Thursday, November 23, 2006

New U2

I can't get enough of this song! (I don't know if there is an official video for this song, but this is a fan-vid someone made.)

U2- Window in the Skies

Miss Sarjevo, Live from Milan (Bono sings opera!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm Outta Here

I hit the road today with Steph, Mama and Mally, and we won't be back until the day before thanksgiving. Here's a link to keep you entertained until then!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Becoming Jane

A behind the scenes look at the kinda biographical movie about Jane Austen, Becoming Jane.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A joke on Willow :)

The Prank Letters of S. William Kost

Over the last ten years, I have written dozens of joke letters, sometimes under pseudonyms, to companies large and small in America and around the world. Many of these companies have written back.

(To see pictures of the letters, click on the link in the title.)

Lyle E. Castrole
P.O. Box 598
Clackamas, OR 97015

March 11, 2001
Pastor Bill Hybels
Willow Creek Community Church
67 East Algonquin Road
South Barrington, IL 60010

Dear Pastor Hybels,

I am going to be in the Chicago area from May 4-22, and am interested in attending services at Willow Creek Community Church. I have friends in both Wheaton and Carol Stream who have recommended it to me. I have heard that Willow Creek is committed to delivering God's Word to people of all backgrounds as well as levels of mobility. As I am handicapped, this is welcome news to me.

My disability does not require the use of a wheelchair, nor is it an impairment of either my eyesight or hearing. Pastor Hybels, I have a handicapped brain. I'm not mentally retarded. I have no learning disabilities, and I have full cognitive ability. What's different about me is that I react in very extraordinary ways to very ordinary stimuli.

For example, last Tuesday I was watching television when a commercial for Odor-Eaters came on. The commercial was very normal, as were the actors and the product they were selling. But when the voice-over announcer stated the words "activated charcoal", that's when things got crazy. Upon hearing those words, I promptly stood up, kissed my next-door neighbor, removed my shirt, got a pencil from the drawer, stuck the pencil up my left nostril, and walked in a perfect circle for 37 minutes.

Three weeks ago, on my 31st birthday, my mother came over to my house, bringing with her a photo of myself as a baby. I laughed at the chocolate cake on my face, but when I saw the 1969 calendar in the background, it triggered my odd behavior. I ran out my front door with one hand on my head and the other on my right thigh, and when I got to the 7-Eleven I stopped, looked in the window and made donkey noises for twelve minutes.

Many different triggers have had repeated effects on me, and as a result I am no longer allowed in Office Depot, McDonalds or any hotel (the little soaps make me belch the alphabet).

Pastor, I am writing this letter to you to make sure your church can accommodate my unusual disability. I can make sure to locate myself in a corner of the sanctuary, where I might be out of the way of most people. I cannot predict whether or not I will have an incident at the church, but I do know that every time I watch TBN, something happens, and it's not because that woman's big hair. Is there any way there can be a security officer nearby in case I get up and scream "the bucket the bucket the bucket" until I drop?


Lyle E. Castrole


Dear Lyle:

Bill Hybels passed your recent letter along to me. My name is Bob Irwin, and I am the Safety and Security coordinator here at Willow Creek. I would be glad to personally attend to you, if you decide to visit us in May. Please contact me when you know the date you will be attending one of our services and I will arrange for your special needs.

Willow Creek serves over 17,000 attenders at our weekly services, so it is our desire to protect them from disturbances of any kind. I appreciate your consideration for others. It would be advisable for one of your friends to accompany you when you visit, and we will do everything we can to attand to your disability.

Lyle, you can contact me at (847) 765-5000 ext. 633. Leave a message for me giving your phone number and also your friend's phone number. Let me know which service you will be attending. I will then arrange to meet you, or have another security person escort you during your visit.

It is important that you contact me before your visit so that I can provide a safe place for you thus allowing you to enjoy the service. Thank you for writing and I look forward to hearing from you.

