Monday, December 31, 2007

I missed Central!

I don't know how people can stay away from their faith community. I really missed Central yesterday. My "church" consisted of some devotional time, watching a new missions DVD (I saw some Centralites in the video clips-- Rob and Cindy North and Nancy Firestone) and then listening to last Sunday's sermon from my friend Rev. Shawn Siegfried in Visalia, California. It wasn't like being there. I missed y'all.

I am continuing to get better. My hope is to be in church on Sunday.

Have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Home sweet home!
The doctor released me from the hospital on Thursday Night and we got home around 9 PM. Because of a medication snafu, yesterday had a bit of a rough beginning. But things are on track now, I think we have the meds managed and I am on the mend.
Thanks to for all the help, the meals, the cards and especially the prayers! I probably won't be able to join you at Central tomorrow-- but you will be in my prayers!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in the Hospital is not so bad

It is Christmas Eve and I am still in the hospital-- I just left ICU and am now in a regular room. The doctors say that I will be here until Wednesday. The MRI done today showed no permanent damage (Praise the Lord!) and the issue now is stabilizing my blood pressure. They feel that a spike in my blood pressure (for whatever reason) was the cause of the hemorrhage in the first place.

So we will celebrate Christmas in a hospital. All in all that's not so bad, I remember hearing about someone celebrating his first Christmas in a barn!

I have much to be thankful for!!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Praising the Lord

On Thursday morning, while working at my desk, I had a brain hemorrhage. That little fact, has meant the last few days I have been hanging out in the ICU at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. After an initial diagnosis of a brain aneurysm, the doctors have (mostly) determined that whatever happened was not a result of an aneurysm. They are now trying to figure out just what happened. Usually people my age, who don't smoke or drink or have high blood pressure or are overweight don't have the troubles that I had. So... the doctors will run a few more tests to try to determine if this little episode will happen again. Something none of us want.

So the bottom line is-- besides a pretty good headache and a couple of lost days (I don't remember much of Thursday or Friday) I am doing OK, will probably go home on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and am praising the Lord that it wasn't worse!

Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Being a Wise Man (or Woman) this Christmas

The wise men started this whole gift giving business at Christmas. So blame them the next time you venture into a crowded mall looking for the perfect gift. Blame the wise guys from the east for any head aches you may incur from troubles in locating this year’s version of the “must-have” childhood gadget (and by “wise men from the east,” I don’t mean the Chinese toy manufactures).

The wise men had it easy. They never had to wait in the express checkout lane at their local Frankincense- R-Us store. They simply brought the myrrh, they never had to spell “myrrh” (don’t you think it’s missing a vowel, Vanna?) And they never spent any of their hard earned gold on a fancy GPS system, since they had a great big ol’ star giving directions every night.

Oh sure they had to deal with kooky king Herod (one day I’ll tell you of my portrayal of Herod at my last church that had some parishioners questioning their pastor’s… um… manliness. Let me just say, in as deep of voice as possible, I will not be doing a Herod monologue anytime soon). Still, I think I would take my chances with Herod over some of the crazy-eyed Wal-mart shoppers fighting over the last remaining Chia Pet or some such thing on Christmas Eve. And yes, the wise men had to travel from “a far” to find the baby Jesus, but really can that be any worse than traveling from Olathe in an ice storm and finding a parking spot at the crowded Oak Park Mall on a Saturday night? I think not.

In any event, blame the wise men for this gift buying frenzy. They started it. But notice this: when they brought their gold, frankincense and myrrh it was an act of worship. Did you catch that? As an act of worship, they gave. Too often we think of worship as what we can get. How often have you grumbled on your way home from a less than powerful sermon “I didn’t get anything out of worship today”? We think of life as what we can get out of it. Our chatter about Christmas is often spoken in terms of what we will get this year. But the wise men gave. We too would be wise to have our worship more focused on what we give than on what we get.

And speaking of our giving, far from grumbling about the inequalities of the tithe (Do I tithe on the gross on the net? Could we cut the tithe from 10% to maybe 8% this year?), like the wise men we should rejoice in our giving. We should be all about “joyfully giving.” God has blessed us, every one of us, how could we do anything but cheerfully give! Like the wise men, shouldn’t we give to the Lord as an expression of our worship and thankfulness?

Moreover notice this about the Wise Men and their gifts:

Their gifts were personally given. The wise men never called UPS and their brown trucks to deliver their loot, but I’m sure they could have sent the gold, frankincense and myrrh with an errand boy had they so desired. They were important men, busy men. But they didn’t call up FedEx or Western Union; instead they wanted to personally deliver their gifts. It took some sacrifice and time and effort to give their gifts, but they did it. Here’s how the Bible tells their story: “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11) Could we “open our treasure chests and give” as the wise men did so long ago?

They gave unexpected gifts. Mary was not waiting by her door hoping for some wise men from the east to bring her requested myrrh or a vat of frankincense. Their gifts were unexpected. It was a surprise.

And they gave with joy. The Bible tells us that the wise men were filled with joy. It was a joy to give. No grumbling. No shortchanging the baby Jesus. No calculating what’s the least I can do and still be OK. They simply worshiped and they gave.

That’s how I want to be. With my giving to the Lord, I want to sacrifice and give unexpected gifts (not simply the requirement but rather I want to be an exuberant giver!) and thereby being a joyful giver. And throughout the Christmas season, as I give gifts to my loved ones-- I want to give gifts personally. I want to put some thought into the gifts I am buying. And I want to give some unexpected gifts. Not gifts that I have to buy, for someone who is expecting a gift from me, not giving for the sole purpose of recognition or glory, but rather I want to give some unexpected gifts to people who won’t (or can’t) repay. And I want to give with a joy filled heart. I want to give out of gratitude for what God has done for me.

With twelve more shopping days till Christmas, think of giving gifts this year personally, unexpected and with a joy filled heart. Whether giving to the Lord, a loved one or to a total stranger give with joy. If you do that, even if you’ve never ridden a camel from “a far” you will be wise man or woman!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I hate Ice

I hate ice storms or threats of ice storms. Yesterday's ice and threats of ice kept many people from seeing a very wonderful Christmas Musical from our Worship and Arts Department. If the ice kept you away... you missed an excellent program!

In the PM, the ice kept down the numbers for the so-long to the Halls. But never fear, there is still time for you to give a going away gift, and their is still time for you to say "So Long!" since Joe, Any and Sam will be with us for two more weeks before heading to OKC.

I am excited about this Sunday's edition of God at the Movies. We will be looking at the Christmas Classic: A Christmas Story. Remember don't just attend Central... invite a friend to join you as you come to Central!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Texting Revolution

If you are living in the 21st century, then you know that text messaging and instant messaging has become the communication of choice for many. My own dear son proudly boasts of “texting” over 3,000 times a month. When I question such behavior, he informs me of his friends (who shall remain nameless, since some of their parents may read this fine little article) who text over 10,000 times in a single month. To which I reply: WOW!

Just last week, the whole Prince clan entered into the world of “unlimited texting.” Whether it is 10,000 or two text messages, it’s the same price of $19.99. So in an effort to get more for our money, we no longer speak to each other. We simply text. For example, “Time 2 eat” sends the boys running to the kitchen like Pavlov’s dogs. (I am only partially exaggerating).

If you are a participant of the texting world, then you also know that true texters have their own lingo by which they communicate. I am learning this “text speak.” So in an effort to be culturally relevant and educate all the non-texting people, allow me to write the rest of this article in text shorthand (If not from the texting generation, no need to get out your Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, simply read below for the translation of the message).

HIG ISTM and PLZ CMIW, this texting is not EZ. 2 understand fully 1 must FITB of many things. If U R having MSG troubles and have said WIM, HO.

FWIW there are many ways 2 say the same thing. For instance ILU and 143 and even 459 are synonymous. Moreover if U really want to say LY, 1 could text LUMTP or LYL and if saying CIAO as well, 1 might type LYCYLBB. Honestly, 404 4COL! HHO1/2K.

JSYK, a Christian texter might type WWJD (or maybe WWJT) or even GLYASDI. Remember, U MBN, TILII, and AFAP ALOTBSOL.

Pastor Rob

OK, here’s the translation (abbreviated text words in bold):

Hello Friend,

How’s it going? It seems to me (and please correct me if I am wrong) this texting is not easy. To understand fully one must fill in the blanks on many things. If you are having message troubles and have said “Woe is me” hold on.

For what its worth, there are many ways to say the same thing. For instance “I love you” and “I love you” and even “I love you” are synonymous. Moreover if you really want to say Love you, one could text “love you more than pie” or “Love you lots” and if saying good-bye as well, one might type: “Love you, See you later, Bye Bye.” Honestly, I haven’t a clue, for crying out loud! Ha ha, only half kidding!

Just so you know, a Christian texter might type what would Jesus do (or maybe what would Jesus text) or even “God loves you and so do I.” Remember, you must be nice, tell it like it is, and as far as possible always look on the bright side of life.

So till our paths cross again, ta ta for now.
Pastor Rob

The bottom line to all of this: how ever you do it, in whatever language or font… share the love of Christ. That is our calling, our task, our duty as believers. Love God and Love people.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weekend Reflections

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and the "official" launching of the Christmas Season. Our new Sermon Series, "God at the Movies: Christmas Edition" got off to a great start by using the familiar Christmas story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. (I had a few comments that people didn't realize how mean Santa was in that story... he was kind of mean to poor Rudolph). In the PM our children kicked off the season with a wonderful musical. All did a great job!

