Halloween Costume Parade

Taylor’s school had a “costume parade” this morning.? Some fun shots of his principle, a sweet girl’s outhouse costume as well as Taylor in his Roman soldier costume.? Got that baby done at about 1 a.m. this morning.? Why do I always wait too long to get these costumes figured out??


We are studying The DNA of Relationships by Smalley in our LifeGroup on Sunday nights.? It has been a whole lot of fun learning that we are driven by our fears.? It is totally freeing to understand that the fight is often not about the thing we are fighting about. It is actually about a “fear button” that was pushed by the other person and we reacted to that button being pushed (Smalley’s concepts).? I am really excited about the positive things that we all are learning from this study in our group.

I ran across this post from Mark Batterson about fearlessness.? He says that there are only two fears we are born with as a baby…the rest are “learned.”? Man there is some freedom to know that we can learn, through Christ, how to be free from those fears!

I know for a fact that this nugget of truth and promise from God’s word can save us from a whole lot of heartache and pain when we allow the enemy to continue to scare us to death with our fears. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 ESV)

According to psychologists we’re only born with two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. That means that every other fear is learned. Which means that every other fear can be unlearned. Here’s a definition of faith: the process of unlearning ungodly fears.

The enemy is a fear monger. He wants to scare the heaven out of you. But I John 4:18 says: “Perfect love casts out all fear.” In other words, as we grow in a love relationship with God we unlearn our fears until the only fear we have is the only healthy and holy fear: the fear of God. And when you fear God you don’t have to fear anything else! Perfect love results in fearlessness.


Trunk or Treat THIS SATURDAY!

TrunkorTreatSlideWhat is Trunk or Treat?
Trunk or Treat is Forest Park?s version of a Halloween Party to provide a fun and safe environment for our guest Trick or Treaters! We will park our vehicles in the parking lot in a big circle with the trunks facing inward. Each vehicle opens the backs or trunks, decorates the vehicles, and hands out candy in a really fun way!? It is like a huge tailgating party with Trick or Treating thrown in for good measure!

How can I help?
We need EVERYONE in our church family to help in some way for our Trunk or Treat to be a success! Here are a few simple things we really need from you:
? show up early on Oct. 31st to set up (3 p.m.)
? be present the night of the event to help greet our guests.
? bring candy to hand out to the Trick or Treaters.
? decorate and hand out candy out of your vehicle(s) (the more the better).
? dress up and have a blast hanging out with kids!

Give me some examples…
? When it comes to decorating your vehicle there are the obvious choices, like decorating for Halloween, using pumpkins, spider webbing, spiders, brooms, bats, cauldrons, scary stuff…
? The best way to go is PICK A THEME!
? Go with a favorite decade…you know 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc.? Disco balls, shag carpet!
? or Nursery Rhymes…Mother Goose and the like.
? Sports, NASCAR, animals, TV Shows
? incorporate a game in the trunk
? Whatever you choose…COME AND HAVE FUN!
? Check out the web for ideas! Search Trunk or Treat and you will find a ton of great ideas!

So tell us, what are you dressing like/decorating your car like for Trunk or Treat??

Book Burning in NC Church

As most of you all know, we are doing a Trunk or Treat as an alternative to Halloween. ?However, this particular church is doing a different kind of alternative event. ?They are burning books! ?Yes, you heard right. Books! ?Specifically (are you ready for this?) Bibles that are “perversions of God’s Word.”

All I can say is, “Wow.” Pretty unbelievable considering all of the issues with the KJV and the reliability of modern translations. ?The problem with this kind of thinking is that it puts into question all of the translations, especially for recent converts who go to a bookstore to look for a Bible to use. ?Many people will call in and ask if we are a KJV only church. ?We are not. ?We use many different modern translations because we believe they communicate better to a modern audience. ?The reason why we use them is so that the Gospel can be communicated clearly to lost people. ?We don’t have to explain what Old Shakespearian English means in order for people to find Christ. ?There are several great, readable translations that we use here. ?Probably the most common versions used around here are: NIV (New International Version); ESV (English Standard Version; NIrV (New International Readers Version–great children’s translation); NASB (New American Standard); NKJV (New King James Version) and of course, there are several KJV (King James Version) floating around. ?The Message, by the way, is a paraphrase, not a translation. ?It is much like the Good News Bible that I grew up with as the only option for a modern english Bible.

