Monday, December 29, 2008

Life on the Run

Over this vacation I have finally had some time to think and reflect on what series that I want to do next with The Well. I have had some time to read, study and pray, and the next series that I am going to do is going to be on the book of Jonah. I was captured with the way this story so dramatically illustrates the human condition. It shows our propensity to run both from God and from the call that God has on our life. Jonah shows the way that we even run from God in the name of religion.

The series is going to be called, "Life on the Run." I read a quote from an author and he said, "All human beings should learn, before they die, what they are running from, ad to, and why." I think that's true. I think it is a fair statement to say that we are probably all running either from or toward something. Once we figure out what we are running from or toward our life will make a lot sense.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Here in Southern California we have been hearing a lot lately about the current economic downfall we have been experiencing. Houses are being foreclosed upon at an all-time high rate, the unemployment rates continue to rise, and poor little boys and girls can hardly afford to go to Disneyland anymore. Sad day! This economic downturn is not only effecting CA, but the rest of the nation as well. As I'm sure you read, the big three auto makers went back to congress to once again beg for a 14 billion dollar buyout (of their poorly run companies). Thanks goodness that congress once again shot them down... they will eventually give in though. These happenings are just a few examples of the signs of the times.

As a baseball fan, I'm glad to see that the current economic situation has not effected the Yankees. It amazes me that they continue to spend at an alarming rate. Just this week (in the midst of economic chaos in our country) they offered CC Sabathia a $161 million dollar deal. $24 million dollars per year. Not only are these types of contracts bad for baseball in general, they are a bad example to set for a country in peril. Personally, I hope this move comes back to bite the almighty Yankees... luckily, most of the moves they have made over the last few years have.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Milk: An Interesting Experience...

Thursday i finally finished this quarter of Seminary. It was a tough quarter. I took 4 classes which I am pretty convinced was 2 too many, but I'm done for a while! For our last class in Film and Theology we decided to go and see the movie Milk. It just came out. It has Sean Penn in it who plays Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to hold a public office. We went to see the movie on opening night... in Hillcrest. Hillcrest, if you're not familiar is probably the most openly gay community in Southern California. Needless to say, the theater was filled with homosexuals, and they made that known throughout the movie. It was one of the most interesting experiences that I have had in a long time!

As we entered the theater we were invited to a march against prop 8. Every time the movie showed a shot of the church or religious community (which it did often to show the way that church had opposed Harvey Milk and the homosexual population in general) there was open animosity shown. People booed, gasped, etc... you could feel the disdain for the church. At one point Anita Bryant was shown (actual footage from the 70's) making the statement "We love all people, we just don't approve of the homosexual lifestyle." When she said that the theater nearly erupted with laughter. I was caught off guard. I was surprised because I think I have said nearly the same thing before. It is interesting to know that taking that viewpoint is laughable to the homosexual population.

I left the theater pretty impacted by the movie, but deeply impacted by the experience. I am convinced that the church has a very long way to go in order to make inroads into the homosexual community. Unfortunately, the passing of prop 8 didn't help that journey in any way, shape, or form. We have a lot to overcome, but as always our hope is that the light of the gospel might shine in the darkest of areas and that it might bring hope to those who need it most. May the church make inroads and show love in such a way that when we say we love... it isn't laughable.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Well, I'm done! I spent this week taking a Genesis intensive class at Bethel. ^ hours of class every day of the week. I think the only word for that is brutal. Actually I ended up rally liking the class and being extremely challenged by it. The prof held to the JEDP theory of authorship - which holds that Genesis was written by 4 different authors over the course of a few hundred years. While I don't leave the class holding the same position, I do walk away having a greater appreciation for the context in which Genesis was written and the theological implications of the book. I'm glad to be done!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An Experience in Hell

I had an experience yesterday that I think could only be rivaled by Hell itself. I moved to California almost a year ago to the day... so I decided that it was high time to get CA plates on my car. So, I had to go to the DMV. I had been putting it off for a long time, but I just decided to bite the bullet and go. The DMV is bad enough in and of itself, but I also am taking a Genesis intensive class next week. The class has a ton of reading for it, so I took some of the reading to the waiting room of the DMV. The reading was on the Ancient Myths of Mesopotamia. So, picture this, I am in the DMV, waiting in line, and reading ancient Mesopotamian literature. Friends, I promise you, it doesn't get any worse than that!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What you really think...

