Wednesday, December 31, 2003

2nd Annual New Year's Eve "Reunion"...

Appx 40 of us enjoyed getting to know new "driven Christians in the Racing Capital of the World", as we mixed, listened to a great new Christian band ('Slingstone'), enjoyed the comedy of Scott Gregory, praised God for the many extraordinary blessings of 2003, and prayed toward the citywide/statewide goals of 2004.

Here's a link to the page, complete with a slide show if you missed being there.

Friday, December 05, 2003 just went live... as we start to build a "Friendly Network of Monon Neighborhoods".

The site is sponsored by... -- the Search Engine for Help & Friendship (geo-mapping in process).

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Targeting Monon Trail Neighborhoods...

This week Ministry Support Services, the company I started to come alongside of pastors and "make their pastors job a joy", has started putting out proposals to some key churches along the Monon Trail corridor. It didn't hurt that the Indianapolis Star ran this story recently. Personally, I believe the 'Monon' serves as an interesting metaphor for illustrating growing linkage of suburbia to the inner city neighborhoods... cutting through various cultures along the way... upscale Carmel, post-modern young thinkers of Broadripple, and leading to where the real needs are in the inner city.

We're looking for churches within earshot of the trail who have vision for neighborhoods and might be willing to 'Adopt A Neighborhood'.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Dr. John Rogers At Crossroads...

What a blessing this guy is. He's truly one of God's servants to Indianapolis and beyond, and has been a joy to get to know this year.

Yesterday he spoke twice at Crossroads Bible College chapel services. Sang at one of them. And had us roaring at his parrot joke. And crying when we heard his heart.

Looking forward to just how God will be using him, and Crossover Indiana in 2004.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

If Every Conventioneer Brought a Gift?

Great article today re one of our "Transform Indiana" affiliates... Jeanne Huiett, surprisingly blessed by Women Aglow bringing their national conference to Indy.

Jeanne: "Could you imagine if every group that held a convention in Indianapolis did the same thing?" she says. "Think of how much our needy population would benefit."


Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"Loving Change"...

As I zeroed in yet further on what God might be pointing out to me these days -- perhaps for republishing here online -- I purchased a new domain name for this blog called . It's a God thing; no one really loves change (entirely, that is -- we prefer to pick & choose, and usually change in other people, not ourselves). But change is exactly what God desires in all of us as He lovingly conforms us to the image of His son... and calls us to love Him and the people He loves. [Funny thing Reid Carpenter said yesterday: "Christians are terrible lovers... of each other."] More later.
Carpenter & Oster Stir Indy...

Thinking back to New Year's Eve '02 and praying that God would extraordinarily act in Indy this year, it didn't escape my notice that yesterday's meetings were part of His answering.

As if it wasn't enough that He would do all the other things He's done this year, and most recently incite a busload of Hoosiers to/from/at CCDA (New Orleans)... yesterday we had the opportunity on short notice to hear Reid Carpenter (Leadership Foundations of America) talk of 'care-ism' and 'spiritual capital' within a city.

Coincidence perhaps? I'd become familiar with Leadership Foundation only a couple of months ago. Later, Jeff Koenig, my innovative friend now in Columbus OH wrote me that I should get to know a guy named Reid Carpenter, whose message is 'right on' with what we've been advocating via Transform Indiana ministry network. Then I ran into it again in New Orleans at the CCDA conference, as some city leaders from across the nation spoke highly of its ability to impact. And upon return to Indy, I got an email from a local friend here, inviting me on short notice to come to a presentation of a thing called Leadership Foundation. [Reid Carpenter perhaps? Of course. God -- you're so funny and amazing.]

It is his belief that we're on the precipice of major re-invention of 'church', especially as we mine these spiritual gifts for the good of our city.

I had to leave early to make the next meeting across town... Merrill Oster (Pinnacle Forum) had also come to Indy, inciting 'influencers' to grow spiritually, network and reach cultural gatekeepers... and transform America's culture.

It was hard to sleep last night.

Monday, November 17, 2003

How Now Shall We Live?
Yesterday was our return-trip home from New Orleans via Lightrider. Excellent choice. The time spent on this 'mobile retreat' was a great portion of the value of CCDA 2003. It was my first trip via a chartered 'sleeper' and totally comfortable, and best of all... totally set up for making friends and conversation.

So we all enjoyed getting to know one another better... but not just 'anyone'... these were certainly some of the "driven Christians" in the Racing Capital (state) of the World. CCDA'rs care about their communities and care about sharing the gospel (and their lives) with them.

So here are just a few of the many great comments during our Sunday morning debrief time together:

Cornelius: "If you come back the same way you left Indy, you wasted your time and resources. My wife's going to ask me 'what happened to you?' Folks, maintain your New Orleans energy. It's time to be about your father's business. If you have to get angry, ok. I'm angry. I see drop-outs, pregnant teens, kids in juv'y, locked & barricaded doors. I'm tired of going to young funerals. Question is, are we angry enough to go make a difference? If it happens to the 'least of these' it happens to me. If we're to love our neighbors as ourselves, then we need to take it personally. If it happens to the least of these, it happens to you.

O: Even though I think I'm doing all I can, I'm not doing enough pouring of myself into the lives of others. I've felt like a 'caged bird' in the church. It breaks my heart. [tears start to run] Single moms need us -- I know, my daughter is a single mom. Thankfully I can help her. But what about the others? They desperately need our help.

Paul: I'm coming back even more concerned about raising up young black Christian leaders for tomorrow.

Chris: I attended an 'After School Workshop' that was a dialog without a leader. We not only learned a lot from each other; one person got on the phone and launched a website to help facilitate an ongoing brainstorming & resource center.

N: What now is my responsbility & accountability? CCDA 'laid it all out' -- I don't have any excuse now. I don't necessarily like the challenge before me, but I needed that seed planted.

NC: Did anyone notice the great contrast in our purpose in New Orleans, and the normal reason go to New Orleans? [Oh yeah.]

#22: Desire Street ministry tour was cool. What a difference they're making. And it all started with a volunteer coach at Carver High.

A: I realize I'm not alone on campus now. There are others that feel the way I do. I'm encouraged and stimulated; empowered and confident that 'its the right thing' to devote my life to. When I graduate I have opportunities and an ability to be a life-long learner -- and that's what I desire. This conference has raised questions, not just provided answers.

B: We'ren not going to help people much by just 'showing' them (what we think are) the answers; rather, by 'being there' with them... showing we care.

K: Just training is worthless unless we put it to work and make a difference in a long-term turnaround via personal relationships. I think the conference was also very meaningful as perhaps an encouragement to those who are already involved for the long haul and may wonder about incremental progress; but when they come to CCDA annually they can look back and see their progress and be encouraged.

[The intergenerational exchange taking place on the bus was enlightening to all of us. Here's an example...]
C: It was great seeing young people involved in CCDA 2003, and we should shoot for even more of their involvement in CCDA Indy 2005.

Scott: I'm concerned that we intentionally mentor young leaders for greater involvement in CCDA for the future.

Meghan: Yeah, intergenerational dialog will help us do away with some of the traditions so we can 'step outside the box' more often. Remember, in the book of Timothy it says 'don't let them look down on you because you're young; set an example.'

Paul: But not arrogantly. Young folks... Never forget, what you're seeing and hearing from these established speakers is rooted in 'brokenness'. They've 'been there' and have been broken in one way or another before God. And that's not something you're likely to acquire at a young age. I know. When I first got involved in ministry, I was arrogant as heck. Don't make that mistake. Brokenness is what God desires and uses.

K: You're right. Brokenness breeds a more relational approach to ministry.

Cornelius: Right. There's a cost of leadership. Remember when Jesus was with James & John and they like asked him if they could be Vice-President and Secretary of State? Same as. Jesus rebuked 'em saying they didn't know what they were asking. They had no idea yet what lay ahead... his suffering and their suffering. My point? Y'all don't know what ya got y'selves into this week.

Ed.Note: My point in writing this journal note today? "Indy... Y'all don't know what ya got y'selves into this week!"

Sunday, November 16, 2003

More From CCDA 2003 Blog...

[Again, thanks Rudy for setting up this site for added & continued value.]

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Dr. Ware Speaks in New Orleans...

What a message. We're so fortunate to have this messenger so close-by in Indy. Right on-target.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Dr. Amy Sherman, Measuring Ministry...

Excellent workshop. Faith In Communities.
Devotions this morning with John Perkins...

Ps.11: "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

Dr. P: "The foundations are family and neighborhood. Community. The church is create a family environment. Christianity is a relationship religion."

