Friday, February 27, 2009

the Lecture: killing education one class at at time.

Lecturing is the least effective way to teach something. (Teachers and Professors know this). They’re aware of it. Yet, for some reason unknown to the rest of the world, they continue to do it. If you have been a student you’ve been there → 25 minutes into a class and you realize you haven’t heard a word the professor has said the entire time! The lecture has failed to engage you, stimulate your mind, or communicate easily and effectively the material for you to digest.

So why do professors still continue to lecture?

(FYI: This is just an observation and not directed at or responding to any particular professor or class.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Great Quote:

Hope is belief in the plausibility of the possible, not only the necessity of the probable.

- Moses Maimonides,
Jewish philosopher (1135-1204)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gandhi, what do you think?

If somebody rejects Jesus and Christianity because of the poor example of Christians, how do you think God will judge them? I'm thinking of Gandhi here. I have heard that Gandhi once said that (and I'm paraphrasing) he liked Jesus but not the church he felt that Christians could learn a few things from their master. Thus he rejected Christianity.

A little context: Gandhi grew up in India, during a time when a "Christian nation", England was oppressing his homeland. He moved to South Africa, where Dutch Christians were using a poor form of theology (Calvinism) to literally oppress and de-humanize millions of Africans. Thus, Gandhi rejected Christianity because it failed to be...well...Christian.

Now I'm not God, and neither are you (that clears a few stresses up), so I understand that none of these answers are for sure right, I'm more asking your gut feeling.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top 10 US Presidents (off the top of my head)

This list is completely subjective. From the knowledge I have about the presidents, here is my list of the 10 ten chief executives of the United States of America. I am putting this list together focusing on the influence that the president has had on the role as chief executive, on their ability to lead through crisis, and shelf value for other presidents to compare themselves to.

10 Abraham Lincoln - While he was a good president, too many people give him way too much credit. The Civil War was started because of his actions against South Carolina. His act that led towards freeing slaves, was politically driven, not ethically driven. He had the worst judgment when it came to picking advisers, as his cabinet redefined the term "power struggle." While a good president, I cannot rank him any higher than 10.

09 Woodrow Wilson - Wilson was responsible for the US's first real attempt at International relations at a large scale. Even if his idea, the League of Nations, fell flat on it back, it still nothing short of a brilliant attempt at civil discourse among the nations.

08 Gerald Ford - He is only getting on this list because he is from Michigan. Ironically, the most athletic president ever, and still he was known as the klutziest. Also, the only president to not have been elected by a national election. Also, did I mention he's from Grand Rapids?!?!!

07 Ronald Reagan - Just like FDR, who was prez 50 years prior, Reagan had an ability to move people. His leadership transformed a depressed, hopeless nation into a super-power that was full of life.

06 John Adams - As much as Washington shaped the role of President, Adams, first as VP and then as the 2nd President, was very influential in his role of developing the office of President of the United States into what it is today.

05 John F Kennedy - The issue here is not production, but the role that this man has played in shaping the White House. Kennedy's leadership was brilliant as he dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis. He turned the Presidential office into a place for stars. Obama's role was "rock star" president, is very similar to that of Kennedy.

04 Franklin Roosevelt - His 13-year term was the longest of any president (1932-1945). His strong leadership helped the US get through the Great Depression AND World War II. Agree with his economic ideas, he was nothing less than a strong charismatic leader.

03 George Washington - His White House was the first and was on that set many patterns for what the president should act like. If there is no Washington, there is no United States. So he's a pretty big deal.

02 Andrew Jackson - Morally this man made Bill Clinton look like a choir boy; He killed people, was a complete racist, and had a horrible temper. He actually killed the national bank, simply out of spite. Even with these faults, without Jackson, the presidency would not be the position that it is now. Jackson turned the presidency into a policy making position. It is because of him that we see the president as the voice of the people; or his election dictates the policy of the US government. Thanks Old Hickory!

01 Teddy Roosevelt - Teddy was a conservationist; he is the one to establish National Parks. His enthusiasm was noted around the world as he actually had a pretty strict workout routine. It was incredible. To top this off, he actually was the first president to fight greed and corruption; as his administration came up with the anti-trust legislation that eliminated monopolies. Truly a man who was a century before his time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

why do churches start so early?

Since moving to Kentucky, I have been attending Southland Christian Church, a massive mega-church on the southside of Lexington. It has been a really good experience for me, and has taught me in many ways, how to check my preferences when entering a worship service. It has been a good place for me to attend.

One of my favorite things about Southland is not related to the teachings, the plethora of services for the community, or the worship; it is the times of the services. Southland offers services at 5.30pm on Saturday night, 11.30 on Sunday morning, and 6.08 on Sunday night! You don't have to get up early to go to church. In these services it is not surprising to see a large number of people in the 18-35 age bracket; an age group that is very under represented in most churches.

