Detroit - 30 degrees
Ft. Lauderdale - 80 degrees
It really isn't so much the temperature difference, but the absence of the sun. Not seeing the sun for 7 days affects a person psychologically. Not to mention not seeing the Sun for months at a time. Shoot, when we visited Michigan in May and June of this year we barely saw the sun, so it isn't just in the winter.
Getting off of that plane in Ft. Lauderdale and being greeted by palm trees, billowy clouds, blue skies, and the sunlight reminds me of why we moved down here in the first place.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Detroit - 30 degrees
Posted by revolution at 7:53 PM
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Posted by revolution at 12:40 AM
Saturday, December 29, 2007
At a neighborhood ("white trash") bar listening to Kid Rock. And watching my brother sing karaoke. Michigan is awesome. Except for the cold weather of course.
Posted by revolution at 11:20 PM
We've had a subscription to Entertainment Weekly for quite some time now. The reason for this is simple: it is a quick easy way to keep abreast of cultural currents. EW has, in every issue, charts that show the top movies by gross, top television shows by rating, top book sellers, and top album sellers. Some of the content of this magazine can sometimes border on pop tripe and celebrity gossip, but those four charts make the subscription worth it.
In the past we've had subscriptions to Wired, Newsweek, Martha Stewart Living, Outreach, Rev, Relevant, and This Old House, but the only magazine we never tire of is EW. It also doesn't hurt that Stephen King is a regular contributor to EW. There might be cult phenomenons, but those four charts are worth their weight in gold, the numbers don't lie. Besides, I love it when a movie like Superbad tromps on a movie like Invasion. Or I love seeing that The Simpsons has consistently been one the highest rated shows for all of these years.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Lest you think me a single-facet dolt of a metalhead, I thought I'd add that we spent the evening yesterday at the Miami City Ballet. It was quite nice.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Truth be told. I am one of those people who'd just as soon avoid church during Christmas and Easter. The idea of being part of that mob of people who pop in to pay their respects twice a year has always made me a bit queasy. So, rather than leave you with a sappy video of Linus explaining to us all the true meaning of Christmas - quite simply, that it is Jesus' Birthday, I'd much rather leave you with some videos that are more educational and in tune with my personal taste. So without further ado, Have yourself a Merry Metal Christmas - five of my favorite Metal videos:
Shadow's Fall - This dude, at one time, had dreadlocks down to his knees. Way cool.
Clutch - The working man's band.
Downset - Metalcore at its finest. I'd give anything to see them again.
Rage Against the Machine - "Know Your Enemy" - their best song.
KoRn - this is one of the greatest videos of all time. if you are a hip-hop enthusiast, you need to watch this video. Come on, a KoRn video that stars Snoop, Xhibit, David Banner, and Lil Jon - you can't top that.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Today, I am going to use this forum as an opportunity to vent my frustrations. You'd think that with a name like Revolution, there'd be more of that here, but really, I am a pretty mellow person.
Posted by revolution at 7:08 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007
Church Field Trip #22
Friday, December 14, 2007
Anyone who has been friends with me for a significant period of time has heard me pontificate at one time or another on the sweeping economic changes I would instill were I to become President of the United States. (Go ahead. Laugh it up.)
I hate inflation. I really do. In some areas at least. Let me tell you what I'd do, economically, if I became President.
- Reset and freeze the price of a large pizza with one topping to $5.00
- Reset and freeze the price of a 12 pack of pop to $2.00 (that's right. I said "pop")
- Reset and freeze the price of gasoline to $1.00/gallon
- Make essential health care free to all, except hypochondriacs
- memberships at fitness clubs would be free to all, except people looking to hook up
- bottled water - free
I think that's about it. That's all I've come up with in the past 15 years. If I've forgotten anything, I'm sure my wife will notice, because she's heard this spiel a thousand times. Every time I have to pay $15 for a large pizza or $3.50/gallon for gas, she knows that it is coming. "One day. When I am President....."
