Monday, May 31, 2004

Scripture of Late

Scripture of Late
Scripture that I have been thinking about lately:

Matt 11
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."
As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
" 'I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.
"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
" 'We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge
and you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

Heb 3:15
As has just been said:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."

I Thes 1
Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.


A sermon from Pastor Mark, from Luke 8, titled "The Thing We Like the Least."
Listen to the rm here.
A few of my notes to whet your appetite.

- Jairus turns around
Jesus is nowhere to be found
Jesus is talking to this woman
And Jairus is left waiting
Meanwhile, someone came out and said, Dead is your daughter v.49
too late - we missed our window of opportunity, now leave Jesus alone
When they got there, the funeral had started - a full fledged funeral
Jesus says stop wailing, she is asleep, they are convinced she is dead
They laughed at Jesus, knowing that she was dead

- Delays and interruptions are part of God's plan
from the woman's perspective - Jesus is 12 years late
from Jairus' perspective - Jesus is 12 minutes late
from Jesus perspective - he is not late at all
The delays we see are part of the plan

- in our culture, who waits?
we have a sophisticated ranking system for waiting
people who have the most clout don't wait
God's choicest people are asked to wait
Because of how God transforms us when we wait
Because of what God does around us when we wait

the Penleys are back

the Penleys are back
The Penleys came home last night. They will be on the campus of the UofMD next. Great hearing stories of how God is moving throughout this world.
Best thing he said - in Melbourne, their team commited to praying, really praying, for the ministry. And it blew wide open.

Memorial Day 2004

Memorial Day 2004
"America has been known as a Christian nation due to the tremendous impact that the Christian faith has had on our society. At the same time, the Christian faith has become delusional, over-identifying itself with society as a whole. A Christian revolution must live in tension with human societies and cultures. We want to see an authentic Christian expression in every culture on this planet – in fact we are called to make it so. But there must never be a moment when we perceive Christianity as equal to the culture itself. When we begin to see being a Christian and being American as indistinguishable, we lose the transforming essence of our faith. The ultimate goal of American Christianity should not be to make us good citizens but to make us revolutionaries in the cause of Jesus Christ." - McManus

Friday, May 28, 2004

Keeping Up with Sudan

Keeping Up with Sudan
If you remember hearing anything about the mass genocide that happened in Rwanda, this should give you the creeps. If you don't remember, you can get the quick details here. Then you can get the creeps just like the rest of us. Current news on the potential Sudan genocide here. If you call yourself a Christ-follower, it is your responsibility to at least know something about the current state of affairs in Sudan.

My Hair

My Hair
Apparently, lots of people have questions about my hair. I think its funny. Its kind of a small rebellion against corporate America. Its a reminder from Origins for me to be a barbarian. Its a mid life crisis that doesn't involve sports cars. As my wife says, it's better than me being bald. Haha, I could go on all day.

04-05 SPACE Goals

04-05 SPACE Goals
Had a GCC YM staff meeting yesterday. It was, like they always are, very fun. Very energizing and motivating. Nothing like a meeting in the corporate world...
Anyway, one of the things we did was talk about 04-05 school year goals.
Also a key piece to our goals was fitting them in to the overall Grace strategy, which is as:
G - God's Word
R - Relationships
A - Authentic Worship
C - Compassion
E - Every Person Participating

Ok, now some of you might find it a little hokey that there is an acronym based on our church's name into specific goals. But give us a little slack, huh? And anyway, I think, when I try to be objective about it, that those elements make up a really good strategy...

More on goals later... I think some of the pondering about some stuff I learned at Origins and thinking about next year is starting to come together...

Thursday, May 27, 2004


I've been reading some of the blogs that have followed the Emergent Convention. Interesting. It doesn't seem quite like the effect that Origins had on me.

Prep #4 photos

Prep #4 photos
Put up just a few photos from the missions prep mtg #4 here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Best Commencement Address

A few years ago, in 1998 actually, somehow I heard this guy speak at a commencment address at Kenyon College. I wasn't there, I don't even know where Kenyon is. But I think I saw him give the speech on late night CSPAN or something (which I never watch.) But... I think this is the BEST commencement speech I have ever read or heard.
Graduation speeches have such power. Like SM said last week in CpR, this time of the year is filled with hope and expectation. New kids moving up to high school and middle school, kids graduating, college kids come home fresh from new experiences. And graduations... they are times filled with emotion, idealism, freshness, liberation. To be able to address youth during this time in their lives is always an honor and priviledge. I only got to do it once, a few years ago, speaking at another church's graduation dinner for a youth program they had. It was fun, because you are engaging so much promise and potential. And you have to be brief, but commanding.
Oops, as I was saying about this speech... In honor of the class of 04... I have pasted it here. It used to be available on the Kenyon website... But it's worth the full read.

