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Talk to your Waiter/Waitress!

Tonight Kristy and I joined another young couple in our church at a restaurant in town. People who go out to eat with me regularly notice that I tend to get to know a great deal about our wait staff through various questions during the meal. I enjoy getting a picture of people and getting a feel for where they are coming from. By the end of the meal I usually share my faith or at least personally hand them our business card.

Tonight we were seated and quickly realized that the seats we were in sat directly in the path of a cool breeze flowing from the overhead vents. We asked if we could move to a nearby table that appeared to be away from the airflow. As a result we were given a new waitress. It was apparent to me that she was having a rough day. I quickly learned that she was working her 11th hour today.

As usual before our plates came out I found out a lot of information about our waitress. For privacy reasons I will just say that I found that she's hurting. Hurting like the other hundred or so people I passed by today while shopping (with whom I never held a conversation). She was doing her best to serve customers and put on her 'face' in spite of all the turmoil. She had desperation in her eyes as she explained one situation after another in response to each new question I had for her. Several times I reminded her that she did not have to answer and I wouldn't be offended... but she did answer. In fact she seemed to want to share her story.

Within a few moments I had a pretty strong image of her life. Hope (and a little anticipation mixed with curiosity) came from her eyes as I finished her sentences and expressed what I felt would be her story, desires and dreams. She said "You're good at this... Are you a counselor?" I said "We'll get to what I do in a second." She said "Are you a preacher?" I smiled and moved on. Eventually after talking some more I gave her our business card (intentionally designed to double as an invite card) and said to her "Listen. The reality is that you want hope. You've tried the same old thing for so long... Try something different." I then invited her to join us or to meet with my wife and I to discuss in greater detail some of her struggles (which are very real and unfortunately all too common).

We saw her continue to work as she thought of those words and her situation. She was crying. My heart's prayer tonight for her is that God would allow her to take the next step. I pray that I planted or watered (1 Corinthians 3:5-15). I pray that the Spirit of God would draw her near. I pray that God may give me the opportunity to share a story of victory some day stemming from the conversation I had tonight at the restaurant.

My Encouragement to the Reader:
Please take time to talk to people around you. Many are willing to share their stories... Without God's love people are broken and hurting with no sense of hope. You (assuming you are a Christ-follower) have the cure-all for their hurt no matter the source of the pain. Everything good is given to us by the blood of Christ. Please refuse to be defeated by a silent tongue. You CAN share God's love with people without beating the bible against their heads. God is a logical God and the Christian life is a life that makes sense... A life (when applied biblically and not according to tradition or outside influence) that is full of hope, joy, peace, comfort, love, compassion and healing. Please take time to share that story.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, April 30, 2005

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Loon-a whaaa?

Remember Buggs Bunny,
Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner and Daffy Duck?

I never understood why the Coyote didn't try the same (but improved) methods of trapping the Road Runner. There is a lesson in there for you.... Anyway, this post is a little less of a lesson and more of an interesting news tidbit. Apparently the Loony tunes were being remade into futuristic characters called the Loonatics. These futuristic characters were going to replace the old 'tunes' from our childhood. Well in today's age of technology it appears that a 5th grader (and a family friend who is a web-designer) has the ability to put the breaks on a huge company's plans. Check out this website of a kid who started a petition in February to save the old 'Tunes'. He grew this puppy to have so much attention that it looks like the studio is listening. What a story...

If you want to "Save the Tunes" or just want to see what this kid and his family friend have done... Check out

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 29, 2005

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Church Planting Thoughts

I'm off this morning to an SBCV meeting with other church planters in our area. I will look forward to seeing Rob Overholt, Stuart Hodges and the rest of the gang. It's good to meet up with these guys on a somewhat regular basis.

I don't think we gain much from the meetings in the way of the actual subject matter as much as we gain encouragement and inspiration. Statistics are funny but I've heard that 80% of new church starts fail within a year or two. By fail I'm assuming they mean close down. I think we could change the term to 'fall short of realistic expectations' and take the total up to 90%. Having a group of solid leaders around every month or so helps us to feed off of one another.

If you're thinking of planting a church I'll give you a few thoughts from the top of my head:
(This could be a series of posts so I'll just give a few here and more later)

