Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Which one of these do you know the most about: Black Friday or Advent?

Last Sunday I offered to send to our group a short article they could use to send to friends about what the Advent season is about and to introduce our church plant. Use is if you like.

Which one of these do you know the most about: Black Friday or Advent?

My guess is that you know more about Black Friday. Let me tell you something you do not know about this upcoming Friday. It occurs on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States, falling anywhere between the 23rd and 29th of November. While it's not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off – except those working in retail, of course! In the 1960's, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” It also has a financial connotation. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit.

My personal goal is to never have to go shopping on Black Friday – but I am a guy. But what about Advent? I am a pastor and a church planter. The name of the new church is Advent. Let me tell you a little about what Advent means because this Sunday is the first of four Sundays called the Sundays of Advent.

"Advent" comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "visit" or "coming" or "arrival." The four week season of Advent is a time to get ready for the two "visits" of Christ: His first coming through the Incarnation, and His second coming as the reigning Lord. It's a time of waiting, hoping, and getting in touch with our need for a Savior. It's a season of preparation for Christmas, much as Lent is a season of preparation for Easter.

In Advent we look back to the experience of Israelites as they yearned for God to forgive their sin and restore their nation. We put ourselves in their shoes as they hoped for the coming of the Messiah. Thus we ready our hearts to celebrate the good news of Christmas.

No doubt you will see one of the many versions of the classic story, Christmas Carol. This story reminds me of the power of being forced to reflect on the past, present and future. Scrooge is remembered for his coldness but ultimately for the reverse direction he took when confronted with the future as well as misspent past. Tiny Tim has a future because Scrooge looked to the past and repented! I want to be like Scrooge – someone who is willing to repent and also live in light of a hopeful future – that is what Advent is all about. Look back, look forward and have hope because there really is a Savior!

So as you look at your budget before you leave for “Black Friday”, look at you soul during the next four weeks of Advent and see if you have the hope that only the Lord Jesus Christ can give! And if you would like to find out more about that hope and joy you are invited to be a part of the new church we are calling Advent – a joyful, preparing people that are learning how to party!

Until the Trump,

Ken Cross
Church Planter

Friday, November 20, 2009

I know where you can send your holiday giving!

Very 'interesting article! Ken

Holiday Giving

According to new study results soon to be released from Harris Interactive®, more than three out of four U.S. adults would prefer to receive a meaningful gift this holiday season that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics. The study was commissioned by World Vision® among 1,001 adults from October 29 to November 1.

The new survey on charitable giving also concluded that nearly half of U.S. adults (49%) would be more likely to give a "charitable gift" as a holiday present this year. "That finding reveals our charitable culture at work," said Justin Greeves, senior vice president of public affairs and policy research at Harris Interactive.

Additionally, the study showed that, this year, around six out of ten adults (57%) said they will spend less money on holiday presents and almost three out of four (74%) plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves. []

As many of you know I am a church planter in Charlotte, NC. Our goal is to have our first public worship service on Palm Sunday, almost 5 months away and there is so much to be done. One vital element of this is the need to raise $50,000 for start up cost (sound equipment, chairs, nursery equipment...). If you would like to give one time gifts to this effort you can send checks made out to Advent Church to our treasurer:
Ben Coulter
4008 Cedar Point Ave
Matthews NC 28104

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Margaret had 6 3's!

Lady Scots Rally From Behind But Come Up Short Against
Tennessee Wesleyan
November 18, 2009 - 21:46 — covstaff

Lookout Mountain, GA- In their first home game of the 2009-2010 season, the Lady Scots overcame an 18 point half-time deficit and took the lead over Tennessee Wesleyan with just over 5 minutes remaining. Sophomore guard Margaret Cross fueled part of the comeback with several clutch threes, one of which gave Covenant their first lead since early in the first half. Cross finished with a team high 18 points in her 24 minutes of play. Covenant's second half lead, however, was short lived as the Lady Bulldogs surged back in front on their succeeding possession and kept the lead for the remainder of the game.
"We responded well to our half-time adjustments" said Coach Smialek after the game. "Overall, the team played very hard and is continuing to improve. I'm confident that it will all come together soon." Covenant post player Erika Forland recorded her second double-double in as many games with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Brinkley Knowles added 17 points of her own.
The Lady Scots are now 0-2 on the year and will travel to Atlanta, GA this weekend for a small tournament at Emory University. Their next ho scheduled me game isfor Wednesday, December 2 at 5:30 against former rival Bryan College.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I love it when people predict that Alabama will beat Auburn!

Where is your Cell Phone

The following stat reminds me of Margaret who goes to bed with her cell phone. Rebekah has Lynn cell phone most of the time. She stayed at the lake last weekend rather than coming with me as she had planned because she could not take Lynn's cell phone with her. I am still trying to figure all of this out and what is good and what is obsession with being available. It is a need to feel important that someone is thinking of you so they call you?
{I know there is safety issues especially for girls but this goes way beyond that!}

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If Mom's are lonely

More from my reading - this makes me think that if Christians are making friends, our friends will come to know the one a friend "closer that a brother".