Last week I had the opportunity to go hear a few lectures by Dallas Willard. He is the author of The Divine Conspiracy, The Great Omission, and a bunch of other great books. While some many find lectures like this to be a bit boring, it was seriously like a massage for my soul. His central point is that Jesus calls us to discipleship... not believership. I won't go off here about how the church has gotten that backwards (especially the evangelcial church), but he did share one comment that really stuck with me. He said, "What you really think about Jesus will show when you realize that you don't have to do anything."

Today I want to spend time with Him, learning to be like Him.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A tribute to facial hair

This is the video some guys from The Well made for the Academy Awards night that we had this summer. I figured I would continue my recent trend of flooding the world with bad videos (Healer being the first!).

Monday, September 8, 2008


A friend sent this video to me... hilarious!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gospel of Mark

The Bible was originally transmitted orally. People would sit around and tell stories about Jesus. Chris, a man from my Seminary (Bethel), memorized the book of Mark and does a dramatic presentation of it. He is coming to EFCC on September 12th @ 6:30. It is going to be a great night.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr speech

As I was studying for this weekend, I ran across a great speech by MLK. He wrote this from jail:

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators"' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Par from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it vi lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


A while ago there was a popular website called, Hot or Not. It still exists, but I'm not sure of its popularity level anymore. Anyway, the whole premise of the site is that people upload pictures of themselves onto the site and other people vote on how hot they are. Pretty funny, huh? (if you wouldn't mind taking a few mins to rate me, I'd really appreciate it... just kidding)

This week i am teaching on Revelation 3:14-22 - the passage where Jesus tells the church that he would rather them be either cold or hot, but because they are lukewarm he is going to spit them out of his mouth. Harsh words. Words that demand that we ask the question... "Am I hot or not?" As I was studying this passage I started to develop a sense of gratitude that this is the kind of God we have. A jealous God. A God who gave all of himself and in return wants all of us. What would it say about him if he didn't? It would be like a husband saying to his wife, I really don't care if you cheat on me and have other lovers... We would have to question whether or not the husband really loved his wife. So, because we have a God who loves and gives passionately, we also HAVE to have a God who is jealous for our affection.

Unfortunately I think because of the comfortable nature of religion in the States, we have become a church where Jesus is more like a hobby than a way of life. This passage demands that Jesus be more than a hobby. More than a Sunday morning activity and a nice ideal. This passages begs that I ask the question, I am I HOT or NOT?

Friday, August 29, 2008

An Open Door?

This week I am teaching on Revelation 3:7-13 and Jesus' letter to the church at Philadelphia. In this passage it says that Jesus holds the keys of David and the door He opens, no one can shut. What a great statement. It displays the power, majesty, and activity in our world. On the surface this statement seems pretty understandable. I mean, it seems logical that the doors that God opens for us have good things behind them. I wonder if God's perspective of an open door is different from ours.

In Acts 16 Luke describes a scene where Paul had really wanted to go to Asia to preach the Word, but the Spirit of God had kept him from doing so. Finally, in a dream God tells Paul that its time to go to Asia and preach... there is an open door! Behind the open door there is a woman who responds to gospel, but there are also a few other things waiting for Paul and Silas. They were: stripped, beaten, severely flogged, and thrown in jail. Sort of makes you wonder if you want to walk through the "open doors" that God provides.

Here is the kicker. They are in jail singing (?), and there is an earthquake that shatters the jail walls and they walk out. One of the things that I think we need to remember about open doors is that God calls us to walk through them, to trust him in the midst o the hard parts of life, trusting that he will be faithful. As followers of Christ we are called to see the beauty breaking through the brokenness. We can only see that if we are willing to walk through the open doors that he provides.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

healer faker

In my previous post I talked about how cool it was that this guy sang the song 'Healer' with oxygen tubes in his nose... turn out he is a faker. He faked the whole thing - 2 years of faking cancer... not even his family knew. Issues! You have to wonder what was going on inside his heart to amke him want to do this. As I have thought about this a little bit over the past week, I think there is something a little deeper that God would want us to see through this.