One of the complaints is that church starts too early. If there are people who would be interested in church-but because they like to sleep in don't even consider it,shouldn't we adjust our meeting times? Instead I hear pastors complain that people aren't as dedicated like in the old days.

What is so sacred about 11.00am that people don't want to change their times? Honestly, I love sleeping in until 10.00am. I love it when I can relax in the morning before church; it actually makes going to church more attractive! If I wasn't going to be a pastor, and I could be picky about this issue, I wouldn't go to a church that only had Sunday morning services.

What do you think? Why do you think that churches continue to start so early?

Friday, February 20, 2009

sin makes me human? what!

Is sin inherent or intrinsic (part of the fiber of our beings)? I think that if sin it is then we have some issues.

What does this say about Adam and Eve? Were they human before the fall? Sin could not be intrinsic with their existence, because it would then imply that before they sinned they were not human. This is just plain silly!

It also implies that without sin, one would be less than human. So what does that say about Jesus? Was he less than human? Because if sin is inherent to our existence then Jesus, who did not sin, would be less than human. Which would lead to problems in our theological understanding of Christ. We don't see Jesus as less than human, he is all that is human. If he is all that is human and is without sin, perhaps to fully human is to be without sin.

Maybe sin makes us less human. That while we are in our sin, we are actually less than what our Creator intended us to be.

This is an interesting conversation. What do you think?

(These thoughts came from Dr. David Bauer in class on 1.29.09)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

missing two free throws for a good cause!

In basketball, when player not in the official score book enters the game, his team is charged a technical foul. This means their opponent is given two free throws and then possession of the ball. This rarely happens, as coaches are careful to put all the players who possibly could be playing in that official book.

Recently, this came into play as Johntell Franklin of Milwaukee Madison High School, whose mother recently had died of cancer decided last minute that he wished to play in his team's next game against Dekalb High School. Seeing he wasn't expected, his coach didn't put his name in the official book; thus when he entered the game, his team was charged a technical foul. Dave Rohlman, coach of DeKalb informed the refs that his team did not wish the foul to be called. When the refs informed the coach that they had no choice and they must call the foul, Rohlman asked his team who wanted to shoot the shots.

When senior point guard Darius McNeal volunteered for the task, Rohlman said to him, "You realize you're going to miss, right?" Darius walked to the free throw line and proceeded to roll the ball under the basket twice, in support of his opponent who had just lost his mother.

If that doesn't make you smile, what will?

you can find the story here at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

death of an organization

The moment that an organization, or company, or business dies is the moment that its focus turns to on self-preservation. When the business spends more time worrying that it might die, than focusing on how it can live, the business is in the process of dying.

The best way that this can be observed is when the business starts to protect its structures as opposed to looking for the ways that its structures can become more efficient in accomplishing the goal of the organization.

Success means that organizations take risks. They look for creative ways in which their can rethink the way that they are accomplishing their goals.

This applies to the church. How often do we have programs in place that are ineffective in their goals? Church leaders in many instances have been either content with their programs failing to be successful or unwilling to put in the effort into creatively looking for new structures to replace the ones that aren’t working.

What do you think?

Resource: In Search of Excellence

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Great Quote

"We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul."

- Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Proceedings of the Eleventh Women's Rights Convention (1866)

Monday, February 16, 2009

preaching-pt. 1.

One issue I am personally working through is with the discipline of preaching. I have gone to church my whole life, attended a Christian High School, went to church camp every summer, went to a Christian college, traveled for that Christian college to more Christian camps, and now am going to seminary. In all of these places I have encountered preaching; some good, some bad, some ...ehh. The one big issue I have with preaching is that I feel it is very hit and miss. I feel like the main reason a pastor preaches a particular sermon is, "That's a great idea!", "What church season is this?", or "My people need to hear this!." This leads to scattered preaching, repetitive series, and under-developed listeners. I think we need to re-think our concept of the sermon.

Personally, I feel the big problem is too few pastors do not ask how this week's sermon connect with a sermon from last year, or one from five years ago, or my first sermon. Their preaching is not taking their listeners anywhere! It is merely a Bible teaching that stands alone, or as a part of a series that for the most part stands alone. Here are a few reasons why I think this is so:

  • Pastors, at least from my viewpoint, fail to have a plan for their sermons. Here, I'm not talking about short term planning. I'm talking about long term planning. Most pastors develop quality series. They are good at writing powerful sermons, but they seem to be continually circling the proverbial wagons. They don't seem to have a plan for where they want to be taking their people long term. 