We have some family friends who are Bible translators that have for years risen above this kind of stuff. ?They are better people than I am at times. Their heart is to translate the Word of God into a translation that speaks to the heart of the reader. ?Having taken eight semesters of Greek and four of Hebrew, it is an unbelievably difficult task to translate these ancient texts into modern language so that people can read it, hear the Gospel, and respond to Christ’s invitation of salvation.

Moral of the story…keep reading whatever translation you have and I believe that God will speak to you!

What translation do you use and why?

Book Burning.

Would you like to change the world?

Ran across this post of a pastor in Springfield.? They are starting a new series called “ImpACT.”? They are going to be talking about fighting four global giants: Disease, Poverty, Illiteracy, and Spiritual Emptiness. I absolutely love this idea that we CAN make a difference here and around the globe!

I have been a fan of Rick Warren as well since I was in seminary and he has a similar project that he and his wife Kaye have been working on to eliminate these Global Giants. They call it the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

So what is the P.E.A.C.E. plan? (From their website thepeaceplan.com)

There are five giant problems that affect billions of people on our planet? We call them Global Giants.

Spiritual Emptiness Billions live without hope, and in conflict.? They don’t know that they’re not an accident, and that Jesus Christ died for them so that their past can be forgiven, they can have a purpose for living, and they can have a home in heaven.

Self-serving Leadership Jesus said leadership is about serving, and if you want to be great, learn to be the servant of all.? The goal of leadership is not to see how many people help you, but how many people you help.

Extreme Poverty Half the world lives on less than two dollars a day–three billion people are in extreme poverty.

Pandemic Diseases Billions of people are still suffering from diseases that we know the cure for, and that’s unconscionable.

Rampant Illiteracy Half the population of the world–three billion people–is functionally illiterate.? How can anybody make it in the twenty-first century if they can’t read or write?

These giants loom so large that no one person or organization can provide significant relief.? The United Nations hasn’t been the solution.? Governments haven’t.? Businesses haven’t.? None of these have the advantages the church has.? The church has the biggest distribution, the most people, and the greatest motivation–love.

So we have developed The P.E.A.C.E. Plan to attack the world’s five Global Giants:

P – Promote reconciliation (by planting churches)

E – Equip leaders

A – Assist the poor

C – Care for the sick

E – Educate the next generation

If you do a simple Google search on “The P.E.A.C.E. Plan,” you will get a lot of negative things that come up as well.? Mainly legalistic, fundamentalist, Americans who don’t like Purpose Driven or Rick Warren or megachurches who have a website and rant about the dangers of such a thing.? Yeah, dangers like billions of people having the possibility of their life being changed by the Gospel.? Billions of people who might be helped to get out of extreme poverty. Billions of people who are educated so they can become successful in helping others.? Billions of people being saved from diseases that we as Americans are not effected because of modern medicine.

Bottom line.? How can it be a bad thing that the Church of Jesus Christ become mobilized to do what God intended it to do in the first place?? For these folks who are ranting against this idea of the P.E.A.C.E plan, I would like to know what their plan is for fighting these giants!

I hope that we can all begin to think globally and think with the Gospel in mind in everything that we do.? Hats off to Pastor Tommy as you endeavor to make your people aware of these global giants and vow to do something about it!

What are some practical things we can do to help attack these global giants?

Tommy Sparger Would you like to change the world?.

Amazing Sunday–Pastor Appreciation

I am still in shock from our people at Forest Park Carthage!? They surprized us with a HUGE gift for Pastor Appreciation Month!

