I recently participated in a Christian blogging survey by pastors.com. If you want to check out some other Christian blogs, then check out the list of everyone who participated at Rick Warren’s Blog. If you haven’t read many blogs before, then definitely check some of these out.

I am also listing great blog posts I have read in the sidebar of my blog or by going here. As I read through different blogs using Google Reader, I can flag the ones that I really like and place them on my shared page. My blog will automatically pull those into my sidebar. Pretty slick, and it’s an easy way for you to see what I’m reading and enjoying. There are a lot of good Christian blogs out there. And while you’re reading others, have you ever thought about starting your own?

Decemberadio Is For Real

February 21, 2007 — Leave a comment

We just got through a busy weekend. Our church hosted the band Decemberadio for our worship service Sunday and for a community concert Sunday night. What can I say. These guys are for real. I knew from their CD that they are incredibly talented musically, but what impressed me is what I kept hearing from everyone that had met them, that they are great Christian guys who are solid in their faith. I got to hang out with them all day and I can’t say enough about the guys. Some bands don’t sound too good live when compared to the CD, but they just rocked it out and sounded great live.

The church service was also great. Not only musically, but by getting to hear from their hearts. They shared about the whole Grammy experience, and shared about what they are learning as musicians and as Christians. Then the concert. I was blown away by the attendance. They packed out the local high school auditorium! Their stage presence was great, and they even threw in some Wayward Son by Kansas and some Lenny Kravitz for us old folks. I had a great time with the guys and I look forward to being able to host them again in the future. If you haven’t listened to their CD yet, then do yourself a favor and pick it up. They have a great old school rock sound with some real in your face Christian lyrics. The teens can’t stop talking about the concert. There is definitely a buzz about the group.

And I just found out today that they were nominated this week for 4 GMA Dove Awards! And that is after just coming back from the Grammy Awards last week!
I’m excited for them and look forward to seeing them on the awards show. I believe that they are definitely on their way to becoming one of the top bands in Christian music. And after spending time with them, I believe they will bring honor to God in everything they do.

  • Song of the Year – Drifter
  • New Artist of the Year
  • Rock Recorded Song of the Year – Dangerous
  • Rock Album of the Year

I’m sitting here tonight multi-tasking. I’m listening to a message by Ed Stetzer on Missiology while I’m finishing up my message for church, and while I’m catching up reading the blogs I’m subscribed to using Google Reader. I’m getting ready for the Decemberadio concert at our church tomorrow night and I have really been wrestling with how can our church better engage the culture that we are part of. Tonight has been one of those light bulb moments. I really think God is stretching and growing me and stepping on my toes. I’ll share more in the weeks and months to come.

Here are two great messages by Ed Stetzer on how church and culture intersect. The more I listen to Ed, the more I agree with him. His passion and vision really connect with the way God is leading me. I think these two messages should be required listening for all pastors. Please check them out!
Breaking the Missional Code and Understanding Culture

While I was listening to these messages, I read a quote from a blog post from Tony Morgan about the activities of our churches. It is another good post to get you thinking about why you do what you do. I agree that we must motivate and compel people to leave the 4 walls and do ministry, not just stay busy learning what they should be doing.

But I face one big challenge. Every time Christians step inside a church, it can remove them from the place where they have the greatest impact for God’s Kingdom—the world. It’s sad, but I wonder if we’ve inadvertently designed our ministries to isolate Christians from the places where God really wants us to be. Are we truly engaged in his Great Commission if every extra moment of our lives is spent at church?

I hear the way Christians talk. They want more opportunities to gather for worship. They want more programs to meet other Christ-followers. They want more Bible studies to help them go deeper in God’s Word. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these desires—but what’s often missing is a desire to see people outside the church commit their lives to following Jesus. As Christians, we can become so focused on our own faith journey that we forget God’s command to go tell others the Good News.

Missional Living

February 15, 2007 — 1 Comment

Tonight I was doing some research for a message on “missional” living. I ran across some great quotes by Ed Stetzer, Mark Driscoll, and Erwin McManus. The more I have read about Missional Theology, the more I am drawn to it. I really enjoyed Ed Stetzers book, Breaking the Missional Code. In it, he challenges churches to be Biblically faithful, culturally relevant, and counter culture. Here are some of the better quotes.

Churches fight over going from organ to guitars; then from guitars to keyboards; then from keyboards back to organs because retro is back in… in the end, it is never about the music style, but about whether or not the church is focused on entertaining and placating Christians or reaching its culture.
-Erwin McManus (from here)

Every institution that has as its primary focus the study of the Bible eventually drifts toward liberalism. The more you turn the Bible into an educational tool, and the less you follow it as a manual of radical discipleship that leads you to love and serve people, the more you go toward religiosity and away from Jesus
-Erwin McManus (from here)

Before anything else, the church and its ministry must be biblically faithful. We need to remember that our purpose is to apply that creativity in biblically and culturally relevant ways. The reason we engage culture is not to be cool, trendy, contemporary, or cutting edge—words that have become idols to us—but so that those who live in culture can hear the message of Jesus. That message is more than just “come to Christ,” it involves how we live and structure our lives, and it matters deeply. Our churches should share the gospel message wherever they are and whatever their cultural context. They should be known as people who love God’s Word and seek to live differently because of it.
-Ed Stetzer

Churches that are biblically faithful to God’s mission will work to relate to people in culture. We who are Christians should look similar to, but not be identical to, our culture. If we don’t, people will assume that being a Christian simply means being different—dressing differently, listening to different music styles, and voting the same way. They’ll confuse Christianity with a change of clothes, music, and political party registration. That means that Christians should use language, dress, and live life in the “house” of culture, while living differently because they are in the family of God.
-Ed Stetzer

Will your church have a mission of community, or be a community of mission?
-Mark Driscoll

A Little LOUD!!

