Thursday, July 31, 2008

Holding Hands in Prayer

Stuff Christians Like is becoming one of my favorite blogs. Being raised in the church, I can relate to so much of what he writes about. And the dude is hilarious.

A good example is this post about prayer postures, hand placement, etc.:

A week before every retreat my men's group goes on, our leader asks us to pray for certain people. Usually it's the worship leaders because we know that they will need to rock like they have never rocked before during the retreat. Sometimes it is the small group leaders. But regardless of who it is, we always pray with our hands on them.

I'm cool with that. I mean it seems like Jesus was big on the intimacy of physical touch when He healed folks and I think it's a nice way to visibly show your support for someone. But, there are five people you meet in situations like this. And if you're a new Christian, perhaps converting after reading my insightful "Booty, God, Booty," I think you need to read this.

The five people you meet in a "hands on" prayer circle:

1. The Tickler
This is the person that seems to have some sort of tickle radar, accidentally finding a way to place their hand in your most ticklish spot. While the minister leads a heart wrenching prayer about someone losing their beet crop to the winter storms, you try not to burst out laughing and wet your pants from the tickler's hand.

2. The Kung Fu Gripper
Are we in a fight dude? Seriously, do you need to clench your hand on the nerve in my shoulder that Spock used on Star Trek to knock folks out? I get it, you're strong. You bought those little spinny push up devices they sell on television and you're taking creatine now and working on your gluts. Awesome, but you are destroying my neck right now. We're going to street fight when this prayer is over, aren't we?

3. The Lingerer
I mentioned this guy briefly in my holding hands post. And the same things are true in this case as well. This is the guy that continues to keep his hand on you long after the prayer has officially ended. We're done. They're clearing the chairs. I just want to go home but for some reason, my egress is blocked by this guy's hand. I've said it before and I will say it again. Think of letting go as a race. I want us to win. I want you and me to set a new land speed record in letting go. Come on, we can do it. Eye of the tiger. Eye of the freakin' tiger.

4. Sir Sweaty McSweaterton
Did you run here? Did you carry your car on your back like some sort of world's strongest man competition? Are you wearing wool underwear in Georgia in July? These are honestly the only reasons I can think for how sweaty you are. I'm sweaty too, don't get me wrong, but I feel like the ocean itself has its hand on my back right now. You are salty and wet and this prayer feels really long right now.

5. The Awkwarder
I'm not sure if you know this, I mean it might look different from where you are sitting, but that's my inner thigh you have your hand on. I'm just saying. I hate that two people beat you to the "prayer money spots," my shoulders, but just because all my good prayer spots were taken doesn't mean you need to put your hand in my armpit. Put your hand on my head, but wait, don't intertwine your fingers in my hair. We've talked about that. For like half an hour. That's not cool.

I am sure you can add your own, like Iron Hand, the guy that puts all his weight on you when he puts his hand down. But I have to clear something up. When I wrote my post about holding hands, someone accused me of not liking to touch the homeless. That felt like a fairly logical takeaway from my post and was exactly what I had intended. So let me be upfront, I don't mind touching the homeless. (What a delightfully weird sentence to end with, but there it is. That's how I roll, weird.)


I've had the privilege of leading a Bible study a couple of times this month at the Woodburn Christian Children's Home. The kids and houseparents all attend church at Cedar Creek, and I serve on the board of directors of the home, so we had some great fellowship. WCCH is a terrific ministry and I'm glad to be associated with it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Becoming a Ditto-Head

It was the summer of 1991 and I had just moved to Virginia. I had become a fan of talk radio, so I wanted to see what the local stations offered. I remember scanning the dial and coming across a voice I hadn't heard before. The more I listened, I thought, "Who is this guy?" He was funny and informed and conservative. It was my introduction to Rush Limbaugh. The time spent listening to him has waned over the years, but I still tune in occasionally. Does anyone remember his t.v. show? How 'bout the updates? (Animal Rights update -- the sound of machine guns firing while Andy Williams sang "born free"; or his other updates and spoof songs).

