Category Archives: Sermon Avoidance Mode

My Valentine

I should be working on getting the loose ends tied up for tomorrow but instead I am wandering through various sites on the internet.  I came across this video by Paul McCartney and loved it.  Thought I would share for those who like me are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

It’s time for a turnaround.

I just discovered a book called “Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory and the 7 Game Changers that Made the Difference” by Karen Post.  It was suggested to me by Kobo Books and I really couldn’t figure out why.  I read religious books, the occasional biography and a lot of fiction.

According to the description the organizations that Ms. Post studied all experienced “a widely publicized meltdown that threatened to put them out of business and each one is going strong today. Why? They took charge with conviction, creativity, and smarts.” and there are 7 steps we can learn from them to turn around a broken organization.

As I was thinking about this I realized how brilliant Kobo is and how they must read the blog.  I’m always talking about the imploding Church and how we need to move forward.  Someone must’ve figured I needed this book.  We need a turnaround.  This might be the place to start.

In the summary Kobo told me the 7 steps needed to re-brand and refocus.  I thought they could be useful.  Here they are:

#1: Take Responsibility
#2: Never Give Up
#3: Lead Strong
#4: Stay Relevant
#5: Keep Improving
#6: Build Equity
#7: Own Your Distinction

Looking at the list it actually is quite useful for us in the PCC right now.  We’re looking for strategy.  We’re trying to pick ourselves up.  Recreate ourselves.  Or are we?  Mostly it seems like we’re flailing about and this might be the direction we require.  We need some direction.  We need these rules.

Think about it:

#1: Take Responsibility
 Have we taken responsibility?  Are we willing to see what we’ve done wrong and where we could have made better choices?

#2: Never Give Up
This is so important.  We need to shed the defeatist attitude and adopt one of hope.  We are Christians after all and the resurrection is a core part of our belief. We need to believe in it.

#3: Lead Strong
We need to be and develop strong leaders.  Strong from the pulpit and strong from the pew.  We must not live in fear.  This is absolutely essential.

#4: Stay Relevant
I think this should probably say become relevant for most of us.  Those churches and people who have developed positive ministries in the Post-Christendom period should be looked to as an example for the rest of us.  We should learn from each other and most importantly learn from the world what is important.

#5: Keep Improving
We must not stop improving.  We must always look for things we can improve on.  Is there a way to make people more comfortable when they enter Church?  How can we more effectively reach people in our community?  Is the message being translated in a powerful, positive way?  I could go on {and on} but I trust you get the point.

#6: Build Equity
Not surprisingly there’s a lot of equity in the name Jesus.  In some ways we have created a ‘brand’ based on him.  We really shouldn’t focus on building brand equity for the PCC but instead look at the value we place on our faith in general.  Why do we meet?  Is there a reason people should actually join us?  Will those outside benefit from coming in?  Would they want to come to us over anyone else?   We need to start seeing faith as something of value.  We need to start empowering our members to live out the message of Jesus.

#7: Own Your Distinction
We need to be distinct.  If we aren’t, what’s the point?  There are thousands of churches in our country.  There are dozens within our cities and towns.  What makes our church, the individual church we attend matter?  Would it be missed if it wasn’t there?  Is there a distinction from others?  At this point I would say if there is no distinction and too many churches perhaps we should look at why we operate this way.  There has to be a reason, something that makes you special.  Finding this is often the key to finding your passion and purpose.

I haven’t even read the book yet and I love these points.  I don’t know if they’re the actual answer but I bought the book on Kobo.  I intend to read it further and see if it could be of any use.  We are entering a time when things will have to change or we will cease to exist in the form that we know.  The church will continue, I have faith in that but the PCC is broken and it’s time we started the process of healing.

I’m not trying to be negative.  I think it’s important to note here that throughout the history of faith God healed broken people many times.   He led the slaves out of Egypt and created a nation.  He freed people from exile.  He rose from the dead and freed us from disconnection from God.  Just because it feels like the end doesn’t mean it is.  We are a resurrection people.  It would be good for us to remember that.

The Easter Story: Twitter Style

I found this video on the internet yesterday and really enjoyed it.  I hope you enjoy this fresh look at the Easter Story.

A journey through Lent: Day 46

I am the Mother of a Boy…

I am the Mother of a Boy.  By now I should know not to leave things lying around. I order my K-cups from an online company and an order recently arrived. I was thrilled they arrived and tucked my boxes away in my office to deal with at a later time, presumably when X. was in bed. I didn’t get to them fast enough.  X. found them.

First he emptied the boxes.

Then created a pile.

This led to stacking.

And then to discarding.
Which ultimately led to Momma cleaning up the mess.

I’ve learned not to leave K-cups around.  They’re much too much fun.

A Journey through Lent: Day 21

Mad Men Money Madness

One of my favorite shows on T.V. right now is Mad Men.  I’ll grant you that I write a lot about T.V. but I’m a new-ish Mom who doesn’t get out much as she’s got a baby who needs to be in bed at 7.  I don’t watch T.V. during the day.  I just a little at night to decompress with the husband.

Apparently there is drama happening behind the scenes of this ‘drama’.   They’re fighting over money.  After months of negotiation over who gets what, no one gets anything.  Both sides want more money.  No one can agree on anything.  It’s safe to say that I will be waiting for close to a year to see Joan Holloway once again. Wouldn’t you think that if they both want more money it would make sense to produce the show that makes the money they are fighting over? In the end we might not see Mad Men again if they can’t come together.

