Archive for the ‘Techno-Geek’ Category

The Church in Today’s Society – Part 1 of 3? (at least 3 at this point)

April 10, 2006

Christianity and Black Holes Christianity and Two Black Holes in Space

And so we begin… While my wife was reviewing for me the things that made headlines of late, she mentioned one that stated "Pair of Black Holes Locked in Death Dance" (from Stick with me on this one. It takes a little while, but like a good mystery novel, there are clues to the plot along the way, and if you haven't gotten it yet, I give it all away at the end…

Here's the money quote…

Black holes can't be seen. Their presence is inferred by their gravitational effects on their surroundings and by radiation from near the black hole, where a feeding frenzy superheats gas so much that it emits X-rays.

Determining that these two black holes will collide involved other indirect evidence, drawing data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

OK!!!! Did you get it? What on earth (bad pun) does a black hole have to do with Christianity, the Church, and Today's Society? Lets look at the first sentence in the quote. Remember that this is a major international news source talking about something that "Can't be seen" and whose existence "must be inferred by their "effects on their surroundings". You there yet??? Try this on for size…

The Church is not a building. It is not merely a person, nor even a collection of people, for if it were, every collection of people could be called a Church, and rightly so. It must, therefore have a distinguishing characteristic that separates it from a mere "gathering". What is it?

How about its EFFECT on the society in which it exists? Paul said to the church at Corinth in 1 Cor 2 4-5:

4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

He was asking them to have faith in something (Heb 1:11 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen) they could not see (God, God's Power) based on evidence (demonstration) that was given them in support of that something's existence. He was basing its existance on a purponderance of the evidence. For there to be evidence, there must have been some resulting effect. Lets see Exodus 4:29-30 for another example of the EFFECT of the unseen force of God, through His people, on their surroundings…

29Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed.

I find it no small thing that the statement "and they believed" comes after the performance. The evidence begat the belief. Ok…. Summing up before I start preaching…

I believe the key point of the black hole is that the world, whether we believe it or not, is willing to accept the existance of something that they cannot and will not ever see with their naked eye if we are willing to give them enough evidence of its existance. To do that, we need to be living lives that have an effect on our surroundings, and as a Church, our grouping and gathering needs have the same, if not a magnified effect.

May it be said that there was enough "other indirect evidence" in our lives and our churches that it causes others to ask, ponder, and maybe even, to join us and believe. Who knows. Maybe we will see the Church in a headline on CNN that says that "a collection of great bodies with a super-supernatural power that you cannot see appear to be coming into allignment to potentially effect millions of the bodies within the scope of their unexplainable gravitational pull" — And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. -John 12:32

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. – Mat 7:20

Up Next: Christians in Business


Talking about The Answer Bank in San Jose

March 15, 2006

Enjoying dinner with Jeff Kays from Alliance Systems in San Jose, as he marvels at the fact that we have actually just posted his photo to the web from our booth at dinner.

Rounding up the first series of meetings on the Answerbank concept, our 3 day trip to San Jose was a great success. Thank you to all who met with us, and Jeff, thank you for sharing a meal with us and for your great insight.

Be your Kid’s Search Engine

February 25, 2006

I had the pleasure of sitting down with a man the other day who likely has a greater personal understanding of evangelism than most people unfortunately will ever strive to obtain. He is the director of a national ministry that introduces the general public to their need for Jesus Christ, and has led thousands to a relationship with their Savior. One of the most poignant memories of the discussion, however, is a comment that he made with regards not to that relationship, but to his relationship as a father with his own son.

He told me about a scenario wherein he had been, as a good parent should, monitoring his son's activities on the internet. He came to find some history that suggested that his son (under 12 for the sake of discussion) had googled a term that led to him viewing some unacceptable explicit content. He knew he needed to discuss the situation with his son. Here is how it unfolded.