This week our Worship and Arts Department tell the Christmas story in "Be not Afraid." Invite. Invite. Invite your friends and neighbors to this Sunday's performances at 8:30 and 11 AM. In the PM, we will have a so long celebration for Pastor Joe and Amy (Their last Sunday is going to be December 23rd).

Here's the rest of the Christmas Schedule:

December 16 AM: God at the Movies: A Christmas Story
PM: Work and Witness Auction
December 23 AM: God at the Movies: It's a Wonderful Life
PM: NO PM Service
December 24th: Christmas Eve Service at 6 PM

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Hodgepodge Tree

There’s a town in Michigan that we Prince’s would go to this time of year called Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is known for a couple of things. It is a touristy town with horse drawn carriages and covered bridges and quaint shops selling touristy type of things like fudge and blown glass. There are a couple of famous restaurants that serve family style German chicken. (I have a funny story about eating at one of those restaurants, Zender’s Bavarian Inn. Remember everything is served family style and one of the items brought to our table was liver pâté. Unfortunately, Karla didn’t know what the “brown scoop of something” was and assumed it to be chocolate butter. Have you ever heard of chocolate butter? Me, neither. Still, I know this… whatever chocolate butter would taste like if such a thing existed, it would be nothing like liver pâté. Anyway, she ate a big bite of the “chocolate butter” and nearly came unglued as he gagged and coughed a lung all the way to Bavaria. It was quite amusing, although I am not sure that Karla shared in the humor.) Frankenmuth is also home to the largest Christmas store in the world, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.

Bronner’s Christmas Store is about the size of five and a half football fields. You read that right: FIVE and ONE HALF FOOTBALL FIELDS of Christmas stuff. Try to imagine thousands of ornaments, nativity scenes, and artificial trees packed on five and a half football fields, and you can begin to picture what Bronner’s is like. It’s a Christmas Crazy Super Store. And at this time of the year, we would head to Frankenmuth for hot cocoa and Bronner’s so the boys could pick out an ornament for the year’s Christmas tree.

From past shopping excursions, on our tree will be a Bat mobile ornament, a Tasmanian Devil on a motorcycle ornament, several University of Michigan ornaments, a giant icicle ornament, and there’s even a pickle ornament. I’m not exactly sure how University of Michigan ornaments or a pickle ornament convey the story of Christmas—but they will be on our tree.

Actually, we have several Christmas trees in our house. We have “Karla’s tree.” That’s the tree that has all things pretty and frilly and girly and it’s the tree that we boys are not allowed to touch (I think Karla prefers that we don’t even look at it!). We will have a snowman tree which has lots of snowmen ornaments. There are trees with just lights, some with no lights and some that have ornaments and lights. Maggie our dog even has a tree—filled with doggie ornaments. But my favorite tree is the one with the bat mobile, pickle and sports themed ornaments. It also has some of the handmade ornaments the boys have made through the years, and ornaments that friends and past church folks have given us. The tree is a hodgepodge of ornaments and decorations and unlike the “Karla Tree,” ”Snowman Tree,” and “Maggie Tree” there is no theme, no color coordination, no rhyme, no reason.

Tonight is the night that we are going to decorate our hodgepodge tree. It’s one of my favorite nights of the entire year as we pull out the Christmas CD’s, make some popcorn and unwrap all those ornaments from Bronner’s Christmas Store. You see, we won’t simply be placing Christmas bulbs on a tree, but rather we’ll be putting our memories on the tree. There will be memories of when the boys were younger and memories of friends and families. As we are hanging the tinsel, lights and ornaments, I am sure there will be many comments like: “Do you remember when we got this one?” or “Do you remember who gave us this bulb?” And once again it will give Karla and me an opportunity to share, with the boys, stories of family, friends and faith that has led us to this point in our lives. A few of the ornaments were gifts from my missionary friend, Rod—as we hang those ornaments it will give us another opportunity to pray for him. A few of the ornaments were given by folks that have since been “promoted on to glory” and it will give us opportunity to pray a prayer of thanks for how God used those givers to touch our lives. There will be a couple of “Baby’s First Ornaments” that will remind us of happy times in Bad Axe and Fraser, Michigan when our Christmas presents and decorations were sparse but the joy of Christ was just as great as we celebrated with a new baby that had graced our home. Yes, tonight is going to be a wonderful night… I can hardly wait to share these moments with my family.

I hope that as we enter the Advent season, you and your family will have moments like this too. My prayer is that you will have opportunity to remember the past joys and to build future memories. Don’t get so wrapped up in the stuff of Christmas or the business of Christmas so that you forget to create memories and moments to share God’s grace with those you love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Time

On Thursday, if you are like most Americans you’ll wake up to watch Santa Claus come to town in Macy’s parade. Some want-to-be TV star will tell you corny jokes as they announce the high school marching bands from places like Walla Walla, Washington and Eureka, Illinois and describe the massive floating cows sponsored by The American Dairy Council making their way down 34th Street in New York City. You may watch a little football (if like most years, and it pains me to write this, the Lions will probably lose and the Cowboys will probably win). Sometime in between the Lions giving up a fumble return for a touchdown and their offensive line allowing the quarterback to be sacked for the gazillionth time, family and friends will gather.

Uncle Joe will be there talking about his gout. Aunt Betty Lou will announce she is dieting this Thanksgiving and will only eat one small piece of Suzie’s special deluxe pumpkin pie. Cousin Billy Bob will be talking all things NASCAR (How can one person know the name of every pit crew member of Junior and Jimmy Johnson’s teams?). There will be the assorted others that remind you that most families are like the old Clint Eastwood movie: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. The house will be loud. Football games in one room, video games in the other, and the un-liberated women folk in the kitchen.

The roasting turkey makes your mouth water. The time you’ve been waiting for will soon arrive.

Sneaking a peak in the kitchen, the room from which you’ve been banished with threats of “finding something for you to do” gives you an eyeful of that fabulous bird. Young Tom has been groomed, basted, stuffed and prepared for this moment. The thought of grabbing a leg and eating like a medieval king has you giddy with anticipation. If you have a mechanical engineering degree, you take time to plot out the adequate space on your dinner plate for the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet taters, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, tiny carrots, celery, olives, corn, dinner rolls, cheese ball, coleslaw, red jello salad with bananas, crackers, and of course, Aunt Suzie’s special deluxe pumpkin pie with lots and lots of whipped cream. If you don’t have a mechanical engineering degree, you might need to find a bigger plate.

Finally, oh so finally, at the perfect moment, when hunger and anticipation meet someone will say, “Dinner Time!” and everyone will take their places around the table, (or if it was like when I was a kid--the adults will be at the “Big People Table,” and the kids will be at the “Little People table”), then someone will pray a prayer of thanks and the eating will commence. Not much talking is happening now, unless it’s to ask cousin Jimbo to pass the salt and pepper. A wise man once told me, “Every time you talk you miss a bite.” No one wants to miss any bites. Not today. The sounds of eating fill the room.

Following that last bite of pumpkin pie, there will be more football, sleeping, and maybe a family game or movie. If living in Kansas City, maybe the tradition is to head to the Country Club Plaza along with a couple hundred thousand of your closest friends and watch the mayor or some such Kansas City pooh-bah flip the Plaza Christmas Light switch. “Oooo! Ahhh!” everyone says like they were a Who from Whoville on Christmas morning.

Finally, with a tummy full of turkey and a heart full of the sights and sounds of the season, you will put your head on a comfy pillow and say: It’s been a good day.

Unfortunately not all will have such a Norman Rockwell-esque day. Many in our world can not even dream of the meal I just described. Carefree thoughts of parades, football games and pretty lights are pushed from their minds because of the real life horrors of wars or hunger or homelessness or loneliness or oppression. For many, there is no soft pillow at the end of the day, and for that matter no bed and no home.

I know, I know we can’t box up our turkey and send it to the poor and hungry in the remote corners of the world. I’m sure the gravy would leak out of the box. And I’m not suggesting that we give up our traditions of an American Thanksgiving Day. But I am also not suggesting that we do nothing. Just this week, I saw a cartoon. There was pictured hundreds and hundreds of people lined up as far as you could see and each person was thinking the exact same thing: “What can I do? I’m just one person.” Maybe you can’t change the world— but you can make a difference. And together we can make an even bigger difference.

This Thanksgiving take time to be thankful. Be thankful for all the privileges and blessings that you have been given, but also think of ways to show your thankfulness. It’s not too late to invite a lonely senior citizen over for dinner (what’s a couple more people around the table?). Maybe showing your thankfulness can be accomplished by grabbing a family this Sunday from Our Central Cares Tree—and providing Christmas to a needy family, maybe you could sponsor a senior high student to go on the El Salvador trip and possibly change his or her life forever. Maybe you will make plans to help out at the Rescue Mission this month. The point is: Do Something. Don’t just say you’re thankful, act like you are thankful. Share the blessings that God has given you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Slow News Week

Since nothing all that exciting or amazing or weird or funny or bizarre has happened to me this week I am stumped as to what I should share with the good people of Central.

It’s too early to write about Thanksgiving and too late to write about Halloween. I refuse to write about the presidential debates and nothing spectacular has happened in the world that requires comment from a preacher in Kansas.