We “got a good deal” on our house here in Carthage.? Don’t get me wrong, we are totally blessed and very thankful for everything we have.? However, we moved into the house and it is about 20 years old and everything seems to be breaking.? The house inspector’s report was like a broken record on everything…”make plans for replacement. End of life cycle.” or something like that!

The first thing is/was the wall paper…it is/was everywhere!? There were only two rooms in the whole house that didn’t have any wallpaper in them! Second, the cabinets are getting old and breaking…I am getting pretty good at making repairs to keep them together. The final straw was our air conditioning.? We have a heat pump because we don’t have gas for the furnace.? So…last winter we simply turned on the “furnace” and had outrageous electric bills!? Come to find out, there is a refrigerant leak in the air handler under the house that is causing the unit to run on the electric heat strips 100%–not just to supplement on those below zero nights.? Needless to say, after I learned a little about heat pumps, I knew we were going to need to do something before the winter came again.

Enter our church family at Forest Park Carthage!? Some “little birdies” told some other “little birdies” about our situation and they wanted to bless their pastor and his family.? Boy, did they bless us!? Take a look at this brochure!!? This thing is being put in our house this week!


Absolutely blown away by the gift that our people sacrificed to give to us!? If you look closely on the picture…they gave me the brochure and it says “Paid In Full” across the front! It was a really cool time last night telling the boys about what our church family did for us!? They are really excited and thankful for our church family.? What is really cool is the technology increase in this unit compared to our old unit.? Our old unit is about a 5 or 6 SEER and this one is a 14 SEER.? So even if the old unit was working properly, we still are going to have a substantial energy savings cost.

Thank you doesn’t even cover what we would like to say to our church family!? You all are the best!

Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity

Mark Batterson has a new book coming out later this year called “Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity.” His book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” was an extremely influential book in my personal leadership and spiritual pilgrimage. I read it all the way through in the middle of the night…I couldn’t put the book down. ?It came at a time in my life when I was extremely open to the concepts and I really did take some risks that I felt God was calling me to do.

I am currently reading through his second book, “Wild Goose Chase” on my Kindle 2. ?Really enjoying his book on the Holy Spirit along with a companion book, “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit” by Francis Chan. ?I have been studying and learning about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit lately.

The publisher, Waterbrook-Multnomah is giving away 500 copies of Primal to bloggers who would review the book. ?I would hardly call myself a blogger of any significance. However, I love books…and Mark Batterson books…and Batterson lived in SGF for a while in college…and I lived in SGF for a long time–and college too! ?Anyway, a guy can hope for a free book, can’t he?

Amazon.com: Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity (9781601421319): Mark Batterson: Books.

Spinning drills bits can create square holes? – Holy Kaw!

Ran across this random post and “tweet” the other day at holykaw.com, Guy Kawasaki’s blog.

It reminds me so much of my grandfather. ?He was a carpenter for a living. ?Specifically, he made church furniture and delivered it all over the country. ?He was one of my heroes…of course, most kids have grandfathers or someone else in their life that are bigger than life and a hero. ?I used to think that he could make anything out of wood!

I remember spending weeks in the summers at my grandparents house in Cabool, MO, where my grandpa had his shop. ?(If you have ever been to a Cabool High School football game, then you have seen his shop. ?It is the little shop that backs up to the end zone of the stadium. ?They bought the old “general store” and converted it into a house and built his little shop “out back.”)

I used to love to go out in his shop and play in what seemed like an endless pile of sawdust and shavings! ?He would show me what each of the machines did…it was facinating!

One of his favorite machines/tools was one of these…a drill that would make square holes…to make joints, etc.

I know that two of my cousins, Ben and Tim, have really followed in my grandpa’s footsteps and work a lot with wood. ?Tim actually works with wood for a living and Ben has a degree in Wood Technology and is a Campus Director for the BSU at Purdue.