In Christ,
Bob Irwin


Lyle E. Castrole
P.O. Box 598
Clackamas, OR 97015

April 16, 2001
Bob Irwin, Safety and Security Coordinator
Willow Creek Community Church
67 East Algonquin Road
South Barrington, IL 60010

Dear Mr. Irwin,

I appreciate you taking the time to write me back before the days in May that I was supposed to go out there and attend Willow Creek. There have been some huge things that have happened since I wrote you that letter in April.

If you remember, up until recently I had this odd problem of reacting very strangely to certain "trigger" words or phrases. I would hear a particular word on TV or in a conversation, and all of a sudden I would go berserk. I think I told you about the McDonald's incident in the last letter, where I got kicked out because Ronald McDonald's face made me start singing songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show (a movie I haven't even seen). Well, I am happy to say that that whole problem is gone due to the thoughtful work of my pastor, Jess Northrup. He suggested one night that I might be demon possessed. I told him it wasn't possible, since no demon has ever signed a lease! (A joke) Then he got really serious and started yelling at me, shouting out commands like Get out! and Leave him! Well I got up to leave but he was holding me down! Suddenly I felt this wave rush over me and I knew I had been cured. Pastor Northrup said that I definitely had a demon inside of me that was doing all of this crazy stuff. He said that the demon needed to be exercised. I didn't get it. Wouldn't that make the demon stronger? Well, maybe the workout tired him out and he fell out of me. Anyway it worked out.

The problem is that I was shaken really hard and I kept hitting my head on the floor, and a week later I went deaf and I can't speak a word. The doctor says it's temporary, that I should be back to normal in a year or so. In the meantime I'm not supposed to travel, so the Chicago trip is a bust. Also I can't get Bob Carlisle's song "Butterfly Kisses" out of my head. I appreciate all that you were willing to do for me to accommodate my condition. Therefore I have a new question:

Are there transcripts of Pastor Hybels (spell check suggests: "Highballs"!) sermons available? Like in script form, or outline? Since I can't hear (temporarily), a tape is useless. Some pages to read on the bus would be good. Please let me know. And again, thank you for all of your generosity and dedication to making sure I could enjoy the service. I feel "safe and secure" already!


Lyle E. Castrole

P.S. My nephew told me a joke: What was King Nebucadenezzer's favorite kind of sandwich? Babylonian cheese (Baloney and cheese) Pass that on to Pastor Hybels!



Friday's Random Ten (Nano-style)

  1. Not Myself, Room for Squares by John Mayer
  2. High...and Loneseome, Dear Life by Bill Mallonee
  3. Brian Wilson, Rock Spectacle by Barenaked Ladies
  4. Red Hill Mining Town, Joshua Tree by U2
  5. Life, in a Nutshell, Rock Spectacle by Barenaked Ladies
  6. Real Down Town, VOL by Vigilantes of Love
  7. Real Light, Tomorrow the Green Grass by The Jayhawks
  8. Worry Too Much, Universal United House of Prayer by Buddy Miller
  9. Forever has Come to an End, Buddy and Julie Miller by Buddy and Julie Miller
  10. Telephone Road, El Corazon by Steve Earle

Video Pick of the Week:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

Willow Chicago was one of five Chicago churches profiled in the Sun-Times look at fashion and worship.

complements of

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

Stewardship: Why Pastors Should Teach More Broadly About Giving
by Ken Walker of

Dick Towner, executive director of the Good $ense financial ministry at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, says pastors shoot themselves in the foot by reducing the topic to an annual plea for more money.

"One friend calls it the lamentation of desperation for the church budget," Towner says. "In large measure the church has failed to teach on stewardship. Materialism has won the day in the hearts and minds of people."

Towner sees various factors at work in the church’s failure to teach about stewardship, starting with most seminaries neglecting the subject.

In addition, he says many pastors are uncomfortable discussing money, either because of modest salaries or high educational debt that leaves them struggling to pay their bills.

