Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Product Review

I ran across a website for a company in Chicago that makes banners and posters. The company is called Tree-Fox. I noticed they were running a promotion to get your first order for free in return for a review on your blog or website. I decided to order a 5'x5' banner for Living Waters Church with our logo on it. So, here's the review...

Service - A+

I must say I was quite pleased with the overall service. I placed my order Wednesday evening and received an email within an hour asking a few questions concerning my order and letting me know my artwork was fine. The next day I received another email letting me know my banner was being printed and would probably be shipped that day. Then later, another email was sent letting me know the banner had been shipped and I should receive it Monday. I actually got it today.

Product - B-

I didn't really have any expectations about the product because I was unfamiliar with the medium they were using. I was surprised at how thin it was and I have some concern as to how well it will hold up in outdoor settings. The image quality, however, was wonderful. The image was crisp and clear with no jagged edging or poor quality colors. I must say, it looks the same as the PDF file I sent. The only problem is one tiny spot where the printing came off. Here's a picture (I put a red circle around the spot):

Now, as you can see, the banner is quite wrinkled as well which led to the ink coming off. That brings us to the last part of the review.

Shipping - C-

I received my banner in a triangular mailer -- well, actually it was two mailers taped together. I was disappointed to see that in transit, the mailer had been bent. This caused the banner to be bent and wrinkled. A picture of the box and the banner:

I am sure that this is due to Postal Service mishandling, but I think using a round mailing tube might have helped prevent this damage. I was pleased with the speed of shipping, though.

Overall - B

Overall I was pleased with the order. I believe they offer a quality product and have reasonable prices. I would and do recommend Tree-Fox for any large scale printing needs and I would use their services again. My only recommendation to them is to upgrade their shipping containers to minimize damage in transit.


I received an email from Kelly at Tree-Fox addressing the concerns I mentioned here along with an offer to replace the banner at no cost, even though the damage was obviously caused in transit. I must say, that was great considering this order was through the First Order Free promotion I mentioned in the first paragraph. The customer service has been above and beyond all expectations.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

To the Glory of God the Father

Phillipians 2:9-11 (KJV)

9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We were reading Scripture passages at church tonight, and this one really stood out to me. We've all heard it countless times - probably even quoted or paraphrased it a time or two. But tonight something stuck out to me in a new way. I want to share that with you. It's about the Glory of God.

We as Christians strive to do things to bring glory to God -- at least we should. We often pray in church that everything we do bring glory to God. That's good. Let's keep it up. But I like verse 11. "[E]very tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Do you see that? What brings glory to the Father? When we confess that Jesus is Lord. I believe every time someone comes to Christ, the Father receives glory. But I don't think it stops there.

I think confessing Christ is Lord is not limited to a sinner getting saved. I think it's a continual daily process. I think every decision we make is an opportunity to confess Christ is Lord. When we choose God's way over our own desires, we confess Him as Lord. Remember for Him to be Lord, He has to be the one who calls the shots. Romans 6:6 says, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Therefore, as Paul goes on to say in verse 18, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." We know Christ was made righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), so we are his servants. We daily have opportunities to confess that Jesus is Lord and bring glory to God the Father.

And one more thought: You know how you feel when someone comes and tells you something that your child has done that was good? The joy, the feeling of pride that comes from knowing your child has done so well at something that another person has to tell you how good they are? Imagine the joy God feels when we praise His Son. I think our praises are another way we confess Christ is Lord. We wouldn't think of praising someone who was not worthy of praise. But we know Christ is worthy of all praise (Psalm 18:3). So just imagine the Father's joy when we praise the Son and confess Him as Lord.

So here's an idea. Why don't we purpose to confess Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father every day? Why don't we purpose to praise the One worthy to be praised every day? Just think of the change we can bring about in our lives and the lives of others by being the servants of righteousness we should be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some Observational Ramblings...

Sometimes I sit and wonder about the things we do in churches today. Are they truly Biblical? Is this really what is pleasing to God? And I see thing sometimes that I know aren't. But what are we to do?

It brings this observation to me. As we have gotten further removed from the days of Jesus' ministry on Earth, we have gotten further away from the practices of the early church. We've redefined things to appease our beliefs and desires. We've added things that were never there. We've gotten rid of things we didn't like. And that's where our denominational differences arise.