Thanks to Twitter, I was able to walk down memory lane…and think and pray for my cousins as well today!

Here are some pics of Tim helping Taylor make an airplane in his shop at our family reunion. ?I think Ben is in the pics as well. ?Good stuff!

Spinning drills bits can create square holes? – Holy Kaw!.

I am second: Red River Rivalry

I honestly don’t know who won this year’s Red River Rivalry. I had to got to a flag football game before the game was over and didn’t have opportunity to watch SportsCenter to check the score this weekend.

However, I saw these videos and it began my mind racing about a friend of mine that went to be with Jesus on the way back home from the OU v. Texas game. ?He was in junior high and flying back from the game with his dad in a small plane. ?The plane crashed and both he and his father were killed. ?One of the great things that happened was another friend of mine came to know Christ at his funeral. ?Thank you Jesus! ?I know it is kind of wierd, but every time I see anything about this huge rivalry game, I remember both of my friends. ?I remember my friend that lost his life at such a young age. ?He was a soul winner in every sense of the word! I remember being with him on a mission trip when we were younger…his passion for people was amazing…his passion for sharing about Jesus was amazing! ?I also remember my friend that received Christ at the funeral. ?I remember his ministry that he continues to this day. ?I remember their passion for college football, the Red River Shootout…but most importantly his/their passion for Jesus Christ.

So, it really doesn’t matter who won this past Saturday in the Cotton Bowl. ?What matters more is that Jesus’ name would be made more and more famous around the world! ?Here are some video clips from iamsecond.com that speak of the importance of faith for quarterbacks Colt McCoy (Texas) and Sam Bradford (Oklahoma). ?Winning isn’t everything…Jesus is everything. ?I am second.

I guess I will go look up who won the Red River Rivalry now, even though it really doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things…

Monday Morning “Sum Up”–10.19.2009

Each Sunday night I will be summing up the previous week’s events in a “numbered” list, along with the “sum total” of our attendance for the week…even though “I’m not very good with numbers.”

  1. Yes, I know it is Monday morning, but I was wiped out last night and didn’t feel like blogging!
  2. Wow, what a crazy couple of weekends!!
  3. Duathlon was awesome on last Sunday afternoon to kickoof Maple Leaf Week! ?See this post for details.
  4. Still getting some great “ataboys” from folks after we helped with the Duathlon.
  5. The Maple Leaf parade is done! Great job folks in getting a TON of cards out to people!
  6. Looking forward…we have a lot to do to get ready for the Trunk or Treat on Oct. 31st.
  7. Candy, candy, and more candy needed!
  8. Cars, cars, and more cars needed!
  9. Working on some great “Awakening Compassion” projects with the schools as well as wil some guys around here to help take care of “widows and orphans in their distress.” ?Really pumped about the opportunity to serve others!
  10. Group was absolutely CRAZY last night!! ?We had a bunch of random nonsense happen along the way! ?Matt D. was helping me with our radiator that was leaking all over the driveway when they arrived. ?Dogs+trash+kids=a huge mess…enough said. ?And this deserves it’s own number…amazing number 11!
  11. The kids were kicking the pool to “make waves” for the frog in there…kicked a hole in the liner…who knows how many gallons of water flooded out all over the back yard! ?Unbelievable.
  12. Pool liner broken–problem or answer to prayer? ?Jury still out on that one! ?Definately spend a whole lot less on pool chemicals without a pool this summer!
  13. Probably going to have to get our heat pump replaced. ?Our friend Terry is helping us and saving us a ton of money by doing it in “phases.” ?Air handler this winter and then the outside unit this spring (hopefully.) ?That thing is over 20 years old and the house was built around the air handler…our crawl space is less than 2 feet. ?What is the point in having a crawl space when it is that low?
  14. “And the hits just keep on comin’!” Daniel Caffey (Tom Cruise) on “A Few Good Men” to quote an appropriate phrase.
  15. Have a great week!