They also face potential opposition from congregants who are either ignorant of how often the Bible addresses the topic or guilt over their own lack of giving. Yet, two-thirds of Christ’s parables concern money or possessions, Towner says.

"Materialism is a theological subject," Towner says. "It teaches that ultimate reality is in physical reality and everything can be explained by it. It’s a god of good news that (says), ‘Things bring happiness.’"

To read the entire article, click on the link in the title.

Update from Bill Hybels

Copy and pasted here those of you who don't subscribe to the e-news letter.

Dear E-News Friends,

I know this update is long overdue, so let me begin by saying I am sincerely sorry for not communicating sooner. No excuses.

These past few months have been packed with some of the most exciting experiences of my life. The Leadership Summit was judged by many as the best ever. Over sixty thousand pastors and church leaders attended the various sites all over North America. Shortly after that, the top-rated sessions were translated into multiple languages and final preparations were made for our Global Leadership Summits which are taking place this fall in 52 cities around the world. More than 20,000 international pastors and church leaders will benefit from these high-impact two-day events. Two weeks ago our dream of a Global Summit in Moscow was realized when almost a thousand church leaders gathered in the heart of that great city. The reports we received from that site alone made the entire GLS effort worthwhile.

While all of that was going on, we launched the new ministry season at Willow. I was privileged to do a three-week series titled “When God Rocks Your World.” The final weekend of the series featured a 45 minute video interview I did with the Irish rock star, Bono, from U2. Bono talked about his own spiritual journey as well as his passion to fight the dual tragedies of global poverty and AIDS. I never tire of seeing God touch and transform lives of the most unusual people!

In early October we also launched our fourth Willow regional congregation—in the heart of downtown Chicago. Those who attended the Grand Opening service will never forget what it was like to see more than 2,500 people stream into Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theater. Who knows what God might do in and through that new congregation?

Next came a trip to Korea that timed out perfectly with the North Korean testing episode. But I will remember that trip for another reason. Just as I was ready to give my final evening talk, the auditorium where we were meeting exploded into an extravaganza of music, laughter, applause, confetti, dancers, streamers and singing. I was totally caught off-guard until a huge banner unfolded with “Happy Birthday Willow Creek” sprawled across it. At the same, time a cake was brought out on stage with October 12, 1975 written on it and 31 candles waiting to be blown out. Later that night, in my hotel room, I pondered the significance of a church on the other side of the world throwing a birthday party for a church in suburban Chicago. I also reflected on the heartfelt words of the senior pastor of that church as he and his congregation prayed that night for Willow. “Thank you, God,” they prayed, “for raising up a church that has inspired us to believe that Acts 2 can still be experienced today.”

And speaking of Acts 2…just last week we test-flew a new way of teaching and learning at our A2 conference by presenting case studies of six different WCA churches that are living out their calling to “be the church” in unique ways. By all accounts, the opportunity to learn from a variety of different ministry experiences was a home run.

Clearly it’s been a productive fall in terms of conferences…and it’s not over yet! Next week 7,000 church leaders will gather in Bremen, Germany for our European Leadership Summit. Please pray for God’s blessing on that event.

On the personal front, Lynne and I are thoroughly enjoying our new role as grandparents! On October 7 our daughter Shauna and son-in-law Aaron welcomed Henry Todd into the world. I am not being biased when I say he is the coolest baby ever born. It’s the simple truth! Holding him in my arms when he was barely 20 minutes old was one of the peak moments of my life. I can speak for the entire Hybels family when I say that we consider the arrival of this little guy as the highlight of the year.

Finally, many of you are aware that I have been fighting some battles on the health front for the past several months. I would appreciate your continued prayers in that regard. Mayo Clinic physicians are confident I can make a full recovery from the respiratory infection and related complications that have been plaguing me, but they have also reminded me that a 54-year-old body can no longer do what a 40-year-old body once did. Hmmm….that was new information to me…but I can’t deny it any longer. While I look forward to the myriad of Kingdom challenges that still lie ahead, I realize that I need to approach them with a modified level of intensity and pace. Your prayers for wisdom as I sort this all out will be appreciated more than you know.