"But we have a problem in America that is larger than just family -- it's a breakdown of community; of neighborhood. It's no accident that Jesus says 'love your neighbor'. But as Christians, we haven't decided that we want to build 'neighborhood'."

"Who are 'the righteous' - people who have come to see their own sin as truly sinful, have confessed it, and been clothed in Jesus righteousness -- not ours -- and now, as a result the righteousness we have is God's."

What CAN the righteous do?

#1 break the hip hop culture - go after Truth. Focus on the Bible as the inspired word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God... not only as our personal devotional, but as a textbook for living... together."

#2. De-hijack prayer. It's been hijacked by a 'name it, claim it' methodology for personal use only. That is, a 'Jabez' mindset - praying only to expand MY border.
Prayer is this... Lord what would you have ME to do. Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. It's not a substitute for my own action -- it's the start of my own action. preparation for me to act.

#3. De-colonize the gospel. You can't be a Christian and be a bigot. We need to preach a gospel that saves all types of people the same... and not patronizing one group or another. Reconcilation is the absolute act of God. And he's made us ambassadors of reconciliation. So we need to redeem the gospel from European colonization. Everyone needs their identity to be sure -- but not to focus on preserving it, but rather to exploit our 'identity' to be the people to reach out to broken people of the world.

#4. Understand the place of the church. Sure parachurch has its place, but we also need to focus people back into the church... the local church, where they can be nurtured and developed. I don't believe you can be a good whole Christian without being a member of a local church.... accountable and relational. We need to have a correct philosophy of ministry. We need to put that into our overall development. In a church, people need to have their dignity affirmed... loving them, identifying our worth that God assigned. How to implement in the local neighborhood? 3 R's. Relocation... Living among the poor enriches you. Reconciliation... that's obvious. Redistribution... ('When I mention this R, the place gets real quiet real quick'). But I'm not talking about money -- because even if we re-distributed the money to the poor areas, the rich would have it back the next morning. LOL. The poor would have gone and given it back, for a mercedes." Neighborhood development is about bringing back ownership to the neigborhood. Ownership of many types of resources.

"For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face."

Dr. P: "Success can be our enemy. CCDA should not be rooted in a 'triumphant' attitude about our successes -- it needs to be rooted in humility & hardship... and preparing today's youth, tomorrow's leadership, in perseverance in trial."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

CCDA 2003 -- New Orleans...

Great opportunity. Thank you Scott Truex and sponsors who made it possible for a chartered busload to come here from Indiana. Well done.

CCDA's 'message' can't typically be heard in content, homogeneous (euphemism for 'segregated') churches. So it's a welcome wake-up call to somehow listen differently, non-traditionally, to Jesus' message of reconciling love for those who need Him most.

And it's a message that goes beyond the individualistic, western mindset that stops once it accepts personal salvation -- rather than marching onward to seek God and His kingdom plan for us as the communal body Jesus calls us to be, The Church, to impact the world as salt & light.

Wish you were here. Looking forward to bringing CCDA to Indy in 2005.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"Transform Indiana" ministry network meeting yesterday...

Here's our "LIVE Agenda" we used during the meeting. Really enjoyed seeing hands-on application of collaboration by our hosts -- Child Evangelism, whose state hqtrs are in Wheeler Mission's Care Center... and how they interact with each other for the glory of God... and to get more of the work done that Jesus set out for us to do.

And it was great hearing some testimonies of how even in its infancy, Transform Indiana's intentional networking has already helped people better find their niche in the local sector of the kingdom. One testimony was about a guy who hooked up with a new friend to go work in a soup kitchen for the homeless, and as a result is now actively visiting 'homes' of the homeless, seeking the lost, seeing how he can help... and getting his church involved in such things. So does our mission of intentionally networking 'driven Christians' get more of the job done?

What was not so great to hear, was one pastor's description of the uphill objective of hoping pastors would invest any time in coming together to sharpen each other via Bible-study together and serve as a biblical steadying force for Transform Indiana. They might be willing to come together to pray though. Or they might later join in re significant citywide events.

Friday, November 07, 2003

"Chuck Colson: 100 Centurions"...

The first person to mention the name "Chuck Colson" to me, was laid to rest today... a former employer/mentor of mine.

Coincidentally, tonight I was invited to a dinner here in Indianapolis, to hear Chuck Colson share his strategic plan for finishing his life strong and impacting future generations. It's called "100 Centurions". (II Tim. 2:2) Awesome vision.

[more tomorrow.]

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

"The Light Went On For Me, When...."

This guy 'gets it'.... really gets it! Look, we've even turned his light on to blogging!

And btw, here's what he attributes as the spark for suddenly 'getting it'.... ie, the value of ministries collaborating in the name of Christ.

[But we all know it is really "God who works in us, to will and to act according to His good purpose", do we not?]
"Too Many Opportunities, Too Little Time"...

Good problem: If with change come new opportunities, and if we're seeking opportunities to change, does that lead to a great accelerating cycle of life? Abundant life to the full. Or as a new friend calls it... Life(Nth).

(Perhaps an explanation is due... another day. Stay tuned.)

Friday, October 31, 2003

"Barry Bowen,"...

Living in never-change-not-even-your-clocks Indiana sometimes has its drawbacks. Last night I had the opportunity to talk at length with Barry Bowen, editor, and it was cut somewhat short because of our time differential (Oklahoma to Indiana). But more importantly, it was great to get to brainstorm long-distance about the (shhhhh, don't tell anyone) "Innovation Retreat" some of our Christian techs are planning for early next year. It's turning into a invitation-only, winter get-away, work-hard-play-hard collaborative project 'retreat' -- over a Fri/Sat/Sun... bringing in the "driven Christian techs" of the world. Remember, "Mums the word"... especially about Project #2, expediting local Christian news feeds to benefit the Kingdom.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

"Touring Lighthouse Ministries"

Today's feature at, Lighthouse Ministries, is very much based on a recent opportunity I had [arranged by Here's Life Inner City] to tour the Lighthouse's American Hunger Relief operation.

Ya gotta love this ministry and the guys behind it -- they're living their Christianity and getting the job done. Their site speaks for itself as to the main thing, but let me just mention a couple of things that caught my eye from the moment I walked in.

They were sitting around the conference table having a working lunch studying scripture. Here they are, guys 'getting the job done' so to speak on the front lines... yet studying together... and sometimes laughing together as they got into some areas that might finely distinguish (not divide) them.

Secondly, and maybe importantly, I noticed a one-pager they used to help ever-focus them on their segment of the mission at hand. It was a one-pager of metrics -- measurements that symbolized each piece of their objectives... how many people fed, in bible studies, saved, etc. There was little doubt what these guys thought was important, in following Christ.

Btw, did I mention... their metrics are posted on their web site as well, helping them and everyone else know what they are doing, and desire to do. May God continue to bless them mightily.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"Burden Bearers"...

Jan and I enjoyed a nice evening at a reception given by "Burden Bearers" -- the urban organization of a friend of ours, Marvin Gainer. It's always great to get to meet a good number of other really-driven Christians in our community... together working on the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate.

Monday, October 27, 2003

"Consuming Potluck"...

This past Saturday afternoon, we had a great little potluck get together in the auditorium of the Old Centrum building (12th x Central Ave -- where our Urban Collaborative Center is). It was largely the "Consuming Fire Events" folks who are all about putting on events here to help bring the body of Christ more closely together in some practical ways. So of course, they're multicultural in make-up, and they well understand the objectives of "Transform Indiana".

I've probably previously mentioned their leader, Merlin Gonzales and their web-guy (of course!) Moses Dwarm. But this gave me an opportunity to also meet their wives and other key people. And they'll be helping us put on the New Year's Eve "Reunion" Party -- so stay tuned.

And the potluck included reps of a couple other significant care-organizations in that area. Scott Crowe was there from Hope International Ministries, and Angela Bollen was there from "We All Care". Both are doing an awesome work for the Lord among those who need it most. It's humbling to be in their midst.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Mel Gibson...

At one of the NYC leadership forum events, Mel Gibson greeted us via a special video greeting, complete with some clips from his upcoming movie, "The Passion". Many of our leaders believe this will be a very special opportunity when the movie comes to our cities in April, to be ready to meet the spiritual inquisitiveness that the movie creates.

Start planning...

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Meeting Long-time Friends for the First Time...

The NYC trip was also a great opportunity to meet some folks for the first time, that I'd met long ago on the internet, and with whom I've been working toward similar goals and passions.