1. If you can do anything else (passion-wise), do it. This is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard. Ministry is different than any other 'vocation'. The ministry in many ways can be cut-throat. If you are up for anything else... go do it and help out your local church. When stuff hits the fan you will have to ask over and over "Why did I put myself and my family in this situation again? For who? For what?" and you'll pray "Lord, was I hearing you right or is this just another one of my great ideas?" You must know without a doubt that this is what you are called to do and this is the time to step out. I'm not saying you will bring in thousands of people... but if you're sure, you will have a greater outlook when things get crazy.
2. If you can help it, plant with a team. (a chord of three strands is not quickly broken) I have strong feelings about this and at some point I'll share them on this blog.
3. Learn Always and be Humble. Anyone who makes it happen has a sense of confidence but don't let it turn into arrogance. Your moral authority and your personality will matter far more than you probably realize getting into church planting. You can't use a paycheck to motivate people... your character and leadership are where it's at.
4. In every other way it costs more.
5. If you aren't a natural leader you will get eaten alive. Go and work with someone you consider to be a gifted leader so you can learn or go and plant with someone who is a gifted leader. This is one of my greatest observations... I'll talk more about it in the future.
6. Just because you can Pastor under doesn't mean you can Pastor over. In many ways when the buck stops with you, your role is far different. Do not go into the church planting thinking that because you are a great music guy or more commonly "youth guy" that you understand the role of the Lead/Senior Pastor. Many guys make the transition well but I believe it's because they weren't blind to what they were getting in to. Most of the guys I would consider 'succeeding' in their new church plants (1-3 years old) are guys who have experience in previous church planting situations.
7. New church plants are built off of the person (character, personality and drive) of the Pastor... not as much the vision (It's not PC within church circles to acknowledge this... but it's true. We aren't dealing with Spiritually mature Christians. Like it or not you have to be someone people can believe in before they will listen to what you really want them to believe in.)
8. Follow the advice in Timothy... be SLOW in the laying on of hands (Other Leaders. It stinks either way... but it's much easier to not perform a task than it will be to install the wrong leader over a task. Also at the beginning you must watch out for the 'Big Fish Syndrome'. As a church plant (not necessarially for a satallite campus) you will be a small pond. Several people who have no influence in other parts of their life will want to come and soak up the sun in your pond. Every time they roll over they create waves.... You are a fisherman... get bubba out of the pond.
9. Do a few things and do them well. Too many church planting Pastors try to do 1000 things. They've heard or read in a book that it creates more "hooks" in the water. Yes. If you have the cash and people to man those lines, the hooks are great. If you have 25 hooks and 2 people to man them, your poles get pulled under water. Don't try to be your parent church.
10. Get networked. With the stats being so poor you don't have the luxury of hanging out alone in the ministry.... get networked with people who are better than you. (they may not be better in every area... but you probably will find a handful of people to network with who are better at marketing or leadership or teaching... just find others who you can relate with and who will teach you something. Network.)

11. "Discouragement comes from failed Expectations" Have realistic expectations (to be continued...)

I have so many more thoughts and I could make this list 100 or more. Who knows.. I may. Either way these are just a few off of the top of my head and no they don't include a ton of "Spirutal" lessons (although I have a different take on that phrase as well). Ultimately church planting is a blast and I love where we are as a church and I am so excited about the next few months.... I know God is about to blow the doors off... I'm getting ready for it.

Well, I'm off to my meeting now... this post kept me later than I thought. See Ya.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, April 28, 2005

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My Bride

As of today I have been married for 4 years.
My wonderful wife Kristy and I were married on April 27, 2001. She's the most wonderful woman I could know. We have been together for just over 7 years now and are still in love as if we were dating.

Shapes have changed: Not only have I've gotten out of shape and she's become shaped with our son Caleb but the shape of our marriage changes regularly as we continue to grow as individuals.

So many people in life have a hard time with marriage because they want to remain married to the person they saw on their wedding day with no changes. The reality is that although the core of a person may be the same we all grow and change as people. Kristy and I have enjoyed this growing process together and are honestly in a far greater place in our marriage and relationship than at any other point. You see, as we've grown older we've grown together. It's as if we simply are one (makes sense huh?).

Don't get me wrong, in many ways we are very different people: She's an ISFJ and I'm an ENTP in Myers Briggs (If you want to test yourself, visit this personality profile site). I remember a few years ago when my friend Ben Arment (History Church and a personality type specialist--he does entire staffs [I recommend every staff doing this]) gave me my Myers Briggs results he asked me hesitantly: "Tally, how's your marriage?" He was serious. According to the personality indexes we were just on opposite ends of the planet.

These 4 years have been a great learning and growing period of life. At the beginning of our marriage we fought regularly. What we quickly realized was that it's nearly impossible to combine lives when both people want their own way. We've long since gotten past that selfish attitude that many of us carry around. Kristy and I now are compliments to one another.

Whether we say it often or not, I know we're constantly learning from each other.
Just a few examples:
Kristy has taught me the valid value of other's feelings (more than I would if left on my own).
She's taught me the value of details.
She's taught me that one flower here and there are more valuable than a dozen on special occasions.
Simply by being who she is; she has challenged me to be a better husband (and soon to be father).
She's often reminded me of who I am in Christ when I get down on myself.
She provides me esteem through her desire to be near to me.
She displays grace on the outside even during those times when I know something/someone irritates her on the inside.
She demonstrates reverence for our God by her desire to honor Him with her life.
She shows me strength as she often takes the lead in her side of the family.
She's a shining example for Godly beauty. Although she's an extremely attractive woman she's conscious of modesty and demonstrates beauty from the inside out.
She puts up with me!

