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May 2006

Reviving the Table - at Least Ours

Others are talking about the idea of an entrepreneur's table.

At What a Concept, Sherry Heyl, who identifies herself as an Idealist touts innovation which takes ideas, innovation, and talent to the next level. She draws a distinction betwen the entrepreneurial principals which govern much of the business world and those that inform social entrepreneurship.

As someone who is deeply interested and immersed in both, I propose a sysnthesis or at least concentric circles of interest.

Sherry Heyl is cutting edge in her thinking and her material is certainly worth including in any intelligent discussion of current trends and methodologies.

Is personal success a building block to or a result of corporate success within communities?


Collaboration on the Eyes (IZE) of Time

I decided to get vulnerable and ask for some collaboration from the Christian Fellowship Forum friends. Collaboration comes from the idea of co-laboring over a project.

Frankly, there is much that I do not know about time management. As I mentioned earlier, I have much to learn. So I posted a new topic in the forum and have received some responses (Click here):

Check out the responses and add to them - or comment here.

Any suggestions will be welcomed and I'll give you credit when I compile them.

I liked what I read on the Best Day and Time Management blog. Very good suggestions, but I am not sure where to send the TrackBack.

Another great time management series is found at Amazing Time Management Secrets. One wonders how much time is might take to discover and compile such wisdom, but it is time well spent.

Frankly, the Pickle Jar Theory is as good as any I have encountered.

Time is precious. It is a gift of God. The book of Proverbs is a wonderful resource for learning to manage it as is the whole Bible. Much much of the practical discipline is learned by trial an error and tested in the crucible of one life at a time. We must individualize our skills based upon universal principles.

As one old fellow said, "'Taint easy. 'Tis it?"

Only a Movie

Just Charlie: It's a Movie, For Crying Out Loud...

Charlie makes a good point. I've blogged on this phenomenon here. Specifically, I wrote a resource article called Da Vinci Codes and Overloads and another related to some of the issues raised by the film/book:  This Article. Finally, I was surprised and amused that more Christians take the "Code" seriously than non-Christians as evidenced by two polls on the Religion and Christian Fellowship Forums.

Check the results. They might be informative.

The first part of this article is posted at Pastor Tom's Journal.  The rest her is my observation. I have yet to see either the great opportunities or the great falling away predicted by may believers as a result of the movie. I am always ready to embrace a  great opportunity to talk naturally and openly about Jesus Christ. I am always concerned about a great falling away.

What concerns me is that we as the church might have simply sold a lot of tickets to a bad movie through all of our free publicity.

But I am not deeply concerned  at least not as much as I am about the signs of brewing gang conflict in a community our church serves or the thousands of lives lost this past weekend in Indonesia or the lives being lost daily in our wars around the world ... or the millions of empty, frustrated, hopeless people around us who are waiting to hear some word of hope, encouragement, and significance - the kind that is embodied in the good news of Jesus.

Ferral Cats and Domesticated Blue Jays

We have a strange paradox.

My mother-in-law's apartment adjoins our house. As a result, we witness all of her patio activity which include the feeding of her wild cats who are letting us get a few inches closer each month and a couple of bue jays who have no fear of humanity or felinity.

I was sitting at her dining room table a couple of nights ago as one of these jays hopped over to the cat's bown and grabbed a food pellet. Within seconds, the same bird was back and then its mate.

If one of the cats interferes, the jay pecks its head.

A precarious peace has emerged on the patio. The cats remain wild and the birds have become rather tame.

What concerns me is that the jays seem to be feeding their young these pellets and they may be learning some bad habits.

You know, when I started this thing, I thought I might discover some profound truth to share with you.

But I guess sometimes, it is just an interesting story -- at least to me.

Profundity can come later. Perhaps the paradox will emerge as well.

Become an Inspiring Speaker Seminar

Become An Inspiring Speaker Workshop

Over the years, many people have shared with me that their dream is to become a speaker. Whether you want to speak professionally or improve your speaking style and skills, I have something exciting to share with you.

Marcia Wieder, America's  Dream Coach is a dear friend and colleague who has been successfully speaking to audiences from 50 to 5000 worldwide for 20 years. Marcia was one of the first coaches to ever appear on Oprah and is an extremely successful author and speaker.