Office of Public Affairs
Kenyon College Commencement Address
May 17, 1998
by Mark C. Rosenthal '73 President and Chief Operating Officer,
MTV Networks
As I was preparing my remarks the other day, I suddenly realized that you didn't want to hear necessarily from me, that maybe what I should do is get up here and say, "Hey, you guys have worked hard for four years. Looks like you need a little fun. So . . . here are the Red Hot Chili Peppers!"
Seriously, I really want to thank the Class of 1998 for inviting me to share this great occasion with you. I particularly want to thank you for not rescinding your invitation, even after I informed [President] Rob Oden that with two kids under four, I'm not hanging out a lot backstage with Marilyn Manson anymore. And since I am from the Class of 1973, I do feel compelled to promise you that my remarks won't be filled with what Cartman on "South Park" describes as "that tree-hugging hippie crap."
Twenty-five years have passed since I sat where you're sitting now, but the memories of
my time at Kenyon are still fresh. Like you, I was fortunate to spend my college years in a place where ideas matter. Like me, you will forget most of what you have learned here. And you will forget it before you even turn thirty.
You know, that's not as bad as it sounds. Because there is one thing you've learned here that you will never forget: how to think. How to use critical analysis to dissect and inspect what you read and what you see. How to seek out and discover on your own. How to be an individual instead of part of a herd.
The most memorable part of my Kenyon experience was really learning how to learn and learning that from great friends and teachers like Tom Turgeon, Harlene Marley, and the late Jim Michael; from Gal Crump and Bill Klein, Phil Church and Perry Lentz; from Peter Rutkoff and Harry Clor.
Now, smart people who know how to think on their own command a premium in any market. So for the sacrifices you've made to learn here, you will be repaid over and over again--though not necessarily in ways that you might expect now.
Kenyon is an iconoclastic place, and its graduates have blazed some unique trails through life. My college friends here went on to do some very interesting things, and while they've been successful, I don't think money was ever a motivating factor in their decisions. One friend, Murray Horwitz '70, became a clown with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. That was an extremely formative experience, and it prepared him very well for a second career--in politics. Of course, from politics it was
basically a straight line right into show business. He went on to write the hit musical Ain't Misbehavin' about the great jazz musician Fats Waller. And he now runs cultural programming for National Public Radio.
My Kenyon roommate, Greg Andorfer '73, majored in English and art history and went on to business school, but he ended up producing shows for public TV. He considered it a license to learn about absolutely anything that interested him. One of those things happened to be astrophysics. So he called up Carl Sagan one day to talk to him. And that's how the phenomenal series "Cosmos" came to be. After many years in television, Greg now runs the Maryland Science Center. My own path out of Kenyon also was pretty circuitous. I attended graduate school in drama, then went on to run several professional theater companies. I'd always been interested in marriages of art and commerce. I eventually found an intriguing one in an emerging new industry called cable
television. Unfortunately, the first place where I worked, a small unit of CBS that focused only on arts programming, decided there wasn't enough commerce to justify their investment. They folded their cable operation--and my job with it.
But I had seen enough of cable to believe in it. So I moved on to a place then called Warner AMEX Satellite Entertainment company, which turned out to be a precursor to the company I work for now, MTV Networks.
MTV Networks started in 1981 with MTV, but today it's a lot more. Of course, it's still MTV, which is now in more than 300 million homes in the United States and around the world, including mainland China and, as of September, Russia. It's Nickelodeon, the most popular channel for kids, on broadcast or cable. It's also Nick at Nite, and a new channel called TV Land, which is kind of like Nick at Nite on steroids (if you don't get it, call your cable operator). It's also VH1, Comedy Central, and a brand-new channel called Noggin, the first educational channel for kids, in a partnership with Children's Television Workshop.
The people who came to MTV back in 1981 were a diverse, rag-tag, motley crew. Some came from radio. Some came from magazines. Some came from totally alien fields entirely--the theater, packaged goods, retailing, advertising. None of them came from broadcast television, because traditional broadcasters would never hire them. But all of them came because they were challenged and intrigued by this new medium, recognizing that the most critical measure of success would be making a single brand stand out from what would soon be the rapidly proliferating competition of multiple viewing options.
That's something broadcasters never had to think about. The mandate of the broadcast networks was (and still is) to reach as many people as possible, with a broad-based mix of sitcoms, dramas, news, and sports. But at MTV we sensed that in an exploding television landscape, where people's options would soon increase tenfold, a paradigm shift was about to take place.
There needed to be a whole new notion of TV: not linear, not about story lines with a
beginning, middle, and end, not about plot and continuity, but about mood and emotion.
Until cable came along in the early eighties, people only identified with individual programs, rather that with a network. They might rush home to watch "Happy Days" or "Charlie's Angels," but a network itself had no "identity." As such, in the history of American television, no one has ever uttered the following phrase: "I feel like going home and watching a little CBS tonight."
In contrast, MTV was truly a "postmodern" network. It was never really about the shows. It was about one idea, twenty-four hours a day--a pop-cultural identity. But most of all, it was about the audience and about connecting with the audience in a unique and meaningful way. Today, people say, "I feel like watching MTV" and you know exactly what they mean.
Today, the broadcast networks are struggling after ten successive years of losing both viewers and their share of audience to cable. The number of sure-fire broadcast hits--the "Seinfelds" and "ERs" of their world--are down to fewer than a handful. And, although it's our dirty little secret, for those who keep score, MTV Networks will probably be more profitable this year than ABC, CBS, and NBC--combined. To be honest with you, that's actually a mixed blessing. Because we now run the risk of becoming the establishment. MTV has only gotten where it has by never becoming too complacent--by constantly reinventing itself--by celebrating each success with a resounding
"OK--what's next"--and by never taking ourselves too seriously.
So it is appropriate that, as someone who has been part of MTV Networks almost from the
beginning, I get to address you today. Because our whole company was created with your
generation in mind. Yours was truly the first generation to grow up with us right from
the start--moving from Nickelodeon as children to MTV and Comedy Central as young adults--and by the time you've settled down a little bit, I hope you'll be watching VH1. But while you were growing up with us, we were growing up with you. Over the last
