Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wow... I am sitting in Jerusalem and blogging! Let's all sing, "It's a Small World after all."

All is well, except that my luggage did not join me. I am to find out in a little bit to see if it is on this next plane from London, if not... I could be in trouble.

Still it has been a good day. We spent the night and toured through Old Jerusalem. It's been educational and fun. I am here with Nazarene missionaries Lindel Browning and Rod Green, as well as fellow Centralite, Larry Bollinger. Tomorrow we head to Jordan for the conference that we are going to be a part. We were suppose to spend the night in Nazareth, but that will depend on my luggage.

I will not be able to blog until Sunday after this since we will be in a remote place in Jordan with no computer available.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Middle East here I come!

I am ready to head to the airport for my little Jaunt to the Middle East. Hopefully I'll blog on some of the happenings... if I can't, you'll hear about it soon enough!

Friday, June 22, 2007

A great weekend ahead!

Even with so many gone this Sunday because of mission trips (both youth and Alaskan trips are this week), I think we'll have a GREAT Sunday! Plan on being here. Remember all members 15 years and older can vote for the four open board positions, and the missionary convention and district assembly delegates. Our Sermon series, TOP TEN, will continue this week. We are up to Commandment #4: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

Hey, here's some news I just found out... the computer I am taking to the Middle East is for the pastor of the Baghdad Church of the Nazarene. So I will be meeting one of our pastors in that war torn country. He also wants me to bring him some beef jerky. Hmmm... like Q-Tips I could think of a thousand other things that I would want from the United States besides Beef Jerky.

Following my trip to Jordan and Israel, I am sure that next Sunday I'll have plenty of names and situations to add to our prayer list.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bringing Peace to the Middle East (and Q-Tips)

Next week I am going to the Middle East. I will be in Israel and Jordan to be exact. My friend Rod (a Nazarene missionary in Jordan) asked if I would participate in a Middle East Compassionate Ministries Conference. I said “Sure,” and so next week I’m there.

Fellow Centralite and all around great guy, Larry Bollinger is also going to be at the conference. Which made me wonder if this will qualify me for some kind of prize at District Assembly for the “farthest traveled to make a pastoral call”?

It’s kinda weird really. I leave on Monday and get back on Saturday. I won’t even miss a Sunday at Central. So, you’ll see me this week and I’ll preach and pray and do all of those preacherly type of things, and then you’ll see me the next Sunday and I’ll hopefully look pretty much the same, but I will have been to Israel and Jordan and back. Wow, do we live in a small world or what?

Some of the missionaries there have asked for some items that are either impossible to get or more expensive to purchase in the Middle East. So, along with my toothbrush, Bible, and change of clothes, I’m taking a bunch of stuff with me for other people. The list of assorted do-dads includes: a laptop computer, medicine, an MP3 player, shirts, translation equipment, books, and a box of Q-tips.

A box of Q-tips? Don’t they have Q-Tips in the Middle East? How do they not have Q-Tips? Maybe I’ve just stumbled on to the big problem in the Middle East. Maybe all these wars and rumors of wars in the Middle East have occurred because they don’t have Q-tips. Maybe this whole Israeli-Arab conflict began when someone on one side of the conflict said, “Eat cake more!” But someone on the other side of the conflict, because of an excessive amount of ear wax build-up due to the fact that there are no Q-Tips in Palestine, thought they said, “Let’s make war!” And the rest, as they say, is history.

And so, next week, like a white knight (or maybe more like the always loved, brown clad, UPS delivery man) I’ll ride into town carrying all sorts of goodies, including the desperately needed, peace bringing, Q-tips. Could it be that the headlines across the globe will read: “Rob brings Q-Tips and Peace to the Middle East!”? Maybe I should take two boxes just in case. Nobel Peace Prize… here I come!

OK this is just plain silly. I don’t know why they need Q-tips. And please know, I don’t mean to make light of the serious issues that have gripped that corner of the world. It seems like every day we hear about more bloodshed and one group trying to eradicate the other group. It’s very discouraging and heart breaking. I’m not a Middle East expert, not by a long shot. But I do know this: The Middle East needs Jesus. Q-Tips won’t bring peace, but Jesus will. The only hope for the Middle East and for our world is Jesus.

