Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scenes from Homeless Cold Weather Shelter

When temperatures dip to 40 degrees or colder First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, Florida opens its door and provides dinner, breakfast and shelter to the homeless. This season we've opened the church two times. It looks like we'll be open again this weekend. Below you'll find some of the things I've seen at the homeless cold weather shelter.

A tweep from Twitter crocheted scarves for every homeless man and woman.

A couple of days before Christmas, a homeless man led a homeless choir as they sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to all cold weather shelter volunteers.

Another tweep from Twitter made phone calls and found 30 cots so that the homeless could sleep comfortably.

A homeless man gave up his spot at the shelter so that his girlfriend would have a warm place to stay.

Tweeps from twitter brought blankets, backpacks, socks and medicine for the homeless.

A homeless man stopped me and with tears in his eyes said, "God bless you and your church for keeping us warm for tonight."

I gave a woman a warm coat and she responded as if I had given her one million dollars.

A young man found a homeless person in a parking lot and drove him to the cold weather shelter. The young man made sure his homeless friend was comfortable and then drove home to find a couple of needed items. The homeless man cried as the young man came back to the shelter and gave him a pair of pants and a bible. I remember the homeless man saying, "I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this."

A tweep from Twitter talked, listened, looked into the eyes, sat down with and entered the world of almost every homeless man and woman.

Volunteers unselfishly donated and shopped for food, prepared and cooked meals, served food, passed out socks, washed dishes, stayed up all night and sang songs.

One of our volunteers brought her daughter to help. This young girl poured dressing on salad and hugged each homeless man and woman.

Last night as I was leaving the cold weather shelter a man walked up to me. He said, "Sir, do you have room for one more person tonight? I don't have a warm place to stay." I took him into the church and found him a place to sleep. As he was lying down he said, "Just take a look at what God has done for me tonight."

If you are looking for a church in Port Orange, Florida check out my church by clicking here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Like Father Like Son"

My friend Russell told me the other day that Louie Mercer wrote a post on his blog about my son and I. I finally took the time to check it out. Louie is someone I truly respect and have always appreciated his friendship and encouragement. See his post below.

My buddy Mike Ellis is a great guy. I did a cold weather shelter gig with him last night where he brings in these cats that don’t have a place to stay and when it is cold, Mike gets them to his church and gets them fed, clothed, listens to some music, a message, then a movie. Now, you may know Mike through his blog or twitter…..but I know the real Mike. It is because we are buddies. I know the real deal, flame shirt, got kicked out of a church for putting stuff in the men’s room, shorts, flip flops, bald head, big as a bouncer, knows every sly comment in the book sort of guy. When he is in front of people, he is in his prime. A man who loves life and people and his family.

Last night I saw his young son Devon serving homeless people. He was so happy. Just like his dad. A chip off of the old block. I saw something else. As I was teaching these folks, about 40 of them and about 20 helpers from Mike’s church, I gave an invitation. It was for salvation…..a gift just at Christmas ……. just like Jesus would have wanted. I also asked for those that needed to get right with God….to do it…

I saw Mike raise his hand, with 17 other people who wanted to get right with God. Mike wants to be closer to God…..just like me. And I saw his son…looking up at Dad…..seeing dad want to be closer with the Lord…..and I saw Devon raise his hand too…… like father….like son.

I could not help but think about how much Mike means to his son…..and how much his son means to Mike. That is the way Jesus is with the Father……and with us. As we share our lives with Jesus Christ….we become sons of God. It is a gift. Want to get right with God? Just do it today. Need help…email me and I will chat or call you…….just like my dad would do…and still does at 83….or so.

Louie's email address is: lmercer6@cfl.rr.com

Click here to check out Louie's blog

My friend Russell has a blog too. Check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Church of Twitter

My family and I have been going to a great church in Port Orange, FL. It's called First United Methodist Church. I also attend another great church. It's called the Church of Twitter.

In my opinion, the church should be about loving, caring, healing, sharing and helping each other. It should be about reaching out to ease the burden of others. The church should be looking and watching for those who are hurting and then taking action. I've seen all of these things in "action" while attending the Church of Twitter.

When my twitter account got hacked, tweeps were there to help me. When I had questions about blogging or facebook, tweeps were there to assist me. When I went to visit my dying Grandmother, tweeps were there to support me. When my Grandmother died, tweeps were there to comfort me. When I got a new job promotion, tweeps were there to congratulate me. When I was in the ER, tweeps were there to visit me. When a homeless woman and her son were living in a car, tweeps were there to give them a home. When the poor and the broken were hungry, tweeps were there to feed them. When a family needed a washer, tweeps were there to buy them a new one.

You're invited to the Church of Twitter. It's open 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Just open the door and see all the tweeple.

"While most of us know this, we still need to be reminded that the church is not a specific building or location. Our buildings and programs create environments for church to happen but they are no more or less sacred than our living room or the neighborhood pub."
--Brad Ruggles

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grandma's Hands

My Grandma Eva died this week. She was 92. I loved her so much. I will miss her. This week brought back a flood of memories about my Grandma. Maple Bars. The Candy Drawer. Her special smell. Clean Windows. Dentures. Noisy Hearing Aids. Peanut Brittle. Clam Dip. Her hugs and kisses. Her encouragement. How she worried about everything. After lunch, no swimming for one hour. Cases of toilet paper. Enough food in her basement to feed everyone in the United States. Her rule that Santa never came on Christmas Eve until the dinner dishes were cleared, cleaned and put away. Our special bond. How much she missed my Grandpa Ray after he died.

The last time I saw her I will always remember what she said to me as she held my face in her hands, "Mike, don't worry. I'll see you again."

"If I get to Heaven I'll look for
Grandma's hands"

I hope you'll enjoy the YouTube video below featuring the great singer Bill Withers. You can follow along with the lyrics below.

