Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reflection: Why forgiveness is important...even in sport

The Essendon Football Club peptide saga has finally had some closure. This has been a messy affair not just for Essendon, but also the Australian Football League, the media, supporters and anyone affected.

Whenever life is messy often there are strong opinions, (some informed and some not so well informed). If some people had their way, Essendon, James Hird and everyone else involved in the saga would have been severely punished, tossed aside and abolished from the game, others are at the other end of the spectrum and for them nothing would have happened.

However the AFL in dealing with this matter has made some very clear statements: 

  • player welfare is absolutely important 
  • there must be integrity and fairness for all clubs 
  • illegal and sports enhancing drugs are not welcome 
  • breaking AFL rules will result in consequences 
  • we are a forgiving family

Andrew Demetriou, the CEO of the AFL (and others in the AFL) highlighted that forgiveness is an important part of the AFL, when they said there is always room for forgiveness in the AFL family. For many people forgiveness may seem strange and even a problem. However there is good reason for forgiveness to be an important value in any family or community. Basically it helps people deal healthily with their imperfections and mistakes, it encourages good relationships and makes for a stronger community.

Forgiveness is the number one priority for God and His church, it is God’s and our main message as Christians. We all need forgiveness from God (check out John 3:16-17 and Acts 13:38) but it is not just something we are asked to receive from God, we are called to be forgiving people (check out Colossians 3:13). At one stage in His ministry Jesus was asked by one of his closest companions how many times must I forgive my brother (I am sure you have asked this question about someone). Jesus’ response was, “not just once, not just seven times, but a whole lot” (you can read about this in Matthew 18:21-35). When we forgive we can live in better relationships on earth, we help others grow and we be part of a stronger community.

Like the AFL demonstrated this week, forgiveness does not come easy, it involves people saying sorry and it does not necessarily mean that someone gets away with something. There are earthly consequences when we need forgiveness, however good consequences will help us and help the community but forgiveness should always be our priority and it is God’s priority for you

Something to reflect on
Where have you lived inconsistently to what God says in His bible? Pray to God to forgive you because of what Jesus has done on the cross and by rising from the dead, ask Him also to help you live differently.
Where are there bad or poor relationships in your life? Pray about a plan to deal with these relationships, to talk to those concerned, to address the issues that have caused the poor relationship, admit how you have contributed to the problems and look for ways you can show forgiveness to others.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Adult Education courses: Animate Faith and Animate Bible

The Animate adult course imaginatively explores central topics of Christianity. 




Currently there are 2 Animate courses

Animate Faith
In each Animate: Faith session, the group:

  • watches a video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith, 
  • spends time on personal reflection and journaling, 
  • shares ideas with the group. 

Each session delves into a faith topic: 

  • God, 
  • religion, 
  • Jesus, 
  • salvation, 
  • the cross, 
  • the Bible, 
  • the church.

Animate Bible
In each Animate: Bible session, the group will watch a video featuring a leading voice from the Christian faith, spend time on personal reflection and journaling, and share ideas with the group. The order of the session is up to you and what works best for your group. Session resources are available as a complete curriculum or a la carte.

Animate: Bible is a seven-session adult exploration of the Bible.

  • Canon: Mining for the Word
  • History: Parchment to Pixel
  • Testaments: One Story, Two Parts
  • Gospels: Unexpected Good News
  • Genre:  Rhythm of the Text
  • Interpretation:  Scripture Reads Us
  • Grace:  Love Is the Bottom Line
To discover more visit:   http://animate.wearesparkhouse.org/

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Afterlife: Lutheran Bible Studies and resources