At the Prince Palace, life is pretty normal. Alex was home sick today… but I don’t think anyone would want me to share that story. I could see the headline: PK PuKes (It would not be a good article for those with weak stomachs.) Ben is practicing his guitar as I write this article, but you don’t want me to share about that either. Headline for that one: BEN DETERMINED TO BECOME THE NEXT JIMI HENDRIX OR DEAFEN HIS DAD TRYING. Karla is at Hobby Lobby determined to spend nearly all of our disposal income on either dried flowers, scrapbooking supplies, “necessary” home decorations and/or all of the above. Headline would read: RECEIPT FROM HOBBY LOBBY MAKES PASTOR ROBBY WHOBBLY .

I am not sure that I could get a spiritual lesson from any of those events.

I could write about some of the news of the day. has an article suggesting that life on earth came from Mars. Umm… ok. First we came from monkeys, now from Martians. I’ll stick to the story that God created me, if that’s OK with y’all. There’s another article about a man from India who married a dog. I have officiated at dozens of weddings, and while some of the brides were less than beauty queens, none required a flee collar. is just plain goofy. It must be a slow news day.

The sports pages remind me that the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game is this week. That is usually good for an article or two. I could tell some of my standard Buckeye jokes (How do you get an OSU Summa Cum Laude off your front porch? Pay him for the pizza!) But this year is different. Who would have ever thought that the KU-Missouri game would be a bigger deal than Buckeyes vs. Wolverines? I am crying maize and blue tears just thinking about it, I’m sorry I can not write about it. It’s too painful.

I could write about some secret inner office happening at the church. But other than the obnoxious bragging going on because of MNU (beating a sister college from Illinois over the weekend), KU (9-0, I still don’t believe it), and the proper use of language during the announcements, there’s not much to write about.

Last week, we did have an invasion of gnats at the church. Rumor has it that a banana was hidden in Pastor Cory’s office, but now the gnats are gone. How about this headline: GNASTY GNATS GNO-LONGER GNAVIGATING GNAZARENE GNAVE! Unless you are talking plague of locusts, it’s hard to get a Biblical point using bugs, so I guess I can’t write about our gnats either.

So without any epiphanies concerning this little article, I will simply write that I am glad to be your pastor. Central is a great church with many wonderfully, committed believers who really get it that we are to be a light in the world. Thanks again for the pastor appreciation cards, comments and check from the church. Have a terrific week, and I’ll see you on Sunday!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Central as a Tag Team Effort

One of our primary goals at Central is turning attenders into inviters. One of my goals as a pastor is to help create a church that people feel comfortable and confident inviting their unchurched friends to! And I think we're getting there.

I honestly feel like people who aren't inviting friends aren't using Central the way it was designed to be used. Think of Central as a tag-team sport.When a Centralite walks into church they tag our worship team, greeting team, pastoral team, and say "go for it." And we do our level best to create an experience every Sunday where people can connect with God and grow in faith. When Centralites walk out, we tag them and say "now you go for it." They have a unique network of friends they can invite to church! Then they come back and tag us and say "go for it."

Sunday Reflections

What a great day at Central, yesterday! All told, 25 people were baptized yesterday (16 in the first service; 4 in the second service; and five in the afternoon!) Not to shabby!!! And the drama presentation in the morning services was powerful! Thanks to all that put that together! We were worried about the time all the baptisms were going to take (especially in the first service) but I really like baptising so the whole church can celebrate!

It was especially special (can I say it that way?)-- for we Prince's since Ben was one of the "Newly Baptised." That's how I referred to him the rest of the day:
"It is time for the "newly baptised" to come to dinner."
"Will the newly baptised please wash the dishes."
"Time for bed, "newly baptised."

It was a good, good day at Central!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Brazil came to Village Drive

Our neighbors, Matt and Jill, are hosting a foreign exchange student this school year from Brazil. We have come to know Guilherme a little because everyday Karla picks up the neighborhood boys after school. During these short trips from the school to our home, Karla has learned that Guilherme is a typical teenage boy. He likes basketball and girls. Not always in that order. She also learned that Guilherme is a little homesick. He misses his family and friends, he misses speaking in Portuguese and he misses Brazilian cooking.

We Americans just don’t eat like they do in Brazil.

Well, that got Karla thinking. We can’t bring his family and friends to Kansas, but maybe, just maybe we could bring a little Brazil to Village Drive in Olathe. You see, two of the friendliest people I know also happen to be from Brazil. Central members, Maria and Elson Pereira love Jesus, love people and love Brazil (in that order). So we thought, what would happen if Maria and Elson came to our house, cooked a Brazilian dinner, spoke in Portuguese to Guilherme and gave him a little “touch of home”?

Karla was now on a mission: make Guilherme feel at home. She talked to Matt and Jill. She talked to Maria and Elson. She worked on finding a day when we could all get together. She asked Guilherme what dish he missed the most. He said, “feijoada.” (Pronounced: faj-wa-da). Unless you are a connoisseur of Brazilian cuisine you may not know that feijoada’s main ingredient is pig snout, pig ear or pig feet. Gulp! I’ll be honest; this bit of information did not cause my sensitive American tummy to jump forth with anticipation and joy on our upcoming cross-cultural experience. Mercifully, Maria assured me that she could make the meal without the nose, foot or ear of Miss Piggy. (Kermit the Frog and I thanked Maria.)

Last night was the big “Bring Brazil to Village Drive” night. Everyone gathered at our house. Maria made enough feijoada to feed the entire nations of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. She also brought collard greens, rice and sliced oranges. Karla made a tasty desert. The feijoada was really good. (It won’t replace cabbage rolls on my favorite dish list, but I learned that if the Lord put out a call for missionaries to Brazil, like Isaiah I could say, “Here I am, send me.” And my mama could rest easy with the knowledge that her youngest cherub would not starve to death while south of the equator.) The night was full of laughter and eating. Sometimes the conversations were in English, sometimes in Portuguese and at times there was an English-Portuguese hodgepodge where I am not sure if anyone totally understood what was being said. It was a fun night.

As I reflect on our evening I am thankful on many fronts. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know Matt and Jill and Elson and Maria a little better. Thankful that Guilherme was able to have a good Brazilian night in Kansas (And it will continue too. There may be enough feijoada leftovers to last him until he goes home in June). Thankful for a wife whose middle name is “Hospitality” and who was so creative in reaching out to our neighbors and Guilherme. And thankful to God who I believe smiles big and broad when we break through cultural, language, and any other barriers to share His love over a plate of feijoada and collared greens.

I am so glad that Brazil came to Village Drive last night.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween on Wednesday Night

Halloween is on a Wednesday this year. That fact caused much discussion during our staff meeting. What do we do about our Wednesday Night activities on Halloween? What is the Christian response to a Wednesday Night Halloween? As you know, in some circles Halloween is far from a Christian holiday. In fact, a case can be made that in some places it is an anti-Christian holiday. On the other hand, many folks view Halloween as simply an innocent time for children to gather candy, walk in their neighborhoods and share an evening with their families while dressed up as Superman or Barbie. For most of the folks I know, the latter is true. They don’t view Halloween as a Satan worshipping gala, but a simple, fun family time.

So what should we in the church do with a Wednesday Night Halloween? Ignore it? Go on with the usual programs as if Halloween night were any other Wednesday Night? Provide an alternative to the Halloween and call it a “Fall Fun Fair” or some such thing. Or cancel Wednesday Night activities allowing families to be at home or with their children trick or treating?

We have opted for #3, let me tell you why.

I think we can all agree that ignoring a cultural phenomenon is usually not the best tactic. To stick one’s head in the sand might work for ostriches, but usually it’s not so good for humans especially if they just got their hair done. To act like something isn’t happening, when everyone knows it is happening, paints Christians as out of touch (at best) and judgmental and mean-spirited at worst—neither of those are good options.

To provide an alternative to Halloween is a tactic that many churches have employed. It gives a safe haven for children, where parents do not have to worry about tainted candy, the lunatic fringe of our society or any other societal ills. I understand that philosophy; the only problem with it is that it keeps the Christians out of their neighborhoods and “hunkered down” in their churches. It seems in this scenario Christians are not trying to be salt and light, but rather are trying to run and hide.

And then there is the third option, closing the church doors and opening our house doors for the night. When I was a boy, we trick or treated. Halloween was not about Satan, it was about candy. Pure and simple. The more candy the better in my book. Well, on the street where I lived there was a family that was of a different religion than us, and they did not celebrate any holidays, including Halloween. So as we would be going door to door, their house was always dark. No lights. No activity. They were either in their basement or gone away, but they were not giving out any free candy. And because of that (and based on no other facts at all) all the kids in my neighborhood referred to the lady of the house as the “Witch of Rosslyn Street.” I don’t really think she was a witch. I never saw her broom or boiling caldron. In fact, she might have been a very nice person, but since she gave out no candy we labeled her as a Halloween version of Ebenezer Scrooge. For the children on Rosslyn Street, the man and wife were mean, cruel, greedy candy misers. Unfair? Probably. But that’s how they were viewed.