Grandma's hands
Clapped in church on Sunday morning
Grandma's hands
Played a tambourine so well
Grandma's hands
Used to issue out a warning
She'd say, "Billy don't you run so fast
Might fall on a piece of glass
"Might be snakes there in that grass"
Grandma's hands

Grandma's hands
Soothed a local unwed mother
Grandma's hands
Used to ache sometimes and swell
Grandma's hands
Used to lift her face and tell her,
"Baby, Grandma understands
That you really love that man
Put yourself in Jesus hands"
Grandma's hands

Grandma's hands
Used to hand me piece of candy
Grandma's hands
Picked me up each time I fell

Grandma's hands
Boy, they really came in handy
She'd say, "Matty don' you whip that boy
What you want to spank him for?
He didn't drop no apple core"
But I don't have Grandma anymore

If I get to Heaven I'll look for
Grandma's hands

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who Wrote These Words?

"When Deep Injury Is Done To Us,
We Never Recover Until We Forgive...
Forgiveness Does Not Change The Past,
But It Does Enlarge The Future."

Who wrote these words? Watch the YouTube clip below for the answer.

Are You Ready To Recover? It's Time To Forgive.

Find out more about the person who wrote the powerful words above by clicking here, here and here.

(Thank you to Kevin Martineau and Desperate Pastor)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nothing to Say. Something to Do

The photos below are from The Seattle Times. They were taken as people mourned the killing of four police officers in Washington state.

Mark Hall, the leader of Casting Crowns, wrote a great book called "Lifestories". In the chapter "Love Them Like Jesus", Mark writes about several boys in his youth group dealing with the death of their friend's father. They had no idea what to say to their grieving friend. Mark gave them a simple yet powerful suggestion:
"Guys, you've just got to go love him," I said. "Don't think you have to have all the answers. You don't have to make some great spiritual pronouncement when you see him. You just have to be there for him and tell him you're sorry for what happened to his daddy and that you love him. And then you just hang out with him. You've just got to love him like Jesus-love him like He would, and love him to Jesus."

Later in the chapter Mark writes:
"All of the self-induced burden to make everything better creates a fear that causes us to pull away from our hurting friends. We heap all the pressure on ourselves. This is true even in a friendship between believers because we always want to have a spiritual answer for everything. We want to have the bow tied at the end. We want the quick resolution and immediate assurance that everything is going to be fine. Guess what? Sometimes it's not just fine. Sometimes you don't understand what's going on, and you're not going to know for a while, if at all."
"I had learned during a few such scenarios that there is really nothing to say. But there is something to do."

What should we DO when someone we know and love is grieving?
"You don't need the answers to all of life's questions. Just know that He loves them and stay by their side. Love them like Jesus."

(Today's post is part of the Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock on "Grief")

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Did We Serve?

On Thanksgiving day we served the homeless of Daytona Beach, Florida Thanksgiving dinner. We served turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, pumpkin pie and more. We served about 80 people. Along with the food, what else did we serve on Thanksgiving day?

Safety: We served 2 hours of safety. Homeless men and women live in constant fear of having their property stolen, being hit over the head or other physical and verbal abuse. It was great to see our homeless guests sitting down and relaxing. You could see in their eyes that they felt safe.

Listening: We served the gift of listening. The homeless want us to look into their eyes and actually listen to what they have to say. I was so impressed with how many of our volunteers actually sat down, listened and entered the real world of our homeless guests.

They weren't called Bums: We served respect. On the streets they are called "bums" or "losers". When our dinner guests arrived we asked what their name was so we could say, "Bill, what would you like to drink?" or "Diane, would you like more gravy?" The homeless have names just like you and me.

Love: We served love. There isn't a lot of love in the lives of the homeless. After the day was over I smelled like cigarettes, alcohol, body order and urine. Why? I hugged them. Have you ever hugged someone and they didn't want you to stop or they didn't want you to let go? That happened many times as I hugged the homeless on Thanksgiving day. I saw volunteers putting hands on their shoulders and shaking their hands. We wanted our guests to feel welcomed and loved.

The Gospel: We tried to serve the Gospel. The homeless HEAR the Gospel day after day just to get a free sandwich. I pray that our homeless guests SAW the Gospel while we were serving food, safety, respect and love. Isn't that the kind of Gospel we all need to SEE on Thanksgiving day and everyday?

Thanks to all of the volunteers and donations from First United Methodist Church, Tomoka Christian Church, Covenant United Methodist Church and my friends from Twitter: @ChristineBlake, @PaganKelly, @JohnBeattyArt, @BtotheEtotheN @EdenSalon and @BebeLeStrange68

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Movie Tradition

Every Thanksgiving we watch "Home For The Holidays". It was directed by Jodie Foster. There are so many magic moments in this comedy. The clip below comes near the end of the movie. It contains a touching moment between father (Charles Durning) and daughter (Holly Hunter). My father died suddenly when I was 19 years old. As I watch the clip below I realize that I mourn the fact that I never had the opportunity to have an adult relationship with my father. It doesn't have to play out the same way with my daughter and son. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for many things. One of the things I am thankful for is a God of second chances.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I forget

Today God led me to Halifax Urban Ministries on Bay Street in downtown Daytona Beach, FL. What did I see? Hundreds of men and women standing in line. I saw the old and the young. I saw the poor, the broken, the unemployed and the disabled. Some couldn't stand. Some sat or leaned while they waited in line. They all had one thing in common. They were all standing in line to get ONE free frozen turkey.

I forget about the people who need to stand in line for free turkeys. I forget how it would feel to stand in line to get a free frozen turkey. I forget about how much I have. I forget about how much I waste and throw away. I forget about how much money I have in my wallet. I forget about the job I have. I forget about the home that I live in. I forget that I have two cars and a motorcycle. I forget about how much food is in the pantry and in the fridge. I forget how much God has given me. I forget and then God helps me to remember.

What have you forgotten? What do you need to remember?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Which One Are You?

Which One Are You?

 9-12He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: "Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.'

 13"Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'"

 14Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself." (Luke 18:10-14, The Message)

Which one of the people in the story above describes you? Which one do you want to be? Which one are you like the most? Which one are you like the least?