Many people have questions and views regarding death and the afterlife....
Pastor Steven King (a Lutheran pastor and pubisher) has undertaken much research and prepared numerous bible studies relating to the Biblical view of the afterlife and the resurrection.  He offers free of charge the handouts that accompany these studies.
They include:
Phases of the Afterlife (a 'step-by-step' description, based on the pattern of Christ)
Four Views of the Afterlife - Chart (graphic models: four descriptions of human existence)
General Resurrection - Scripture Insert (a collection of Scripture verse on the Resurrection)
Turtle Example - Afterlife (comparing Biblical resurrection vs. transmigration of the soul)
Church Fathers on the Afterlife (some quotations from early Christians)
Luther on the Afterlife (showing how his teaching became more biblical over time) 
Resurrection Themes in the LBW (hymns from the Lutheran Book of Worship)
Scripture on Eternal Life (from the Gosepl of John and other NT books)
Popular Statements (a 'true/false'-style quiz on afterlife themes)
Only God is Eternal (the difference between an immortal God and mortal human beings)
The Body and Soul of a Computer (using the harware/software computer as a metphor for body/soul)
Aspects of the Self (on the Biblical words for: Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength)
Word 'Soul' in the Bible (how the word is actually used in Scripture)
Formula of Concord on the Afterlife (selected Lutheran confessional statements)
On Near Death Experiences (some Scriptural points to consider)
Our Departed Loved Ones (some Bible quotes on the state of the dead)
How a Lightbulb Works (compares concept of an "eternal soul" with Biblical creation/resurrection)
Earthly and Heavenly Realms (a graph on Heaven, Earth, Hades, Sheol, Paradise, Tartarus, etc.)
Up vs Down in the Afterlife (Biblically, heaven is always up, the place of the dead is always down)
Where did Jesus go when he died? (a collection of Biblical quotations)
Descended to the Dead (a commentary on the creedal statement: Jesus 'descended into hell...")
Scripture Quotes on Sheol (OT quotations on the Hebrew "place of the dead")
Paradise and Tartarus (on the good and bad parts of Hades)
Descriptions of Hell (a collection of NT quotes on fiery Gehenna and 'the Outer Darkness')
Theology Cross vs Glory (on the distinction between faithful discipleship and 'reward' theology)
To obtain these handouts free of charge visit SolaPublishing

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Books: Digital Media resources for pastors, congregations and church workers

Social Media has become an effective tool for some congregations and Christian communities.

Following is a list of some books to help you explore how you might be able to use digital media for your context....and if you know of others please let me know by emailing me

Books from 2009 

The Digital Church: How to Use the New Tools of Technological and Communication Revolution for Your Church by Mark Brooks  (2013)
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION – The Guttenberg Press and The Church
SECTION ONE: THE BASIS FOR BECOMING A DIGITAL CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE – The Technological Revolution
CHAPTER TWO – The Church and Technology: A Historical Perspective
CHAPTER THREE – Why the Church MUST Embrace the Technological Revolution
SECTION TWO: THE BASICS OF BECOMING A DIGITAL CHURCH
CHAPTER FOUR – Your Website: The Foundation For A Digital Church
CHAPTER FIVE – Web 3.0 Mobile Websites and Your Church
CHAPTER SIX – What is SEO and Why It Should Matter to You
CHAPTER SEVEN – What Is An App and Why Your Church Needs One
CHAPTER EIGHT – Online Giving: The Future of The Plate
SECTION THREE: THE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR THE DIGITAL CHURCH
CHAPTER NINE – Social Media Is Where Your Community Is!
CHAPTER TEN – Use Facebook to Tell Your Story
CHAPTER ELEVEN – Why You Should Use Twitter
CHAPTER TWELVE – Pinning Outreach to Pinterest
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and The Rest
CHAPTER FOURTEEN – Putting It All Together



Facebook Jesus by Hintz and Courlis (2013)
Using Facebook to Build and Grow a Church. Facebook has changed the earth as we know it and has the power to revolutionize your church. No matter what your current technological skill level is, you are sure to learn techniques which will enable you to build and grow a church. From launching a fan page to advertising on Facebook, we will take you through each step and explain it in detail. Do you want to move from having a mediocre Facebook presence to becoming a FB ninja? Do you want to use technology to dramatically impact your community? Do you want to increase the quality of everything from your staff management to your outreach program? If so, this book is for you!


The iChurch Method: Changing The World When You Login by Jason Caston (2013)
The iChurch Method is a five part approach to taking your ministry online and reaching the world. In this edition, volume 2, Changing the World When You Login, we have expanded and progressed on the five parts introduced in volume 1, How to Advance Your Ministry Online. 
Part 1: Websites - Next level websites that adapt to any device.
Part 2: Multimedia - The Internet Church Campus.
Part 3: Ecommerce - Advanced Online Stores/Online Donations.
Part 4: Social Media - Building Social Communities.
Part 5: Mobile - Mobile Apps and Mobile Websites
With these five parts can help any ministry take advantage of technology and not be left behind.



Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology by Derek C. Schuurman  (2013)
Digital technology has become a ubiquitous feature of modern life. Our increasingly fast-paced world seems more and more remote from the world narrated in Scripture. But despite its pervasiveness, there remains a dearth of theological reflection about computer technology and what it means to live as a faithful Christian in a digitally-saturated society. In this thoughtful and timely book, Derek Schuurman provides a brief theology of technology, rooted in the Reformed tradition and oriented around the grand themes of creation, fall, redemption and new creation. He combines a concise, accessible style with penetrating cultural and theological analysis. Building on the work of Jacques Ellul, Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman, and drawing from a wide range of Reformed thinkers, Schuurman situates computer technology within the big picture of the biblical story. Technology is not neutral, but neither is there an exclusively "Christian" form of technological production and use. Instead, Schuurman guides us to see the digital world as part of God’s good creation, fallen yet redeemable according to the law of God. Responsibly used, technology can become an integral part of God’s shalom for the earth.


The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways by Meredith Gould (2013)
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and a growing number of other social media tools can help you build church, deepen faith, and extend your reach in previously unimaginable ways. In this easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide to digital ministry, church communications professional Meredith Gould goes beyond "how to" and explains "why to" engage your parish in the world of social media.
Social media tools make it possible to share conversations and content with the long-time faithful, disaffected millennials, the homebound, and spiritual seekers within and beyond church-the-building. Inspired by the Gospel and centered on Christ, The Social Media Gospel gently guides you and your church leaders and volunteers through the rapidly changing world of social media, helping you preach the Good News in new ways.


Click2save: The Digital Ministry Bible by Drescher and Anderson (2012)
Social media provide an opportunity for congregations to open the doors and windows to their congregational life before people ever step inside. It s no longer all about getting your message out as if people are passively waiting for the latest news from the parish, diocese, or national church. Rather, it s about creating spaces where meaningful relationships can develop. Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible is a practical resource guide for religious leaders who want to enrich and extend their ministries using digital media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and church or personal blogs. An ideal companion to Tweet If You Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation (Morehouse, 2011), Click 2 Save draws on extensive research and practical experience in church and other ministry settings to provide functional, how-to guidance on effectively using social networking sites in the day-to-day context of ministry."


The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church by Bruce Reyes-Chow (2012)
For anyone who has wondered if and how social media can benefit the church, Presbyterian pastor and social media early-adopter Bruce Reyes-Chow steps in with answers. He deftly weaves practical how-to's with a convincing rationale for why social media matters for the church. Social media novices will find an accessible introduction and ideas for getting started, while more experienced users will discover new ways to use social media in congregations. Readers will learn from Bruce's experiences managing information overload and navigating social media issues during a pastoral transition. This is a book to pick up for both practical purposes and Bruce's insightful and inspiring commentary on the ways social media is changing our culture and the church. Learn how social media allows Christians to be in the world in new, powerful, and God-honoring ways.


Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture by Pauline Hope Cheong, Peter Fischer-Nielsen, Stefan Gelfgren, Charles Ess  (2012)
This anthology—the first of its kind in eight years—collects some of the best and most current research and reflection on the complex interactions between religion and computer-mediated communication (CMC). The contributions cohere around the central question: how will core religious understandings of identity, community and authority shape and be (re)shaped by the communicative possibilities of Web 2.0? The authors gathered here address these questions in three distinct ways: through contemporary empirical research on how diverse traditions across the globe seek to take up the technologies and affordances of contemporary CMC; through investigations that place these contemporary developments in larger historical and theological contexts; and through careful reflection on the theoretical dimensions of research on religion and CMC. In their introductory and concluding essays, the editors uncover and articulate the larger intersections and patterns suggested by individual chapters, including trajectories for future research.

Digital Religion:  Understanding Religious practice in new media worlds  by H Campbell (2012)
Digital Religion offers a critical and systematic survey of the study of religion and new media. It covers religious engagement with a wide range of new media forms and highlights examples of new media engagement in all five of the major world religions. From cell phones and video games to blogs and Second Life, the book:
- provides a detailed review of major topics
- includes a series of case studies to illustrate and elucidate the thematic explorations
- considers the theoretical, ethical and theological issues raised.

Drawing together the work of experts from key disciplinary perspectives, Digital Religion is invaluable for students wanting to develop a deeper understanding of the field.