Quite frankly, I don’t think I have a lot to share with the group of Middle Eastern pastors and laymen at a Compassionate Ministries Conference. They are ministering and serving in the most difficult of situations, which is a far cry from my pretty easy life in Johnson County. I’m so glad for dedicated and courageous missionaries and believers in that part of the world that are enduring hardships to make Him known. All this to say, I am looking forward to learning much more from the experience than what I could ever give, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share, offer hope and supply their Q-Tips for a week or two.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You got me for a little while longer

Last night Rev. Jeren Rowell (the KC District superintendent) and our church board met for the purpose of my 2 year review. In our church this happens after the pastor has been at a church for two years, and the decision is made to continue the pastoral relationship for another four years or send it to the church body to vote on whether the pastoral relationship should continue. The board decided to continue with the current arrangement.

It was a good meeting. We have good leaders and a good church-- that is very evident. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve at the Central Church and I am looking forward to many great days ahead with many people becoming "more and better disciples."

Monday, June 18, 2007

What is a Better Disciple?

I've been thinking about What Makes a Better Disciple.

Central’s goal, Central’s mission, Central’s chief objective is to make more and better disciples. If you have been around Central very long at all you know that already. But what does a disciple look like? A disciple is a follower of Jesus, but what does that mean specifically at Central?

There are four aspects of what makes a Better Disciple. Let me spell it out:
1) A Better Disciple embraces Corporate Worship. More than simply sitting through a service, a Better Disciple participates and in fully engaged in the Worship Experience. A better disciple prays and sings and is focused on praise through the collective worship setting.
2) A better Disciple is active in learning. Involved in a learning setting whether that is a Bible Study, Sunday School Class, or small group—a Better Disciple is learning and helping others to learn. A Better Disciple is committed to knowing Christ more and more.
3) A Better Disciple participates in a fellowship group-- at Central that can be in so many places: small groups, affinity groups, dinner for eight, recreation ministries, to name a few. A Better disciple is involved in a group where inviting non-believers is easy.
4) A Better Disciple serves. A Better Disciple goes on mission trips or works at the rescue Mission or takes advantage of Servant Evangelism opportunities or micro-mission endeavors. A better disciple serves the Lord in the workplace, at home and in the church and in the world. A Better disciple is a servant.
That’s it… four things. Are you a better disciple?

Weekend Recap

It was another fantastic weekend for we Princes.

Friday was Karla's birthday. In case you are wondering... her present from the boys and I was a coupon to Sky Dive. Sometime this summer, Karla will jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Geronimo!!!!! We also had some out of town friends to see us. What a good night!

Saturday, we picked up Alex from Summer Camp. All seemed well. And following a day of mowing and work, we ended our Saturday with friends in the pool on the hot day. Ahhhhhh!

Sunday was great. Two great morning services, with people seeking the Lord in both services. I liked the new song that Pastor Kevin taught us: "Your Name." There is power in the name of the Lord! Being Father's Day, the boys cooked dinner. YUM! And then, Pastor Joe preached very well in the Sunday @ Six Service, and we wrapped up the day with ice cream. Actually, I wrapped it up with some post ice cream Mexican food with some fellow Centralites. Yup, that's what I call one good weekend!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


10. Power tools? I don’t need anymore power tools.

9. Here, you hold the remote for a while

8. Hey, honey, can I do the dishes tonight? Please?

7. Ok, girls, just keep talking the ballgame will be over in a few minutes.

6. Now that you're 16, feel free to take the car anytime!

5. But honey, I don’t want to go to the hardware store!

4. Let's watch the Lifetime Channel tonight!

3. Does this outfit make me look fat?

2. Boy, that George Clooney is a fantastic actor!

1. Hey honey, let's pull over so I can ask for directions!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thanks Pastors Joe and Kevin

Can I brag on what kind of staff we have at Central? Today was Pastors Kevin and Joe's day off. But were they on a golf course, on a lake fishing or shopping on the Plaza? No. No. And No. They were sweating and working helping a young couple who just pulled into KC unload their U-Haul. I'm so thankful for ministers who understand that servanthood sometimes means taking a few hours on your day off to help people. Pastors Joe and Kevin get it. And I'm thankful for them!

I had a good teacher!

Did I tell you that while I was in Nashville a week or two ago I saw our own Bill and Melanie Crayton? Bill and Melanie moved to Nashville a year ago because of a job change. We were able to go to dinner (along with super Centralite and all ‘round good guy, Mike Stipp, and another pastor friend of mine, Winton Fine). It was a lot of fun. But I sure miss the Craytons!!!

