Taco Tuesday Recap

Last night a group of us here in So Cal got together and sat around and got to know one another, share our stories and discover more of the journey we are on together. New Castle and Cadillac Margaritas flowed (along with a little soda and water), the Tacos were amazing (as always) and who can beat bucket loads of free chips and salsa. What a party!

Josh and I were joined by Zeke, Mike, Brad and Chris… and it was a refreshing, unparalleled experience. Then on the phone we got a surprise call from Mrs. Zeke who was encouraging and inspirational with her presence. Also joining us via cell phone was NinjaNun who made sure that we didn’t forget about her. We wish we could have had Mrs. Zeke, Ninja and the Pete with us, but it was nice to know that they were thinking about us, and together, we all felt the love.

That’s what it is about isn’t it? Knowing that our lives, although distant by time and space at times, are connected and woven together through the stories and experiences we share. There is a God thing happening.

So, did anyone out there get together with friends and kick back this week? Tell us your stories of who are connecting with, whether it is through your church or, if you are outside the church, what are you doing to connect to those around you? Love to hear your stories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from my family to yours.

The long weekend got off to a great start as we had a “pre-game party” Wednesday night at my house to kick things off. My friends Jennifer, Brad, and neighbor Duanita came by as did Josh and his wife Ashley. We sat around and ate the awesome Carne Asada and Sweet Italian sausage I cooked (with an assist from Jen who kept it from burning), and indulged in a few “spirits” together. We then sat down and got into a mean game of Texas Hold ‘Em with Josh playing the “pit boss” and keeping us all in line. I can’t believe I have absolutely no pictures of this evening….but it was fun.

Then Thursday morning Cristi and I had planned to take our oldest down to the shelter to help feed the homeless and those in need, but poor Cristi woke up in the middle of the night pretty sick and she was down for the count. That meant that the Thanksgiving Dinner was off at her place. The boys were spending the day with her (it was also her birthday) and I was going to see them later that evening. I had planned to join some other friends for the Thanksgiving Dinner… but now all the plans needed to change.

I picked the boys up at Cristi’s and then it was time to hop into action. I dropped them off at the house and ran to the store to buy Turkey, stuffing and everything else I needed to try and pull this off. It didn’t seem possible that I could do it (since I am somewhat clueless in the “home-cooking” dept) but with a little shopping help from my mom via cell phone from Texas, I got what I needed.

So I got home and threw the turkey in the oven and we spent the day watching football, then at the park playing soccer and basketball, and had dinner around 3:00 p.m. Bryson and Grant helped with the side dishes and setting the table and we all sat down to eat. As you can tell from the photo, Grant was insistent that he not wear a shirt to the dinner table because he was “hot”, and at that point I decided to pick my battles. We had a nice family prayer time where we shared what we were thankful for and then we dug in… and the kids ate most everything. They are good boys… and I am sooooo thankful they are in my life. In the end, we pulled it off together.

It was sad that Cristi was not able to have them with her on her birthday, and that her Thanksgiving plans were thwarted by illness, but I just got back from meeting her for breakfast with the boys and she is feeling much better. Today they have big dinner plans again, with another turkey and many more delicious side dishes I am sure. It worked out decently enough though and I cherished this Thanksgiving. It’s been a unique and challenging year from many angles. However we all have each other as a family (although it looks different, we still have each other), I have many more friends than I did a year ago thanks to this online community and God is still working in all our hearts behind the scenes to complete us.

So in closing… I am thankful for all the blessings in my life and acknowledge the people, both local and abroad, that sincerely have my best interest at heart. Thanks to each of you for loving me and sustaining me with your deeply valued friendship.

Taco Tuesday – Nov. 29th

On Tuesday, November 29th at 6:30 p.m. at Tortilla Flats on Lake Mission Viejo in Southern California, Josh and I are getting together to have some beer and margaritas, eat some tacos and talk about whatever comes up. Everyone that can get here is invited. If you want to bring someone, even if they have never been to the SCP site, that would be fine too. (FYI – Taco Tuesday is a bar promotion for the restaurant so no one under 21 is allowed… sorry).

