I've been tagged probably a half dozen times to do one of these new "meme" things that bloggers are doing. Thanks to all who tagged me for involving me in your digital chain letter...

The rules are to share six random things about myself and tag six others who will then have to share six random things and tag six others. You get the idea. It's a vicious cycle of randomness and I'm not sure that it's very barbaric to be involved in anything that is called a "meme". Nothing I do is random, it's all strategically calculated and executed with military precision. And if you beleive that, have I got some property to sell you!

I won't tag anybody else, I think the world of the meme will somehow go on fine without me. But if you want randomness, randomness you shall have:

  1. When I first felt called to ministry I thought I would end up as a missionary in Africa or South America.
  2. I was on academic probation for my second semester of seminary. The first semester Old Testament class is the only time I've gotten lower than a C in anything.
  3. I started shaving my head when I lost a fraternity bet and Erin gave the guys permission to cut it all off. Best bet I ever lost.
  4. I love thunderstorms. It's raining hard outside right now and I'm as relaxed as I can be.
  5. I want a motorcycle. Maybe it'll happen sometime in the future. Look for me, I'll be the preacher in jeans on the bike (getting 45 miles to the gallon!).
  6. I don't like writing six random things, so as an act of rebellion, I'm only writing five.

What the Braves Need...

It's July, almost August, and baseball is in full swing. My Cardinals are only four games back in the Central Division and they're tied for the wild card chase. I got to watch them stomp Atlanta last night in a game that had some really entertaining moments.

For those of you who don't follow sports, let me give you an update. Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves traded their first baseman, Mark Teixiera, to the LA Angels for their first baseman, Casey Kochman. In the long run, that may be a beneficial move for the Braves, but for now, it's a setback as they lost one of their leading hitters and run-scorers.

The Braves are 9 games out of first place and have looked pretty flat all season. They're usually good for about 8 innings every game, but always have that one inning that they give up too many runs and reach a point of no return. It's not the Braves that we loved from the 90's for sure.

I'm in the process of establishing next year's leadership for Mt. Bethel and there are alot of considerations that must be made. At the same time, I'm watching the Braves and trying to figure out why they look so flat this year. I believe it comes down to leadership. In the 90's, you had some great leader figures on the team and the team acted like one. They worked together, they laughed and cut up, and they won games. Now, if you watch them, who would be the leader? Most people point to Chipper Jones, but he's hot and cold all the time and now plagued with injuries. What about John Smoltz or Tom Glavine? Also hurt.

I compare them to the other teams that are doing well and those teams may have some star power on the lineup, but more importantly, they've got leadership. Guys that may not be dazzling everybody, but that are rock solid and consistent that provide inspiration for their teammates. I've determined that great leadership isn't found in a person's spectacular ability, but in the way that they make everyone else better.

Great leaders give 100% and therefore can expect 100%. Great leaders pick up their teammates when they're down and help them keep perspective when great things happen or when things get too serious. Great leaders can laugh and also give vision and direction.

Our churches need this same leadership. Too often, church leaders get leadership confused with doing EVERYTHING. They forget that they haven't been called to be better than everybody else, but to make everybody else better.

It's tragic when that's lost and we have to search for that leadership wherever and whenever we can. As a pastor, I also know that if I work hard and inspire others to work hard while giving them the freedom and security to screw up every now and then, those quality leaders will rise to the top. Thank God we're seeing that take place at Mt. Bethel.

It's not always the strength of the single Barbarian, but his or her ability to pull together the strength of other Barbarians.



Do you suffer from insomnia? I don't, but I provide a great cure if you do.

My sermons are once again online. If you'd like to hear, you can either find them on iTunes by searching for "Mt. Bethel" under podcasts or you can simply go to Mt. Bethel's Sermoncloud Page and have it streamed to you or download it to your computer.

Drowsiness and dizziness may occur. Don't operate heavy machinery or drive a car while listening. Most of all, enjoy. If you hear one you like, let me know. If you don't - keep it to yourself.

Pastors, feel free to steal my material, change it, use it. If something I did helps your situation, then by all means... One request: write your own sermons - don't be one of those slack preachers that downloads or plagiarizes sermons so they can play more golf. See my previous post on laziness and spring fever.


Spring Fever

For all of you who have known me for any amount of time, you know that I have an unquenchable case of spring fever. Every year since I was in elementary school, around the end of March, I have been plagued with an uncontrollable desire to be lazy.

It's been compared to "senioritis", but I've found it to be much more serious and to show up annually, instead of during the last year at a school. It causes lack of motivation, daydreaming, forgetfulness, and low energy. In elementary, middle, and high school, it caused alot of conflict with my mother. In college, it might have caused me a couple of B's or C's when I could have had A's. Now, it causes work around the house to get backed up, sermon preparation on Fridays and sometimes Saturdays, and procrastination on blogging.

This year, my spring fever even has spring fever and it didn't kick in until June and it's lasting through July. I might not finish this post until next week.

This is also a time that I believe our churches suffer from spring fever. Most churches (at least all but the one I'm serving) have lower worship attendance during the summer and finances get tight. Right now, my church, along with several others, is looking at opportunities to reach out to families - especially families fighting the high gas prices and not traveling this summer. However, we're dealing with a lack of motivation that seems to be contagious.

Maybe you're that super person that can't relate at all to being unmotivated to follow through on daily tasks. Maybe you've never had spring fever or senioritis. Or maybe your smiling as you read these words, glad that someone else can relate to how you feel. I don't think it's just misery that loves company, laziness does too.

I could be satisfied watching baseball all summer (did anybody catch Josh Hamilton's 28 home runs in the first round?), mowing the yard every other week, playing with my kids, playing more golf, and working the minimum 40 hours each week until Labor Day, but that doesn't do justice to what God has called me, or the church, to. So how do we fight this?

What tactics do you use to keep yourself on track in seasons like these? If you're a leader in your church, how do you keep others motivated on a day perfect for cloud watching?

Procrastinate a little on whatever you have to do today and take a few minutes to let me know what you think.


Eye Candy

I know I'm writing less and bragging more, but I wanted to share some more pics of the kids. Apparently Camp Grandmom and Papa is going very well.