Thursday, December 13, 2007
CAN’T GET YOUR HANDS ON A NINTENDO Wii? HAVE YOU TRIED CHURCH?
Church by the Glades, in Coral Springs, FL, is giving away a Nintendo Wii at each of its nine Christmas services taking place on December 20-24 as part of its “Wii Wish You a Merry Christmas” campaign.
The nine services will take place on Thursday, December 20 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, December 22 at 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, December 23 at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12:00 p.m., and Monday, December 24 at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.
“It seems that the one thing that everyone wants and no one can get this Christmas is the Nintendo Wii,” said David Hughes, teaching Pastor at Church by the Glades.
In order to win the Wii you will have to fill-out a registration card. The winner will be selected during the service and then presented the Wii before its conclusion.
Some may ask why a church would do something like this. According to Hughes there are two reasons. First, he doesn’t believe that church should be boring. He thinks this will be a way of creating some energy during the services.
“Second, there is no doubt that a lot of people will come hoping to win a Wii, but we believe that many will leave with the hope of eternity that comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Hughes.
History shows that Church by the Glades is in the habit of using things that are creating a buzz to draw people to the church. During one recent series of teachings called “i: Living in a Self-Absorbed World,” they gave away a free iPhone and iTunes gift cards to first time guests to promote the series. More recently, they gave away four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.
Posted by revolution at 6:33 AM
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
In the past six months we've covered more than half of the Book of the Law. Leviticus has been grueling indeed. If we met every single week, this process would be much easier. As it stands, though, we have decided to take a break from the Book of the Law. Meeting every other week, including a couple of schedule interruptions, has brought our progress to a grinding halt. We will most likely not meet again for our study until the first week of January - what with the holidays and all that. Even then, we need a break from the Book of the Law. When we reconvene in January, we will shake things up a bit with some topical discussion. Well, we're going to give it a try at least.
For each meeting we will bring a pre-prepared question/topic to the table for discussion and investigation. Pre-prepared means that each of us will have done whatever research is pertinent concerning the topic at hand. I offered two resources as a guide for our group in brainstorming some good questions:
- gotquestions.org - Got Questions is a great site and resource for any spiritual/Biblical/religious/church question you may have.
- askanything.org - The site set up by Mars Hill Church in Seattle so that anyone could ask Mark Driscoll any question and he would answer it through his preaching in 2008.
So, come January 2008, we'll see how it goes. As always, the invitation is open for anyone to join us. And if anyone would like to give us a topic for discussion, feel free. We will most likely continue to meet every other week on Sunday nights, though we may change it to Friday nights so we can light a bonfire.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Church Field Trip # 21
It's kind of hard to miss a new church that meets two miles from my house with a sign out front that reads: Revolution South Florida. From here on out, it gets a little confusing. International Charismatic Mission Church (ICMC) is a G12 cell church. G12 is an international cell-church network based out of Bogota, Columbia. According to Anthony, the pastor of the South Florida G12 Network, Revolution SF is the theme for this year, placing an emphasis on reaching the teens and twenty-somethings of South Florida. They have services every Saturday night at 8, targeting the younger generation; and they have services every Sunday morning at 10, for families and everyone else.
After hearing many of my christian peers complain about the mega-church movement leaving discipleship by the wayside, it is interesting to see a church/movement that is entirely made up of small discipleship groups. In G12, small groups aren't a ministry of the church, they are the church.
We arrived on time at 10 am, only to find that they run on "Spanish time, which means 20 minutes late", according to Anthony's wife, Jennifer. We received two bilingual greetings and soon discovered that everything was done bilingually; literally everything. The music - two singers singing in both English and Spanish interchangeably; and the preaching was done by two gentlemen bilingually and also interchanging throughout. You would think that this would either be frustrating or confusing, but it was neither. It took about 20 minutes to get used to it, and I would imagine that if I went to this church every week, I would probably learn a lot of Spanish. Anthony himself said that before he joined G12 and started the South Florida network with 8 people 6 years ago, he didn't speak any Spanish. Now he is fluently bilingual.
