Just Do It

“A 76-year-old nun that competes in marathons and Ironman triathlons”
For those of you who run, I thought you would enjoy this article for those that do not run, you should read it as well.
I enjoy running and I find it is a great time to pray and just have a discussion with God on how life is going. For me, running just blocks out all the distractions of the day and allows me to clear my mind of all the “stuff” that bogs me down. I remember a man telling me, if you want to me doing something at the age of 80, you better be doing it at 40. That thought has stuck with me on so many levels, if I want to be doing anything at 80 I had better be doing it now, procrastination is the death of mans dreams. If planting a church is a dream and you are called by the Lord to do it, do it when you hear the call. If you like to teach, do it, when you hear the call, if you like to __(fill in the blank)______ ,do it.When you hear the call.
This is a reminder to myself, do it while I hear the call
Uncle Tone

Fox Faith

Twentieth Century Fox Has New Banner
The home-video division of Twentieth Century Fox announced Tuesday plans to acquire as many as a dozen family-friendly movies a year and market them under the FoxFaith banner, according to FoxNews.com. Inspired by the success of The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia, Fox executives first developed a Web site that sells family and Christian entertainment, as well as church resources based on the films. FoxFaith now plans to produce several films based on Christian best-sellers, such as Janette Oke’s Love Come Softly series.

“We saw the opportunity to fill the needs of an underserved marketplace,” said Steve Feldstein, senior vice president of marketing at Fox Home Video. “All of the programming is entertainment first. We’re not in the business of proselytizing or preaching.”

Real Radicalism


I was driving to work the other morning and came across a couple of well meaning people on a very busy intersection. You know the type, they had big placards letting people know “Repent” the End is near” followed up with Jesus loves you, it struck me that I would bet no one has ever come to faith in Christ or turned from sin to repentance based on a guy messing up traffic on a busy corner shouting into a bull horn about the end of the world is just around the bend, it might be but I am certain there are better ways to get the word out.

That got me thinking about real repentance and what it really means. “Metanoia, a Greek word that gives the idea of a radical alteration and conversion of our whole mental process and allows God to take a real and permanent place in our lives, and our hearts. It boils down to “a change of mind”. We in the church may call it a conversion; the word appears often in the Gospels and is most often represented as the word “repent” in our translations.

Mark 1:15

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” These are the words of Jesus in Mark’s gospel and they represent a summary of the entire Biblical text. But what does that really mean to the “guy on the street” “regular working class guy” Joe six pack as I am always saying, you and me.

So often we come across this word repent and think it is the idea that we just need to feel regret for some bone headed thing we just said or did and we are now going to try oh so hard not to do it again. The Bible has another thought in mind, metanoia or our change of mind is more like doing a complete about face, or turning from one direction and head off in another. In Zech 1:3 the Lord reminds us to turn, and if we turn toward Him he will return to us, wow. “ Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty

Each of us have the potential to turn, we can turn in either direction, toward or away but the choice is ours. We have within us the ability to let Christ’s love shine through us, we can become a new person in Him. When we are overwhelmed by an emotion, name it, love, guilt, shame, compassion, tension, anger. We can let Him carry us through it, only if we are willing to embrace His gift of acceptance and love.

When Jesus asks us to “repent”, metanoia, he is asking us to stop identifying with the burden of this world and in its place begin to live as if we understand our standing is based on Him not US, it is through Him that we can be confident that we are forgiven.

When we grasp metanoia and all it represents, it literally means we can get beyond our present situation, our stuck in the mud way of seeing things and see that the life we can live with Jesus’ help is one well worth living.

We can praise God freely; speak words of reconciliation and love to each other. When we really repent we can let God reign in us, we can become so filled with compassion for those around us, friends, foes, those we know and those we come across on a daily basis, when we do really turn and face a completely new direction.

Uncle Tone





Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Who, me be Holy? Leviticus 11:45

I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy
Who can be holy? Can it be the eastern philosopher on the mountaintop, or maybe the Benedictine Monk in the monastery of Monte Cassino, or the Guru Padmasambhava? Might just be K’ung Fu Tzu or the Swami Vivekananda?

So many people today have fallen for, and into the mystical trap of “Spirituality”, Mysticism and Kabbalah, not just the Hollywood crowd but also your neighbors and every day “Joe six-pack

But how would we define “holy”? is Holiness only for the mystic? I think not, therefore be holy, because I am holy it is not on our laurels that we rest but upon the finished work of Jesus, it is His Holiness and not our works or our delving into areas of hip pop culture that we will find holiness. We will only search in vein.

