27 July 2007

Recent Reads

I can't say enough good things about RELEVANT Magazine because each time I pick up the latest issue or check out the website, I learn something new or I am challenged in my walk with God. In the past week or so, I have read some great articles that I wanted to share with you.

I preached on July 15 here at Trietsch and I used this article on the movie Transformers to talk about how Optimus Prime was the "messianic figure" in the movie.

I also read an article on engaging our secular culture from outside the Christian "bubble." In addition, an article called Shattering Paradigms (Part 1 and Part 2) challenged me to look at my spiritual life in new ways.

One more article to check out...this one challenges our "traditional" model of church membership as "validity of your Christianity" instead of focusing on our relationship with God and drawing upon our personal interactions with the holy One.


26 July 2007

Trietsch is Now Podcasting

I am excited to inform you that Trietsch has begun podcasting our weekend sermons on our website and via iTunes. You can check out my sermon from July 15 here or you can subscribe to our podcast here.

Take a listen and enjoy!


20 July 2007

Lessons from the Inbox

This morning at Starbucks I did not have to write a sermon for this weekend, so I decided to knock out a task that has been plaguing me for quite a while - cleaning out a cluttered inbox. I spent the better part of 3 hours sorting, filing, and deleting emails that dated back to May 2006. Now that the task is complete I feel a great sense of relief, like a burden has been lifted off my back - perhaps I can walk a little taller this afternoon because of this.

As I looked back thru 12+ months of emails, I was able to pray for some people who have touched my life and who have been touched by the ministry that I am part of. Some of the emails were strange, some were pointless, but most were meaningful in their appropriate context. So what did I learn from cleaning out my inbox...

Put things in their proper place...
My life is not always the most organized thing in the world (come see my office and you'll agree) so having a system that helps put the things I need to function in a place where I can find them quickly is essential. Also, organization is not something you can do once and forget about, you must continue to work at organization. I know that I need to spend a few minutes each day (and perhaps an hour or so a week) organizing, so that I can stay organized.

Take time to remember and reflect...
Often life flies by so fast that we can hardly take a breath as we finish one project and move to another. Taking time to remember what is important and who is important in your life will continue to give your life meaning and purpose - and it will probably keep you sane. Remember those who have touched your life recently and not so recently - tell them thanks and that you are a better person because of their contributions to their life.

When things get overwhelming, stop and pray...
It took me a year (and then some) to take the time to clean out my inbox and things were at the point where I had more messages that needed to be deleted than kept. My email was at an overwhelming point and I had to stop whatever else I was doing and focus completely on that, just to get it done. Sometimes in life we just get so caught up in keeping up with our pace of life that we run constantly. Take some time to push pause and talk with God. Talk about everything and anything that's swamping you because our God can handle our problems with ease. Prayer is our release valve when the steam of life builds pressure under the lid. If you don't open the valve and let off some steam, there's gonna be an explosion and it isn't gonna be pretty.

Anyone feeling like cleaning out their email?


19 July 2007

The 2nd Blog-iversary Arrives

Well it looks like I have been at this blogging thing for another year and I am not quite sure what to say about the past 12 months. Lots of things have changed. Lots of things are the same. And lots of changes are on the way.

Here's a snapshot of the past 12 months:
# of posts: 69 (-1 from 1st year)
# of comments: 24 (-62 from 1st year)
# of profile views: 128 (-12 from last year)
avg # of posts per month: 5.75 (-0.08 from last year)
avg # of comments per post: 0.35 (-0.88 from last year)
avg # of comments per month: 2.0 (-5.17 from last year)

I am down in all categories this year, what's up with that? It appears that my blog became less popular during its second year. Maybe I need to do some market research to figure out how to get more traffic/participation to my blog...maybe I just need to post more pics of Caitlyn and post about controversial issues...maybe.

Thanks for another year!

Offering Apologies

I know I said that I would post about our visit to The Village, but I haven't had a chance to get my thoughts on paper yet, so they are not here either. I hope that since I don't have a sermon to write for this weekend, I can get around to processing thru that church visit.


Hebrews 11:41

That verse does not actually exist in scripture, but today in Bible study we took the time to write ourselves into the "faith hall of fame" in Hebrews 11. This is what I came up with in three minutes:

"By faith Dean, responded to God's call on his life in order to love and serve the church on a daily basis. He chooses to live a life of service to the gospel in order that God would be glorified in all the earth."

What would your Hebrews 11:41 be?


09 July 2007

One out of four isn't bad...right?

I only made it to one of the four worship services that I was trying to visit this weekend. The one we went to was the 9 a.m. service at the Village. It was good, but since Matt was off for the weekend, it was not the usual experience that has brought so many people to that church in the last three years. I'll fill out the report and let my co-workers know about my visit, so once I do that I'll post here about my feelings and thoughts. I did get a few good ideas and one thing I will say is that I am glad that there are churches in our area that are using secular songs for redemptive purposes.


06 July 2007

Church Visits

I am thinking about making a few visits to other contemporary churches this weekend in order to get some broader experience in what goes on in other contemporary worship services. My weekend could look like this:

Saturday, 5:30pm - St. Andrew UMC (Saturday Night Alive)
Sunday, 9:00am - The Village Church
Sunday, 11:00am - St. Andrew UMC (The Gathering)
Sunday, 5:00pm - Bent Tree Bible Fellowship

I don't know if I will make all of these, but it would certainly be a full day of worship (and work) to accomplish it. I'll let you know what happens.


05 July 2007

Sin is Messy

Have you ever felt helplessly trapped by the weight of your own sins? Have you ever been on your knees in despair because of the realization that you cannot overcome the magnitude of your rebellion on your own? Was there ever a time when you knew that your actions were against God and you didn't have faith at all?

Sin is a tricky thing...it makes us think we are better than we are or not as bad as we really are. But the truth is that sin is an offense against God and we must deal with that with God. If we continue in our lives like we only make guilt-free mistakes instead of guilt-full sins, then we will never acknowledge our need for someone (us or someone else) to pay the penalty for those sins. And if we don't acknowledge the fact that we cannot pay the price our sins require, then we will never reach out to Jesus - the one who has paid the price for our sins.

I think Christians often go thru life thinking that the faith of their families is enough, but they never make the realization that owning our sins and dealing with them thru the blood of Jesus is the only way to make the faith of our family personal. As George Whitefield said, "We must be convinced of the weight of our original sin, our actual sins, our sin of self-righteousness, and the sin of unbelief before we can speak peace to our souls."

I hope this made sense because I am sort of combining my reflections on several sermons I have heard recently - as well as things going on in my own life. If you have not yet been fully convinced of the weight of your sins and your inability to free yourself from them, I would love to talk with you more.


04 July 2007

The US is another year older today. I wonder if the forefathers are proud of what we have done with the country they fought so hard to free from the tyranny of England? I wonder if the ideals set forth in our country's foundational documents have gone by the wayside or if we are continuing to work toward them? I wonder if we as human beings have really made all that much progress in the quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Not sure about America, but I still hold out hope for humanity because we were created by a God that loves us enough to reach out into the mess of our lives and bring us back into relationship with him. Our life pursuits are changed from wealth, status, and possessions to full connection with creation, restored relationship with our Creator, and loving like our Savior.

On this 231st anniversary of the formation of the United States, let us reflect on our true freedom in Christ and how we can bring that freedom to all who need it - spiritually, emotionally, physically, or economically.