Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Earthquake/Tsunami Relief...

Wish you knew how best to provide urgent relief in this situation? The 'Transform Indiana' network offers this wise counsel.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Top 5 blog-posts of 2004...

[Hat-tip to]

Bob Carlton (The Corner) is collecting Top-5's around the blogosphere. Makes for best-in-class reading here at year-end.

And maybe it's a good exercise for all of us -- whether it's a family newsletter at Christmas or blog-posts -- what were some of this year's items worth reconsidering?

Given it was an election year, not surprisingly several of my 'Top 5' here at were reflections on cultural issues in an election year:

#5 "Most Pro-Gay Presidential Candidate Ever"
His campaign's words, not mine.

#4 "Who Are His Wise-Counselors Anyway?"
Are Muslims going to heaven? Bush: "Yes".

#3 "Intolerant Indy"
Blog challenges Indianapolis Star glaring omission... and implication.

#2 "What More Could A (White) Evangelical Ask For?"
Post-election call for a clear-cut choice for ALL Bible-believing Christ-followers.

#1 "We Can Do Something About All This."
The Bible's clear prescription for change.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

President Bush Encourages Cross-hating Group?

Interesting article; we'll no doubt hear more from this episode. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

"Decoding Da Kid"... A Parent's Guide To Internet Lingo

(click pic)
Sounds great! Maybe Stephen & Sybil will be at our Innovation Forum, Jan. 17 ???

[Sybil & Stephen carry on several ministries to our area, including Heart Communications and, to name a few.]


"City Impact"...

Perfect gift to your city for Christmas!

[I'll try to soon update this with a much more adequate review of the book, but I'm half way through it and can't keep it quiet -- Buy one for your favorite pastor in your favorite city.]

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Transform Indiana takes networking up a notch... adding a team of "Blue Heelers Bloggers".

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Building Blocks For Growth...

Here's a seminar I've been asked to help with... for pastors, administrators and board-members. It should be interesting... grappling with the issues of how to implement 'change' and still do things in a 'fitting & orderly manner'.

Friday, December 03, 2004

IBM to send PCs packing...

For those of you who thought yesterday's runaway word ('blog') was hard...

Today try "Vic20, Trash-80, Commodore, Kaypro, 2e, Wang or Visicalc". Were those easier? If so, you're probably as sad to see 'Charlie' go, as I am.

But Forbes has it pegged.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Runaway Word of the Year is....


Having discovered 'blogs' in the new dictionary this morning, Bill Gates announced blog software for MSN, instead calling them "Spaces", and will be re-inventing RSS feeds by his name... "Gleams". The concepts are being beta-tested at his home this morning, and are due to roll out to the marketplace... approximately... well... um... before Google moves on to their next winning venture. [Google purchased in 2003 -- prior to its IPO on Wall Street.]

Patches for Spaces & Gleams are already downloadable at and are called 'NewImprovedTide'.

Forbes Magazine intimates that the software giant may be a bit tardy to the blog banquet.


In late breaking news, Microsoft announces a hasty move of their corporate headquarters to Indianapolis purportedly to accelerate their R&D learning-curve. Unreliable sources report that board chairman Gates has registered (under the alias 'Rev. William Gates', First Church version1.03) for the upcoming "Innovation Forum" there on January 17th.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"Internet Evangelism for the 21st Century"...

The "Internet Evangelism for the 21st Century" conference will be held at Liberty University Apiril 1-2, 2005. This conference expects to draw attendees from the 8,000 member residential student body as well as pastors and leaders from Central Virginia and beyond. LU's state of the art wireless campus is an ideal venue for IE-21st Century. For more information visit and/or email Professor Daniel Henrich at

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Journal Note: The "B-word"... carried a story last week. The Indianapolis Star carried a story the week before. And this morning my pastor actually said it from the pulpit...

...the B-word .

There's no retreating. Life as we know it, will never be the same.

[Mark your calendar for January 17. We're going to help pastors and leaders here in Indy learn to cope with it. Stay tuned.]

Internet E-Day...

Patricia's Story... pretty much says it all. So I've marked my calendar for April 24, 2005. See you online.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

If You Had Your Rathers...

If you were Dan Rather announcing your retirement from CBS, wouldn't you rather that CBS/Viacom stock hadn't jumped $1 Billion (market capitalization) today?

Varvel's View...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hope In Taiwan... Little Hope In Artest (or Detroit)...

One is among Indianapolis' finest. The other,'most fined'?
One's underpaid and a great representative as she ministers overseas.
The other... well, hmmm.... what an embarrassment to our city & state.