Geekpriest: Confessions of a New Media Pioneer by Fr. Roderick Vonhogen  (2012)
In this engrossing collection of stories and anecdotes, Fr. Roderick shares how he became a “new media missionary.” Focusing on the importance of personal connection (an essential ingredient of new media), he uncovers the exciting possibilities of using all forms of media to successfully accomplish the mission Jesus gave us: to evangelize the world. Each chapter contains illustrations of using new media as a way to reach out to others. Some examples:
- How the pope got his iPod
- Reaching 50,000 Harry Potter fans without waving a magic wand
- Why gaming can be good for the soul
- How to deal with online atheists
- The Mass and mass media
- How you, too, can become a new media missionary
Fr. Roderick’s stories introduce a young, secularized generation to an experience of God at work in his Church and in individual lives. Instead of presenting dry theories and principles, this book reveals those principles through experiences of one of today’s leading Catholic new media entrepreneurs.


Viral:  How Social Networking is poised to reignite revival by Leonard Sweet (2012)
The gospel is nothing without relationship. And no one gets it like the Google Generation.
God came to earth to invite us, personally, into a relationship. And while Christians at times downplay relationships, the social-media generation is completely sold on the idea. In Viral, Leonard Sweet says Christians need to learn about connecting with others from the experts—those who can’t seem to stop texting, IM-ing, tweeting, and updating their Facebook statuses. What would happen, he asks, if Christians devoted less attention to strategies and statistics and paid more attention to pursuing relationships?
The current generation is driven by a God-given desire to know others and to be known by others. Most of them, in seeking to connect in meaningful ways, have found a place of belonging that is outside the organized church. Why not bring the two together?
Those who are sold out to relationships can teach Christians how to be better friends to people who need God. At the same time, members of the social-media generation can learn how to follow their desire for belonging, straight into the arms of God. It’s time for relationship to be restored to the heart of the gospel. And when that happens, can revival be far behind?


The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet Paperback  by Brandon Vogt (2011)
Facebook has over 750 million users. Twitter hosts more than 350 billion tweets each day. Today alone, people will view more than two billion videos on YouTube. And in the past year, Americans sent 1.8 trillion text messages.
We're experiencing the most explosive communication shift since the printing press.
What does this mean for the Church? 
How can Christians harness these new tools to reach out, to teach, to cultivate community, to change the world?
Following Pope Benedict's call to set sail on the digital continent, The Church and New Media explores the benefits and dangers of New Media, while guiding Christians through this new digital landscape. The book features more than a dozen contributors including:
-- Cardinal Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. with the book's Foreword
-- Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan with the book's Afterword
-- Brandon Vogt on "the digital continent" and New Media's benefits and dangers
-- Fr. Robert Barron on engaging the secular online world
-- Jennifer Fulwiler on blogging her way from atheism to Catholicism
-- Marcel LeJeune on using New Media to connect young adults with the Church
-- Mark Shea on the benefits and perils of blogging
-- Taylor Marshall on using New Media to unwrap ancient truths
-- Fr. Dwight Longenecker on ecumenical dialogue through New Media
-- Scot Landry on New Media in the diocese
-- Matt Warner on New Media in the parish
-- Lisa Hendey on growing online community
-- Thomas Peters on faithful online activism
-- Shawn Carney on how the world's largest pro-life movement was built using New Media


Tweet if you heart Jesus:   Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation by Elizabeth Drescher (2011) 

Churches everywhere are scrambling to get linked with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But are they ready for the Digital Reformation: the dramatic global shift in the nature of faith, social consciousness and relationship that these digital social media have ushered in? 
Tweet If You Love Jesus brings the wisdom of ancient and medieval Christianity into conversation with contemporary theories of cultural change and the realities of social media, all to help churches navigate a landscape where faith, leadership and community have taken on new meanings.


Web-Empowered Ministry: Connecting With People through Websites, Social Media, and More by Mark Stephenson  (2011)
Let Web-Empowered Ministry be your comprehensive guide along your unique journey toward building a powerful internet ministry. You will learn the practical steps, techniques, and ideas needed to develop an excellent and effective web ministry. You will also learn how to apply the many tools the internet has to offer including websites, smart phones, social networking, media, instant messaging, and more to extend and multiply your ministry impact. 
Mark’s engaging style makes technology accessible as he offers firsthand advice on every aspect of building an internet ministry: from assembling a team to designing and maintaining your website to developing a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and more. 
People are coming to know Jesus. Lives are being transformed. It comes from God’s power and our use of the internet to share, teach, and connect.


