Friday, April 25, 2008

Sunday is coming...

Sunday will be AWESOME! Can't wait to proclaim the good news that Jesus can change anyone's life! Join us this Sunday Morning at the Central Church of the Nazarene in Lenexa, Kansas!

Back from Retreat

I Just got back from the Pastoral Team Retreat from the Kansas City District. It was a good time. A friend of mine was the speaker-- and he did great. Only problem was that I forgot my lap top computer-- so no e-mail, blogging, etc. this week. Hmmm... maybe that was a good thing.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekend Highlights and Lowlights

It's been a goofy weekend-- but one where I have seen God work.

  • Audrey and Brian's wedding-- beautiful, fun, awesome. Lesson: Weddings for neat couples are always fun. And they had good hors d'oeuvres at the reception too!
  • Great worship and praise in all three services. Lesson: We have talented, godly people at Central!
  • Red Wings win. Red Wings Win. Lesson: I miss Hockeytown this time of year.


  • Spending time in the hospital during a friend's health crisis (spending time with friends was not a the lowlight... seeing our friend's struggle with the issues of life wasn't great... but even in that-- God was a work and I am convinced that in the end, God will receive the Glory!!!) Lesson: God is always in control!
  • Rain and Cold at Nazarene Night at Worlds of Fun. Lesson: If its cold and raining and you wear long undies to World's of Fun-- you will still get cold and wet.
  • Thinking Ben had baseball practice-- but he didn't. Lesson: Don't sweat the things you can't control.
  • Tigers losing two out three, and the Pistons losing its opening game to the 76ers. Lesson: I miss Hockeytown this time of year.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This Week I...

What did you do this week? This week, I did several things.

This week, I …. Preached three times. I don’t always like the way a sermon turns out or the way I preached on a certain passage of Scripture. Occasionally I leave church thinking, “Wow, I should have done so much better.” But I like that God can take what is said, even when it is far less than perfect, and use it for his glory anyway. (Karla pointed out that last Sunday I said: “The fact of the matter is” three times during the course of the sermon. Hmmm? I told her, “Well, the fact of the matter is I wasn’t counting!” She said, “I was.”) In spite of using too many clichés, on Sunday lots (I mean LOTS) of people raised their hands or came to the altar indicating a need for God to work in some area of their life. Praise the Lord for his working!

This week, I …. Ate dinner with friends. I don’t like eating alone, but I love eating, talking, joking around a dinner table. Breaking bread (or in my case, a calzone at Old Chicago! Yum!) with friends is a good thing.

This week, I …. Paid my taxes. I don’t like paying taxes. Writing a check to Uncle Sam is one of my least favorite activities. But I like having clean water and safe streets and a stable government and all the things paying my taxes provides. And this summer good ol’ Uncle Sam will be sending out checks to us, so I guess that’s good too.

This week, I …. Attended the District Credential’s Board Meeting. I don’t like going to the Credential’s Board Meeting and taking a whole day out of my schedule to meet with ministers-in-training. But I like that we have a system that monitors and oversees the education and development of our soon-to-be ministers.

This week, I …. Received about a gazillion e-mails about Oprah and her new agey blah, blah, blah. (Okay maybe I haven’t received a gazillion, but I’ve gotten a lot.) I don’t like New Age blah, blah, blah whether it comes from Oprah or Oh My Goodness anybody else. But I like that people have recognized the blah, blah, blah for what it is.

This week, I …. Talked to a friend who is about to face a major health crisis. I don’t like that we live in a world where there is sin, sickness and tough things happen in life, but I like that we serve the One that said: “Take Heart, I have overcome the world!”

This week, I …. Led our Board Meeting. I don’t always like Board Meetings. There’s a reason I might occasionally (on purpose?) misspell it as “bored meeting.” But this week, we talked a lot about reaching our community and what we are doing and how we can do it better. It was a very good discussion among our leaders. We have a good church board.

This week, I … participated in our pastoral staff book review. Pastor Padraic picked the book this time: The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the missional church by Alan Hirsch. It got us a ll talking and thinking about how we are doing ministry. I liked that. We have a great pastoral staff at Central… I like that too.

This week, I …. Recommended a former Centralite, former seminarian to a District Superintendant. I don’t like those conversations if I really don’t think the candidate is qualified, but I really like it when I know they will do a great job and build the Kingdom. This guy is the latter. He’s going to make a huge difference for God!

This week, I …. Worked on my lawn mower. I changed the oil and the blade. It’s ready to go. I don’t like mowing much. But I like that it’s getting warmer and the snow is gone and finally oh so finally maybe spring is here.

This week, I …. Hung out in a couple of hospitals. Going to hospitals isn’t always fun, staying in one is even worse. But I like knowing that the Great Physician is always on call. And we really can call out to God and God really does hear and answers prayers.

This week, I …. Shopped at my neighbor’s semi-annual Gear Garage Sale. I normally don’t like garage sales, but I like this one. New Shirts (with a teeny rip in the back) for a buck. Yippee! There were so many other Centralites there—I thought maybe we should take an offering and consider my neighbor’s garage and off-site venue for another worship service.

This week, I …. Waited for our out-of-town company to arrive at our house. I don’t like that the Queen of Clean (read: Karla) is turning my day off into a mowing, cleaning, scrubbing, doing a million “honey-do” jobs because “Rob we need everything perfect for our guests.” But I do like friends coming to visit.

This week, I … Spent some good time with the Lord, but I wish there had been more time. I don’t like it when I don’t make time or take the time for God, and I completely understand what good ol’ William Wilberforce was getting at when he said, “I must secure more time for private devotions. I have been living far too public for me. The shortening of devotions starves the soul, it grows lean and faint. I have been keeping too late hours.”