seventeen years, MTV has become one of the most recognizable, yet polarizing, brands of all time, credited with setting trends in music, fashion, and youth culture, while simultaneously being held responsible for the entire decline of civilization as we know it. When it began, MTV was the loud, strident voice of irreverence and rebellion, of kids vs. parents (as in "I want my MTV!"); that tone was evident in the music, the programming, and even in the way the channel promoted itself.
But we've also laid down a lot of cultural landmarks for your generation, and we've sought to play a more socially productive role in your lives than anything television has ever attempted. In the past seventeen years, MTV introduced middle America to urban street music with "Yo! MTV Raps"; raised millions for famine relief with "Live Aid"; helped engage young people in the political process, culminating with the "Choose or Lose" campaign and the election of Bill Clinton; and in general tapped into the hearts and minds of a generation with news and specials that one could only see on MTV.
We've always operated as outsiders, challenging the conventional wisdom. We didn't know that it couldn't be done, so we just did it. We've been presumptuous. We've been obnoxious. We've been downright rude. And we've made mistakes. Many of them. But we haven't been safe. We haven't been predictable. We haven't trudged along a well-worn path to successful mediocrity. And we've never been afraid to fail.
Of course, MTV wasn't exactly the first to come along and challenge the established powers that be. That's a great American tradition. Harriet Tubman, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida Mae Tarbell, Woodie Guthrie, Paul Robeson, Jackson Pollack, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, Lenny Bruce, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan, Curt Flood, Curt Cobain--the list is long and varied. Rabble-rousing is an American birthright. Despite a penchant for middle-class, middle-of-the-road homogeneity, America usually comes around to admiring--and rewarding--those who burn their bridges to convention and safety--and light up
the sky in the process.
Even in the fifties, when post-war prosperity first gave rise to a discussion of
"corporate America," and when the role model of choice was the company man--and they certainly did mean man--there was an explosion of creativity in American culture. There was be-bop in the air, beat poetry on the page, and abstract expressionism on canvas. Yet the counterculture of the fifties is nothing compared to what you and your generation have the potential to create in the next millennium.
As you take leave of Kenyon today, the world is being remade at a dizzying pace.
In America, entrepreneurialism and creativity are ascendant from Silicon Valley to Times Square. Around the world, opportunity has never been more plentiful, freedom never more genuine, and diversity never more possible. With your Kenyon education you are especially well prepared to seize this day.
You are prepared, in effect, for nothing in particular but everything in general, for the rigors of a life dictated by no one but you.
Before I'm accused of waxing too poetic, let me be blunt. None of you should try to come up with the next MTV. Don't make the short-sighted choice of riding the wave of a phenomenon that's already begun to crest or cloning an already successful formula. You shouldn't want to.
You see, what I'm trying to tell you is this: We don't need more copies. We need more
originals. There are originals out there in every industry. Some are fledglings. Others are just beginning to gain some traction in their respective arenas. Still others have yet to be born--they are ideas waiting to be discovered by people of passion and commitment and intelligence.
People who respond when the rest of the world is going left by going right.
People whose dreams matter to them and, later on, come to matter to the rest of us.
There are works of art, political programs, social causes, ideas, even entire industries that do not exist today. Yet before you reach your parents' age they will. And you will be the instigators behind them. You have to be. By default, there's no one else. You can create a "South Park."
Or a Broadway musical like Rent. Or a Netscape. Or a Yahoo. Or an Or a Hard Candy.
Or something we can't even imagine because the seed of the idea resides only in your head.
MTV was started by a group of people not much older than you are now.
Microsoft was started by a very stubborn nineteen-year-old who was convinced that the business school wizards at IBM and the Ph.D.s at Xerox were all wrong--and he was right.
These are perhaps extreme examples. Certainly Bill Gates is a very unusual case.
And the Microsoft narrative has now traveled full circle--all the way from anti-establishment to anti-trust. But regardless of the details, there is often virtue--and on rarer occasions, even gold--to be found in challenging established modes and means. To take--in effect--the path of most resistance. It's true in the arts. It's true in academia. It's true in teaching.
It's true in entertainment. It's true in law and medicine and other professions. It's true in business. It's true in public service.
I know that many of you in this class are going to law school. When you begin to study
the great Supreme Court opinions that have given shape and texture and context to so
much of American life, keep in mind how many of them are not the opinions of the
majority but of the Court's dissenters.
Of course, traveling against the traffic is inherently risky. It's much easier to go with the flow. What's more, your intelligence and education afford you a great many advantages when you remain--quite content, perhaps--in the mainstream. But please, please, please, don't get too comfortable yet. You can take risks when you are young that you will never, ever have the courage or capacity to embrace again. People of every age contributed to the civil-rights revolution in this country. But it was the young--people precisely your age--who drove that movement, who seized
history and turned it on its head by the power of their passion.
It's our job at MTV to know a lot about you. We know, for instance, that you are an
extremely hard-working generation. We know that you are the most inclusive, least-bigoted, generation in the history of America. You are truly a chosen group, entering the world at a time of unprecedented opportunity. The economic constraints and cultural straitjackets--those that have undermined the promise of so many previous generations--are falling before you.
You have youth, and you have an environment conducive to change. All you need now is an idea to believe in, the courage to pursue it, and the desire to never let up.
It's customary, I believe, for commencement speakers to encourage the assembled graduates in the name of their parents and families. "Make them proud of you," the person at the podium is supposed to say. "Make us all proud." With your permission, I'll pass. For starters, your families and loved ones are already visibly proud of you. They are absolutely smitten with you.
So the "make us proud" bit seems, quite honestly, a little redundant here today.
You see, we're looking for something more out of you. A lot more. Because we know who
you are. And we know what you're capable of. We know what you can do if you put your minds and souls to the test, if you project your passion and your commitment and your integrity into a world that always seems to run a deficit on the good things. We know what you can do if you think outside the box, if you challenge the norm and break the rules.
So not your families, nor I, nor Kenyon will be satisfied by feelings of pride. That's just not enough. Don't just make us proud. Delight us.
Surprise us. Shock us. Challenge us. Invigorate us. Astonish us. As a matter of fact,
astonish the hell out of us. As Cartman would say--"That would be sweet."