Notably, about 4 years ago, I'd met Rudy Carrasco on the net because he was maintaining the CCDA site. So now, here in the middle of Time Square, we were able to sit down for breakfast at a sidewalk cafe. Too cool. And Rudy is just who he appears to be -- an outside the box, "driven Christian", passionate about bringing the gospel to bear on the lives of young guys in the hood. Oh, and passionate about the internet as a paradigm-changer.

Glenn Barth, Jarvis Ward, Phil Miglioratti, Carolyn O'Brien... the 'front four' of Mission America's city-reaching efforts.... all are people I'd talked to over the past couple of years as we share common goals. Awesome folks.

[Tomorrow... 'Mel Gibson'?]

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

"Blue Heelers: A Modern-Day Parable"...

Just finished 'my' article for the "Transform Indiana" column in November's Crossroads Indiana publication. Fact is, it was the easiest month ever, to 'write' it. I simply obtained permission to print this excerpt from Doug Stringer's book, "Somebody Cares". Doug was one of the guest panelists at the opening evening's "Town Hall" at the National Leadership Forum in NYC. It's an awesome book; and the Blue Heelers illustration may represent the stage that Transform Indiana is at right now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Yesterday's Transform Indiana Meeting -- Awesome...

What a group of 'driven Christians in the Racing Capital of the World' !!!

[Well... and reps from a few other Midwest cities as well. The reps from Campus Crusade's urban coalition-building ministry... "Here's Life Inner City" joined us as well.]

40 of us yesterday on the grounds of Crossroads Bible College. We circulated, we prayed, we ate, we surfed, we heard reports from recent city-coalition-building roundtables, we prayed some more, we brainstormed, and as at all such meetings, many hung out afterwards to speak with new acquaintences that piqued their interest.... and we all left more inspired and better connected to each other for future ministry to Indianapolis and beyond... in the ONE name of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

What's a LIVE Agenda?

It's something we'll be trying out today during our monthly Transform Indiana meeting. So those of you coming to the meeting, bring your laptops & wireless card. Let's see if it truly enhances our time together... and the month to follow. Here's a sneak preview.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Dr. John Perkins came to Christ... How?

At the NYC "National Leadership Forum" last week, the final keynote speaker, Dr. John Perkins, came to the podium and started with...

"In such & such a year, my son Spencer came to know the Lord through Child Evangelism Fellowship.... and as a result, I came to know Christ Jesus as Lord.... "

John Perkins. And so many others collected there that day (and will be collected in New Orleans shortly at the CCDA conference) have been so mightily impacted by him. Because God used CEF.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Overheard around the City-Impact Roundtable, NYC:
"Uniting Christians for holistic evangelism & revival".
"2,600 cities with populations of 10,000 or more..... our first targets for networking."
"When it comes to citywide coalitions across denominational, racial and generational lines... how do you quickly overcome a lack of trust?"
"When a pastor or other leader says they're too busy to work with others, they may more likely be expressing a lack of trust."
"When the deal goes down, white folks are going to be with white folks."
[How embarrassing to the kingdom of God, is that?]
"Gangs know how to network toward their common goal.... selling drugs."
"How does our lack of repentance affect our unity?"
"Take inventory of self -- Is Jesus really central?"
"In God's mind, what is holding back transformation in your city?"

Stay tuned... more from NYC coming up... [And btw, this Tuesday's luncheon should prove very interesting as several will be reporting from NYC and other city-impact roundtables they've attended recently.... not to mention those representing upcoming Indiana transformational events. Come pray, plan and build together with us.]

Friday, October 10, 2003


Commuting 2 hours a day into Manhattan -- this is nuts. LOL. How do people do it?

It's taken all my blogging time, but I'll catch up now that I'm back home in Indiana! Stay tuned....

Luis Palau, John Perkins, Mel Gibson, Rudy Carassco, Julio Hernandez, World Trader Center.... and...

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Dr. Bright's Replacement as Co-chair of Mission America Coalition? Vonette !

Big announcement tonight. Who would replace Dr. Bright among the 3 co-chairs (the others being Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. John Perkins).... It was unanimous... Mrs. Vonette Bright !

So many other great parts of this evening's session, but let's leave some things for tomorrow's blog. Stay tuned for Luis Palau, John Perkins, Paul Cedar, Wayne Pederson and... Mel Gibson.


Christian News Linkage?

Hmmm. Joe Walsh (California Christian News) is here, cross-pollinated with Ted Baehr (Hollywood MoviesGuide), and Christian technologists from Faith Highway and Or what about Phil Olson (Network 9:35). And where's Rudy Carassco, anyway? LOL.

What on earth will God do by connecting these driven brothers of faith?

Monday, October 06, 2003

"Community Coalition Track"

The particular "track" of worshops I'm attending is focused on building city-based coalitions. Recognize this guy from our past features of his article... "10 Paradigms Shifts Toward Community Transformation"?

National Leadership Forum -- Awesome:
Let me start with a disclaimer: Getting the opportunity to be at such an event has nothing to do with anything special about me. [I count myself just very fortunate to get to be here this week... and I'd like to specially thank Crossroads Bible College and Here's Life Inner City for helping this to come about.]

Last night was opening night. It started with a "city reaching roundtable"... 2 hrs worth of brainstorming with others in your city. Hmmm. Hoosiers -- we're behind the curve. We're not well represented here this time. Chicagoland had 20 people here... and other cities represented totaled about 500 here for the conference. Let's pray for an accelerated insight for the future. But how? Talk to me. How?

So last night was "Town Hall" format, entitled "The Gospel in the City". (with an audio feed to 3 radio networks). It featured 6 notable Christian panelists and 4 notable journalists asking the questions.

But for as exciting as all this is, yesterday's most notable experience was found simply as I was sitting, waiting in the lobby of the New York Hilton. An endearing elderly lady asked to sit beside me. We immediately began to talk -- she was just passing through, walking from her Manhattan apartment to the New York Library. I was sitting at her daily rest stop. Peggy. Perhaps somewhat a stereotype of the world traveling, self-made Manhattanite who had enjoyed the good life, now finds herself widowed, without children, and her only local friend is 'the lady down the hall who I really don't like very much'. But she's still upbeat. You couldn't help but like her. But although Jewish by heritage, she had no faith community. No real family. I listened at length. An hour later, because I'd listened, I earned a hearing as we parted. Trying not to presumptuously 'tell' my new elderly friend anything, I was allowed to quickly share my personal story -- a lifetime of the 'comfort of just following God around'. I'd had my ups & downs, wasn't at all perfect or someone who had followed Him particularly well, or a person to be envied... except that I had come to know God's peace early in life and after 40 years of following Him, I'd never regretted it. She accepted a "Free Gift" tract and promised me she'd be sure to read it. Pray for Peggy. She knows it wasn't a 'chance encounter' at her daily resting place.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

A 'Hope for the Hopeless' Thank You Card...

"Praise the Lord... Romans 12:10. Thank you for your great concern. A good tree BEARS GOOD FRUIT. We as members of We All Care (W.A.C.) just want to thank your group for being laborers with us on our day of 'Hope for the Hopeless'. Thank you. Angela Bollen, Founder."

[Recall, we'd done a 'How To Get To Heaven From The Internet' gig a few weeks ago, based from our Urban Tech Center location at 12th x Central. Shared the gospel with a number of people who apparently really needed to hear it. My thanks go on to Mike Wildey and Don Duncan, especially.]

Friday, September 19, 2003

"Crossover Indiana"...

This is an awesome faith effort coming to Indiana next year. I recently enjoyed sitting in on the praying & planning efforts which are well underway out at SCBI. Crossover Indiana is a prayer & evangelism initiative coming to neighborhoods in the Central Indiana area in the weeks preceding the national convention of Southern Baptists (June). I really admire the Southern Baptists for staying true to the faith and to the common purpose of all Christians, the Great Commission. This not only holds true in the physical world, but they also lead internet efforts to share the faith.

And it's a fine effort that we hope to help, via the growing statewide ministry network... "Transform Indiana". We're looking forward to seeing just how much our Southern Baptist friends are looking to 'crossover' some old dividing lines in the process. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Did Someone Knock Our Towers Down?

Yesterday I felt like a friend knocked down a tower or two, symbols of truths I espouse. It hurts even more when it's friends who take the wind out of our sails, but nonetheless, "Truth" continues standing. Just like 911. They can only knock down the symbols; they can never knock down Truth.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

911... Before & After...

I was preparing to go to work and for some unknown reason, I'd called our receptionist. She alerted me that news was breaking in NYC; so I turned on the tv and watched with almost a sense of unbelief. Both towers had been hit.

