Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday is for... stuff that... Tuesday...is... ah... for...

It seems to be the hep-cat-yo-dog-g*money-cool thing to do, if you want to be culturally relevant and all Emerging and all that deconstructive jazz, to periodically post a somewhat pretentious cataolog of stuff... and name it something along the lines of "Music Monday," or "Phriday is for Photos," or "Wednesday is for Wookies," or something along those lines.

Sorry, dudes; couldn't come up with anything snazzy to rhyme with "Tuesday." Doh.

But, in the interest of keeping up with the ECM Joneses, and given that it's been a while since my normally loquacious self has posted anything (I have a really good excuse - but more on that later), here's a smattering of blogposts and newsitems which have caught my attention over the span of the last few weeks, in no particular order...

Well, that's it for now, kids. It's late, I have to drive in to Grand Rapids tomorrow for Day Two of my new "day job to support my habit."

Rock on.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The History of Zork

Ah, nostalgia... Before MMORPGs, before World of Warcraft... For those of you old enough to remember the halcyon days of the beginning of the microcomputing revolution, here is a short history of the Zork franchise.

Friday, June 08, 2007

2007 Pastors' Conference - Denouement

The conference has ended... and now the digesting of what we've received begins. Someone I spoke with at Murrieta described the conference as "drinking from a fire hose." Very good description. But that's why God created DVDs... so that I can unpack the conference over the coming weeks and months.

This has, without question, been the best conference I've been to.

Tom Hough (Calvary Chapel Riverside in Grand Rapids) and I were scheduled to fly back to the Glorious West Coast of Michigan from LAX on the red-eye, so on the way back up I-15 I finally got to stop and partake of the third ordinance the Lord left for His Church - double-double animal style at In-N-Out. Oh, the joy, the unbridled, succulent joy...

Prior to heading up the highway to Los Angeles, however, we spent a few hours at the Barnes & Noble for much-needed Venti Breves at the in-store St. Arbuck's and jump up on wi-fi to check e-mail, upload more pics from the conference, and do some studying for Sunday (we're going to be in the second half of I John 2...) While sipping gingerly on my über-hot breve, and loading in my Jon Courson Application Commentary on the Whole Bible into Libronix, Tom got to speak with and minister to a few people looking for some Bibles, and I briefly got to interact with a young lady who was there doing... something. I never quite got it... I think she was just hanging out. But anyway, the window sign fell on her head, I got it back up, and we were then ready to head out the door... and the Lord impressed on my heart to ask her if there was anything we could pray for her for, and if she would please pray for us for traveling mercies. She seemed understandably taken a bit aback by that... asked us to pray that she "makes it," and promised to pray for us. (I remember from my first pastor's conference that Jon Courson said that he treated the people up there in his neck of the woods as if they already were Christians - so he'd go into for instance the local gas station, and ask the dude behind the counter to pray for him & such, and how that really impacted people; I've always liked that, while also understanding the need to bring the reality of eternity to bear in peoples' lives, which necessitates a clear Gospel presentation. But I've always liked the heart behind Jon's thing there...).

So, long story short, please pray for Miss Unnamed Prayer Request from St. Arbuck's.

The flight was (unsurprisingly) delayed; we got on at almost one a.m. Friday morning LA time... I sat next to a young Hasidic couple who - also unsurprisingly - weren't open to talking. I mean, not at all. I said "Hi!" in my characteristically shy manner, to which I received something just shy of a blank stare... and the whole attempting to interact thing sort of slid sideways from there. ::sigh:: Oh, well...

I can still pray for them, eh?

I didn't get any sleep on the plane (long, boring, and mostly pointless story) ; landed at GR "International" Airport just after 9am Michigan time... and somehow managed to remain awake long enough to make the forty minute drive over to the Lakeshore... and back to my wife. Woke up to the news that one of the key families in the church here have welcomed home their strapping young newborn manchild, so we headed over to congratulate them and drop off a meal prepared for them by another family in the fellowship. Then, when I got home, I discovered that another dude in the fellowship had crawled under our small yet tiny house while I was out in CA and hooked up the power for the dishwasher we'd gotten several months ago (but I hadn't hooked up myself yet because... well... I'm lazy, and I hate bugs) - thanks, Matt!

The people here at CC Lakeshore rock.

Now I'm back home, catching up on e-mails, uploading this blogpost, catching up on my Bloglines feeds (looks like the From the Ashes dudes as well as Mike Newnham have commented on the conference, as well as of course simplemindedpreacher, Chuck Nestor, and Corby of Stephens), watching the latest Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis episodes before heading off to my first full night's rest in... well, a long time...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

While I Was Out...

Looks like the Ducks went and took Lord Stanley's Cup to the Left Coast.


Well, here's looking at next year, eh?

And to my Canadian pastor buddy, Glen of Nudd... I'm looking forward to seeing my boy Darren McCarty in action again... I miss his smiling face...

NHL Leading the Way

...as usual. Per Slashdot,

The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced that it will actively support placeshifting by signing an agreement with SlingBox-maker Sling Media. The agreement will allow the company's "Clip+Sling" technologyto share both live and recorded NHL programming over the Internet.