Bono's commencement address

Bono's commencement address
Full text here. As Christ-followers, I think we have to be aware of issues around the globe and the AIDS crisis in Africa has got to be one of the largest.

Only 3?

Only 3?
I just realized, I think, two days ago, that I'm actually going on 3 mission trips this summer. Does that sound a little ridiculous to you too?
1 - with my daughter K - Mustard Seeds
2 - middle school weekend - CMTS
3 - SPACEcrew - NYC
I guess it's not as crazy as it sounds. Each one of them has some pretty specific goals in mind, are with things or localities that we have ties with before, in some roundabout way, and all of them are pieces that are designed to be part of a movement, not just a one time summer trip. I'm excited about them all, but most nervous about #1, like a wrote in a previous post.
"Something mystical happens when you get over your motion sickness and begin to move with God." - McManus
Expecting that God will move in the circumstances where we feel least confident, I think #1 will be big. Maybe I will end up barfing sometime during that week...

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The DeShazer story

The DeShazer story
What a story here. You have to read it to really get it.
Some snippets:
- one of the bombers during WWII, one of the bleakest missions
- captive by the Japanese, 40 months of imprisonment and torture, 34 of those in solitary confinement
- started to fall in love with Jesus in prison
- got released, came home, got a degree in missions, got married
- went back to Japan as a missionary
- planted 23 churches, including three from their home, and one in Nagoya, the city that he had bombed
What the heck...

Got the link from a new blog I've been reading, Looking Closer, which is written by a film/music critic for Christianity Today. Remember, relevance to the culture is .... ok you remember.

Christian Teens and P2P

Christian Teens and P2P
Read it here (requires watching an add from
This has to got to be my favorite quote from the article:
"And can Satan really be involved in the sharing of an Amy Grant hit single?"
It is a good article though. Would be a great discussions starter.
On a related note, I stopped downloading free music about around the Fall of 03. Prior to that, I hadn't bought a CD in probably 3 years. It was bad.
Now, I have a line item in our budget titled 'Culture' for music and movies. Like Erwin says, "Relevance to the culture is not an option."
Here is a list of the CDs I have bought since I stopped downloading illegally:

Norah Jones (the latest, I can't remember the title)
Evanescence - Fallen
Clint Black - Nothin' But the Taillights (yard sale)
Bebo Norman - Myself When I Am Real
Jeremy Camp - Stay
Hillsongs - Hope
Mosaic - Ancient God (from Origins, probably the best of the list)

I also did the iTunes thing for the month of April when they were doing those free downloads from Pepsi bottles. It was good while it lasted, but you can't turn those into MP3s very easily. So you have to use the iTunes player. And you can't move them from media to media. Long story. If you want details, google it.

Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed
Well K and I are signed up to go to this Mustard Seed camp with Teen Missions. Some of you might have heard about Teen Missions, they send thousands of teenagers all over the world every summer. Theoretically, I've got some issues with the approach that they have for sending students on mission trips. However, at least one person I've talked to had a phenomenal experience with Teen Missions. During her Boot Camp, God grabbed her life for the first time ever. And she has held on tight since then, and currently serves as one of our middle school leaders at GCC. So although I might not agree with the mobilization process that Teen Missions uses, I certainly cannot, and will not, deny that they can, and are, drawing students closer to Jesus.
Frankly, I'm a little worried about this Mustard Seed camp. No electricity, no cell phones, no pagers, no literature other than the Bible, no shorts, etc. It is a real boot camp. I think I'm too soft for it. Hopefully, K and I will both love it and all those other silly worries will just fade away. I have always said it would be a great experience for my kids to experience another country or culture. This is along the same lines.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Dinner with SM

Dinner with SM
I had dinner with SM, our high school pastor, last week. It was so fun. Just a time to relax and hang out and talk, and of course, eat. The man can really eat. It was awesome. (of course, I don't mean it was awesome the way he eats...)
He later sent me an email with something to the effect that I inspire him... No, no, its quite the other way around...

