Friday, March 31, 2006

Powell Winter 2006

From Christmas 2005 and our drive down to California in January, to the kids' recent AWANA races - this photo gallery has it all from Winter 2006. Check out these 23 photos now! There is a one YouTube movie link (check the photo captions).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Happy Birthday...

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Andrea
Happy birthday to you

New Featured Photo-Andrik & Kellin

Yes, I know it's been quite a while since I've uploaded any photos - I haven't really been taking any. There are a couple from Christmas. I might add them to the gallery if I can remember to bring my camera home from work.

For now, check out the new featured photo. I combined Andrik's and Kellin's school photos. Click on the link above or the photo to the right for a full size photo.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Big Weekend is Over!

I mentioned before how this weekend was going to be quite busy. Well, it was - and here's an update of the goings on...
  • First, the Hannaford Women's Retreat was Friday-Sunday. That means that we, in the Powell household, were sans-Andrea. Andrea left Friday afternoon. This means Dad gets to make meals, wake kids, etc.
  • At the same time, I was continuing to prepare for and participate in the worship team for the local Promise Keepers conference. We had a final rehearsal on Friday and then the event was slated from 6am to 5:30pm on Saturday.
  • If you're keeping track that means Andrea was gone AND I was gone all day at a men's conference. So my mission was to find someone to watch the kids - and I was hoping they could spend the night on Friday to eliminate a lot of trouble before sunrise on Saturday morning. So I had to find someone to have the kids over one the same weekend when many dads from Hannaford have their wives gone as well. Well, I finally set it up. It would work pretty much as I planned except having to leave the conference early (after the worship was finished) to get the kids.
  • Dropping off the kids, I was blessed to receive another "Kellin-ism." He was jokingly told that for dinner, He and Andrik were going to have either Broccoli or Monkey Brains. Kellin replied, "I don't know about Monkey Brains, but I don't like Broccoli."
  • On Saturday during the conference, it started raining, then sleet, then snowing. And then snowing more. Worship went well. It was great to see all these guys from different Helena churches gather in one place. It was also great to see and hear them engage in worship, singing out loud, and really connecting with God. After slipping out on the afternoon speaker, I walked 50ft to my car and ended up covered in snow - it was really coming down.
  • Due to the logistics, after returning home with the kids, waiting a couple of hours, I needed to return to the church of the PK conference and retrieve my equipment (keyboard, etc.). Although there was a little snow here at home, the landscape was completely white at the conference venue. Eventually, we made it home and settled in for Saturday night.
  • We woke Sunday morning to a wonderland of near spring snow! We were late leaving the house and found all the roads (and freeway) laden with snow. No snowplows were out on the freeway or downtown. I later found out that it wasn't just me, but I wasn't mentally prepared for the snow. I think it caught me off guard. I really had to re-adjust when I nearly slid into a truck just out of our neighborhood. Finally we arrived at church, without breakfast. It was still snowing. I'd say we got almost 12 inches overnight and it was still coming down.
  • Sunday worship went well, but was quite different than usual. Because of the Women's Retreat, I planned a special team of just guys. And I tried to pick some songs that would suit the guys' vocal ranges. All in all, it was just a little out of ordinary.
  • Between the services, I took the kids across the street to McDonald's for some quick breakfast. The snow was still coming down and it was built up one the streets. I got stuck on the somewhat steep entrance to McDonald's. With no traction, I finally had to back up back into the main street and find another way in. It wasn't just me having problems, either. After we got our meal in the drive-through and parked in the lot, we saw another truck slide up on the curb in the drive through and almost take down a tree.
  • Finally when the services were over, it stopped snowing and things started to warm up. With all the weather, I was starting to think that I might not see Andrea until Thursday as she and the other ladies fought the mountain snow. She got home about an hour later just as I finished shoveling snow out of the driveway.
It was a busy, but wonderful weekend. I have a few projects that I have been putting off until the "big weekend" was over. Now I can get to work on those. I'm also excited to make some progress in the two books I'm reading, Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis and David Crowder's Praise Habit. So far, they are both great! I can't wait to tell you about them.

Until next time, peace...

Friday, March 17, 2006

8 Below - Finding Spiritual Themes in Movies

Last weekend we ventured out to the new Cineplex. They can show up eight movies at same time - yes I know, most of you are not impressed. But here in the Powell clan,we love having an up-to-date theater with a whole eight movies to choose from. Plus (sit down for this), it only costs about $20 to get the whole family in at non-matinee price.