The Blogging Church by Brian Bailey and Terry Storch (2009)
The Blogging Church offers church leaders a field manual for using the social phenomenon of blogs to connect people and build communities in a whole new way. Inside you will find the why, what, and how of blogging in the local church. Filled with illustrative examples and practical advice, the authors answer key questions learned on the frontlines of ministry: Is blogging a tool or a toy? What problems will blogging solve? How does it benefit ministry? How do I build a great blog? and Who am I blogging for?
The Blogging Church is a handbook that will inspire and equip you to join the conversation.
The book includes contributions from five of the most popular bloggers in the world—Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Kathy Sierra, Guy Kawasaki, and Merlin Mann, as well as interviews with blogging pastors such as Mark Driscoll, Craig Groeschel, Tony Morgan, Perry Noble, Greg Surratt, Mark Batterson, and many more.


The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice  (2009)

A revolution is underway. A Wi-Fi, worldwide movement that is changing how we interact with others. It's a seismic shift that is redefining the idea of community. Every day millions of people connect through online social networks, sites that allow us to follow our friends, and shape how they view us.
But while personal profiles are revealing, they hint at even larger truths. They uncover our desire for identity, our craving to be known, and our need to belong.
Jesse Rice believes that Facebook offers a profound look at our deepest needs. Join Jesse as he explores social networking and its impact on culture and the church. Filled with fresh perspectives and provocative questions, The Church of Facebook encourages us to pursue authentic relationships with God and those around us.

Flickering Pixels:  How technology shapes your faith by Shane Hipps (2009)
Flickering pixels are the tiny dots of light that make up the screens of life---from TVs to cell phones. They are nearly invisible, but they change us. In this provocative book, author Shane Hipps takes readers beneath the surface of things to see how the technologies we use end up using us. Not all is dire, however, as Hipps shows us that hidden things have far less power to shape us when they aren't hidden anymore. We are only puppets of our technology if we remain asleep. Flickering Pixels will wake us up---and nothing will look the same again.


Sim Church - Being the church in the virtual world by Dougls Este (2009)

The meeting place for the church of tomorrow will be a computer screen. Don't laugh, and don't feel alarmed. The real-world church isn't going anywhere until Jesus returns. But the virtual church is already here, and it's poised for explosive growth. SimChurch invites you to explore the vision, the concerns, the challenges, and the remarkable possibilities of building Christ's kingdom online. What is the virtual church, and what different forms might it take? Will it be an extension of a real-world church, or a separate entity? How will it encourage families to worship together? Is it even possible or healthy to 'be' the church in the virtual world? If you're passionate about the church and evangelism, and if you feel both excitement and concern over the new virtual world the internet is creating, then these are just some of the vital issues you and other postmillennial followers of Jesus must grapple with. Rich in both biblical and current insight, combining exploration and critique, SimChurch opens a long-overdue discussion you can't afford to miss.


Thy Kingdom Connected:  what the church can learn from Facebook, Internet and other networks by D Friesen (2009)
Networks are everywhere. From our roads to our relationships, from our food supply to our power grids, networks are an integral part of how we live. Similarly, our churches, denominations, and even the kingdom of God are networks. Knowing how networks function and how to work with rather than against them has enormous implications for how we do ministry.
In Thy Kingdom Connected, Dwight J. Friesen brings the complex theories of networking to church leaders in easy-to-understand, practical ways. Rather than bemoaning the modern disintegration of things like authority and structure, Friesen inspires hope for a more connective vision of life with God. He shows those involved in ministry how they can maximize already existing connections between people in order to spread the Gospel, get people plugged in at their churches, and grow together as disciples.






Video: Free

Based on Galatians 5:1..emphasising freedom over slavary

Book: Joyfully aging - a Christians guide

Joyfully Aging - a Christians Guide by Rich Bimler
About the book
If there is one thing we are all doing together in this life, it’s aging! We are all aging! More of us are growing older. And more of us are growing older, longer. So, what are you and I going to do about it? Answering this question is what Joyfully Aging is all about. It is about celebrating God’s gift of aging instead of moaning and complaining about old age.
Even famous people may be called by a different name as they age. Remember Billy the Kid?
He is aging well and living somewhere in southwest Florida, but now his friends call him “Willie the Geezer”!

-From Joyfully Aging-

Celebrate the blessing of aging and the gift of life. In Joyfully Aging readers will gain insight on the limitless opportunity to witness their faith to others and live vibrant, grace-filled lives.