Weekend Update

Weekend Update
The weekend was good. And it's not over yet. The rest is going to be good too. I'm sitting here watching my kids in a kiddie pool. A perfect Sunday afternoon.

leader celebration at Grace.
PM talked about being a solider.
"There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer."
Oh and Bridge the Gap Sunday - 1,000 families gave financially. $1.2M. Wow.

time with Granny and Grandpa
Missions Prep #4 with Gadget.
Human knots, ropes, etc.
Very fun. The LC missions team came along. Very exciting, it is not a bunch
of missions teams, it is a movement of the younger generation.

CpR this am.
SM talked about the Ephesus church, the gateway to the East.
If the Church could grow in Ephesus, it can grow anywhere.
Opened SEMP for all of high school. Got two interested parties right away. Yes.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Missions Prep #4

Missions Prep #4

A very quick rundown:

- support
- Joel 2:28 - dreamers and visionaries
index cards
prayer partner
- pray
- team initiatives with G

Friday, May 21, 2004

Do you come in the nice model?

Do you come in the nice model?
Whoa, I'm having a really long week. I've worked way too many hours this week, not only quantity, but the issues I've had to deal with have taken a toll. I joined conference call this morning and just went off. Not good, this is not the way we attract people to who we say our God is... Ok, I'm going to go back to the call and be a lot nicer. Maybe I'll even try to be helpful.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

More Search Terms

More Search Terms
That brought people here:

"tony sheng gmail" - - I love it. its awesome.
"sheng words" - - Thats weird.
"tony sheng" - - That would be me.
"atthewarehouse" - - Yeah buddy.
+"health" +"agency" +"sample support letters" - - Hmm interesting

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Breathe on Me

Breathe on Me
One of the last artsy things they did at Origins.
It was a dancer who did a dance to this song.
Powerful lyrics.

Breathe On Me - Jennifer Knapp

No Temptation Seize A Man That He Can't Overcome
Who Am I To Be Fallen?
Crack Your Back On A Slab Of Wood
Come Freedom, Nail It Down
I Come Crawling,
I Come Crawling

Come Trickle Down And Save The World
Two Hands That I Can't See
Come Breathe, Come Breathe,
Come Breathe On Me
Split-Rib Water, Blood And Bone
Come Now, Come Calvary
Come Breathe, Come Breathe On Me

Testimony Come Now, Quickly, Whisper In My Ear:
Peace At Last Not Far Away, Empty Sheet, A Borrowed Grave:
Come Freedom, Come
Come Freedom, Come


Come Freedom, Come
Come Freedom, Come
Come Freedom, Come



From An Unstoppable Force, ideas about urbanization:
Like many cities, Los Angeles inhales the nations and has the potential of exhaling the gospel. Ralph Winter has proposed that the last great frontier for the gospel is the cities. It is impossible to talk about the future without mentioning the cities. While human history began in a garden, it ends in the city. This is a planet of great cities.
The suburban church is in many ways the natural development of the county-seat church, maintaining it's focus on family, community, and rural values.
It's ironic that the word pagan finds its roots in a word meaning 'country dweller.' Where once the pagan lived in the country and the danger of the city was to be Christianized, now Christians tend to live away from the cities and view the urban dweller as the true pagan.

I started really talking about the whole urbanization thing with my students that went off to college last summer. An original idea that I really liked (I don't have many original ideas that I like) was to write them a letter instead of get them a gift for their graduation parties. So in the letter was a list of things they should do during college. And for each one of them, I wrote that they should go on an inner city missions trip sometime during college, simply because of this idea of urbanization. And the fact that, if you know about Howard County, Maryland, it's just about the epitmoe of suburbia. If anything, these kids need to get out and experience life in the city for real. They need to live it and not just see it on TV. An experience like that would do so much for making them more full, more able to engage the world around us, more in touch with compassion, justice, mercy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

7 world changes for missions

7 world changes relevant for missions
The full article here.
1. 24/x7 global communications
2. Largest population migration in history. More than 50% of the world now lives in urban areas.
3. Global economy.
4. The center of the Christian faith is shifting from the West to Latin America, Asia and Afria.
5. There are now more than 3000 mission agencies and entities.
6. Churches are reclaiming the front line of missions.
7. The laity are being empowered and released. A release of God's people unparalleled since Acts 8.

Wow, I totally see it. All 7 make sense to me. The coolest is #7. I know I've said it lots before, but we have a younger generation that needs to be released into mission as a crucial and integral part of their existence. They cannot exist without being called into an epic story.

An email from Erwin

An email from Erwin
So I wrote an email to Erwin McManus thanking him for the Origins conference and all his team did to serve us with it. I figured it was the least that I could do.
Here is a snippet of what I got back, written by one of his personal assistants.
"I just wanted to pass on Erwin's sincere thanks for your encouragement. He has read every one of his emails and has been truly touched and energized by emails such as yours. He thanks you for your words, and wishes you all the adventure that the Lord has in store."
So wait a minute, he's been touched and energized by an email that I wrote... Now that's pretty cool. It's really the least that I could do. And he wishes me the adventure... Dude.


Well the boys are probably on their way between Germany and Kstan now. They left last night at 6pm from Dulles and the first leg was 12 hours to Frankfurt. And then another 8 to Alma Ata, Kstan. Cool. They will be there until June 4. Here is the weather forecast for Alma Ata. Don't you just love the Internet?