After you enter the restuarant, look for us on the patio out behind the bar area. We will have some tables outside. If you can’t find us just start yelling out “Stupid Church People”. We are sure no one will notice.

Now, here’s an expansion of the idea. We know that not everyone in the world can join us, but you can have your own Taco Tuesday wherever you are. Grab some people you enjoy (it doesn’t matter if they are SCPers or not) and tell them to meet you at your own local taco establishment on that Tuesday, November 29th. Now the catch is, we would love to know about it. The purpose is to hang out with REAL people and not just surround yourself in this Blog World of ours. Talk about church if you want, talk about God, talk about cussing or drinking. Better yet, do some cussin’ and drinkin’ while you talk about God and the church…. we don’t care. Just get to know REAL people in your life and find out more about the stories of their lives.

Bottom Line… we aren’t telling you what to do. Just do something on that Tuesday (if it isn’t that exact day that’s cool too – just do something another time). Plus if you want to pull something together for that night, send me the info (or just comment here) and let me know when and where and we will post it on the site. Hey and don’t forget to take some pictures…. we would love to put names and faces together…. I mean that is if you aren’t in the witness protection program.

Spread the word.

Finally! SCP on iTunes

Finally… the long journey is over.

After months of trying to resolve this, we are up on iTunes in a matter of 2 days thanks to Dave at libsyn. We met Dave at the Podcast Expo at Ontario, told him our problem and he had it resolved as quick as you can say, “Hey Dave, why the hell aren’t we being listed in iTunes”! Thank you, thank you, thank you Dave!

You can now find our show on iTunes and subscribe to it directly. It is really the best way to get the show each and every week.

If you are thinking of doing a podcast, you will want a hosting company and….

Tell them we sent ya!


While at my son’s soccer game yesterday, I saw one of the dads there wearing a T-Shirt that caught my eye. It was a shirt from Saddleback Church celebrating the 25th anniversary of the church. Now if you have been around awhile, you know I am not a Saddleback-hater. Yes, there are problems I have with that church, but really no more than any other church in the Americhurch category. But the logo for the shirt caught my attention, caused me to begin thinking and I thought I would ask you guys for feedback.

The slogan on the shirt said:

God’s Plan
God’s Church
God’s Purposes

So, what do you think when you read that? How do you react to a church having that written on a their T-Shirt? I have varied reactions. But I thought it might be worth discussing. Tell me your thoughts and I will tell you mine.

Americhurch at it’s Finest

Heading over to the NinjaNun site (as a I do daily), 1) because she is the one of the few ladies that mixes it up here with the boys on a regular basis, and 2) she is actually one of the brightest and best writers here in the blogosphere and 3) her site is like a daily cornucopia or buffet – each day is a surprise but never disappointing.

Anyway, today she posted the above advertisement from her current/former church and then proceeds to critique the hell out of the thing, pulling no punches along the way. She slices and she dices and most importantly, rips the at the heart of the matter with her normal wit and wisdom. You should head over there immediately and read what she writes. It’s damn good!

Now, I have been guilty of pulling such events like this one. In my past as a pastor I have directed events like this with the intent of reaching people for Christ. Back around 1986 as a youth pastor in Texas, a revival came to our church and I was in charge of “pack-a-pew” night where we tried to get as many kids and families in the church as possible. With my promise of a free dinner and a give-away of a Sony Walkman to the teenager that brought the most friends, I was able to get over 150 kids “packed” into the pews. I was applauded for my efforts.

That was the beginning of my “gimmicks for Jesus” pastoral life. Over the years, the prizes got better. One year, I gave away the chance to win a “brand new car”. All you had to do was show up, sign your name to be on our mailing list and you won the chance to throw a frisbee through a hoop from 75 feet. If you did it, you won the car. Man, was I edgy. (And for the record, no one ever won).

It’s nice to know that things haven’t changed much in 20 years.

Is this what we are supposed to be about in our churches? I don’t think most pastors I hand this too would have a problem with this churches promotion. And there’s the problem. As Ninja says, “Ask a fish about the water surrounding them, and they’ll reply, “what water?”