Nonetheless, this is not at all to exonerate the owners of the tinderbox in Detroit. This isn't Iraq. It's the U.S., where civility is a core value and where 'Love Thy Neighbor' is taught. So if the NBA commissioner is going to hand out heavy penalties on Ron Artest and the Pacer boys, then let justice prevail: Hand down heavy penalties on the Detroit club for gross negligence in brewing such a fan base... and failing to secure them. And Ben Wallace, who clearly started it all, should be culpable for the results. How does he walk with only a 6-game suspension?

And as for the NBA in general... Physician, suspend thyself. You've loosened every rule in the book in order to make the game more 'exciting'... to sell more tickets and commercials... and the cost is a loss of dignity.

Ron... while we might all have the inclination to retaliate, you're getting paid bigtime to take the abuse... all the way to the bank. You've made your Rodman reputation, so live with it... perhaps elsewhere.

Go spend your time off learning from someone like Hope.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"Conservatives Capture Whitehouse... Liberals Overrun Pentagon"...

"On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

Such ideals were routed early today as the ACLU overran positions at the Pentagon. American Legion moves to retake lost ground. Story at eleven.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Barna's Election Analysis...

George Barna
Barna Research

"The difference was in the rates of turnout of each segment. Although the born again population constitutes just 38% of the national population, it represented 53% of the vote cast in the election. If the born again public had shown up proportional to its population size, Senator Kerry would have won the election..."

[If you've followed my blog post below: "What more could a (white) evangelical ask for?", you'll understand why I also found the following very interesting...]

"However, a key comparison is the shift over the past four years among born again blacks. In 2000, this segment rallied behind Mr. Gore by a 92% to 7% margin. In the current election, the margin of preference was reduced to 85% to 15%. That reflects a doubling of the percentage of the black born again vote delivered to Mr. Bush."

Access To The 'Exit-Polls'...

[click here to see Exit-Poll results, state by state]

[Click here for Barna Research analysis.]

Besides all the other post-election analysis we've all heard, one number that jumped off the Indiana page was... the low number of white Catholics who voted for Kerry, a white Catholic...
35% (vs. 63% who voted for Bush).

I think I'll cheer for Notre Dame this weekend.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Who Are His Wise Counselors, Anyway?

Interviewer: "Do Christians and non-Christians and Muslims go to heaven, in your mind?"

President Bush: "Yes they do."

Makes me wonder where he's getting his advice. Presumably not from Jeb. Perhaps 'George Bush 41'?

Thankfully many Christians pray regularly for President Bush. And many Christians pray for you & I too -- that we may know God exactly as He desires to be known. Apparently none of us are entirely there yet. So it begs the question: Where do we get our understanding?

May we first & foremost look to & through the authority of God's Word. And how will we gain such an understanding if not by reading it extensively (and obtaining all the wise counsel we can find)?

We need not struggle with the interviewer's question -- it's an easy one. At least President Bush got the ground rules correct: "I don't get to decide who goes to heaven. The Almighty God decides who goes to heaven."

So if Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)... then the answer is simple enough -- it's through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ that we can someday stand justified before God.

Jesus was asked point-blank: "What must we do to do the works God requires?" He answered, "The work of God is this, to believe in the One He sent." That's pretty straightforward for anyone who has heard the Good News... trust in God's redemptive promise... ie, His own personal sacrifice on our behalf, paying the penalty for our sins if we'll but receive that promise by faith.

Perhaps the question arises: "What about those who do not know Jesus by name?" Abraham didn't. But he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. (Gen.15:6). The same standard applies, trust in God's redemptive promise.

Do Muslims know of Jesus? Sure, and call him a prophet, but vehemently deny He is God... not to mention their denial of His sacrifice on their behalf.

Any questions? Wish you knew more about how to relate to your Muslim friends & neighbors?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

What More Could A (White) Evangelical Ask For?

It's hard to imagine how an evangelical Christian could hope to improve on yesterday's election results. After all, God seems to have directly answered our prayers... did He not... that winners would be those who aspire to govern with biblical insights & character. Bush won, while the most pro-gay presidential candidate ever... lost. In a related bad bet, pro-choice John Edwards ended up giving his Senate seat to a pro-life Republican. Indiana's Baron Hill is leaving the hill. No tears for Tom Daschle either. Pro-life Mitch Daniels won the governorship of Indiana by always trying to take the 'high road'. On the other hand, his opponent gave 'dirty politics' a bad name... not to mention flying in the face of his own church's position on the sanctity of life. Indiana statehouse Republicans who couldn't even get a motion onto the floor last spring under Speaker Bauer's dictatorship... will now soon be in control of the microphone.

