Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Holidays

THIS is kind of stuff than can really get me going. No, I'm not upset about what Mr. Wildmon is upset about. I'm upset because this is the kind of thing that makes Christians look like a bunch of reactionary idiots. Aren't there more important things in life to be concerned about than whether Kohl's or Old Navy says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" in their advertising?

Let's think about this for a minute. "Christmas" is one day, December 25. The "Holidays" cover Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and yes (horror of horrors) non-religious and non-Christian holidays. People, it's not even December yet! Let me illustrate -- Mrs. Soren's birthday is July 24. She doesn't get upset because I don't tell her "Happy Birthday" in June. If I did do that, she would probably think I was really weird. I tell her "Happy Birthday" on her birthday! These AFA types need to get a life already. And unless I am mistaken, the purpose of a retail business is to sell its product and make money. It's not the job of Kohl's employees to promote my faith. That's my job!

If the manager of Kohl's approached me and asked me to distribute his sales flyers along with the church bulletin on Sunday, I would refuse (duh!). That's not what the church is about. So why should the church expect Kohl's to promote our Jesus?

I read a great line yesterday (I wish I could remember the source):

"The early Christians turned the world upside-down for Christ. And they did it without:

1. Saying "Merry Christmas."

2. Boycotting businesses that refused to say "Merry Christmas."

It is utter arrogance to think that some executive is sitting in the corporate office asking, "How can we really stick it to those Christians this year?" His job is to sell his product to anybody who will buy it. I'm sorry Mr. Wildmon, in your Christmas stocking you deserve to get a lump of Kohl.

Oh Deer!

Last night I was returning home after teaching the King's Servants at the Church of Christ at West Unity (Ohio). I was about 15 miles from home went two deer appeared on the road in front of me. I slammed on my brakes (feeling like Tommy and Richard from that scene in Tommy Boy). I missed hitting the first deer, but I clipped the second one in the hindquarters. Holy snikes! Thankfully, there was no damage to my truck (other than a few deer hairs stuck to the bumper). In all the years I have been driving (especially several years in Michigan, where deer are thick), this is the first time that has happened.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Communion

We had a fantastic service today. The focus was on the Lord’s Supper (for the whole hour). We started out with a couple of songs, then the offering (while the offering was being given we showed a video about “suppertime”).

Then I preached and led into Communion time. We had four tables set up (one in each corner of the room). I directed our “hosts” to go to the tables, then instructed the people to go and receive Communion when they were ready. After several minutes, the praise team led a cross medley (When I Survey, Near the Cross, the Old Rugged Cross) then I read several scriptures about the crucifixion and resurrection. That was followed by Amazing Grace (the Chris Tomlin “chains” version) and prayer. Then we sang a few more songs of celebration, and concluded with a rockin' version of My Redeemer Lives. It was very moving. Even the senior saints loved it!
What an awesome time around the Lord's Table.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Things to be Thankful For

From Mikey's Funnies


I smell gravy, and you know what that means: It's the time of year when we should all take a moment to consider some of the things we should bethankful for. Sure, there's family and friends and good health and all that, but there are also the little things that are so important, like the fact that you live in a country where no one can force you to see"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium."
To that end, take some time this Thanksgiving week to consider thefollowing pieces of good fortune:
~ You don't have to walk around with an asterisk next to your name.
~ No one has illegally wiretapped your phone (that you know of).
~ You didn't pay $30 million for A-Rod.
~ You're not involved in a carpool with Britney Spears.
~ You aren't being sued by your own fan club because your tickets are too hard to get.
~ Bill Belichick hasn't been secretly videotaping you (that you know of).
~ O.J. hasn't busted into your hotel room.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Lord's Supper

I’ve been doing a lot of studying and reading about the Lord’s Supper (for a sermon I will be preaching on Sunday). I told Tracy, “The more I learn about it, the less I know FOR SURE.” Some of the things I have been taught in the Restoration Movement tradition have very little scriptural basis. Some of our dogmatic convictions simply cannot be proven biblically. So I am re-thinking my theology of the Lord’s Supper. Do I still believe in it and think it’s important? You betcha! Now more than ever.
John Mark Hicks, in his book Come to the Table, says that we need to revision the Supper as a “table” rather than an “altar.” The altar epitomizes the atoning work of God in forgiving sin, the table epitomizes the experience of communion.