Well, we all agreed to see the new Disney film 8 Below. You know me, I would just as well have seen some new sci-fi flick. But alas, Disney it was. It was great - with lots of action, visual, and a great story. It really delivers.

I've also fallen into evaluating even the worst of films, trying to see if there are any spiritual themes I can pick out:
  • After having to left the sled dogs exposed to the subzero Antarctica winter, the main character spends a good portion of the film trying to get someone to fly him back down to save the dogs. Unfortunately, he encounters many "closed doors". Only his perseverance seems to be a strong theme in this film.
  • A larger theme that I see, really arises out of his desire to save the dogs. Even after the likelihood of any of the dogs surviving, the main character realizes that he must have closure. It is an internal drive - what I compare to a God-given purpose.
Does he save them? Does he get back to Antarctica? Will someone help him? Will any of the dogs survive? I guess you'll just have to go see the film.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Lark News - Laugh Out Loud!

Maybe I just had the giggles, but I could not stop laughing at a new (to me) website I came across. Now first, I must warn you. If you do not appreciate satire (especially about the church), you might want to skip this one. But, honestly, I think we need to be able to see ourselves for what we are.

The website is the Lark News: A Good Source of Christian News. Now, keep in mind that hardly anything on the site is real, but it may point out some hard realities about evangelicals. If you're going to give it a go, make sure you check out everything. Even the ad banners are hilarious!

Enjoy yourself!

Wise Sayings of 6-Year-Old Kellin

I think I told you that Andrea will be gone this weekend. Apparently, Mom bought the kids and me some food at the grocery store today for the weekend - She wants to make it easy for poor, helpless Dad. So on the way home Kellin told me enthusiastically, "Dad! This Saturday, Andrik and I get to have Kid's Disease!" (translation: Kid's Cusine)

Some other funny things Kellin has said or done:
  • A young couple came in to see Pastor Crosby after hours while Kellin was in my office. I checked his office for them and explained that he had gone home for the day. On their way out, Kellin chased them down and told them that they could come back tomorrow.
  • While driving past the airport: "Look Dad, a cemetery Helicopter!" (translation: military)
  • While alone in the care with Mom: "Where are you taking me, you crazy woman?"
Thank you, Kellin, for a little comic relief.

Someone I Know...

I'd like to tell you about someone I know. She holds my interest. There's a lot of captivating things on her mind and when she talks to me, I feel as though I could listen to her for hours and hours and never get bored. When I'm around her, I actually feel encouraged and empowered to be the person God meant me to be.

I admire her sense of style and her sense of color - it far exceeds my own taste. What's more, I agree with her a lot. We have a lot of things in common. She's has a passionate spirit. She seems to know what I'm thinking most of the time. But, really, there is something about her - I'd have to say I'm really attracted to her. I have thoughts about her that I probably shouldn't mention in this blog.

Above all, she's devoted to God (even more than she's devoted to me). She struggles with things at times, but don't we all. She seems to struggle a lot less than I do. She's so quick to forgive - a lot quicker than me. She's the first person through whom I ever saw Jesus.

Lest you worry, she's the only "hottie" in my life ... and I'm married to her. I'm pretty sure I never did anything great enough to deserve her. Today's our 13-year anniversary and I think I'm the luckiest guy on earth.

Thanks for listening...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

10 Easy Ways to Make Your Church More Boring

Here is the top ten list from a great post on Tony Morgan's blog.

One of the most frequent reasons cited for someone not attending church is because the services are boring. So the question is, what are we doing to make our services memorable and impactful? Or, do we believe people, especially those who aren't in a relationship with Jesus, should just be expected to show up and put up with something they perceive as boring?

10 Easy Ways to Make Your Church Services More Boring
  1. Don’t worry about when you finish. I’m sure no one has plans after the service.
  2. Straight Scriptures. No stories. Jesus didn’t teach that way, but you’re a better communicator than Jesus, right?
  3. Television? Movies? It’s just a phase. People don’t really need visual stimulation. They prefer talking heads.
  4. Use the same service order…every week…no exceptions…ever. (ouch!)
  5. Make more announcements.
  6. Encourage your elementary school kids to sit through your services. They love lively 45-minute sermons. It’s good for them. It builds character.
  7. Talk more about the past and the less about the future.
  8. Play the same Chris Tomlin song every week. And, try the chorus one more time. (ouch again!)
  9. Use lots of big words that no one uses in normal, everyday life.
  10. Forget relevant topics and life application. People are really only interested in hearing what you think, not why it matters to them.
What can we make of this list here at e.something? I'd like to know if you can add to the list. In the comments, let me know some great ways you can think of that would make our services more boring.

