Thursday, January 04, 2018 

And so begins the journey…

It’s been quiet around here for the past couple of years.  It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since my last post.  The past five years have been stressful to say the least.  However, there is no need to rehash the past—as someone told me earlier this morning—December is so “last year.”  The same is true for life since my previous posts.

As this is the beginning of a new year, it is probably time to make some decisions about what I want to focus on from this point forward.  First, I want to—no, perhaps I need to—start writing more.  This may seem funny, especially due to my silence over the past five years (not just here, but most other forms of social media as well), but I really enjoy writing.  The problem is that not doing it for the past five years has made me rusty.  I figure the only way to overcome that is to do it. This may be painful at first (for me as the writer, and, perhaps, for you as the reader), but bear with me. In time, hopefully, it will get better.  My prayer is that over the next several months, this blog will become active again.  I want to start posting my thoughts like I did in the past, but I also want to try my hand at short story writing.  As the header of this blog states, it will probably get messy around here.

Secondly, it’s time to get healthy again.  When I say that, I don’t just mean physically.  One thing that I have discovered over the past five years is a more holistic understanding of health.  While physically I need to get healthier (what I eat, when I exercise, losing weight, etc.), I also need to get healthier emotionally, spiritually, and financially. All of those factors affect my well-being.  I’m not sure what is required in this journey to “health”, but I’m pretty sure I will be journaling about it here.

Finally, the word for me this year is “engage.”  The lack of writing on this blog has been a symptom of the disengagement that has defined my life over the past five years.  Fear is a tremendous jailor. It is time to shake off the shackles of fear and re-engage in my community, as a husband, as a father, as a pastor, as a member of several boards, and as simply a human being.  Once again, I’m pretty sure I will be journaling about that journey here.

As Pope Francis has said, “Life is a journey. When we stop, things don’t go right.”  I guess it’s time to start the journey again.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 

Perhaps it's time to start writing again...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 

One week out...

It's been a week since I left the retreat.  Life is starting up and I'm beginning to enter my routine.  I didn't preach last week, so I'm trying to get re-engaged this week.  I left thinking about the importance of rhythm and how I needed to make sure that rhythm was still in my life.  One week later and I'm discovering that keeping rhythm is harder then I thought.

We did a Sabbath on Monday.  We turned off all of our devices - our phone, our computers and our TV.  It was a lot harder then I thought it would be (especially for the kids).  Doing the office this week has been spotty at best - mostly because our schedules as a family have not come into line.  I think my kids think mom and dad are just being weird and that we will get over it.  I'm hoping that we create something that will take them forward into the rest of their lives.  The true test of all this will be on Friday when Emily comes home from school.  I'm not sure how she is going to handle Mondays - her phone is permanently attached to her!

So I'm sitting here in Starbucks this morning thinking about where we go from here.  I have fresh vision for both the church and my family - but some of the same anxieties and insecurities are creeping back in.  I can see the long term plan, it's just how to get there that is frightening to me.  So what do I do next?  I need to preach this week, but it's not all there yet.  What do I say to them?  How do I articulate what God has done for me?  How does one explain rhythm?

Saturday, December 08, 2012 

Attractional vs Incarnational

Ponder this for a moment:
Nonetheless, when we say it is a flaw for the church to be attractional, we refer more to the stance the church takes in its community.  By anticipation that if they get their internal features right, people will flock to the services, the church betrays its belief in attractionalism.  It's like the Kevin Costner character in the film Field of Dreams being told by the disembodied voice, "If you build it, they will come."  How much of the traditional church's energy goes into adjusting their programs and their public meetings to cater to an unseen constituency?  If we get our seating, our parking, our children's program, our preaching, and our music right, they will come.  This assumes that we have a place in our society and that people don't join our churches because, though they want to be Christians, they're unhappy with the product.  The missional church recognizes that it does not hold a place of honor in its host community and that its missional imperative compels it to move out from itself into the host community as salt and light. (Shaping of Things to Come, The Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church.  Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch)
I've been told that if I only get my systems right, we would grow and be relevant.  The assumption is that we are small because we don't know what we are doing.  The reality is that we are small because we do not have the budget / staff / facility / programs that the one large church in our town has so as to successfully compete for the discerning Christian consumer.  But is that who we are supposed to grow a church with?  My soccer friends don't care about our systems.  They think the church is hypocritical and bigoted.  So to reach them do I need to do the same thing that all the churches do - the things that they don't care about?  Or instead, do I need to figure out a way to be salt and light to them?  The same hard truth hits us here in DeKalb.  Most of the people in this town don't care for anything that the church has to offer.  If they did, then they would be in church.  Our witness is irrelevant to them.  Because of that, we have made Jesus irrelevant to them.  An irrelevant Jesus - that is a pretty scary thought.

If we really wanted to be followers of Jesus, we would go to the place that he hung out at.  We would do the things that he did.  Jesus went to where the people were - he didn't wait for them to come to him.  Think about how Paul describes Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage  rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!  (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV)
So what would it look like if we took the same attitude about the lost?  We find comfort in the church.  We like the safe comfortable culture that we are apart of.  But what if we were willing to become uncomfortable so that others might find Jesus.  What if we became uncomfortable so as to became salt and light?  What would our lives look like?  What who the church look like?  Now that's something to really ponder...