Me? Most of the time I think I've got it all figured out. I'm the one that "gets it" and others don't. I'm the one that postures and positions myself to look good in front of others. I have actually said things like this to my wife, "You know honey, I know that I'm not that great of a husband but have you heard about what Dan has been doing to his wife and family?" I want to be more like the tax man. He examined his heart and admitted his sin. He humbled himself. He wasn't a poser. He confessed his sin to God and to others.

In my opinion, the tax man is the person that Jesus describes below:

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God"
--Matthew 5:8

I want to be more like the tax man.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get Primal

Got a tweet yesterday giving me the opportunity to download a chapter of "Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity" by pastor Mark Batterson. After reading one chapter I can't wait to get my hands on the book. Here are some quotes and thoughts from Mark's book.

"An enormous amount of damage is done in the name of Christian living by bad Bible reading."

"The Bible is the place where God bares His soul. And it’s no Sunday school flannelgraph. It’ll make you wince and cringe and blush. But it’ll also make you marvel. Nothing speaks to the soul like Scripture. It’s the way God reveals His wonders in written form."

"Not unlike the radio waves that transmit voices and pictures and signals at different frequencies, the Spirit of God is always broadcasting.But we’ve got to tune in to His frequency."

"When we open the Bible, it’s like God opens His mouth. That’s how we get on His frequency. That’s how we tune in to His voice."

"I recently read about a musical trainer hired to work with opera singers who could not hit certain notes within a particular octave even though the notes fell within their vocal range. It was a musical mystery. The trainer did extensive testing on their vocal chords, but he couldn’t find any reason why they couldn’t hit those notes. Then, on a whim, he tested their hearing. And what he discovered is that these opera singers could not sing a note they could not hear. The problem wasn’t singing. The problem was hearing."

"Until you hear the voice of God, you won’t be able to sing His song. Why? Because you’re out of tune."

"When you love someone, you love the sound of his or her voice. If you’ve ever had a long-distance relationship, you know whereof I write. A relationship with God is a lot like that. To love God is to love His voice. Or to put it another way, to love God is to love His Word."

"There are days when reading through a book like Leviticus feels like driving through Nebraska. No offense, Nebraskans, but long stretches of flat land can be mind-numbing. Truth be told, some parts of the Bible are more exciting than others. Is that okay to say?"

Download your free chapter by "clicking" here

You can follow Mark Batterson on Twitter by "clicking" here.

You can follow Mark's blog by "clicking" here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I've Changed The Name

For as long as I can remember I have been beating up on myself. I don't need critics. I am my own worst critic.

Today my "talking doctor" said, "Mike, look at what you've accomplished! Celebrate. Stop beating up on yourself."

I've got a lot to celebrate. This Friday will mark 30 days since I have had a drink of beer, wine or any type of alcohol. That is something to celebrate!

I am going to start the "celebration" early by changing the name of this blog. This blog used to have the title "Mike Is Messed Up". That title has been replaced by "Mike In Progress". I'm not perfect. I've got a long way to go. I'm on a journey. I'm a painting that is not finished. I'm a work in progress.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back."

Philippians 3:13-14 (The Message)

Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring.

Henry Miller

Friday, November 13, 2009

Get Into Their Skin

For some nutty reason God has been sending me to the "Beatitudes" and "The Sermon On The Mount" over and over again. This week God led me to the verse below:

"Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy"
--Matthew 5:7

"Mercy is a hard word to pin down. Most people understand it as an odd mixture of compassion, grace, and forgiveness. But the Greek word for mercy, "eleos", refers to compassionate action: instead of turning a blind eye to the misery and misfortune of others, the merciful feel it in their bones and then are motivated to respond with action." --Mars Hill Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan

So how do we become "merciful"? One pastor suggested that we need to get into the skin of others. We need to see like them. We need to think like them. We need to feel like them. Don't understand the homosexual who lives across the street from you? Get into their skin. Don't like the old folks from the traditional service? Get into their skin. White folks drive you crazy? Get into their skin. No sympathy for Poor folks? Get into their skin. Are you scared of alcoholics, addicts and the homeless? Get into their skin. Think that Mormons and Muslims don't get it? Get into their skin.

Getting into their skin will mean much more than throwing money at them or praying for them. That's the easy way out. Getting into their skin will mean that you'll have to hang out with them. Spend time with them. Look into their eyes and listen to them. You can't get into the skin of others without acting, moving or doing. Getting into the skin of others has nothing to do with sitting on a pew or laying on the couch. Getting into the skin of others is all about "compassionate action".

"Those with "eleos" see the world differently. They see misery and misfortune in light of the grace they have received, and they respond compassionately out of the overflow of that same grace."--Mars Hill Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan

- Who's skin do you need to get into?

- Who's shoes do you need to step into?

- Who do you need to try to understand better?

Like Jesus did when He got off the throne of heaven to understand you and I.

A pastor's thoughts on "Mercy"? Click Here.

Want an example of "eleos" from the Bible? Read Luke 10:25-37

Want to hear the sharp words of Jesus for the "merciless"? Read Matthew 18:32-33

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pastor's Tweets Not So Sweet

Scot McKnight wrote these words in a recent blog post:

"I’ve spent some time observing pastors who tweet or regularly update their status on Facebook, and I’m far from convinced it’s simply self-absorption or an attempt by little people to make themselves famous."

"We hear about (pastors) accomplishments but almost never any failures or disappointments, making the Twitter world largely a happy face community."

I agree with Scott's thoughts. What about you? Is Scott wrong? Is he right?

Read Scott's complete post by clicking here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Do We Need To Cut Off?

Remember hiker Aron Ralston? He set out for a carefree desert hike through Blue John Canyon in Southeastern Utah when, with no warning, he had descended into hell. The young man's arm was trapped by an 800-pound boulder and he was forced to make an unimaginable decision in order to survive. Five long days after becoming trapped, Aron lost hope. He could do nothing and die or he could cut off his arm and live. On the morning of his final day trapped inside the canyon, Ralston knew what he had to do to survive. He had to cut off his arm that was pinned by the heavy boulder. He cut off his arm, escaped the canyon and lived. Aron describes the amputation of his arm in the YouTube clip above.