I've always had membership in Southern Baptist churches. But I wonder how much of what we do is right. There is an abundance of Churches of Christ in this area. But I wonder the same. We have instructions in Scripture on orderly worship. We have instructions on requirements for Pastors, Elders, Bishops, Deacons, etc., but how correctly are we following them? Our tendency is to say "This is what the Bible says, and here is what it means." Call me crazy, but isn't the better idea following what it says? I can tell you what I think it means, but if we believe that all Scripture is God-breathed (theopneustos)then wouldn't God say what he meant? If His Word is infallible, then who am I to say that it says one thing but truly means something else?

And I sometimes think these types of things hurt the cause of Christ. Thousands of blogs flood the web with nothing more than posts of how this group, church, pastor, is wrong and I'm right. And for each of these is a post in response to it, which leads to another response, and so on. To what end? Has anyone come to Christ because somebody blogged in response to a blog about how this guy said something we just didn't agree with? I doubt it.

Now don't get me wrong. Doctrine is important. But spending every waking hour reading and responding to blogs about someone else's doctrine doesn't save people. Us getting off our butts and building relationships and sharing the Word of God will lead people to the God of the Word. Then, and only then, should we begin teaching doctrine. That's part of discipleship. And that's the main thing missing in churches today. We want to have as few services as possible, show up as little as possible and feel good about ourselves. Can you imagine the change in our churches if we begin true discipleship? People actually learning how to be a Christian? What living for God truly entails?

It would be truly amazing.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ray Boltz is gay and how it relates to me. (part two)

So, recently Ray Boltz came out and said he was gay. My previous post was the first way this revelation related to me. This story is the last part.

Several years ago I lived in a town where one of the residents had built his own amphitheater. He built it right in his huge backyard and hosted southern gospel concerts there. I enjoyed going to these concerts and meeting some of the singers. One singer I met was Kirk Talley.

Kirk Talley has been around for a long time. He sang with the Cathedrals and the Hoppers, as well as having a rather successful solo career. I got a chance to talk with him and found him to be a rather interesting person to talk to. Several years ago the news came out that Kirk was gay. If you want to read more about that, search for it on Google, there's a lot you can find there.

Now, here's my favorite part of the story. I remember the shirt I was wearing when I met Kirk Talley. It was, and still is, a favorite of mine. The shirt is rainbow striped. I mean the material it is made from is rainbow. Not just a little rainbow on it, but entirely rainbow. So, I met a gay southern gospel singer while wearing a shirt colored with the symbol the homosexual community hijacked from God's people.

Why do these things happen to me? I'm just blessed.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ray Boltz is gay and how it relates to me. (part one)

And apparently he claims it's brought him closer to God. He did an interview (of course) that you can read here. Now I have two choices on related stories I can tell, so I think I'll tell one now and the other later.

Story One

Several years ago I had resumes floating around in a lot of places seeking where God might have me serve. Occasionally, I would receive emails or calls from churches all over the country. One evening I received an email from a church expressing interest in me becoming their Music Minister or whatever title they used. I had never heard of the church so I looked them up on google to learn more about them. I was quite impressed with their web presence and they seemed rather interesting. Then I found the problem. The staff page showed the "pastor" and his "family" in a picture. However, I had a hard time discerning who in the picture was the "pastor."

It was a picture of two men, the "pastor" and his life-partner (aka boyfriend). It was a Metropolitan Community Church which I then discovered was the church of the homosexual persuasion. Needless to say, I didn't pursue that gig. I'm still not sure where they got my info or why they thought I was MCC material, but I am most definitely not.

How is that related? Ray Boltz is now attending and resuming his singing career in an MCC group.

Let's just pray for Ray that God will open his eyes to the sin in his life and help him get back to the truth.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

If you're looking for a church...

...I have a great idea for you.


That's right, I said stop looking. You already know what you're looking for, so why waste time going from place to place pretending to be genuinely interested in that church. Just start calling churches out of the yellow pages and asking them if they have what you want.

I was reading a blog by a young pastor of a young church that is literally exploding in Charlotte. He had a quote from a woman who visited one week. Here it is:
“I wanted to let you know that there’s one praise song, I can’t remember the name of it, that ya’ll do better than all of the dozens of churches we’ve been to in our church shopping quest.”
She has been on a "church shopping quest" that has included "dozens" of churches. Why do people do this? Why do people seem to think that they should be going out looking for a church?

That's easy, we all go into church looking for it to be exactly what we want. We want the music a certain way. And it better be at exactly the right volume. The preacher has to be on fire, but not enough that it might burn us. There needs to be a few kids in the church, but not too many or too rambunctious. We don't mind if they always seem to start 2 or 3 or 10 minutes late, but they better end at exactly 12 and no later. And the list goes on....