You can read Slashdot's writeup here.

Pray for Denise

While walking through the mall here at Temecula ("The Promenade"... made me think of Deep Space Nine the whole time... such a geek...) we made our way to the C28 store. We were there because someone had given out some "pastor discount" cards at the coffee shop there on the Conference Center for it, and since we have just about a day to kill before our red-eye flight out back to the Glorious West Coast of Michigan, we stopped there to buy things for our wives. While in there, we got chatting with the manager on duty, a sister named Denise.

At least, I think that's the spelling.


Long story short, she prayed for my wife (who suffers from tremendous back pain) and for the possibility of adoption that may or may not pan out in the next few months for us, and we prayed for her for selling her cabin and getting a good home in Temecula for her and her kids.

So, I post this here to ask y'all to please pray for Denise.

Rock on.

2007 Pastors' Conference - Day 4

Oh, my.

...that's pretty much all I can say. "Oh, my."

You need to get Bob Coy's message. You need to. Call Calvary Distribution and get it.

There is, at every conference, one message specifically which I discover that I am there for. This was it. Damien's the night prior was awesome, and that afterglow... Coy's message hit it out of the park for me.

The bottom line: What if I (God) never add one more person to your church? Will you still be faithful? Will you love on those "few" sheep of Mine that I've given you to shepherd faithfully, and strive to make them the best loved, best fed sheep you can by My grace?

Oh... my...

I'll be unpacking that message, and the Holy Spirit's very strong message through prophecy given at the afterglow the night prior, for the next six months at least.

Oh... my...

Also, I've uploaded most of the photos from the conference here.

2007 Pastors' Conference - Day 3

As is typical, the speakers, and the word the Lord is speaking through the speakers - just keep getting better, rising to the coming crescendo tomorrow (today, as I type this).

  1. Tom Stipe... incredible warning, timely exhortation. Don't be tripped up in the last lap - finish your race well. Awesome.

  2. Greg Laurie's teaching on Excelling in Bringing Glory to God, which includes the twin ideas of being Kingdom-minded and staying true to the Word, was absolutely on-target.

  3. Chuck Smith's message on communion... you could have heard a pin drop. Guys: there is a reason why this man is so greatly loved, why he has an entire army of Jonathans around him. This session pulls the veil back just a bit so that you can see why. I felt like I was on holy ground when he shared about his mother's passing into glory. I will not cheapen it by describing it further; you must get the DVD of this session.

  4. Ricky Ryan's session was timely, exhortative, and characteristically energetic.

  5. But the day's directed teaching closed out with Damien Kyle - but of course. Who else could? His message on Excelling in Love was... life-changing. Then he led directly into the afterglow, which was... indescribable. The absolute most precious, most Spirit-led, most encouraging and convicting afterglow I have ever been privileged to participate in. I will be digesting what was ministered to me in that afterglow for the next year.

And of course, Chad and the SMP crew kidnapped me and dragged me to some Mexican-ish restaurant for dinner - the cads. The food was incredible, and the encouragement from Bill Ritchie was I think absolutely spot-on, candid, and needed.

Bit of advice: If Chad offers to drive you anywhere, the correct answer is to run. Traffic laws are apparently very optional over yonder on the East Coast, there...

2007 Pastors' Conference - Day 2, part 2

Oh, my.

Raul Reis' message on purity nailed us (me) to the wall, then Don McClure's message... nailed us (me) to the wall. I think I was but one of hundreds who walked out of the sanctuary and immediately called our wives and told them not only do we love them, not only do we miss them, but "thank you for putting up with me you're so awesome you're pretty I'm ugly you smell good I smell bad you're the greatest I'm a doofus... etc."

Just... awesome...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

2007 Pastors' Conference - Day 2, part 1

Okay, the speakers just keep getting better. The devotional this morning by Rich Chaffin was awesome. And it just went uphill from there. Guzik's study on "Excelling in the Integrity of the Church" was classic Guzik - right on target, right between the eyes, no verbiage wasted, no points spared. Raul Ries nailed us to the wall on purity, and then Don McClure brought it home in his session, "Excelling as a Husband".

If you haven't been able to come to the conference, get the MP3s.

For the dudes on the Lakeshore - we'll be watching these together over the next several weeks.

This has been an incredible conference so far - and Day 2 isn't even over yet.

2007 Pastors' Conference - Flickr Slideshow

Click here for a slideshow of pics from the 2007 Pastors' Conference in Murrieta, CA.

2007 Pastors' Conference - Day 1

As usual, I look forward to this time of year every year - and I dread it. I dread it because I hate being apart from my lovely and gracious wife for the week-and-a-half around this time (she leaves a half week before I do to go minister at a yearly ladies' retreat with our pastor's church). But I look forward to it because:

  1. I get to meet and reconnect with some brothers that I don't get to see except for this one time each year, from all over the globe

  2. I love the teaching

  3. I love the ministry time between sessions

  4. I love re-connecting with the pulse of the movement that we're a part of.

Usually, I don't come to the conferences primarily for the teaching - I can always get the DVDs after-the-fact for a lot cheaper and watch them at my own pace. The teachings are awesome, but coming two-thirds the way across the continent just for that is not cost-effective. Rather, I get the most from the conferences from the interactions I have with my brothers-in-arms at the meals, before the sessions, after the sessions, in the hot pools...