Friday, December 07, 2012 


It's been quiet around here for the past two weeks.  Cindy and I have been away on retreat.  We spent ten days in the Texas hill country at a retreat center with several other Vineyard pastors and leaders.  The place was remote - so remote that the nearest "town" was about 20 miles away.  So remote that we were about an hour away form the nearest cell tower.  Talk about unplugging.  Ten days without a phone.  Ten days with limited e-mail.  Ten days with little contact to the outside world.  In an environment like that, things finally start to quiet down in your mind and you can start to hear God again.

The days were simple.  Wake up at seven.  Get showered and dressed.  Grab a cup of coffee and head to morning prayer.  A small group of us would pray the office every morning at eight.  At eight fifteen, the bell would ring and we would eat breakfast as a community.  Worship at nine, a teaching and then a story.  The bell would ring at noon - lunch as a community.  A time of solitude and silence from one till one thirty.  The rest of the afternoon was free - meet with someone or not.  Read, walk, canoe, sleep... whatever.  At Five forty five the bell would ring again - dinner as a community.  Another story at seven and then evening prayer at nine thirty with the same small group as in the morning.  After that - perhaps a fire, or to sleep.  Then repeat.  Sunday was free to do whatever.

After a while, a rhythm begins.  And within that rhythm God speaks, ministers and heals.  As the week went on I began to realize how out of rhythm I had become and that it was affecting every area of my life. My marriage, my family, my entire life.  Ten days later and the rhythm seems to be back, at least in Cindy and I.

We picked the kids up yesterday.  By the end of the day I was longing for that thirty minutes of solitude and silence.  They are not in rhythm.  I'm guessing that the church isn't in rhythm either.  I figure I have a choice.  I can either throw away these past ten days and return to what I was or I can teach what I have learned and try to get the other areas in my life into God's rhythm.  Needless to say, I'm going to do the later.

So what is that going to look like?  Our family is going to start praying the office together daily - morning and evening.  We will do times of silence and solitude.  And we will keep a true Sabbath (Mondays).  No phones, no computers.  Some time with God in the morning and then time together as a family.  Extended time off once a year and a true short retreat for Cindy and I once a year as well.  The church is a little more complicated - but God is faithful.  I figure it will take some time, but I think it will be well worth it.

I'm going to try and journal this journey into rhythm here.  I know that part of the temptation as a reader of blogs is to read and move on. I want to challenge all of you out there to take some time and find God's rhythm in your life.  Stop everything for a moment and be still - you will be amazed and what God wants to say.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

A Thanksgiving gift for you.....

"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly....."

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 15, 2012 

Tech Support

Couple of interesting computer articles in New Zealand PC World this evening:

First, 28 pieces of computing advice that stands the test of time:
But just because computers are one big exercise in evolutionary progress, that doesn't mean certain computing maxims ever go out of style. Take, for example, the nuggets of wisdom in the following list. All of these things are as true today as they were 2, 5, and in some cases even 10 or 20 years ago.
Second, How (and why) to surf the web in secret:
They say no one can hear you scream in space, but if you so much as whisper on the web, you can be tracked by a dozen different organisations and recorded for posterity. Simply visiting a website can allow its operators to figure out your general physical location, identify details about your device information, and install advertising cookies that can track your movements around the web. (Don't believe me? Check this out.)



Pop Christian

I'm thinking about starting a new feature here on this blog celebrating (well, perhaps not celebrating) Pop Christianity.

So, what do you do when the you know that the tithe is down and you need to preach on giving?  You make a video!

Hmmmm...words really can't describe it....

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Privacy on the internet

Interesting article this morning over at CNN.  The General Petraeus scandal has many of us intrigued by the made for TV movie of it all, but there is one thing that we all are missing.  As the article asks, "When the CIA director cannot hide his activities online, what hope is there for the rest of us?"  Here is the quote that got me:

Still, search engines may pose the biggest privacy threat: It's worth noting that when you send an e-mail or post something on Facebook, you usually expect someone else to see it, although maybe not everyone, and probably not the FBI. As John Herrman writes for BuzzFeed, however, search engines such as Google are the ones that know your "real secrets" since it doesn't feel like anyone else would see what you're searching for.
But, because of search, Google "knows the things you wouldn't ask your friends. It knows things you can't ask your spouse. It knows the things you haven't asked your doctor yet. It knows things that you can't ask anyone else and that might not have been asked at all before Google existed," he writes. "Google's servers are a repository of the developed world's darkest and most heartbreaking secrets, a vast closet lined with millions of digital skeletons that, should they escape, would spare nobody."
I guess Big Brother really is watching!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012 

Stylish Baptism

Sometimes I think I rant too much about how we are missing it in the church. I asked in my last post what the goal of our faith should be.  I wondered after I posted it if I was just complaining to complain.  But then I saw this:

Boobalicious Baptism - now those are two words that I never thought I would hear together...

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