He sat down with his son, and started a discussion. He asked about what they were doing at school, and what they had been talking about at lunch. He took the time to ask the questions, and (important note here) they had enough of a history of regular conversation that his son was not put on an immediate defensive because of dad's "sudden interest".

After a little well-directed discussion, his son said that he and his friends had in fact gotten onto some "stupid" discussions, one of which had led the son to search for a term that he didn't understand by googling it. To understand it in context, he clicked the resulting links, and found himself in a place that he knew he didn't need to be. Just like that – a confession without an accusation! His response to his son, instead of "why did you do that" or "I thought I taught you better" was, quite wisely, "In the future, why don't you let me be your search engine first". Way to go dad.

A couple key notes for this story:
1. This would not have worked had he been a disengaged father. I think that too often we fail to take the time to have relationship with our children, and then we punish them for doing things that we should really be blaming on our own parental shortcomings.

2. We need to be keeping track of our children, not only to hold them accountable for what they are doing, but also to be there to safeguard them when things like this do happen, and to be ready to take these opportunities and turn them into positive learning experiences as we see here. This young man didn't get "punished" because he already knew that the space in cyberspace was the wrong place for him to be, and of his own volition, hadn't returned there since. He did, however, solidify that his dad was a rational person who he could trust to understand, and will be more likely to come to him as a result.

3. This dad took the time to calmly think the situation through. Simply reacting to the initial data he saw on his reports would have likely built a wall between he and his son that would have taken years to break. Instead, the situation drew them closer, and increased the son's faith and confidence in his father's interest in his well being.

4. The software that made this situation possible is called PCTattleTale, and is available online for $49.95. that's cheap for what it can do.

To the man who shared this story with me…Thank you for the fine lesson on parenting. You know who you are.

Its a Whole New World

February 23, 2006

Returning to our offices today in Boise, we find ourselves remarkably in a different world than that which we left a week ago. Through the power of education, networking, and observation, our lives are somehow "different".

The church today should have the same effect on those around us. We should be caught acting like the people Christ wanted us to be. Poeple should observe us living a life based on biblical principles. We should be engaging society, not boycotting and shunning it, looking reactionary.

Lets have the discussions and answer the questions that the world is screaming about. Do you find it ironic that the top shows on TV today are shows with names like LOST and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES??? Could it be that society is trying to tell us where they see themselves by what they can identify with?

OK, so maybe its just my little revelation, and those thoughts are not as deep to anyone else as they are to me. Thats fine. As the title says, these are my thoughts, and my world. I can live with that!

The NRB, the USG’s, and other interesting insights

February 21, 2006

I sit today at lunch at the National Religious Broadcasters association national conference in Dallas, TX, and I am reflecting on the amazing cultural and generational contrast of the people at this event. One of my colleagues here today coined a new acronym for me… the USG's or "untucked shirt guys". You see, the NRB is predominantly a collection of the "old guard"; blue pinstripe suits, white shirts and ties. Polished edges. I even brought 3 suits for the week. But this year, NRB started something new…

REACH conference – home of the USG's
The Reach conference was intended to be a progressive, innovative Christian media conferece. The speakers, the music, the sets – its all different. It is at the front end of the NRB, and brings in a TOTALLY different demographic. The suits are replaced with frayed jeans. Ties don't exist. Its actually "relevant" to culture today. wow, what a concept – a relevant church in the eyes of the young!

Kudos to Phil Cooke and the progressive group of thinkers that pushed for the concept of Reach. The NRB is still the NRB, and it needs to stay that way. It would have been a stretch and probably a tragic flop to try to make the NRB "hip". They are a cornerstone of the religious broadcasting industry, and have all the integrity, class, and knowledge that you could ask for.(I have the utmost respect for the years of ministry, history, and service that members of the NRB have contributed to Christianity today, so please don't find me irreverant) Yet they have seen in their wisdom that it was also time that they open the door to the "new guard". A new seat has been brought to the table, and the USG's have arrived. They have some good input that the church will do well to respond to.