RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

first post on NEW BLOG, last post on this blog

first post on NEW BLOG, last post on this blog

First blog post on my NEW BLOG is up: What is Religious Cheese?  http://www.cutthereligiouscheese.com/what-is-religious-cheese/ 

Please head over there and check it out.  If you subscribe to the Road Blog, please sign up to subscribe for my new blog, Cut The Religious Cheese as this will be my last time ever posting at the Road Blog.  While you’re at, will you consider joining my Publish Team?  I wrote a book entitled “Embracing Reality: Finding Freedom from Relational and Sexual Fantasy” and I need your help in getting published.  You’ll receive a free copy of the intro and first chapter of the book in exchange for subscribing to my new blog and following me on Twitter.  100% of eventual book proceeds will go to World Relief.  Thank you in advance for your help!

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Noah’s blog is moving!

Noah’s blog is moving!

My new blog is www.CutTheReligiousCheese.com and I will be posting content in another day or two.  Please head over there and subscribe to the blog.  All “Lansing Road Blog” posts have been transferred over to the new site.

The focus of Cut The Religious Cheese is to tackle difficult and sometimes controversial spiritual and biblical topics that keep people away from Jesus.  I hope you’ll follow along!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Why Every Pastor Needs a Sabbatical

Why Every Pastor Needs a Sabbatical

Today is my first day of work back from my summer sabbatical.  First off, I want to thank my great church for providing me with this much needed opportunity.  It has been refreshing and I feel energy for ministry in a way I have not felt for quite some time.

Pastors need sabbaticals.  I know of some pastors who have approached their church board to ask for one and they have been turned down, or they are afraid to even ask because they know what the response will be.  These boards and church memberships need to wake up and smell the coffee of what it’s like to be a pastor; which often is a cheap, burnt, stale coffee that’s been on the burner for waaay too long.  Being a pastor is one of the most difficult jobs that exists.  It is not the hours spent in the office or the research or the strategizing, it is the constant emotional and spiritual outpouring, a faucet that rarely shuts off.  It is the relational weight you carry around, knowing you have befriended an entire flock and you desire to be there for them, but you can only go so far for so long.  These things take a toll on a person.  Pastors are not superhuman or superheros.  If you think yours is, or treat him as such, I promise you he will be resigning within the next 3 years.

I firmly believe when you deprive a pastor of a sabbatical you are telling him or her, “We want you to burn out.  We want your marriage to fail.  We want you to have a severe disconnect in your relationship with God.  We want frustration to drive you off the cliff of ministry and of life.”

What else can be interpreted when a pastor is crying out for help and the replies are: “Well I don’t get a break in my job, so you don’t either…” or “We already give you 4 weeks of vacation, what more do you need?” or “How will the church survive the summer without you?”

We already give you 4 weeks of vacation, so go ahead and cheat on your spouse as you feel like God has abandoned you, we certainly aren’t giving you more time off you lazy bum.  Working in the business world is just like having the spiritual, emotional, and relational weight of an entire congregation on your shoulders, you didn’t realize that?  (Yeah right.  This is why every single pastor has a “fantasy dream job” in the business world where they don’t face the pressures of ministry.  They think about it on the days they want to quit the ministry.  Every  pastor has this.  And if they don’t, they will within a couple of years!)

Oh yeah, and sabbatical time is not vacation time.  It’s very intentional with specific goals.  And if you give your pastor a sabbatical, don’t make them do a million things they have to report back to you on.  Trust them that they have an honest heart for God, otherwise you shouldn’t have hired them, and let the Holy Spirit lead them to what is best for them.  This may be going to conferences, job shadowing at prominent churches around the USA, living in a cabin in the woods for a couple months, or even playing semi-pro football!  Let your pastor make these decisions, not you.  Children need babysitters, not pastors on sabbatical.  Let the man rest with the Lord and get way from the expectations and pressures of church life for a few months.

And make it at least 3 months, none of this 4-6 week business.  That’s about how long it will take for him to realize he doesn’t want to quit his job!  Make sure you give him 3+ months so he can not only decompress, but also recharge and come back at full speed.  Trust me, 3 months is an easy investment when the return is a fully charged pastor ready to minister in high spirits for the next 5-7 years, something you will not get without the sabbatical.

I’m not saying it’s always as dire as a marital affair and total collapse, but there are certainly some dramatic rumblings beneath the surface of many pastors that they are never able to be honest about because they will be judged or fired if they express them.

