Interactive Sermon

"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Friday, March 31, 2006

Interactive Sermon Exclusive pt. 4

Tonight's Concert To Be Recorded Live!

This is the fourth installment in our Two Poor Pastors coverage of their Milford, NH concert.

Sources close to the Two Poor Pastors have confirmed what has been rumored for weeks: this evenings concert at Santos Dumont in Milford will be recorded live, and is intended for an April release date. Sources would not speculate on the set lists for tonight's show, other than to say that the evening will feature new original music from both Mike and Darin, and then a set including some fan favorites.

A word to those concerned about the humane treatment of animals, especially Mexican donkeys: Pastor Mike will not be playing his multi-platinum single 'Mexican Seniorita'. The Two Poor Pastors released this statement concerning this decision: "Mike's decision not to play Mexican Seniorita tonight has nothing to do with the threats of activists and protestors, but rather it's a matter of his having turned the corner artistically. Mike no longer desires to be known as a comedic artist, but rather he desires now to be taken seriously as one of the great love song crooners of all time... sort of like, Barry Manilow."

Finally, tonight's opening act 'Servant's Heart'* were informed that they will not be able to use their world famous pyrotechnics as a part of their performance tonight due to local ordinances. When reached for a comment, a member of Servant's Heart who wished to remain nameless was quoted, "I don't even want to play if we can't blow anything up!"

Plan to get to Santos Dumont early tonight to get a good seat and plan to be loud and boisterous as a part of the live recording. Doors are already open. The concert starts at 7:30pm.

Look for tomorrow's Interactive Sermon exclusive wrap-up and review of the show.

* Servant's Heart is a pseudo-name utilized by two very talented musicians who desire in no way to have their real identities connected with the Two Poor Pastors.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Interactive Sermon Exclusive pt. 3

This is the third in a five part series leading up to the Two Poor Pastors' concert Friday night. Feel free to click 'comments' below and share your thoughts.

What people are saying about the Two Poor Pastors & Servant’s Heart:

“Goatees and candles… these guys are postmodern.” Robert Webber, Orlando, FL

“I haven’t seen the 2P2 together yet. I did catch Pastor Mike’s solo “Mexican Seniorita Tour” last summer. It was awesome. I’ve got a tour shirt!” Shari Shaw, Amherst, NH

“These guys are really poor, you know. The one guy never wears shoes when he plays music. I don’t guess he can afford them.” Anonymous, Manchester, NH

“Servant’s Heart rocks, man! I caught their show at my grandfather’s nursing home in Jersey a few months back. It was a great show, even though the insurance folks wouldn’t let them use their flashpots and smoke machine in the building.” Tom ‘Tommy Rocker’ Lewis, Mahwah, NJ

“Mike Knight is a humanitarian and guitarist.” The Milford Cabinet 5/2005

“Goatees and candles… these guys are emergent.” LeAnne Gallick, Bosnia

“Darin sure is a cute pastor, eh?” Anonymous, Amherst, NH

“Well, it’s a little known fact, but last summer the Two Poor Pastors were known as the ‘Two Poor Pastors and That Other Guy’. I played with them on the African leg of their tour.” Jason ‘Mrazculous’ Roaf, Nashua, NH

“They sort of remind me of Engelbert Humperdink.” Jackie Livsey, Manchester, NH

“I heard these heretics actually played a secular song, ‘Summer of ’69’, in church last year. You have to wonder what kind of sacrilege is next?” Brother Book, Longwood, FL

“Goatees and candles… these guys need to shave and pay their electric bills!” Anonymous, Merrimack, NH

"When the statute of limitations runs out I'm coming back to the States and I'm going to track Darin down and knock him out." Fugitive Puff the Magic Dragon, Undisclosed Location

“Servant’s Heart needs a better agent. I’d have advised them to stay away from the Two Poor Pastors. What a horrible career move!” Drew Rosenhaus, Los Angeles, CA

“I’ve always known Darin and Mike to have a high regard for rules.” Richard Morsbach, Namibia

“Darin sounds like Springsteen, eh?” Anonymous, Amherst, NH

“Postmodern? Emergent? I told you these guys are heretics!” Brother Book, Longwood, FL

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Darin-isms (1 Corinthians 1)

Join the conversation as we study thru 1 Corinthians together. Last Sunday's sermon notes and audio file are available in the menu on the right hand side of the page. Here are my observations on the next section of chapter one. Please feel free to post questions, comments, or to dialogue over Sunday's study, or the rest of this chapter.

Picking up the text where last Sunday’s sermon notes (March 26th) leave off…

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

It is surprising how quickly Paul turns from the pleasantries of his greetings to strong admonishment.

v. 10 ‘I appeal to you, brothers’ – This is pressing on Paul’s mind as he writes. It is a matter of vital importance – the disunity that has taken root – so that he speaks of it first and revisits it again more thoroughly later (see chapter 3).

He appeals to them as ‘brothers’. They are not adversaries of Paul’s, or of one another.

‘In the name of Jesus Christ’ – this is the tenth reference in the first 10 verses of this letter to Jesus. Whereas the first nine demonstrated Christ to be the foundation of our being called, set apart, saints, and the church, this tenth reference sets Christ as the foundation for the admonishment that is to follow.

The weight of this passage is not as much about disagreeing but rather being disagreeable (quarreling, see verse 11) with one another. Certainly there will be different opinions and understandings of things, but the church at Corinth had begun to divide into factions.

v. 11 Word has reached Paul of disunity.

v. 12 Paul gives an example of the sort of division that is happening. Scholars disagree on whether Paul was giving us the actual situation (i.e. people really dividing along the lines of Paul, Barnabas, Cephas (Peter) and Christ) or whether he was simply applying those names to the situation as an example, refraining from using real names or issues, so as not to risk further dividing the believers (for more on this view you might consider Paul’s words in 4:6).

v. 13 This is what matters. Is Christ divided? Christ is the foundation for our unity.

v. 14 Crispus is mentioned as having come to faith in Christ in Acts 18. At that time he was a ruler in the Jewish Synagogue. Sosthenes, mentioned in 1:1 was also a synagogue ruler in Corinth (see verse 1 and my notes under March 26th).

v. 14-17 There may have been an improper emphasis on baptism that Paul addresses. In this, he ministers much the way Jesus ministered (John 4:2 records that Jesus had his disciples baptize people, He wasn’t as concerned about baptizing people Himself). Paul echoes Jesus in this. These are an interesting couple of verses to consider with those who hold to some form of ‘baptismal regeneration’ doctrine – Paul, known as one of history’s greatest evangelists, didn’t place much emphasis on baptism. The line ‘Christ did not send me to baptize’ seems especially damning to baptismal regeneration.