February 12, 2007 — Leave a comment

The youth band finally got together and led the music at church on Sunday. I may be a little partial, but it was great. Hopefully by next week, everyone’s hearing should be back to normal. We were just a little loud. Well, maybe a lot louder than normal. Jimmy brought his 4 x 12 stack and I had to crank up my amp to compete. We had some serious distortion coming through the speakers. Jimmy was awesome. I have really enjoyed practicing with him. I have picked up a lot from listening and watching him. I’m more of an acoustic rhythm player, so when I play electric I really don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing!

I can’t say enough about the youth who sang and played. Hannah did great on the keyboard, especially on our version of BarlowGirl’s Never Alone, and all the girls sounded great singing together (and Josh too!). You could tell that they have put in some serious time working out the harmonies. The girls also joined up on flutes for one song which turned out great. And as always, Luke was solid on drums.

It always seems that we don’t practice enough, and that we not ready. But God always works it out. It’s not about performing, it’s not about being “tight” with the music. When we worship God, our focus is not on the music, it is on the creator. I hope we conveyed our joy and our excitement of worshiping God with the music of our generation. We can stay culturally relevant and Biblically faithful at the same time. I’m proud of our youth and I look forward to hearing them more in the future.

Design With Vision

February 12, 2007 — Leave a comment

The theme of SolidWorks World this year was “Design With Vision”. As a designer, I know the importance of vision. It is what separates a follower from an innovator. Companies must have vision to create something new, to create something exciting, and to create something that will solve problems. The CEO of SolidWorks, John McEleney, shared 3 thoughts pertaining to designing with vision.

  1. Great products solve great problems: Engineers solve problems, so it follows naturally that the greater the problem, the greater the solution.
  2. We must find solutions to answer the “absurdly ideal”: He gave several illustrations to make this point clear. One was the company SawStop. They asked the question, “What if we could design a table saw that cuts wood, but not cut your fingers?” This is an absurd question, but it is one that they came up with an ideal solution for. By designing a table saw that can stop the blade quickly by detecting the change in electrical charge when the blade comes into contact with flesh, they created a great product that solves a great problem
  3. Nobody gets it right every time: We must have the courage to fail, and the courage to try again. Most great designs don’t occur on the first try. It takes patience and vision.

As I was listening to his speech, my mind was on much more than just designing products. I was also thinking about how this relates to church as well. Our church is in the process of creating a structure to accomplish the vision God has given us. We are literally “designing” a church. Usually this is done before a church starts, but due to the unusual circumstances from which we started, we are doing this as we go.

We have the greatest solution to the greatest need in the world, the need for Christ. Do we approach it with the same passion as an inventor who is trying to solve one of the world’s great problems? We must ask some absurd questions to think about what we are really trying to accomplish. It takes vision and it takes creativity. And we cannot be afraid to try something new and fail. Yes we should seek guidance from God, and yes we must stay Biblically faithful, but we will make mistakes and we will do things that don’t work. When this happens, we need to recognize our mistakes, and keep trying! That is why this site is called Faith Engineer.

The Good and The Bad

February 8, 2007 — Leave a comment

Now that I’m back home in the mountains, I wanted to share the good and the bad of New Orleans.

I’ll go backwards, First the bad:

  • No sweet tea! Come on, isn’t this the south? I went through sweet tea withdrawal while I was there.
  • The shady areas of the French Quarter: after walking around I realized that it was a very strange place. Definitely not a place to hang and chill. I know that there is a huge need for ministry to this area, but you can sense the sin and evilness of the area.
  • The airport – It’s New Orleans so I expected good food even at the airport. Unfortuantely the airport was pretty old and run down.
  • Internet at the hotel – I stayed at the Riverside Hilton. The hotel was nice, but the internet was terrible. You had to pay by the hour and the connection continually dropped.

Now the Good:

  • beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde – the french version of Krispy Kreme doughnuts covered in powedered sugar. Extremely good
  • The IMAX movie – Hurricane on the Bayou. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It was great to see on a 50 foot scene the aftermath of the storm. Amazing footage and an amazing story
  • Spending two days in New Orleans with my wife in a great romantic city without the kids. We had a blast. I can’t believe we have been married for almost 12 years. She is the greatest. I honestly can say that I’m more in love with her now than I have ever been.
  • New Orleans is back in business. I went to a conference with almost 4000 engineers and the convention center area handled it with no problem.
  • Nola – Emeril’s contemporary restuarant – Wow, this was great. I think this was seriously the best meal I’ve ever had. Great food, cool atmosphere, good service, and the bill was … well it was kinda expensive.
  • The SolidWorks convention. I learned a lot of new cool tricks and tips on the software. I enjoyed listening to Steve Wozniak, Leonard Nimoy, and Col. Lewis Setliff III who was in charge of the rebuilding effort for the Army Corp of Engineers. He shared the amazing scope of the damage and what had been done to repair the levees and canals.
  • The Moobella Ice Cream. Have you ever seen a vending machine that makes up to 12 flavors of real ice cream at your command. I’m talking the real stuff, when you want it, and good. I would compare it to Ben & Jerry’s. It’s that good and it was designed in Solidworks. It was the hit of the conference.

We had a great trip, but I’m glad to be home. It was a good place to visit, but I love the mountains … and sweet tea!

In The Big Easy

February 6, 2007 — 1 Comment

I’ve been quiet lately because I haven’t had much internet time the last few days. I staying busy checking out the city during the Solidworks Conference. I listened to Steve Wozniak this morning during the keynote speech and I have sat through a whole bunch of break-out sessions on design. Jennifer flew in last night and we are headed over to Emeril’s Nola restaurant tonight. I’ve got a lot to blog about when I get the chance.

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