As the story developed, and as my thoughts developed, I remember going out our back slider onto the deck and looking skyward... "Come quickly, Lord Jesus."

Believing there were 10,000 people still in the towers as we watched them both fall right in front of our very eyes, I cried.

My friend, Liz LeMond, summed it all up in her poem, "911 -- Before & After", featured again today at

Monday, September 08, 2003

Our Neighborhood Website...

We just bought the domain name and launched... at our expense, and a related egroup to facilitate communications in our block-party-sized neighborhood. Collected email addresses of those who want to 'be in the know' and communicate easily.

We sponsored the site via... .

Spark any ideas or comments?

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"Ministry Leaders Accountability Group"...

[copy of an email I sent to our group's leader, as the group now moves into a new phase after nearly 5 yrs of being together monthly. Btw, that's a LOT of pizza! LOL]

Eldon... Let me quickly say a giant "Thank You", brother, for spear-heading our accountability group effort for these years. Likewise to the original members who made it possible for some of the rest of us to enjoy the group. So thank you.

And I personally do not view it as a shutdown as much as an elevation... into a ACTION group. Transform Indiana is rooted in this group (and no doubt many other various types of mini-networks, and small groups praying for oneness in Christ). Speaking personally, you all have regularly been encouraging to me, and through this group I could see the value of networking (even if I did have to be the drippy faucet about new paradigm 'linking', LOLLLLL). So would have never gotten off the ground, nor been able to sustain the effort, had it not been for you guys. I will be forever grateful.

And yes, I'll continue to believe in the importance of accountability among ministry leaders. I'm absolutely no shining example of a leader -- I always only consider myself only a case-study in how NOT to do some things, or at best only a facilitator on behalf of REAL leaders -- but you've helped me via your prayers & brotherhood, more than you'll ever know.

May Transform Indiana continue to flourish via all of your participation(s)... and may it hold high the value of accountability during its meetings -- perhaps as a breakout group, or perhaps spin off some accountability groups for leaders from time to time, as needed.

I appreciate you all for your leadership & comradery because of Christ.


Monday, September 01, 2003

"Glorify God and Enjoy Him.... TOGETHER."

This is the 2nd article in a series on behalf of Transform Indiana. Ah, the writer comes out in me. No real qualifications to write, no pastoral credentials, and no perfect life that anyone else should want to follow. Perhaps only the standing of a little boy as he called attention to the emperor's new clothes.

And here's the very abbreviated version, as published in Crossroads Newsletter (Sept '03).

Question: What is true? And what will we do about it?

Sunday, August 31, 2003

September "Crossroads":
Just finished reading Sept Issue of Crossroads Newsletter. It sents chill down my spine it was so good! May God continue to encourage Cindy as she trusts in Him, as she collaborates with others, and exhibits the humility it takes sometimes to move forward in the Christian community (even).

I pray that the Christian community here in Greater Indianapolis steps up and supports this new magazine-style publication.

Likewise, Indiana Christian News (newspaper style). Awesome -- both of you. Independent publications, yet one in Christ. What an encouragement.

We're inviting these newly birthed organizations and their sponsors to also join in on New Year's, for the citywide "Reunion of Driven Christians in the Racing Capital of the World"... as we promised we'd return and praise Him for EXTRAORDINARY intervention in Indianapolis in 2003. Certainly these 2 new publications have been a great blessing already this year.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Too Awesome:

Since I'm not much of a writer, I can't really do it justice to try to describe the goosebumps that ran through me this morning, as we prayed together at the Urban Collaborative Center. We're continuing to pray that God will do an EXTRAORDINARY work here in Indianapolis this year, especially as a result of Christians working TOGETHER. And we've marked our calendars for the 12/31/2003 "2nd Annual Renunion Party" for all the 'driven Christians in the Racing Capital of the World".

We were pleasantly surprised this morning to be joined by Angela Bolen and the WAC (We All Care) group of urban Christians preparing to put on next Saturday's "Hope for the Hopeless", right there at the center (12th x Central). We exchanged hugs, prayers and all sorts of information in our short time together --urban & suburban, techs & non-techs, black & white, male & female.... all with one thing very much in common... we love Jesus and want to offer "Hope for the Hopeless". It was a stirring time of prayer. Stay tuned for next Saturday's journal entry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

A Nigerian pastor came to town today...,
He said 18 years ago God told him he would pastor in Indianapolis someday. An email came to us over the weekend from Paul Hoy, another 'city-reacher' in Columbus OH who asked if someone here could meet him and find accommodations for him. I passed it along to Eldon Kibbey and to our Nigerian Missions professor at Crossroads Bible College. Other emails flew. And as a result, today, a different Nigerian pastor already here in town (whom I'd not yet met) picked him up at the bus station, and arranged for the lodging accommodations that were needed. He then brought him to the Reformation Society luncheon I'd invited them to. There they both met 50 other solid pastors (studying God's word together -- how cool is that?). Some invited them to come preach at their churches. Another said he'd help them raise funds. Afterward we went to the college to meet with my friend there. How exciting it was to join with them, holding hands in prayer in that small office. Who knows just how God will work this into an extraordinary blessing for our city. Pray with us to that end. And praise God for all the great ministries mentioned... and for His linking us together in His love. All in a day's work.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Not Un-related...

Here's a great article re Christians partnering at the speed of light. Its author participates in our global internet evangelism egroup. Solid, solid concept. [Actually, now that I think of it, perhaps Jesus first said it.]
Bush Campaign Reaching Out To Bloggers:

Hey wait a minute. If Gore invented the Internet, what's 'W' doing with it? Here's what.

Reflecting back... It doesn't seem that long ago (January), that we held a "Innovation Forum" here in Indianapolis, and among other brainstormed-topics introduced 'blogging' to some Christian leaders, and we demonstrated the potential impact, by producing an emerging Christian leader at a local university... Josh Claybourn. And Josh's network of bloggers... well validating the power of linkage and worldwide publishing.

And just in case there are some existing leaders still on the fringe about the power of the internet, or about its ability to raise Truth to the highlest level (as cream rises to the top)... stay tuned, and keep thinking.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Crossroads Live !

While it may seem like just another opportunity, I counted it a special privilege yesterday to be the first interview guest on the new interactive radio program... "Crossroads Live!". An affiliate of the Transform Indiana initiative, Cindy Strickland has not only started a new monthly magazine/newsletter for Greater Indianapolis Christians, but now has taken it into the LIVE interactive radio media, weekly on WNTS 1590 AM.

The growing number of Transform Indiana affiliates share the common goal of connecting the body of Christ, to change lives & communities. May we increasingly be harmonized as ONE in Christ, as Jesus commanded us.

Accordingly, yesterday the show played some city-focused Christian music, our interview -- including the spreading concept of a "Community Prayer Siren", some event announcements, and then opened the phone lines for live interaction. Cindy will of course be interviewing new guests from around the Christian community each week, so tune-in and get connected. Stand ready to call in with your questions for Cindy & her guests.... every Sunday at 4pm.

We're wishing Cindy the best with this new venture, and pray that God will use it in an EXTRAORDINARY way this year.... "Connecting the Greater Indianapolis Christian Community".

Thursday, August 14, 2003

"No Pain, No Gain"

This is not a theological treatise re the 'problem of pain'... (but then again, maybe it is).
Maybe it's more aimed at the Biblical warning... "If you think you stand, be careful lest you fall."

Bottom line, here I am, the so-called tech adept 'change-agent-wannabee'... hit big-time by the 'Blaster' internet worm that so far has infected appx 300,000 users across the globe. Yeah, yeah, yeah, (Sgt Friday!) I know, I know -- I should have updated my XP the moment Microsoft put us on notice a month ago. But good night, if we ran for cover everytime MS had a security bug, we'd sleep 24x7 with the blanket pulled up over our heads, or do nothing all day but upload updates. Gimme a break; doesn't there have to be a happy medium somewhere?

Oh well. Actually I'm thankful for this worm. Bottom line, it wasn't too effectively damaging anything, and it did issue a stern wake-up call that some of us needed to hear. And spend 2 days getting fixed.