My wife is an amazing woman and I'm so thankful to have her by my side. She will be an incredible mother as she is already an incredible partner, lover and friend.

I love you Kristy, Happy Anniversary!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, April 27, 2005

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My 2 cents

Over at Terry Storch's blog he talks about Microsoft and Washington's HB 1515, an 'Anti-discrimination' bill proposed in the Washington State House of Representatives.

The issue at hand is Microsoft (as a company) deciding not to take a stand in support or against this particular bill. Microsoft decided to limit the number of bills it will support and therefore will not be in favor of this bill. The CEO Steve Ballmer has been taking some criticism for the companies decision.

My 2 cents on the issue: (if you haven't read the bill, please read it first)
Companies who are not founded on any religion or set social values should be aware that they are employers of )and product providers to) a wide spectrum of people. In most every social debate they will alienate a percentage of their employees and customers/stockholders.

Microsoft made their final decision apparently after pressure from a Pastor in Washington. This is where the beef resides. Some people are upset that pressure from a Christian may have played a role in Microsoft's decision.

I can understand where religious leaders speak up on issues (both sides of the isle). I can also understand that a Pastor would ask a company to clarify their stand (although I haven't seen a well-organized boycott of anything recently). I believe that issues such as abortion and homosexuality are issues that religious leaders (again on both sides) are to have a voice should they choose (although I personally feel that Poverty, Hunger, the Sudan slaughter, HIV/AIDS and Education should get more attention from Christians).

I believe that Microsoft (as well as other public companies) should stick with making products and fighting bills that directly impact their company bottom-line. I don't feel that any company should attempt to speak on these issues because of the differing beliefs held by their employees/shareholders/customers. On the other hand I also don't feel that a company should be forced (one way or the other) to handle their staffing (the only issue affecting Microsoft in this bill) a certain way as long as it is legal.

People who tell you that 'religion' should stay out of democracy do not understand religious principles. Every person on the planet operates on some sort of a drive that is so apart of their fabric we could call it 'religious'. Humanism, Scientology, New Age, Anti-religion, Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, etc. All of these examples are belief systems upon wich people make daily decisions. There is no such thing as a person making a decision apart from any relgious belief (even if that belief is anti-something). Those who believe that there is no God conveniently want to say that they are operating apart from a religious perspective. There is no such thing.

To be anti-something is to be pro-the opposite unless you simply stay out of the discussion (as did Microsoft in this case). We all must understand the arguments people try to toss around.

This post is NOT a defense or support of the particular issue (homosexuality), it is however a principled post about the fact that companies and religious institutions are NOT equal in what issues they should or should not involve themselves. The local church is not a publically traded company.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, April 25, 2005

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anti-Chain Coffee

I bump into people from time to time who are anti-big guy coffee.

I stumbled across this site called Delocater.net over at ScottHodge.org

Check it out!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, April 21, 2005

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Home Sweet Home

Today has been a rather bland day. I'm still looking for office space for the church. We've got a lead on a place but I'm still thinking it through. Aside from that today I thought a little about the City of Chesapeake, VA and the quality of life here.

Today I was driving back home from an appointment and thought "I've never been to the main city Library even though I live less then a mile from the branch (where the center of our medium sized city has many of their main offices).

I decided to stop and get a library card for the Chesapeake Public Library system. I don't frequent many libraries but I've seen my share. I must say that I was immediately impressed with our own city library. I'm an involved citizen in my community but I am prone to think as many residents would think that city services would be run-down and sub par at best. I'm thankful to know that the library in my town is one of the nicest places I've seen. A very large clean building with many architectural lines greets you as you walk through the doors. The carpet, walls and displays all seem brand new. There are several levels all viewable to one another, each with their own purpose. The computers are brand new Dell machines and checkout was a painless process. I looked at a clean and well organized DVD collection, VCR collection along with the typical fiction and non-fiction sections. There was a Barnes & Nobel-esk Children's library area as well as a periodical section. Some of the highlights for me were 1. The Library has Wi-Fi and 2. The library offers meeting space with modern luxury. 3. They have approximately 50-75 public-use computers equipped with the Microsoft Office 2003 products (excel, word, ppt, etc.)

The Wi-Fi runs throughout the whole building and the meeting rooms were top-rate. As I walked on the Periodical level, I saw through the glass wall (yes, glass wall) the meeting rooms which each were encased in glass (with blinds if the attendees wanted privacy). The meeting I observed looked to be about 12 professionals working on a project together at a very nice table. All of this at a public library?

Anyway, I did check out a book and some music as well as a DVD.

I hope your city is up to par with public facilities. My tour today made me feel pretty good about our city. If you're ever in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Chesapeake area of the world, let me know.