Parson to Person

#22 ~ An ongoing 'imaginative/non-fictional' series.

Neither the Dukes or the Wrights showed up for our Christmas Eve service. Robin walked in and I was surprised to see Tre with her. Behind them were a couple of the other waitresses from the Diner, Bette and Stacy. I remembered how nervous Robin looked when she first visited Covenant. This crew looked every bit as nervous. I went to meet them and thank them all for coming.

“Merry Christmas Parson” Tre offered. “Robin said for Christmas she wanted us all to come to church with her. So, what’s the program? Where do I sit?”
Robin jabbed him, “You heathen! What? Have you never been in a church before?”

Sarah grabbed my arm and pointed out that Jesse and Jessi were walking in the door. They too looked nervous. I suppose it’s just unfamiliarity: not being sure where to sit, when to rise, what to do during different parts of the service.

Then the Santiago family came in. Dani met them at the door and brought them over to me. After we exchanged greetings, Dani said, “Dad, Mr. Santiago can give you directions to St. Boniface.” ‘Great’, I thought. Unless I come up with a grand excuse it appears I am going to take in my first Catholic Mass at midnight.

Christmas Eve really turned out wonderfully. The Cherub Choir sang during the service. Abby had let it be known this was her last year singing with the Cherub group. At 10, she was feeling ‘aged out’ of the choir. I appreciated this as perhaps my last chance to see one of my girls in the Children’s program. As usual our traditional family dinner and late night drive were special to me. I think I was most touched that Dani seemed to still appreciate the time with us. And, we saw some crazy light displays. We’d judge them as we went, mocking those that looked like someone stood back and threw lights at their house. Tacky!

As the midnight hour approached Dani and I made our way to St. Boniface. It was much bigger than I imagined. It was beautiful. ‘These Catholics sure know how to do church buildings’, I thought. As we walked in I spotted Hector and Lucienne. They motioned to us to join them. I wondered if the fact that I was nervous was written all over my face like I often see in visitors to Covenant. We took our seats and I prayed, “Lord, what am I in for?”

Monday, March 27, 2006

Along The Way (27/Mar./2006)

Monday morning... Good news out of Afghanistan today. Abdul Rahman, the man who is under a death sentence for having converted to Christianity from Islam 16 years ago, will be set free. The court announced that they will not pursue the case against him. The bad news is that he is still in great danger, as Muslim clerics are said to be threatening to kill him when he's released. Here's the story.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

So, Let's Talk About It

Greetings, and thank you for your willingness to step into this new endeavor with me. My hope is that we will turn monologue (sermon) into dialogue (conversation) using the blog.

This morning we considered together 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. You can find my sermon notes from this morning here or find them listed in the right hand menu under today's date. You can find an mp3 audio file of the message here or find it listed in the right hand menu.

I invite you to join the conversation. Do you have any questions we can discuss concerning the text or the message? Did you make any observations of the text that you are willing to share? Do you have any thoughts we might consider, whether in agreeing or disagreeing with anything in the message or my notes? Please feel free to speak up! You can post your thoughts simply by clicking 'comments' below and following the prompts.

As we move forward into the week I am planning to add some commentary on the remainder of 1 Corinthians chapter 1, as well as take a little further down the path of some observations we didn't have time to explore this morning. I'll hope your comments move the conversation along as well. So, plan to check back as often as you can through the week as we study 1 Corinthians together.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

For Our Saturday Night Readers

Sorry for the late posting tonight - I was out on a date with my oldest two daughters!

As we prepare to worship the Lord together in the morning, give a look to 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, the primary text we will consider. Give particular attention to what defines 'a saint'. You might also be interested in looking at Acts 18:1-17, the passage that records what we know about the beginnings of the church in Corinth.

Musically, I got to listen a bit to Kathy and her team preparing for tomorrow. The music set includes a couple Christ's Church favorites like 'Open The Eyes Of My Heart' and 'We Bow Down', as well as a new song or two. I heard the band playing thru the Salvador song Kathy introduced to us a couple weeks back called 'Those Who Trust', and I saw that the old hymn 'How Firm A Foundation' is on the list too. That song is full of some very wonderful and reassuring truth. I look forward to our time of worship in the morning.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Interactive Sermon Exclusive pt. 2

The Two Poor Pastors speak out concerning the controversy surrounding their upcoming concert.

In this, the second of five parts, the Two Poor Pastors address the concerns voiced by Fundamentalist Preacher Brother Book and others like him.

"The controversy began several years ago with our First Stryke world tour", begins Pastor Mike, pictured second from the left on the tour poster. "The whole thing was a tribute to early Christian rock - you know, the glam days."

"I've heard Brother Book. He's got it all wrong. We weren't wearing make-up. We'd been fasting. And, I'm not flashing gang signs, I'm showing off my fingernails - our record producers surprised us with a manicure that morning", suggests Pastor Darin, second from the right in the publicity shot. Mike added, "Book also said I was making a suggestive gesture with my lips. Everybody who knows rock-n-roll singing knows that if you suck on a lemon it clears your throat. That photographer didn't tell us he was shooting and I had just taken a hit on the lemon. It's clearly seen right there in my right hand." Darin concluded, "Hey, we love the Lord. We preached the gospel. We just did it in spandex in those days. But you outgrow spandex, you know, as I have. So now we do it in blue-jeans."

Brother Book charges that The Two Poor Pastor's changed their band name to duck his, and others' criticisms. Darin and Mike denied this.

"Stryken was the four of us: me, Darin, Gadzooks and Flo. When Gadzooks gave up music for a career as a pre-school librarian, we were planning to go on as a threesome" said Mike. "Yea", agreed Darin, "his kazoo really added a lot to our sound, but we thought we could go on. And then when Flo died we knew the time had come to call it quits."