Romeo and Juliet

"All I do is kiss you/through the bars of Orion." ~sigh~

For me, this song is a bigger tear jerker than its namesake. Enjoy! (The song is from the Dire Straits days, but I believe this video is Knopfler solo.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Will Stay Empty from Impact back in the day :)

This is from the Alive recording, but it's not the cut that made it onto the cd. Awesome song :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Shift Promo

We just wrapped up the '06 conference season but apparently it's never too early to start thinking about next year! Found this promo for the Willow Creek 2007 Student Ministries' Leadership Conference on YouTube. Oscar worthy performances here (or at least Golden Globe ;)

The site is still under construction but if you wanna know more about SMLC go to

Delirious?: Live at Willow Creek Reviewed

Christianity Today gives Now is the Time; Live at Willow Creek 5 stars! Here's the review:

The Good:
I had the pleasure of attending this show, but there's more at work here than personal nostalgia. In fact, I almost didn't recognize the 90-minute concert video, because the lighting and audio has only improved with first rate editing and mixing.
It looks and sounds comparable in quality to productions by U2 and Coldplay, and the accompanying CD captures most of the excellence. Moreover, the behind-the-scenes featurette is actually interesting to watch, and a fascinating 30-minute documentary delightfully demystifies the band's celebrity by sharing their history, home life, and personal photos. You truly get to know Delirious and their mission better with this project.

The Bad:
The set list relies more heavily on Delirious' The Mission Bell than on their classics, though that helps distinguish this from past concert albums.

The Bottom Line:
Access:D remains their best live album, but this will likely become the quintessential concert video for Delirious—generous in quality and content, everything's done right here.

Way to go Stanger! (And a great big way-to-go to all the Willow volunteers who worked on this puppy - making the paid professionals out there look bad! ;)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday's Random Ten (Nano-style)

  1. Ground On Down, Fight for Your Mind by Ben Harper
  2. Faithfully Dangerous, Good Dog, Bad Dog by Over the Rhine
  3. The Man Who Loved Life, Sound of Lies by The Jayhawks
  4. If I Had a Million Dollars, Rock Spectacle by The Barenaked Ladies
  5. King of Pain, Every Breath You Take by The Police
  6. In Your Eyes, Woven and Spun by Nicole Nordeman
  7. Shelter Me, Universal United House of Prayer by Buddy Miller
  8. Cowboy Romance, Tigerlily by Natalie Merchant
  9. Dirty Water, Buddy and Julie Miller by Buddy and Julie Miller
  10. Skin, V.O.L. by Vigilantes of Love

Video pick o' the Week: Ground on Down by Ben Harper.

Happy Anniversary to Me and My Sweet Cannoli

Two pictures of the illustrious Mr. Rossalosi in two days!? You, my blog readers, must be feeling incredibly fotunate! No, don't thank me, pleasing you is all the reward I need.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Food for Thought

But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and theives break through and steal....We are made to exagerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us! or, what if we had been taken sick? How vigilent we are! determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it; all the day long on the alert, at night we unwillingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties.
-H.D. Thoreau, Walden

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

Joint Evangelical and Catholic Document on Abortion calls it Murder
By Gudrun Schultz

Evangelical and Catholic leaders who have issued a joint statement declaring that care for the vulnerable in society is an essential requirement of authentic Christianity which must reject any deliberate taking of innocent human life as murder.

“The direct and intentional taking of innocent human life in abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and embryonic research is rightly understood as murder,” the document ‘That They May Have Life’ declares, from Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

Catholic leaders who endorsed the statement include Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Fordham University, Fr. Francis Martin, a foremost Catholic theologian and member of Mother of God Community, and Mr. George Weigel, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Evangelical leaders included Mr. Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, pastors Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, with the Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Church, respectively, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.