Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Fifty Card

My favorite thing about getting older is getting to play the Fifty Card. Never heard of the Fifty Card? As far as I know, I invented it . . . at least, I never heard of it until I invoked it one Sunday afternoon. I was at a meeting where the leader, Mike Megginson, opened each meeting with an ice-breaker game. Now, I don't have anything against games or people who enjoy playing them but I had recently reached the ripe old age of 50 and when Mike called us together to play his game-of-the-day, I invoked the Fifty Card. "No, thanks," I said, "I'm 50 and I don't have to play games anymore."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Where you shop makes a difference

Let me begin by saying that where you shop is your business but where you shop makes a difference. I grew up in a small town where most businesses were locally-owned and my father owned a small business. No doubt, that's significantly influenced my preference in where I shop. A friend of mine, Kirk Blank, recently wrote a fascinating article about the impact on the local economy of shopping at a locally-owned business vs a chain store.

The two research studies that Kirk cited indicated that the impact on the local economy of shopping at a locally-owned independent business was three times higher than spending the same amount at a chain store. I'm no economist but that sounds pretty good to me, especially in light of the economic challenges that our country is currently facing. The specific reasons that the article cited for that impact are logical and believable and you can read the details in Kirk's complete article here.

Stewardship is not always simple. You and I must consider where to invest the resources that God has entrusted to us and consider how that investment impacts those around us. I sometimes joke about our national chain competitors by referring to them as the "dark side" but, in truth, I'm thankful that there are multiple channels of supply for Christ-honoring products because there are some people who might not ever venture into a Christian bookstore. That being said, I'm unapologetic in my preference for shopping with independent, locally-owned businesses. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Just as an aside, my friend, Kirk Blank who wrote the article I referenced in this post is a gifted musician who's also adopted. Several of his friends have long suspected that he's actually the love child of Wayne Newton and Sandi Patty. We don't have any DNA evidence to support this claim but take a look at Kirk's picture to the left and tell me that he doesn't look like his mama, Sandi. If you close your eyes and listen to both Kirk & Sandi sing, you can't tell them apart.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blogs as a conversation

When approached with the idea of creating an on-line journal (or blog) as a ministry leader at CUMC, it didn't take much to convince me to give it a shot. I like to write so this seemed a natural for me. One goal for the blog was to create an additional medium by which members, attenders (or, in my case, bookstore patrons) could get to know their staff better. My goal for this blog is not that it become a narrative about me but a conversation between a group of people with common interests. I describe my blog as "a conversation about the issues of your life and mine" and I hope that's what it is. The way that happens is for those who read it to post comments on the various blog entries. Hey, if I'm game to put myself out there by writing stuff for anyone to see, how about stepping out with me and sharing some of your own thoughts on those subjects? I value the input of those that God has placed in my path (even in my cyber-path) and look forward to reading your comments, as do the others who may read this blog . . . so join the conversation!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Is a Small Group right for you?

You've probably heard about Small Groups and may have wondered how good a fit it would be for you? Have you ever been a part of a small group? Of course you have! If you've ever played a team sport, been a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, been a member of a club or a Sunday School class, then you've been in a Small Group. Why do you think that is? You and I are made for relationships, a relationship with God and relationships with others. Isn't that what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39 NIV when asked, "What is the greatest commandment?"