Harpist Floyd (Flo) Wise died in a tragic gardening accident while the band was conceptualizing it's follow up album 'Stryke Deux'. The album never happened. Stryken was stricken and Darin and Mike became the Two Poor Pastors.

How have they changed over the years? "Well, I don't wear spandex anymore, and Mike only wears his around the church office. He doesn't go out in public like that", said Darin. "Yea, and I am very careful not to eat lemons when anyone has a camera", added Mike. "Our love for the Lord is the same. I do think our music is a little heavier now, though."

And what would they say to those who have heard Brother Book's criticisms? "Come to the concert on March 31st. See for yourself and then decide."

The Two Poor Pastors will be in concert at Santos Dumont in Milford on Friday night March 31st. Opening the evening is Servants Heart, a couple of talented musicians who use the pseudo-name Servants Heart to avoid their real identities and reputations being in any way connected to the Two Poor Pastors. Doors open at 6AM at Santos. The concert will begin at 7:30PM.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Sermon Series – New Blog Adventure

Help! Those of you who are regular Interactive Sermon viewers: would you be willing to help me launch a new feature of this page?

Beginning this weekend (and with a new series of studies thru the entire book of 1 Corinthians), I will post my sermon notes and an mp3 of the message here on the blog. I will be inviting people to read back thru the notes, or to revisit the audio, and to post comments, questions, agree, disagree or otherwise share their experience with the study. My hope is to provide a forum that will help enhance all of our apprehension and application of the Word.

In addition to the dialogue over the sermon text, because I will tackle a chapter a week over sixteen weeks, and because I can’t preach on an entire chapter each Sunday morning, I will endeavor to include postings thru the week that comment on the remainder of the chapter – those parts not covered in the sermon. My hope here is that together, thru the blog, we will accomplish a pretty thorough study of 1 Corinthians.

Lastly, I’m hoping to add a couple of pieces each week on the blog to add some flavor – looking into the little observations, rabbit trails or controversies each passage offers up – in a way that I cannot tackle on a Sunday morning.

You ask, “How can I help?” – Thanks for asking!

You can (1) plan to help me ‘seed’ the conversation in the early days of this new adventure. Because you are a somewhat regular visitor, I could really use your help in showing newcomers to the blog scene how it can be done. (2) Please tell others about this new feature on the blog. I imagine that even folks who don’t come to CCA would benefit from reading through the conversation on these topics. And, for anyone who is an unbeliever, there cannot be a safer place to look in on spirituality than thru a virtual window. (3) Converse with people about our study thru 1 Corinthians. Help me foster conversation as we move thru this study. And (4) email me suggestions as we get started. What would you like to see? What would be helpful? How can it be better? I really value your input.

Can I count on you to help?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Interactive Sermon Exclusive!

Breaking News…

Two Poor Pastors speak about the controversy surrounding their upcoming performance and answer their critics.

With a transparency that is uncommon in ministry circles, the Two Poor Pastors spoke today concerning the growing wave of protestors vowing to disrupt their March 31st concert in Milford. The 2P2 covered a wealth of topics including charges of heresy, racism and animal abuse. In this, part one of a five part report, the Pastors spoke in answer to animal abuse charges surrounding the death of a mole in the fall of 2005.

“Mike is still too emotional to talk much about it”, said Pastor Darin Shaw. Pastor Michael Knight stared at the floor for much of this section of the interview, occasionally wiping his eyes or blowing his nose.

“It was a matter of self defense. Most people don’t realize how dangerous those moles really are. They are responsible for a number of human deaths each year. They’ve got that one big tooth, you know. If they get you in the area of a major artery, and that’s where they concentrate their attacks, you can bleed out!” said Shaw.

I asked if there was documentation of this ferocity. Shaw replied, “Absolutely. In fact Mike had just seen a special on Animal Planet about this called ‘Moles Gone Wild’. So this whole incident happened when the image of moles attacking was fresh in Mike’s mind.”

At this point Mike added in, “It was really him or me!”

Shaw continued, “People also underestimate how illusive those little critters are. I mean, it was one heck of a shot (can I say ‘heck’ here?) for Mike to land that blow with the snow shovel. Why do you think there is a game called ‘Whack-a-mole’? I’ll tell you why. Those little critters jive and weave making them very hard to hit. They’re shifty and fast. I mean, they don’t call the game ‘Whack-a-kindergartner’ or ‘Whack-a-squirrel’ – it’s ‘Whack-a-mole’, man.”

Knight spoke up again, “Tell them about the psychologist’s theory.”

Shaw continued, “We took Mike to a shrink, you know, to deal with the trauma. The doc told us about cases where some people get so distraught emotionally that they decide to take their own lives, but they do it in such a way that someone else actually pulls the trigger. Perhaps the distraught person will commit a crime and then the police will come, and they’ll point a weapon at police, and force the officer to use deadly force in self defense. Well, who’s to say that this little mole wasn’t troubled? Maybe he saw Mike and that snow shovel as a way to… you know. Maybe that was the plan from the beginning.”

“I wish I could have talked to the little guy” added Mike. “I mean, maybe we could have gotten him some help. I guess we’ll never know.” At this point Pastor Mike excused himself for a few moments.

Shaw concluded, “You see that? He’s broken up about this. These activists don’t know what kind of pain they’re causing. It wasn’t animal abuse. It was self defense. No one feels worse about it than we do.”

But what of reports that there was a separate mole incident back in 2004? The moment that question was posed, Sharon the church administrator, stepped in to tell Pastor Darin that there was an urgent matter that needed his immediate attention. Was it good timing or is there more to the story that we haven’t uncovered? Stay tuned for parts 2 thru 5 of our Interactive Sermon Exclusive.

A 'serious' note to my Interactive Sermon friends... my postings counter tells me that this is my 300th post on the blog. Thank you for seeing this milestone with me. I look forward to the next 300!

Taking Liberty For Granted?