I'd also like to hear if any of you have recently used the library or recreation centers offered by your town and what you think of them in general.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, April 20, 2005

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Liberals are angry (again)

Today you may have heard that a new Pope was elected. Pope Benedict xvi is expected to continue to carry on the conservative message of Pope John Paul II. Americans have had a difficult time with the Papal election. It's difficult for people to seperate sacred and secular when it comes to impeeding on religion. I've found it humerous that the same pundants who want the church or 'religion' to stay out of politics have been complaining about the secrecy behind the selection of the Pope. It's almost as if they want a Nixon vs. JFK debate before the selection of the Pope.

Anyway, a conservative is again Pope. Personally I am pleased with the selection. I'm not a Catholic but I can appreciate a man who speaks 10 languages, is in favor of a conservative view of faith and who desires to dialogue with the rest of the world. The man plays Beethoven and is a strong supporter of church doctrine. I can appreciate that.

Do you have any thoughts on the new Pope?

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, April 19, 2005

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Take me to Catalyst

Okay, I'm sold. I want to go to the Catalyst Conference! You should too.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, April 18, 2005

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Are we blind or apathetic?

I'm not a huge NYTimes fan but I read to take in a wide variety of opinions. I've found that most extreme idealogues are wacked and many of life's issues are solved in the pragmatic center. Reading the Times for me balances out the banners carried by hard core right-wingers on many issues. I'm a fan of our current President but I find myself agreeing in principle with the following story.

We're either blind or apathetic to become witness to a genocide in the Sudan. It's as if we (the American people) have become spectators (or bystanders) to an old-fashioned slaughter in the Roman coliseum. In a day and age where I'm laying in bed printing documents wirelessly through my home LAN, people are having limbs cut off and watching sisters raped and brothers burned half a world away. As we talk about third-world debt and competition with China people are being killed by the hundreds of thousands for their faith (among other reasons). I'm down with freedom and I'm against Iran having nukes for what they MAY do SOMEDAY but isn't the loss of over 300k people (low estimate) enough to cause us to intervean?

Check out the NYT article here.

American Christians are convenient to make "moral" argument to the government when it's an issue directly tied to their pockets or pews but not so much so when it's an issue tied to the world stage. As we argue over gay marriage for example {although it's a worthy discussion}, a quarter of a million of our brothers and sisters are being tortured and murdered. As we debate drilling in Alaska for a days supply of oil, mothers watch their kids get taken away and raped. As we argue on each other's blog about music in church, Calvinism and tithing...etc.

DC Talk (Liberty Alum--Go LU) have a song called "What have we become?" that seems rather appropriate right now.

**Again, as with many of my expressed passions, I'm talking about myself as much as anyone else and I pray that these seeds God stirs in me take root to allow me to be a part of the solution and my life would have mattered because I acted. My postings aren't ever meant to bring down others... only to inspire and challenge us all to a higher sense of responsibility. I know many younger Pastors read this blog. We have to lead our people to care about these areas our predecessors have blindly ignored. We must lead our people to demonstrate their faith through actions. If the Rotary can wipe out Polio, imagine what the American Church (most wealthy organism/organization on the planet) could do if we focused.**

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, April 17, 2005

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Save the Planet!

I'm not a tree hugger but I do believe we are to be good stewards of the planet which God gave to man and said to have dominion over (he created, gave us to watch).

I came across a site that surveys a little of your lifestyle and then spits out information on how many acres of land the earth will use in your lifetime in order to keep your lifestyle the way it is. Currently there are 4.3 acres per adult. I'm using up 21. Ouch.

Take your survey Here.

BTW: My friend John successfully convinced me that I need to be recycling. We've ordered our bins. I'm doing my part to save the world one trashbag at a time!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, April 16, 2005

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A Little Birdie Told Me

In fairness to those who think I'm into animal cruelty, I discovered this site (via amber and kristy) that has an incredible bird!

Be in awe with this video clip. Lets call it my warm and fuzzy animal side.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, April 16, 2005

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Caleb come out and play!

I've been thinking more and more about becoming a dad.

I'm a man who grew up with a wonderful mother who was my mom and my dad. Like every other human, I have a father, but I didn't have a 'daddy'. When I was a kid I looked up to my mom and even as a youngster I'd see how hard my mom worked to provide for us kids, to raise us right, pull us from the slums of Baltimore City. My mother has been a huge Springboard for my life. She would go without for so long so her kids could have a better opportunity. Even as a woman without Christ she demonstrated Christ-like selflessness for us.

My birth father on the other hand demonstrated the opposite for me. He basically abandoned us from before I was born. I don't recall a week where he lived under the same roof as the rest of us. I do however recall one night when he tried to come over drunk and ended up sleeping on our front porch. I also recall him taking me to the park where he and other friends would play horse-shoes and drink. I remember seeing him at bars and going to watch him at the "Worlds Largest Softball Tournament" in Richmond, VA. I recall being a new Christian all excited about my faith and writing to my father to share the gospel. I would get back scripture verses and an assurance that he loved God too. I then remember how all of a sudden when he was out of jail I didn't hear from him and the verses from God's word stopped coming. I recall the last time I saw him was almost 10 years ago.