So let me take that challenge. How could we improve on a night like that?

By making the choice clear-cut for ALL Bible-believing Christ-followers... not just white ones like myself. Let's stop being oblivious to the very real problems of vital Christians on the other side of the aisle... and town. Let's humbly walk a mile in our brothers' shoes to find & eliminate the reasons that our Christian brothers & sisters of other races end up with the hard choice between being neglected by one party and taken for granted by the other. Let's include 'Christ-like compassion' as one of those key 'moral values' that differentiate the good guys from the rest. Let's do more than just pray 'thy will be done on earth' -- let's do what Jesus also did... heal problems as we come across them. Let's be generous. Let's go to war on poverty. Let's be overcomers. Let's give grace as it's been given to us. Take seriously our obligation: "to whom much is given much is required". Let's re-engineer the social networks that perpetuate inequities from one generation to the next. Let's stop building 'self-driven churches" -- i.e., favorite flavor (or color!) homogenous churches catering to our particular whims. Instead, let's get over ourselves and start building heterogeneous churches around the pillar of Christ-like love .

Let's get to work now... and see to it that next time, Christ-followers need not split our votes at all.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

CCDA -- "Stand For Africa"...

"AIDS in Africa is an issue so big that it will take the entire Body of Christ working together to change the course of the plague. The civil rights movement and apartheid are the last social movements which required people regardless of color, class or gender to unify into action. We must do this for Africa!" -- Dr. John Perkins, Founder, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Herb Lusk

In a specially-called session at the conference, Dr. Perkins introduced Herb Lusk, Founder of "Stand For Africa" -- Philadelphia Eagles running back turned pastor -- using a Bill Hybels phrase: "A leader is someone who turns vision into passion. Herb Lusk is such a man."

Pastor Lusk then challenged us, alluding to the rattling of the 'dry bones', to come together and come alive.

"I'm not so fearful for Africa, as I am for us, if we don't hear and respond."

[Also see "President Bush Discusses HIV/AIDS Initiatives in Philadelphia".]

Friday, October 29, 2004

CCDA & TechMission...

Boy, it is so hard to choose between great workshops here in Atlanta this week. But when push comes to shove, new paradigm technology for the Church is what wins the day for me. So given my love for technology in the hood, I elected to attend a couple of great workshops re technology. Here is one of the presenters...

Ron McConico... who talked about starting a community tech center. He's started 4 of them in urban Minneapolis. And rather than try to reiterate all he said, let me just toss out some phrases. If anything picques further questions, contact him.

"consider walking your 501(c)3 app through a regional IRS office,Beaumont grants, make disciples (start 'em as assistants), do job descriptions (even for volunteers), do background checks if working with children, fire volunteers... if you need to..., get a vol coordinator, corporations sometimes match $$$ as well as encouraging their people to volunteer hours, -- MS Office for $15/ea., QB$52, etc. XP$5,, throwing away monitors costs $15/ea to trash, how about a computer center that ONLY plays games... but voucher for it ONLY comes from schools, unemployment offices will (may) pay you to train folks, schools sometimes will let you have their kids on detention... or sent 'home' from school. (in-school suspension) and suddenly you're the hero of the school principal -- and he's glad to have you then bring in a Bible-study, etc., and last but not least...

The govt loves those who can turn tax recipients into tax payers!"

Thursday, October 28, 2004

CCDA Atlanta 2004 -- Dr. Samuel Chan:

The CCDA national conference opening night plenary speaker was Dr. Samuel Chan. He was, in a word... awesome'.

"The illiterate of tomorrow won't be those who can't read or write, they'll be those who can't learn, unlearn and relearn."

His message... "7 Things To Unlearn"...

  • It's no longer 'global' missions or 'local' missions. It's 'glocal' missions.
  • Form then function? No longer. Now, just do it... do what you're passionate about... and clean up the form as you go along.
  • Old models don't work like they used to. Now nobody's in charge -- but things get done.
  • Independent ministry is out. Interdependence is in. We're collaborating now... and we need each other.
  • Philanthropists no longer just write the check. They 'bring' the check.... and sometimes their corporate ways. Some good, some not so good. But often, the ministry changes.
  • Unlearn that ministry is 'simple' any longer -- it has become hard... sometimes laden with institutional considerations.
  • Ministry makes 'sense'? Nowadays, Ministry too often makes 'cents'. So we need to pipe in a refreshing new sense of humility and listening to the Spirit. He'll provide for what He's called you to do.

Like I said. Awesome.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Innovation Forum... VoIP discussion...

[See Wireless Coffee Blog.]

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Been called worse...

... just not lately.