Just last Saturday night I posted a brief thought on how thankful I am that we can meet freely in our nation to worship the Lord, without fear of persecution. What a blessing that is! So many of our fellow believers around the world do not have this freedom. Here is a story showing up on many news sites this week about a brother in Christ in Afghanistan facing death for his faith in Jesus Christ. He has been offered a stay of execution if he will deny Christ and return to Islam. He has refused to do so. His fate is in the hands of a judge. Will you give this article a read and pray for him, and for so many others like him around the world without the freedoms we so often take for granted.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Parson to Person

#21 - An ongoing 'imaginative/non-fictional' series.

I had a lot on my mind Christmas Eve. I suppose that I was concerned other former Covenant folks might come out of the woodwork to join the Dukes and the Wrights at our Christmas Eve service. More than that, I wasn’t happy with the message I prepared, I poured over it as the afternoon progressed. There was also the little matter with Dani.

Sarah had forewarned me that Dani had been invited to attend a Christmas Eve Mass at the Catholic Church with Renaldo’s family. She would be asking my permission. I struggled to determine just what it was about the idea that I didn’t like. I was having a tough time being honest with myself about it. I had determined to tell Dani ‘no’ because of the importance of spending Christmas Eve as a family. I framed my argument around the importance of our family traditions on Christmas Eve: church, supper after the service, and then taking a drive to look at Christmas lights. When she finally came to ask me, however, I was caught off guard by her actual request.

“Hey Dad, got a minute?”, she called from the door of my study.
She sat down on the futon and began, “Mom tells me that we’re having supper about 7:30 after the service. I figure that we might be looking at lights until around 10:00 or so if we find some good ones – if it goes much later than that and Abby will be falling asleep in the car.” She continued, “I wonder if just you and I could do something special after that? Late, after all the family stuff.”

“What do you have in mind?” I asked, worried that I knew where this was going.
“You know how I like it when just the two of us go and visit churches when we’re on vacation. It’s kind of ‘our thing’. Well, the Santiagos go to a midnight Mass at St. Boniface. They invited me to come, but, I was wondering if you would go with me?”

“Dani, I don’t know. I’ve never been to a Catholic Mass.” It sounded ridiculous, but I really didn’t know what else to say.
“Well Dad, we had never been to a Pentecostal church before that one last summer, remember?”

“Well, it will be late too. Midnight?” I shrugged.“Come on old man” she smiled. ‘You managed to stay awake when you took me to see ‘Lord of the Rings’ at midnight.”

Monday, March 20, 2006

Charlie Sheen - A Credible Voice?

Hollywood never ceases to amaze me. I ran across this on Drudge. Seems another 'credible' voice has joined the conspiracy theorists concerning 9/11. Oh boy!

Along The Way (20/March/2006)

Monday... I've got a list of things I want to accomplish on my day off, but I plan to tackle those chores today, as a great opportunity to pray, for some friends who are facing surgery and some time in the hospital, their concerned loved ones and friends.

A lot of folks have commented on the Two Poor Pastors posting. A quick heads-up: there is more Two Poor Pastors news coming, so look for them. In the meantime, check your calendar - no, change that - CLEAR your calendar, to come enjoy the evening of March 31st with 2P2&Friends.

Namibia training session two is in the books. All in all things continue to come together for the team and the trip. I'm anxious to hear this week from a number of our partners in Namibia about the next wave of details being arranged.

I'm also looking forward to beginning a new sermon series next week, a study thru the entire book of 1 Corinthians that will cover much of the rest of the year. This one will be interesting because I am planning to cover a portion of a chapter each week on Sunday and then to cover the remainder of the chapter the following week here on the blog - and hopeful some folks will make use of the resource, making it a pretty thorough study of Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. Time will tell. I switched my personal devotion reading to 1 Corinthians a couple weeks ago and I am really enjoying it. Hopefully that will translate into some great studies for us together at Christ's Church.

Chores await...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

For Our Saturday Night Readers

What a great privilege it is to gather and worship the Lord. Many of our fellow believers around the world don't have the freedom we enjoy here in America. Many are forced to meet in secret and do so under the threat of violent persecution. Give thanks to the Lord for our freedoms and continue to pray for the persecuted church around the world.

This summer members of our worship music team here at Christ's Church will return to Namibia as the band "By Faith". They will be playing concerts every day during the trip, everywhere from High Schools to Churches, dirt lots to Community Amphitheatres. This group will be bringing the gospel message of Jesus Christ and education on sexual purity in the face of the HIV/AIDS pandemic across the country. Tomorrow morning "By Faith" will lead us in worship. Included in the set are a couple of great hymns (Be Thou My Vision & Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing), some CCA favorites (Blessed Be Your Name, Glory & You Are Holy, for instance) and a new song for us from Matt Redmon. So I hope you'll prepare your heart to worship in song - loudly!

If you're one of those who likes an advance look at the sermon text, read thru Mark 10:35-45. You might also look at 1 Peter 2:4-10. We will wrap up our brief series of studies on the subtle mis-steps that threaten the church by talking about a misunderstanding of leadership. I look forward to worshipping the Lord with you in the morning!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Activists Plan Action At Local Concert

Members of numerous political and social activist groups are making plans for a show of force at the upcoming ‘Two Poor Pastors’ concert, scheduled for Friday night, March 31st at 7:30pm.

“We’re planning to show up and protest the concert. We are making signs and placards right now that will expose the 2P2 for what they really are – MEAT-EATERS!” said the Vegan Vigilante, Ruth Chris. She continued, “These guys don’t just eat hamburger. They’re going to Africa and eating Kudu and Oryx. Something needs to be done to stop them!”

The New England chapter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been put on Red Alert status. “It’s about more than eating meat. These two guys have a history of terrorizing helpless animals wherever they go”, said PETA’s Graham Lamb. “Sure, they deny it. We’ve seen copies of their videos!”

It’s not only animal rights organizations that are upset.

Pedro Loco, president of the Latino Anti Defamation League, remarked, “The one they call Miguel (Michael Knight), they call him a humanitarian. He is no friend of Latinos! He wrote a love song about a man and his Mexican donkey. It alleged that Latinos are drug smugglers. He makes fun of our water. He sings his song and the Americans laugh – oh, ha ha! He is a bigot and we will never welcome him again in Mexico!”