I would love to say that I am surprised, but it seems as though Christian leaders (not that he was a leader, but a prominent person) have a habit of letting us down. I guess this should serve as a reminder that only God is worthy of our worship. Often times we elevate people to that status, maybe unknowingly or unintentionally, but in case you haven't notcied there are definitely Christian celebrities. I guess in that sense it's a good thing that people continually remind us that they are unworthy of our worship. May we fix our gaze on the only one worthy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Healer - Hillsong

The song “Healer” appears on the new “Hillsong Live - This is Our God” album (i highly recommend it). The story behind this song is amazing. The song was written by Mike Guglielmucci from Planetshakers (another australian chrisitan band that I also like). He was diagnosed with a blood disease, some kind of cancer, that kept him in a wheelchair for a long time. While suffering he wrote this song:

I BELIEVE YOU are all I Need
I BELIEVE YOU’re my portion
I BELIEVE YOU’re more than enough for me

You'll see on the video that he is still singing - even while still on oxygen. While we know that God doesn't always heal our physical aliments (anybody who believes that he does must be ignoring the staggering statistics on the % of people who eventually die), at times he does still choose to heal. Better yet, he is constantly healing and softening and drawing the hearts of people... an even greater miracle. Anyway, check out the song and video. They removed the best one (the one about the story), but this still gives you a great idea. It's a great song!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Office: Can't wait!

the olympics are killing me...

Last night I told myself things would be different. Yesterday I had three people tell me that I looked tired. I was tired! I had been up until 1:30 watching the olympics. They are like heroin. No matter how hard you try, you just can't tear yourself away. So last night I told myself that I was going to go to bed early... well, 1:00am rolled around and I was still watching gymnastics. Evidently I have little to no self control. Go USA!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

D.A. Carson quote

"People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.

We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated."

- D. A. Carson


I am currently doing a series in our college group called "Postcards from the Edge." The series is on Revelation 2-3 and Jesus' letters to the churches. These letters are just jam packed with relevant encouragement and correction. This week I am teaching on the letter to the church in Pergamum. I think it's one of the most cryptic letters out of the seven, but after some study I feel like I have wrapped my mind around what it's saying.

This whole passage is about compromise. It references the Nicolatians in Rev 2:15. There is a lot of debate about who these people were and what they believed. What I found was that early church tradition held that the Nicolatians were formed by Nicolas who is mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the men chosen to help lead the church at Antioch. Revelation 2:12-17 tells the story of a slow slide. Attrition. Drifting.

It's so easy to do isn't it? Especially in a culture that values busyness and constantly having something going on. I mean, when was the last time that I turned my cell phone OFF? As I studied and read this passage (and looked into the background), I am convinced that God would have something to say to his church through this passage today! It's easy to drift and not know it. Maybe we aren't even drifting yet, but you can see your eyes are starting to wonder.

The other night I was watching the men's 4x100 relay. Awesome. But the things that stood out to me was how France faded in the end and the US finished stronger than they started. I want to keep growing... I don't want to fade.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good News

Well, I think I have told most people by now, but I am going to be a dad come February. I'm so excited for that change that is coming. I'm not sure if you're ever totally ready, but I feel pretty ready.

I inserted  picture to the right... I think he/she looks like me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Faith = Seeing?

I have been wrestling with the passage that I am teaching on this weekend. I am teaching out of Hebrews 11:1 and finishing our series on Childlike Faith (called Wide Eyed Wonder). The passage in Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. As I looked at the meaning of the words 'sure' and 'certain' in the Greek, I was even more confused...

The KJV translation of passage is "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (by the way, I don't usually side with the KJV translation, but in this case I think might have gotten it). See, they translated faith as evidence. At first that doesn't make any sense, in fact, it seems like circular reasoning. But then I ran across this C.S. Lewis quote... I think he nailed what this passage means and is getting at. 

Lewis (in The Weight of Glory) wrote, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." In this sense, faith is evidence. It is seeing. It is seeing God's invisible attributes through the things that he has made (Rm 1:20).  Faith doesn't create something in and of itself, it sees what is really there... lying almost eerily just beneath the surface - waiting and wanting to be exposed. 