Some of you have pastors who never even use up the vacation days you do give them.  This should not be applauded.  No, these are the men and women you need to grab by the horns, wrestle them to the ground, and say “You will rest in the sustaining power of the Lord!  You will stop working and will trust that God will continue working without you!”  Whether they realize it or not, these men and women have just as many needs for sabbatical refresh as the person openly confessing they are running on fumes.

Your church will not fold if your pastor goes on sabbatical.  If you think that it will, either 1.) You are serving a VERY small God who can’t go 3 months without your pastor saving the day for Him or 2.) Your church is extremely immature in its heart for ministry that you wouldn’t have enough people to step up to take care of the basic needs of ministry for 3 months.  And if #1 is true of you, #2 will naturally be true as well, and vice versa.  We serve a HUGE God, he can handle your church if your pastor goes off the radar for a few months.  Be obedient to God as leaders in your church and allow your pastor to be renewed in a way only an extended sabbatical time can.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Embrace Your Insignificance

Embrace Your Insignificance

I think the majority of our (my) vices, sins, and depths of depression come from the search for significance.  We are continually looking for things that will make us feel important and valuable.  My wife and I went to see a musical on Sunday at the Wharton Center and even though I don’t have a shred of musical ability in me, as I applauded the performers, a sense of jealousy came over me.  Why am I in the crowd clapping, rather than being on stage, being applauded?  I think the same types of thoughts when I watch baseball games.  Here I am sitting with tens of thousands of people in the stands, cheering like a child for players who are mostly younger than me now.  Wouldn’t it be something to be on the field, having all of those people cheer for me?  To have people approach me for my autograph and a photo?  I walk out of the Wharton Center with thousands of other people, jostling for position in the crowd as we head toward our cars, feeling a bit like a lemming…another insignificant person in the crowd…a stat…a consumer…no one seeking my autograph or excited to see me.

I think most of us want to be famous to some degree.  Want people to see us as something special.  I think that’s why Facebook appeals to us.  We can write things and immediately have other people “like” us and “like” the things we say.  We long to be liked and we seek it out, often in unhealthy ways.

We fear insignificance, so we seek to fill this void.  Usually it’s in relationships…if I can get this girl to like me, it’ll prove that I’m not insignificant.  It phases from here to significance financially and in our careers…if I have a certain financial status, or status in my company, it will prove that I’m not insignificant.  Or we appeal to whatever subculture we are in.  I see this in the teens in my inner-city neighborhood…if they are seen as cool by their peers in their 4-block radius, they are secure.  I see this in the semi-pro football league I play in with some of the guys.  The guys who weren’t able to secure their superior status from high school or college football, so now seek it in semi-pro, seeking proof of their superiority.  And if that superiority is challenged, they will downright fight you to prove to everyone that they are valuable.  And as pastors, we have our own subculture we use to prove our value, typically wrapped up in our Sunday morning statistics (or how many people read our blog).

As a Christian, I try to remind myself “I am valuable in Jesus, I don’t need these other things to make me valuable.”  While the substance of this thought is on the mark, I’m just now realizing I’ve missed a crucial step.  My value in Jesus always has to compete with the potential value I think I can get out of whatever is in front of me.

The step that I’ve been missing is to simply embrace my insignificance.  Rather than stand up and say to insignificance, “You are wrong!  I am significant!  Look how I can prove it to you…”  I’m learning to say, “You are right… I am insignificant.  No matter how much money I make, how many girls I’d get, how high up in football or baseball I could go, how many movies I could star in, how much political power I could have, ALL of these things are insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things.  In comparison to how BIG God is and how LONG eternity is, all of these things are insignificant.  James 4:14 hits it on the head, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  The fact is, my insignificance draws me to God.  As long as I’m thinking that I make a pretty good god, the less I am in need of one.

I am insignificant.  God is significant.  On top of this, I am a sinner, separated from God.  And nothing I can do can make this right.  But God made it right.

I can embrace my insignificance as a broken sinner, one of many of billions and billions of broken sinners who have come before me and will come after me.  That nothing the world offers actually amounts to true significance in the long run.  I can embrace this, and once I have fully realized the depth and truth of this, that NOTHING I do can make this any different, I am free to stop trying.  To stop trying to fill up a cup that is cracked beyond repair.  Once I let go of this cup, I can trade it in for the cup that Jesus offers.  Jesus thought I was significant enough for him to die on the cross for.  And he offers me significance of his love and of being adopted into God’s family as his son!  If I continually fear being insignificant (and seeking to remedy this), I will never be free to fully receive the gift of true significance found in being loved by Jesus.

