Monday, March 31, 2008

Cubs Picked to Win World Series--Is That a Good Thing?

On the eve of MLB's season, both Karl Ravech and John Kruk of ESPN's Baseball Tonight, picked the Cubs to win the World Series this year. Kruk picked the Cubs to beat the Cleveland Indians, and Ravech picked them to beat the Detroit Tigers. I would be happy with either one of those results. I thought about taking the video of Baseball Tonight, and converting it to You Tube, and posting it here, but alas, that would be a violation of copyright. If you didn't see their prediction, you'll just have to take my word about it.

The Cubs played their home opener, and dropped a 4-3 game to the Milwaukee Brewers in 10 innings. Neither closer was effective. Kerry Wood plunked the first batter he faced, and ended up giving up 3 runs in the top of the 9th. The Brewers brought in their new expensive closer, Eric Gagne, who gave up a single, a walk, then a 3-run homer to the new Cubs right fielder, Kosuke Fukudome, to tie the score in the bottom of the 9th. Fukudome had a slightly less than stellar Spring Training, but is now batting 1.000, having gone 3 for 3 today, including a double and a home run. Bobby Howry gave up a run in the 10th, and the Cubs were unable to score in the 10th, losing their first game of the season. There are 161 more to play. Maybe they can go 161-1 on the season! There is an off day tomorrow. I hope the Cubs even the Milwaukee series on Wednesday afternoon!

The most recent edition of Sports Illustrated that has made its way to my house (March 31, 2008) makes the prediction that the Cubs will make it to the World Series, but will lose to the series to the Detroit Tigers. Well they lost today too, to the lowly Kansas City Royals. Maybe there is hope for the Cubbies.

Eamus Catuli!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

National Honor Society PHI UPSILON OMICRON

This evening we attended a short ceremony in which our daughter, Charissa Robinett, was initiated into the PHI UPSILON OMICRON National Honor Society. She left her job in Human Resources at Leggett & Platt in Carthage last August, to go back to school at Pittsburg State University. She is studying in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, and plans to start her own interior design/home staging business when she graduates.

She has done very well, and of course we're proud of her. The ΦΥΟ Honor Society website (as I heard in the ceremony) says that "the Honor Society name, PHI UPSILON OMICRON, originated from the initial letters of the first, second, and last words of the Greek phrase which means "The Light of the Home." My problem with that (and one of the things that I do is to teach Koine Greek) is that if I were to write the Greek phrase which means "The Light of the Home", I would use only two Greek words, which would look like this (first in lower case letters, then in all upper case letters):

There is indeed a PHI, an UPSILON, and an OMICRON in those two words. The PHI is the initial letter of the word for light. The OMICRON is the initial letter for the word home. Greek would not use, however, a separate word for the English word of, but rather would use a genitive case ending, which in the case of the word for home would end in an UPSILON.

I guess there aren't many Greek scholars in Family and Consumer Sciences. My sister, Jacque, who is pretty smart (she is an older librarian [private joke]), guessed that those were the three Greek letters that had not been used yet for a fraternity, a sorority, or an Honor Society.

At any rate, we're proud of you, Charissa. You go, girl!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Roger Powell in Italy

Roger Powell (the Reverend) has been playing professional basketball in Italy this year. I have been following his season there, which is not all that hard to do since they only play one game per week.

A couple weeks ago he erupted for 33 points in a game, by far his best game of the season. You can get the results from the Lega A Website. His team page is found at Teramo Siviglia Wear.

I found a video summary of his 33 point game (taken from Italian TV). About 15-16 seconds in, he gets an offensive rebound, and slams it back into the basket. If you watch the video, Powell is number 11 on the team wearing red uniforms.

The Cubs have their season opener on Monday afternoon. It will be cold in Chicago.

