A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: October 2012 (page 1 of 1)

Sunday Night Unwind, 10.21.12…

I’ve had this song on my mind since the message at The Crest this morning. It’s an oldie-but-goodie, I know. I should have used the video. Oh, well. Anyway, here’s what all two of your loyal readers have been waiting for with bated breath…it’s the almost county famous Sunday Night Unwind!

  • This week has been a little less stressful than last week. No shocking news, no disrupting any big plans, etc.
  • On the other hand, the lovely and gracious Mrs. Just Charlie is just about as frustrated as I have ever seen her. I still think it’s way past ridiculous that 11-year-old special education students – who function on the level of 3-year-olds – are supposed to master 5th grade math, including geometry! The lovely and gracious Mrs. Just Charlie is good, but even she can’t work that kind of magic! Pray for her if you think about it. Thanks!
  • The first words I heard at church this morning were about the AJC article on Andy Stanley. The big thing this person noticed in the story? “A $1.1 million dollar house!” Go figure…
  • Speaking of Andy Stanley, did I tell you that his books punch me in the gut within the first few pages? Deep and Wide is no exception!
  • In fact, I’m steali…I mean…borrowi…I mean…basing our current message series on some of his material!
  • I talked today about the difference between Jesus’s teaching and that of the scribes, the difference between information and transformation. ($1 to Rick Warren for that, as well!) And since focusing on the teaching part is just kind of “preacher-y,” I also talked about the learning part. And you haven’t really “learned” until you put it into practice.
  • Thus, the earworm above!
  • I gave away another copy of Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write. That makes about five copies I’v passed along or ordered for other people  It’s old, but it’s one of those little books that will provide a few “hmmmm” and “aha” moments. Big thanks to Garr Reynolds for pointing it out in Presentation Zen.
  • Best baseball call of the week? “THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Yankees lose!” (OK, so that call didn’t really happen, but the Yankees did get swept by the Tigers!)
  • I got called out by my friend that got the Ueland book. After an interesting conversation, I think she just basically called me out and threw down a challenge for me to stop talking about writing, and get busy doing it! I guess it’s true: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And there we are, ladies and gentlemen…
  • That’s enough to help you get to sleep without pills or sheep. See you later!

To all a good night! 🙂

The Barn…

(Image via flickr.com/mytimemachine)

Ed Stetzer has some thoughts on the evolution of the Church Growth Movement. This quote grabbed me early this morning…

The church can never become the place where I live, work, and play. My neighborhood is where real people live. I am not sent by God to a church facility, ever how convenient and impressive it may be. I am sent away from the church gathered to my tribe and household with the Good News of the Gospel. That is where transformational movements take place that engage every man, woman, and child with the Gospel. So, too many in church growth focused on the barn, rather than how we might live on mission among the white fields. When focusing too much on the barn, we sometimes forget that the wheat will not harvest itself.

I’m living and leading in such a context right now.

(OK, not leading so much. There, I said it….)

Sunday Night Unwind, 10.07.12…

Back in the Christmas mood for the ol’ Sunday Night Unwind soundtrack. John Rutter’s Christmas Album is by far my favorite choral Christmas music. I’m especially partial to “Jesus Child,” and I really wish we had been able to pull that off at The ‘Crest a few years back. Oh, well…

It’s Sunday evening, and we know what that means, boys and girls…it’s time for all two of you loyal readers to tune in for the Unwind! Here’s what’s going on in my head and heart tonight…

  • Tonight may be the first “sock night” of the season. Maybe in the 40s for a low!
  • Interesting day at The ‘Crest.
  • We finished a series on Galatians last week. Today, I had more than one person ask, “What are we going to do now that we’ve finished Galatians” I reminded them that there’s a lot more in the Bible. I’m pretty certain there’s plenty of preaching material left!
  • I did a standalone message today entitled “The New Normal,” and I used that familiar phrase to talk about our church’s future in a dramatically changed culture and context.
  • We surveyed the first nine chapters of Acts, focusing on the first part of Chapter 8.
  • Oh, and one guy made a beeline to me afterwards to ask if I knew “The New Normal” is a TV show about same-sex marriage.
  • Speaking of marriage, I had an interesting wedding over the weekend. Good service and all that. Let’s just say I don’t think I’ve ever seen that little dress material and that much ink in one place. 🙂 And we may want to re-think opening the bar before the wedding next time.
  • I started reading Andy Stanley’s Deep & Wide and Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert’s When Helping Hurts this week. Both books are wrecking me. I just wonder if I’ll have the guts to do anything about it.
  • Come to think of it, everything Andy Stanley writes punches me in the gut within the first few pages.
  • Before this week is over, I will have been negatively affected by my own inability to say “no.” Not much I can do about it now, but it won’t be pleasant when all is said and done.
  • In sports news, I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the state of Georgia was 0-for-South-Carolina yesterday. The Jackets made a game out of it before the inevitable conclusion, but UGAg surprised everyone with how sorry they were.
  • Oh, and in other sports news, they’ve completely redesigned the infield at Turner Field.
  • But, hey! How about those Atlanta Falcons?!?!?

Long, complicated week ahead. I’m out. To all a good night!

My Biggest Blunders, Part 1…

I’ve made plenty of stupid, boneheaded mistakes in 31 years “in the ministry.” Most of them have been relatively minor, and the relatively major ones were graciously forgiven by God and His people.

The biggest blunder in my ministry – and the one which has impacted me the most since – was going to a church without really “going to” that church. The second biggest was leaving that church before it was time, because I had never really “gone to” that church in the first place.

One of my heroes in the ministry once opined that there are two kinds of pastors in Georgia: the ones who want to go to Atlanta, and the ones who want to leave. I’ve been both.

Sixteen years ago, I was serving my first church out of seminary. It was small, rural and south of metro Atlanta. Our church was the product of that Southern Baptist phenomenon, “evangelism by church split.” A friend got himself recommended to the search committee of a 100-year-old church in the city of Atlanta. At the same time, he had just accepted a position at one of our seminaries. So he passed my name along to the Atlanta committee.

Long story short, God led me to northwest Atlanta. I went.

About the same time, I was learning about the strategic nature of cities in God’s redemptive plan for the nations. It seemed like a perfect fit: a city church in need of renewal, a neighborhood on the cusp of renewal, and a pastor who was hearing God talk about the importance of cities. There’s where the first big blunder happened.

Instead of embracing God’s call “to” that church in that neighborhood in that city, I chose to carry on the myth of suburban pastor commuting with the majority of his people to a building in that neighborhood in that city and then retreating to the “safety” of the suburbs. Like the majority of my people, I paid lip service to the desire to see God do something new in that church in that neighborhood in that city. I listened and nodded as the older members spoke lovingly of the church’s “glorious past,” and commiserated with the long-time members about the glory days. All the while, we met, we ate, we sang, we prayed, we wrung our hands, we wondered, we reminisced, and we went home to our comfortable and safe suburbs.