Even those who have been friends of the 2P2 in the past are surfacing to question changes they’ve seen in recent years. John Book, former schoolmaster of the Fundamentalist Baptist Pre-School Darin Shaw attended in the early 1970’s voiced his concern, “Brother Darin, and I hesitate to call him brother these days, has turned against the roots of his religious upbringing. They say he’s licentious now. I believe it. I’ve seen pictures of him preaching – he’s not wearing a coat or a tie! A polo shirt? He’s let himself go and grown some facial hair. The devil wears a goatee, you know! What’s next? Will he start listening to that rock-n-roll music? What then, he’ll start blogging? He’ll become a friend of Emergent? God help him!”

In response to this fervor, friends and fans of 2P2 pledge they won’t be discouraged from attending the concert. One fan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “Darin and Mike are two of the best guys I know. They love animals – except for moles.” Another who identified himself simply as ‘Ozzy’ said, “What the Smoke? These guys rock, man!”

The Two Poor Pastors concert on March 31st will be free to the public. Love offerings will be appreciated to help fund this summer’s Namibia trip. Opening for 2P2 is Servant’s Heart, a musical duo refusing to use their real names in association with the 2P2. The concert will start at 7:30pm.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

If you visit 20 different websites to seek the true origins of St. Patrick's Day, and the history of St. Patrick, you'll discover 20 different answers. So, here's what is actually known:

St. Patrick is considered the Patron Saint of Ireland. He was born in Scotland (though no one is certain where or when) and he became a priest and moved to Ireland to teach pagans, likely soccer hooligans (see my theory below), about God. He died (St. Patrick - NOT God!) on March 17th, 461. There you have it.

My theory is that the holiday has evolved into the greenery it is today because people needed an excuse to wear green - after all, green doesn't go with any fashion season! The green beer thing is where the soccer hooligans come in. Legend has it that one year after a World Cup upset victory an Irish pub ran out of beer. In a desperate effort to keep the hooligans from trashing his establishment, pub owner Tulip O'Smarty (a good Calvinist pub owner) snuck out in the alley and mixed automotive antifreeze with Tussin cough syrup and began serving it as 'Irish beer'.

So, how does the Pastor of Christ's Church celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Shari and I have a standing tradition of joining Peter and Sharon Havens for Corned Beef & Cabbage and a mug of green beer. So, Happy St. Patty's - and you've got a little cabbage stuck in your teeth there.

Warning: The consumption of antifreeze can be harmful or fatal unless you're an Irish Soccer Hooligan in which case your stomach is invincible.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm Still Laughing!

Oh my! I ran across this an hour ago and have been laughing ever since. It's a 'You Might Be Emergent" piece. I giggled at first, and when I got to the "your reading and discussing these" section I lost it - they've got my bookshelf in there! What do you think?

The Distributed Church: Not Just Another Model

The Seeker Sensitive Church; the Purpose Driven Church; the Gen X Church; the Cell Church; the G12 Model Church; etc.

The Distributed Church is not another ‘model’ of the local church. The term model suggests a pattern for imitation or emulation. That is certainly how people in church circles have viewed a Willow Creek ‘model’ or a Purpose Driven ‘model’. These larger churches have been looked upon as having a template for ministry that can be picked up and laid over a lesser successful setting – in hopes of producing greater results. Within these models there are sometimes methods seen as inherent to them. For those that pick up the Willow Creek model, for instance, it usually means becoming more contemporary in style, more casual in dress, and more technical in media.

The Distributed Church is rather a perspective on church ministry – a perspective that embraces the idea that an individual congregation is really a small part of God’s much larger whole. With the Distributed Church, each congregation that embraces such a perspective on church ministry will implement it – or flesh it out – in a manner fitting with their unique DNA and particular vision as a local church congregation. In each setting, it ought to look different. As in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, we see the body as being all three, (1) united – verses 12-13, (2) many and diverse – verses 14-20, and (3) interdependent on one another– verses 21-26. Some congregations will be a foot while some will be elbows, and to try to dress an elbow to resemble a foot would be an unfortunate mistake. There really isn’t a template that transfers from a church of 10,000 to a church of 200. There really isn’t a template that transfers from a church in South Barrington, Illinois to a church in Southern New Hampshire.

Additionally, the word ‘model’ has a time connotation to it: ‘the latest model’ or ‘last years model’ or ‘an antiquated model’, for instance. The Distributed Church, however, is generative, living and life giving, evolving and organic. It will look different in every different setting, and will be freshly relevant today and tomorrow as it was in the first century. Rather than seeing the Distributed Church as a model, we see local congregations as ‘models’ of the Distributed Church. These models all share the very same perspective – that of each of their identities being a small part of God’s bigger whole – and on that perspective these congregations understand their relationship to one another and others. Each congregation that may be seen as a model of the Distributed Church continues ministering in methods that are most fitting for their unique DNA, particular Vision and those that are most responsive to the unique culture they find themselves in. You can, and indeed should, have models of the Distributed Church that look and feel very different!

This is a piece of a larger project I'm playing with on the church in the {twenty}first century. I'd welcome your feedback. I'll drop a few more pieces here in the coming weeks.

Free Stuff - TNIV For Your Pocket PC or Palm

Greetings Folks,
I ran across this today. If you are a Pocket PC or Palm type of person, this might be of interest to you. Check it out!

Consumer Driven pt. 2

On Sunday we considered consumerism as another of the subtle threats that the church faces in our times. Let's continue thinking along that theme:

Last time we considered society's consumeristic view of the church and the subtle danger that poses. Today, consider the next step, when consumerism actually comes to church. This is when those in the body begin to view the church as a purveyor of religious goods. The results can include everything from a very shallow level of commitment to the development of individualistic spiritualities. When consumerism comes to church it can look like a Burger King mentality - "I'll have it my way!"

A consumeristic mindset can lead to disunity in the church. As consumers we expect perfection. We will cast aside a product we've used for years when a 'new and improved' version hits the market. We will change our buying habits when we've had a less-than-perfect experience. If we allow ourselves to view the church as nothing more than a purveyor of religious goods, there will always be a new and improved version, or a more perfect experience to be had.