The good from it all? It was the catalyst I needed, to spur me to finally move entirely onto my XP laptop from my half-hearted reliance on my Win98 desktop machine. And that makes me more efficient for the future. So praise God for worms. **smile**

Yeah, maybe there is an application to be found here somewhere in all this, as to why God allows (or even introduces) pain into our lives. After all, even God experiences pain. What a mind-boggling concept... an almighty, all-powerful God... experiencing grief & pain. Wow. How is that even possible? And why would He do it on our behalf? Truly He loves us. And a mark of His Messiahship, was His acts of mercy, identifying with our pain, and His healing us from our (eternal) pain. Awesome.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Under the Heading: "It's A Small World"

Yesterday, we drove nearly 75 miles to a wedding reception down in the backwoods near Gosport, Indiana. Only the Lord and a hand-picked few of his friends (LOL) know where Gosport is. To make a long story short... we drove up & down the hills & hollers... and went by the cabin of my 'mentor' to get to the reception... which turns out to be a nearby farm owned by a missionary-guy I'd already met at an unrelated luncheon here in Indy. Yesterday I found out he used to teach at the college I'm now associated with. Stranger yet, we realize this was the childhood family farm of he & his sister -- who had invited us to the reception... our longtime missionary-friend & neighbor from our Florida days. And their new son-in-law's best man at the (Hawaiin) wedding had co-taught with Jan here in Indy. We left before it could get completely out-of-hand spooky. **smile**

Yep. A very small world.

It was inevitable -- a team of bloggers have started an Indy-based (secular) team blog at

And it was inevitable -- I'd join. **smile** How about you? Especially all you guys/gals from the "Wireless Coffee" blog here among community-driven Christian techs.

My thanks to Brian Groce, a featured blogger at

Sunday, July 27, 2003

"The Web -- For Such A Time As This?"

What a stimulating article this month, in Christianity Today -- "Turning the Mainline Around". [And btw, notice the part played right here in Indianapolis.... Crossroads of America.]

But did they possibly overlook the obvious?

Here's a response letter to the editor....

"Having read the fine article by Hamilton and McKinney, it gave me pause to wonder if they overlooked a significant God-send. As the printing press helped fuel the Great Reformation, does not the new paradigm tool of our day -- the internet -- help fuel renewal? Borrowing a concept from "95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto", might we concur that "Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy"? Perhaps we should greatly praise God for this new capability to circumvent the previous communications stanglehold by the more liberal-leaning denominational leadership. Would it be reasonable to suggest that information about the confessing movement is more accurately & readily known via low-cost websites? What should we say of the great encouragement generated by seeing the growing list of confessing churches centrally posted in cyberspace? Does not email greatly help rally and organize Biblical Christians? What pressures are now being brought to bear on local sessions to sign on... or off? What encouragements are locally available by comrades from non-mainline churches displaying their online statements of faith? Might we even find significance in the requisite process of local churches needing to develop their websites to be viewed publicly... asking themselves the basic questions, "What do we believe, anyway -- if not the Bible?" And what is our mission, if not Christ's Great Commission?

And by the way, what shall we all think of the virtual absence of local church sites proclaiming, "Jesus is NOT the only way. And the Bible is NOT the infallible Word of God"? And where is their centralized portal? Perhaps they're suffering the leaders' dilemma of Luke 20:5-6?"

Respectfully, In Christ,
Neil Cox
"Truth will prevail. Truth at the speed of Light, will prevail at the speed of light."

Thursday, July 17, 2003

"Love Is The Killer App"

Thanks go to our friend, Rudy Carrasco at Urban Onramps, who turned me onto this Fast Company article. Admittedly written from a secular perspective, I believe that Yahoo executive Tim Sanders' book reflects several key pieces of God's Truth that appears obvious to secular leaders... as the speed of life accelerates. Thus I continue to suggest... all real truth is God's Truth, and...

"Truth will prevail. Truth at the speed of Light, will prevail at the speed of light."

Friday, July 11, 2003

"Community Prayer Siren"....

Thank you, my good friend, Mike Wildey.

[Click on his pic, to see his latest brainchild. **smile**]

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Fireman Rescue?

[continued "Tales from the Trail", see below]

We enjoyed sharing good news with a couple of firemen, Tuesday, near the Monon Trail. Perhaps it was particularly meaningful for them, when Mike described God's love as similar to that of a mother who would rush into a burning building for her children.

Obviously these are "really good guys"... and if God is grading on the curve, then surely they'll be rescued from 'the fire', wouldn't they?

But the Bible is clear -- He's already given of Himself to save us; there's no further 'saving work' to be done... we're simply called to accept His work. Therefore, God's judgment is not "on the curve". It's knowable now. Did we accept His work, or decline it?

Btw, did you ever have a teacher curve your score up to 'perfect' ?

Monday, June 30, 2003

Network 9:35 Comes To Indy:

Really enjoyed having Phil Olson with us for lunch today here in Indianapolis as he was passing through from Philadelphia. Phil's the 'networking pastor' from Network 9:35 and Evangelicals for Social Action. These organizations are just what the name implies... evangelicals who believe the gospel is the gospel that Jesus modeled... a faith lived out, impacting its world.

Phil and his family were on vacation, having just left the home of the Peter Larson family -- a pastor friend of ours from Indianapolis, now living near Cincinnatti. So it was great that he took time out to stop in Indy and have a lunchtime discussion with a few of us gathered in the interest of better networking our Bible-believing community, and learning from each other.

And as neat as it was to have Phil with us, it was equally great to see a handful of "driven Christians here in the Racing Capital of the World" also getting to know each other, and each others' gifts and passion. It was a fairly small but diverse group, consisting of Christian businessmen, professors, pastors, church-planter, and a tech or two. Yet the potential for impact was enormous. One moderates the statewide "Transform Indiana" initiative. One is heading the CCDA Indy initiative. Another represents the unique college here in Indy which trains Christian leaders to reach a multi-ethnic urban world for Christ. One is helping the PCA plant churches in St. Louis and Indianapolis. One is creating some video from today's meeting, as he was also doing an interview for Indiana Christian News -- a new local Christian paper starting up.

So hopefully you'll be able to read more about today's meeting, when you pick up your August copy of the paper. [And of course, we'll also highlight the story from when it becomes available online somewhere.] But for the time being, let me simply reiterate the key point I heard today.... "Jesus said, 'Go'..... Get out of here.... Just do it. And in YOUR neighborhood is as good a place as any to get started." [Certainly reminded us of our Transform Indiana strategy... finding or expediting well-networked lighthouses in every neighborhood across the state.]

While it was not necessarily intended as a meeting to create yet more things to do, nonetheless, a significant action point did develop. Scott Truex was inspired to accept a role as an official "convener", to rally a group of us to travel to New York for a one-of-a-kind leadership conference this fall.... the National Leadership Forum... Oct 5-8, 2003.

Btw, it did not escape my hearing today, that one of our guys was greatly impacted at CCDA 2002 Conference, and was helped in his networking process, by and our Los Angeles friend, Rudy Carrasco at the Harambee Center. Thanks Rudy... you may never know just how much you helped our city. Remember your cyber-cafe there?

Btw, related to this upcoming national forum, Indianapolis has been asked to host a regional City Impact Roundtable next summer. Can we make a difference in Indiana, for Christ?

Gotta go start finding some funds so I won't get left behind in Indy this fall. How about you? You coming along?

Friday, June 27, 2003

"How Many Calories in a Google-Bar?"

When I wrote this fun-title yesterday (see yesterday's blog entry), I had no idea there was a story getting ready to break. But this pretty well says it all... at .

IMHO... If you've not yet added this Google Toolbar... you're missing a great tool. Even helps you search for the particular word you're looking for, in a page. The only way they could improve on it, is to build in BibleGateway's search too. **smile**
"Crossover Arizona".... and "Crossover Indiana"... and "Transform Indiana":

What a pleasant surprise in today's headlines ( And what a great concept. And best of all... it's apparently coming to Indy next year.

"Crossover Arizona Nets 1100 Decisions...."

Gotta believe there's a ton of synergy to be had, with "Transform Indiana".

Thursday, June 26, 2003

"Don't Jump!"
[Continued 'Tales from the Trail'... see below.]

You know, some days out on the trail are truly fulfilling. Like today.

As Mike & John & I approached the bridge, three young guys were out on the ledge staring down at their fate below. We yelled, "Don't Jump!".

After about 20 minutes of talking with us, these 3 guys -- A Buddist, a Baptist and a Catholic. -- came in off that ledge. Admittedly, still a Buddist, a Baptist and a Catholic... but nonetheless, off the ledge... and they know how they can have eternal life.

Yes, a fulfilling day.

Now for the straight of it... LOL... It's a tiny bridge, over shallow water, and the ducks below were probably in greater peril. But it makes for a good story.

In any event, it was fulfilling... it always is -- there's virtually never a day in which we don't enjoy getting to at least talk with a number of people about heaven, and the truth of God's requirements about getting into heaven... and His great offer of eternal life.