The service was in a former school gymnasium and there were probably about 500 people in attendance (over 1000 for the weekend.) They did an excellent job of transforming the space into an environment conducive for a great worship experience. To say that the worship experience was off the chain would be an understatement. They were loud, really loud. They were excited - everyone in the building - 100% participation. There was an energy level that I have never before seen in a church service. It was much more like going to a concert than going to a church service. We really had a great time. During one high energy song, they actually pulled one girl from the neo-pit that had formed at the front of the stage and let her freestyle rap during the song. I wish I could have gotten video of that moment - it was awesome. Now let me say two things that will undoubtedly bring me back for a repeat visit to this church.
- The lead singer is actually the daughter of the leader of the worldwide G12 network. She and her band, Soulfire, were not present for this service. They are out touring and will be back in January. So that means that this was the "backup" band which rocked our socks off. Unbelievable. The worship leader, Vince, also told us that the preacher was a "backup preacher" which is also significant because he knocked it out of the park along with his Spanish partner.
- We went to the Sunday morning service geared toward families. I can't imagine what the energy level must be like at the Saturday night service.
The topic for the sermon was "Understanding the Times", derived from I Chronicles 12. The pastor also used Nehemiah 2:17, II Cor. 13:5, Phil. 1:6, and Acts 3. He used a handful more verses, but I admit that I was lost at times, and was struggling to keep up. Having two preachers, one for each language, was fun and entertaining. They played off of each other and joked with each other, especially when there were translation difficulties. They were both equally energetic and engaging.
Here are some notable quotes:
"Don't wait for someone else to do what God has put in your heart for you to do."
"There are 3 types of people:
- People who watch things happen
- People who wonder what happened
- People who make things happen
"How many warriors are in here?" At which point, he had us yelling like a scene out of Braveheart - Referencing I Chronicles 12:38. This church took audience participation to a whole new level. By the end of the service I was worn out and almost hoarse. But man, did I have a good time.
"God is here to meet you at the point of your need."
"God is in the restoration business."
"There are four things that you need to do.
- Examine yourself
- Ask for God's forgiveness
- Have confidence in God's calling
- Get busy doing God's work
To say that they presented the Gospel in a clear and convicting manner would be a gross understatement. If there was ever a church that didn't need to present the Gospel, it would be a G12 church. They don't actually expect anyone to just walk in off the street (like we did) because of their model of cell group evangelism. But that didn't stop them from presenting the Gospel in possibly the most compelling fashion that we've seen to date. I was starting to wonder if they were going to check us at the door and make sure that we were saved before we left.
As we were leaving, Pastor Anthony and his wife, Jennifer snagged us and engaged us in conversation for about 10 minutes about the G12 vision and God's calling on our lives. We exchanged contact information with them, as the church did not have any printed materials available - no bulletin, no brochures, no guest card, nothing. Very organic.
