Monday Morning Brief – 6.8.09

What I Enjoyed This Week – 1. Went to go see my cousin’s new baby Sophia Nazeera.  The middle name is in honor of our beloved grandmother who lived a beautiful life and passed away last year.  2. Yesterday, we gathered at my aunt & uncle’s house (where our grandmother lived) to spend time together.  My family is cool, no big speeches, no sad moments, just spending time together on a day we all know that gives us sadness and a bit of joy.  Was great having all the kids running around and fortunately the satellite dish was damaged so we didn’t have to watch soccer.  3.  Speaking of kids, Susan had another pregnancy check up and all is good, 19 weeks now.  We should find out next week the sex of the child but we already know it’s a boy. We are coming to grips with how huge of an adjustment this will be for Nathan.  We’ve baby-proofed the house but now we are trying to figure out how to baby-proof the new baby.  Should be interesting.  4. One of my students from my last church came up to visit.  He’s 23 now, doing pretty well and I’ve always been grateful for his heart.  5. Fantasy baseball team moved up to second place, while the Yankees moved back to first place.  They are doing a lot better than I expected prior to the All Star Break.  

What I’ve Been Listening to – I’m back on my Kings of Leon kick – Only By the Night is fantastic.   Like everyone, I get tired of the hype which hasn’t stopped me from loving U2, Coldplay, certain blockbuster movies, etc. but when the Kings were on the covers of Rolling Stone and Relevant (click on the pic to read their digital edition), I was bugged for some reason.  In reality, they couldn’t have had a better band on there.  2.  Loved the Homebrewed Christianity podcast on Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Religionless Christianity” with author/professor Jeffrey Pugh which you can listen to here.

What I’ve Been Reading – For this new seminary class called Organizational Assessment and Change, wehave a number of required texts.  The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World (my favorite of the group), The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church by Reggie McNeal (solid book and a great reminder of why I love Biblical Seminary), The Heart of Change: Real Life Stories How People Change Their Organization – an easy, enjoyable read that though I can not put my finger on it, somethings bugs me about it. The good, grateful angel on my shoulder says, “Wow, this is great because it finds the pattern to organizational change and helps answer the big vague questions in other books that leave you saying, “Ok, I get that change is necessary, but how do we that?”. The good, critical angel on my other shoulder says, “It’s a bit formulaic and am not sure if these principles are really transferable everywhere, or more importantly, in my church ;-).  Maybe that will be answered in Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for the Transformational Journey by Herrington, Bonem, & Furr. Haven’t started that one but hope to finish it by tonight.  I suppose it should be mentioned that the first two books on this list are from the Leadership Network.  I expect to use some of these texts and principles in my leadership contexts whether youth leader meetings and who knows where else in the future.  I am also still trying get through the Karl Barth readings from last week.  I am loving it, but I am going to have read most of the required texts multiple times.  

Student Ministry Update – We are ending our series called “Spring Fling” on relationships, dating, sex, purity, etc. with this Wednesday’s lesson called, “How to Break Up and Be Broken Up With”.  Not really the title I wanted to use, but I wanted to me sensitive.  Though I have been married for almost 10 years, I still remember some of the acute pain that I went through when I was dumped for a cooler guy.  Further I remember how much more it hurt when I was dumped for a less cooler guy, “Wow, she’d rather be with that dork then me.  I must really, really suck at this.”  What surprised me was for some reason, it also hurt a little when you did the breaking up with.  And that was something that I never got good at.  It’s been said that John F. Kennedy Jr. used to send a dozen roses and a kind written note when he broke up with someone. I do not expect to do ever need to do that in terms of personal romance but I’m exploring this option when it comes to certain church members.  “Listen brother so and so.  It’s just not working out, as a congregation, we are not feeling it anymore, it’s not you, it’s all of us, Enjoy the flowers … With Jesus’ love, …”   Well, maybe that won’t work either, budgets are tight, and my handwriting is deplorable … 

What I am Looking Forward to – One day, Susan said to me, “I’d like to go to one of these conferences with you” and I said “That sounds great but I’m not sure if any of the ones right now would work out”.  Then Rob Bell sent out an email saying, “Register and pay your registration but bring your spouse or someone for FREE to our Poets, Prophets and Preachers in Grand Rapids from July 5-7.”   and we said yes.  Shane Hipps and Pete Rollins will be there too.   Anyone want to join us? Anyone going that wants to meet up there?  Let me know.