What do you and I need to cut off or out of our lives? Pornography? Alcohol? Drugs? Selfishness? Negative Thoughts? Bigotry? Over Eating? Hurting others? Lying? Cheating? Friendships? Relationships? Over Spending? Stealing? Anger?

What do you and I need to cut out of our lives that is hurting others and ourselves? What is holding us back? What has us pinned in the canyon? We can either hang on to it and die or cut it off and live.

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.---Matthew 5:29-30

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner 4 the Homeless at FUMC

On Thanksgiving Day at noon we will open the doors of First United Methodist Church and serve the homeless a complete Thanksgiving dinner. We will be serving 30 to 40 men and women who otherwise would not have a Thanksgiving dinner on this special day. How can you help? What do we need? What are the details? See the information below.

We will be serving dinner at noon on Thanksgiving day.

We need large vans and van drivers. The vans will leave FUMC at 11:15 am and pick up our homeless guests at approx 11:30 am near the corner of Ridgewood and Bay Street in Daytona Beach, FL. After Thanksgiving dinner, at approx. 1:30 pm, we will drive our guests back to downtown Daytona Beach, FL.

We need paper plates, forks, knives and napkins. Plastic cups. Foam cups for hot drinks.

We need loving men, women and children to serve the meal to our guests. Servers should arrive at 11:15 am for instructions and last minute set up.

We need any and all food donations. What kind of food do we need? Turkeys, ham, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dressing, rolls and all of the other things you and I typically enjoy during Thanksgiving dinner. Whipped Cream and Pumpkin pie. Pecan pie and other sweets and treats. We also need drink donations. Lemonade. Coffee. Ice Tea.

Musicians. Can you play the guitar? The bongos? The piano? Get my drift? We would love to have music during dinner.

People willing to clean up during and after dinner. Clean up is not a glamorous job and has the least bit of glory but it is very important.

Need the church address? It's 305 Dunlawton Ave, Port Orange, FL 32127

Need the church website? Click here.

Why do we serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless? Last year Ron came for Thanksgiving dinner. He felt uncomfortable with the clothes he was wearing. Someone from our church gave him a clean shirt and a tie to wear for dinner. Look at the smile on Ron's face in the photo below. That's just one of the reasons that we serve Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. You, your family and friends are invited to join us.

For more information give me a call on my cell phone (386)295-7739.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Men: Open Table Sundays at FUMC

Men, Sundays (starting November 8th) at First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, FL we're doing a weekly series called "Open Table". We meet Sundays at 10am in Room 15 at FUMC. You are invited to bring any and all questions, doubts or thoughts about Christianity, Church, God and Jesus. The clips below will give you a good feel for what we'll be discussing. Questions? Give me a ring at (386)295 7739 or send me a tweet through Twitter @MarketerMikeE

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Churches Can Learn from AA Meetings

My "talking doctor" said, "Mike, either go to Celebrate Recovery at a nearby church or go to an AA meeting!" I went to a Celebrate Recovery meeting at a church. I almost went insane listening to nearly 20 woman talking about being "enablers". That was not my cup of tea. Since last Friday I have been to two AA meetings. Now that's my cup of tea or should I say "coffee"? Man, they drink a ton of coffee at AA meetings. I've only been to a couple of AA meetings but I think ALL of us church folks could learn a thing or two from them.

Honesty, Transparency and Being Real
Let's admit it. We church folks are not known for being real. As a matter of fact, we can be downright fake and phony. I've done it myself. My wife and I get into a major fight in the car on the way to church. We park. We put on our "we've got it all together masks" and walk into church like nothing has happened. What do you hear at church on Sunday morning?

"How are you doing brother?" "Fine brother, how about you?" "Terrific, my perfect brother in Christ!"

That kind of fake and phony crap doesn't happen at AA meetings. Just like church you'll hear people talking about God. Except at AA meetings you'll hear the "F" bomb and the "S" word mixed into the same sentence as God. Example?

"I can't believe the F_ _ _ing things God is doing in my life since I started coming to AA meetings!" "Thank God I am coming to these meetings! I can't believe the S_ _ _ I'm dealing with this week!"

At AA meetings every person who opens their mouth is real, gritty, dirty, messy and honest about what is going on in their life. After doing the small group "let's stay extremely close to the surface" church thing, these type of raw and down to earth conversations are extremely refreshing. Going to AA meetings reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

"The truly holy people I've met in my life are really interesting people. They're a mix of the most incredible godliness and at the same time, the most unbelievable earthiness. I know a woman who curses like a sailor, but she's the most holy woman I know. She is! I'm not kidding. We've created this image of what holiness looks like that's just nonsense. Good holy people probably drink too much some times, and have colorful language, and there's plenty of room in the Bible to see people like that. We have to see life for what it is, entirely more complicated then simple. Spirituality is not simple; it's complicated. It gets messy sometimes." - Mike Yaconelli

The Greatest Greeters
Okay church folks. How many of you can guarantee that everyone who came to your church for the first time on Sunday felt like they were greeted, welcomed and thanked for coming? Be honest. We all know that some or all newcomers slip in and slip out of our churches without at least one person acknowledging their presence. That doesn't happen at AA meetings. At the end of my first AA meeting I was ready to run out the door like an Olympic sprinter. It didn't work. A large older man stood in front of me, reached out his hand and said, "Thanks for coming. Glad to see you. What's your name? Can I give you some advice? How can I help you?"

At both of the AA meetings several people greeted me, made me feel welcome, offered their help and called me by my first name.

My suggestion? Each and every church leader should go to an AA meeting to see how total transparency and great greeting is done.

"When people look at the Church and see only impostors, they conclude that Jesus is an impostor. But when they see followers of Jesus who are real, they see a Jesus who is real." - Mike Yaconelli

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is Honesty The Best Policy?

I have found that being honest and transparent can be dangerous. I have also found that it can lead to transformation and change. Let me be honest. I went to my very first AA meeting last night. I was blown away by how honest, transparent, real and raw the people were. Try telling someone who believes in AA and has seen it change their life and the lives of others that honesty is NOT the best policy. Go to an AA meeting if you want to experience an extra large dose of honesty. I pray that God brings me to the point in my life that I can be half as honest as the people I met last night at my first AA meeting.