She is offering an incredible 5 day training program called “How to Be An Inspiring Speaker.” Marcia is extremely generous with her knowledge and resources, so you'll be in very good hands, plus she is bringing in three top notch guest trainers.

If you have any interest in becoming a more effective speaker this program is worth a closer look. The workshop, however, is limited to participants - so if this is for you you'll want to act fast. Take a look: Dream Coach

You will learn how to: craft your message, deliver it powerfully and how to quickly build rapport with your audience. You will also learn about timing, and using humor and story telling and the essential skills for accessing and consistently speaking with your most authentic and effective voice.

I asked her to send me a couple of raves so I could pass them on to you:

"Everything they said about you is true: you are a dynamo in front of a group. You demonstrate your strong belief and commitment to your subject."

USA Today

"Of the over one hundred vendors that American Express uses, your ratings rank you as our #1 top presenter." American Express

"Marcia lives with purposeful passion and her clients get extraordinary results in a minimum amount of time." -Mark Victor Hansen, #1 best-selling co-author

The One Minute Millionaire and Chicken Soup for the Soul"

"If you’re ready for results, you’ve come to the right place. I totally respect Marcia’s work."  -David Bach, #1 best-selling author,

The Automatic Millionaire and Start Late, Finish Rich

Learn more about the “Become an Inspiring Speaker” Workshop or register here: Marcia's Web Site

Best Regards,


P.S. If you're at all concerned about getting booking, then this is the right program for you. Marcia is a top-notch marketer, so you'll be learning from one of the best and you’ll quickly earn back the investment you make to attend.

P.P.S. Please forward this email to anyone you know is interested in Becoming a Speaker.



I realize that I am bouncing into the middle of another outline to interject this, but some insights just came to me about time management, mainly, my time management that seemed worth sharing. I called them into my audio blog and here is the summary:

Time has eyes. In this case, it is I-Z-E:






I could throw in a few more just to be cute and thorough, but these may do. We can revisit categorize, synthesize, and scutinize later.

(c) 2006, Thomas B. Sims

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Roses On Our Noses

    First, I must credit Pastor Terri Purgason of Fresno First Baptist Church for inspiring these thoughts.

Next, I must decide what these thoughts my be.

Finally, I must type them, but not necessarily in that order.

Terri was straining to hear me in our pastor's cluster meeting today. That does not happen to me often. Perhaps she was trying to read my lips because she asked me to move the vase of roses that was sitting in front of me.

Now I've heard of rose colored glasses obscuring the truth, but these were real, home-grown, mother-in-law nurtured, picked, and arranged roses - and they were blocking my words.

"It's hard to hear you through the roses."

That's what she said and it immediately rang poetic in my ears.

This is going to require some thought. Generally, if people can't hear me, the obstructions are not so sweet and attractive. I have been known to get in my own way - not so rosy. Nor is my ego pleasantly fragrant, though similarly effective. Frankly it stinks. But roses?

You can plant roses almost anywhere assuming all other conditions are conducive to their growth. Roses can cover  numerous eyesores and perfume unpleasant odors.

Most biblical references to "rose" are the past tense of "rise."

An exception would be the Rose of Sharon from the Song of Solomon. Isaiah notes that even Sharon would waste away.

So here I am, loud mouthed man that I am, unable to be heard through a vase of roses - lovely, sweet roses.

In fact, from the moment guests began to take their seats at the lunch table, the roses started moving much as the menus in a Denny's move when I want to see the person behind them. There was no disrespect intended and no offense received. They were beautiful (the roses not the menus), but they were in the way. In order to appreciate what we were present for, we needed to see the people with whom we were meeting. In order to fully receive their words, we needed to see them.

I do appreciate the roses; they just needed some adjustment for the sake of conversation.

I want to see the person.

I want to see you.

Stop hiding behind flowery language, hyperbole, and posturing. Let me see you, smell you, and hear you as you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and uniquely beautiful without decoration or obscuration.

I will be reflecting on this in the days to come - reflecting, refining, and rewriting - but I needed to get started. There are so many applications of this truth. It really is a problem for many people. We just can't hear through all the roses.