Monday, May 17, 2004

TP scrapbookremember

TP scrapbook
Some of you that follow this blog have heard me talk about TP, a student that was in a high school guys small group that I led for 4 years. You know he's had some rough times with addictions and such. Anyway, he is graduating from high school this weekend and his mother is asking people to jot down thoughts, stories, verses, wisdom, etc. for a scrapbook for him.
Here is my contribution:

My favorite memory of TP was the time him, AH and myself
served as valet parking for a family friend's wedding party.
Consistently, when there are boys and cars, there is adventure.
This night was no different as we had the P's 4x4.
After some time parking cars and attending to guests,
the reception started and we had little to do, except the truck,
a huge plot of land and some snacks.
So TP decided to give us a driving tour of the property.
While driving around, it seemed like he decided to take a random
turn off the road to go up a clearing to a light in the distance.
And we got the Suburban stuck in the mud. I think it was only
slightly stuck at first. Then TP put it in 4x4 and floored
it. By then, it was stuck good. And the truck was covered in lots
of mud. We wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
There in the dark, in the mud, with a whole wedding reception going
on up the hill, we sat and contemplated what to do.
There was my SUV, AH's Jeep, and the tractor in the garage. And of
course, AH and I wondered, "Where exactly is that light you were
looking for, TP?"
Eventually, we got my SUV and towed the Suburban out of the mud hole.
After we got it back on the road, the hole was easily 12-13 inches deep.
And really muddy.
It's probably my favorite memory because, like most boys and men,
we had an adventure. But adventure isn't the only element in this story.
This story, in many ways, symbolizes a lot about the grand story of
life, and how God involves us in His epic story of reaching our
world for His praise.
Like that night, it's easy for most of us to get stuck in the mud when you
are looking for a light in the distance. Many times, God calls us
to go through hard and sticky situations and circumstances, risking
a lot of what we have and think in order to be misunderstood
for His purposes and glory.
It requires a great deal of trust to go off the beaten path when
you believe the true light is calling to you. And it really helps having
a group of friends with you, who share in the adventure of seeking,
the dare of not knowing, the risk of getting stuck somewhere with you.
TP, my hope is that your life continues to embody adventure, risk and
good friends willing to get muddy with you, all so God can be praised.

Always your dteam leader,

Missionaries for Dinner

Missionaries for Dinner
We had these missionaries for dinner. And these. Wow it was a great time of hearing how God is moving in the world. And to hear their story and testimony of how they went into the field. To hear how God places someone in a specific circumstance for a specific time, for specific people... that's so much fun to hear. And to hear how God transforms a heart to care for a specific country and group of people that they have never been exposed to before. That is a God thing.
Like Erwin said, "...people who can speak to what they have heard in conversation with God."
Very fun.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Ministry vs. Me

Ministry vs. Me
During the big outside party this am, one of our mission leaders asked me if he could ask me a 'ministry related question.' It got me thinking. Our previous church experience, almost 9 years ago, included lots of activities ministry related, including youth leader, adult Sunday school and D teaching in the church's Christian school as a full time teacher. So Sunday's were anything but a break for us. She would have parents asking her questions about students while she was at church trying to, in very stereotypical terms, fellowship and worship. We were able to easily comparmentalize ministry and life. Some Sunday's we just skipped church because we didn't want to have to deal with all the ministry/work stuff while were trying to regroup spiritually at church. Overall, I think that was really unhealthy. Of course, it wasn't intentional on anyone's part. And I know that when you go into vocational ministry, you definitely lose some obscurity.
But it got me thinking, doesn't God's mission require us to be fully engaged? Shouldn't a Christ-follower be a wholly fully devoted person? Spiritual life shouldn't be segmented between who we are on Sundays as a worshipper versus another night as youth leader or a day job as a teacher. And I'm happy to say that I've never felt the same way at GCC. Ministry, life, who I am has always been all together. I'm a husband, a father, an engineer, a youth leader and it is all put together by God for a unique purpose. And the overlap of all the elements makes every piece even better. I am good engineer because I have a life outside of work, my family loves to be a part of the family ministering to students, etc... Just thinking off the top of my head.
With regards to the conversation this morning, I told him, "Sure, definitely!"

Bridge the Gap Sunday

Bridge the Gap Sunday
Well today was the big one service on the land.... Wow. It was pretty incredible, all those people. And it poured rain like all last night, but this morning, it was an awesome morning. Very cool.
PM spoke about the seed, and how there are people that came to Christ from someone else going before them, and how this property is a huge planting/seeding/reaping opportunity. It was some good stuff.
On a side note, my youngest daughter got a little lost, and ended up down in front in his arms. Funny.
They also had the elder team and the pastoral team do some groundbreaking with some shovels. That was cool. And they let each family have a chance to do that, and everyone took home a cup of dirt from the land with some seeds in it, so we could watch both our church and the seeds grow at the same time. Pretty neat.
A few pictures are here.