While in Nashville, I also saw my old friends Vince and Debbie Flippo. Vince and Debbie are brother and sister. Both are in ministry. Vince pastors in the Great Lake State, and Debbie has served as a missionary in Central America and has just finished a doctoral program. Whenever I see Vince we have our own little greeting. It goes like this:
Me: West is best!
Vince: East is least.
You see the Flippos and I are from the same home town. We all attended the same high school, Garden City West (hence, why we are convinced that West is Best, and East is least!). Vince graduated a couple years before me, and Debbie graduated with my brother. For a while we attended the same little Nazarene Church.

We were reminiscing about those days when Debbie said to me: “You know I became a missionary because of your dad.” Debbie proceeded to tell me that my dad was her pre-teen Sunday school teacher (we called it the “Junior” class in those days), when we all attended the Elmwood Church of the Nazarene. According to Debbie, as part of his lessons, my dad encouraged all in the class to read missionary books that the church provided; he talked about missions; and, he prayed that the students would be open to hearing from the Lord. Well, Debbie read those books, paid attention to the lessons, and did indeed hear the Lord say, “GO!” So she went.

It was neat hearing Debbie talk in such kind ways about my dad. Of course, I always knew the impact he made upon my family. It was cool to hear it from others. You see, following his conversion, my dad made a complete life turn around. He went from a person for whom following Christ was the farthest thing from his mind to becoming a model of a consistent, Christ-like disciple. I believe it was my parent’s consistent obedient walk that is the biggest reason that my siblings and I are all following Christ today.

As you know, this week is Father’s Day. Hearing Debbie talk about my dad reminded me again how thankful I need to be for Christian parents, and how much I, like my dad, want to model a consistent Christian life before my boys.

It also was a reminder for all those that work with our children and teens—your life makes a difference. The student you are encouraging today could be a missionary tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Top Ten Signs You've Eaten at a Bad Church Pot Luck

10. Flip on CNN to see Headline: Bad Luck Pot Luck! And there’s photo of Central Church

9. You overhear someone say: “Beef’s great, but squirrel is so much cheaper.”

8. The college students misunderstand the meaning of “pot” luck.

7. Even Joey Chestnut (the guy that ate 59 hot dogs in 12 minutes) passes on staying for dinner.

6. Someone in line says, “I got the recipe from watching Fear Factor.”

5. Following the afternoon Pot-Luck, the Sunday @ Six Service is held at the Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s Emergency Room

4. The devil brought the devilled eggs.

3. The condiments provided by the church include: salt, pepper, Zantac, Rolaids and Tums.

2. Instead of saying grace, Pastor Rob prays for mercy.

1. Three words: Hairy Potato Salad

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend Recap

Good Reports all around... from a great Primary Camp to two wonderful Sunday School gatherings at our place, to a great group of people in membership class, to three terrific services on Sunday... it was a good, good weekend at Central!

The TOP TEN list was a little lame... sorry. Hopefully this week's will be better. As it is Father's Day this Sunday... this week's list will probably have something to do with dads.

I liked meeting in the fellowship hall last night.. more intimate gathering. I know it took some out of their comfort zone, but I liked ending the service in circles of prayer. The last few Sunday @ Six Services have been really good! This week, following the gathering we will have an ice cream sundae fellowship time. YUM!

Haven't gotten a report on where we stand for the Mission Trip dollars needed for our Alaskan Trip. Before yesterday, we were only about $1800 short of the goal.

Today our Teen Campers head out... pray that God does great and mighty things with our youth this week!

Our Kids Club at the Carlyle Apartments begins on Wednesday. If you'd like to lend a hand show up at the church on Wednesday at 10 AM. If you have more questions... contact Rev. Joe Hall.

If you are a member and would like to represent Central at the upcoming District Assembly and Missionary Convention, contact the church office.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The World War 1 Museum is worth the time!

In case you are wondering... the boys and I give a big "Thumbs Up" to the World War 1 Museum at the Liberty War Memorial. If you haven't been there this year, you need to go. Completely re-done (opened I think in December of 2006), its a great treasure in Kansas City.

It was windy at the top of the tower-- but very cool. Fritz's was greasy and good. We also got some salt water taffy in the Candy Store of Crown Center. It was a good start to our No Girls Allowed Days. The only problem was I forgot my camera... sorry no pictures.

Weekend Preview

A Great Weekend is shaping up.

Our first camp of the summer is underway. Primary Camp is a two day-er. Pray for our first time campers.