  • Pastors, at least from my viewpoint, preach from a position of how do my people want to hear this, as opposed to what do my people want to hear. The focus seems to be on creative presentations as opposed to the actual content of what's being presented. Some of the most creative sermons I've been a part of have been the most shallow, but some of the most creative sermons I've listened to have been the most life changing! Creativity does not equal quality, they have no bearing upon each other. Strive for BOTH!

  • Pastors, at least from my viewpoint, are merely digging to find something to speak about for next week. They've been at it for so long, they struggle to find something new and profound to say. They are tired and worn out from the endless search to be creative. They feel like they had said it all - and there is nothing new under the sun - so where is my next message going to come from? At some level being creativity has burned them out.

  • Pastors, at least from my viewpoint, look up to their favorite preacher (i.e. John Maxwell, JD Walt) and attempt to think like them, communicate like they do, model their sermons with their own. I've been there. The problem is that nobody can be JD except JD. To try and be like someone else, forces one to spend countless hours asking, "How would JD say this?" or "What Would JD Do?" (they actually have wrist-bands that help "JD-ites" focus...), instead of being genuine when on stage.

In my quest, I am asking myself (in this order), 'Why preach?', 'What should we be attempting to accomplish?', 'Where does this church need to go?', 'How can I say this in a better way?', 'Who should we be?', 'When should I teach this?'

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Music that Defines my life: John Tesh

I must give the hat tip to Bill Simmons for this beauty. This past summer when I heard this theme again for the Olympics, I was once again taken to the 3rd level of heaven (that's the place where Michael Jordan could only go to).

check it out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How I think:

I’m a right-brained personality – some might call me Type-B. This does not mean that I am not organized, nor indifferent, it just means that I am not goal-oriented. I’m less driven to have a list of things to accomplish (or if I do, I’m not likely to follow the list…). What does this mean about my personality?

I’ve noticed that I need a support-structure outside of myself. If left to myself, I’d spend the entire day on the couch flipping channels, wondering where the day went. Steph is the exact opposite, her structure is internal; nobody needs to remind her of the chores that she needs to do. As much as I’ve tried to do that - to be that guy – it’s just not who I am.

The way that my life has functioned best is through routine. I very quickly establish a routine, and stick to it. I have found that when my routine gets out of order, things very quickly fall apart in my life; I miss appointments, homework is forgotten, bills go unpaid, I forget things. Literally, I end up looking and acting like my life is a complete unorganized mess; really it’s just my routine off-track.

Through trial and error, more error than trial, I think I’ve found a solution that might help me. Last semester I organized my life - or at least tried to - on a Google Calendar. I literally spend an entire afternoon writing down everything important on this calendar in detail. I found that while it was a great tool, I just did not connect with the function all the time. Translation: I didn’t check it enough.

The answer to this problem, the Google calendar links up with my e-mail account! If the problem with my calendar is that I don’t check it enough, the problem with my e-mail is that I check it way too much. (Probably 2-4 times while I’m typing this) So the answer to my routine problem is that I am going to link my schedule to my e-mail. Hopefully getting e-mails the night before should help prepare me for the next day’s schedule.

I’ll try and check back with you some point in the semester to let you know how my new system works for me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great Quote:

Watch how you live. Your lives may be the only gospel your sisters and brothers will ever read.

- Dom Helder Camara,
former Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Awareness Test

Perhaps you've seen this before, but if not its still good!

Didn't see that coming...

Monday, February 09, 2009

- How to start a Biblical Movement -

Lessons Learned from Abraham's story:
  1. Pick an elderly couple
  2. Make sure this couple does not have children
  3. Take this couple out of a cultural center and into the fringes
  4. Make sure this person lies in significant situation
  5. If this person has a son, ask him to kill it
Lessons learned from Moses story:
  1. Look for somebody who is hiding
  2. Look for somebody doing the work of young boys
  3. Look for somebody who stutters

Lessons from David:
  1. Pick the youngest or perhaps the least significant
  2. Make him a servant to the King
  3. Perhaps make in an outlaw living in the wilderness

Lessons from Jesus' ministry:
  1. Make sure this movement starts away from the cultural center
  2. Alienate all the power players
  3. Pick followers who are uneducated, unimpressive, confused by everything you say
  4. Be considered a threat to the state
  5. Allow those rejected by society to be your biggest supporters

It so weird to see how churches often look to start movements; they look for those with the biggest resources; places where they can finance their ministry; look for the best, smartest, coolest, most promising talent to take their ministry to "the next level." This way of starting a movement does not seem to be the way that God throughout the Bible starts his movement.

What do you think?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Little Boy

You are looking at a replica of "Little Boy." Ironically, little boy was an atomic bomb that was the the most deadly device ever made. I say "ironically" because little boy is a very cute, cuddly, friendly name, but in reality this little boy was the deadliest man-made creation ever.