Here's a Planned Parenthood newsletter article characterizing Indiana Right To Life PAC (and I guess by association, many of us)...

"these single-issue extremists have a lot of money to spend getting their twisted views and nasty rhetoric out to the voting public."

Wow. Did she really say that out loud?

Maybe one's viewpoint depends on which end of the forceps you're coming from.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Target Missed?

I can hardly believe for the sake of a 'new corporate policy' that they'd effectively abandon $9 million dollars-worth of needy families at Christmas, when it's no skin off their (corporate) hides. ... I'm not sure if bloggers can make up the $$$ difference but we can try. ... Can Christian bloggers make a difference? I'm willing to pray ... and try. Join us.

Target Missed .com

Contact Target

Article Links

Donate to S.A.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

'Most Pro-Gay Presidential Candidate Ever'...

His campaign's words, not mine.


[And I'm not picking on any particular sin vs. another... or one political party or the other. It's simply a matter of overtly flying in the face of God's direct communication to us via His Word. And if we admit it, we've all flown in His face at one time or another or in one way or another. Did it ever turn out well?]

If indeed we really love our neighbors as ourselves, we'll help reasonable folks see the lunacy of backing any candidate who openly defies the Almighty God... and even boasts about it.

Mitch Daniels...

[In his address last evening, accepting the nomination to run for governor of Indiana...]

"My friends, listen closely. A freight train of change is coming in our state."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Free to Choose...

Our soldiers are dying in the defense of freedoms around the world. But what 'freedoms' are they defending?

Freedom of speech... the legal freedom to be heard... even a prayer?
Does the 'majority' have any freedom simply to be heard?
Or only the freedom of the 'minority'... to squelch, via threats of suit?

Have our soldiers historically defended some kind of 'Freedom from being offended'?

Personally, I fought for everyone's freedom to be legally heard. And I'm offended that anyone would then simply give those rights away, for fear of reprisal.

It's dishonoring to anyone who has ever risked their life for you.

[Further info at]

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

We can do something about all this...

The barbaric decapitation of Nick Berg, the shameful abuse of Iraqi prisoners, the deterioration of marriage, the Florida Senate apology for a pastor praying in Jesus' name, the removal of Ten Commandments from a priority status... and so on. We, the Christian community, can do something about all this. Turn up the war heat? Civil uprising in the U.S.? At least go vote? No, none of that was what I really had in mind today.

The Bible simply says at one point... "If MY people, who are called by MY name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from THEIR wicked ways... then will I hear from heaven and will forgive THEIR sin and will heal THEIR land."

And Jesus said "...and the gates of hell will not prevail against it... my church". As Dr. Roy Blackwood effectively put it... "Perhaps to the degree that we indeed are HIS church... and not Roy's church or Bob's church, etc... the gates will not prevail -- but as long as we're Roy's church and Bob's church... we are not making much of a dent in those gates."

We can do something about all this. And it starts right here... with each of us... humbling ourselves before God and each other... pulling some stones from the walls that divide us, in order to build the Church itself.

"God, how does that apply to me today?"

Thursday, April 08, 2004

If You're Reading This...

You're among the internet elite 3% !!! [LOL. Or maybe you're just weird.]

Today's released "Pew Internet & American Life Project Report" includes the following...

"Evangelicals are among the most fervent Internet users for religious and spiritual purposes. Online Evangelicals are a significant subgroup of the American religious landscape. This study found them to resemble other Protestants in terms of their Internet behaviors in some ways, but to be unique in other ways. They are slightly less experienced in Internet use than other categories of religious affiliation. Conversely, they are more likely than others to engage in all categories of online religious activity. For instance, 69% report going online for personal religious or spiritual purposes. "

[Btw, the 3% elite... are those who read blogs on a daily basis. LOL]

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"Intolerant Indy"...

Here was the headline story in the Indianapolis Star this week... "Image of Intolerance May Cool Job Climate". I only wish I could also show you the juxtapositions on the front page, showing Curt Smith's pic next to the headline... and across from the ayatollah's pic involved in another story. I had to laugh at their not-too-subtle sense of humor. LOL.

[Subsequent note: While the Star has deleted their article online, you can still read it as republished by America's largest Gay/Lesbian organization.]

Beyond its humor though, I do wish the Star had been more careful to include a key stat missing from the Brookings study in question -- that despite our poor ranking on their 'diversity' index, Indianapolis finished 17th on the tech scale cited.... seemingly contradicting the headline's implication and the study's metro correlation. It might have begged the obvious question: How did Indianapolis do so well? But I guess that point of view will never get aired.