Try being honest with others. Look in the mirror and try being honest with yourself. Do I always do a great job in the "Honesty is the Best Policy" department? Nope.

So what do you think? Is "Honest The Best Policy" in all that we do and say?

If you'd like to see an extremely honest and transparent TV commercial watch the clip below.

Honesty is the Best Policy... from John on Vimeo.

 22-24Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1:23-24, The Message)

My thanks to @MichaelHyatt and @human3rror. They are Twitter and Blogging Kings!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Follow The Garbage

I hugged my son just a little harder today. I watched him walk into the school just a little longer. Why? Yesterday they found the body of a 7-year old girl in a landfill in Georgia. How did they find the little girl's body? One of the detectives had an idea to follow garbage trucks to the landfill. A police chief on TV said they would have never found the little girl's body if they had not followed the garbage trucks. A beautiful little girl is dead. A family grieves. A community mourns and wonders why. Closure can begin because someone followed the garbage.

It's not often that we come up with an idea to follow the garbage. When the idea comes to mind, we refuse to go to the landfill. If we follow the garbage we might find things we don't want to see. It's dangerous. Garbage is ugly. It's not pretty. Garbage can be ugly at first but after some digging we can find beauty. I followed garbage by stepping into the lives of the homeless and discovered the reality of their lives. In return they gave me back the beauty of their love.

Garbage can be ugly and remain ugly if it remains hidden. Today in this blog post, I am asking God to help me go digging in the landfill of my sin. I need to follow the garbage to uncover my dirty, stinky, rotting sin. By sincerely asking God to join me on my trip to the landfill, He will stand beside me as I dig. After being discovered, my sin can be discussed with others I trust, confessed to God and forgiven.

God can turn your garbage into greatness. God is waiting to join you on the trip to the landfill. Follow the garbage.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I take everything personally (repost)

I have a hot and cold friend. One minute he can't wait to hang out with me. Sends me emails. Calls me. Then all of a sudden. No phone calls. No emails. No lunch invitations. I suddenly go from Rock Star to the Ugly Girl at The Dance. I literally rack my brain trying to figure out what I did or didn't do. I take what he does or doesn't do personally. I feel like such a fraud as I write this post. I take everything personally.

Have you heard about "The Four Agreements"? One of the 4 agreements is "Don't Take Anything Personally". Below I posted The Four Agreements along with scriptures and quotes. I pray that they are helpful to you. I need to read these at least once a day.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Matthew 5:37 (The Message)
"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

“Words should be used as tools of communication and not as a substitute for action”

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Acts 7:59-60 (New International Version)
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Matthew 18:21-22 (New International Version)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times

Luke 23:34 (New International Version)
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."[a] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

QTIP: stands for Quit Taking It Personally.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.


Mark 2:15-17 (New International Version)
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Luke 10:25-28 (The Message)
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?" He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?" He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." "Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

2 Timothy 2:15 (New International Version)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth

Colossians 3:23 (The Message)
Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abe Lincoln

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Playing The Hits and Scratching My Pits

Some of the most messed up folks I have ever met have been radio station personalities. I used to be a messed up radio station DJ. Now I'm just a messed up Christ follower. When I was doing the radio station deal, Dee-Jays would say nutty things on the air like, "Playing The Hits and Scratching My Pits". Strap yourselves in. For your listening pleasure I am going to put on my headphones, lay down stacks of wax and play messed up DJ.

"Hey cool cats and cool chicks! It's Mighty Messed Up Mike on your radio. You're no fool but are you ready to kick it old school? I'm here to slam down a cool groove to make you move. This song will make you feel so fine you'll feel like you're walking on sunshine. Look down. Look above. Click on the clip below and listen to The Beatles sing a song about LOVE!"

(Don't Miss The Powerful Lyrics Below!)

Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
It's so fine, It's sunshine
It's the word, love
In the beginning I misunderstood
But now I've got it, the word is good

Spread the word and you'll be free
Spread the word and be like me
Spread the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
It's so fine, It's sunshine
It's the word, love
Everywhere I go I hear it said
In the good and the bad books that I have read

Say the word and you'll be free
Say the word and be like me
Say the word I'm thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?
It's so fine, It's sunshine
It's the word, love
Now that I know what I feel must be right
I'm here to show everybody the light

Give the word a chance to say
That the word is just the way

It's the word I'm thinking of
And the only word is love
It's so fine, It's sunshine
It's the word, love

Say the word, love (4 times)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today I Have Hope

Today I have hope. Today I have hope that I will get past this battle of depression that holds me back. Today I have hope that I will be a better father. Today I have hope that I will have a great weekend with my wife. Today I have hope that that I will not listen to the enemy who wants to destroy me. Today I have hope that I will not be cynical. I will not be negative. I will not complain. Today I have hope that I will look at things differently. Today I have hope because I have been given a new heart and a new set of eyes. My hope doesn't come from me, Dr. Phil, Oprah or even Joel Osteen. My hope comes from Jesus Christ who holds me in the palm of His hand. Today I have hope because I know what happens at the end of the Book. Today I have hope because He accepts me "Just As I Am" and thinks I'm actually pretty cool even though I'm really messed up.

My dear friend @LuvStomp posted this video clip on his blog. This song is a song of hope. I pray that the song below and Jesus Christ bring you hope today.

Follow @LuvStomp on Twitter

Follow the @LuvStomp Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Am An Expert

The past several months due to food allergies I have been on a new food program. Certain foods. Whole foods. No dairy. It has been challenging for me.

My wife gets up every morning and makes my breakfast and lunch. She works hard to create portions and types of foods for me based on foods I can eat. The past couple of days she has made salad for me. This morning I didn't say, "Thanks for making a delicious salad for me! I am so thankful that you get up every morning and make my breakfast and lunch". Instead I said, "Eating salad the past couple of days has been a challenge". I am such a whiner. I am such a complainer. I am such a grumbler. I've got a great lady in my life who is helping me eat well and I don't have to make anything. I should be doing cartwheels when I leave for work each morning. Although it didn't feel very good at the moment, my bride pointed out that I was doing a top notch job of bitching and complaining. As I write this I now understand why. She cuts up celery, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce. All I can muster up is a bunch of bitching. I really dislike this part of myself. I will be talking about this today with my "talking doctor". I have become an expert at griping, whining and complaining.