Eugene Peterson has a great section on the Eucharist in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. “Eat the bread and drink the cup, Jesus’ body and blood. Receive the Eucharist. This is what Jesus told us to do. And this is what Christians have done ever since. We receive Christ crucified. We remember Jesus’ death and receive his broken body and poured-out blood for the remission of our sins. We hold out our open hands and receive what God does for us in Jesus. We don’t take what we are given and then go off and do whatever we will with it; we sit at the Table and eat and drink.” Wow.

He cites this poem by Reginald Heber

The Eucharist

Bread of the world in mercy broken,
Wine of the soul in mercy shed,
By whom the words of life were spoken,
And in whose death our sins are dead;

Look on the heart by sorrow broken
Look on the tears by sinners shed;
And be Thy feast to us the token
That by Thy grace our souls are fed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Here’s the reason why you shouldn’t order a custom cake from Wal-Mart:
Some people in an office had a going away party for a woman who was leaving. One of the supervisors called a Walmart and ordered the cake. He told them to write: “best wishes Suzanne” and underneath that write “we will miss you”. Here’s the cake that was delivered.


One of the fun things about have a pre-teen son is that I get to watch cool "kid" movies without feeling like a dork (because, you know, it's "father-son bonding"). Last night we watched Transformers. I didn't watch the cartoons back in the day, and I really didn't know much about Transformers, but the movie rocked! Lots of action, noise, explosions, etc. I'm sure it was awesome on the big screen.

No matter how old I get, I will probably always be 14 at heart.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Tomorrow night I'm going to West Unity, Ohio to speak to the King's Servants about preaching. Kings Servants is a group of guys that meet each week for training/encouragement in Christian living and church leadership. It is a program started by my father-in-law Ray Merritt (he has done this in two other churches too). I'm looking forward to sharing with them (tomorrow is the first of three sessions that I will be with them).

I've been reviewing some things that I want to share with them. I also started reading John MacArthur's book Preaching. It is full of good stuff.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Race Day Pics

The marathoners, John and Renee Mitchell. Crossing the finish line of the 8K.

Post-race fellowship.

My #1 running fan.

Beore the race: Joe, Mike, Charles, & Beth

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Race Day

The race today was great, except for the fact that my chip (an electronic gizmo that you attach to your shoe so your time can be recorded) came off somewhere on the course (so I guess I won’t be listed among “official” finishers. My friends and I who ran the 8K (just under 5 miles) finished within a few minutes of each other. Then we hung out for a few hours waiting for our other friends to finish the Marathon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Running in Virginia

We're leaving tomorrow to head back to our old stompin' grounds in Virginia. I'll be running in the ntelos 8K with some friends. Some other friends will be running in the Richmond Marathon (I was supposed to run with them, but my training fizzled out over the past couple of months). Looking forward to going to church with Beth and Joe Thompson. Will tell you all about it when we return.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Okay, it's starting to feel like Autumn. The weatherman is calling for a few snow flurries. I'm not ready for that yet. Yesterday I finished mowing grass and burning some leaves. It was a glorious weekend.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Christmas Music

Getting into the Christmas Spirit a little early, I picked up the new Manheim Steamroller album and the Relient K Christmas album yesterday (because when it come to Christmas, who doesn't immediately think rockin' skater music?).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Old School Candy

We had a great Fall Festival at Cedar Creek last night. Lots of games and food, and of course CANDY. Does anyone remember the marathon candy bar? It was awesome. Another fave that isn't made anymore is Bubs Daddy bubble gum. We used to buy it at the concession stand while in Little League. It was basically a long stick of gum that was loaded with sugar. We would put so much in our mouths that our jaws would hurt after awhile. Good times.