We cannot know the hearts of the staff involved; it would be unfortunate to accuse them of intellectual dishonesty, if it truly was an oversight. On the other hand, having contacted the Star about it, they have not chosen to correct their story... so they leave us to our own wonderments about the omission, I guess.]

But the ability of Christians to impact our local communities is not at all dependent on our coverage in the press. Just among ourselves, kids, we're sometimes our own worst enemies, are we not? I am. So I suspect we all are, at times. So let me go on to say...

If as Barna suggests, Christians with a mature Bible-believing worldview constitute only 4% of the American adult population... and if those 4% are as fractured as we appear to be... then perhaps there's good reason for our limited impact. To our shame, it seems likely that our fracturedness contributes to the minimal percentage. The devil's obvious scheme of 'pride and divide' is enjoying great success these days.

But devil take warning...

"If MY PEOPLE... will humble themselves and pray... and seek my face..."

And that's much of the goal of Transform Indiana ministry coalition... Truth & harmony.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Passion of The Christ:

Last night we went to see Mel Gibson's controversial new film on its opening night. So much has been written elsewhere, I would't begin to expand on it; just journal my reaction:

For 2 hours my eyes were glued to the big screen and my thoughts to a singular verse:

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

The 'endured' part was stark. But through it we glimpse the 'joy' part... our compelling hope.

Jesus the Christ loved us that much... and for no apparent reason. How awesome this 'joy', for those who put their trust in Him.

I cannot wait to see my Savior face to face.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

So much going on now in Indy -- so little time to type...

Our "Crossroads Connection" -- COLLABORATIVE e-newsweekly tells tons of it, so I won't repeat it here.

An interesting side note though -- I got two quick responses as the e-newsweekly went out. One from an office-guy in the national office of a significant ministry... taking me to task for emailing it to them without 'permission'. It's a ministry we've helped a ton over the years, and I'm awaiting his reconsideration before telling you which ministry it is.

But the second ministry is a mega-ministry here in Indy, writing me to tell us how great they think the collaborative e-newsletter is and what how important it is to help build connections like that.

Thanks God, for providing an encouragement like that at just the right time. And in the future, may I somehow figure out how to encourage many, without alienating any.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Governor's Prayer Breakfast:

No mention of the God-man, Jesus: no prayers in His name... no mention in Lloyd Ogilvie's talk, no direct mentions in the songs sung... just miniature hints at him... at best.

Our self-sacrificing God is incompetently referenced without mention of His transforming sacrifice at history's pivot point. Anything less is only 'god'. And no amount of obligatory references to 'god' is sufficient to overcome the insult to His name.... "I AM".

Borrowing from Cornelius Van Til: "The God of Christianity cannot meet these requirements of the autonomous man. "

Yet... reflecting inwardly... how many days go by that I fail to adequately tell others of this God-man, Jesus?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Weekly COLLABORATIVE Ministries e-Newsletter:

Having developed a significant network of Bible-believing ministries throughout our metro area (& state), we're now starting to facilitate more interaction among them regarding significant matters of prayer, care and 'share'. And it serves somewhat as a 'journal' (& archive) of significant Christian news & events in our area.

Here's an example.

Friday, January 09, 2004

CCDA Indy 2005...

The kickoff planning meeting was today -- very exciting to get started this early, but this is a 'driven' group of Christians here in Indy who care about community development.

Scott Truex has been highly instrumental in lighting the fire and fanning the flame. Good job, Scott.

And btw, blogger Rudy Carrasco, Urban Onramps, was the guy who hooked me up with Scott... right here in our own metro area -- but introduced to me by a Californian. [That's as bad as going all the way to New Orleans recently to CCDA 2003, and all the Hoosiers ended up meeting together during one segment... and lots of us met lots of others for the very first time. Point is... we need to work on better ways for 'driven' Christians to meet, right here in the racing capital of the world.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Howard Dean's Christian Position on Homosexuality...

From the Washington Post:
"From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people."

LOL. And they used to assail Dan Quayle for saying goofy things. Go figure.

Ok, so what's next? Pete Rose weighing in theologically? "From my religious point of view, if God had thought gambling on baseball is a sin for a baseball manager, he would not have created compulsive gamblers."

When we read the good book, Howard, we find we have ALL been born with a propensity to lie, cheat, steal, fornicate and any other number of things that offend a perfect God. So shall we ALL be granted a free pass at the pearly gates?

If so, why did Jesus have to come do anything for us?

I'm sorry; I think I have to agree with Matt Grills. 'You've got the wrong Jesus, Howard."

P.S..... Matt just posted an update after receiving a lot of hate mail... interesting reading. And the cool part -- Matt's from right here in Indy.