The church is the body of Christ, not a retailer. Commitment is important. Each part of the whole plays a crucial role. Consider 1 Corinthians 12 again. Supreme effort needs to go into the relationships in the church. Diligence needs to be given to reconciliation - for the health of the body - much more an organism than an organization.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Parson to Person

It's been brought to my attention that having the entire series of 'P2P' accessible through one link would be a blessing, enabling folks to go back to earlier installments with greater ease. I'm working on gathering the whole series in one file and hope to have that link in place very soon. To those of you enjoying the series - thanks for reading!

#20 ~ An ongoing 'imaginative/non-fictional' series.

“It’s silly, really. I mean, in the end it wasn’t even my heart – it was gas!” Jesse said with sort of an embarrassed laugh. “For a little while there, though, I thought I might be dying. I was so scared.”
The four of us took turns remembering that morning. We were all worried.

Jessica seemed to give Jesse an encouraging nudge. He continued, “All I could think was ‘I am too young to die’. I mean, there has to be more. Even after the doc told me I was going to be fine, I’ve been rethinking this whole life of mine. Jess and I have been talking - there has to be more to life than just getting by for a few decades and then dying. We haven’t really thought about this stuff much before. Now, it’s all we’re thinking about. So, what’s all this about? Why now?”

I had one of those awesome experiences I’ve sometimes had when sharing about Jesus or in preaching a sermon – one of those moments when I’m conscious of two conversations going on at the same time. I was speaking with Jesse about God, but at the very same time I was speaking to God about Jesse, and listening to God for just what to say. I’m confident that the Lord was giving me words through which He was revealing His love to Jesse and Jessica. I realized, also, how vastly different those words coming out of my mouth were from the pat answers I had learned in seminary. This was a heartfelt conversation, not a sales pitch.

Jessica spoke up, “What about all the weird stuff?” She urged her husband, “Tell Brian about it.”
“Weird stuff?” I asked. “Let me guess: ever since that morning you’ve been noticing all sorts of strange coincidences and little things that call your attention to God, right?”

The Gerrys were shocked. “How did you know?” Jesse asked.
They chronicled a list: everything from a distant relative calling them out of the blue and mentioning his church to having a car with a license plate that read ‘It’s God’ parked in the cul-de-sac one afternoon. “Man, every day there’s something like that,” Jesse concluded.
Sarah and I were thrilled to share with our friends about the pursuing love of God. On the way home we rejoiced; they were being pursued by the Hound of Heaven!

Monday, March 13, 2006

To Tithe Or Not To Tithe?

One of my daily reads, Todd Rhodes on his blog Monday Morning Insights, mentioned this survey and story concerning tithing. Give it a read and let me know what you think. I'll weigh in with my thoughts a little later in the week.

Consumer Driven?

Yesterday we considered together the subtle threat that consumerism and a consumeristic mindset poses the church in our times. For our study yesterday morning I broke it down into three different examples. Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week I’ll take a look back through each of those three examples.

The first example: a consumeristic view of the church.
Prevalent in our culture, this is when people look at the church the same way they look the mall: If there's something there that interests them, they'll go. They might even make a financial exchange; they might give a little money for services rendered, if the services seem to fit their need.

The danger: When people look at the church with the same mindset through which they view the mall, they are likely to look and ask, "What is here that I can get?" It's a marketplace mentality. There's no responsibility. There's no accountability. There’s no relationship, but rather a transaction – “I’m willing to go there if they offer me something." In so doing, they miss a most important truth: God has placed them in the church for His glory, for the building up of the body, and for one another.

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and Ephesians 2:11-22 and 4:1-16. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Where's Waldo? Uh... Buddha?

In a strange twist, the 16 year old boy thought to be a reincarnation of Buddha and called 'Buddha Boy' (I'll call him B.B. for short), mysteriously disappeared over the weekend in Nepal. B.B. has been sitting in the roots of a tree very much like Buddha is said to have meditated. Reportedly, he has not eaten anything or taken a restroom break since the middle of May, but is said to have somehow been super-naturally fed and, well... relieved. Here's a link to the story. Give it a read and let me know where you think B.B. might have gone. My theory? I'm guessing he heard that members of the World Famous Christ's Church Worship Band played at Santos Dumont this afternoon - and that they have a bathroom there.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

For Our Saturday Night Readers

As you prepare to worship the Lord in the morning, a quick read thru 2 Timothy 4:1-5 would be good. That is the text we will study together. A look at Malachi chapter 3 might be a blessing too. There's a great passage on tithing there, and we will sing a chorus together that comes from that passage in the morning as we worship the Lord in bringing our tithes and offerings.

Speaking of music, there are a couple of great tunes from the new Chris Tomlin live disc on the list, as well as a great hymn and a couple of favorites from last year's Christ's Church Worship Band disc. I look forward to sharing in worship together with you in the morning!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Beautiful Truths

A few people have asked about the readings that I shared before we observed Communion on Sunday. They were selected passages from the Heidelberg Catechism, a document from the mid 16th century. The catechism was commissioned by a German Elector, Frederick III, to clarify the fundamental beliefs of Christianity amidst all of the debate and rancor in the early days of the Protestant Reformation. The Heidelberg Catechism is still widely appreciated across Christianity. It was particularly Q&A #1 that struck people on Sunday. Let's revisit it:

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

What are your thoughts on the truths expressed here? What impression do these truths make upon your heart? Your daily walk with the Lord? How might these truths be a blessing to others?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Along The Way (9/Mar./2006)

Thursday... Well, I see that Sheet-Metal Jesus sold for $1575 on eBay. What a bargain! We missed out.

I had a great time early this morning with my reading group (there's only three of us, but the word 'group' makes it sound impressive) talking about chapter one of The Ragamuffin Gospel. Having read the book a couple of months ago, it is a blessing for me to revisit it now with the guys and think back through some of the passages that strike them. I highly recommend this kind of a reading group - the insights and musings of other readers can make books take on a whole new light and can give you a glimpse of where God is at work in each others lives.

Breathing again after the NFL owners and players struck a new collective bargaining deal. Most importantly this means we won't lose football any time soon to a labor strike, but in the world of a Buccaneer fan like me it means some of my favorite players won't need to become salary cap casualties. There is a God!

