palestine, Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace, Pro-Justice and Always Pro-Jesus | Munther Isaac

Here is a great article (Click HERE) on how evangelicals are starting to realize that they can be pro-Israel and pro-Palestine at the same time. There is even a conference featuring John Ortburg and Lynn Hybels among others who are discovering that there are a lot of Christians in Palestine who need our help and voice to stand for peace and justice in that region. Good stuff to think about. Christ at the Checkpoint Conference

Jesus Creed » Newt Gingrich and the Palestinians

Scot McKnight does an excellent critique on Newt Gingrich's poor word choice of calling the Palestinians an "invented people" HERE. Truth is, if there ever were an "invented people" it would be Americans. Many of our ancestors forcefully took this land from the natives and claim it as their own. The choice of words that Newt used are very troubling especially if he becomes the next President. A position as dogmatic as his could lead to disastrous consequences. We should continue to be a strong ally to Israel but we should also strive for peace in that entire region which would include moving toward statehood for Palestine and building bridges to those areas that have overthrown their dictators. We really do have a huge opportunity for good in that area if we move cautiously, compassionately and generously. We stand on the crossroads of what could be the most amazing time in history when we build bridges with countries that have historically been our enemies lead by dictators, or we say and do things that could quite honestly lead to another historic, deadly war that will only polarize the West from the Middle East.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011′s Worst New Christmas Song

I do have to admit that every time we get close to the Christmas season I cringe when anyone remotely suggests that there is a "war" on Christmas.  Of course these same people have no problem going on the offensive against Halloween.  I spent two years of my college life down in the Bible Belt at Liberty University and in that time I was just shocked at how worked up people got over Halloween. But that is another story. When well-meaning Christians want to take this defensive position that the consumer culture is declaring war on their sacred holiday, then make cheesy videos like this, the only thing it accomplishes is that it makes all of us who claim to be Christ-followers look ridiculous.

The month of December is meaningful to Christians because of their belief in Jesus.  But it is also meaningful to Jews as they celebrate Hanukkah.  And, all of us, regardless of religious background, celebrate the New Year.  So I get that saying "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" makes sense in a setting that serves a diverse amount of people from various cultural and religious backgrounds.

Besides, Jesus gave us the Great Commission.  The task to spread God's love to others.  When we take this defensive position against the secular culture demanding that they say "Merry Christmas" we just look like a bunch of condescending, judgmental people.  Who cares about the actual person behind the counter, making a lot less money than most shoppers, working crazy hours throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Besides, when you watch this video the hypocrisy of what the song says Christmas is all about contrasted with the images of consumerism, materialism and greed is really quite shocking.  You can also click HERE for a good critique of this video.  Every day of a Christian's life ought to be filled with the significance of Jesus's birth, death and resurrection.  If we live that out correctly, we will attract more people to the true message of Christ.  If we judge complete strangers because they didn't say "Merry Christmas" then we just act like the Pharisees.  So to my Christian family I say with deep meaning and passion, "Merry Christmas".  To all my other friends, "Happy Holidays".  Let us approach all people with humility, love and grace.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Vic Mignogna : Vader Did You Know?

An absolute classic! This is for all of you who are tired of listening to "Mary Did You Know?" whenever it is Christmas time but you don't mind seeing Star Wars for the millionth time. This is great!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Disappearance of the Compassionate Conservatives | Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis writes a sobering critique of our latest candidates vying for the Presidency at this link: The Disappearance Compassionate Conservatives. It is a tough read.  My hope is that Christians of all political leanings will realize that just because someone claims to be a person of faith does not mean that they will act like one in their political and personal lives.  It is much more important to study their track record instead of accepting their words.  So many will say anything to get the votes they need.  Christians have been fooled so many times in the past by the slick words of politicians.  The kingdom of God will not advance through man-made government.  It will only grow when we trust the Holy Spirit do lead us.  May God save America.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Here Am I Send Me! . . . Zaaaaap!

I grew up in the 80's when certain sections of the Charismatic church made the "experience" of the Holy Spirit a prime emphasis.  Speaking in tongues has been around for a long time, but then it moved to being slain in the Spirit, and then some pockets of the movement took it to a strange level introducing such things as Holy Spirit laughter and Holy Spirit barking. If anything, this was more of a reflection of the culture moving into a more experiential and instant gratification type of lifestyle.

Now we come to the present.  What does our culture seem to be fixated on especially in times of crisis?  Superheroes!  Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Batman, and on and on and on.  Soooooo, it would make sense that the Holy Spirit must be moving in this direction also!  The newest Holy Spirit gift is . . . . . teleportation!  Yep.  This would have been great for my Africa trip last Summer.  Would have saved a ton of money.

Also, one thing that really struck me was something that the female commentator said about teleporting from "meeting to meeting".  Really?!?!  If I had the gift of teleporting I would go from one meeting to ANOTHER meeting?! I think not.  I would be teleporting OUT of meetings and onto a roller coaster at Cedar Point or a beach in Florida or to a movie theatre, or my quiet house with a pile of books and a coffee.  But certainly not to another meeting.

And if the Holy Spirit is moving in the direction of superhero gifts then I want to make a list of what I hope God will shower down upon me as spiritual gifts in the near future!

1. Flying
2. Invisibility
3. Super strength
4. Shape shifting
5. Being able to use the "force"
6. Radioactive spider-bite abilities
7. The Matrix chosen one powers
8. Metal blades that come out from between my knuckles
9. Werewolf powers
10. T2000 Liquid Metal Terminator

A Missed Opportunity for a Funny Beer Commercial

This would be a great beer commercial.  I am a little confused how a church small group program fits this add though.  Enjoy!

An Instant Classic for Worship!

It's the end of the world as we know it and my ears are bleeding! Such a delightful tune for apocalyptic music!

CCM has now been Bieber-ized!

I know.  Christian music would be so much better if we just tried to imitate Justin Bieber!  What could possibly go wrong?

If this is grace, no thanks!

I am sure that this started out with a person saying, "Hey! I got a great idea! How about if we do this . . . " Unfortunately someone was not there to say, "Not sure we should do this."

These are not your normal Church Ushers!

It is always awesome when some well-meaning Christians decide to take a pop song and "Christianize" it.  It always comes across so deliciously cheesy!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Museum of Idolatry: Naked Old Church Men Calender

This is so wrong on soooo many levels. I would be so embarrassed if my dad or any older man in my church ever did this. How is this a church event? A fundraiser calendar?!?!?! I think not. But the choice piece in all of this is the quote that the blogger borrows from Gollum before you even click on the video. I really can't stop laughing at this one.

The Museum of Idolatry: Naked Old Church Men Calender