June 26th, 2007

Ark Almighty

Hey Gang,

A little sneaky-sneak preview at some stuff from this Sunday’s message.

Want to know how we’re planning to help folks Get in the Game?

Click here and look around. Maybe you’ll be one of the first to jump in.

Talk to you soon.


June 19th, 2007

Outward Bound

Greetings Everypeoples.

Getting lots of excited feedback and questions from this past Sunday’s message. Yeah, I think God is doing some really cool things in our church right now.

You heard me reference a book several times this past Sunday. It’s called Conspiracy of Kindness, by Steve Sjogren. Link is on the left in the ‘Recently Consumed’ typelist. Or, if you wanna borrow my copy, that’s cool too.

I could see that lots of folks had their wheels turning as far as new and different ideas on how to serve our community. I want to encourage you guys to be creative and think up some new and radical ways to show people that God loves them in a tangible way.

But just in case you need a little help, here’s a website that’s cataloged hundreds of them and complied them into a search engine. Check it out.

When you’re done, poke around the rest of the servantevangelism.com a bit. Methinks thou shalt dig it. It is surely the right thing.



June 13th, 2007

Chicago Diaries

Well my friends, it’s been a pretty hairy couple of weeks. One of the more stressful of my life, actually.

Crazy stuff right?

Most of you know by now that a fine young man named Thomas Pryor is joining our paid staff at True North. Tom is a great guy and God has called him into full-time ministry, which rocketh. It’s pretty much policy that anyone who joins our staff in that capacity needs to go through an assessment. What is an assessment? Glad you asked.

It’s a four day gauntlet of psych testing, personality evaluation and simulated stress, designed to see how you handle conflict and to help pinpoint areas where you may have trouble in ministry.

It was an the assessment center that I first met the guys from Orchard Group, who connected us with the building we’re in. Pastor Mike also did his time under the microscope and it proved to be very fruitful for both of us.

P1010252_smallSo, last week Tom and I went to an assessment center in Chicago. We booked an early flight so we could bum around the city and I gotta say, in the immortal words of Ol’ Blue Eyes, “That’s my kinda town!” P1010239_small Seriously, I’m a fan. I had a really good time there. We first checked out Millenium Park which had some amazing sculpture pieces and the coolest outdoor concert venue I’ve ever seen!P1010273_small
2929275pizzeria_unopizzeria_duechicThen it was off to where the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza was born. That’s right ya’ll. The original Pizzeria Uno. Corner of Wabash and Ohio. It was dope. It’s such a little hole in the wall you can’t even believe it. But the food was amazing. The place is so popular the actually made another spot called Pizzeria Due about a block away to handle the overflow!Buckingham_night
A visit to my 18th Hard Rock Cafe (yeah baby!), some Jamba Juice and a trip to Navy Pier rounded off the day nicely.

The assesment itself was a really profitable time. And the result will definitely be a more ready and better equipped Tom Pryor in the end. Sometimes gut-wrenching stuff to go through though. Very emotionally draining.

While I was away, there was a terrible tragedy in the lives of two people from our church. Joe and Anne-Marie Manzolillo lost their 30-year old son. I got back from Cha-town on Thursday and did the funeral Friday night and a service at the cemetery Saturday morning. I know that what I went through here was a mere trifle compared to the grief of the family, but it was one of my toughest funerals yet. The place was packed. There were hundreds of people there, and there are never any easy answers for things like this.

Joe and Anne-Marie and their family could still use all our prayers as they mourn. Perhaps this week even more than last as this actually settles in and becomes real to them.

From the funeral I headed right over to church for a really amazing work day. Thanks SOOOO much to all of you who came out and gave up your day to make the building a little cleaner, safer and more welcoming. Seriously. God is glorified in your willingness to serve. You guys rock my face off.

And then it was on into Sunday, where we began a four week message series called ‘Get in the Game.’ I’m really excited about this material. And for those who were there Sunday and are looking forward to see where we’re headed… I got 2 words for you: Ark Almighty.

Yeah, that’s right. Stay tuned!

And always do the right thing.


Pastor Bert

May 23rd, 2007

Quiet Week

Hey Gang,

Nothing too much going on this week. Enjoying this AMAZING weather, having some good times with my kids and praising God a lot!

Two little things I’ve consumed recently which have absolutely blown my mind:

1. The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “A Batman book?! A comic?! Aren’t you an adult?” Yes, yes, and sort of. I started getting into comics again while doing research for the Amazing Stories sermon series, but I never really got into Batman too much. Honestly, I had no idea what I’d been missing. This story is amazing. Seriously. The art – yeah, it’s really great as well, but I expected that. What I did not expect was the way the story itself is a legitimate piece of literature which stands on its own apart from the drawings. Do yourself a favor and check this book out. You can borrow my copy of the Complete Frank Miller Batman as soon as Pastor Mike gets done with it.

2. The Prestige. This movie will suck you in. Easily the most entertaining film I’ve seen in a long while. First time I have EVER not been able to resist a second viewing immeditately after finishing it for the first time. One of Christopher Nolan’s (Memento, Batman Begins) best pictures. High marks all around. Don’t miss this one.

I’ve also been getting into some of Martin Scorcese’s early stuff as well and I’ve really been impressed by how good it is! (See Netflix Goodness list on the left).

And that’s it ya’ll. I’ll leave you with a pretty cool little video clip here. If all Mentos commercials were like this, it would be the right thing.

Talk to you soon.