Weekend Update

Weekend Update
This weekend has been fun so far... Except I'm working right now...
Last night was Carni Night... very fun. SM did an awesome job as usual. CP our youth admin/catalyst brought a visitor, I think she is hooked as a volunteer. Funny like that. Once people experience the ministry, they probably either are way too scared of it, or want totally in. Had a very late meal with K.
Hung out today with some good friends of ours that used to go to Grace. Some very cool things happening with them in Montgomery County. They are helping pull together married small groups in MD for McLean Bible, powerhouse of the Beltway.
Went to a birtdhay party for a couple that are old friends of ours tonight. They turn 40. Yikes. 40 in age, definitely not in spirit. It was great to hang out with them.
Tomorrow is Bridging the Gap Sunday, where we have church on the new property. It's going to be pretty neat, except, earlier tonight, it was pouring. If there is bad weather, we do church like normal. Which will be kind of a disappointment... On the way home tonight, D and I stopped in the park and ride lot to pray for tomorrow and for the land and the building. My prayer is that the building brings us even closer as a church to God's mission in the world and that we don't worship the building. We will see.
K leaves for Kstan on Monday. Him and two other guys from the 03 boys are going. Very exciting. These poor guys have just had a whirlwind - they've been home from college after finishing their freshmen year just less than a week and then off they go to Kstan. Pretty crazy but what a great experience. K's got this great attitude about not knowing at all what to expect. I think that's what Erwin refers to as bringing more chaos into our environments...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Carni Night

Carni Night
Carni Night tomorrow night at the Warehouse. Ha yeah. Don't ask me how, but it should be fun. Second to last Friday night outreach for the year. Look for me, I'll be at the card table.

3 marks of a disciple

From Erwin - 3 marks of a disciple
1. God taught - Jer 33
What God says is not hearsay for you.
Give yourselves of helping everyone who knows Christ to hear his voice. John 10
If God is silent to you – Christianity is irrelevant to you.
Pour your life into the Scriptures
Your Christianity should not be rumors about God.

2. Godd moved - Ex ??
You become holy in the sight of the world
You love what is right and true
Passions are transformed
You do right because you long for God
Who are you when you are totally alone, when no one is looking?
When pagans come to Christ – they get as close as they can to life with Christ
When Christians come to Christ – they see how close to the wrong edge they can get, they try to get away with things that are questionable.

3. God inspired - Joel 2:28
God inspired
Dreaming dreams beyond our wildest imagination
Problems with hyperventilation when you talk about your life with God
Movement of dreamers and visionaries
The contemporary church does not have the same idea because we have – managers, administrators, preachers, teachers
Die to your own dreams – enliven others dreams
Too many pastors are manipulating
Dreams/visions are born in the lives of people in the church

Of course, I'm selling the session short here. He told lots of stories about some pretty amazing circumstances, etc. I think it was the best session. It also ended with a video collage of some images from the people at Mosaic set to U2's "Beautiful Day". And the very end was a commissioning ceremony for all the church planters that were at the conference. They were prayed for and anointed with oil. Very cool.
Which incidentally, is a very interesting topic - church planting. But alas, for another time...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Fast asleep

Fast Asleep
I rocked my 3 year old daughter, E, to sleep tonight. Most of the time, she is still awake when I lay her in her bed. But every once in a while, every so often, she will fall asleep while she is in my arms. It's quite an experience. To feel her breath on my neck, to feel the heat rising off of her scalp as she sweats when sleeping, to feel her heartbeat every so slightly on my chest, those are things that I can't even really explain. My trying to describe them isn't even close.
How long do we get with our children? How long will life and the world and their will let us cradle them, hug them, kiss them, pray with them? How much time do we have while they sit with us in our laps, listen to music, be quiet as the night comes.
I'm sure it will not be long enough. But if we are willing to take risks for God, if we are willing to be misunderstood for His sake, to go to the dangerous places, literally and figuratively, our children will go before us and advance the Kingdom in ways we could never imagine. And when we see that, we will be glad that instead of keeping our kids in our laps and coddling them to sleep, we released them to be a part of God's glorious epic story to win the nations to Himself.

Early Adopter vs. Innovator

Erwin on early adopter versus innovator -
Who was the first person to eat a sea cucumber? Someone who would die if they didn't eat. In the same way, Christ calls us to be innovators.
Are you willing to ask God, "What do You want me to do, that may cost my life, but I will point towards You with my last breath?"

Photos from LA

Photos from my LA trip

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Mosaic on mission(s)

An article about Mosaic and mission(s)

Erwin on discipleship

Erwin on discipleship
There is no process of discipleship outlined in Scripture
Scripture sees becoming a disciple as an eruption of transformation

Monday, May 10, 2004

Erwin on living by faith

Erwin on living by faith
When people live by faith, they act like this:

- if we can do this without God, it doesn't count
- We are supposed to hear the voice of God, instead we borrow each other sermons
- People need leaders who can speak to what they have heard in conversation with God.

He told a story later about his son and him teaching him to:
- listen to the voice
- identify who the voice was
- treat God speaking to you as a gift, nurture it, value it, obey it. If you do these things, it will be come clearer and clearer.
- if you don't obey it, God's voice will stop, and you will get to a point where you never remembered that God spoke to you, and your heart will become stone.

I've heard a lot more about this idea of late. It's both scary and exhilarating to think that the Creator of the universe has an audible voice.... and uses it to speak to us, to guide and direct us, to engage us in His purpose for the world.


This song from Hillsongs really affected me on the plane ride home for some strange reason. Images of my children just kept popping into my head, and the screaming desire to have them be passionate about Jesus just weighed heavy on my heart. I'm not usually such an emotional person, I have no idea why. It was weird. I had to play this song over and over, probably 10 times in a row. Weird. But therapeutic.