Why do we take such dark and evil things and give them such benign names?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

So I's my Top 25

Here’s my list of 25 things about me:

  1. I am married to the most amazing woman in the world! Her name is Stephanie and I am not exaggerating, she’s the most amazing woman in the world!
  2. I am left-handed.
  3. I have one brother named Brent who is 14-months younger than I am.
  4. I used to cheer only for the University of Michigan, but because of the fact that Chris Webber took money in order to play there, I now cheer for Michigan and Michigan State.
  5. I used to pretend that I was shooting a game winning shot (you know…3,2,1. The crowd goes wild!!! Bellinger wins the game!!!!!!) in the driveway. In high school, I was never able to do that, it took until seminary.
  6. When I went to college, I took 2 polo shirts, but did not take a pair of khakis.
  7. My favorite food is Mac and Cheese! My second favorite food is steak. My favorite meal is steak with Mac and cheese!
  8. I have memorized all the NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions (1939-2008).
  9. I’m getting a Masters in Biblical Studies (MA-BS) from Asbury Theological Seminary.
  10. I traveled to Brazil for a month in the summer of 2000.
  11. I am 6 ft 1 ½ inches tall, both of my parents are under 5 ft 7 inches
  12. I think Barry Sanders is the best football player of all time.
  13. I love dogs! If you would like to give me a puppy I would like: an English bulldog, a Brittany, a Jack Russell terrier, or a Mastiff.
  14. Anne Lamott’s book “Traveling Mercies” changed my life.
  15. I dislike Ohio State…and by dislike I mean I hope the school closes tomorrow.
  16. I believe that no meal…ever…needs to include Brussel Sprouts.
  17. I was home-schooled for two years when I was in middle school.
  18. I worked 3rd shift summer of 2003 stocking groceries at Meijer.
  19. I graduated from a small conservative Baptist high school in a class of 9.
  20. I attended my first pro baseball game on June 6, 1991. In the game the Detroit Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4.
  21. My favorite book of the Bible is Daniel. (not just because its title is my name)
  22. Mac or PC??? Mac!
  23. Steph has taught me about fashion, I like to think I am pretty good at putting together an outfit.
  24. I used to want to get a high fade…
  25. Once my brother and I got into a fight. I was chasing him around when he grabbed a foam bat (the kind with the plastic core in the middle) and started to defend himself; hitting me like 25 times. I crawled to the house giving my best “I’m dying” look. Mom was horrified and Brent was grounded for 2 weeks – one of the highlights of my childhood! (sorry Brent!)

The Lie: War Can Solve Any Problem


War always, always leads in one of two directions: more war or total annihilation. If you need examples, look at history. You'll find nothing could be more true. War does not solve anything! It only brings death and destruction.

What this sign fails to note is the fact that war does not change the heart of the oppressor. It cannot make the heart of the slaveholder change and view his former slave as a neighbor. It fails to give the dictator the ability to treat his people lovingly. It does not change a the perpetuators of a system that attempts to control all levels of life, into allowing its followers the freedom that each has been created to have.

So while the creator of this sign obviously has gone to great expense and creatively put together a beautiful sign, I must disagree with him.

What about you?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How (not) to Lead: A look at Tony Romo

Tony Romo is the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL’s most popular football franchise. Literally every action of the team documented and commented on in the local, state, and national media. This is a team where players are literally loved by all. In a sport where the quarterback is a figurehead of an organization, the most crucial player on the field, and naturally the leader of the team. In this situation Tony has constantly come under criticism for his inability to lead his team to a Championship; an unforgivable sin for the man destined to lead America's team to greatness.

As the media, and former greats have criticized him, Tony recently replied by saying, "Leadership sometimes comes from your ability to perform and personality. And some of it comes from experience..." Boy oh, boy! Tony has no idea how to lead.

What Tony seems to be shirking with his comment is the whole idea of responsibility. His main criticism is that in an off-week before a big game, he was seen taking some va-ca in Cobo...with his superstar girlfriend Jessica Simpson. This is the type of distraction that has plagued Romo his entire career, and when he is confronted by this fact, he sidesteps the fact he made a mistake and dodges the issue. The problem is that leadership centered around responsibility, not celebrity, performance, or experience. Leadership is taking the responsibility for what ever is being led.

If we want to be good leaders we must start by being responsible. It is the cornerstone for decision that a leader takes. If a leader places responsibility as their #1 priority, all other decisions will fall into place, because a responsible choice is a good choice. Not taking responsibility proves that one is not a leader. This is why Tony Romo's track record with the Dallas Cowboys will be constantly marked by failure to realize just who good they can be

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009

So True...

I found this picture in the Lexington Herald:

It's so true!