Moms are More Lonely These Days

InfoWith the frenzied pace of today's moms, many women find friendships and relationships often fall to the wayside. With just 19% living in the community where they grew up, moms desperately seek new connections and they struggle: 58% report experiencing loneliness in the past month, and 4 out of 5 need more friends in their lives.

Engage Moms, 10/21/09

Singleness and the poor economy

This strike closer to home as Oliver is soon to graduate college and shortly after that Margaret too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cohabitation - Living together without the benefit of Marriage

Thought you might want to read about a rapidly increasing portion of our society. Ken

Cohabitation Study

Posted: 10 Nov 2009 02:58 AM PST

parent-adventure.jpgRemember that Bon Jovi song from the late 80s, "Living in Sin?"

Well, I'm guessing half of you do.

It's about "love" justifying living together as a married couple, without a marriage covenant.

The song shouts, "I call it love, they call it living in sin!"

Remember? Rock ballad, black and white video?

Anyway, people are still talking about it and more people are living together today than they were back in the 1980s. At LifeWay Research, we wanted to know more.

In June of 2008 (and September 2007), we conducted related surveys (thankfully, not about Bon Jovi) for a recent book on parenting, The Parent Adventure: Preparing Your Children For a Lifetime With God, by Selma & Rodney Wilson and Scott McConnell.

In our study, we found that 6% of all parents with children under 18 years of age in their home are living with a partner to whom they are not married.

To give this some context, we first determined that 69% of all parents are married and 31% are single. We asked these single parents the following question:

Which of the following best describes you today?

  1. you are the only adult in your household (18% of all parents; 58% of single parents)

  2. you live with another adult family member (6% of all parents; 21% of single parents)

  3. you live with a room mate with whom you are not involved in a relationship (1% of all parents; 2% of single parents)

  4. you live with a partner with whom you are involved in a relationship" (6% of all parents; 19% of single parents)

The 2008 survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,077 American adults who have children under 18 years old in their household. A demographically balanced online panel was used for the interviewing and we have 95% confidence that the sampling error for the total sample does not exceed +3.0%.

One other study in which we asked a similar question to determine current living situation was a study conducted in April-May 2007 among young adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly (twice a month or more) for at least a year in high school.

We asked all respondents:

Please indicate your current living situation.

  1. I live with my parents (20%)

  2. I live with my spouse (44%)

  3. I live with my partner/ significant other (13%)

  4. I live with roomate(s) (11%)

  5. I live alone (9%)

  6. Other (3%)

One of the key findings from this study reported in a story last year was that 70% of these young adults ages 23-30 had stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between ages 18 and 22. When we break out the question above by these "dropouts" compared to those who "stayed in church" during these years, we found a statistically significant difference in the percentage who were currently cohabiting. In short, among young adults who had attended a Protestant church regularly in high school, cohabitation is almost twice as likely among those who stop attending church regularly between ages 18 and 22 compared to those who stay in church.

  • 15% of "dropouts" live with a partner or significant other

  • 8% of those who "stayed in church" live with a partner or significant other

Dropouts = adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year in high school but stopped attending regularly for at least a year between ages 18 and 22.

Stayed in church = adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year in high school and continued attending regularly between ages 18 and 22.

This study was conducted among a representative sample of 1,023 young adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly (twice a month or more) for at least a year in high school. A demographically balanced online panel was used for the interviewing and we have 95% confidence that the sampling error for the total sample does not exceed +3.1%.

It is probably not a surprise that those who are cohabiting are also more likely to be dropouts, but it does speak to some of the challenges in reaching adults in our culture.

I'm interested in how you deal with people living together? How do you reach them, answer their questions, and minister to them?

Monday, November 9, 2009

When Things Speed Up, Leaders Should Slow Down

Found this is my reading and like it.

InfoLeadership development consultant Brad Lomenick suggests that when facing times of great intensity and pressure, leaders should:

  1. Always over-communicate.
  2. Be methodical and calm, not intense and short.
  3. List out priorities, so as to not be overwhelmed by the small things that seem to be incredibly urgent, but really aren’t.
  4. Seek out quiet moments for prayer, reflection and thinking. During times of pressure, that is when we need those quiet moments the most.
  5. Resist the urge to let things slide or just settle for something average because of the pressure to get it done. Keep your standards and levels of excellence at their highest—don’t compromise.

Brad Lomenick, On the Journey

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Price wars on Books - Don't tell my wife!

From my reading:

Book Price War Might Benefit Pastors

InfoHeaven knows pastors love to read, and a price war between book retailers might just be a blessing to them. has dropped the price on their top 10 pre-order titles to $10, including free shipping. Also they are offering their top 200 books at discounts of 50% or more in a program called America’s Reading List. A day later, Amazon matched Wal-Mart’s pricing, and both sites have dropped those 10 promotional titles to just $9. It remains to be seen what this will do to already-beleaguered chain and independent book stores, but pastors might take advantage of the low pricing in the meantime.

Publisher’s Lunch 10/16/09