Today, the young Baptist probably told it the best, openly sharing in front of his friends, his experience of having come to believe in Jesus Christ as a his personal savior and how that changed everything for him.

Who knows just how God may have used that young man that day.

[Tomorrow... How Many Calories in a Google-bar?]

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Computers... A Help In Urban Ministry?
[continued from yesterday]

If we can simply be available to God, notably perhaps with capabilities to spread the gospel at the speed of Light, surely God will bless such efforts of faith. Yesterday, at our "Wireless Coffee" time together (in the real-world, each Saturday morning), our multi-cultural collection of such folks worked together to ready our flagship location at 12th x Central. Flyers are going out this week, inviting the general public of that urban area, to come in for free, make friends, use our internet access and obtain computer help from our volunteers... as we help them find the "best information on the Information Highway".

At the same time, these same volunteers are also helping to support the "Transform Indiana" initiative, by volunteering to be an 'e-servant' assigned to assist pastors & leaders from counties, cities and neighborhoods throughout the state. See the drilldown map there.

It really blessed my socks off, to see Woody on the phone with Jeff "Linux" (LOL) getting the servers back online after the storms this past week, and thereby getting the "Urban Tech Center" ready. And Mary had prepared the UTC flyer. Collin was helping Ray build his "Intelligent Design" site to add to the mix... and Ray is gaining understanding how to help maintain the Transform Hamilton Co. page... and will, in turn, be able to help other e-servants help their county in this strategic way. Ray says the first thing he wants to learn is how to get Eldon's picture off of it. LOL. And there were several other examples of productivity... even in this small setting of the early stages now of the "Urban Collaborative Center". Will the Lord bless our urban area there, and across the state, as a result of the efforts in faith by these guys & gals?

So can we help? We already are. For instance, the "Crossroads" newletter (Crossroads Publishing, C. Strickland) is apparently nearly ready to go to press -- just need a couple more advertisers (if interested, email us, and get a double-win by working with Crossroads Publishing AND It's probably best described as an 'outreach' format for non-Christians and inquirers. For instance, here's an article I'm preparing for it. There are already a number of other neat articles, radio & tv advertisers, etc., so it looks pretty cool already. You can be sure our urban center will be praying for the success of reaching 10,000 people here around Indy, with the word of God in an enticing way. Btw, our "Urban Tech Center" flyer will also be inserted in each of the 10,000 copies -- so we're looking forward to building ongoing relationships with its readers, as they come participate at the center. Moreover, we're also busily brainstorming the new look & feel of -- also promoted in the newsletter, aimed at the secular public, to help meet needs in the most meaningful ways. Stay tuned there, and pray that the site will be effective in helping our community.

So can computers help urban Indianapolis -- you can believe we believe it!

[Tomorrow... "Don't Jump!"]

Saturday, June 21, 2003

"J, J, and B... Not to mention, K"...
[continued "Tales from the Trail... Monon Trail, that is...]

Ok, so here we are, out on the trail again, just asking interested (and interesting!) people 5 brief questions of a spiritual nature. Here's just a few responses...

"J"... was generous with her time and thoughtful in her answers. Then gave us further permission to share 5 brief bullets from the Bible -- an overview, if you will, of God's great offer to mankind. In the end, I think she'd agree, it helped clarify some things that she may not have heard quite that way in her church. And that's part of our objective... to make sure that at least people have a good chance to hear what God offers them, and not leave the message to chance. Frankly, most of the people we talk to, do not even know what His offer really is. How good a job have we, the Church, done in getting the correct message out to them?

"Next J" was a nice, polite fisherman. I don't know how to fish. He knows how to fish. He seemed not to know how to get to heaven. We know how to get to heaven. He was kind enough to show us his catch for the day, and shared his answers to the questions... and we shared our 'catch of a lifetime' with him -- this time via a tract, after a friendly chat with him. I hope he 'catches' it too. Pray for "Next J".

"B"... same. Nice guy. You can't believe how nice people are, here in Indianapolis. And upon conclusion, again, was kind enough to take a tract home and consider further.

And then there was "K".... He needs our prayers more than any of the above... yet realizes it perhaps way less than any of the above. He was 'out of it', wanted to be our friend, but says he's a demon or devil or something. Really just a kid who needs our chronic love & prayers. And it's for young people like that, that I'm thankful for the regular daily ministry to Broadripple teens.... called Outreach, Inc. Nuf said. Thanks Eric, for being there for these kids.

[Tomorrow... "Wireless Coffee" time... How can we help all these sorts of folks? Surely computers can't help, can they?]

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

"Return to Chilliwack"...

[continuing saga... see yesterday's entry]

It took a friend in England, to get us to go back to Chilly Chilliwack Canada today, to review a great site there... and perhaps collaboratively brainstorm/review it among our "WirelessCoffee" guys on Saturday morning.

Notice how Tony has even strategically given churches & techs some questions to use, as a brainstorming checklist -- see his "Analyze Its Effectiveness" link near the bottom.

[Tomorrow... more 'tales from the trail'... "J, J, and B... Not to mention, K"]

Monday, June 16, 2003

"How DO You Get Christians To Work Together, Cross-denominationally?"

[Continued from yesterday... See below.]

LOL. Now here's a topic that could take all day. LOL. So I won't. In fact, while I have some suspicions about how it should be done, I'll never suggest that I know how, or can effectively cause it to happen.

But if we'll always try to "work as unto the Lord", and if we'll keep our eyes on Jesus and His Great Commission... surely any walls that divide us will become increasingly minimal as time goes on. And if the 'new paradigm' helps us to speed that process, then praise God for it as a tool for love & good deeds together.

And on that note, again I'll refer you to the "Wireless Coffee" blog, which is constantly growing as a team-blog, cross-denominationally (btw), in support of "Transform Indiana". Check out their latest stuff.

[Tomorrow... Ever do a discussion based on a web-page? Put on your coats, we're headed back to Canada for this one. **smile** See you tomorrow.]

Saturday, June 14, 2003

"I saw a changed life..."

[continuing... the "A&A biker-dude's" final comments'.... ]

After I concluded the 5 questions and thanked the guys, and gave 'em a little DoYouKnowForSure booklet, my friend said "Hey I'm Jewish and I used to be an agnostic myself, but everything changed when I discovered peace with God through the Messiah Jesus. It's worth careful consideration."

What I didn't write yesterday was that the first young guy had already told us separately how, when he was at 'the end of his rope', his mother had prayed with him to receive Jesus Christ as his savior... and it had changed his life around entirely. So the A&A guy now has heard two testimonials, and started recalling for us, yet another person he knew who was a Viet vet, now a pastor because of how his life was changed when he came to know this Jesus.

Obviously the Spirit was working. Pray for these young guys who undoubtedly will be talking further about this Jesus and His ability to change lives.

Now let's recycle that pipedream from a few days ago.... "Don't you wish...."

...that we had a cross-denominational group of Christians just ready and waiting with an "Alpha-group" meeting locally that we could bring these guys to?

[Tomorrow... "Btw, how DO you get Christians to work together cross-denominationally?"]

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Tales from the Trail (continued)...

Neat experience yesterday on the trail. A 'messianic Jewish' friend went along. Wouldn't you think that rain would dampen our spirits? Hardly. Had to laugh as we really enjoyed talking with a couple of 'biker-dudes' who took time to talk with us, and answered the 5 brief questions. Even one of 'em who said right up front... "Hey, I'm agnostic and apathetic -- that is, I don't know and I don't care." LOL. Had to really appreciate his honesty and willingness to talk with us anyway.

[Tomorrow... how would our "A&A" biker-dude conclude the encounter?]

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

City Models To Review...

"Iron sharpens iron... and so one techie sharpeneth another". Thanks to OrangeJack, we're able to offer the following...

Here are some great city model links that I found meaningful, especially as we in Indianapolis consider how we can better work together.

Love Chilliwack
Love Abbottsford

Both are based on the concept of "Servant Evangelism" (S.Sjogren) -- "doing works of love as we share words of love".

Also I enjoyed this link as a NEEDS-based (primarily using a "testimonies" convention) Good News site...

And... last but not least... a digital site supporting a lot of the above -- let's explore these further (at our "Wireless Coffee" time) as may well relate to the "Transform Indiana" ministry-networking initiative around our state.

P.S. And thanks to Tony Whittaker, who has connected a number of internet evangelist-types... like OrangeJack. This is yet another example of how networking relationships can greatly enhance the effectiveness of networkers. And if that's true in this seemingly-small but illustrative way, imagine the effectiveness of a well-networked city (relationally) of "driven Christians in the Racing Capital of the World".

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Monday, June 02, 2003

"Prayer Walking.... Mapping..."

Already the new "Wireless Coffee" blog has yielded a great potential dividend. Adam Shields' link to PRAYERWALKING & mapping was worth the price of admission.

Can you imagine the Monon Trail neighborhoods being mapped and adopted?

[See what happens when "driven Christian techs, city by city" start developing and testing strategies online? Thanks Jeff for your work there, making everything possible.]

[Tomorrow... "Let's do lunch..."]

Sunday, June 01, 2003

"Don't You Wish.... " [continued]

... that the Christian community cared enough about our "neighbors", to come out of our 'silo-churches'... say 10% of the time... or even just 1% of the time... and work TOGETHER in a manner glorifying Jesus Christ in front of an onlooking community? I do. Could you imagine how much we'd have in powerful, agape-driven resources if our solid Christian churches picked up that herald call? I can.

Today, in the Indy Star:

Another Broadripple High School casualty.

Apparently others in our Indianapolis community might also wonder about such things.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

"Wireless Coffee"....

Down at the center today, again a handful of Christians got together and prayed & talked over coffee and (wirelessly) surfed the net together, learning from each other all the while. Some are hi-tech techs, and some of us only can translate from Geekish into English. But our common thread is... being "e-capable and C-centered". And we're all learning something from the others... in a warm, welcoming, invitingly-neutral environment.

Today, progress at the center continued... discussing such things as Christian video clips (where to get 'em, etc.), Linux "directories", portal gadgets, and of course.... blogs. In fact, we got our tech team-blog started, called.... "'Wireless Coffee".

Thursday, May 29, 2003

"Don't You Wish... "

[continued 'Tales from the Trail' - see yesterday's post]

Almost no matter what form we prefer for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, we often hit the limit as to how far any one person can go at one time in their journey toward the abundant life. That is... Don't you wish there was a good way of helping people CONTINUE in meaningful, relational dialog so as to "go to the next level"?

Don't you wish there was a readily available web of Christians just waiting to help with this ongoing process?

And when we're out on the trail, we meet a lot of nice, well-intentioned, interested & interesting young (& not so young) people who just need to keep the wheels turning about this Jesus-thing. Many need a warm, welcoming, inviting, NEUTRAL place to go to be able to dialog with knowledgable Christians... and also with other people just like themselves... asking the hard questions.

Don't you wish there were some "Alpha groups" located around the city that we could bring people to? And don't you wish that those groups were truly collaborative constructed by various Bible-believing ministries, so as to immediately preclude the appearance of an ulterior purpose, ie, church membership in YOUR church?

Mike & I do. Recently a young co-ed on the trail would have been a great one to ask to "Please come share just exactly those thoughts you just now expressed to us... to an informal group that's gathering over at the McCafe to ask & discuss such things."

[Hmmm. What are the possibilities? Perhaps tomorrow. Stay tuned.]

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

"Suffering for Jesus... at McD's..."

[Continuing "Tales From The Trail"...(see previous log entries below)]

I just read "Conspiracy of Kindness" by Steve Sjogren (author & blogger), primarily putting forth a "refreshing new approach to sharing the love of Jesus". While questionably not-so-new, the premise is fine -- it was often part of Jesus' methods. Servant evangelism is great... Do "deeds of love" and speak "words of love". And Sjogren fills the rest of the book with suggestions about what's worked for them. It's well worth 'the read'.

But presumably to accentuate the value of his book's premise, he plays against the Elmer Gantry stereotype. In fact, Sjogren unabashedly proliferates that image among his Christian readers. In his chapter entitled, "Unlearning the E-word", he alludes to most 'personal evangelism' today as the "shark approach"... which "tend to traumatize everyone around them with their unfettered aggression", and further reminding us of "the worst characteristics of pushy salesmen"... and equating it with "enthusiastically offending people for the Lord".

Wow. While I can't speak for D.James Kennedy, Frank Wright and countless others, I can't remember any occasions when Mike & I have left any Jaws-like trails of blood on the Monon. LOL. Too bad Sjogren didn't take EE training, before overlooking an obvious remedy -- ie, evangelism TRAINING -- before doing the disservice of striking further fear into his readers' hearts.

Ok... so here's how truly fearful evangelism on the trail can be... Ready?

After knee-walking on broken-glass all the way to Broadripple, dragging our cross-sized soapboxes & a bull-horn (not)... we finally arrive at McDonald's new "McCafe"... and have a latte... and maybe take an ice-cream cone with us as we casually head out into the 'water', looking for the next 'victim' to chat with about Good News....

Bmmp a, bmmp a, bmmp a, bmmp a....

[Tomorrow... a trail-thought comes to us... 'Don't you wish....']

Monday, May 26, 2003

People Do Listen... People Do Change... Some People. Sometimes.

[Trail Questions, continued]

We're not obligated to cause change. We're only obligated to study, to listen, to pray, to prepare, to go, to love, to care, to do, and to share what you know. The results are in God's hands. Thankfully. Because none of us are perfect at any of these, even; but... "It is God who works through you to will and to act according to His good purpose."

[Tomorrow... "Suffering for Jesus... at McD's". LOL. Stay tuned.]

Sunday, May 25, 2003

"Fred's Answers"... (continuing from Weds on the Trail....)

Remember Fred? When we asked him that final question... the "Suppose" question... he gave us all the reasons God should NOT let him into His perfect heaven! "I've been a bad husband, a bad father and I haven't been to church in 25 years." And indeed, if that is God's yardstick for measuring, and if God 'grades on the curve'.... Fred knew he would be in big trouble. And so would I !!!

People assume the Bible says something like this... "If you do the 'do's and you don't the 'don'ts', then you go to heaven."

But praise God, that's NOT His yardstick, and He doesn't grade on the curve. [If He did grade on the curve, no one could ever know for sure they had eternal life... yet John wrote otherwise... I John 5:13. So any religion formed on the basis of '12 sins or less' (or enough good works)... apparently flies in the face of the Apostle John's first-hand writings; and you need to keep looking for what the Bible really says.]

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people we talk to wrongly assume something along those lines. So we really do offer some GOOD NEWS !

[Do you or I ever wrongly believe something? No doubt. But about what? And how will we come to learn differently? I guess it boils down to... Are we willing to hear we're wrong about something, if there's something BETTER in store for us? So what do you think? Do people out on the trail ever want to hear about that 'good news' ? Stay tuned.]

Thursday, May 22, 2003

New NRB President Credits 2 Important Questions In His Life...

"and he shared the Gospel with me in a fairly unique way, using the two diagnostic questions from his Evangelism Explosion (EE) training."
... Dr. Frank Wright, President, National Religious Broadcasters

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

"Yes, I Probably Will... Well, I Hope So At Least."

So few people really even know that the Bible was written so that they COULD KNOW that for sure. (I John 5:13). I guess that's part of the very reason we're out there -- to let everyone know otherwise.

I remember attending summer camp as a kid, looking forward to the Friday night campfire finale, because the leader had been telling us all week that "Friday night, we have a sure-fire test to see if you're going to heaven or not." We were all anxious to know that for certain. Wouldn't you be?

But back to the trail now... Yesterday, a real nice elderly fellow (let's call him "Fred") told Mike & I that for sure he was NOT going to heaven. Now that was a unique answer we don't often hear. He said surely he wouldn't be allowed in because he hadn't been to church in 25 years.... as if that was God's yardstick for measuring who 'makes it' and who doesn't.

How do you think people answer the final question then....

"Suppose, just suppose -- we don't wish it on anybody -- Suppose you WERE to die today and find yourself standing before God, and He were to say something to you like... 'Fred, why SHOULD I let you into my perfect heaven?'..... what would you say?"

[Stay tuned. Tomorrow we'll share the answers of a person who's now a new national Christian media mogul.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Amazingly Most DO Believe There's A Supreme Being...

But they're not nearly so sure about having to someday "account" to Him. In fact, most will respond, "Wow, that's a tough question... I hadn't really thought that through. I'm not sure."

[So sometimes, we may simply interject... "Between now and the day you die... how will you go about resolving that issue?" You really have to love these kids and their quizzical looks, as they often begin to seriously start thinking about such things.]

We proceed with Question #4 -- the first of the infamous TWO Diagnostic Questions of this approach... (we'll talk soon of a number of people who have come to know Christ personally because of someone taking a few minutes to simply ask them these two upcoming questions)...