One of the people I follow on Twitter is @GuyKawasaki. Today he tweeted a YouTube clip about a young lady who is doing amazing things and has NO arms. Guy said, "Watch this video and you'll stop complaining". I watched it and realized just how much I need to stop complaining.

Click here to find out more about Guy Kawasaki.

Click here to find out more about Jessica.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whine, Complain and Grumble

I've never met Kevin Martineau in person. Through my Twitter and blogging contacts with Kevin I have determined that he is a great man. He posted the video below on his blog. It reminded me how much I truly have. It also reminded me to stop whining, complaining and grumbling.

Do EVERYTHING without complaining or arguing
--Philippians 2:14

Check out Kevin on Twitter @KevinMartineua.
Check out Kevin's blog by going to "Shooting The Breeze"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Love Bombed By Tweeps

What's a meat market?

An establishment, such as a nightclub, where one looks for a sexual partner.

Some people believe that Twitter is just a "meat market". It's not. Over the past several days I have discovered that Twitter is a large community full of extremely caring and loving people. Last Thursday I traveled to Washington state to say "goodbye" to my Grandma Eva who is dying of cancer. On the way there, during my stay and on the way home I was "love bombed" by truckloads of tweeps from Twitter. They weren't looking to hook up for some "red hot" loving. They simply wanted to show their care, concern and love for me. Their tweets encouraged and supported me. It was if God timed their tweets during some of the toughest times of my trip. My thanks to the following tweeps:

@PaganKelly, @ChristieSays, @DailyGrindDB, @LuvStomp, @Dana88, @JohnDobbs, @ChinaKat79, @Anne4JC, @wade_caldwell , @KyEkinci, @Allisoncds, @marni71, @jenuine512, @The_Photo_Guy, @BridgetChumbley, @heiresstonya, @johnbeattyart

(Sorry if I missed anyone.)

These are more than nutty people addicted to Twitter. They have become my friends.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm so messed up I can't write

I've just started new gig at my company, flying to WA state to say "goodbye" to my Grandma Eva and my body is physically hurting from doing outdoor Boot Camp. I don't have much left when it comes to being creative. My blogging buddies are doing a much better job when it comes to writing blog posts. With that in mind, I thought I'd direct you to some great blog posts from talented folks and friends that I admire and love.

Louie Mercer: I Wanted To Bust Their Windshield

Peter Pollock: Lessons in Obedience

Russell Holloway: Doggie School Dropout

Anne Lang Bundy: Looking Unto Jesus

Kevin at Shooting the Breeze: Living Out The Gospel Together

And because I couldn't do this post without "A Little Help From My Friends", I thought I would include one of my favorite songs. Enjoy YouTube clip below.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saying Good Bye to Grandma Eva

My Grandpa Ray died a couple of years ago. Since then Grandma Eva has not wanted to be here. She has not wanted to live. She misses Grandpa Ray. 2 days before Grandpa Ray died, I had the honor of leading him to Jesus Christ. I sat in a hospital room and held my Grandpa's hand as he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Grandma Eva is 92. We just found out that she is dying of cancer. The doctor said that she has "just a few weeks to live". Thursday I am going to Spokane, Washington to say goodbye to my Grandma Eva. It will be the last time on this earth that I will kiss and hug her. It will be the last time that I look into her eyes to tell her how much she means to me and how much I love her. Tears fill my eyes as I write this. My heart aches just thinking about it.

Last weekend, my cousin Tracy came to say goodbye to Grandma Eva. Tracy didn't leave without sharing Jesus with Grandma. Tracy led Grandma Eva to Jesus Christ.

When Grandma Eva dies I will cry and mourn. I will miss her. But I will be comforted by the fact that I know where she is and that she won't be missing Grandpa Ray anymore.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What does a "Hopeless Cause" look like?

We walk by them. We ignore them. We drive by them. We look the other way. We'd prefer that they didn't exist. We say things like, "They need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get some work!" Let me ask you a question. Have you sat down with them? Have you listened to their stories? Some of them will take advantage of you. Most of them won't. Some of them just want you to sit down and listen. Some of them are so messed up you can't imagine that they'll ever be anything other than homeless or hopeless. My brother in Christ John Thornton is really messed up. John is a young man who battles addiction demons. He has been in and out of jail and rehab centers. He broke the hearts of his parents more than once. Eventually John burned so many bridges he had no bridges left. Although I am not sure, I think John was fairly close to becoming homeless himself. God led him to The Daytona Outreach Center in Daytona Beach, FL. Daytona Outreach Center is focused on people that the rest of us kick to the curb. Some call them, "Hopeless Causes". John Thornton was one those that many said, "That kid is a hopeless cause!" I felt that way about John on several occasions. I am happy to say that I was wrong. John is doing extremely well. I am so proud of him and I praise God for the work he is doing through John. John is doing ministry 7 days a week at The Daytona Outreach Center. Along with his social media duties, John is putting together great videos like the YouTube clip below. Please watch it and pass it along to others. Thank you.

What does a "Hopeless Cause" look like? They look like you and me.

Click here to find out more about The Daytona Outreach Center.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Addiction

One of my Twitter Friends @ChristieSays sent this to me today via Twitter:

"@MarketerMikeE: Your stressing putting focus on others instead of self on twitter. But your own blog is about you."

Wow! That knocked me out! At first I thought, "She has no idea what she is talking about!" Then I realized that she had stormed into the truth.

@ChristieSays was right and made an extremely terrific point. Even when I am sharing, telling, tweeting, preaching, harping, bitching and or complaining to others to spend more time focusing on others and less on self, I can actually be focusing on me. How? Because when I am doing this I can actually be thinking in my Messed Up mind, "Wow, the people who are listening to me must think I am really cool because of what I am saying!"