Monday, July 7, 2008

They Like Jesus 2

As a college staff we are continuing to go through the book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church. As previously posted, I highly recommend the book. This week we read a chapter where Dan Kimball interviews people and asks them what they think about Jesus. Some of the adjectives they used to describe him were: powerful, good teacher, moral, loving, beautiful, etc. I read the comments that most of these people made and I thought that I could easily be listening to someone who was a follower (and a strong follower at that) of Jesus Christ. Yet, non of the people professed to be Christians. 

I have to ask the question... why not? If Jesus is that captivating to people, why aren't they followers? I think that the people Kimball chose to interview represent a pretty accurate view of people's perceptions of Jesus. I hear many of the same responses when out am out on the local campuses. So the question ruminates in me. Honestly, I don't have an answer. I know that Kimball's conclusion is that they are turned off by the church. I'm not sure that I buy that as the sole reason... especially since most of their conclusions about church seem to be drawn from television evangelists. This is a question that I will be thinking about for a while.

One of the reasons that come to mind is that it is easy to look upon someone or something and find it attractive or beautiful, yet not be willing to pay the price to have the thing. I think that people realize the beauty of Jesus, yet they also recognize (maybe more fully) what it demands to follow him. I think its the same thing that happened to the rich young man (Luke 18). He had seen the glory of Jesus, yet he was unwilling to forsake all to follow. 

Whatever the reason, I am once again encouraged that people are far more open to Jesus than I give them credit for.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

They Like Jesus...

I am currently reading the book "They Like Jesus, But Not the Church" by Dan Kimball with our college ministry staff. It is a phenomenal book. I highly recommend it to anyone working in Christian ministry or anyone who has been a Christian for a while. It has been so challenging to me, and it has pointed out some areas in my life that I really want to change and grow in. It has forced me to see the way that I have become part of the Christian bubble. I spend most of my time on the church campus, hanging out with Christians, ministering to Christians. This book is really inspiring me look at my schedule and in a very practical way find times that I can intentionally be away from the office.

It has been so encouraging to see the way that people outside the church view Jesus. In fact this is very consistent with what I have seen at CSUSM and Palomar. Every Wednesday I go to palomar and talk to people about fauth, they are very willing to talk about Jesus, they are very interested in who he is and open to those discussions. I am excited to pursue that further next fall!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

American Idol

I play basketball on Wednesday nights with a bunch of guys from the college group. Usually when I get home I can't fall asleep for a while because my adrenaline is still going strong. Last night I decided to watch the finale of American Idol that I tivo'd. I watched the 2 hour program in 20 mins literally... oh the glory of TIVO. But there was one catch. It got to the end of the show where Ryan Seacrest was going to announce the winner. He said, "And the winner of American Idol 2008 is..." and my TIVO cut out. I guess the show went a little bit long last night. Classic!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Louie on Laminin - Awesome!

A friend of mine sent me a link to this video... it's awesome. Take the 10 mins and check it out.

Filtered Living

This week I am going to teach on Colossians 3:15-17. I'm so excited about it because I think it answers a lot of questions that college students (and just people in general) have. I can't tell you ho many people I have talked to who really truly want to know what God's will is for their life. I think this passage helps us answer that question. Here is Paul's advice - it's threefold and then the result follows.
(1). Let the peace of God rule in your heart
(2). Let the word of God dwell in you richly
(3). Be thankful

Those are the three commands that Paul gives. now, I understand that these still leave much potential ambiguity when it comes to decision making, but I am starting to fully believe that is the way God designed it and exactly the way he wants. See, this ambiguity forces us to stay constantly connected to the vine.

The result that follows is... do whatever you want! If you let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, dwell richly in the word, and are thankful... do whatever you want and give thanks a glory to God. What a freeing message. I'm stoked to teach it this weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008

St Augustine

I have been thinking a lot lately about a quote by Saint Augustine. In talking about God's will and knowing what to do in order to follow Him, he wrote, "Love God and do what you want." Is this too simplistic? Is it true to scripture? I'd love to know your thoughts.

