Monday, February 11, 2008

The Naked Truth

Stemming from my involvement in church planting, I have seen a lot of direct-mail postcards over the last six years. Heck, I've even helped design a couple. Lately, some people have begun to question the effectiveness of direct mail, since so many different kinds of organizations use it. The biggest problem is finding a way to get your card noticed- you know, something that would make an individual want to save it instead of just throwing it away.

I must admit, if I had received the card above, I'd have kept it. AND, it would have made me curious about the church that sent it. Still, I just don't think you'll ever be getting a postcard like this from me, inviting you to visit Convergence Christian Church, even though we will be a church that invites you to "come as you are."

Plus, I just don't have that kind of chest hair...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hot Wings addendum

Ah, I love it when an entry helps to generate synergy. The "Convergence" site is really all about community, and I think it's great when anyone wants to contribute to something I've written about.

In the spirit of that very notion, Fred posted a comment last night on my "Hot Wings" entry that included the suggestion that, "there ought to be a rule that wing prep should be done while wearing an apron with a witty phrase on the front. this allows everyone at the party to know who's in charge. (i.e. "Fred be doin' the BBQ-in')."

Then he sent me a picture.

So, as a helpful addition to my thoughts on the perfect hot wing, here the mighty Fred-O demonstrates his readiness for the big game. However, his wife was too embarrassed to be seen with him, so he had to snap this shot of himself in the mirror. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

See the Shrimp!

The picture I used for my "Jumbo Shrimp" entry is actually from a restaurant in Galveston, TX. Gaido's Restaurant is located at 3900 Seawall Blvd, and also sports a dandy giant Crab out front(It's just to the right of the lower picture). I'm not sure if the restaurant is still open, and if it is, I honestly have no idea what the food is like. But hey, they've got a giant shrimp, and that's not something you see just everyday!

If any of you Houstonians get down to Galveston, check out Gaido's and tell me if the shrimp is still there.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Severe Mercy

I just finished a book called "A Severe Mercy," by Sheldon Vanauken. It's a bit hard for me to sum up, as any synopsis seems trite in the case of this book. It is autobiographical- the story of Sheldon and the life he shared with his wife Jean, (who is nicknamed "Davy" after her maiden name, Davis) and their journey to faith in Christ. Their lives collectively spanned much of the 20th century, and he is an amazing story teller, which makes it a great read for people who enjoy history. They also knew the scholar and author C.S. Lewis, and the book contains 18 letters from him to them, which gives an interesting side profile for Lewis fans.

But none of these things by themselves made the book great; the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts that it was more of an experience for me than a simple story. Vanauken is real and honest, and has a meticulous (and wonderful) knack for details that allows you to feel as if you are literally observing their lives with them.

The book was published in the 70's, so you can probably find it at a used book store or online at Amazon for a few dollars. If your experience is like mine, you'll be hard pressed to think of anything else you should have spent the cash on.

Monday, June 4, 2007


I'm reading a really terrific book right now called "Simple Church", by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. My friend Mike made a comment about Pharisees on the "chainsaw" entry from the Convergence blog that made me think about something these guys wrote about, and I thought I'd share a little piece of it with you.

If you like the History Channel, this stuff is right up your alley. If not, well, you could always watch Andy McKee playing guitar again!

The Revolutionary (Taken from "Simple Church", by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger Copyright 2006. B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN)

"If anyone knows simple, it is Jesus.

If anyone is a revolutionary, it is Jesus. He is the original simple revolutionary. He stepped into a complicated and polluted religious scene. It was cluttered with Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians, Zealots, and Essenes. He did not play by their rules. He could not stand their hypocrisy. He preferred spending time with tax collectors and sinners.

The religious leaders had developed a religious system with 613 laws. They chose the number 613 because that was how many separate letters were in the text containing the Ten Commandments. Then they found 613 commandments in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). They divided the list into affirmative commands (do this) and negative commands (don't do this).

There were 248 affirmative commands, one for every part of the human body, as they understood it. There were 365 negative commands, one for each day of the year. They further divided the list into binding commands and nonbinding commands. Then they spent their days debating whether the divisions were accurate and ranking the commands within each division.

Enter Jesus. Jesus has the ability to take the complex and make it simple. A prime example is Matthew 22:37-40, where Jesus gives what has become known as the Great Commandment..."

Sorry- I'd better stop there. I'd definitely recommend checking the whole book out. Especially if you are hungry for a simple perspective on what it means to be the church.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007



My buddy James recently sent me a video of a guy named Andy McKee playing guitar. This guy is amazing. I would highly recommend checking out one or two of the videos of him I have listed on the side here. The experience is really as much visual as it is audible. Especially in the case of his song called "Drifting".

Again, wow.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I've already told you a little about Brian Jones. When I was in worship ministry, this is one of those devotions that I would have printed out and read almost verbatim during a rehearsal. I am pretty sure that the prayer time that followed would have gone on for awhile. The truth that he shares here is priceless- I hope it will travel deep inside and stir your soul. If you're discouraged, I hope it will give you strength to get up and serve.

In the Giant's Grip

by Brian Jones

In John Bunyan's classic allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim's Progress, the central character, Christian, flees the City of Destruction and seeks eternal life. During his long pilgrimage he walks on the narrow path of the Hill of Difficulty, down through the Valley of Humiliation, passes through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and eventually reaches the Celestial City. Along the way he meets the characters Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Hopeful, and Faithful. At one point on his journey, Christian narrowly escapes the Doubting Castle, which is guarded by the Giant Despair. Thinking that those following behind him might fall into the giant's lethal grip, he decides to make a sign to warn future sojourners about the giant. The sign he erected read:

Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle; which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial Country, and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims.

Then Bunyan adds:

Many, therefore, that followed after, read what was written, and escaped the danger.

I must not have been paying attention while I was pastoring in Ohio, because I blew right past that sign. During that time my soul was in the grip of the giant. I was miserable beyond description. I was angry, bitter, depressed. I slept too much, ate too much, and withdrew from people. I stopped smiling. This was one pilgrim the giant had no problem overpowering. Then something happened: the more I reached out to hurting people, the more wiggle room I noticed in the giant's grip. Over time, while throwing myself into the lives of other people, serving them, and loving them, both in our church and outside, each act of love and service brought me a little closer to home.

Do you find yourself in the lethal grasp of despair right now? God has provided a second way for you to hold on during life's difficult moments. In addition to living in authentic Christian community, serve others. As you serve others in the midst of your pain, orienting your entire mind, heart, and soul around serving others in Jesus' name, supernatural things will happen that will loosen the giant's grip on your soul.

Check out Brian's new book Second Guessing God: Hanging On When You Can't See His Plan at
or your local bookstore now! (all proceeds donated to the church Brian serves)