Around our house, we have two Sunday School Class Parties. One tonight and one tomorrow. We really like these gatherings-- it gives us a chance to hang out and enjoy the great people of Central.

Around the church, Saturday morning is a membership class. Even if you haven't signed up-- show up. Pastors Joe and Cory are leading this group.

And after a great start last week, the TOP TEN will continue in both morning services. This week will focus on God’s call to not make any idols. If last week's commandment (Have no other gods but me) spoke to the question of "Who do we worship?" then this week's command really speaks to the issue of "How do worship?" It will be a good week. Also, you will get the Top Ten signs that you’ve been to a bad Church Pot Luck.

In the Sunday at Six Service, we will continue our Wild Goose Chase and look at the Church of Sardis in Revelation 3. We'll meet in the Fellowship Hall.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

No Girls Allowed Day

We have a new summer schedule around the Prince House. Karla is working two days a week (Mondays and Thursdays) so I am now taking Thursdays off (instead of Fridays) to be home with the boys. Thursdays will be “Only Boys Days” at our house. No Girls allowed.

When my boys were younger, when all girls were considered the enemy, the edict “No Girls Allowed” brought a welcome relief from those cootie yielding females. When Karla would go away to a retreat or some such place, we would put a sign on our front door warding off all non-male types. With the big thick Crayolas we would write on the sign: NO GIRLS ALLOWED!!! Girls were yucky. They were to be avoided at all cost in those days. I remember, Ben crying at one lunch time because he wanted a “Boy’s cheese Sandwich,” and did not want to eat a “girled (grilled) cheese sandwich.” And when his soccer team lost to an all girls team, you’d have thought the world was about to come to an end. But those days are gone. Like the old Detroit Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell used to say those days are “Long gone!” Now they like being around the fairer creatures, but on Thursdays I will hold my ground: No Girls Allowed!

On our “No Girls Allowed Days” we will be doing manly types of adventures. So today we will head to the World War I museum at the Liberty Memorial in downtown Kansas City. What could be more manly (manlier) than a place that honors those that saved freedom by fighting in the trenches for God and country? We might have to stop off at Fritz’s in Crown Center for a burger via a train. (Any time you can order your food over the phone and have a machine bring it to your table, I say that’s a manly kind of place.) In the days ahead, we will go to the Negro League Museum, Cabela’s, a few other local manly spots and possibly Oceans of Fun. The boys have assured me that there won’t be any girls there (I can see that there needs to be a lesson on truth and honesty in our times together).

The goals for our Thursday “No Girl’s Allowed” days are simple: Be together. Make memories. Enjoy these moments. My boys are 15 and 12 years old. Everyone who has traveled this road before me has said, “Before you know it you’ll be shipping them off to college.” I’m sure that’s true, so building memories and creating moments seems to be pretty important for these days.

We’ve been working on goals as a pastoral staff and church board. We call them our F.O.C.U.S. Goals. And the “F” of FOCUS stands for: FAMILY FIRST. That’s what our Thursday No Girls Allowed Days are about—family first. Can I encourage you to have similar days this summer? Oh they don’t have to be Manly Days, or “No Girls Allowed Days,” but have some Family First Days.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Sad Day

I am broken hearted today, as I think all of Kansas City and America should be. The news of Kelsey Smith’s death has shaken me.

For those of you who read this article but do not live in the Kansas City area and may not know the name Kelsey Smith, let me catch you up to date: Kelsey was a recent graduate of the Shawnee Mission West High School, by all accounts a wonderful person, a cute girl, and was abducted from a Target parking lot (just a few miles from Central) and murdered on the outskirts of Kansas City on Saturday. They found her body this afternoon.

I don’t know Kelsey and never met her parents. Still, I can’t imagine their immense grief. All the joy and pride of her graduation, the thrills and love and laughter of graduation parties, and the hopes of a long and wonderful future came to an abrupt end because of the sinful and evil behavior of an individual.

I know this article is usually light hearted and is meant to bring a smile along with a message. But I am sad today. Sometimes it’s hard to sing when life hurts. I am sad for Kelsey’s family, and for all of us. I am sad that evil happens. I am sad that people will not feel safe in going on simple trips to the store or mall. I am sad we live in a society where people can be so messed up that they can in their mind some way justify such evil and cold hearted behavior. I am just sad.

In moments such as these, I pray for our Lord to do what he does best. Come along side those that are hurting and say “I am with you.” I have seen God move in the midst of overwhelming sorrow and bring peace. It‘s my prayer that God will move once more for all of us.

