Friday, May 29, 2009

Friends coming to town!

It should be a great few days coming up for our family. On Sunday, Mac and Mary Owen from Celebrate Recovery are coming to share their testimony (click here). I have met Mac and Mary--what great people. Their work is inspiring and their spirits infectious!

Then Sunday afternoon, after our daughter Emily's dance recital, my book friend Keith Stanglin and his family will spend a couple of days with us. Keith, his wife, Amanda, and my wife Becki and I met in the chorus at Oklahoma Christian University, and we have stayed friends throughout this time. Keith has a Ph.D. in historical theology, and he teaches at Harding.

Should be great!

What do you look forward to doing when you see long time friends?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Online Social Networking - How to use it to reach out & meet new people in person

Sorry for the delay in posting, guys. In addition to my normal busyness, last week I was working on finishing up a D.Min. paper on how to use online social networking for outreach.

When I get my paper in final form, I'll put it out on the web. There was a lot of interesting research, and of course, different parts of the paper have been implemented with the creation of the Missional Outreach Network. We also have also launched a High Pointe Facebook page. These are just the start of this, however!

Two interesting sites that I found in my research were and At the nearbytweets site, you can find Twitters users who are close to you. You can search this group by keyword, such as "Christian," "Texas Rangers," "spiritual," "lonely," etc. and find people with common interests. By following this person, messaging them, you could invite them for a face-to-face get together for coffee or the like. Could be a great way to meet new people. (I thought church planters might really find this helpful.)

A similar type of concept is the meetup site, except it is not based on Twitter. On this site, you join a group based around an interest, and then schedule face to face meetings. Here are the groups close to the 75070 zip code that use the word "Christian." There is a group that meets to discuss outreach. This type of resource sharing is good--much like the Missional Outreach Network. But this can also be used to meet non-Christians. For instance, there is a McKinney Moms Meetup group, a Collin County Progressive Book Club group--in fact, there are 748 meetup groups in McKinney, covering everything from parenting to health to religion to hobbies to business and more.

One of the best things that we could do for outreach is for 2-3 Christians to find something that they enjoy from these groups and start attending one of these groups. (We are much better at witnessing when we have anothe Christian with us, for people can see our love and community.) The mindset must be to really want to be there, to really enjoy the people and interest--and yes, to find opportunities to share faith as relationships build as a natural part of who we are.

Many Christians do not have any meaningful relationships with non-Christians. This is a way to change that. The possibilities are endless.

How do you see that the nearbytweets and meetup sites can be used in reaching out to non-Christians?

Friday, May 15, 2009

How churches are connecting with young people

Ed Stetzer has a new book out called Lost and found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them. Note this excerpt:

Young adults have very little recollection of communication before e-mail. Now we would not know how to live without BlackBerriers, iPhones, iPods, text messaging, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. American Idol has moved text messaging into the national spotlight, and presidential campaigns use social Web sites to spread the fever for change. So why wouldn't churches seek to embrace technology as a major means to the goal of saturating the planet with the gospel?

In our research I've discovered that a new generation of churches and a growing number of older churches are embracing technology for this very reason. More specifically, churches that are connencting with young adults are increasingly using all sorts of technology:
  • church Web sites

  • email and IM

  • video, video chat

  • web-based small groups

  • blogs

  • social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter)

  • e-invites and e-vites

  • e-newsletters (and trashing paper newsletters)

  • satellite

  • podcasts

  • vodcasts

  • Webinars

The first thing a missionary must do is learn the language of the people he is trying to reach. We must learn to communicate through mediums that young adults use if they are to hear us.

Which of these communication methods does your church use? Which methods does it need to add?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Laurie Parkinson baptized tonight!

Here are some pictures of Laurie Parkinson being baptized tonight. Jim and Pam Barr and I have been studying with her for about three months, going through the Story of Redemption. God has used many people and many events to lead her to this point. Dick, the minister below who baptized her, was one of those people. He was present at the hospital when her daughter Katie was paralyzed in a car accident.
I am so excited about Laurie's decision! We will now put together a discipleship group around her using the BELLS/BLESS model, which seeks to imitate the lifestyle of Jesus. Baptism is a new beginning, but not the end of our journey with God. Praise God!

What types of discipleship, post-baptism discipleship groups are you familiar with?

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Doctor and Dietician You've Always Wanted

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ..... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans ! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape! Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember: 'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride'

AND.....For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.
1. The Japanese eat very little fatand suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fatand suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wineand suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Eat and drink what you like.

Now that is a doctor I like! (Note: This blog post is joking. Do not follow this doctor's advice.)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

High Pointe in the Park

1. May 27 - Samaritan Inn/High Pointe in Your House - This is a night we are hosting baccalaureate for McKinney High School at our church, seeking to use our building in a way that blesses our community. We will be encouraging people to use this night to have a nonchurched friend or neighbor into their home, or to go out with them to do something fun. We are also working on having a group that will go over the Samaritan Inn, a local homeless shelter, and share a meal and serve this group that evening.

2. June 3 - High Pointe in "Habitat Park" - High Pointe is sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity build this year, thanks to our congregation's generous giving towards outreach. There is a park right beside all of the Habitat homes in McKinney that we will go to on this evening. We will fellowship and invite the Habitat families to join us for a free meal.

3. June 10 - High Pointe with . . . - Okay, this one is still being planned and is not yet finalized. But I'm excited about the people who will put this together and the energy that they will bring to this.

4. June 17 - High Pointe in Your Park - In this week, we will spread out geographically and have small group gatherings in parks all throughout the McKinney and surrounding areas. We will identify some point people in different areas for members to join up with. The goal will again be to invite friends and neighbors to a nearby park or other gathering place and fellowship, have fun, serve, sing, etc. This can also help our members know what other members live in their area, which may lead to the development of some new geographically based small groups.

I'm excited about what God can do when we get out of our building and into the structure and locality of people's lives. The church is on a mission!

Which of these Wednesday nights would you look forward to the most? Which would be most effective in helping us in God's mission?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Characteristics of a Missional Church

Author Tim Keller speaks of how people in a missional church inhabit the world, understanding the problems and lives of ordinary people. This type of church and Christian is not expected by non-Christians, who view Christians as being obsessed with things unrelated to their lives.

What are the larger problems in the world that both Christians and non-Christians see as problems? How can the church help with these issues?