I've been reading through Jeremiah this last couple of weeks, a chapter or so a night and thinking on it as I go to sleep. I am struck by how 'prone to wander' I am. While I am not out carving idols of wood and bowing down to them, I am prone to set my affections on lesser 'gods'. I am also struck by how jealous God is for the affections of His people. I am so thankful for grace. I certainly don't deserve His unwavering love. And the fact that He wants me to be in a relationship with Him, and to know Him blows me away. Check this from chapter 9:
"Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom or the strong man boast in his strength or the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth - for in these I delight."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Defining Success pt. 2

Continuing our study from Sunday thru Matthew 16:21-28...

Again, returning to consider verse 23, "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man":

Peter spoke (in verse 22) from his contemporary understanding of kings and kingdoms. Certainly kings don't go this route - crucifixion, death, and burial - in establishing their reign! No, first there is recognition. Then there are growing numbers of loyal followers. Then there is some form of a coronation. Then there is conquest and victories! This is what kings and kingdoms look like.

We can get into similar danger when we look to define church success in terms of contemporary understanding. Having busy church calendars, swelling numbers and community recognition is all fine, but if that becomes the measuring standard we are amiss. Loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds; loving others as ourselves; communicating the gospel 'to all creatures'; lives offered up as living sacrifices - let's look to those as measuring standards. How are we doing?

The Rest Of The Story

A couple of days ago I posted this picture. Here is the article that tells the whole story of the 'grate-escape'. As I read the story I couldn't help adding in my head - how much money was spent to save this cat? The city workers, fire department, BRINGING IN A BACKHOE, the vet - all of this had to add up to a hefty price. A little vaseline and a club would have sufficed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

An Update On 'Sheet Metal Jesus'

Just a quick update... You've only got one day left if you're going to get in on this Jesus sighting!

The interesting thing to me is that Jesus has gone down in value since we last checked in on Him. He was valued at $2000 last week. He will go home with you today for just over $1000. No way! What a bargain!

The bid history is interesting. It seems many people have bid higher amounts for the Man 'O Steel but they've either rescinded their bids or had their bids cancelled by the seller. Imagine that, the seller feels some of those bids are not serious!

I could preach on this: Jesus declining in value in the hearts of people; People making impressive overtures toward Jesus and then rescinding them; Pharisee types telling people their overtures toward God are not good enough... A sermon series in the making?

I'm not so sure I see Jesus in the sheet metal. I think it looks like me - growing forehead, mustache and goatee with no connectors, hand on my chin in that classic 'thinking man' pose. That line across my forehead is just a little metal fatigue...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Parson to Person

#19 - An ongoing 'imaginative/non-fictional' series.

Sarah is very perceptive. Try as I might to keep all of this from worrying her, she was seeing through me.

“The Dukes filed a grievance with the Denomination concerning me. I guess they’ve talked to the Wrights and now they’ve contacted the Superintendent too. I don’t think it will amount to anything”, I summarized.

“Nothing but a load of stress for you”, Sarah said as she leaned over and kissed my forehead.
“Nah, you know I don’t do stress. It’s against my religion”, I joked.

Normally Christmas time is a great season for me. This year was feeling different. Perhaps it was stress related to this whole matter with the Dukes – and now the Wrights. If so, my meeting with Dan Hiles on Tuesday did little to ease matters.

“Brian, we need to officially hear their grievance. We’ll wait until after the first of the year to allow everyone to enjoy the holidays. But a formal Committee meeting needs to be set on the calendar.”

I thought to myself, “Did he really say ‘so everyone can enjoy the holidays’?” Sure!

At work on my Christmas Eve planning, I tried desperately to set those concerns aside. There was still so much to be excited about. While the church is celebrating Christ’s birth into this world, I was personally praising God for what looked like Christ’s being born into the hearts of a couple of brand new believers this Christmas season. Robin had embraced Christ as her Savior. I was thrilled at every conversation with her to experience all of this – life, faith, Christmas, everything – through her fresh perspective. Oblivious to church politics, her experience was that church was a big love-fest. It felt so right to see things through her eyes. The gospel was so simple, just like Jesus said – simple enough for a child. No concerns for systematic theologies or theories of the atonement, just the simple gospel truth. She’d tell you, that truth has changed her life.

Then there was Jesse. Sarah and I were having supper with the Gerrys tonight. In each of the few telephone calls it took to firm up our plans, Jesse went on and on about his excitement to have this spiritual conversation with me. I could tell this evening was going to be very interesting.

One For My Fellow Cat Lovers

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

To the feline non-friendly like me, this one's worth a million bucks!

Oh, relax. They managed to free the little guy. He's okay.

Defining Success pt. 1

Yesterday we considered Matthew 16:21-28 and the tendency we have to look at things from our human perspective and act in ignorance of what God is doing.

Jesus ended his dialogue with Peter by demonstrating the profound differences between 'the things of God and the things of man' (v. 24-28). He teaches, "to try to save your life is to lose it, while to give up your life is to save it" in verse 25. In so doing He reminds us that in Christ we live and learn in paradoxes. His ways are so very different from ours. Consider these:

In Christ...
* the way up is the way down
* to be low is to be raised high
* to be broken is to be healed
* the contrite spirit is a rejoicing spirit
* the repentant heart is the victorious heart
* to have nothing is to possess all
* to bear the cross is to wear a crown
* to give is to receive
* to be last is to be first
* to become the greatest you must become the least
* to die is to live

Saturday, March 04, 2006

For Our Saturday Night Readers

As you prepare your hearts to gather and worship the Lord in the morning, here are a few items you might consider:

First, we will worship the Lord tomorrow observing the Lord's Supper. You might read 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 as a preface to coming to the Lord's Table in the morning.

In our study of the Scriptures we will look at Matthew 16:21-28.

As we come prepared to unite our voices in song, consider the words of Psalm 150. Consider that singing praises to God is not a quiet affair but a raucous one. I look forward to adding my voice in together with yours in the morning.

Along The Way (4/Mar./2006)

Saturday... I apologize for the slothfulness in posting the last day or so. I spent Thursday at the dentist. Then I spent most of yesterday at home with a stomach bug of some kind. I am happy to report that I am on the mend.

I read this morning of a Christian naturist church-camp that's opening in Florida. Sounds like really bad case of sunburn to me. Here's the article if you're interested in reading about it. Me? I like clothes.