Leviticus 19-20 begins with the admonition you shall be holy. Then it continues laying out laws, rules, and injunctions about “loving thy neighbor”, don’t take revenge, and stay clear of the occult. Clearly telling us to be holy but warning us not to get caught up in “otherworldliness” and all kinds of things that would not necessarily be associated with becoming really spiritual.

The journey to holiness is not some supernatural, hidden search for nirvana but practical and available to us. Holiness can be found more in the day-to-day things we do or don’t do than in incantations and metaphysics. Seeking the Holy Spirit in our daily walk, spending time in the Word, Prayer these are the things that will lead us to holiness. You don’t need a guru, swami, monk, and séances, incense or, flowing robes, just a real living connection to Jesus, feed by our daily contact with him.

So when all is said and done, the Bible is telling us to be “set apart” from the distractions of the mystical around us. Whether it was the Egyptians and Canaanites of Old Testament or the hedonists and sensualists of today, the Bible is the same. Holiness is “a work of gradual development” {Romans 6:13} As a Christian we must be different. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world is doing. We are a people apart. {Numbers 23:9}
From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations

My intent is not to make light of holy men and miracle workers. Mother Theresa did more for the sick and poor than most of us ever will, the Catholic church does more for the unborn than most Christian churches. But before we run to faith healers or send up the incense or send away for a swatch of cloth from the hip Televangelist, perhaps we first should consult the Logos, seek His will and remember what John had to say In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was God.”

Uncle Tone

Friday, August 25, 2006

Counting down the days

I dont know what is better, a fall day in Vermont with friends
I miss like crazy or a fall day on the couch watching football. While I ponder it, pass me the remote

Only days away from football season,
Uncle Tone

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Churches think big by thinking small

I found this an interesting read, I started to pull out many of the good points
and realized I cut and pasted most of the story. so here is the link.
The one that I noticed most of all was New England and the Pacific North West
have a lot in common.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Let those who can…..do

I read a great post last night and it really got me thinking, I have come across many great men and women in the “real world” work force that could run circles around many of us Christian “leaders”. I know this could sound like Pastor bashing but it is not. Pastors are for the most part well suited for leading churches in the day-to-day operation of churches on spiritual issues but when it comes to the business side of the church operation and interaction with the community I have seen some short comings that could well be addressed by people who have been in the work force and have an understanding of how to interact with the secular community.

I often feel my thirty years in business, my thirty years of marriage, my thirty years of raising a family; my inability to go to a “formal “ Bible college or seminary has put me in a lesser position to be able to pastor a church. It has come to me over the last year or two that I am so much more qualified to Pastor a church because of my experience than some that have gone from high school to college to seminary to the pastorate with no life experience. Again, this not a slam but an observation. That I think this Barna research backs up my thought .I post this as a personal reminder that as I grow and develop His ministry that I have the sensitivity and strength to understand that I have many, much more qualified people around me that can deal with issues in which I am poorly qualified to handle, I hope I am not so macho that I can not let other more qualified people step up to the plate and take charge.

“Don’t attack the culture. Don’t shut down from it. Don’t be afraid to learn from people outside of the church”. Thanks Michael, great post


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Never would have guessed it

Shock rocker Alice Cooper’s Christian nonprofit, the Solid Rock Foundation, is building a 20,000-square-foot facility — a recreation center — for teens in Phoenix, Ariz., according to Agape Press. The foundation was started 11 years ago by Cooper and a pastor at his church to provide a free haven for at-risk kids. The building, christened The Rock, is to open early next year at Grand Canyon University, a private Christian college where 58-year-old Cooper has funded scholarships for years. The Rock will include a recording studio, indoor basketball courts, a rock climbing wall, coffee house, game room and a concert hall.

Cooper says, “We’re not going to beat them over the head with a Bible, but we’re certainly going to be available to tell them that that’s available to them.”

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Church in a Box

I have been reading many of my fellow church planter blogs to pick up ideas that I can use. I have been thrilled at the offers of help and guidance that has come my way from many people across the U.S. I must admit I read many of the posts with a bit of jealousy thinking how cool it would be to have a 12 foot trailer packed ful o’ goodies but then I remember how blessed I am for the many families I get to serve at the beach. One of the cool things that I have for my Sunday service is, my Church in a Box. As I read of all the expense that goes into making Sunday services work and all of the set up and tear down time that is involved with many of my planter friends I count myself lucky not to have that problem quite yet.