OK, fast forward to Village Street in Olathe where I live. Last year, on Halloween it was a wonderful cool fall evening. I set up our portable fire pit in the front yard, got some lawn chairs and a bucket of candy, and greeted the children as they came to our house. I met and talked to more neighbors in that one evening than I have all year. I was wearing a Michigan jacket (big surprise) and discovered that many in my neighborhood held various opinions concerning the Wolverines. (Some folks had ill founded and dumb opinions- i.e. mostly folks with ties to the state of Ohio, and some had well thought-out and reasoned opinions-- i.e. mostly people with Michigan roots). Many parents warmed up by the fire pit and as they did we talked and laughed and enjoyed the evening. It was a good night.

I truly believe that if I am going to make a difference on Village Drive, then I have to know my neighbors. I have to talk to them, be around them, and engage in life together with them. Halloween is the one day all year when my neighbors come to my door. I don’t have to seek them out, they come to me. It is the one day all year, when conversation is easy. Do you remember what Jesus said when the question arose about his hanging out with the sinners instead of the saints? He said, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." (Matthew 9:12 The Message). If I can be so bold, I believe that Jesus would be handing out mini snicker bars to his neighborhood kids. And I believe that if we are going to be serious about transforming our society (serious about making more and better disciples) then we must be in our neighborhoods too.

I am currently reading a book titled: un-Christian. It was just released—maybe two weeks ago. Anyway, the book is about the perception that young non-church goers, non believers have concerning Christians. The authors have done extensive research and interviewed lots of people. The results are disturbing to say the least. Most young non-churched, non believers view Christians as judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old fashioned (78%), out of touch with reality (72%) and insensitive (70%). I’ve got to tell you I don’t want to be considered any of those things, but like it or not that’s how we are viewed by a large portion of our society. To many folks, we are the “Witch on Rosslyn Street!”

There’s only one way to change such attitudes and beliefs. It’s one person at a time. It’s showing our non-Christian friends and neighbors that Christians can be real, sincere, loving, kind, non-judgmental, relevant, authentic and all the rest. So to that end, we are canceling Wednesday activities on Halloween, and encouraging our people to be in their neighborhoods. Talk with your neighbors. Laugh with them. Enjoy life together. And in so doing, hopefully you’ll be building some necessary bridges so that your involvement in making more and better disciples can occur.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sunday Reflections

Yesterday was a really good day. Both Morning services were terrific-- so far I've really enjoyed this sermon series: 8 Things I wish Jesus had never said. AM Church was good!

PM Church was good too. The teens led the service and what a fantastic job they did. Everything was great. The student led praise and worship, special song by a group of young ladies, skit and message from Pastor Cory were all great!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Practical Atheism

What is practical atheism? That is when we believe in God but we do life as if God doesn't exist. Here is what happens when we become practical athiests:

1) We believe our effort is more important than God's power!
2) We believe our private life doesn't effect our public ministry.
3) We believe we must please people more than we must please God.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Cabbage Rolls and the Church

Karla made my favorite dinner last night: Stuffed cabbage rolls. Yummy! The girl can cook a mean cabbage roll! I invited my neighbor to dinner, but when he learned what was on the menu, he responded as I suspect most people would and politely declined. Admittedly, it’s weird that stuffed cabbage rolls would be at the top of my pallet’s desire, but they are. Here’s what’s really weird, individually, I don’t like any of the ingredients in those tasty cabbage-leafed wrapped morsels. Here’s why:

· I do not like cooked cabbage. Cooking cabbage stinks up the house. It smells like what I imagine the post wrestling match locker room would smell like following an epic battle between Andre the Giant and the wrestling phenomenon of yesteryear, Bobo Brazil. In other words, it turns the house into a nasal nightmare. Besides the olfactory system induced nausea, cooked cabbage is slimy. I have lived most of my life on this principle: if it’s slimy and stinky, don’t eat it.
· I do not like sour kraut. Who came up with that name “sour kraut” anyway? (I heard that during World War II, sour kraut was called “Freedom Cabbage.” I guess the powers that be wanted something sounding more patriotic and less German.) Truth be told, the “kraut” is not really sour, it’s spoiled or fermented or in some way old and rotten. Rob’s Food and Life Principle #2: if something is rotten, don’t eat it!
· I don’t particularly care for smoked sausage. Have you ever seen how they make smoked sausage? Let’s just say, it’s not the most appetizing process. Food and Life Principle #3: if they take all the pig parts that no one in their right mind would ever eat unless they are starving to death or on the television show, Fear Factor, grind up those piggy parts, and put them in an edible tube, don’t eat it!
· I’m not a big fan of rice and onion and other “mystery items” in my hamburger. If rice and onion were that good in hamburgers, don’t you think McDonalds would be selling it that way by now?
· And the last and maybe least liked ingredient is Campbell’s tomato soup. I don’t eat Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Ever. “Mmm, Mmm Good,” it’s not, as far as I am concerned.
So there you have it, the ingredients of stuffed cabbage rolls on their own are sufficiently awful that even those gluttonous, hot dog eating champion guys would probably turn up their noses and say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

To further add to the oddity of stuffed cabbage rolls, I’m generally not a fan of mixing different foods together into one pot, thereby creating a casserole-like main dish. Did you know that the word “casserole” in Arabic means: “killing of the infidels by mixing nasty foods together into one entree”? (OK maybe that’s not an exact translation, but don’t be surprised if the next terrorist plot takes the form of some “mystery” meat in a covered dish at a church pot-luck.) I have long been of the opinion that hidden in the Book of Leviticus is an ancient injunction about combining food items into a casserole. But cabbage rolls are different. Cabbage rolls are tasty. When Karla mixes all of those ingredients together, a miracle of miracles occurs and the result is my favorite mouth-watering dinner.

Here’s why I tell you all of this-- I think the church (when it’s at its absolute best) is like stuffed cabbage rolls. Oh I’m not accusing anyone of being slimy and stinky like cooked cabbage. And I would never refer to anyone as a sour kraut or a smoked sausage. But like cabbage rolls, together we are better than we ever could be individually. To quote the title of a Rueben Welch book from a long time ago: “We really do need each other.” It’s true. We need each other to become the people, the community that God calls us to be. If we are going to “make more and better disciples,” then we need everybody, bringing their unique gifts and talents to the collective table in order to reach our world.

On our own, we couldn’t be the church that God calls us to be. We need pastors. But we also need laypeople. We need Sunday School teachers and nursery workers and youth sponsors and children’s workers and musicians and singers and greeters and old people and young people and teenagers and children, and well, you get the idea. We need everybody with their unique talents, gifts and abilities, using them for God’s glory—to reach our world.

And as we come together to form this even better than cabbage rolls combo, known as the church of Jesus Christ, the world will be blessed and forever changed! And that is what we are after—a place that flavors our world in a powerful, positive lovely way! Our world is hungry for an authentic community that truly lives by the words of Jesus—a place that loves God and loves each other. Let’s be like cabbage rolls, individuals who have come together to become that delectable place!

Wow, all this talk about cabbage rolls has made me hungry.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pictures. Pictures. Pictures.

I thought I'd share a few pictures.
Here's my brother, sisters and mom and dad at the Big Birthday and Anniversary Bash last weekend in Michigan.

Karla and Ben visiting at Grandma's house. Grandma Reed was 102 years old in August!

Ben is cleaning our yard after some fine Centralite teen girls redecorated the yard for us. He doesn't look to excited about this does he?

Meeting with Jesus

WOW! We had a great day at Central yesterday!!! The Spirit of GOd was in all three services-- morning and night! I love it when we really meet with Jesus, we did yesterday!

Let the Party Begin

My busy fall just got a little less busy. I just hit the "send" button on a series of sermons that the good folks down at The Preacher's Magazine asked me to compile. When I agreed I thought it would be an easy little project, it turned about to be a huge big 78 page project. UGH! But it's in, it's done, it's over... and hopefully some too busy preacher next Lenten Season may be helped in his/her sermon preparation by using some of the info provided. But right now, all I care about is that it is done.... let the party begin!

Friday, September 28, 2007

September 30th at Central

I'll begin a brand new sermon series on Sunday: Say What? 8 Things I wish Jesus had never said. I think I'm going to like this series as we examine some of the hard sayings of Jesus.

In the evening, we will have another Wold Goose Chase Prayer Service. There will be some new "twists" this week, as we pray and remember God's blessings upon our life. Plan on meeting with us.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Got Missions Reflections

Got Missions got off to a great start. Rev. Milton Gay did a tremendous job speaking in the morning services-- and we are well on our way of making our goal of raising $107,000 for missions. Through last evening 82 families pledged $63,734. That means we have only $44,366 to go. That means if another 57 families give at the rate of the first 82 families, we will meet our goal!

So, if you have yet to make a pledge toward or Missions Giving for this year... pray this week and make your pledge this Sunday. Just 57 families more... we can do it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Milton Gay, not Marvin Gaye

I really like Marvin Gaye. Growing up near Detroit, you might correctly assume that I am a Motown lover. “I heard it through the Grapevine” is a great song that is on My MP3 Player even as I write these words. So when I heard he was going to be at Central Church I got really excited. But I was also slightly bewildered especially given the fact that Marvin died in 1984.
Oh, wait a minute; my secretary just informed me it’s not Marvin Gaye, but Milton Gay who will be at Central this Sunday. Well, that makes a lot more sense. To quote Roseanne Roseannadanna , “Never mind!”