This week, I … Wrote an e-mail to the church and I didn’t know what to write, so I wrote about some of my likes and dislikes of what happened during the week. I hope that was OK.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Central Students

I have a couple of humans living in my house that are different from me. They don’t have a third eye ball or an extra limb growing from their shoulder. It’s worse. They were born sixteen and thirteen years ago respectively-- which clearly means they are (hold on to your hat): Teenagers.
Teenagers are definitely different from me. In their pre-teenager days, my boys used to think that I was the cat’s meow, now they think I am old mainly because I use clichés like… the cat’s meow. They used to wear the clothes I chose for them (Ben was so cute in his little giraffe sweater), and they got their hair cut when I said it was time to head to the barber (Alex was so cute in his “bowl” cut). Today, they would rather be trampled by a herd of giraffe than wear a sweater with a crocheted giraffe on the front and “bowl haircuts” are not among the approved styles at Great Clips. We don’t like the same music (My music taste is refined and dignified; their music is too loud, too unintelligible, and just plain too noisy. Hmmm that’s what my mom said about my music back in the day… weird!). We don’t like the same TV shows. We don’t visit the same websites. In some ways we speak in different languages. For instance, if I say the shoes I am trying on at Wal-Mart are “tight” that means I need to try on another, slightly bigger pair of shoes. If Alex says the shoes in the window of Foot Locker are “tight,” that means they are a very fine pair of shoes and well worth the $125 price tag. If Ben and I are talking about “gauges” I am more than likely referring to the oil level indicator or RPM recorder on my car’s dashboard, while Ben is probably speaking of someone’s ears. We have different tastes and different styles and use different words in conversation.

Having said all that… I am still glad these boys are my sons. I’m proud of them. I love them more than you will ever know.

I’ve been around some other teens lately. On Monday, I had a basement full of the creatures known as Teenager. They were hanging out and cheering for the Jayhawks. It was a fun night as they allowed this old guy to join them for the Rock Chalk Jayhawk victory. All were polite. All ate lots of chips and salsa. All were having fun and yelling loud (especially when “Super Mario” sank that three pointer at the end of regulation), and when the last student left I thought, “We have some good teens at Central.”

On Sunday Night, I was in the Student Center as our teens led in the worship. We had students leading the worship songs, students playing the instruments, students praying, students reading scripture, students receiving the offering, and students singing specials (By the way, the song the Jessica Gibbons sang on Sunday night, she wrote! Wow! What a talented young lady.). When the service was all said and done, I thought, “We have some good teens at Central.”

A couple of weeks ago, I was in El Salvador with 20 of our students. Here’s what I observed: the students worked hard, rarely complained, displayed good attitudes, reached out to the people we were ministering with, and in all ways showed the love of Christ. When we returned I thought, “We have some good teens at Central.”

I’m encouraged! I don’t know if you’ve heard but “we have some good teens at Central!” These students are not “the church of tomorrow,” they are the church of today! They are talented, gifted, and already doing ministry.

If you are my age or older it’s easy to read about the “troubled youth in America” or watch a news story about some messed up kids and conclude that all students are the same. Not true. There are plenty of God-loving, God-pleasing, God-serving youth. You’ll see them sitting in the first few rows in church on Sunday, and for some of us they are sleeping in the bedroom down the hall.

Are our teens perfect? Nope (but, ahem… look in the mirror and that guy or gal staring back at you isn’t perfect either). Is it easy to be a teenager these days? Nope again. (Have you been in a middle school or high school lately?) Those two facts should cause us to pray for our students, and encourage them, and love them and when you have the opportunity hang out with them—you just might learn something. And while you’re at it—how about praying for Youth Pastor Cory and all our youth sponsors who are investing their lives in our students?! And if you do, the teens and I would agree that getting more people praying, loving, encouraging and standing with them in the situations of life would be very “Tight.” (And as we’ve already learned…that would be a very good thing!)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Go Team Go?

I'm a sports fan. And I really get it that people are excited about KU winning a championship and the Royal's doing so well and the Wizards... (Does anyone care about soccer? I didn't think so.) But you get the idea, KC is rocking: "Yea our teams are doing great!"

We talk about it with our friends. We talk to strangers about it. It's great news: "Yea! Our teams are doing great." We are passionate about our teams.

Are we equally passionate about our Lord? I am amazed at people who say: "I could never talk to strangers about my faith, that's just not my "gift" but these same folks seem to have no problem talking to strangers about KU. Just where are our priorities?

This is in no way a sports bashing blog... you know I love my sports, but c'mon our commitment to Christ and his calling us to make "more and better disciples" trumps anything that happens on a field or court.

Monday, April 07, 2008

This weekend at Central

What I liked about Sunday at Central...
1) I liked the video in the changed series... thanks Danial Hawkins for producing it and thanks to Jim Gorman for starring in it. (Hopefully we will get these on the Web site soon).
2) I liked the children's skit in both services... not only did they do a good job-- but it really fit in with the sermon. Super!
3) I like the Favorite Teacher Brunch... we had several "Favorite Teachers" here-- making this annual event a big success!
4) I like the Youth led service in the PM. We have some talented teens!
5) I liked seeing the success of our Junior Quizzing program in the PM too--- we have some smart kids!

What I didn't like about Sunday at Central...
Several individuals left a broom by my office-- I think in reference to the Royal's sweeping wins against my beloved Tigers. Wow... kick a guy when he's down!