You see, I do love my father. But I love him in a different way than my mother. I love my father because he's a human being who needs the grace and forgiveness that Christ has to offer. I have forgiven him for those memories. Honestly I rarely think about him. I think of my mom constantly. I call my mom regularly. A running joke is when our phones ring and we see it's the other on caller ID we say "Hey, are you driving?" because we typically call one another when we're driving from place to place just to say "HI". I love my mom because she's my MOM, my inspiration, my sister in Christ and my friend.

Another thing about my past (while I'm being transparent), I've been so blessed to know God as my heavenly father. When I read scripture speak of God as "Father", I get it. He truly is all I need. He is my supply, my strength and my refuge. I didn't grow up without a father. It's funny but I had a mother named Mary and a Heavenly father. (I'm not taking it there.. just saying it's been cool for me to think about). Jesus, my Savior relates. Hebrews 4:14-16

I've said all of that to say this... I can't wait to be a dad. I want to give my little boy an earthly example of a man who walks with God. I know I will stumble and make mistakes and even get my hands messy in poo-poo from time to time but I will also show him how a servant of God responds to adversity, trials, temptations. Kristy is nearing her third trimester now... I'm looking at her belly and thinking "Come out and play!"

Caleb Matthew Wilgis, I love you. Now come out and play!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 15, 2005

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Silly Rabbit

No, this post isn't about Trix cereal.

Today's thought is about SaveToby.com

My mom called me about a week ago all upset. She said "Tally, I am so upset right now. I just want to call your sister's teacher! Do you know anything about this Save Toby website?"

I said "Yeah mom, it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen!"

She said "Tally!" (in that motherly --I can't believe you-- voice)

She continued: "Her teacher at school showed it to her and now she wants me to buy her a T-shirt"

As I laughed, she continued: "I think I need to call her Teacher. I can't believe she'd show this site to a class of 9 year olds"

If you haven't visited Save Toby dot com... you will either love it (like me) or hate it (like my mom).

I must say it is one of the most clever sites I've seen. Cracks me up! Check out Save Toby HERE

By the way, I'm going to buy a shirt!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, April 14, 2005

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Things are a changin'

It looks like things will be even more interesting in the next few weeks than I had previously realized. We will be moving on May 1st (see the website) but in addition we have some major changes coming our way and it looks pretty promising and exciting.

Please keep me in your prayers especially the next few weeks. At some point (a few weeks) I'll be able to share more but for now I'll just continue asking for continued wisdom.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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The GAP for the Pope

I read this article this morning about the tailor who makes the Pope's gear. Apparently in his small shop window he has the three possible outfits for the new Pope (Small, Medium, Large).

I couldn't help but to think of that Right Said Fred song "I'm too sexy".
"I'm a model, you know what I mean? I do my little turn on the catwalk. On the catwalk yeah..."

Check out the new Pope's gear.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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FREE to a Good Home

I have 6 ViaTalk Invites. What are they you ask? They are invites to join a Voice-Over-IP provider through my web hosting company: HostRocket.com

HostRocket.com has been a wonderful company to work with. I have several sites including our church site hosted through them and they have been one of the best companies I have ever dealt with. HostRocket has VERY FAST service on trouble tickets and have created a very easy user-friendly interface for the average user and top-o-the-line solutions for the web professional.

If their new ViaTalk service is half as good as their hosting solution, they will be fabulous to have as a phone provider. Their Full Service cost will be $15.95 ($10 less than Vonage).

I'm going to give it a go. They offer a few preview credits (similar to what Google did with Gmail). You will get either up to a year of service for free or up to $100 toward equipment.

Since I only have 6 of these, please email only if you sincerely believe you will give it a shot. I'd love to give them away. If you want one, don't leave a comment, EMAIL ME.

From an email today:
ViaTalk will feature two consumer plans. The VT_500 plan will offer customers 500 minutes of calling each month and will start at just $9.95 monthly including a term discount. The VT_Unlimited plan will offer unlimited domestic calling and will start at $15.95 monthly including a term discount. In addition, all plans include a slew of calling features including Caller ID with Name, Call Waiting, 3-Way Calling, Enhanced Voicemail, *69, Call Forwarding, and many more.

If you have broadband at your home or office, it is worth your time to check into Voice-Over IP. We have looked into it and will save approximately $45/mo once we make the switch. With number forwarding, it seems to be the most logical of decisions in our situation. You should check to see if your number will switch.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, April 12, 2005

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Good Day

Everyday is a good day. God made it.

Today was a very good day for the church. We've seen more guests (rather out of the woodwork) and all numbers were up. It shows me momentum and excites me.

I'm looking forward to the new location we'll go to May 1st.