Milton Gay is a great missionary that many from Central met on the 2006 mission trip to El Salvador. Milton will also be heavily involved in our 2008 mission rip to El Salvador. He will be speaking at a Work and Witness event on Saturday Night, that all our welcome to attend. Rev. Gay will also be speaking in both morning services and to our youth in the Sunday @ Six Service.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend Reflections

If there was no such thing as football (Karla's prayer by the way), this would have been a wonderful weekend.

It was still pretty wonderful at Central. The Ministry Fair was great. Saw many people talking, signing up for involvement in ministry, taking a child to sponsor, and looking for ways to make a difference.

Last night's "Wild Goose Chase" was also good. We concluded it with a "Prayer Walk" through the building.

God is doing something at Central! The winds of His Spirit are blowing. Keep praying, Central Nazarene. Good things are coming!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Reflections

Even with many people gone for the holiday, we had one terrific service, communion and then a super all church dinner.

I never eat at these deals-- I'd much rather walk around the tables talking, visiting and hanging out. Although, the conversation of the day seemed to be about how in the world a team from the mighty north could lose to a team from Booneville, North Carolina. Why in the world would church folks in Kansas be concerned about such an event? In spite of that, it was just a terrific Lord's Day!

Have a wonderful Labor Day with family and friends.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I'll be OK... I think

As some of you may have heard, I tend to root, root, root for the Wolverines. Today they succumbed to what calls "possibly the biggest upset in college football history," as they lost to Appalachian State.

For those worried about me... rest assured I will be ok. (And Karla has hidden all the sharp objects and removed the shoelaces from all my shoes.).
See you tomorrow at 10 AM! It will be a great Sunday!

Friday, August 31, 2007

A fun day

Yesterday was a fun day. Following some final sermon work in the AM, Pastor Kevin and I headed to the "K" to watch the Tigers defeat the Royals (Yea!). We then went to MNU to hand out Central Finger Blasters to the students-- well, "hand out" is probably not the right term, we blasted them out. Finger blasters were flying everywhere. We all had fun. And then, Pastor Kevin and I headed to the church for the Central Fantasy Football draft. Two years ago I was in the "Toilet Bowl" as one of the worst teams, last year I was in the Super Bowl as one of the best teams... this year we'll see.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Last Night @ the Fifth Element Gathering

Just got off the phone with Pastor Cory. He told me that last night a brand new, never been to Central before student, just "happened to be driving by," came to our youth service, and following the meeting accepted Christ into his heart! AWESOME! It's all about "making more and better disciples."

Labor Day Sunday @ Central

On Sunday we will have only ONE service-- at 10 AM. I will continue the Difference Maker Sermon series; we will celebrate communion together; and, following the service we are having "dinner on the grounds." I hope everyone will stay for the dinner!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Who have you invited lately?

Most people come to church because a friend invites them. We had a lady at Central recently who hadn't been in church in several years. She was questioning God's existence, but a faithful Centralite loved,was kind and invited her friend. She came.

The lady discovered that Central was friendly. The people were kind. Some of her preconceived notions of Christians were misplaced, and God has been speaking to her. She hasn't fully accepted Christ yet... but she promised to return!

God is working!!!!

Are you ready for some football?

Thursday is the Central Fantasy Football Draft and Saturday the college football season kicks off. Next week it’ll be the NFL’s turn to start. From now until our Super Bowl Parties on February 3, 2008 there will be plenty of talk in the Central offices of Chiefs, Wolverines, Steelers and Sooners. To quote, Hank Williams Jr., “Are you ready for some football?”

Over the course of the next several months, football jargon will enter into many of our conversations. What you may not know is that there are some commonalities between football terms and church life at Central Nazarene. It’s strange but true. The football meanings you may know, so allow me to offer their Central counterparts.

Coin Toss: The action of the church miser as the offering plate passes.

Illegal use of hands: The mistaken use of clapping when no one else feels the special song was “clap-worthy.”

Pass interference: Interrupting the conversation of a teenage boy as he is welcoming a new, cute teenage girl to Central.

Hash marks: Stains on the fellowship hall carpet following a men’s prayer breakfast.

First down: If we were a little more charismatic church, this would refer to the initial person “slain in the spirit.”

Two Minute Warning: What Pastor Kevin gives to all those who must give an announcement during a worship service.

Priest Holmes: Roman Catholic friar’s parsonages. (I know this doesn’t really apply to Central Nazarene as we are a Protestant congregation, but I couldn’t resist mentioning this for our Chief's fans.)

Half Time: If the long winded preacher would not repeat himself, the sermon would be completed in this measured period.

End Zone: The anatomy region most irritated following a long, drawn out sermon.

Offensive Line: 1) The pre-teen boys’ smells and sounds following a week at summer camp. 2) A bad joke about how even your crippled grandma would be a better choice for starting quarterback for the Chiefs.

Tight end: (Old school definition): The church miser’s demise.
(Hip Hop definition): A very fine benediction.

Running back: The action taken by our disappointed and hungry children upon the discovery of more leftover donuts in the adult fellowship area following Sunday School.

Linebacker: The guy who returns for seconds at the all-church, pot luck.

Quarterback: The church miser’s change of heart after the offering plate passes. As in, he wants his “quarterback.”

These definitions probably won’t help much in learning more about Central. That’s why the Ministry Fair (that will take place next week, September 9th) is so important. You will be able to learn about the ministries offered at Central and how you can be involved. My hope is that all who attend Central will be involved in some ministry. Serving God was never meant to be a spectator sport, so “get in the game” and make a difference!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A good day at Central

I liked church today. The AM Services were very good. The Discover Central class was great with lots of new folks present. And this evening's celebration of the Volker's ministry at Central was very nice indeed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I can't wait for Sunday!!

I can't wait for Sunday! The New Sermon Series begins this week: The Difference Maker! I believe it can be life changing-- I really do. God has big plans for us!

I've heard good reports on our Dinner Theatre-- I'll be there tonight!

See you soon!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Prayer works

We would all agree with the two word statement: Prayer works. No arguments, right? You believe in it. You know it. You more than likely practice it at least occasionally. So why don’t folks pray more?

I know a lot of us will pray before we eat our double cheese burger, super-sized fries and large Coke. In that case, instead of the usual “grace” and blessing, we should probably be praying that God will somehow transform our “heart attack on a tray” into carrot sticks and celery. Still, technically, “saying grace” even over a bag “o” cholesterol is a prayer.

While many have graduated from a “Now I lay me down to sleep” type of bed time prayer, we still spend the majority of our prayer time simply going through a check list of items that God needs to fix. “Bless mommy and daddy and Aunt Suzie’s sore toe and my dog Gizmo and his never ending battle with halitosis. Amen.” Again, while the whole encounter takes less than ten seconds out of each day’s allotted 86,400 seconds, it’s still a prayer. Praying some is better than praying none.

And who hasn’t uttered a prayer when the flashing lights of a police car have come behind us on the freeway: “Lord, let him nab the guy in the Chevy along side of me.” Or when the teacher announces a pop quiz: “Lord, let me remember that stuff that I never studied; the lecture I slept through and any other stupid information for which without divine intervention I am doomed to get an “F.” Who says the Supreme Court has taken prayer out of schools? As long as there are pop quizzes there will be prayer in schools!

I just think we could do better in our prayer life.

Do you remember James’ words?

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

James would concur: Prayer works.

So pray. Don’t think you are an expert pray-er? That’s OK. Pray until you know how to pray. Don’t know what to pray for? That’s OK. Pray until God changes the situation or God changes you. Don’t know when you’ve prayed enough? That’s OK. Pray and keep praying and when you are all done… pray some more. Maybe that’s what Paul meant in the other (the first being “Jesus wept, of course) two word Bible verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray continually.”

Speaking of prayer… our Sunday evening Prayer Gatherings… The Wild Goose Chase Nights have been going great. And our Pastor’s Prayer Team revamping has also gone great (although there is still room for you if you would like to participate in this vital ministry of the church). Our church is praying more, which is terrific. Because this is what I know: Prayer Works!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pastors Prayer Teams

The Prayer team Luncheon went great (THANKS ELAINE and all your helpers!!!). We have 8 teams. The teams pray during the AM worship service that group members normally do not attend. If you were not able to attend-- and would like to be on a prayer team, you can still join! Email me or the church office!

We are Heating Up

A few weeks ago-- on this blog, in conversations and even from the pulpit-- I asked, "if we were luke warm?" The question was were we in danger of being like the church at Laodicea... having everything we need, but not really in tune with the Holy Spirit.

Well, it sure seems like we are "Heating up!" Another great Sunday at Central. The morning services were terrific. Over 150 people were at the prayer team luncheon (Praise the Lord!!!). And last night's, Wild Goose Chase, prayer service was awesome! Yes, God is alive and well and at work at Central!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Central's Sunday Schedule

8:30 and 11 am Worship will focus on our final top ten list and item. Commandment #10-- what I am calling "No Johnson County-itis."

There's Sunday school in between at 10 AM. (Tonight one of our Young Married Classes is coming to our house for a cookout. This is the last class scheduled to be at our place. Over the course of the summer we have had twelve class parties and over 400 people! Karla and I have really enjoyed each group that has gathered!)

Following the 11 AM service, there will be a luncheon for the Pastor's Prayer Team. Over 110 people have signed up... and there is still room for you! Join us as we revamp the prayer teams-- and get them praying for a great fall.