This fight kind of reminds me of what’s happening in our Churches right now. We all dig our heals in and stand determined in our position. None of us want to give. We all want to keep what’s comfortable to us. We want to have our buildings, our programs and our history. We can’t see how coming together might solve some of our problems and help keep things going.

If we don’t move past this stalemate we’re in, we may not survive.
Is it worth taking down the whole ship for our comfort?
Does what we want matter more than the message?

We need to do some serious thinking about how we approach things and why we’re doing what we’re doing.  If we’re going to move ahead, we need to move.  We have to be willing to change.   We have to be willing to come together.

Will we do that?
Will we be able to come together?

A Journey through Lent: Day 18

10 Random Thoughts from the Couch

I’m sick.  It’s no fun.  Usually I just wouldn’t blog.  As I’m in the middle of my Lent commitment to post daily I can’t skip.  There is a problem with this.  My brain is fuzzy and I’ve tried to write something that makes sense but that didn’t happen. This doesn’t bode well for Sunday!  Just so you understand how crazy things are in my head, here’s what happened in my brain as I sat watching an episode of The Biggest Loser last night:

  1. After chapter one of Love Wins I’m delighted to find out that I am not the only Pastor who writes in a speaking style.  This gives me hope. Someday I too could get a book published.
  2. If I wanted to publish a book I’d actually have to write something and say something that people would want to read.  That might prove difficult.  Plus I’m not sure I’d like to be in the spotlight.  Too much pressure.  I’d rather just exist here in my world, doing my thing.
  3. Every mother of a toddler should know Bear Grylls Rule of 3.   You can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  When X. goes on a food strike I will try to worry less.  He is usually a good eater and as long as I can get some food in I know he will survive.   There’s no way he would ever go 3 weeks without food.
  4. Vitamin Water Zero is my new favorite thing.
  5. I’m really going to miss Fringe if it’s cancelled.
  6. Jillian Michaels house is in an amazing location.  Seriously want to live on the beach in Malibu.  That might require that I become a millionaire and I can’t see that happening for a while (or ever really).
  7. I think Charlie Sheen is overrated.  I don’t understand the allure. He lives with multiple women. He says what he wants. He does what he want.  This doesn’t make him revolutionary or interesting. There was a reality show about this a few years ago called “Girls Next Door”.  The whole situation is just sad really
  8. I think I’m addicted to yogurt.  Oikos Caramel Greek Yogurt is amazing!
  9. The Gospel lesson this week is 37 verses long.  I need my voice back!
  10. I seriously love the product placement that occurs in Biggest Loser. It makes me laugh every time.

Until tomorrow…

A Journey through Lent: Day 15

Is Rob Bell going to heaven?

People are hating on Rob Bell right now. This weekend my twitter feed went nuts with articles linking to blog posts berating Rob Bell for thinking about Christianity in a different way. They said he was wrong, he was no longer a Christian or as John Piper said ‘Farewell Rob Bell’.  A large number of people kicked him out of Christianity this weekend for a book that hasn’t even been published yet.

The book called Love Wins is scheduled to be released at the end of March. Most of the people who are critical haven’t read the book.  All we have to go on is the promotional video Rob Bell has released.  When I watched this video I got a sense that he is asking us to question and ponder life beyond what we think we know. He’s pushing us beyond our comfort zone.  I admit I am interested in what he has to say. I wonder why everyone is so quick to judge.  I wonder where the problem lies in thinking critically about our faith.

Maybe this is the reason so many reject us.  Our constant need to prove we understand Jesus better than anyone else.  Our need to be right.  Our desire to be the one true way.  Instead of embracing people and trying to figure out who we are together, we attack and condemn if we don’t agree with every little detail.

All we really know are the words of Jesus.  Jesus says in John 14:6   “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Honestly we don’t know who Jesus will chose.  We have no idea how this will happen.  As far as I know, Jesus never said if you’re a good Presbyterian/Baptist/Roman Catholic/Evangelical you’ll get to heaven. Jesus did say “No one comes to the Father except through me.”  It’s not up to us to determine if Rob Bell is going to hell.  It’s not up to us to make these judgments.

If all we have are the words of Jesus we also have this, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1).  If we judge Rob Bell and determine he’s wrong, God may do the same to us.

What if we are wrong? What if we don’t know exactly what Jesus meant or said or did or believed? Maybe we should listen to others and talk about our differences. We’re all wondering where we fit in this world and what God wants from us. We all want to serve Jesus.  Isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t we want to sit down and dialogue?

I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to March 29th when this book is released. I think it will be an interesting read and I hope it starts some conversation.

This video made me laugh….

…and it made me think. What do you think?


The Pendulum of Life

There is a pulse to life.
An internal force that draws us into the rhythm for which we were created.
It isn’t the same for everyone.
Some people move fast.
Others walk more carefully.
Yet when we are in rhythm, when we fully embrace our Creator’s desires, we become whole.
The world in which we live moves to it’s own pulse.   It’s different.  It’s loud.  It’s not our own.
Are we in rhythm with the world or with the Creator?
Can we find our rhythm again?
There is a pulse to life.
A pendulum you might say.
We need to turn to the Creator.
For like a grand old clock we need care and maintenance.
We need adjustments.
We need to be wound and set again.
It’s time to be wound and set again.


I’m dreaming tonight…

I’m dreaming of spring
Of Bunnies and birds.
Buds and petals.
Fresh spring breezes.
Of sunshine and showers.
Puddles and sunsets.
I’m ready for the world to come alive again.
So is my dragon.