Words and Music by Marty Sampson

The holiest place there could ever be
All you can do is bow
Before the one who made heaven and earth
Before the Almighty God
For him alone

Sing with the angels
Sing with the angels
Singing the name of the lord
Singing the name of the lord

For every soul
He gave it all
Given for all of mankind
Eternal life is his alone
Given to all who believe
In him alone

Faith Love Hope

From Origins:

v.2 faith hope love
we don't believe these 3 can transform the church
I Cor 13
Col 1
I Thes
These 3 churches were models to their communities and to other churches. How? Was there a process/model? If so, why didn't Paul write it down for us?
We have bought into a method/process/strategy
Like a CEO, seminaries are training the church CEO

Paul is trying to tell us that there is a primal instinct that erupts
Faith hope love
How did the church explode?
Maybe faith, hope and love are undersold and underbought
- live by faith
- known by love
- voice of hope
(right from the Mosaic values)

A Prophet
Over the next few days, as I process my notes from the conference, I will be posting quotes and ideas. I'm looking forward to processing it as well as hearing from what you guys think.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Back from LA
Flew back from LA this evening. Lots of stuff....
Posting more later...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Safe Theology
McManus on a 'safe theology'

The truth of the matter is that the center of God’s will is not a safe place but the most dangerous place in the world. God fears nothing and no one. God moves with intentionality and power. To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger, to live in his will makes us dangerous.
How could we ever think the Christian faith would be safe when its central metaphor is an instrument of death? How did we ever develop a safe theology from such a dangerous faith?

Church shopping
McManus on church shopping...

"We're looking for a church that meets our needs." The phenomenon of church shoppers has profoundly shaped the contemporary church. The entire conversation is not about relevance but convenience. The focus is not in serving the world; the church itself became the focal point. This move has made the pastor the only minister, while making the members the only recipients of ministry. What is lost in this process is an army of healers touching the planet.
The cultural environment because comfortable and the gospel shifted from a church 'on mission' to a church that supported missions.

Collect the barf bags
Well I leave for LA first thing tomorrow morning. Here I am, the missions coordinator, and ironically enough, I get motion sick. And I'm not a great traveller first thing in the morning. Heck, I'm not a great anything first thing in the morning. Anyway, to the Origins conference tomorrow. It should be great once I get over the initial travelling issues...
Pray for the fam if you think of it. Everytime I travel for ministry, something very odd happens around the house. One summer it was a tornado that flipped a glass patio table. Anyway, the Enemy knows....
I'm not stalking you but
So last night, I entered into the foray of conversing with students via their blogs. Up until now, I've read a lot of their blogs, but never commented or such. But I started last night. I guess it will be ok. I'm not sure why I was hesitant to do it, and am still a little... but just not sure why. But I think with each comment I add, I will start it with "I'm not stalking you but..."
haha that's funny, I like it.
Balloon Hats

This is funny.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

9th grade nonprogress
On the 9th grade trip front, there is no progress. We worked pretty hard to put together a pretty good leader team. A leader team I'm pretty proud of. ML, who I have led trips with before, who really loves students. MM, a college student who is seeking youth ministry as a profession, EG, another college kid who went with me to SEMP in 2000 when he was a wee lad. Both MM and EG were in my 03 dteam. And no response from these 9th graders, who I would have thought would have been all over this trip. What's up with that? I've had a head cold all weekend and this morning had intentions to go to the Warehouse and make another announcement about it. But then I sat in big church and didn't feel like bothering. D and I talked about it, and she was like, 'You better go do that.'
If we want kids to go on this, with the strategy that it sets them up to do even more strategic missions in the next years of their high school experience, if we believe that kids will grow immensely in their experience and knowledge of sharing their faith with their friends or anyone on the street, if we think that it's worth it for them to learn to share their faith in their own culture before in another culture.... We are totally going to have to fight for these kids to come. One easy thing the Devil wants is for us to sit back and say, "It's not worth it and I'm too lazy to do the work for it."
I'm kind of surprised as I write this - in light of the past few months, I didn't see what needed to be done...
Anyway, I made the announcement. 9th graders - start pounding down my door about this trip...
I know it will be worth it.
Missions Prep #3 Update
We had our #3 prep mtg on Saturday night, easily the best one yet... So much energy, kids in tune with seeking God and being used by Him this summer, very neat and encouraging to see. We handed out the financials so people could see who and how much had been given to their support. To me, that's when the trip becomes real. When you have sent out your letters and money starts coming in. No turning back, it's a reality.
We then did the Myers Briggs test and talked about giftedness and unity from Romans 12. Then looked at the Hardy Personality and then looked at Phil 2 and Christ's attitude towards others. This was the first time I had ever used the Hardy Personality to prepare teams and I was astounded. Wow, what a tool. My team could have talked about those for probably another hour, easily. And they were so excited at the level of depth we were getting to as a team. Statements like, "This is so cool, I'm really getting to know you guys," were said over and over. It was really neat. I wish I had found that thing years ago. I asked one of my NYC team members to adapt it and make it test with a scaling, like from 0-10, fill in where you are at from the basic idea of each question. That would be even better. It's two great great teams that have come together.
Our intro idea was this - from CS Lewis:
For the Christian, there are strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ‘You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.’ The friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument which God reveals to us to each the beauties of all the others.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

When does God call?
From Howard Culbertson, a professor of missions at Southern Nazarene University.

When does God call people to long-term missionary service?
* 21% were called as a result of a missions education service in their local church
* 20% felt God calling them after listening to missionary speakers
* 19% were called because of their own family's missions vision and conversations
* 10% heard God's call through reading missionary books