But I tell you; every year I'm blown away at what the Lord says through the speakers - something that I think is enhanced by being there.

I was going to comment on the notes I've taken about the conference sessions, buuuuuuuut... Chad Mhyre, the simplemindedpreacher has beat me to the punch - and has done a much better job of it than I was going to.

So, here's his notes for the first day's sessions:

  1. Chuck Smith - Excelling in the Message of the Cross

  2. Joe Focht - Excelling in the Wisdom of God

  3. Bill Ritchie - Excelling in Building Up the Body of Christ

I am so looking forward to Day 2.

And breakfast.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

2007 Pastors' Conference - Outward Bound

...and by "outward bound," I of course mean, "stuck in Grand Rapids."

One of the joys of modern travel is flight delays - and the domino affect thereof, which includes flight cancellations. I think I stood in line at the ticket counter when my flight out to O'Hare was canceled, in order to get another flight (which might still get canceled) about three times a s long as the flight to Chicago lasts to begin with.


However, I got to meet some interesting people in line - including Art, Jr., who's flying out to New Jersey to be with his 80+ year-old father who's very ill. He didn't have a phone to make a flight change, so I lent him mine, and thereby got to know him a bit. I told him that I'd remember to pray for his pop, Art, Sr., so I'm posting this both to remind me later to follow up on that promise, and to ask all my readers (you know... both of you...) to pray for Art, too.

This has got to be an awesome conference that God's got planned, here; lots of spiritual warfare and plain old obstacles leading up to this, here... I'm tired, exhausted, and otherwise worn out already, and I haven't even left Michigan yet; but I'm also excited to see what the Lord's going to do.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Phoenix Riseth

The Phoenix Preacher blog was taken down last week. There seems to have been an underhanded deal that went down which forced Mike Newnham to remove the blog. Whatever your thoughts are regarding PP, that was just low. Whoever is involved should be slapped upside the head with the right hand of fellowship.

Again, I'll state: I did not personally care much for a lot of what went on over at PP. The dialog often rose to the level of histrionics with several... ahhhh... angry people (...must...not...say...bitter...) people venting, spleen letting, etc. (One poster posted under the name CCVictim... oy, vey...)

HOWEVER, there was a lot of actual ministry that went on, too. There were, sadly, some legitimately hurt people who found the PP online community, and found healing.

And - again, sadly - there were some dastardly deeds done in the name of Calvary Chapel that were addressed ::cough:: Mike Kestler and the CSN debacle ::cough, cough::, and real issues that needed to be and were slogged through. NO man is above scrutiny, and no church... and no movement. It has been said, "Keep your friends close... and your enemies closer." Your critics are often in reality your best friends - they much more readily see your blind spots and, if you're listening, can alert you to them so that you can prayerfully address them.

I love Calvary Chapel. I'm a Chuck Smith/Jon Courson/Joe Focht/Mike MacIntosh/Damian Kyle groupie. I have Romaine's visage tatooed on my right bicep.

Okay, perhaps not that last one there.

But you get the point.

I love Calvary Chapel. I'm a Distinctives boy all the way. I want to name my first child - whether a boy or girl - "Paul Smith Macon." Or "Chuck Damien Macon." Or do the whole Catholic thing and give the poor kid a billion middle names... something like "Chuck Jon Joe Mike Damian Macon."

I make no apologies for the fact that we're distinctively pretrib premil. I make no apologies for the fact that we teach verse-by-verse through the Bible, or for our system of church polity (the much-ballyhooed "Moses Model"), or the fact that we are neither a denomination, nor are we against denominations as such... etc.

But no movement is perfect; we can examine ourselves, and we can accept and receive "outside" scrutiny, listen to those who disagree with us, and pray through what is said without a knee-jerk reaction that tends to short-circuit what the Spirit might be saying to us. And so, ultimately, PP served a very useful (if often irritating) function.

Besides: This is the internet. You cannot silence your critics. Shut down one blog, and ten more will pop up to take it's place.

Enter: Under The Cross. This seems to be the nascent reforming of the PP community online.

Whatever else your opinion might have been about PP, this at least seems true:

The Phoenix riseth.

Two Things

Two blogposts I read this morning that are link-worthy:

  • Brave Men by Travis Johnson

  • Offensive Language by Andrew Jones aka "Tall Skinny Kiwi", an ECMmer. NB: I disagree somewhat powerfully with TSK's conclusions... but the post is worthy of careful, prayerful consideration anyway. If you read it (and I warn you - it does contain some objectionable verbiage), don't just react - think. If - like me - you find yourself disagreeing with the Altitudinous Underfed New Zealander, at least know why.