Promise Keepers

Please pray for me and those involved in an upcoming Promise Keepers Conference. I've been leading a worship team of guys from various churches around Helena. We've been preparing for a PK conference put on by the local PK chapter here in Helena, Last Chance Men of Integrity.

Anyway, we've been rehearsing for four weeks and it's been a struggle getting everyone together at one time. It's also been a challenge to get everyone on the same page musically. We have one more rehearsal next Friday and then the conference is all day next Saturday.

If you will, please pray that I will find someone to watch the kids. This will be the same weekend as Hannaford's Women's Retreat. So, not only will Andrea be gone, many of the other women in the church will be gone as well. I'm probably going to have to find another dad whose alone watching his kids, too.

Like I said, please pray for me, the other guys on the PK team, and you really need to pray for the poor guy I find to watch Andrik and Kellin :-)

Know Who Your Neighbors Are

Okay, I received this family watchdog website in an email from a friend. It's pretty interesting and just a little bit scary.

Here's the deal. You enter your address and it shows a a map of your neighborhood. It shows your address, marked by a little "house icon." It also shows little colored boxes which indicate sex offenders in your area. Click on a little colored box and you get a name and picture of the person along with their crime ... pretty amazing and scary!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hearing From God?

Okay! I've really been struggling with something lately and I was thinking maybe I could get some comments on this.

It seems that some believe that, in this day and age, God only speaks through His written word. Granted, I believe that the Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) Word of God written with the personalities of the authors who were supernaturally guided by the Holy Spirit. I also believe the Bible is true, but also has no errors. (All good Bible college stuff.)

While I believe all this, I also believe God speaks to our lives everyday through the Holy Spirit, through others, and through our circumstances. Yes, this leaves room for a lot of misunderstanding - and so God never contradicts His written Word. But, honestly, God's Word does not speak to every decision and experience that I have in my life.

For instance, should I sing at the local National Day of Prayer Breakfast? You could probably show me some scripture that indicates I should or shouldn't. Then given certain circumstances, I might be able to refute your answer with scripture as well. When I pray about this, will God answer me? and how?

Ultimately, I think the discussion is intimately linked with what we believe about the role of the Holy Spirit. Some seem to believe the only roles of the Spirit are to convict the sinner, indwell and seal the believer, and then provide spiritual gifts to each believer as He desires for the building up of the Body of Christ. While those are true, there is much more that we're mission of we only believe those things.

The Holy Spirit guides us, directs us, and comforts us for our daily life. The Bible itself, tells us that only the Spirit enables us to understand the scriptures. The Spirit intercedes for us in prayer as well. In my opinion, the Holy Spirit is the power of the believer to live the Christian life. Without the Spirit, we are hopeless. He takes on the main role in regenerating our lives, thoughts, and behaviors.

While all believers have the Holy Spirit living in them, we do not always surrender ourselves to Him, ultimately surrendering our will to the Father. That is what is meant by being filled with the Spirit - to die to self, continually.

So then, if this is true, how do we hear from God? It is only from reading His written word, or is there a larger picture? Are we denying the power of God and settling on just a form of godliness?

Your thoughts?

Blue Like Jazz

There's a couple of books I've read lately that I really liked. This post, I'd like to tell you about Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. It's not quite as heavy as the usual stuff I read, but has some great insight into how the rest of the world sees Christianity.

I'm going to warn you; this is a product of the postmodern age. But I think it's very important to understand that we live in a postmodern world with postmodern people. Postmodernism is a thought pattern more than it is an age label. Everything we are exposed to is influenced by postmodern thought; television, movies, magazines, etc.

The importance of Miller's book, it that it gives you an insight to what people think outside of the alienated church subculture. Basically, Miller presents some autobiographical material regarding his journey toward God. He spends a good amount of time working through the struggle of wanting to know God, but not wanting to be involved in "religion."

Like most of us postmodern natives, Miller rejected "religion" but still sought a spiritual connection. What is beautiful about his personable writing is that he still finds his way to the true God, but without all the "baggage" (that I am getting very tired of). I really enjoyed his conversational writing style because it was wrought with realism and authenticity. I would suggest Blue Like Jazz to anyone in the established church who is wondering what the rest of the world is thinking.

Next time, I would like to tell you about another book I read recently by one of my favorite authors: Len Sweet's Out of the Question, Into the Mystery.