After tomorrow, we'll have our Final Four for the NCAA Men's tournament. Can Davidson knock off the Jayhawks? I'll be hoping they can!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Photo of Church Planting Course

Top Row: D. Fish, S. Philip, S. Huffer, R. Fletcher, J. Gibbs, D. Smith
Bottom Row: M. Wulf, L. Schaubert, A. Oliver, J. Henke, L. Hutton

Photo taken in the office space for the Orchard Group

(3 blocks from Empire State Building)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reflections on my trip to New York City

I accompanied a group on 9 OCC students to New York City on February 29, for a seminar on church planting. These are some thoughts that I shared with our faculty on March 7:

Seminar: Church Planting Orientation with Dave Smith
Location: New York City
Date: February 29-March 3, 2008
Reflections by David Fish

Is this program worth keeping?
By all means! I have gone on a number of trips with students in the past. Never have I seen students so completely engaged in "class" material. Given the fact that students pay such a small fee to cover the cost of the trip, it is a great deal for them. They realize it, and I believe are thankful. We are 1½ semesters into a two-year experiment. I would concur with the students who give rave reviews. The partnership between OCC and the Orchard Group is unique. OCC is in a budget-cutting mode. If we had to cover all expenses for this program, I suppose that we would have to eliminate it. Thanks be to God for our partnership with the Orchard Group. I'm wondering if this program bombs out, if we might want to hire Dave Smith to be Rusty Hedger's assistant.

David Dean House of South Slope, Brooklyn.
Those who have gone on New York trips before are familiar with the David Dean House, kind of a youth hostel building that is part of a Baptist mission outreach in New York City. The accommodations are not up to a 5-star rating, but the people are nice. Sleeping arrangements are dormitory-style (on bunk beds), but that really doesn't matter, since we spent very little time there. The people that work there (Matt and Pamela, and Megan) are very nice. I was surprised to learn that they were from Missouri, and studied at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. When I realized they were from SBU, I asked them if they knew Dr. Jim Frost. How what they not know Jim Frost! He is the Chris DeWelt of SBU! They replied, "He was my professor! He married us!" Jim Frost has been a guest lecturer for our Perspectives course for the last couple years, and will speak in our class this year on April 29. I will be happy to give him greetings from Matt and Pamela (a married couple), and their friend, Megan, who live, work, and minister in Brooklyn.

Lectures/Conversations with Church Planters.
We met with a series of church planters, both from within and without the Restoration Movement. Dave had asked each one of them to respond to the following questions:
Why be involved in church planting?
Why do church planting in an urban setting in general, and in particular, why in New York City?
What advice would you give to someone who was considering church planting?
The different church planters offered slightly differing answers regarding methodologies, sometimes dependent upon a particular neighborhood in one of the boroughs of the great city. A common thread was on the church planters knowing themselves, with their particular areas of giftedness. I detected a move away from what church planting science used to say, namely that if you do this, this, and this, you will get this result. It doesn't happen that way in New York. There is a tremendous need for contextualization of the gospel message. The distance from missions to church planting is not far!

Is the Restoration Plea Still Valid Today?
Yes, it is! We met with people from different ends of the denominational world. All recognize that Christ is largely absent from the city, and are working to do whatever it takes to bring the city to him, without holding tightly to denominational distinctives, because the need is so great! I personally enjoyed the contact with Redeemer Church. We even celebrated the Lord's Supper there! The gospel was preached. They are Presbyterians (as were the Campbells). I was able to hear just part of the lecture by Dr. Mark Reynolds, who heads up the church planting division of Redeemer Church. What is so appealing to me, though, is that their church planting division has financially supported over fifty church plants, only fourteen of which would consider themselves to be Presbyterian works. The Restoration Plea is at work in New York, among church planters who see allegiance to Christ as the higher goal, than quibbling over pet doctrines. Are there problems with cross-denominational efforts? Yes, there are, but I applaud the unity efforts. On Sunday we attended three church services, at Redeemer Church, Forefront Church, and Gallery Church. Digging deeper (as we are wont to do) reveals denominational/doctrinal distinctives, but Christ gets the top billing.