I look forward to the day when my Church in the Box takes hours to assemble and dismantle, but for now my little rubbermaid rolling cathedral is like the Vatican to me.

Thanks to all of you for your ideas and support

Uncle Tone

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Luke and the rest of the Disciples liked to eat, I think he is a man after my own heart! They so often describes Jesus’ coming and goings around a meal or sharing in a meal, or coming home from a meal. Meals in the early writings always take an important place in the lives of the followers of Christ. It seems that at meals Jesus said so many important things.

I am sure it was around a meal (Luke 19 1:5) that Jesus spoke about the mercy of the Father for the likes of sinners like me. Zacchauus received him into his home and there I am sure they enjoyed a meal and great conversation. Vs 7 How cool it would be to share the table with Christ.

How about the prodigal son (Luke 15:23) the son was welcomed home with a big feast. Jesus used the image of a great feast to put in plain words the kingdom of heaven, and in Luke 14:15-24. Christ uses his time, while reclined at the table to dispense another parable around and about a meal.

How about the feeding the multitudes that Jesus explained himself to be the ‘Living Bread from Heaven’ John 6:51” I am the living bread that came down from heaven”

OK, How about after the resurrection, it was at a meal at Emmaus two of his followers recognized the risen Jesus, and at that moment all was changed for them. (Luke 24:30)

It was so much more than food or a meal, Jesus poured over the true message of the scripture, and then he unleashed himself as the risen Messiah, broke bread and blessed them.

When we come to the communion table we are honored guests of the King, We receive not only the bread of the baker, but also the Bread of Life.
The Gospels unleash the story of the Last Supper by telling us what Jesus said he earnestly desired to eat this Passover with his disciples. (Luke 22:15). He loved his friends he wanted to enjoy his last meal with them before his agonizing death on the cross. A meal that was very special and one of the most celebrated meal of the Jewish calendar, the Passover. Jesus so longs to be present with us, with the same power that was present as at the last supper. So when we want to rush through the next communion service, remembers Jesus is never bored by our presence or in a rush for us to leave, even if we become antsy! We are nourished by the presence of Christ, our Bread of Life.

Don’t become passive spectators just looking for entertainment, but become an empowered participant in the meal fit for a King. We are given the opportunity to share in an unbelievable event; we can sit at the table of the Messiah Jesus and enjoy His company with the same intensity as those, whom we read about in the Gospels sharing meals with him in person,



Saturday, June 10, 2006

Just a day at the beach

Hi All
I am trying to nail down the calendar for the summer, Some of you have offered to help me with singing and I have most of the Sundays covered now. I do have a few spots still open so if you could take a look at this calendar link and let me know if I either have you plugged into a wrong Sunday or if you see an open Sunday that you can help let me know.
The first Sunday went well, I had a few bugs I had to work out like the posters that were going to be put up never got put up , the power at the location was locked down but I was able to figure it out on Saturday. My first visitor was a Jewish gentleman that wanted to engage me in a theological “discussion” on the merits of homosexuality,televangelists and why I hated gays. 🙂 Rest assured I finally convinced him I was neither a hater of Jews or Homosexuals but I did not defend the televangelists, those knuckleheads can defend themselves.
Any way, it was a good time, I had a few great discussions with some very nice people and my prayer is we can make a difference in the lives of someone this summer.
Thanks Greg and family for helping me June 4 and 11.
Your Pal
Mike O


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Patrick the Patron Saint of church planters

St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, might just be the “Patron Saint” of some church planters. In his writings he points out some of his many shortcomings and his great zeal to reach the “unchurched” in Ireland, two of the things that parallel my journey. In his Letter to Coroticus, written because soldiers had kidnapped Irish Christians that he had just converted and he was furious. Although Patrick was a gentle and humble man of faith he reached the people of Erin in spite of his stature in life.

His limited education, in Law and Theology was no stumbling block to the “community” he was reaching. The reason, I believe was he was lead by and open to the Holy Spirit, and as Acts 8:12 puts it “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

During Patrick’s captivity in the Irish wilderness he comes to know the God he missed as a child, although he was born into a Christian family (his father Calpurnius was a deacon; his grandfather Potitus a priest) yet he “did not know God.” Galatians 4:8 “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.” It is ironic that Patrick, as a slave found the God he missed as a free child and he takes on the same concern for the Irish that Paul had for the Galatians.