On Tuesday our Connecting Point is going Ballroom dancing. It should be a good time. One of the things I love about our church is the deep and transparent relationships we've developed. We've done with without compromising outreach. We're still seeing guests come through and I love it. I believe we're on a verge of great growth (numerically and spiritually).

"God, Thank you for everyday because through the tough days I come to appreciate these types of days!"

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, April 10, 2005

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Listen to CZ

I'm aware that several Pastors from around the country read this blog and guests who have this interest may pop in from time to time so I want to give a plug for my friend and brother in Christ, CZ.

Curtis is a Liberty U alum and is a Hip-Hop artist. I know that many of my readers aren't into Hip-Hop but your students are! I want to encourage you to take a look at CZ's website and check out his album. He's a wonderful testimony to God working through a committed follower.
Musically CZ is up there with the best of them. One of his tracks on his album is called "Right Here, Right Now" and is done with Christian recording artist "Verbs".

I've been listening to the album "In Motion" from CZ all morning while cleaning and getting ready to go out to run errands. Because I was open to listening to all of the lyrics I became much more passionate about why Curtis is worth every churches time and dime. I'm certain CZ would be worthwhile for you to bring in for a block-party or concert for your community. If teens in your congregation are into Hip-Hop I can assure you they will love Curtis. His beats are top-notched and his lyrics are honest and powerful. [listen to 2 songs here]

Listen, I dislike most "Christian music" because it seems to be lacking in creativity and producers are putting out bands that are nothing more than copies of secular artists. CZ is has a professional sound and a fresh voice for our culture. Take a moment to check out CZ and consider bringing him to your ministry for a weekend.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, April 09, 2005

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When you get a moment, read this story of inspiration.

This would be a nice cute story if for the fact it wasn't so true.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 08, 2005

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Share the Well

My favorite musical artist has been Rich Mullins since I was about 17. Yes I've enjoyed my share of Hip-Hop and Rock over time but Rich Mullins to me was someone who challenged my faith through his music. He wasn't trying to appeal to my youthful desire for passing trends. He wrote songs that stand the test of time. Not only that but his music is a reflection of a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. The lyrics in many was were Theology courses. I was saddened when he past away in a car accident several years ago.

Lately I've begun to find the same train of thought with Caedmon's Call. They are a band out of Houston, TX that is known pretty well in most Christian circles. I recently purchased their newest project called "Share the Well". It's a beautiful ablbum. I whole-heartedly encourage you to purchase this album.

From the Caedmon's Call site:

In early 2003, Young met leaders from Dalit Freedom Network, a ministry to the severely demoralized Indian population called Dalits (meaning "oppressed"). Through their conversation, he discovered staggering facts about the Dalit people that he shared with the rest of the band. Victims of the caste system, Dalits are deemed the lowest class in India, referred to as the "untouchables," by their lack of worthiness. Stripped of their most basic human rights, they are forced into extreme poverty, treated as animals---tortured, beaten, and removed of their dignity, with no real hope of ever rising beyond their circumstances. Staggeringly, the 250 million Dalits in India exceeds the entire US population.

Soon after that meeting, Caedmon's Call began planning for a recording that infuses multi-cultural sounds and stories. With the help of Compassion and Dalit Freedom Network, they scheduled trips to meet the Dalits and others whose plights inspired them. The band also decided to title their project Share the Well when they learned that Dalits (many whom they met while traveling through rural India,) are not permitted to drink from wells unless an upper caste person draws the water for them. Many Dalits wait all day and are never given a drink. For Caedmon's Call, this reality came as a metaphor to those thirsting for hope and a savior. The title track's lyrics echo the group's resulting vision for the album:

Share the Well, share with your brother
Share the Well my friend
It takes a deeper well to love one another
Share the well my friend.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 08, 2005

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"There is more out there... We have commercials"

I work from a home-office.
Just a few minutes ago the Mormons came by wanting to chat. I introduced myself and said "Guys, I'm a Pastor of a Christian church. I'll be glad to talk with you if you would like." They obviously did not want to go there. Then one of the guys (I believe the younger one said "Well, you may want to read this book, we encourage it." as he pointed to the book of Mormon).

I said "We can talk about that book if you want." The older guy said "We're not here to debate.

Of course not. (rant)
They don't want to talk to anyone who has a backbone spiritually. They are looking to pick apples from the tree of life. (I admit it I'm bothered)

About 2 weeks ago one of the teens in our department got a call on her cell when she was visiting my wife and I. It was a Mormon "elder". He wanted to talk to her. She's already shared that she believed in Jesus Christ as her savior and was very active in her church. Why would they continue to bug her? They want her to convert.

So lets see. If someone understands their faith you don't talk to them. If someone doesn't have a faith you tell them that they need a book outside of the bible for salvation. In addition if someone is a Christian, you manipulate scripture to get them over to the book of Mormon where you begin as if they have no faith. It's crazy.

As the guys on my front porch obviously looked like they were ready to leave, the younger said to me "We just want you to know that there is more... We have commercials." as he pointed to his "elder" tag.