The Sunday @ Six service will once again be in the fellowship hall for another WILD GOOSE CHASE NIGHT! Last week's service was one of the best services, since I've been at Central. So we are doing it again! Plan on joining us!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Chiefs and Me

Tonight I had my first taste of the Kansas City Chiefs. We had pretty good seats (section 118, row 37), endured a few sprinkles, ate some nachos, and cheered our Chiefs in their action packed 11-10 loss to the Mighty Dolphins.

I hate to write this Chief fans, but take it from a guy who has grown up watching the Detroit Lions (in other words I've seen a lot of bad football)... this could be a looooong season.

The Unabomber and Me

Does the name Ted Kaczynski ring a bell? How about this: “The Unabomber”? That was ol’ Ted. He was the mathematical genius (Harvard grad and, sadly, University of Michigan Ph.D.) who lived in a shack in Montana, wrote an anti-technology treatise and over a 20 year period sent 16 home-made bombs to those he thought were contributing to the evil, technological age in which we live. Ted was the subject of the most expensive manhunt in FBI history, and the feds eventually got their man. Ted will spend the rest of his days in a federal maximum security prison in Colorado.

I certainly do not advocate his violence. And I probably would have a hard time reading my way through his anti-techno tome, The Unabomber Manifesto, but after this week I might be a little closer to Ted than I want to be. I’ve been having my troubles with technology too.

My home internet works with the frequency of an intermittent windshield wiper. Sometimes it’s on, sometimes its not. Sometimes it’s on, sometimes not. (At this exact moment: Not. Ugh!). My electricity has also been off TWICE this week. Plus, much to my dismay, the Power and Light Company put a massively huge, not-so Jolly Green Giant of a transformer in my back yard (OK it might not be “Giant” big, but it’s big enough). And the icing on the cake, crème de le crème, is that my cable TV has been off for nearly a week. (Good thing that this wasn’t the week the Tigers win the World Series or the week the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes silly, because I can not say with complete certainty that I wouldn’t have gone “Teddy K” on somebody.)

Now, before you ask: Yes, we’ve paid all our bills in full. No stoppage of service notice has been received. Our payments are current, albeit without the “currents” coming through the power lines. When my cable TV went out last Thursday, a fine cable employee came by the house and informed Cherub #1 that he would have it “up and running” in no time. Famous last words. When it was still not “up and running,” seven hours later and after 45 minutes waiting on hold, “Betty” from the cable company assured me that a fine cable employee would be at my house on Monday between 3 and 5 pm. (Apparently, the cable company’s idea of “up and running in no time” and my understanding of that phrase is entirely different). In any event, when those four days of “no time” finally passed, you guessed it: Monday arrived, but the cable employee didn’t. When I called the cable company again, and waited on hold for the obligatory 45 minutes, “Ardeen” informed me that a fine cable employee would be at my house on Wednesday between 3 and 5 pm. “No time” was expanded for another 48 hours. In the mean time, I had no ESPN, no Home and Garden, and no CNN.

Well, the cable guy arrived and my ESPN is working. The Cable guy might need to watch a little more of the Home and Garden Network, because his “fix” was to run a cable the length of our yard, nearly entering the pool, on top of the grass to the place where the cable enters our house. While I must admit the orange colored cable contrasts nicely with the green hues of the grass and the blue tone of the pool it might not be the most eye-pleasing fixture in our back yard. Ugh. Ugh. And double ugh!

Since I was not sitting around watching Dr. Phil and had no need to search for the remote controller, I had plenty of time to remind you that this Sunday we are looking at the very last commandment. It’s the one about coveting your neighbor’s ox and donkey and wife and maid servant. I’ll be honest, I haven’t coveted my neighbor’s ox or maid servant at all this week (my hand is squarely patting my own back right now), but I have been tempted to covet his internet access and electricity. (Oops!) It’s amazing how much we miss that stuff, when we don’t have it. And it’s amazing how much we think we need that stuff to live our lives. We had electricity growing up, but we managed to live pretty decent lives without the internet, cable TV, air conditioning and plenty of other things that seem to be mandatory these days.

Truth be told, we didn’t miss the TV too much, and the crazy, on again, off again internet is manageable. I would never advocate heading to Montana for a little bomb building and manifesto writing retreat, I think we all could probably manage just fine with out some of the things that we think we need. In fact, the old song “Keep the World but give me Jesus” still holds true. We could probably all benefit from less stuff and more Jesus.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A good kind of tired

It's been a busy weekend.... and I'm tired. But its a "good" tired. My Saturday and Sunday were two pool parties, three services, an El Salvador meeting, Executive Committee meeting, hospital visit, SAMs Club, dollar store, and a little sleep. But... God was here-- and that makes it all worth it.

Our AM Services were terrific. The "Wild Goose Chase"went so well, we are going to do it again this Sunday Night. Yup, it was a good weekend.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Busy Day at the Prince House

After the Executive Committee meeting this morning, I will rush home to help put the finishing touches on our house. We host two parties today. The Jr. Quizzers will be at our place for a pool party this afternoon, and then tonight Kent Kirby's Sunday School Class will be with us. We have hosted several gatherings this summer. Somewhere over 400 people have been at our place. And we have enjoyed every party! We have a great church with great people!

Hey...tomorrow is Sunday. I missed preaching last week (I was at my niece's wedding), so I am ready to go this week! Have a great Saturday and see you tomorrow!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I Need more Pray-ers

I NEED MORE PRAY-ERS! Next Sunday (August 19th following the 11 AM Service) there will be a luncheon for the Pastor’s Prayer team. We will be revamping, renewing, reworking our Prayer teams, and I NEED YOU!!! The prayer teams will meet on a regular basis (once a month) (during the morning service that you do not attend) with the purpose of praying for the congregation, the pastors, and the needs of the church. You do not need to be an expert pray-er (what’s that?), you just have to be willing to pray. If you are uncomfortable praying in front of others, that’s OK. You won’t be asked to pray out loud if you don’t want to… we just need willing, faithful, pray-ers. Let the church office know (or e-mail me) if you are willing to come to the luncheon and learn more about the prayer teams. We need to get an accurate count of who’s coming to lunch.

This Sunday @ Central

We will get back on track this week—looking at God’s Top Ten in both AM Services. Just two more commandments to go: this week’s is “No Fibbin”.

And our Sunday @ Six Service will be in the fellowship hall. It’s another “Wild Goose Chase” Night. What’s a Wild Goose Chase Night? It will be a prayer service. But this isn’t your grandma’s prayer meeting. We aren’t simply going to focus on Aunt Bertha’s gout, but rather we are going to “chase the wild goose” (The ancient Celtic’s term for the Holy Spirit). In song and Scripture and testimony and prayer we will seek God’s blessings and power. This will be a Sunday night service you will not want to miss. (Oh yea, as a part of the evening, on Sunday Morning we will have cards for everyone to fill out a Prayer Request which will then be prayed over during our “Wild Goose Chase.” So even if you can’t be in the Sunday @ Six Service, make sure that you fill out a prayer request card on Sunday Morning.)

God intended it all for good

I’m an optimist. When the heat and humidity index is rising I still say: “No Sweat!” (Thanks to AC). When Karla informs us that dinner is a little over done, I thank the Lord for “the burnt sacrifice” and enjoy (Just like mama used to make… yum!). When life hands me lemons, I make a tasty little Lemon Supreme Pie (OK I don’t know how to make a lemon supreme pie, but if I did, that’s what I would make with lemons. I am not much of a lemonade guy.) This time of the year, I always think this will be the year my woeful Lions will turn it around and be in the Super Bowl, my Tigers will start winning again, and my Wolverines will beat the hated Buckeyes. School hasn’t started, so there have been no bad progress reports. The complainers of the church must be on vacation (oh wait a minute; we don’t have complainers at Central… only those that make heart felt suggestions). In any event, my home and church on the range has seldom heard a discouraging word. “Yes, indeed, the grass is greener on this side of the fence,” I say as I sip my half-full cup of coffee while wistfully gazing at the silver lined clouds.

OK, all this optimism is making me feel woozy.

I know the skies aren’t always blue. And sometimes some very bad things happen to some very good people. In fact, I know really good people who have had really rotten things happen. Still, I love Paul’s encouraging words to the group of believers living in Rome when he said: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” and “In all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:31b and 37). I think that firm conviction and Christ-like optimism is why Paul could sing while chained to a wall in the slammer at midnight after having taken a beat-down from some of the Rome’s finest centurions. And why, when talking about shipwrecks and prisons stays and floggings Paul could write that he was “pressing on.” Life wasn’t always easy—but he was focused on Jesus.

You see, I have this core conviction: Followers of Christ should be the most optimistic people on the planet. That doesn’t mean that we don’t see the negative, it just means that in the midst of the negative we see Christ. If we really believe Paul’s words that God is in control, and He is working things out for His glory, then shouldn’t we be excited and expecting great things?

I think Joseph had this figured out. You remember his story… Lil’ Joey was daddy’s favorite dreamer boy. Which as you might imagine didn’t win him any popularity contests with his big brothers. Joey flaunted his fancy, Donny Osmond-like, Technicolor threads. He was spoiled and not afraid to tell his brothers of his brown-nosing ways. So his bothers tossed him in a pit, sold him in to slavery and really didn’t care if he lived or died. But to make a long story short, old Joe got out of the pit, was faithful in the midst of trying times and God honored and blessed him. When he finally saw those brothers again, far from bitter Joseph offers this great testimony: You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. (Gen 50:20a) What a great life verse! There’s a guy that determined that he was going to make the most out of his circumstances. Far from focusing on the deep, dark hole from whence he came or writing a scathing tell-all book on his hateful siblings or the horrors of his life as a slave—he chose to not wallow in the negative but rather to look at the half-full cup. “God intended it all for good.”