This is a significance that frees me from selfishness and allows me to pursue the things in life that really matter and that have eternal impact.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Google glasses…really?

Google glasses…really?

Not sure if you’ve seen this yet but when I saw it in the newspaper last week, my first thought was: If this actually becomes popular, I am moving to a remote village across the world and living in a hut.

I mean seriously folks, what positive contribution to life would these possibly give us?  Besides Google making some fat cash off of them of course.  It is time (actually it’s well beyond time) that we pause and consider if all these new fandangled technological advances are really advances at all, or if they are just unnecessary wastes of money that more than likely do us more harm than good.  (Raise your hand if you want to be more addicted to your work and personal email and Facebook messages!)

Click here if you haven’t heard about Google’s prototype idea to make glasses that essentially are a cell phone / computer screen that you always see as you go throughout your day.  At least the good news is many others, like me, see these as a great reason to make fun of people that would actually use these:

 

One thing is for sure, it is going to be a lot more expensive to get punched in the face.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized, Wisecracks

 

Tags: , , , ,

Video Game Overload

Video Game Overload

With video games on my brain as I anxiously await my original NES to come in the mail (which I recently purchased on Ebay) I ran into this online ad for Sony’s newest product, the PS VITA, and was struck by their slogan:  “Never Stop Playing”.

This immediately brought flashbacks of skipping class my freshman year at Cornerstone to play Madden 2002  on PS2.  We’d have 4 guys in the same season, all controlling a team within the same division, so if you were the last guy to play your game for that week of the season (the other guys couldn’t play their next game until you played your game), it was all but assured that the door would be barricaded and you would play that game, rather than attend class.  And no, it never did take that much coercion.  Though we had tons of fun that semester, my low GPA reflected what video gaming can do to your reality.  I had to give up gaming in the 2nd semester (much easier since it wasn’t football season) and pull a 3.9 GPA in order to bring up my cumulative GPA to the necessary balance to keep my academic scholarship (and thus, to afford / stay in school).

A related flashback is my Slovakian friend Juraj (pronounced “Yer-Eye”) from the CU cross country and track team lecturing me about how playing video games was a waste of time and a waste of my life.  Juraj was a pre-med student at CU and is one of the single hardest workers I’ve ever met.  Of course I told Juraj he needed to lighten up and video games are no big deal.

As video games have gotten better and better, as well as more and more accessible, one does have to wonder where it all is headed… or at least one should.  Should we really “Never Stop Playing” as Sony tells us to?  I’m definitely not saying that video games in an of themselves are bad, evil, or wrong, but I do believe that “everything in moderation” definitely applies here.  Video games are getting so realistic and addicting that it’s quite possible for a person to live their entire life inside of a game, and in reality, have no life at all.

I think this also applies to the constant upgrades in cell phones, tablets, etc. (all of which, conveniently, you can play video games on as well of course).  Just because you can invent something better, doesn’t mean you necessarily need to.  And just because something is “better”, doesn’t mean it’s going to make your life a hill of beans better than it currently is.  In fact, I’d argue than in many cases it makes it worse.

I haven’t played my PS2 in over two years — Juraj would be proud.  I realized if I stopped buying the newest Madden game, I’d eventually stop playing altogether.  It’s like what I instruct my wife: if you buy donuts, I will eat donuts, so don’t buy donuts.  I think it was the empty gut feeling I’d get after playing Madden one more time (I will never get that hour of my life back)… as well as the realization that every “new and improved” version that came out really wasn’t much improved from the previous version and that at this point in video gaming there really isn’t much new under the sun.  And that is exactly why it’s time to go back to the roots.  To Ninja Gaiden, Metroid, and Castlevania.  To Blades of Steel, Double Dribble, and Excitebike.  Yes NES, you can’t come soon enough.  Looking forward to playing games that are meant to be fun, not meant to replace your reality.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Good Post for Valentine’s Day

I found this video a few days ago and thought it fitting to share on Valentine’s Day:

I blogged on marriage a few months ago and posted a sermon I did on the difficulties of marriage as Jen and I shared difficulties in our own marriage in a Sunday morning sermon.  I think anytime we can be reminded that true romantic love is a choice/commitment, not a feeling, it is needed…And that it is selfless, not selfish, it is needed.  And that God demonstrated that selfless commitment by choosing to offer his love to you and to me through his death on the cross, which I’m sure didn’t feel very good.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: