twelve:o-one

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I wrote the following blog post on Wednesday, June 15, 2005. It was the night that Batman Begins was released. For the past several years it has been a tradition for my oldest son, Chris and me to go to the midnight release of superhero movies. Before taking Chris, I’d go to these midnight showings with youth ministry friends. Tonight I get to take my two oldest sons to the midnight showing of The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s a great way to start a week-long vacation to Chicago and the Lake Mille Lacs area. I have always love superhero films, tv shows, etc. I think you’ll see why below. Enjoy!

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It’s 11:14 p.m. and for the second straight summer I find myself being inexplicibly drawn to the AMC Movie Theater, Eden Prairie Mall for yet another 12:01 release of a summer blockbuster film. Tonight’s film? Batman Begins.If history repeats itself I will no doubt snooze for a few minutes as my group of friends, all 10-12 years younger than me, take their turns snickering at the old youth pastor who just can’t say, “no,” to a movie premier.In the past twelve months my little band of renegade youth workers have viewed the midnight releases of The Bourne Supremecy, I. Robot, Star Wars Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith, and now Batman Begins.But, I’ll surprise my friends this time. I will overcome! I will stay awake. For this is Batman! They don’t know that each day after school my older brothers and I would crowd onto my parent’s bed, each taking time to kick the other brother in his face, in order to get the best possible viewing space for reruns of the 1960’s Batman television show. We’d watch the show on my parents 9″ Black and White TV.

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The show made us feel alive! We all wanted to be Adam West’s Batman or Burt Ward’s Robin. We all wanted to battle Catwoman, the Joker, the Penguin, and the Riddler. We shouted, “POW,” when the screen read, “POW,” and “ZOWIE,” when the screen read, “ZOWIE.” We were engrossed.I still want to be the hero. I want to defeat the villian in my child’s bad dream. To help the homeless guy get back on his feet. To find a place for the orphaned child to call home. To balance the family budget and have money left over.My two youngest sons got a new CD recently. It’s from Austraila. One of the songs is calledJesus is My Superhero. They love it, and I have to admit, it’s become a Schulenburg family favorite! God, thanks for being my true superhero. You amaze me. You’ve rescued me. You love me with a neverending and never failing love. So, this movie is supposed to be about justice. Maybe I’ll stay awake through it. But, if not . . .”He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8Well it’s 11:28 and time for me to meet my posse. Thanks for listening, God. I love you. And, Jesus, You’re my Superhero!

Soulprint – Book Review

Soulprint
Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny
Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny – Kindle Edition

Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. has written a marvelous book, in Soulprint that should leave readers inspired to make a difference in their generation for Jesus Christ.Perhaps living in a city where people are all about making a name for themselves, has allowed Batterson to write a book about our uniqueness without making it sound like it is all about you. There are plenty of books on the market that teach us about our uniqueness, but Batterson writes about the subject with a keen recognition that our uniqueness has more to say about God than it does about us. When we discover who we are, who we are not, and begin

to understand God’s plan for our lives, we can make an impact on the world that will not soon be forgotten.If you are struggling with your purpose in life, wanting to know why God created you the way that He did, this book is for you. If you have read lots of books on identity, purpose, strengths, and spiritual gifts, there is enough new information presented in Batterson’s book that it will give you some new food for thought.This book would work great as a small group curriculum. As a former youth pastor, I think this would be a great book to work through with juniors and seniors in high school, or college students. Dealing with some of these issues in formative years would be a blessing to many of our students. As a dad, I plan  on taking my kids through this book in the very near future.

When Hope Disappeared

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The Saturday of Holy Week always makes me think of what it must have been like for  the disciples to have lost all hope. Many times I’ve thought of this day as the Day When Hope Disappeared. Disciples were scattered in clusters. One was dead –  a betrayer with such guilt that he hung himself. Some were alone, hiding in fear. Some were together.Was the last 3 1/2 years just an empty adventure? Was it possible that their eyes had deceived them? Was it
possible that Jesus was not who He said that He was? Why hadn’t they stayed true? Why hadn’t they fought for Him? What had He done that merited death on a cross? What would become of them?Sunday morning was coming . . . but they didn’t know what Sunday would bring.What are your questions today? What are your doubts?

It may be the day when your hope is gone, but HOPE is not dead. HE is alive! And Sunday? It’s coming!

A Poem for Good Friday

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A Poem For Good Friday(Using the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross)Hoisted upon Calvary’s treeTo rectify the sin in meJesus looked upon the crowd

Announcing in a voice so loud

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do”

Beautiful words spoken to Gentile and Jew

Callously gambling for a piece of His clothing

The soldiers oblivious man’s redemption He was buying

“Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

Crowd spoken mockery on Golgotha’s sod

Criminals, on either side of the Lamb

Both facing life’s final exam
“Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Criminal’s jeering words in the form of a cuss.

“Jesus remember me when You come into Your Kingdom!”

Contrasting words, heart changing, unable to stay mum.
The lips of our Lord move a second time

Responding to the one convicted of crime

Looking straight at the man, knowing all of his vice

“Today you will be with me in paradise.”
That’s when His gaze came upon those He loved,

Some women, a disciple and the mother beloved.

“Dear woman, here is your son,” pronounced He to Mary.

“Here is your mother,” to John, while so wearied.
And then in the middle of that solemn day

Darkness hovered, black sky, not just gray

He who was holy became sin, no facade

And for the first time God was separated from God

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Was the awful cry that came from that tree.

The only thing in all the world capable of dividing the Trinity

Was the sin of every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, yes even you and me.
Later knowing that all was completed

That sin and Satan would soon be defeated

Jesus, all divine, showed His humanity

“I am thirsty,” He said, displaying no vanity.
When He received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”

His time had come, His work was accomplished.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
At that moment the world reacted

But most of humanity was too distracted

To notice the veil in the temple torn in two

From top to bottom what should we construe?
That Jesus’ death on the cross paved the way

For us to have access to God when we pray

The earth shook and the rocks split

On the day God was hit and we offered spit.
The bodies of some dead were raised to life that day

Holy people appeared in Jerusalem to convey

That Jesus is God, He is the way, Centurion and squad

Declared, “Surely He was the Son of God!”
No bones were broken

Prophecy spoken

Declared body piercing

Blood and water producing
As evening approached so did two powerful men

Perhaps they were remembering when

Jesus had spoken and challenged their thinking

Waiting to live for Him until the world was sinking
They took His body, wrapped it in a shroud

Just as Pontius Pilate had allowed

To the tomb He was taken

Christ had been forsaken.
Forsaken by man and forsaken by God

So great was the cost on the road that He trod

But great is the victory He won on Golgotha

A victory summed up in the word Marantha
The Lord is coming soon is the word’s special meaning

Three days later, He arose and sin took a beating

He will come again soon to take those who are His

Truer words never spoken, it’s the truth, that it is
Will you be like humanity’s generations?

Too busy, distracted, for His interventions?

Don’t miss Calvary’s message of Christ’s great love

Offered to all of us who are undeserving of.
– Brian Schulenburg

April 9, 2009

Easter is Coming

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Easter Sunday has always been a special day for me. It was on Easter Sunday in 1974 that I asked Jesus to be my Savior and Lord. I had no idea just how significant that decision would be as a four-year-old boy, but that day
would forever change my life. It was on Easter Sunday that God’s grace reached out to me and saved me from what could have been. It was on Easter Sunday that God’s grace reached out and saved me from what I am.I had no idea as a four-year-old that God would eventually call me into ministry. There are days when I wonder if God knew what He was doing calling me. But that’s the thing about God. He works in surprising ways to ultimately accomplish His glory.Easter Sunday, 1974 is the most significant day of my life. But, it’s not the most important Easter. That happened on the first Easter Sunday. It was on that day that Christ changed the course of human history. It was on Easter
Sunday that He paved the way for mankind to be reconciled to God. It was on that day that ultimate victory was won. We’re about 2,000 years removed from the first Easter. It seems like the further we get away from the date, the less impact it has on us. Today in America, the vast majority of people are more excited about the release of the newest iPad, the Hunger Games movie premier, the signing of Peyton Manning, a presidential election year, and a host of other things than we are about the life-changing truth that Jesus is alive.I was traveling across the country last week, visiting colleges with my son, Chris and then on a speaking trip to New York with my sister. So, I’m catching up this week. I’ve been catching up on 400+ e-mails. I’ve been catching up on some Bible reading that I got behind on. I’ve been catching up on tax work. And, I’ve been catching up on my preaching schedule. Easter is 2 1/2 weeks away. As I prepared today, I watched a number of videos from the Skit Guys’ website (If you have never been to their website, check it out at here.) So many of their videos spoke to me today, but two of them, in particular, hit me to the core. If you have some time between now and Easter, watch these videos and celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive and He is pursuing you! That’s worth getting excited about!

Are You a Trader?

BluefishTV.com has some fantastic videos that they are allowing people to download for free right now. I wanted to share three of them with you today.

The first is called “Definition of a Trader.”  Check it out – I think you’ll be inspired:

The second video is called “History of Traders.”

There is a third video that I can’t embed on this page called “Church and the Racetrack.” You can watch it by clicking here.

So, how do you feel after watching these videos? Do you sense God telling you something?

From Small Groups to Missional Communities

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Woodbury Community Church has set an aggressive goal this year to see 75% of the people who attend our weekend services involved in small groups by the end of this year. Our eventual goal is that 125% of our congregation’s weekend attendance average would be involved in small groups. Why? Because we believe that nothing changes a person more than being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and that disciples are best nurtured in the context of a small group. Small groups allow us to strip away false pretense. Healthy small groups mean that we are known by others. It means that we have a place to be real about our failures and people with whom to celebrate our victories. Life is hard. It was never meant to be lived alone.

My Dad sent me an e-mail last night. The e-mail is an interview with Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California. In the interview Rick says, “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfortGod is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.”

This year, our church has been studying The Sermon on the Mount. In His revolutionary sermon, Jesus gave his listeners the secret to a life that was blessed by God. Blessing doesn’t always mean happiness this side of heaven. Sometimes blessing means that we get on God’s anvil, and He chisels away the things in our life that need to be formed into something new. The process may hurt, but the end result brings blessing.

Small groups help us through the process. They also help move us to action; away from complacent Christianity and into the spiritual battle. This 4 1/2 minute video by Matt Carter, the pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas talks about being a people who live in missional community. It’s a video that has encouraged me today, and I hope it will encourage you.