I want to look at my life circumstances—even when my life is in the pits-- and still conclude: God intended it all for good. Even when I don’t know the outcome, even when it’s hard to see that dark cloud’s silver lining or the light at the end of the tunnel, I want to be the type of person that will say loud and clear: God intended it all for good.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back from Springfield

We are home from a quick trip to Springfield, Illinois where my niece Ashley got married. All went well. She married Stan and nothing was worthy of a Funniest Home Video episode.

I heard that Central had a couple of GREAT morning services. I missed being with you. I was with the Prince Posse at my brother's church. He preached a very good sermon!

And now this week is District Assembly at College Church. No Wednesday services here, remember.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sunday @ Central

As it is the first Sunday of the month, our children (grades 1-6) will be in both services and Communion will be celebrated. Pastor Kevin tells me that the music this Sunday will be TERRRIFIC! You won't want to miss it!

There will not be a Sunday @ Six Service at Central, so that we can participate with the District Homecoming at College Church in Olathe.

The Launch of the Seventh Grade World Tour

Just said "Good Bye" to Ben as he and the 19 other soon to be 7th Graders left on their "World Tour." They will be visiting my Alma Mater (Olivet Nazarene) on their way to Chicago. When they return they will be officially part of the Fifth Element (Central's Youth Ministry). This trip really helps in transitioning our students from our children's ministry to youth group. We are blessed to have such a great children's pastor (Jeremy Bond) and great youth pastor (Cory Stipp).

Olathe Taco Odyssey (The long version)

Here's the whole story of our “Olathe Taco Odyssey.” Beginning at 12:30 p.m. last Friday, Alex, Ben and myself went to these fine Olathe fast food taco establishments: Taco Via, Taco Bell, Taco Bueno and Taco Johns. At each place, we dined in (no drive thrus for us), ordered one tasty taco each (Ben and I ordered hard shells, Alex is a soft shell taco guy), and ate. We were back home an hour after we began having consumed four tacos, a large soda and spent a grand total of $16.89. Here are a few things that we learned:
· Taco Via has the most expensive tacos and Taco Bell has the least expensive. ($1.15 vs. $0.79)
· Taco Via played praise and worship music and had the Ten Commandments displayed on their wall. (Maybe it’s worth the extra $0.36 to have praise and worship piped over the intercom and to have the “Top Ten” posted. That was an unexpected surprise. I was taken aback to see an eleventh commandment: “Thou shall not be a glutton.” Just kidding it wasn’t there, but maybe it should have been).
· We decided to pray before each “meal” in each restaurant. I don’t know that tacos need more prayer than other foods, but I think if you are eating at four different fast food joints in less than an hour then you probably need four times the prayer (and four times the Rolaids).
· Taco Via’s tacos were the messiest (but they also had napkins at the table, so clean-up didn’t mean an additional trip to the “napkin center”); Taco Bell’s were the wettest (read: Greasiest); Taco Bueno’s were the longest; and, Taco Johns had more lettuce than meat on their tacos.
· Taco Bell provided peppermint candy for one’s after dining pleasure. (Always a plus when eating extra greasy tacos with extra hot sauce).
· Taco Bueno and Taco Johns each have a salsa bar to compliment their $0.99 tacos.
· On Taco Johns’ salsa bar they have a green, eye-watering, hotter-than-hot taco sauce.
· Taco Via cleans up your mess (there were no noticeable trash cans), but Taco Johns delivers your tacos to your table (I believe the extra hot green sauce and the “delivered-to-your-table” tacos are related items. It is my assertion that the fine Taco Johns employees deliver your tacos because once you’ve tasted that eye-watering, green salsa you might be a little woozy. Or maybe I was just woozy because at that point I had already eaten tacos from Taco Via, Bell and Bueno. Burp.).
· We each liked a different place. Ben liked Taco Via, Alex liked Taco Bell, and I preferred Taco Bueno. (I liked Taco Bueno in spite of the knowledge that another Centralite had a very bad experience at a Taco Bueno. It seems that this man discovered something really, really yucky in his taco. Not deterred, because of that knowledge-- I went, ate, and enjoyed. And I didn’t find anything that resembled “really, really yucky” in my taco! But I must confess I did inspect my taco with the same gusto as a drug sniffing dog at the airport before partaking.).

All in all it was a fun lunch. We laughed, ate, and had a great debate on which taco joint was the best. I’m not sure if our “Olathe Taco Odyssey” was what old Solomon had in mind when he wrote: “Point your kids in the right direction and when they are old they won’t be lost” (Proverbs 22:6. The Message), but I think it helped. Remember, in raising our kids the goal is to build positive memories, to be a positive influence, and to have meaningful conversations. I think all of those things happened last Friday. Maybe an “Olathe Taco Odyssey” isn’t for everyone, but all of us can get creative in finding ways to make good, positive, and even holy moments with our children. In my book, the afternoon was well worth the $16.89 and the bottle of Tums that I later consumed. In fact, it went so well we are contemplating an “Olathe Burger Odyssey” next. We can’t eat a burger at each place (without breaking our soon to be included Commandment #11 on gluttony); still, if we could divide each burger into thirds, then eating at the Olathe fast food burger joints might be doable. So Wendy’s, A&W, Backyard Burger, Burger King, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Sonic, and Culvers here we come. Burp.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

She came for groceries , but got much, much more!

Every Wednesday, we distribute food through our Lord's Food Pantry. Needy folks from Johnson County can come once a month and receive a supply of groceries. Today, a lady got more than that.

When Carol came to the church she was in obvious distress. Our ladies serving in in the food pantry noticed, spoke to her, and to make a long story short... by the end of her time here had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She came for groceries, and got Jesus too! (that's a better deal than double coupons at Price Chopper I can assure you of that!!)

That's why we do what we do... it's about making more and better disciples! It's happening all around us! Praise the Lord. Will you pray that Carol will now grow in the Lord and continue to become the person He created her to be!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The World is coming here!

As I was looking around in our services yesterday, I saw people from the following countries: Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan and, of course, the United States. (I may have missed some) Wow... I guess the world has come here!

Our Mission is the World!

This week we have a team of people going to Greensburg Kansas to help in the rebuilding of the town that was hit by a tornado earlier this year (that's our fifth mission trip in the last 13 months if you are counting). Besides those folks, right this very minute on mission trips are Centralites in Africa, The Ukraine, and China. We have had people this summer in Argentina, New Orleans, the Middle East and Central America. I am so glad that we are a mission minded church! Keep up the good work Centralites... find ways to follow Jesus and "Go into all the world and make disciples."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Our Olathe Taco Odyssey

The boys and I went on a "Olathe Taco Odyssey" yesterday. For lunch we ate one taco at the following Olathe fast food taco places: Taco Via, Taco Bell, Taco Bueno and Taco John. Each one of us liked a different taco joint... maybe I'll write more later, now I have to find a bottle of Tums.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, You're only a day away!

I can't wait for tomorrow. Sunday's @ Central are great! The AM Sermons are on God's Top Ten: "No Stealing." (As I write this I hear David Cantwell practicing with the Praise Team. I've missed his trumpet as he's been vacationing. But tomorrow, he'll be back too! Yipee!)Sunday @ Six has Pastor Kevin preaching.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What do you know?

This week I read a very strange story on (Which means it must be true, right? They report. We decide.) Anyway, reported that a forty-four year old civil servant in France has lived a relatively normal life with almost no brain. (Sounds like material for the super market tabloids, doesn’t it?) It seems this French guy has a rare condition known as Dandy Walker complex, which doctors believe was the result of a surgical procedure that he underwent as an infant, and has since lived a normal life with mostly no grey matter in his head. What a weird story.

Of course, the temptation is to say that I have met several people with Dandy Walker complex but they have yet to be officially diagnosed with the condition. You know the ones, people who when all alone burst forth into a Scarecrow-like song: “If I only had a brain.” There have been times when I’ve wondered if certain politicians in Washington, Buckeye fans, and watchers of Jerry Springer Show have suffered from this condition.

I am sure that there are some (in Ohio and all points beyond) who have wondered if I should be tested for Dandy Walker. Obviously, I do not want to make light of a serious medical condition like Dandy Walker. Most of us have been given ample grey matter by the Good Lord and most of us use it on a somewhat regular basis. Still there are moments if I were perfectly honest, when I’ve questioned the volume of grey matter in my melon. For instance, this spring I purchased a new lawn mower. Lawn mowers need sharp blades, gas, and oil to mow lawns properly, as anyone with even half a brain knows. Unfortunately, I must have agreed with the great theologian, Meatloaf, who sang that “two out of three ain’t bad,” because I promptly ran my brand new Toro out of oil. UGH! Running out of gas is not so bad. Running out of oil is really bad. Where was my grey matter when it mattered? Thanks to Bud Boyer (the champion mower mechanic) and Alex and Ben (owners and operators of the Alex & Ben’s Lawn Mowing Company) my mower will soon be mulching half the lawns on Village Drive again. Bud also promised to give me a lesson in the fine art of lawn mower oil replacement.