Living the Proverbs

A ministry in our church called Set Free introduced me to the practice of reading a chapter in Proverbs every day, corresponding to the day of the month. For instance, today's reading was from Proverbs 16.

Sometimes one will ring especially true for that day.

Today, I read:

"The laborer's appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on." (NIV, Proverb. 16:26)

Call it need, drive, self-interest, desire, or hunger, without it, lethargy rules inertia till no motivation remains. Unfulfilled dreams move us to the next goal. We need them.

Stay hungry.

This article is posted on The Religion Forum in response to my friend, Chris,  and you can comment here and/or there.  I have to confess that I take something of a "much ado about nothing" approach to the question while a cautious approach to the agenda behind the resurgence of the question.

Inasmuch as it is timed to bring disrepute upon the scritures and further a position of relativism or advance a conspiracy theory, I feel that it needs to be addressed. I did some quick research and have cited some of the viewpoints I found, agreeing with some, leaning toward others, and at odds with one or two:


>>The one bit of the background I do take reasonably seriously is that I think Mary Magdalene was far more important than she tends to be made out to be, and if Jesus had a wife, she's the best candidate, and the wedding at Cana story could just be his own wedding. That by itself is quite upsetting enough to a lot of people <g><<

I am sure that Mary M. was important or she would not have been mentioned so much - and she was most likely well known in the early church. When names are used in the gospel accounts, that is often the case.

As for Jesus being married or not, the Bible is pretty silent.

One might react to the suggestion with as much offense as that taken by Hal Lindsey or wiht the reasoned approach of Mark Roberts.

Dr. Mark Roberts, an evangelical pastor  and author has an article on his blog which states:

"Finding the facts isn't easy, however, because we have very little overt historical evidence for or against the marriage of Jesus. The earliest and most reliable records of his life - the New Testament gospels - do not tell us explicitly whether Jesus was married or not. They don't mention his having a wife. Nor do they state that he was unmarried."

Roberts takes a rather unimpassioned  tone as he tracks some of the argujments for and against the notioned of a married Jesus:

"Although almost all scholars of all religious persuasions take this as strong evidence of the singleness of Jesus, a few have proposed that, in fact, Jesus was married. In 1970, for example, William E. Phipps published Was Jesus Married? The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition. In this book Phipps argued that the silence of the New Testament about the marital status of Jesus indicates that Jesus was in fact married. Why? Because virtually every Jewish man in Jesus' day did marry, especially those who were considered to be Rabbis."

Belief Net also tackles the issue in this article.

Since I  leadn toward a rather conservative approach to the Bible, this follow quote from the Belief Net article fits me fairly well:

" Conservative biblical scholars think the entire question is silly, since the notion simply isn’t in the Bible. “Mary Magdalene was one of several women who contributed to Jesus’ ministry and supported it,” says Darrell Bock, New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary."

Returning to Roberts: He spends a great deal of time analyzing both canonical and non-canonical literature and explains his approach thusly:

"most proponents of the marriage of Jesus thesis have an agenda. They are trying to strip Jesus of his uniqueness, and especially his deity. They want a Jesus who was a mere human being, one with spiritual insight, but otherwise ordinary. The supposed marriage of Jesus is taken by many to be proof that he really wasn't God in the flesh, but only a mortal man."

A more supportive view is held by this author, James.

He descrble his religion as "

"The Grail Religion can be described as a composite religion of Christianity, Judaism, and Paganism (paganism in its most positive form)."

I suppose that most Evangelicals will take that with a "grail" of salt.

Darrell L. Bock weighs in on the question . Bock is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, a trusted bastion of conservative Christian scholarship:

It has long been believed that Jesus was single. Every detail of Scripture indicates this. When he was in ministry, there is no mention of a wife. When he was tried and crucified, there is no mention of his having a wife. After his death, there is no mention of a wife. Whenever Jesus' family is referred to, it is his brothers and sisters who are mentioned, but never a wife. Nor is there any indication that he was widowed."

Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is more direct:

There can be no serious question about the marital status of Jesus.  The canonical gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) preclude any option of understanding Jesus as married.  He operates as an unmarried teacher with a band of devoted disciples.  He is not the head of a household, but builds a household of faith--the church.  At the crucifixion, he assigns John responsibility for caring for Mary, his mother.  There is no mention of any wife, certainly no mention of children

One more citation would be that scholarly journal, About.Com. All snide comments aside,  guest author Austin Cline on the Atheism/Agnoistics pasge does a pretty good summary of the arguments and concludes:

"Is it possible that Jesus was married? Yes, there is nothing which completely excludes the possibility and there are reasons to think it possible. The arguments in defense of this idea are not strong, however, and cannot justify concluding that Jesus was definitely married."

What do I think? I really don't think there is enough of the sort of evidence upon which I rely to lead me to believe that Jesus was married. If Jesus was married, it would not shake my faith. I would probably wonder if his wife was happy either following him around in his transient existence or being left behind. Mine would not. I see no reason for the church to have kept something like that a secret since there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus or Paul which would have demeaned the institution or suggested that marriage would have negated Jesus' divinity.

It is an interesting question, but not an extremely important one from a doctrinal point of view.

I would never disfellowship myself from a believer who differed with me on that point <s>.

I think that  Jesus' message of love is much stronger than eros. He sacrificed many things for humankind that were not evil or undesirable for living a holy life. Neither the gospel writers nor the early church fathers had any vested interest in a cover-up for a celibacy of Jesus position.

My feeling is that the silence of the scriptures is a pretty strong argument for Jesus just never getting around to marrying and focusing on his mission instead.

As for Mary Magedeline, she was a very impressive woman.

- Tom

P.S. - I am using this as an example for members and staff as to how to incorporate brief quotes, links, and attributions into a discussion message that includes ones own views and supporting material used to halp make ones points.

Da Vinci Codes and Overloads

First, let's get the overload part out of the way as if I could because I have been (overloadED). It is all of my own making and that's the way it is. But let me be the first to welcome myself back.

Now, concerning Mr. Brown's novel and soon to be released movie, The Da Vinci Code, here it is:

I have started a poll in the Christian Fellowship Forum. You'll see it on the front page for now and you can click to vote and click to comment.  I wrote that poll from a decidedly Christian bias, whcih is fine because I am, after all, decidedly Christian along with the members of that forum.

The second poll was posted in the Religion Forum and it was out of (a) curiosity and (b) a genuine desire to understand how people from non-Christian religious traditions and non-religious people feel about the how discussion. Jump in on the forum's front page: Religion.

Christianity Today has some good articles for reference from varying Christian perspectives. The index to all of these is found here. If you are just interested in Collin Hansen's, "Breaking the Da Vinci Code." I just gave you the link. I was particularly appreciative of a reprintable piece called, "Five Big Questions from the Da Vinci Code," which I reproduced for my church with CT's permission.

Moving Beyond the Movies...
Blogger has a new feature that I will be integrating here. It's free and it's easy. Audio Blogger lets you set up a phone number to call which immediately posts your voice message on your blog. Here is a sample (Note: I usually do these from the car and unrehearsed.): One Sample Entry.

I have more on my Journal. That brings me back to overloads because I am behind on all my blogs. Big plans meet reality.

Politically Incorrect

I hate to offend, but to never offend would be to never take a position on anything.

And I am not sure this is a position.

Nor am I sure I understand all the variables. I have been listening to arguments and, as with most viewpoints, people on both sides have good points and are passionate about them.

I don't see the world in black and white. God didn't make it that way and I am not about to take away the color - even if I could.

Gray is a color; isn't it?

There are those who say that illegal immigration is a really big problem in the United States and I hear what they say. I just don't think it is REALLY big, maybe just BIG or maybe just a problem, but not REALLY BIG.

There are those who say it is no big deal at all and I can't say they are right either.

Was it no big deal when we invaded the lands of the Native people of this country, raped their land, spread disease, and removed them through violence?

And terrorism is not a non-issue either in this day - although I don't think  that terrorism is the primary motivation or concern in this issue.

Nor do I think our politicians are all that concerned about "lawbreakers." What is going on here is more like the person in Proverbs who has to make an accounting of it, but is easily forgiven for stealing to eat.

I have no idea what our government should do, but I know what believers and churches must do - follow the principles of God's Word - and all that keeps coming to me is this verse:

"The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt : I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:34).

That should be equally offensive to all.