And while they ask that question, the rest of us are drowning in it.

SCP LIVE on Gizmo

Tonight, November 6th at 9:00 PM Pacific Time, join Steve and Josh on Gizmo to listen in on a live taping of the Stupid Church People podcast. You will be able to hear the show from start to finish and sometime during the show be able to respond as we request input from those listening.

Now, here’s how it works. First, if you haven’t already download Gizmo, create an account and then login. It is simple and free. Once you have signed on, dial into 1-222-SCP-SHOW (1-222-727-7469) which will be our conference room for the podcast. When you dial-in, you will immediately conference into the show and be listening live.

Here’s a few ground rules since this is our first attempt at doing this:

1) Please use headphones. If you don’t use headphones we might have feedback. Help us out and if you can’t use headphones, join us next time or you are welcome to listen into the show, but just mute your mic button.

2) If you can, use a microphone. If you plan on participating please use a microphone attached to the input on your computer. It’s OK if you don’t have one, but the quality is better if you do.

3) When you dial into the conference room, just don’t start talking. We will call on you or ask for feedback during the show.

4) Since we are doing our normal podcast, the first fifteen minutes will be us doing the normal show and the next 10-15 minutes will be a chance for you to be involved. As I said, please do not just start talking. We will get to you and call on you during the show when we want feedback.

Here’s a breakdown on what will be happening on tonights show:
•Welcome Back – Where have we been?
•Josh’s Big Announcement
•Church Detox
•Stepping Away from Church (Discussion)

So we hope you will join us here for what we think will be a regular occurence (maybe even weekly if it goes well). Sorry it is so late for those of you on the East Coast tonight, but we will plan on moving that time up next week.

Looking forward to having everyone join us that can. See you tonight.

(P.S. Of course, if you can’t join us you can still listen to the show when we post it tomorrow online.)

Jesus Wouldn’t Blog

Those of us who have collided here in this online world are often talking about what Jesus would or wouldn’t do.

I am certain now more than ever he wouldn’t do what I am doing… blogging or podcasting. He also wouldn’t be writing books, or traveling on the Christian speaking circuit at our finest conventions. He wouldn’t be on “Larry King”. He would be doing something of value… real value.

Donald Millar put it this way in his book, “Searching For God Knows What”:

Perhaps the most comforting characteristic of Christ is that he liked people. Were somebody to ask me to begin a religious system, I would sit down and write a book the way Muhammad and Joseph Smith both did. This would seem the most logical way to communicate new ideas. Writing in scrolls, however, was not something that interested Jesus. He never sat down and wrote a mission statement. Instead, He accumulated friends and allowed them to write about Him, talk about Him, testify about Him. Each of the Gospels reveals a Christ who ate with people, attended parties, drank with people, prayed with people, traveled with people, and worked with people. I can’t imagine He would do this unless He actually liked people and cared about them.

And then Millar says this… and I hope you get this because this is the BIG IDEA that has been running around in my head. Don’t miss it.

Jesus built our faith system entirely on relationships, forgoing marketing efforts and spin. Not only that, but one of the criticisms of Christ was that He was a friend of pagans. Not that he hung out with pagans, but that he was their friend.

Ok… so here’s the quick two-part application.

First, if those of us who are outside of church and are thinking we can make it on our own without sincere face-to-face connections with other Christ-followers… we are wrong. We just can’t. Christ was our example as he gathered around him those who he could share his life with, encourage, challenge and then they learned together what it meant to to do the second part, which is…

As a church, those in leadership better get serious real quick about sharing how vital it is to build relationships and be friends with those who don’t go to church. And I don’t mean to become their friends with an agenda or a means to an end to get them to your church functions. Pastors need to ask themselves how many friends they have, real friends, that aren’t Christ-followers and don’t attend their churches. To be succinct, how many “pagans” or “notorious sinners” do we have as our friends?

So as those of us here begin to ask the question “now what”, I am a certain of one thing… we need to be involved with the things Jesus would be involved with… and one thing I know, Jesus wouldn’t blog.