They have commercials.

What I will say about the Mormon church is that they are persistent. They do have commercials, they do have guys in pairs walking the streets every day and they do have retention. We have a lot to learn as Christians.... I'm as frustrated with myself right now as much as I am frustrated at the actions of the Mormon church.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, April 07, 2005

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

My friend John Smith from Corpus Christi, TX was interviewed for an article in the Corpus Christi Caller Times. The article was written about churches in the area who offered a 'Money Back Guarantee" for new tithers. (Tither- Someone who contributes 10% of their income toward the ministry of their local church on a regular basis.)

Check out the Article Here (over at Monday Morning Insight)

As John wisely points out in the article, this is nothing new. Pastors have been offering this challenge for decades. Pastors rely on God's word not returning void and on people understanding scripture enough to know that blessings come in 100 ways not related to cash. Apparently at Bay Area Fellowship, a former employee (hmmm?) decided she wasn't blessed enough and filed a lawsuit asking for 3 years (years?) worth of tithes back from the church. The church offered her 2004's tithes totaling just under 3k but the lady instead is taking the church to court. Amazing.

Anyway, my friend did a good job of being kind to everyone and he displayed wisdom in the midst of a chaotic situation.

Another Thought:
Many Pastors have no clue how to handle the media. Pastors have a tendency to view the media as the enemy. I'm convinced that we must get over this. The media are people and would you blame them for being a little skeptical for what we in the ministry do? To the unsaved reporter who is trained never to trust the first answer we are weird. When we try to 'Ignore them so they'll go away", we get hammered in the long run.

Get to know your local reporters. Try to learn what they need from you. Be honest with them and don't put them off. When your church does something awesome, alert the media with a press release. You never know if your story may look good on a slow news day. One of the worst things you could do is ignore them. And NEVER EVER go off record. There is no such thing as 'off record'.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, April 06, 2005

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I read the book "Halftime" a few months ago.
This book deals with the 'midlife crisis' that many people experience. A midlife isn't exclusively for people in their 40's. A person is at midlife when they struggle with the question of success vs. significance. Many people who are successful at a younger age (socially speaking) may find themselves questioning success as a viable gratification.

I encourage you to read Halftime even if you don't feel you've "achieved". You have the ability to learn lessons along the way that men into their 40's are just now understanding. Make your life matter and learn how to focus on significance.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, April 06, 2005

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Google What?

Google has now added satellite to their Google Maps. I've already begun using their map service exclusively but now with the satellite views (not live but a few years old), they are incredible!

This is the site of the new school we'll begin using on May 1st for our weekend services with Focal Point Church.

By the way, if you didn't get your free Andy Stanley book... GET IT NOW!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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Focal Point Church Blog

Shelley and I have posted updates to the Focal Point Church Blog.

Shelley and Marcel are an awesome couple that God brought to Focal Point. They have two awesome sons and have been an incredible asset to Focal Point. God is working through them in wonderful ways.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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Reach Out NOW

This morning several of our students found out that a 10th grader from their school committed suicide over spring break. In any situation this is nothing short of tragic.

I'm not one to "over spiritualize" but I couldn't help to think back to the last meeting before spring break when I told our teens "We must be serious about God because we honestly don't know if everyone your age will even make it back from spring break. I encourage you to reach out to your friends." I doubt I will remind our teens of those statements (although I did remind an adult worker who was in the room when I said that). Who knows, quite possibly that statement was meant for no one but me to recall. I am the shepard of this flock and it is my responsibility to lead by example.

We say those things as Pastors and move on but do we honestly have a grip on them? So often times as you search your bible you will find an amazing sense of urgency. Paul spoke of Christ's plan of redemption being unfolded in "these last days". The early church lived and moved and breathed in such a way as to believe that Christ really could come back at any moment. We've lost this urgency.

I obviously would never guilt our kids into reaching their friends but I do want every human being alive to have the opportunity to hear the gospel. How many more teens in that school are where their friend was just last week? How many teens are on the edge and feeling completely alone? The bible reminds us that it's not good for us to be alone. Images of "friend" and "Father" and "Mother" flood the stories describing love and worth in scripture. Will our teens, will our church, will this Pastor be a friend to someone close to the edge?

John Piper makes a statement that "Evangelism and Missions exist because Worship doesn't" In some lives God's name is not praised. Some people are unable to praise God for they do not know him. John 17:3 reminds us that Jesus said --And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent--

"The Point" of Focal Point is to encourage and equip people to know God. "Father I beg you to rewire me to feel the sense of urgency needed for the task you have put before me. Father I desire to share your story of atonement and redemption SO THAT worship will break out in our city. I love you Lord."

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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Jesus Never Saw A Prostitute

I read this post on the Lakeland Community Church blog (Jordan Cooper's church if you care about that stuff).