So before I tweet, speak or preach I am going to try to remember to stop for a minute and think about this: Is the next thing to come out of my mouth really and truly about helping others or is it just about me?

Thank you God for @ChristieSays and other people you have brought into my life. Thank you for using these people to knock me into reality and to remind me that my biggest and worst addiction is: SELF.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Helping Her Was The Last Thing

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?

--The Beatles

Be careful when you ask someone this question: "How are you doing?" It's potentially dangerous. Why? They might need your help.

Today was day 4 of my new job as the Community Relationship Manager at my company. I'm very important. I'm extremely busy. I'm making things happen. Then I screwed up. I asked a co-worker how they were doing? She said, "Mike, this has to be one of the worst weeks of my life. Can you lend an ear?" Crap. She wants me to listen. She wants me to stop for a moment and listen. What could be more important than day 4 of my new gig? I put the extremely selfish, self centered Mike Ellis aside and said, "Sure, I've got time to listen." Then she poured her heart out and began to cry.

Helping her was that last thing I wanted to do. Helping her was the most important thing I did today.

Help isn't always complicated. There are moments when helping is simply listening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Men, How Dare You

How dare you? Who in the Hell do you think you are? Abusing a woman. Neglecting a woman. Being a coward. A fool. Who do you think you are? You're not God. You're just a man. You're not an impressive man. You're not a responsible man. You're not a noble man. You're not a respectable man. There is no excuse for any man who claims the name of Christ to treat a woman in a dishonorable, disrespectful way.
--Pastor Mark Driscoll

Men, watch the complete clip below. Does he have a point? Is Mark right or wrong? I watched it and was convicted. After watching this clip, will you treat your wife differently?

Christians Behaving Badly

When Christ followers act like complete jerks, ass___, dorks, or $%!@!@^% by eating their own or judging and hurting other believers we have "given the world the justification they're looking for to disbelieve the gospel", and I am sorry.

Even the grandson of Billy Graham is taking some heat at a church he pastors in Florida. It reminds me of what happened to my friend Dr. David Cox while he was the pastor of a church here in Daytona Beach, Florida. Sounds like some of the same nutty stuff that happened to David Cox is happening again at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in South Florida. The pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, wrote the words below and it was published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

"Six members of our church recently circulated unsolicited letters and a petition voicing their opposition to my leadership and requesting a congregational meeting to vote on whether to keep me as their pastor.

The Bible says God wants the church to be a visual model of the gospel. He wants us, in other words, to live our lives together in such a way that we demonstrate the good news of reconciliation before the watching world.

The late Francis Schaeffer once noted that bitter divisions among Christians give the world the justification they're looking for to disbelieve the gospel. But when reconciliation, peacemaking, and unity are on display inside the church, that becomes a powerful witness to this fractured world. "Just as I have loved you," Jesus commanded, "you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).

Whenever you see any of us who claim to be "Christ followers" behaving in a manner that is unlike Jesus, please forgive us. And please let that be a reflection on us, and not on Him. As imperfect people, we will continue to let you down and disappoint you, but Jesus will never let you down--he will never disappoint you."

--- Tullian Tchividjian, the pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

Click here to read the complete newspaper article.

Big Thanks to Social Marketing Maven Todd Rhoades for inspiring this post. Check out Todd's blog here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Liberace and Mr. T's Love Child

My Best Friend, Russell Holloway wrote this amazing post. I didn't ask him for permission to post this. Don't tell him. Thanks.

"God created us to be relational beings. When we are at our best we are conduits of God’s love.

Three years ago I walked into the Port Orange YMCA and saw a man sitting in the lobby by himself, sipping coffee out of a Styrofoam cup, who at first glace reminded me of Liberace and Mr. T’s love child.

Harvey had all kinds of rings on his fingers and jewelry hanging from his ears. He seemed a little sad, but Harvey told stories, one after the other, in his loud and aggressive New York City accent. When he made an important point he waved his fingers in the air like a piano player hitting a keyboard. Interesting guy. Because we both like to tell stories, we became instant friends.

Most of the last year Harvey has been up in Queens taking care of his 94-year-old mother. We sat in the backyard this afternoon with our other friend, Mike Ellis, and talked about musicians like, Johnny Hartman, Keely Smith, and Louis Prima. Later we got on the computer and listened to them sing, amazing. Harvey produced two Grammy winning albums for Eddie Palmarie back in the day. He knows more than most on the subject of music. (See CD cover above featuring a much younger Harvey)

When we were alone Harvey looked me in the eye and told me that the people in Port Orange saved his life three years ago. Fame for Harvey had come and gone . . . it was love and kindness . . . God’s love, moving through the people Harvey met, who changed his life.

You have the power to change someone’s life, even if with nothing more than a smile.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

Jesus was talking about these things in the context of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us. Harvey’s life has been changed because a group of strangers reached out to him, unconditionally, in love . . . in our Savior’s name.

. . . Father, thank you for Harvey and thank You for being a God who loves us. Father command our spirits to be open to opportunities to change people's lives just by using kindness. When Your love flows through us it is an amazing thing. We praise You and pray to You in Jesus name . . . "

You can follow my fellow messed-up Christ Follower Russell Holloway on Twitter. His Twitter Nick is @LuvStomp. He has a blog too. His blog is much better than mine. My blog is really messed-up and so am I.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We Throw It Away and God Still Loves Us

Watch the YouTube Clip below and read my "messed" up thoughts.

So many things come to mind as I watch this over and over again. The world says, "Little Girl, you are so stupid. Don't you know that throwing that ball back is wrong?" God says, "Little Girl, I love you whether you throw away the ball or keep it!" The world says, "Keep that ball Little Girl, don't you know how valuable that ball is?" God says, "Little Girl, your true treasure is in me and not in things!" The world says, "Little Girl, we won't love and accept you because of the mistakes you have made!" God says, "I love you and accept you no matter what kind of choices you have made."

Satan looks back and sees our mistakes, God looks back and sees the Cross. He doesn't calculate what you did in the past. It's not even on the record.

God loves you simply because he has chosen to do so.

He loves you when you don’t feel lovely.

He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you. Always. No matter what.