My concern is, Where is God in your quest? Has He been consulted? Do you even care what His thoughts are? No, you just want to go where you are comfortable. Where the people are just like you and have no desire to change. Too many times we want to go to the place where it will sound like something important or prestigious.

"Yes I go to First Baptist Church."

"I go to Pastor So-and-so's church, you know, the one on TV."

So, what? What are you doing for the Kingdom?

I have been in churches for a long time and in a lot of places and I have discovered one thing. Most of the people who "church shop" are the ones who really don't want to go to one church exclusively. Why? Because then they might be expected to do something. If all you do is go from church to church to church, you never really have any roots. If you don't have any roots, no one will hold you accountable. However, when it's all said and done, it really doesn't matter what church you don't go to, so just pick one already.

But remember, while no one on this earth will hold you accountable, there is coming a day when Jesus is going to ask you why you wasted so much time looking for that perfect church when there were people dying every day without ever hearing the good news you needed to tell them.

In other words, let God lead you to a place to worship, and then start serving Him there.

But there's more...

Churches need to stop trying to cater to every whim of every person who visits. And church plants are the worst for trying to make themselves appealing to people in their community by constantly doing something different. The worst thing is when they change how they do things just because what they had been doing isn't filling the seats like they thought it would. Funny thing is, when they start doing it that way they claim God was leading in that way, and when they decide to end they just say it isn't working. Either God wasn't leading that way to start, or you have a lot of guts to say what God told you to do isn't working like you want so you're changing it.

If God says do it and then says change, change even if what you're doing is working better than you could have imagined. It just might be a test of your faith to follow His will.

If God says do it and it's not working the way you expected, keep at it. It just might be your 40 years in the wilderness.

If God didn't say do it in the first place, seek His leadership on what to do now before you try something else. Don't just do something else He didn't tell you to because you're doing something wrong now.

Let's just worship God and share His love and let Him sort out the rest.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

People I Can Live Without

So, we were at the association office today chatting with Miss Becky (who, BTW, is an awesome Ministry Assistant) and somehow we got to talking about people we can live without. I decided I was going to blog about this topic. Now, let me say this: I could mention some names of people I really could live without that live right here in the area I now live. But, I am not a complete moron. Therefore, with apologies to Becky, I have decided to post a list of so-called celebrities I can live without.

5. Lindsay Lohan - If she would clear her voice and get sober, she wouldn't be so annoying. As a child she showed much potential to be a successful actress, now she shows potential to be included in the next Oscar night tribute to dead actors.

4. Keanu Reeves - Today's his birthday. Big deal. I think he peaked with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

3. Brangelina JoPittlie - (a two-fer) I am beyond fed up with them and the 736 kids they've amassed. Who cares? They have money and they get a bunch of kids for a nanny to raise.

2. Britney Spears - No talent.

1. Dane Cook - I've asked several people who claim to be fans of his why exactly he is famous. No one knows. I sure don't.

So there it is. People I can live without. I hope you enjoy.

But let me say this.

We all know people we wish we didn't. You know the ones. The ones who rub us the wrong way. When we say up, they say down. They seem to be here on this earth solely to bother us. What can we do? We could just make a list of people we can live without. But that's not very nice. Sure we can live without them, but have we ever stopped to think maybe they can't live without us. Maybe the reason they are in our lives is so we can be a positive influence on them. Maybe we need to show the love of Christ to them. Maybe, just maybe, they are so annoying because that's the only way anyone ever acknowledges they exist. You know, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Perhaps they're just looking for someone to help them. Even people in our churches can be looking for someone to take an active interest in them.

I think of the Casting Crowns song "Stained Glass Masquerade" and how we sometimes go to church and pretend like everything is okay when it's not. Sometimes instead of telling a brother or sister what's going on in our lives, we go around like a spring wound up ready to snap. We become part of someone else's list of people they can live without. Maybe that's why Brother So-and-so seems like he's mad at everybody. Maybe something is going on in his life he hasn't shared and he's taking out his pain on everybody else. How many times do we think to stop and ask him if he's okay and if there's something we could pray with him about. We don't. I don't.

Now don't get me wrong, some people are just plain mean. But those are few and far between. Most are just hurting and don't know how to deal with it. Let's try to reach out to those we can live without and see what happens.

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