Plans for the Namibia trip this summer continue to come together very slowly but steadily. We've just about completed the band's itinerary. They are going to see a few areas of the country that Christ's Church teams have never visited before. We've also got many of the logistics confirmed. Thank you for your continued prayer as the trip is drawing ever closer.

One more thing on Namibia... Mike Knight and I are going to play a concert on Friday evening March 31st at Santos Dumont in Wilton. My sister Debbie and guitarist friend Barry will 'open the show for us' (doesn't that make it sound like Mike and I are really good?). Mike and I are planning to share some of our original songs and to play a lot of worship favorites. So, save the evening. And bring lots of money! Mike and I are hoping that folks will be generous and help us meet the costs of our trip to Namibia this summer. All donations are tax-deductible! More on this soon.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Bigoted Homophobe

Across a lifetime of acquaintances and friendships (a number of them with homosexuals), you won’t find anyone who would charge that I am a homophobe or bigot. Yet, people who have never heard of me would have you believe that is who I am.

Outspoken same-sex marriage proponent Scott Bidstrup articulates the pat accusation: “Opposition to gay-marriage stems ultimately from deep-seated homophobia, borne of religious bigotry”. How is it that we cherish our liberties in America, to hold and express different opinions, but if you voice opposition to gay-marriage you’re a homophobic bigot?

Opposition to same-sex marriage is neither phobia nor prejudice. Those emotionally charged labels are erroneously applied to undermine and disqualify opposing views – especially when those views illuminate true motives underlying the cause.

Here’s one. It is not for the legal, financial or health benefits, nor is it the stability and exclusivity of a marital covenant that are the goal of the same-sex marriage campaign. Marriage, rather, is coveted as a psychological jewel to change society’s perception of homosexuality. This is why Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships are not enough.

Read Bidstrup’s words concerning medical decisions and gay couples: “Often family members who have been estranged from us for decades, who are hostile towards us, totally ignore our wishes regarding the treatment of our partners”. Those words convey an underlying longing that marriage would bring added credibility to same-sex relationships, into those broken familial relations. If it were simply about legalities, any remedy, signed affidavits to legislative provision, could suffice. Recently, arguing against a Constitutional Amendment to forever define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, NH State Representative Steve Vaillancourt was quoted, “Gay people are against this because they want to be recognized as human and capable of love like everyone else.” In other words, same-sex marriage would further validate the homosexual lifestyle.

The fact is that marriage is understood by society (gay and straight) to be more than just a legal contract. There is a certain social recognition that comes along with marriage that is not part and parcel to Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships or Common-Law relationships. This is precisely why marriage should not be redefined, but should be protected.

No one has ever heard me say that someone who is homosexual is any less human or any less capable of love than I am. I don’t believe that. Nor do I believe that marriage is the only means to meet the legal, financial or health concerns of gay couples. Nor do I believe that marriage should be redefined to validate a lifestyle. Lastly, I’ll plead that you’d get to know me before you label me a homophobe or bigot.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Parson to Person

#18 - An ongoing 'imaginative/non-fictional' series.

I was thankful for the lunch invite from the Santiago family, it kept my imagination from running wild into why the Dukes and the Wrights showed up together at church. Those concerns would surface later in the day.

Hector said, “We really enjoyed Mass this morning, Brian. Is it always like that?”
It took me a moment to figure out what he had just said. I had never heard the word ‘Mass’ used of a Protestant worship service before.

Lucienne added, “I really like the feel of a small Parrish”.
Again, I noticed the word Parrish – not a word we normally used to describe a congregation.

Our conversation was wonderful. I came away impressed that Hector and Lucienne were indeed very devout in their faith in Jesus and in their commitment to their church. I was surprised that there was genuine openness in our conversation about their experience at Covenant. They asked a lot of questions – good ones. I was nervous to ask some of the questions that were on my mind about Catholicism. I didn’t want to offend the Santiagos or embarrass Dani.

After our lunch date I looked forward to my normal Sunday afternoon nap. I decided to quickly check my email first. A note from Dan Hiles, the denomination’s District Superintendent greeted me.

Sent: 12/20/05 7:00am
To: Brian Haas
Subject: Meeting

Greetings Brian,
Might you have time for a visit with me this week? In short, the office received another complaint. This one is from a man named Earnest Wright. Once again, it looks pretty ‘run of the mill’ but, it would be good for us to talk. I’d prefer a face to face talk over a telephone call. Please drop me a line back as to your availability. Dan

I turned off the computer and stared at the dark screen. I felt Sarah’s hand on my shoulder.
“Does it have anything to do with both the Dukes and the Wrights showing up at church today?”

Ash Wednesday in the Church

Today is the official start of the season of Lent in the church calendar year. Lent has not been observed as devoutly in evangelical Christianity because of its ties with liturgical worship style, a style of worship most evangelical churches have moved away from. Much of our heritage as Christians, however, included high liturgy and church calendar year observance.

Briefly, Lent spans the 40 weekdays beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending in Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday). Lent is primarily a season in which the church prepares to celebrate the Lord's death, burial and resurrection. It is marked by repentance, prayer and fasting. Many believers will go to church today, Ash Wednesday, and have ashes mark their foreheads as a symbol of penitence to accompany the beginning of this season. Ash Wednesday is intended to be a day of great self-examination and reflection.

Whether you observe Ash Wednesday or not, do recognize the significance ~ we live our lives in relationship to a Holy God, who has made us, placed us in the place of our habitation, and loves us more than we can imagine. Our lives ought to reflect that truth.

'Bloody Thursday' in the NFL

An offseason breaking news item from the Guru ~

NFL fans, brace yourselves. Word is that the owners and players association have failed to get a new collective bargaining agreement in place. Although they have until midnight tonight, both sides have left the table. What happens next will be shocking. Teams are required to be in compliance with the salary cap by business day's end Thursday. Assuming that there would be considerable relief with a new CBA, many NFL teams allowed themselves to be right up against the cap and many miles beyond the cap. In what sports writers are calling 'Bloody Thursday' both the quantity and quality of players that have to be cut tomorrow from team rosters should be staggering. Watch to see if your favorite players wind up on the open market tomorrow.