What others are saying about the Book

Bimler is becoming the expert on humor and aging. What makes Rich’s voice so vital is his ability to connect wisdom and wit with the “wow” of affirming life as a gift from God. Rich convinces us that when we are reminded that life is about Him, we are able to age in a manner similar to a fine wine – with the best fruit of our God given labors yet to come.
-Dr. Kurt Senske-  CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the South and Chairman of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Dr. Rich Bimler's wit, wisdom, and inspiration shine through on every page of Joyfully Aging. Using Scripture as constant touchstone Dr. Bimler (or "Rich," as people all over the world know him) provides an antidote to our youth obsessed culture with a perspective on aging as a time to reflect, mentor, laugh,connect, and pray. What a treasure for old and young alike.

-David Walsh, Ph.D.  Psychologist, Author, and Speaker

We have no choice in growing old, but we can choose how we live our later years. Rich Bimler invites us to experience growing older as a spiritual passage. He engages the reader with spiritual insights and a positive, hopeful attitude. He is a master storyteller showing us how to make sense of the aging experience and how to live with courage and meaning. This gem of a book will delight, encourage, and inspire all readers.

-Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr.  Director, Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries
General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church

In Joyfully Aging, Rich urges us to get rid of gloomy despair and re-focus on the reality of the Risen Lord and our resurrection life, the true source of Joy!

A profound biblical truth underlies Joyfully Aging: while the devil and his minions would wipe the smile from our faces, the world can laugh again, for despair is replaced by the Joy of Salvation in Jesus, the Risen One! Pointing us to that reality, Rich encourages people of all ages to share the Good News that alone can lift hearts and spirits!
Thanks, Rich! Good theology! Good humor!
-Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Zehnder  Pastor LCMS
President Emeritus, Florida-Georgia District, LCMS
Executive Director, LCMS World Mission (Ret.)

"Joyfully Aging" is not only the title of Richard Bimler’s latest book but is a synopsis of its content as well -- plus a delightful description of the author’s own life moment. In forty six crisply written chapters Richard let’s us in on the joy he has found throughout the aging process and shines his unique light of humorous insight onto a period of life so misunderstood by many. Richard shows us how God means aging to be a joyful, life long process. One way God does this is by reserving the gift of grandchildren until we are old enough to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of youth. Richard helps us get into that frame of mind. 

-Charles S. Mueller, Sr.  Pastor em of Trinity Lutheran Church, Roselle, Illinois

Aging!-- It’s something we all do effortlessly and without exception. Some do it gracefully, even elegantly, others by whimpering and wailing in protest. You know the sorts who actually answer the question “How are you?” by giving an organ recital – the anatomical, not musical version—when the only polite answer to that query is“Fine,” however great the fib. For all who have a hard time dealing with years that should truly be golden in the best sense, Rich Bimler comes to the rescue in these pages with his trademark blend of wit, wisdom, and worship. (Chapter titles like :Amazing Grays,” :Groan-Ups,” and even “The Gift of Aging “only hint at the fun in store.), A gifted Christian humorist and wordsmith, Bimler examines aging now that he is also a happy victim of the phenomenon , and he delivers delightful therapy for all who try to resist. Read these pages and --- improbable to imagine! –you may even enjoy the aging process. 

-Paul L. Maier  Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and author of both scholarly and popular works

Aging is not only done by the elderly; it is a lifelong journey and a gracious gift of God. As a 21 year old, I gained a marvelous new perspective of the aging process through Dr. Bimler's witty words and delightful sense of humor. This is a wonderful read from start to finish for both the young and the young at heart. 
-Rachel Cillick  Student of Gerontology and Health Services

My friend says: “I used to think birthdays and Christmases would never come; now they are here all the time!” Rich has it right: we are all aging--some of us faster than others. With humorous stories, insightful questions and candid reflections Rich challenges folks of all ages to celebrate life and reminds us that God, in Christ Jesus, has an un-aging plan for us and an ageless message of salvation to proclaim and practice as we live for Him. Like other Bimler books Joyfully Aging is a must read. It stirs, stimulates, delights and even demonstrates Rich is getting better with age! 

-Brian L. Friedrich  President Concordia University, Nebraska and Aging Member of the Rich Bimler Fan Club

Joyfully Aging is another example of Rich Bimler’s wonderful ability to encourage people of all ages to live in the joy of the Resurrection. Joyfully Aging is a celebration of the gifts of aging and of the importance of the Christian family, delivered with the stories and unique humor for which Rich is known and loved. Readers will come away reminded of who they are, whose they are, and the endless possibilities for lives of service and relevance made possible by God’s grace. Thanks, Rich!  

