Saturday, February 27, 2010

Report Card - Part 1

So the first two things on my list are:
  • Hang out with the disciples…
  • Let them see you at your best and your worst…
I did the most "hanging out" in New Paris.  And what a blast.  The culture there lends itself to very relational ministry.  At the other two places I've been, people are more closed off and don't value "hanging out" the way rural folks do.  I think I did my best hanging out ministry there, and enjoyed it immensely!!!  I wished I would have instituted more of this in my ministry at Concord and Cornerstone...

As far as letting people see me at my best and worst, well, I think I've probably done that...even to a fault!  I've always tried to be myself and just let people deal with me as I am.   There have been times when I've felt like I had to "be on my best behavior" or even become somebody I'm really not.  For those times, I am sorry.  I'm also sorry if my "at worst" has actually been damaging to someone or to their faith.  I am sure that's the case, and I'm thankful for God's amazing grace to cover my booty when I do those things!!!

Stay tuned for more grades to follow!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jesus' Method of Discipleship!

So as I wind down my ministry as a pastor, and as my TPP kids are receiving their report cards, I've been thinking about grading myself on my last 14 years as a pastor.  I'm using these requisites as a baseline.  Mike Yaconelli summarized Jesus' methods in building followers for him like this.  I think is a great way to measure over the next few blogs, I'll be pondering these things.  I'll also be asking the Lord to show me how I can live this out in my new ministry going forward.  Thanks for hangin' with me!

Jesus’ Method Of Discipleship

  • Hang out with the disciples
  • Let them see you at your best and your worst
  • Teach truths that none of your disciples can grasp at the moment
  • Avoid crowds
  • Go slowly
  • Spend hours in solitude
  • Don’t worry about opposition
  • Ignore criticism
  • Don’t expect immediate results

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


So I just read this book called "What the Dog Saw."  And the chapters explore such pressing questions as:

Why are there all kinds of gourmet mustards and stuff but only one ketchup really seems to dominate the world?

Why do some people just seem to attract dog bites and others seem to just woo an animal into submission?

Why do some people "choke" and some panic and what's the difference?

Why do we sometimes try to manage problems that are really just easier to solve?

I must say, it was a really good read.  What are you reading?  And, if you'll pardon the expression, why?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ne pas oublier!

Now don't forget!  Blog is short for weblog...a sort of web based diary.  Blague is French for joke.  They are pronounced the same, and it is not by mistake that I call my blog a blague.  In other words, it's Brett's joke!

So please try to remember that in nearly every post, I am inserting some "Brettly" humor!  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to Solve the Icicle Problem!

So with all this snow there is lots and lots of talk about icicles.  To the left is an actual photo of icicles covering our home. 

Now there are at least a few big problems with icicles.  One is how to spell the word.  I think I finally got that right.

The other problem is death.  Apparently, falling icicles are causing large amounts of death.

So, I have the solution.  I noticed that my unheated garage has no icicles.  Neither does the unheated, uninhabited house across the street.  Aha, I said.  Icicles are caused by our universal enemy: heat.   Therefore, I have turned off our furnace.  Problem solved!  Now I suggest you go and do likewise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So yesterday was just one of those days I guess.  It started out OK, but for whatever reason, my nerves were a mess.  I was disappointed in myself for not having better control of my kids at TPP.  Then I walked outside to slip and slide to my car, only to clean it off again...only to not be able to get up the street and had to find an alternative route home.  Then I had to shovel our sidewalks and parking places, again.  Then I was going to try to fix the brand new lamp that arrived yesterday but alas, I broke it worse.  And I guess I just snapped.

The stream of filth from my mouth wasn't pretty.  I felt bad for Carla who was privileged to witness this all.  (She is SO gracious!!!)  But I guess I just had to get it all out.

So last night I didn't sleep very well, mostly because I was regretting the way I lost control.  I was reminded of these verses:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  (James 1:20-21)

Boy amen to that.  And thank God that we have forgiveness!  I'm giving my mouth over to Him today that I might use it to bring glory, honor, and praise...  I'll let you know how that works out for me just as soon as I deal with those kids, and that hill, and the shoveling, and that stupid-piece-of-crap-no-good-cheap-monkey-metal lamp...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Fatique!