Human Events is celebrating 20 years of Rush. Check it out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vacation Bible School

VBS begins tonight. This year's songs, lessons, games, etc. have all been created by Cedar Creek folks. The theme is a take-off from High School Musical. It looks to be a busy, but fun week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mackinaw Get-Away

We're heading up north today. (Yes Frank, I'm going out-of town -- AGAIN). I'm taking Mrs. Soren to Mackinaw Island to celebrate the fourth anniversary of her 39th birthday. We stay in Mackinaw City at a little Mom & Pop place . Mackinaw has become one of our favorite places.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back from Delmarva Family Camp

Delmarva was great. We had a lot of fun. I enjoyed hanging out with my friends Tony Washburn, John Mitchell, and David Willis. I heard some powerful sermons. Mark Fugate never fails to deliver. I also appreciated Daniel Davenport and Paul Ponchot. It was a long trip, but a fun one. It is good to be home though (even if only for a few days).

Cletus Take the Reel

Monday, July 14, 2008

Delmarva Family Camp

I'll leave early tomorrow morning for Laurel, Delaware to preach at the Delmarva Family Camp. My friend Ray Bennett is in charge of this campmeeting. It was the place where I had my first "outside" preaching gig when I was a rookie preacher nearly 20 years ago. My son Luke and my father-in-law Ray will be going with me (we usually go to The Northmen, but will be heading east this year instead). When I lived in Virginia I drove up to Delmarva for at least a day nearly every year (and most years I had the opportunity to preach), but I haven't been there since we moved to Indiana. I'm looking to getting reacquainted with the folks from the Eastern Shore (for those of you who might not know, the Delmarva Peninsula is a sliver of land on the east coast, containing Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia -- DEL-MAR-VA).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Next Time I'll Swerve

Yesterday I travelled back to my hometown for a family funeral. I was a couple of miles from my parents' house, driving down a country road, when I saw what looked like a dead bird in the road. I couldn't tell for sure what it was, but it looked fairly small. I thought I would simply straddle it, and drive right over it. Nope. It made a huge bang and I looked in my rear-view mirror to see it bounce up and tumble down the road. It was a piece of metal or rock or something. Dang! When I got to my folks' place I checked under the car and transmission fluid was pouring out all over the driveway. The thing punched a hole in the transmission pan. D'oh! So I had to call a wrecker to come get it and tow it into town. Mr. Mechanic had to special order the part from Chicago. It won't be ready until Monday. Not only am I out $350 (towing and repair), I have to drive back (270 miles round-trip) and retrieve the car (I'm borrowing Dad's for the weekend -- just like old times). I hope you had a better start to your weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I stumbled upon this guy's blog the other night. I think he is hilarious.

In other news, it seems like everyone is blogging these days (Thanks Trey)!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Driscoll's New Book

Last night I read Mark Driscoll's new book On Church Leadership. He will be writing several books in this series, designed to be read in about an hour. The book was pretty good. He outlined some basic biblical principles about elders, deacons, and church members. He also briefly stated his complementarian view of gender roles (a bit more progressive than I had been led to believe).

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th in Leo, Indiana

We had a wonderful July 4th celebration in “Mayberry.” It seemed like the entire community came out to enjoy the festivities. We arrived around 6:00pm and set up our lawn chairs. The Cedar Creek youth were selling pop and water, and there were several church family members gathered at the park. There was plenty of food, games, and fun events. Despite having lived here only five years, I still saw several people I recognized from the community . I enjoyed walking around and talking to people (something about the preacher gene – I can’t help myself). The weather was perfect and the fireworks show was spectacular.

I hope your holiday was a good one.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

NACC Thursday

Last night's worship service was powerful. Dr. Ajai Lall preached about Dangerous Faith, and he talked about the persecution of Christians that is taking place around the world. He is a remarkable man (I had the privilege of meeting him a number of times when I served at Northampton).

I have been enjoying the fellowship with a number of old college friends and many others. Dr. Thom Ranier will be speaking this afternoon, then I will head back to Fort Wayne. It has been a great experience.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

NACC Update

Day One was fun. I got to town about 3:00, so I had time to explore a little. I decided to go for a run. Less than a half-mile from the hotel is the Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds. I ran down there (the park is next to the Bengals Stadium too) by the Ohio River and found a great running path through a park.

The evening session of the Convention was good. I wandered through the display area and saw several friends. Then the service began. Worship was great and Cam Huxford preached a terrific message.

More tomorrow.

North American Christian Convention

I'm leaving today for the North American Christian Convention in Cincinnati. The NACC is an annual get-together of people from the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. There will be excellent preaching, some great workshops, and wonderful fellowship. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I'm also excited about getting to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Patrick Mead.