Although Patrick regrets his educational achievements, his crystal clear understanding of the Doctrine of the Trinity, the Love of Christ for the lost and the redemption found only in Jesus, was the start of Christianity breaking out on the Island of Éireann and spreading throughout the world.

Though Patrick wasn’t the first missionary to Ireland, an unsuccessful Palladius preceded him. He was the first who was successful. And he took Christianity to people outside the Roman Empire. In their own community and culture.

Patrick also has a record of speaking out against slavery and was a defender of women and children. In his Confessio he writes of a woman who becomes a leader among Christian women and goes on to express grief that women held in slavery had the worst lot of all. In his regard for women and for the sanctity of life Patrick was a Planter ahead of his times.

  • Kidnapped by pirates at age 16
  • Embarrassed at lack of education
  • Finds God while herding pigs(?)
  • Escapes, guided by a voice
  • Recalled to Ireland by dream
  • A childhood confession returns to haunt him
  • Boasts of bringing religion to the Irish
  • Baptises a beautiful Irish princess
  • And this is my confession before I die.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A new perspective on Psalm 23:4

Why sometimes do things just seem to go wrong? Does God really have a plan for me? If so, why do things go wrong so often?

We have all seen books, tapes, seminars etc on God’s Plan for My Life. I simply do not have time to read the stuff on the market, but I must admit that I wondered what effect all this material would have on someone who had been born into poverty, or had just found out they lost a loved one, or have become unemployed, a child was arrested. I wonder what people might think in a moment like those and do they believe that God has a plan for them.

This appears to be a real dilemma. On the one hand Christianity teaches that God has a plan; on the other hand, life shows us that bad things happen to good people. The only way out of the complexity is to say that there is nothing irreconcilable with God having a plan and things going wrong from our perspective.

Does that mean God wants things to go wrong for us? Absolutely not, Jesus clearly reveals God to be against making us humans suffer. But this does not mean that such things will not happen. For it is part of God’s plan that things happen that are not sent to us directly by God. He just allows them to take place.

Dish out the blame when problems pop up in your life, whom do you hold responsible? That depends. You can hold people responsible; you do not say that God has mistreated you. You say so and so has mistreated you. In fact, you cry out to God for help in dealing with the pain

Likewise, if a friend close to you is injured, you explain what has happened by saying, ‘The ladder broke,’ or ‘the other driver was drunk”. You shrug off the fact that the accident took place, and you place the blame on what you believe caused it: faulty equipment, irresponsible behavior, or whatever.

You do not hold God responsible for what has happened; and of course you appeal to God for help. Initially, in emotional upheaval, you might blame God, but when you think it through, you understand that God is as aggrieved as you are.

Because God gave us charge over the world, things go wrong that would never have happened if man had never fallen. When God let us loose on earth He allowed free will to come into play. The risk is that things will not be done the way God would wish they would; or they will be done badly, or selfishly, or unkindly; or not at all. God took a risk by sharing control over things with us, by planning our lives in a way that allows our free will and determination; it has become a world with suffering and pain. But not to involve us would have been to make us like robots or puppets, rather than human beings who are free. To make choices, choices that include our turning to Him with love and admiration.

So when you come to the end of your rope and you wish that God had not shared the running of the world with you, rethink it, God did, in spite of the risks. Why? Because God wants your love, through your free will because that is the sign of true love, not a forced obligatory love.
We need to live up to our responsibilities, as children of the King, offer our praise to Him, even in tough times because He first loved us. So when bad things happen. That does not mean that God has no plan all and is out of control. What God does promise is to be with us, no matter what happens. And so we can never say, ‘I shall not walk in the valley of darkness,’ but we can always say, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 these words express the constant plan of God; That God will always, absolutely always, be with us

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Gilligans Island

Well we are three weeks from the first service at Doheny State Beach. I met with the staff today and had a fantastic meeting. They were beyond helpful. I was taken around the park and shown all the ins and outs, parking, loading, and a place to toss a tent if I wish. I know my friends are going to let it rip with Gilligan jokes so I thought I would beat them to the punch and point it out first. I know this is not what you might call a Church Plant but is sure is going to reach many people that otherwise might miss going to church because they are away from home, It will reach the staff of the park that wish to attend and I am sure, some people that might not otherwise go to a local church. What I hope will happen is for me to find someone local that might want to take over this next season. I have run into many kind people that have offered me help getting this going and I hope to do the same to those coming up behind me. If you find yourself on vacation in So Cal and want to stop in, please look us up Tone