Sadly, I admit that was not the only occurrence of my grey matter leaving me when it matters. I have a long list of “brain freeze” moments in my life when I’ve lost things, forgotten things or said completely stupid things. The problem with being a preacher is that when I say something stupid from the pulpit hundreds of people instantly know of my stupidity. I actually said in a sermon once that someone was “smart, really smart. They were smart with a capital ‘M.’” A capital “M”?!? In spite of the fact that I was never a competitor in the Scripts-Howard Spelling Bee, you’d think that the word “Smart” should be in my spelling repertoire. Where was my grey matter when it mattered?

Why the confession to my lack of grey matter moments? There are plenty of things of which I know nothing. There are still other things that at one time I may have known, but I have long since forgotten. And then there are a scant few things that I know that I know. Here’s one such thing: I want to know God more and more. Like Paul I want to pray: “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10); and like Hosea my prayer for Central is this: “Oh that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of the rains in early spring” (Hosea 6:3). I might not know much about lawnmowers, but I want to know Christ more and more. I might not remember where I put my keys, but I want to know and experience the mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead! I might not know how to always say the right things in the right manner, but I want to press on to know him. I want my life consumed with knowing God more and more. How about you?

We have so many exciting things at Central just around the corner—but more than anything, I pray that as a church, as a people—we determine to know Christ more and more. The Lord has given all of us brains; let’s use them to know Him more!

Two Prayer Opportunities are Coming!

1) On August 12th in the Sunday @Six Service, we will have our first “Wild Goose Chase” Night. It will be a time when we as a congregation make an all out effort and pursuit of the Holy Spirit. The Wild Goose Chase Night (for lack of a better term) will be a prayer service. But we won’t simply be praying for “Aunt Bertha’s gout,” we will be seeking the Lord in all things. There will not be an agenda other than prayer. We’ll sing some of our prayers, read Scripture and, of course, pray. It will be a service like maybe you have never attended. I hope that you and your prayer team will be a part of this gathering.

2) On August 19th (the very next Sunday) we will have a Pastor’s Prayer Team Luncheon following the 11 AM Service. Again I hope that you will be able to attend (You will need to let the church office know of your attendance, so that enough food can be purchased). I will share with the Prayer teams during this time some new ideas and plans for the Prayer teams and we will use this time to re-organize and re-set the teams for the days and months ahead. IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN A PART OF A TEAM, THAT'S OK. COME AND JOIN US. If what you hear doesn't sound like your "cup of tea" that's OK. Come and hear about the Prayer Teams and see if this is an area of ministry in which you could serve.

We have a lot of exciting things coming just down the road for our church. This fall we have scheduled many outreach events intended to make more and better disciples of people that we haven’t even met yet. But for these events to succeed and flourish we desperately need the Holy Spirit to intervene. If we are going to be the church God calls us to be, we NEED TO BE A PRAYING CHURCH. These two events (and more on the way) will help in that regard. So please, plan on attending both the Wild Goose Chase Night and the Pastor’s Prayer Team Luncheon.

Monday, July 23, 2007


10. God was worried that Adam would get lost in the garden and wouldn’t ask for directions
9. God knew that one day Adam would need someone to help him find the remote
8. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor’s appointment on his own
7. God knew that Adam would never remember which night to put out the trash
6. God knew that Adam would never be able to handle childbirth
5. God knew that Adam would never go out by himself and buy a new fig leaf
4. God knew Adam would need help in finding his tools, golf clubs, glasses, keys and anything else that he ever touched
3. God knew that Adam would need someone to do everything in his life for him except for barbequing the burgers.
2. God knew that Adam would need someone else to blame
1. God finished making Adam and scratched his head and “I can do better.”

NYC Recap

I loved hearing the comments from our NYC Teens last night. Many told of God's working in their lives and of being changed as a result of their time at the Nazarene Youth Gathering in St. Louis. That's exactly what we prayed for, what we hoped, for and what God delivered!

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin'

With our students back from NYC (You'll hear all about their wonderful experience Sunday Night), a couple of baby dedications (one in each service), another TOP TEN list (Ten reasons why God created Eve), and our focus on another of God's TOP TEN-- all will make for a Super Sunday at Central!

I can wait! See you here!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Some Cool Things (besides Ben in the snow)

It’s been a hot week, but here are some cool things that have been going on:

I have just returned from a regional Prayer Summit held on the campus of MNU (Actually it was held in the brand spanking new Cultural Events Center. Wow… that’s a nice building. MNU can be proud!). Someone is asking: “What’s a prayer summit?” It was a gathering of pastors with the purpose of meeting with the Lord. There was no speaker. No notebooks. No real agenda other than meeting with Jesus. Overall, that’s a pretty good idea, don’t you think?

It was a wonderful 48 hours (I am sure that you will hear more about in the future). I left with this verse: “But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things that you do!” Psalm 73:28

That’s how I view my calling and my life. As for me-- I want to be near God. I want Him to be my shelter. He is so good!!! Moreover, I want to share this wonderful news. I want to tell everyone the wonderful things that the Lord has done. I want everyone to experience the love and joy and blessings of being near to God. I want everything that I do and the focus of my life to be leading people to the discovery that the Lord is good. Isn’t that what “making more and better disciples” is all about?!

I am the widow who found her coin.
I am the shepherd who found his sheep.
I am the father whose boy returned home.
I am the traveler whose lost suitcase is finally home! Hooray!!!

On Monday I received a call from a nice man at British Airways who said my suitcase had been found and that I should be receiving it in a day or two. He believed that it spend most of the last 23 days sitting in the lost luggage department in Tel Aviv. In any event, yesterday while I was participating in the prayer summit (yes, I did pray that my bag would be found), a Fed Ex delivery man brought my Samsonite home. In so doing, he ended the 23 day odyssey for my little suitcase. Everything I put in the bag was still there. A little messed up, but there. The translation equipment, Q-Tips, other packages for the missionaries and my clothes were all there. My soap bottle opened so I had a nice “Old Spice” scent to the bag, but other than that nothing was too worse for the wear. So like the shepherd, widow and father in Luke 15, I say: “Rejoice with me, that which was lost is now found!”

Cool Thing #3
Our new church board cook-out was last night at the “Prince palace.” We ate chicken and brats and had a good time of fellowship. We have a great group of leaders. They are ready to help us move forward in the days ahead. They love God and Central! That’s a great combo!!!

Cool Thing #4
We have so many exciting things just on the horizon at Central. Here’s a glimpse of what you will be hearing about in the days ahead:
• District Homecoming Communion Service (at college church) on August 5th at 6PM
• A Wild Goose Chase Night on August 12th at 6 PM (This will be a prayer service like you’ve never been in before).
• Pastor’s Prayer Team Luncheon on August 19th following the 11 AM Service. (The prayer teams are going to be Re-Newed, Re-Organized, Re-vitalized, and Re-Set! I’m excited about this prayer Re-focusing. If you are curious about the prayer teams, interested in the prayer teams, been a part of a prayer team in the past or if you are thinking about being a part of a prayer team in the future… consider yourself invited!!!).
• Youth Burger Bash on August 22nd. YUM!
• Dinner Theatre on August 23-25th Double YUM!
• VISION 2017 Sermon Series begins in the AM Services on August 26 (For three Sundays we are going to be looking at future: God’s plans, dreams and expectations of his people as we “make more and better disciples” in the days and years ahead.)
• All Church Labor Day Sunday Picnic on September 2nd following one combined 10 o’clock service we will eat, fellowship, and we might even talk the “washer tournament guys” to bring their wares so we can toss a few washers.
• Super Friends and the NEW Fall Line-up of Wednesday Night Classes begin on Wednesday, September 5th. Stay tuned for the exciting offerings this fall!
• Ladies Retreat on September 7-8. I’m told the ladies have a GRRRREAT Time, but sorry: No boys allowed!
• Ministry Fair on September 9. This is the day to learn more about the ministries of Central and get involved!
• GOT Missions Weekend (formerly known as Faith Promise) on September 15-16. This is the day to see how you can be involved in Missions! Being involved in missions is not an option Jesus calls us to it… and at Central we want to provide you with plenty of opportunities to fulfill Jesus’ call!
• Biker Sunday September 23. Mission comes home!! Reaching Bikers for Jesus is always cool! On September 23rd I will also begin a new Fall Sermon Series: “SAY WHAT? Seven things I wish Jesus had never said.”
• The Annual Central Christmas Craft Show on October. More people come through our doors during these three days than any other time in the year. Do you think God can use this time for His Glory? I think so too!!!

There’s still more things to get excited about… This fall we’ll be launching a brand new, Hispanic Worship Service (I am so excited about this I can begin to tell you!); on Reformation Sunday in October we are going to have an AWESOME Sunday Morning Service celebrating the transforming work of God including baptisms in both morning services; we have scheduled a new kind of multi-generational, “revival-retreat-new-thing-that-we’ve-never-tried-before-event” called COLLIDE for late fall; and then of course there will be at all the wonderful Christmas Events for which Central is famous.

WOW! Let me catch my breath! See what I mean—it is going to be the most awesome fall! I can’t wait!!!! This is a great time to be a part of Central Nazarene! God is doing a great thing in this place!