-Rick HermanPresident of Wheat Ridge Ministries

In this delightful book, Rich Bimler observes that “we have our work cut out for us” as we endeavor to age gracefully and joyfully, all the while “proclaiming to one another that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.” True enough. But, our task will be made considerably easier if we follow the generous advice he shares, with his characteristic warmth and levity, about our divinely-appointed tasks “to be encouragers, affirmers, and cheerleaders”—tasks I have witnessed Dr. Bimler consistently model, even in his OLD age.
-Kirk Farney University of Notre Dame

Once again, Rich uses his wisdom and “wit”-ness to shine Christ’s light! With more people living more years, “Joyfully Aging” couldn’t be more relevant. These fun-to-read gems of insight will make you smile—and that’s his point! To think and thank as we age (which he reminds us) is the only way to live. Bravo!
-Joani Schultz  Chief Creative Officer, Group

I have been working with seniors for over 10 years. This book really hit home with me and my clients. Rich’s insight and perspective into aging gracefully and joyfully is a must read. His humor and Christ centered approach to people that are living longer is only surpassed by his insight into the aging process!
-Vicki Tracy  Director of The Arlington

Dr. Bimler bases his book "Joyfully Aging" on Scripture and Christian values. He gives you much to think about, puts a smile on your face and can even make you laugh out loud.
-Dr. Betty Duda  Former Chair of the National Lutheran Women's Missionary League

Wow! Rich Bimler has done it again. "Joyfully Aging" gets all sorts of creative ideas going and juices flowing. He does it in a way that is inviting, not overwhelming; encouraging, not guilt-inducing. Rich combines theological insight with real-life application. His book is positive, purposeful, and practical. My guess is that when you finish reading it, you'll want to say "Ah-ha!" Read the book and you'll know why I say that. 
-Richard M. Koehneke   Special project director for church relations, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne IN




To discover more about the book visit CPH

Post Christendom and its consequences - Book and webcast resources by Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll is about to release a new book A call to resurgence: will Christianity have a funeral or a future where he examines what it means to be church in a Post Christendom environment....

Here is what he says the book is about
It’s tempting to believe that the Christian faith is alive and well in our country today. Our politicians talk about God. Our mega-churches are filled. Christian schools dot our landscape. Brace yourself. It’s an illusion. Believe it or not, only 8 percent of Americans profess and practice true evangelical Christian faith. There are more left-handed people than evangelical Christians in America.
In this book, Mark Driscoll delivers a wake-up call for every believer: We are living in a post-Christian culture—a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus. This is good and bad news. The good news is that God is still working, redeeming people from this spiritual wasteland and inspiring a resurgence of faithful believers. The bad news is that many believers just don’t get it. They continue to gather exclusively into insular tribes, lobbing e-bombs at each other in cyberspace.
Mark’s book is a clarion call for Christians. It’s time to get to work. We can only do this if we unite around Jesus and the essentials found in his Word, while at the same time, appreciating the distinctives within each Christian tribe. Mark shows us how to do just that. This isn’t the time to wait or debate. Join the resurgence.

Web casts of what is in the book
Leading up to the release of the book Mark Driscoll is releasing 3 web casts to introduce us to the book.....
they can be found here
Part ONE = New Challenges Christians face
Part TWO = 6 punches that KO'd the church
Part THREE (to come)

to preorder the book


To discover more about the book and get some free stuff visit
http://theresurgencebook.com/#will-christianity-have-a-future


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Leadership through dark times....Craig Bellamy - Home truths

Most people who are leaders will face dark and difficult times
Often when these dark and difficult times arise  leaders walk away or they are tossed aside or discarded.  
However we need to ask ourselves is that the Christian message?
Is that what God wants from Christian leaders and for Christian leaders?

Read through the stories of Moses, David, Jesus, Peter and Paul...
All but Jesus sinned....messed up...and faced tremendous difficulties
and you could argue that even Jesus was little off track when he questioned his Father's method...when He asked for the cup to be taken away....
However the reality is that God persevered with them...and they lived through their difficulties with God....