Tony Campolo relates a story about himself. Once he asked a class of students "What do you reckon Jesus would have said to a prostitute?" Campolo was apparently preparing himself to be able to speak about Jesus' compassion and understanding. At one particular point in the discussion a Jewish student responded: "Jesus never saw a prostitute." Campolo began to sensitively suggest that Jesus in fact related to a number of prostitutes. The Jewish man interrupted him and said: "Dr. Campolo you didn't hear me ... Jesus never saw a prostitute." Campolo responded again with a situation from the Gospels. Again the man said: "You're not listening to me ... Jesus never saw a prostitute." Suddenly, Campolo understood. When Jesus looked at someone he looked beyond their situation and he looked beyond their own perceptions and societies' configuration of them. He always saw the whole person. The salvation of self and society is the goal of Biblical conversion and it becomes possible with God through Jesus Christ .

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, April 04, 2005

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FREE Andy Stanley Book

Andy Stanley and North Point Community Church have teamed up with Multnomah Publishers, Inc. to create North Point Resources. In an effort to draw attention (and a mailing list) the venture is offering a free book for people who sign up to receive updates about their books.

I signed up this evening and will look forward to my copy of 7 Practices of Effective Ministry.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, April 04, 2005

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Raw Data

Demographics details at Epodunk.

I came across the above site this morning and thought some of my church friends would enjoy it's contents.

Enter your zip or city and go to town! (No pun intended)

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Saturday, April 02, 2005

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How Nerdy are you?

According to this online quiz, I'm not a nerd. (Although I wouldn't mind being a nerd because they will rule the world as more and more people become dependant on computers)

I am nerdier than 12% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 01, 2005

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Pope Passing Away

Today we hear that the Pope is passing away. As a Protestant Pastor some might assume I wouldn't pay much attention to this moment in history. That assumption would be false. In addition to a Pastor I am a human, student and political observer.

The Pope has a long list of accomplishments that have shaped his 27 years. Since I have been alive Pope John Paul II has been the head of the Catholic church. Some of the things I will remember about him are that in 1981 he publically forgave the man who attempted to kill him. He was instrumental in helping the world see the fall of Communism as it once was known. He fought for a culture of life throughout his term and even came out to apologize for Christianity ignoring the holocaust for so long by their silence.

I hold a different theology than the vatican but I can appreciate as a human what God used this man to do. The Catholic church (and more particularly the next Pope) will have some large shoes to fill.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 01, 2005

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I can't help it

(The following post may just be for my benefit but I hope it comes across in your situation as well.)

I just returned from a morning work session at my local Starbucks. On my way back the truck in front of me hit his breaks rather hard causing me to say "WHA..." in the car. (I didn't actually say anything but I was surprised none-the-less.

I look up to see a man in the middle of the road attempting to cross. He was standing on the solid yellow lines that divided the 4 lane road. The driver of the truck allowed the man to skidoodle his way across the road. Here is what I couldn't help...

I observed the man attempt to jog across the street (a kind way of respecting the traffic that stopped for him). He has a cigarette in his left hand and he reached down with his right hand to grab a hold of his falling sweat pants. He gets to the other side of the road and hops up on the curb. He's noticeably out of breath from this "exercise" of a 20 foot jog. As I watched him reach up right hand up to his chest almost to catch his breath, he takes his left hand and shoves his cigarette into his mouth.

I couldn't help but think... (My mind works this way and I haven't figured out why) "There has got to be an illustration!"

As I hit the gas to continue my drive it hit me so quickly. I thought to myself "We are just like this guy." We go to God and say "God, my lungs are tight, I'm out of spiritual shape, I need you to fill me up...." We sing songs that proclaim "We are Hungry, We are Thirsty, We are Hungry for more of You!" We cry out "This is the Air I Breathe... This is my daily bread...." And we say to God, "Please fill my lungs with you... I'm tired" ---- much as the man running such a short distance became so easily tired. We (like this man) at the moment when we know we need fresh air take our cigarette (whatever temptation or addictions we hold on to) and shove them in our mouths.

We fill up our lungs with the very garbage that keeps out the fresh air. We know mutual exclusivity (No two objects making claims on the same thing can exist at the same time) prevents us from having both smoke filled lungs and fresh-air filled lungs. So the idea of some guy puffing on a cigarette at the very moment he needs replacement oxygen seems crazy. Do we realize this during our days as Christ-followers when we thirst for a close relationship with a holy God yet we suck on our cigarette of sin?

I think we're all guilty on this one. For me at least it hit me as to how stupid I can be sometimes no matter how smart I think I am. God is so cool and so humbling.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 01, 2005

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Beep-Beep. Who got the keys to my Jeep? Rumm Rumm

Okay so the title was corny and only about 30% of you understand it.

Terry Storch came through again this morning with his post about Google's new beta product called Ride Finder. It identifies cabs and shuttles in your city. For a complete list of cities check out Terry's blog or the main Ride Finder page but if you just want a sample, here is my hometown of Baltimore.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, April 01, 2005

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