"If you were to die tonight -- and it does happen (for instance recently a Broadripple high-schooler was murdered here in Indy and these kids can relate) -- Do You KNOW FOR SURE that you'd have eternal life, that is, that you'd go to heaven? I've got a 'Yes', 'No', and a 'Hope So'. Or is that something you're still working on?"

[What do you think they say, folks? Stay tuned.]

Monday, May 19, 2003

Not In Broadripple, There Isn't...

[continuing re Questions on the Monon Trail]

Nope. NOT a rise in spiritual interest here... at least not among those we encounter on the Monon Trail each Tuesday. They'll gladly talk with us about spiritual things, but they virtually ALWAYS answer that question as "NO... About the same level of spiritual interest as 5 years ago."

Next question... and this tells us a lot...

"Would you say that you believe in a Supreme Being, who watches over you, and to whom you must ultimately answer? (And you can break that down however you like.)"

[Whaddaya think, folks? You have to understand, that the Broadripple area is a great place for young people here, to come hang-out, and be themselves... So there's just about every type of free-thinker known to man here, and that's probably why they're so willing to talk with us. Some just hang out on the bridge (over the neat canal we have), and others actually live under the proverbial bridge here. Mike & I have a great friend here, Eric, who loves these these kids and helps them via his ministry called Outreach, Inc.. In fact, some of us are now wanting to get together to form a collaborative Christian effort to provide a warm, welcoming, neutral environment there... say at the McCafe... at which they could ask the hard questions and study about this "Jesus", and come to their own conclusions. Perhaps start an Alpha group there. And btw, Eric is joining Dr. John Perkins in June, to speak at the Urban Strategies Seminar here in Indy.]

So what do you think? Do these kids believe in a Supreme Being? Accountable? [Stay tuned.]

Friday, May 16, 2003

A Rise In Spiritual Interest?

Continuing... Quick Questions on the Trail... Here's the #2 Question we like to ask:

"According to many, there's been a recent rise in people's spiritual interest... usually connected to the events of 911. Would you say you are MORE interested in spiritual matters today than 5 years ago?"

[Readers... Maybe the answer is obvious, but what do you think -- more interest, or less, or about the same? Our findings... tomorrow. Stay tuned. And btw, how about YOUR spiritual interest?]

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Appx 80% Will Gladly Talk About Spiritual Things !

Now here I start guessing.... I'm betting that 80% of Christians assume that 80% of Americans would NOT talk with us about spiritual things.

So where's the disconnect?

Btw, later this week, let me share a news story about a guy who has now risen through the Christian ranks to recently become the president of a national Christian media organization, who gained eternal life because someone took the time to ask these questions of him. Stay tuned.

Ok, back out on the trail again.... the FIRST of the 5 questions I personally like to ask, goes something like this...

"Great, you said you'd help us. So let me ask you... 'Of what general religious group would you say you're affiliated, or you've attended while growing up? And btw, how often might you guess that you attend?' "

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"Trail Questions" (continued from yesterday)

[Anyone want to venture a pre-guess as how many people will willingly talk to a couple of strangers about spiritual matters?]

"Hi, I'm Neil and this is Mike, and we're out here in the Broadripple area today asking people just 5 brief questions of a spiritual nature and wonder if you'd help us by giving us your thoughts?"

[the answer, tomorrow]

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Quick Questions On The Trail...

Just wanted to start logging a few journal-type notes from a typical afternoon as Mike & I (& whoever's with us) go out asking people a few questions on the Monon Trail here in Indy. Many are people who will never otherwise feel comfortable going in a church, or maybe will never feel compelled to want to read through 66 books of the Bible. Or they turn off 'Christian tv' just as quickly as it 'turns them off'. So how else will anyone reach them with the good news? [Btw, this set of questions that we use is not Mike's nor mine, lest anyone think we're particularly bright or clever or godly. Those who know us very well, know better. **smile** No, rather, we're simply following some tried & true experiences of others. Will write more about that sometime soon.]

Tomorrow, I'll continue with the questions, but for today, let me just pose the very first question we ask of someone the Lord leads us to...

"Excuse me.... Would you help us a minute?"

Monday, May 05, 2003

Congregations Cast Wider Net... With Websites

Great article!

Btw, any Greater Indianapolis (Bible-believing) congregations needing expert advice or help 'casting their net'... come join us for "Wireless Coffee" any Saturday (free), at 12th x Central, Sponsored by Christian Collaborative Network, Inc.. Importantly, find out how you can get your church-site seen!

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The Church Hires "Baghdad Bob" as New Minister of Information:

"Christians, Christians... not to worry... not to worry... the war is going well -- we're doing an excellent job! The infidels are on the run. Just keep doing what you're doing, the way you're doing it."

"Those loud noises you're hearing in our U.S. cities are not explosions of crime, injustice, filled jails, aborted children, racism, hatred, divorce, fatherlessness, declining education, addictions of all kinds, adultery, joblessness, egotism, Enronism, pornography, consumeristic church, segregated churches, prayerlessness... nor millions falling off into hell daily."

"I tell you... not to worry... not to worry... Those loud noises are only the sounds of our outgoing mortars of 'personal choice', tolerance, syncretism, corporate success, cultural pride, denominational pride & favorite worship style... just to name a few of our WMD. Keep the faith. No changes. Continue to march. Our asynchronous strategy will win the day."

"So long for now. Thank you for hiring me -- I needed just such a job. I will try to please you with all my reports, so stay tuned for future encouragements."

Bagdad Bob
Minister of Information
The Church

II Corinthians 2:11

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Saturday, April 05, 2003

'Geraldo' Gives Away Church 'Battle Plan':

I just now had to write a self-introduction for an egroup I joined... summarizing who we are and our proposed change-strategies for the Church today. Decided to draw it all out here, 'in the sand', for anyone to see as well...

I wish internet evangelism sites could single-handedly save everyone everywhere. **wink** But believing the web alone is not (yet?) 'compelling enough', I'm very into integrating various strategies God has given us a vision for... such as fishing the net with a net and hauling 'em into local relationships where the community's 'Church' can best do its job... face to face.

So I'm a firm believer in evangelical Christian web/real portals per city, to help organize the tapestry of Christians more closely together for collaborative efforts as practical... in hopes of fishing our city together with a net when practical, rather than only fishing with poles. Let's lift up the ONE name of Christ together in our community. The networked strategy can conceivably bring a "web of services", neighborhood by neighborhood... whereas a myriad of 'silo' churches have been unable to so far. So we're trying to model the concept here via .

Very recently, we've actually touched down from cyberspace, creating a centralized "Urban Collaborative Center" here in the heart of the
city... a warm, welcoming, (NEUTRAL), tech-adept place from which to push the envelope faster. Partially as a result of such efforts (and no doubt a lot of prayer from all over the city & state), an initiative called "Transform Indiana" has taken off... hoping to network Christians around the many cities in our state, and to network the neighborhoods therein... to facilitate Christians wanting to reach their communities. You could test-click through our (obcured) network of counties/cities/neighborhoods at... . Its purpose is to start building the web of Christian leaders per neighborhood geo-zone (Did I say "precinct"?) [We'd welcome your comments.]

We work somewhat closely with (Lighthouse Movement / Mission
), and we'd gladly work with whatever evangelicals have a goal of making it 'hard to go to hell from Indy'.

We have a number of web-sites with integrated purposes... - Gospel message and local testimonies
per city. - Sticky-site to advertise & reel in to
the site above. Hope to someday soon offer a network of 24x7 prayer, care, and share from there. Imagine bumper stickers in your city! Billboards? seeks to promote the more personal side to
the web. If you looked deep enough in it, you'd find we envision a well-organized 24x7 chat network (168 trained chat-guides sprinkled
among the 24 time slices around the globe), to serve as the Church's 'friendly greeter', with ready access to other Christians
available to help (either regionally, or topically).

Currently, functions as a meta-blog for now, toying with a "blog blurbs" concept, to 'personalize' the local web by
getting bloggers such as Rudy, Andrew & Rachel seen at these Christian city-portals (hopefully more & more local bloggers). RSS/XML syndication may well provide a better mousetrap -- I'd be interested in your
comments. [That reminds me, has anyone enlisted "Mean Dean" for this discussion?]

Imagine now a prayed-for city, with well-promoted 24x7 prayer, care, share available in your city... with well-trained phone workers &
chatters tied to the net index per city, and well connected Christians in every neighborhood therein. What's keeping us???

And last (and least)... "Got Change for a Blog"... my online journal
behind the scenes.

Ok, so we gave away the strategy. Better an open 'offensive' strategy, than quietly deploying no unified strategy at all.

I say, "Let the devil play defense"! ["We are not unaware of the devil's schemes."]