Monday, April 21, 2008

Some "good" problems at church.

Ordinarily I dislike problems. I'm capable of handling and addressing and resolving problems, but I don't walk around pursuing them. Lately, I've been grappling with some "good" problems around the church:

1. We're running out of programs/bulletins on Sundays.
This is good because it shows our attendance is growing. But it's largely growing because of new people attending, getting saved, getting baptized and being discipled. We've been averaging 3 or 4 water baptisms a month, which is a good start! So, we've been increasing the number of bulletins each week, and just yesterday we ran out -- again!

2. We have too many office volunteers.
Seriously, I have one person who comes in Mondays and Wednesdays, another three who come in Thursdays, another couple who are here Wednesday mornings, and then a new one who will be starting on Tuesdays and maybe another day of the week. This creates a need for me to be more organized, so I have plenty of meaningful, significant projects for each volunteer.

3. We have too many new faces.
This goes back to "problem" #1. I walk around church on Sunday morning, and I'm still able to identify the majority of people in our services. But then I see someone whose name eludes me, and I can't ask them again to share their name. Oh the joys of having lots of new people in your church!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Tale of Two Dads.

I don't quite know where to begin with this. Our church is having a rough time right now because of the tragic death of one of our members last week. I got a call around 1:40AM late Thursday/early Friday morning from a teen in our church. She asked for prayer because her dad had stopped breathing and he was being rushed to the hospital.

About an hour later, I got a text message from my senior pastor saying the dad had died. I was out of town, but I continued to receive text and phone updates throughout the early morning hours.

Losing a loved one hurts. Losing that person in a sudden, tragic experience hurts so deeply.

You see, we have another family in our church whose dad is battling cancer. His doctors disagree over how to battle the disease or how much the treatments will help. Tomorrow they have another conversation with one of their doctors. I'm praying they have clarity and wisdom and peace.

Two families. Two struggles. Two dads. The stories are similar, yet the circumstances are so different. One family didn't get the chance to say good-bye. Another family doesn't know when good-bye will actually come. One family was rocked by tragedy. Another family is slowly tossed back and forth by different analyses and different recommendations.

Both families are in my prayers, and both need God to prove Himself in their situations. I know He will. It's just sometimes hard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another summer movie I must see.

OK, my list of "must see" summer movies continues to grow. We have the latest installments of Indiana Jones, The Chronicles of Narnia and Batman. We have another Pixar flick (Wall-E) that looks interesting, a Speed Racer movie that might be entertaining (or lame, not sure), and several others I've seen in previews and summer articles.

Add to the list a new X-Files movie. Honestly, I didn't know they were shooting another one, which is pretty embarrassing for a guy who owns all the DVDs and used to avoid Sunday night activities so he could catch each week's episode.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taxes, cell phones, and racquetball.

Unlike the last few years, I didn't wait until April 15 to file my taxes.

I got them done on April 14, instead.

The good news is that I'm getting a refund from both the state and the feds. Unfortunately, it's only half the amount of last year's refunds. It's rather ironic because I now own a home and have an entire year of reductable interest. The flip side is that I also have an entire year of roommates paying me money to live in my house. So it all panned out. Without roomies, huge refund. Without roomies, couldn't afford the house!

Topic 2. Cell phones. I bought a new one last week. The Palm Centro, with Sprint coverage. I like Sprint, it has good coverage here in the Sacramento area. The phone is cool, and with all the discounts and rebates, it came out to just about $100. And then I switched my service plan to the unlimited everything. So that's cool.

Topic 3. Racquetball. I played again today, against the third different friend since I got back into the game a few weeks ago. It's a good workout, good cardio stuff. Today, I almost lost the first game but pulled off a come-from-behind win, 22-20. Then I swept the second and third games fairly easily. But it's a good thing to do, as long as I don't do something stupid, like sprain my ankle again.

Am I a blogging failure?

Over the last few weeks, my blogging patterns have been weak. Horribly weak, one might say. Why has this happened? Let's ponder the possibilities.

1. Rob is spending too much time writing pithy messages on twitter; he's unable to complete thoughts longer than 140 characters.

2. Rob is so enamored with his most recent Moleskine purchase that he feels compelled to only write on physical paper using ink. Not pencil. Ink. Pencil is for wimps who can't commit to an idea.

3. Rob is spending too much time watching TV, now that he can catch new episodes of The Office, 30 Rock, and, um, well, what else does he watch...

4. Rob is overwhelmed with the project of re-creating his church's database from scratch because his senior pastor was tired of sending birthday cards to dead people and anniversary cards to divorced couples, so Rob got the job of using new software and starting from Square One.

5. Rob is using all his spare time coming up with excuses on why he's slow on getting editing projects back to his friends at Simply Youth Ministry. No wait, that doesn't sound very professional.

So pick whichever excuse you like. All of them are right and wrong, in an Obi Wan-explaining-to-Luke-about-his-father-and-truth-from-a-certain-point-of-view way.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The prayers of my blog.

We just wrapped up our church staff meeting, and in his closing prayer, our senior pastor prayed specifically for each of us. When praying for me, he said, "God, we ask that you would answer all the prayers of his blog," which made all of us laugh.

I know Kansas DID win the national championship last night in men's basketball. And according to at least one online article today, some people believe God played a role in helping the Jayhawks win.

I'm not a huge proponent of the "God lets Christians win" theory. If two Christian QBs face off in the Super Bowl, only one can win. Does God play favorites? Does God have a big coin in heaven that He tosses to pick the winner?

Certainly I believe God gives us the strength to do our best, to excel, to perform well. Besides, didn't we all learn years ago that it's not if we win but how we play the game?

Then again, I'd be a bit unhappy today if Kansas had lost last night. So maybe I still have some learnin' to do...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Parking confusion?

So, did this guy park in the wrong section of the parking lot? Or did the rest of us not get the message?

Too many text messages.

OK, so my five-month experiment has come to a close. Back in November, I decided to see if I could set a personal record for the most text messages in a month (combined incoming and outgoing). Before November, I had never used more than 1,550 in one month.

Well, November ended up being around 2,900 -- thanks to my sending messages to friends, asking them to text me. In December, I continued the experiment and got my count up to around 3,400. In January, I reached 4,400. In February, it grew to 5,100.

This brings us to the just-completed month of March. I broke all those personal records. In fact, I completely shattered them: just over 11,000 text messages used last month.

My friends, that works out to be more than 350 messages per day.

That's insane.

And I'm done.

Not with texting, but with my attempts to use mass quantities of messages. I'm sure I won't fall back into the 1,500 range again, but if a month from now, I've sent and received more than 11,000, it's time to check into rehab.