“I’ll call the nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved” (Rom. 9:25 MSG).

Jesus loves us even at our worst, demonstrating “his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)

Take a moment and watch the YouTube clip again. My favorite part is when the dad realizes that his daughter might be feeling bad due to the choice that she has made. Do you see what the Dad does? He reaches out without hesitation. He hugs and comforts his daughter. Even though she threw the ball back she received a loving bear hug from her dad. Kinda like what God wants to do to us……even when we mess up!

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

We have a Heavenly Father who wants to do that for you and for me.

How many times have we thrown away the ball that God gave us? He takes us back and loves us anyway. Hit any foul balls into the stands lately? God is waiting to catch us. He'll run to us with open arms. He wants to hug us and welcome us home.

My good friend Louie Mercer was writing his latest post at about the same time I was composing mine. Here is Louie's take on the Good Father.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Reason YOUR CHURCH Must Twitter

It's been surprising to me to see how few churches are on twitter. In my opinion," if a church is NOT on twitter, they should have their heads examined". If churches (yes, there are exceptions) are on twitter, they are typically doing it wrong. What do I mean? Some churches and pastors believe that Twitter is a broadcast medium or a bullhorn. It's called "Social Media" not "ME, ME, ME media". When a church or pastor is on Twitter, it should be a conversation. My friend and pastor Steve Shears is on Twitter. In addition to using Twitter to listen and watch, Steve is doing some absolutely amazing things through live chats he is promoting through twitter. Within the past several days, through one my twitter accounts @HeRockzDotCom, I made contact with a lady who is from Oklahoma or @OkieGray on Twitter. It didn't take long for me to see that she was going through a rough time. See actual tweets from twitter below.

Me: @OkieGray How are you doing today?

Her: @HeRockzDotCom thanks for asking... feeling a bit sad today. You know you can't keep giving without getting "hurt." If that makes sense? :(

Me: @OkieGray I pray in the name of Jesus for healing in your heart and your mind and that He gives you a peace and calm that comes from Him.

Her: @HeRockzDotCom thanks for the prayer... we have got to find a nice church home here in Yukon, OK! Too much twitter time. I need peace & calm!

Her: @HeRockzDotCom I really need a spiritual advisor and the sooner the better. Got to get my head cleared up on some issues which make me sad!

After the tweet above, I asked her if it would be alright for me to send some people I trust her way. She said yes. At this point I asked pastors I know from twitter to connect with her through twitter

Me: Dear @johndobbs , @treymorgan , @steveshears , @rachelshears would you mind reaching out to @OkieGray ? She is lady in OK who could use an ear.

Right away, within moments, the pastor who is constantly watching and listening to Twitter responded. My good friend Steve Shears.

Pastor Steve Shears: @steveshears : @HeRockzDotCom cool Mike i'll follow @OkieGray

Pastor Steve Shears makes first contact with @OkieGray: @steveshears : Hello @OkieGray Good to meet ya Okie..

Not one of these tweets from a church leader or pastor were about their new I-Phone, their new building, their new carpet, the church bulletins, the capital campaign or the pastor's new "life-changing" podcast. Each of these tweets were directed at reaching out to someone who was hurting and then finding someone that they could connect with. There are so many lonely, broken, hurting people on Twitter just waiting for someone real, caring and authentic to reach out to them. Every church needs to be doing this. Are you?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Men's Ministry Sucks

Last Saturday, I went to a local men's ministry breakfast. I was asked to speak while guys were chewing on lukewarm eggs, burnt bacon and other somewhat delicious(?) foods. Not surprisingly, attendance was small. 6 to 7 guys. The leader of the group seemed frustrated and discouraged. He has poured himself into men's ministry. He really wants it to work. When you lead men's ministry week after week, month after month and only a few guys show up, it can be very discouraging. In my opinion, men's ministry is the bastard child or the ugly kid at the dance in most churches.

Usually enthusiastic dudes will come back from Promise Keepers or some other big time men's event chock full of ideas about how they are going to start or pump up men's ministry at their church. Their enthusiasm is removed quickly by pastors or other church leaders who look at them and say,"We've done that before" or "That will never work" or "We don't have the money for that!" That kind of discouragement will never make anyone want to run up Hamburger Hill.

Then comes another challenge. How in the heck do you motivate men to do anything other than scratch themselves? Men are pooped. They have been asked to do things for everyone and they are completely worn out. Weeknights are tough because men just gave everything to their jobs and they have nothing left. Weekends? Are you insane? Soccer games, honey-do lists and the Patriots. Don't you dare ask them to do one other thing on the weekends. They are already being forced at gunpoint to go to church.

Here is yet another challenge of men's ministry. Lack of leaders. I've experienced it and I saw it last Saturday morning. One or two guys have a passion for men's ministry. They lead. They facilitate. They organize. They promote and market. They invite. They get really, really burned out. Guess what? These men who have a passion for men's ministry and actually do the work are the few, the proud and the brave. If these men's ministry leaders get hit by a semi or eat something bad at the church potluck, the men's ministry will die a quick death.

Pastors and church leaders, if you have a man who is passionate about men's ministry, support and encourage him. If there is a men's ministry event, show up. Don't treat men's ministry like it's a pain in your backside. Find some money in your budget to support men's ministry. Take some cash out of the women's ministry in your church. Women's ministry has always had more than enough support and encouragement at most churches. Prioritize men's ministry for a change.

I have noticed that men are gathering in other places. There is a Panera near my home. Ever since the place opened up, I have seen a group of 4 to 5 men who meet for coffee, bear claws and conversation nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning. They call themselves the "Old Farts Club". What is it that drives men to Panera, Lowe's, Home Depot or the local bar and not men's ministry events. On Sunday afternoon, I couldn't believe me eyes. There is a new Philly Cheese Steak place that just opened and it was slammed full of men. Yelling, Screaming, Cheering on their favorite football team. I don't know about you but I don't remember men enthusiastically yelling, cheering, screaming or having an actual, authentic good time at most church or men's ministry events.

What the heck can be done about men's ministry? Can it be saved or will it continue to suck?

Would someone please pass the eggs?