Saturday, January 30, 2010

So You Say You Want a Revolution?

So I was in the Pittsburgh Project staff meeting on Wednesday.  They meet every Wednesday at noon, share a meal, a few announcements, and then have Bible study and discussion.  Good stuff.  This week the topic was "The Pittsburgh Project (TPP), Revolution or Institution?"

The Scripture basis was 1 Chronicles 12:32, an interesting choice.  Wayne, our leader, was explaining that TPP was looking for people who understood the times and knew what the people of God should be doing.  He further explained that TPP started as a very revolutionary idea nearly 25 years ago...that blacks and whites should live together in peace...that the "haves" and the "have nots" can live side by side and share life, not based on governmental mandates or programs, but on the Word of God and the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Good stuff indeed.

So the question remains for you and me, wherever we are today, do we want a revolution or an institution?  In our churches, in our lives, in our families, in our neighborhoods?  The real question is, what do you think Jesus wants?  Hint: Look at what He did...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So today at the Pittsburgh Project, I was teaching my little ones a few Swahili words.  So now they're calling me Bwana Brett...but that's a different story.  So then I'm home this evening and while Carla's working, I'm just jammin some bluegrass on the ole guitar.  While I'm playing, our dog Shadrach decides to lie down.  Well he starts walking around in circles like 437 times before he decides that he found the right spot.   What a goof...and yet how are we like that?!?!  In fact, in the area of Africa that I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer, the word for white person is "mzungu."  OK, you ready for the humbling reality of what that word literally means? 

It means: person who keeps going around in circles!!!

So as I'm closing out my last month of preaching at Cornerstone and beginning my new ministry at the Pittsburgh Project.  And as we're getting all settled into our new house, and as life is crazy, I'm trying to remember the truth of Psalm 46:10..."be still and know that I am God..."  In other words, I'm trying to not be such a mzungu!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fear Not

In the midst of the move an' 'at, fear not, for lo, I am blogging, even unto the end of the age.  I just don't have time right now...

But just as you have seen my blog go, so you shall see it return...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To "multi" or "mono," this is the question...

So the other day I'm having breakfast with a couple of my best friends.  While we're eating and talking, I'm texting and taking calls and reading my emails and checking facebook and tweeting and thinking of my next joke and composing my next Sunday message and worrying and praying and interrupting and....well, you get the picture.  Why am I doing this?  Because this is what culture tells me is healthy.  The more you can do at once, the better (Extra Blague de Brett Bonus!!!!  Fill in the blank!!!) ____________  you are. This, my friends, is the art of multitasking...

So one of my friends says, are you sitting down?, he deleted his facebook account.  WHAT?  Are you crazy?  You shall be shunned!!!  What about that Bible verse, it's in there somewhere, I think, that says woe unto the facebookless, or sum'n like that?  How you could fall so far?  How will you live? 

After I work through my shock, he simply looks at me and says that he thinks his calling in this new year is to "monotask."  To focus on one person or thing at a time...and only one thing at a time...and give it his whole attention.  What a concept, but as an old professor of mine used to say, "I'm afraid he might be right...."

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Winter Storm of the Decade!!!

So here we are...smack dab in the middle of the biggest winter storm we've seen all decade.  That's right, you heard me, the whole decade (which began seven days ago...). 

To the left I've included a picture of what our neighborhood looks like right now.  (Note: there really isn't anything there but white.  Get it, Mom?)  Please don't mistake this picture for ghosts eating marshmallows in a styrofoam room.

So I have some thoughts on surviving this incredible storm which will probably doom us all:

1.  Drive really fast.  That way you'll get past the place where you might wreck quickly and avoid the wreck.

2.  Don't stop at stop signs.  That way you won't slide or spin out.

3.  Stock up on strawberry Pop-tarts.

4.  Call everybody you know every 5 minutes and ask them how the roads are.

5.  Cancel any activities you may be in charge of at least 48 hours before the first flake drops.

6.  Call the coordinator of any activities you are not in charge of at least every 15 minutes to see if they canceled the activity yet.  (Don't forget to ask them how the roads are.)

7.  Frequently update your facebook and twitter about the snow and your feelings about it. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Turn to What, or Who!?

Big news in Christian circles this week: Brit Hume tells Tiger Woods to turn to the Christian faith to straighten out his life.  Now on the surface, that seems like great advice, and to be honest, I think Brit's intentions were fantastic.

My issue however is that Christianity never straightened anyone's life around.  Christianity is just another religion, and one that is fallen, at best.  If anything, Christianity can just mess up a persons life.

Now before you think I've fallen further off my rocker, let me explain.  What Tiger Woods needs, what I need, what you need, what Brit Hume Jesus Christ.  Not Christianity.  Not religion.  Not a set of moral standards and behavioral modification techniques that don't really work.  But Jesus Christ.  The Word makes it pretty clear...HE came to seek and save the lost, not His followers, or at worst, the institution they've created...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

What's "New?"

So as I sit here at the dawn of a new year, I wonder what's new.  As I continue my journey to know what God has in store for me next, I wonder what's new.  I know that 2010 will be a year of significant changes, and many new things, but I wonder what's new.  If only we could see down the road to know where we'll be walking, but then that is not God's mysterious way!

One thing I wonder is why so many people are called to start new churches, but so few are called to start new ministries.  Many have asked me "are you going to start your own church?"  The answer on about 14 different levels is NO.  Part of my struggle with that is in the question itself..."own church."

Part of it is that so many seem to be starting churches in affluent areas (like Cranberry Township) and yet churches in places like Bellevue are going under.  I believe part of the reason for that is "church" is still popular with the relatively wealthy, but ministry is what is needed to the masses (and I would argue, by the Lord Himself).  Because churches tend to focus on themselves (despite good attempts and mission statements to the contrary), ministry sometimes doesn't happen as well through the church.  Plus churches tend to generate capital, and especially if you start one in an affluent area.  But ministry takes resources, financial and otherwise, in order to "succeed."  In other words, starting ministries is so much harder than starting churches...but did Jesus say this would be easy?

So as I wonder what's new, I know for me it is NOT starting a new church.  But one thing I do ponder is whether God is calling me to start a new ministry somewhere in the Pittsburgh area.  What's new?  Who knows...but you can join me in praying about it...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

May God's peace and blessings be manifest through your life in the coming year! Here are some more pix of our new house. Our address as of January 15th will be:

Brett and Carla Probert
3970 Brandon Road
Pittsburgh PA 15212

I will still be serving Cornerstone but no longer living in the parsonage. Enjoy!