So I stopped in the other day to visit an old friend who has a business here in da burgh.  I hadn't been into his store in a while and was really looking forward to seeing him.   But he was in a bad mood.  In fact, everyone in the place was in a bad mood.  In fact, it seemed like on that day, everyone in Pittsburgh was in a bad mood!

It seems like perhaps we are suffering from snow fatigue!  Too much shoveling.  Too many depressing forecasts.  Too much slipping and falling.  Too little sunshine and warmth!

But alas...Spring is but around the corner.  Cheer up my friends, for these days will soon be passed.  And then we can once again begin the season of "hot enough for ya?!"

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ooh, that smell!

So I'm with a group of people the other day at TPP for our staff meeting lunch.  All the sudden someone starts singing "ooh, that smell!"  At first, I checked to make sure that I wasn't having a Grandpa Probert standby sandwich: Limberger Cheese.  No, just ham and white American. 

Then he starts laughing and says that he and his wife woke up to WDVE on the radio and the Skynard song "Ooh, That Smell."  We had a brief conversation (frequently interrupted by him singing another soundbyte of that glorious song) about why you get a song stuck in your head.

The problem is, we never figured out why.  Any ideas?  And why is it usually a song we really don't care for anyhow?  I'd like to thank you, Wayne, for allowing me to have that ridiculous song "Ooh that smell" stuck in my head for like a week now.  If you'll excuse me, I'm going to step out onto my front porch and sing it at the top of my lungs...maybe that'll help.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Life is a Parade...

So Carla and I were sitting here this morning enjoying a cup of hot beverage and doing some online shopping for our new home when there is a knock at the door.  Turns out, it is yet another new neighbor who comes to welcome us to the neighborhood.   (So far, this is shaping up to be the friendliest neighborhood we've ever lived in...)  Turns out it is a man who I'll call Tom (mostly because his name is Tom!) who is 78 and is the son-in-law of our recently deceased next door neighbor.  He was incredibly friendly, and very interesting!  He was a computer installer/programmer since 1959!  As he talked about how computers have changed in the 20 years that he has been retired, he made the statement that life is like a parade...

...he said that when you watch a parade, you really just focus on what is right in front of you.  You might try to glimpse for a moment at what just passed, or try to see what might be immediately next, but for the most part your focus is on the moment. 

Wow.  The wisdom of a man 30 some years my senior.  Lord, give me the strength today to live in the moment....with everything I have.  But let me appreciate Who you have been in the past and Who you will always be...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Did I Say Something?!

Aight...time for true confessions.  When I'm not setting the kitchen on fire (right now, I'm making one of my favorite African delicacies...wali na maharagi.  Can you tell Carla's working tonight?!), and even when I am, I find myself talking to myself a lot.  Is this bad?  I heard somewhere that it is a sign of genius.  OK, where I heard that?  I said it to myself!  Sometimes, I pretend like I'm talking to Shadrach...somehow, that makes it seem acceptable. Or better yet, I'll call it praying!  I'll talk to myself but convince myself that I'm really not...that I'm talking to God.  That kind of holyfying something can make it all better!!!   So what about you talk to yourself?  Why?  For me, it seems to be therapeutic, and almost a method of more effective thought.  Make sense?  You too?  Who said that?

Monday, February 01, 2010


So I only have a month left as a pastor in the United Methodist Church, and I'll be proudly serving that out with the people called Cornerstone.  But, oh what a quandary this creates!?!!!  For who knew that I needed....a STATUS!!!

Yes, apparently at the end of February my status as an ordained elder in the UMC is in jeopardy because I will not be appointed to serve a local church.  But, alas, there is the ABLC option...appointed beyond the local church.  But is my ministry w/ The Pittsburgh Project a legitimate expression of my ordination to "word, order, and sacrament?"  Probably not...

So I have requested a VLOA...a voluntary leave of absence.  This gives me 5 years (I think...I never read the book...) by Book of Discipline to either lose my ordination or get into a real ministry of word, order, and sacrament.  I guess I'll just take my chances!!!

Fortunately, I believe my real S-T-A-T-U-S is found in my relationship with J-E-S-U-S!  And here I thought I was F-R-E-E!   You can check out John 8:36 if you don't believe me...