I shot some video, but, like a moron, I accidentally recorded it without audio. Sorry, I am an idiot. But I figured I would throw the video up anyways.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Where do I begin? I grew up in Michigan. As a matter of fact, I've only lived in South Florida for 7 years. In the past 7 years, the beer selection in South Florida has improved significantly. I used this analogy before and I will use it again to show the difference between Michigan and South Florida. In Michigan, when you go to the local corner store, the entire back wall of coolers will be devoted to cold beer - if you are in the mood for Sam Adams, you'll have your choice of at least 7 of their 20 available flavors. 7 years ago in South Florida, you'd have had your choice of 2 flavors of Sam Adams beer - regular and light, maybe a seasonal if you were lucky. Now, at our local Publix Grocery, we are offered at least 4 varieties of Sams, sometimes even 5.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
The Evolution of the Preacher's Pulpit
As the pulpit has evolved, the preacher has been brought closer to the congregation; made to seem more informal; and made to seem more transparent. The old-school pulpit is almost laughable, with the preacher hoisted up in a cockpit 5-10 feet above the ground. This is how we always picture the great preachers of old laying the smack down on their congregation with sermons titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
The second generation pulpit is reminiscent of the typical traditional baptist church. These pulpits are more business-like, but are still usually festooned with Bible verses, flowers and religious symbols like fish, crosses, and doves. These wood pulpits are usually covered in semi-ornate carvings of vines and a catchy quotation of Jesus claiming to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This pulpit usually matches a nearby table used for communion that also has matching carvings with verses pertaining to the Last Supper: "Do this in remembrance of me."
The third generation of the pulpit attempts to make a name change as well as a change in appearance. On 60 Minutes recently, Joel Osteen gave a tour of Lakewood Church. The reporter asked him, almost rhetorically, if this was his pulpit sitting at the center of the stage. Osteen replied, "Well, we prefer to call it a podium." Right, because that is less religious and more business-like. You could almost see the news anchor's eyes rolling out of his head. Of particular mention is the transparent, completely clear plastic podium, which Osteen didn't have. This "podium" conveys the idea of the preacher being transparent to his congregation; he has nothing to hide. Even transparent, they are usually still festooned with floral arrangements around the base.
The fourth generation of the pulpit throws out the podium altogether and replaces it with a high-top table and one chair. In many churches, this table still serves the exact same purpose of the transparent podium: the preacher can't hide behind it and he still has a place to put his stuff. This "stuff" usually includes a Bible, coffee, a water bottle, a small clock, notes, and any items that might come in handy for visual sermon illustrations. The irony of this fourth generation pulpit - the high-top table - is that some preachers are visibly uncomfortable using it for it's intended purpose. It is a table and it is meant to be sat at. This act of sitting while preaching further conveys the concept of informality between the preacher and the congregation. But, from my experience, there are quite a few preachers who are just not comfortable with it. Some of them will sit at it for a brief moment, but it is obvious that they are not comfortable sitting. And some of them will not use it as a table at all, but rather as a glorified podium, sometimes even placing the "traditional" floral arrangement around the base. There is one added bonus of the high-top table pulpit. If the pastor wants to team teach with his wife on the topic of marriage, sex, women's roles, or marital submission, all they have to do is drag out the matching chair.
The fifth generation of the pulpit throws out the table and chair and replaces them with a single, small high-top side table. Something just big enough to hold a bottle of water and a Bible. This final version of the pulpit has finally removed any possible barrier between the preacher and the congregation, leaving just enough space for the bare essentials. And the preacher doesn't have to worry over whether or not to sit, especially if they are uncomfortable sitting.
What's Next? I really have no idea. Anybody have any ideas?
Monday, December 3, 2007
We have taken a two-week hiatus from church field tripping. This is simply poor timing considering the bevy of new readers that have come to this site because of the Sun-Sentinel article. This weekend, we will be back out on the road again. With that in mind, I thought I would give you the next best thing - the ability to take your own church field trip.
There are a handful of churches that show their entire service on the internet. I find this to be useful for two groups of people.
1. Those who are obligated to attend their own church and never get to experience other churches.
2. Those who have no interest in actually going to church, but are curious to see what it would be like.
Here are some churches which offer this opportunity to take a look inside:
Newspring Church - Anderson, SC
Lifechurch.tv - Edmond, OK (streams live only)
Granger Community Church - Granger, IN
Flamingo Road Church - Cooper City, FL (streams live only)
Vineyard Community Church - Cincinnati, OH
The People's Church - Franklin, TN
(Thanks to Jeff, for a couple of these.)
If you know of any more churches that provide video of their ENTIRE service, let me know. I'd love to watch them.