Today, the sun is shining and life goes on. But I’m still sad. I’ll probably hug my boys a little longer tonight. I will probably be a little more aware of my surroundings in parking lots for a while. I will probably want to work that much more to create a new culture where God’s love reigns. And I will say with John the Revelator: Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Charles Spurgeon on Prayer

"Prayer itself is an art only the Holy Spirit can teach us. Pray for prayer. Pray until you can really pray." C.H. Spurgeon

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another Good Quote

"Some of you want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell." --C.T. Studd

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Top Ten Announcements You WON'T Hear at Central

10. Please no more volunteers. We have all the Sunday School teachers, nursery workers and youth sponsors that we need!

9. Leave your cell phone on, we like to hear ring tones during the sermon.

8. Please enjoy our choir’s rendition “In da Club” by 50 Cent.

7. The Food Pantry is full. Keep your can goods at home.

6. When passing the Friendship registers please include bank account, social security and major credit card numbers. (Just in case we need them).

5. Next Week’s guest speaker: General Superintendent Rosie O’Donnell

4. There will be no offering today; we’ve got plenty of money.

3. Prime Timers meeting on Tuesday at the Isle of Capri Casino

2. New Wednesday Night Elective: Bingo!

1. On Tuesday Night the ladies are invited to a Baby Shower for Karla Prince

Friday, June 01, 2007

Billy Graham's quote on our Resposibility to our Times

On October 26, 1966 Billy Graham said these words.... 40 years later, they are still true!

"The evangelistic harvest is always urgent. The destiny of man and of nations is always being decided. Every generation is crucial; every generation is strategic. But we cannot be held responsible for the past generation and we cannot bear full responsibility for the next one. However we do have our generation! God will hold us responsible at the judgment seat of Christ for how well we fulfilled our responsibilities and took advantange of our opportunities."

Is Anyone Happy?

I’m heading to Nashville, Tennessee today. Or since Nashville is my destination, maybe I should write: “I’m fixin’ to be in Nashville, y’all.” Unfortunately, I am not going to Nashville to launch my country music career as a banjo picker, nor am I going to be the next owner of the NHL Predators, but rather there is a little denominational gathering that I was asked to attend. (Fellow Centralite and all round good guy, Mike Stipp will also be there). It’s a short meeting and I’ll be home in plenty of time to enjoy a house and pool full of Mid-Highers on Saturday.

You know, I always thought that if I ever ventured to the Country Music Capital and the land of the Grand Ol’ Opry that it would be to fulfill the dream of becoming the next Johnny Cash. You may not know this about me, but I like to sing. I’m not good at it, mind you. In fact, some would say that I border on awful. I can carry a bucket and sometimes carry a heavy load, but I can not carry a tune. No one will mistake me for Pastor Kevin, Pastor Joe, or Conway Twitty. Still, I like to sing.

I like singing the National Anthem before the Royals lose another baseball game, and I like singing “Take me out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch. (Forgive me, but I still sing “Root, Root, Root for the Tigers!” as part of that song.) I’ve been known to burst into song doing my best Gene Kelley rendition of “Singing in the Rain” when liquid sunshine is falling from the sky. And while walking in the mall, I’ll sing holiday classics, TV commercial jingles, or any other songs I’ve learned over the years, much to the chagrin of my boys. I can assure you that they are more brutal than Simon on American Idol when critiquing their father’s singing aptitude. But I’ll tell you this: Nothing gets them out of American Eagle or the Foot Locker quicker than my singing a few bars of “I’m Dreaming of A White Christmas” in the month of May.

My repertoire is not limited to already written lyrics, either. I’m no Bill Gaither; still I frequently will make up songs. Pastor Cory likes to laugh at the words that I sing on Sunday Morning which usually are nothing close to the words projected on the screens. And when Karla is not home when I think she should be, I’ve been known to sing into the answering machine my own little ditty called “Where’s my Honey.” I’ve made up silly little songs for Alex, Ben and practically everything else under the sun.

Why tell you this? I am a big believer in James 5:13. It says: “Is anyone happy? Let him (or her) sing songs of praise.” I think we should be singing more; praising the Lord more; and enjoying life more. There are too many grumpy, non-singing folks around. Don’t they know that Jesus can make you glad? You don’t need a record label contract or even a good voice. Maybe you’ll never make the cut on American Idol or even Hee Haw, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t burst into song every now and then. Is anybody happy? Let him sing songs of praise!