Maybe as leaders we need to listen to Psalm 23 a lot more....a reminder that God doesn't get us out of the mess...but walks through the mess with us

And  a real life example of being a leader...not running and not being discarded is Craig Bellamy....
In his book Home truths...he reveals his approach to leadership and how he dealt with the demotivating penalties placed against his club of having two premierships stripped from them, being told they must play for no points for 20 games....
However it is a great book to help leaders think about and respond to challenging times
I am not recommending this book because Bellamy is a worshipping Christian...in fact in his book he says he believes in God...but doesn't go to church...so you might not agree with everything he says

About the book
Craig Bellamy is no ordinary rugby league coach. He has a remarkable win-loss record in his ten years with Melbourne Storm, but when he led his team through a season of scandal and turmoil, winning games while playing for no points, he gained national respect.
For the first time, the legendary coach reveals his thoughts on subjects such as leadership, management, character, adversity, courage, teamwork, success and failure, by sharing his personal experiences. Known as a straight shooter and a man of great integrity, Bellamy knows how to bring out the best in people - he's created an enviable club culture.
He's fair, generous, candid about his own shortcomings, and persuasive in his opinions about how best to achieve your goals and be successful. His philosophies rest on the pillars of humility, loyalty and discipline - values that stand the test of time. Anyone who works in a team or who wants to get the most out of themselves will benefit from this inspirational book - it's about making your own game plan for life.
Craig Bellamy is hailed as the NRL's best coach. Born in Portland, NSW, Bellamy played 148 firstgrade games for the Canberra Raiders from 1982-92 before coaching its President's Cup team to a premiership in 1995. He joined the Brisbane Broncos as Wayne Bennett's assistant coach in 1998, helping the Broncos to titles in 1998 and 2000, and was appointed Melbourne Storm NRL head coach in 2003. In the ten seasons since Bellamy's arrival, the Storm have played in five NRL grand finals, won three titles, four minor premierships, two World Club Challenge trophies and qualified for semi-finals football every year - except for 2010 when the club was ordered to play for zero points and stripped of two NRL premierships due to the salary cap scandal. Bellamy was NSW State of Origin coach from 2008-10, Australian Test assistant coach in 2005-06 and is a three-time winner of the NRL's Dally M Coach of the Year award.

Visit Melbourne Storm's page  where they talk about the book


To obtain a copy
USA  

Australia

Confirmation class online using Google hangout

One of the struggles many congregations face...whether it be in the city or in rural locations...is getting confirmation class together...
Too much on...too much travel....parents too busy
Some have opted for the do it with family approach...fill out a book...but rarely meet together
Others are using technology to help them
Recently some pastors shared with me that they are using Google hangout (a free service and don't we Lutherans love anything that is free)...where all the confirmation students and the pastor meet online at a set time....
Sure there maybe limitations but if you are struggling in getting your confirmees together it maybe worth exploring....
Go to google hangouts at http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/ to discover how this works 

Monday, August 12, 2013

video: Paul Kelly's acapella interpretation of Psalm 23

Paul Kelly is an Australian song writer and musician that sings about real issues and feelings.   Some times his lyrics are confronting, other times they reveal the brokenness in our lives and the hurts that exist around us, sometimes they encourage us to see that living with what we have got is...ok...not good...but possible....and ok
And occasionally he drops in a song based on scripture...pointing to hope that comes from God
This interpretation of Psalm 23...he ended a concert with after 2 encores....
Well worth using for some reflective time


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Book: Pastor Abusers

Pastor Abusers by Ken Crochet is a survival manual for pastors who are constantly being attacked by critical church members. 
How can a pastor defend himself? 
What is going on behind the scenes in the spiritual realm? 
What are the pastor's options if he is fired or forced out of the church? 
The answers are in the 191-page book.

Who are the “Pastor Abusers”?
Pastor Abusers are mean-spirited church members whose mission is to attack the pastor and drive him out of the church. 

In this book you will learn:
How Pastor Abusers operate.
Why they are determined to bring you down?
How to recognize when trouble is brewing.?
What to do when you’re under attack?
Your four options after you leave the church.

Quotes from Abused Pastors
“It was more than I could take when my wife had an emotional breakdown. As I held her in my arms, she cried uncontrollably, sobbing a few words at a time: ‘All we’ve tried to do . . . is love these people . . . and all we get in return . . . is hate.’”

“I went out to my driveway and found a tire on my van had been slashed, as had been a tire on my other car. The same person who had done this had gotten under the hood and removed a relay for the headlights. . . .This group meant business and was determined to get their way.”


“I started getting obscene phone calls in the middle of the night cursing me out. I received hate mail, cursing me and telling me to go to hell. I would get letters in my box telling me that I was a terrible pastor and that I needed to leave.”


Reviews

Amazon Reviews
The Lighthouse keeper
John the Steadfast