Can This Program Create Internship Possibilities for our Students?
It already has! Dave's assistant (of sorts) is Nathan Winstead. He interned at Forefront Church while he was a student here. He returned to NYC to help out. Vocationally, he works for Jews for Jesus. Matt Berry, Tim Little, and Kyle Welch will be doing internships beginning this summer (that is, if Doug Welch approves his brother's internship). A student who went with us (Levi Hutton) will likely do a year-long internship at Park Slope Church starting in January 2009. This is likely just the beginning of internship possibilities.

The Sights and Sounds.
Friday night we visited Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. We were on the Top of the Rock observation tower, and it was snowing! Saturday night we went to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, which is not something you get to do every week, thanks to generous donors of the Orchard Group. We walked miles and miles (and I found two nice blisters on opposite feet). We rode the subway everywhere we didn't walk. I noted a similarity between roads in Joplin and the subway of New York. Here we have road closings for construction at night. In New York, they have train closings for construction at night.

The city presents unique challenges for ministry. One church planter we met with told our students that they are likely to hear about the need for life-long learning. When I heard him say that, I said Amen! to myself. Then he changed it up, saying that in many ways, to be effective in reaching people in New York City for Christ, we need a spirit of life-long unlearning! He was addressing particular biases inherent in many of us Midwesterners, that create a hindrance to New Yorkers hearing the gospel. I think he was right on!

I'm thankful to have had the privilege of making a trip to the Big Apple with some of our finest students. May God give the increase from our intentional effort to insert ourselves into the city!

David G. Fish
March 7, 2008

Colored Motives

I wrote most of this post over a month ago (final edit on Monday, March 17), but wanted to get it posted. Rose and I participated in an elective class at our church on Wednesday nights since January. It has been a lot more fun than I anticipated. The presenters were what I would call my consuegros (a term that my Chilean friends would understand--I really can't think of one word in the English language that captures who they are), the parents-in-law of our son, Greg, Van and Tammy Benson. Maybe if Tammy were the dominant, up-front, presenter, instead of inserting extremely poignant insights when her fun-loving husband needs a lifeline, it would not be as much fun. The reality, however, is that it has been fun, and lots of it.

I think that Van is a very able communicator, and the group dynamics the occurred in the class sessions were valuable. The class is called Motive Matters. I've been hearing a lot about it for the last year and a half ago, when it came to the forefront of family discussions at the in-law stage. Emily (our daughter-in-law) asked us to take the personality/core-motive profile online. You can take a free test by clicking on the link a in the first sentence of this paragraph. We took the test months ago, which resulted in being assigned to a particular color (in this system: red, blue, white, or yellow). I

have seen personality grouping systems in the past, and have pretty much made fun of them. Several years ago, we as a faculty went through some sessions in a similar system called True Colors. The president's wife was a certified trainer. I think just about every department in the college had access to that training. I heard lots of talk about people being this color, or that color.

Over thirty years ago, we came across Tim LaHaye's Spirit-Controlled Temperament, which divides personality/temperament types into the following categories: sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic. LaHaye revived some ancient personality theory with that system, popularizing it for the evangelical world.

Gary Smalley and John Trent created a similar system based on traits of animals: lion, beaver, otter, and a golden retriever. Those developed in a book titled The Treasure Tree. It appears to me that Smalley may have modified his descriptions, now using these categories to describe basically the same thing: Captain, Social Director, Steward, Navigator.

All of these systems are similar. Van and Tammy credit the Color/People Code with saving their marriage. They will be going to Utah soon to become re-certified as trainers. Most of the training work they do is in the corporate world. As followers of Jesus, however, they enjoy presenting these concepts within the church, as they can freely add Scripture. I commend them and their work. I was enriched by participating in it. I think they will begin a new cycle at College Heights Christian Church as a Wednesday night elective on March 26.