No Country For Old Men

I finally saw the movie "No Country For Old Men" this past weekend. It was a great movie, the best I've seen in a long time. One of the things that I appreciated about the movie were the theological implications that it drew out. I think the main point that the movie made was that sin perpetuates itself and eventually kills us. Its interesting how one bad/immoral decision had so many implications on the main character's life - and the lives of all the people in his family.
As I have been studying Colossians over the past 2 months one of the things that stands out to me the most is the difference that happens in us when we are transfered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His son whom he loves (Col 1:13-14). No Country For Old Men illustrated 'beautifully' what it looks like to continue living in the kingdom of darkness.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Eight Bells

I'm not sure if you saw the Kentucky Derby this past weekend - but it was quite the event. I'm not into horse racing at all, but to see 150,000 people packed in to see the event is pretty impressive. The thing that stuck with me from the race was the horse Eight Bells. She ran a great race, but when she crossed the finish line she collapsed, having broken both of her front ankles. The veterinary staff has to put her down right there on the race track. 

This race got me thinking about the issue of pacing and balance in life. I don't want to be the kind of person that goes so hard in ministry and life in general that I collapse. I think a lot of times our tendency is just to go all out until our bodies and soul disintegrate. For me this race was a reminder to rest. We were created with the need to stop. We were created with the need to take time doing nothing except remembering that the world continues to spin on its axis even if we aren't working. That's what the sabbath was all about. That's what this race reminded me of. 

Monday, April 28, 2008

The gospel according to Oprah

I have gotten a few emails that people have sent me in the past few days about Orpah and her new found boldness in speaking out about her religious beliefs, mostly in connection to Ekhart Tolle's book, A New Earth. First of all, I must comment on the fact that Oprah (or anyone else for that matter) thinks these ideas are new. Tolle's "new earth" is simply Buddhism, maybe with a bit of new packaging. Both Tolle and Oprah assert that God is "a feeling experience, not a believing experience." God is a power or life force, not a personal deity. On a practical level I take exception to God being a feeling... if God is a feeling than he/she/it is always changing. Not only is God (or should I say, god) always changing, but he/she/it is always changing based on ME. That's scary. One of the things that I have come to appreciate about Christianity as different from new age philosophies such as this, is that I am not the center of the universe. The deeper you look into what Oprah/Tolle are teaching, the more you will see that the individual (me/I) stands at the center of the universe. Isn't that original sin? Wasn't that what Adam and Eve really wanted in the garden? They wanted to know what God knew so that they could become like God. Essentially, they wanted the story to be about them.

I am proud to be part of the Christian tradition that unashamedly asserts that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to God. I am more convinced daily that I could never get there on my own. Not only that, but I am grateful to know a God who stands at the center of the universe; having spoke everything into existence, unmatchable in power, glory, and splendor. I am constantly humbled that this same God would want to have a relationship with me. To me, that's good news. I'm eternally thankful that I don't stand at the center of my world, but that God (personal God, not an idea or a force god) does.

I'll end with a verse from Colossians that I touched on last night. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Go Granny, Go!

This is a funny video of a grandma walking across the street. There is a guy in his car who honks at her because she is taking so long (no repect for the elderly these days). Granny hits the guy's car and his airbag goes off. Hilarious!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Big differences...

I am taking a World Religions class this semester and I have been struck by some of the similarities in other religions, but am also convicted of some major differences. As I studied Colossians 1:24-29 this week, Paul makes an unbelievable statement; "The mystery of the gospel is Christ in you, the hope of glory." As I think about this statement and the way that it intersects with both Buddhism and Hinduism, the differences are glaring. Both Hindus and Buddhists teach that we are to detach from all and purge ourself from all desire, and in doing so we will find nirvana (not the band). As Christians we have a completely different hope. Our hope is that Chirst lives inside of us and that we are placed into Christ. The implications are huge. That means that I don't try to purge myself of desires, but that I push into Him - who is my greatest desire. If Christ lives in me, then my very nature is changed at the core of who I am.

My hope is that as followers of Christ, we might come to understand the hope of glory to which we have been called - that Christ lives in us. It's far different from anything any other world religion offers. It is the mystery of the gospel.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christ in You

This week I am preaching on Colossians 1:24-2:5. Once again this is such a rich section of scripture. As I have studied and thought about what I feel like God is asking me to communicate this weekend, the phrase, "the mystery of the gospel is Christ in you, the hope of glory" has really stood out to me. As I am taking a class this semester on World Religions, this statement that Paul makes is even more extreme when seen within the context of other religions. The fact that God would come and take up residence inside of us is absolutely ridiculous... amazing. When we put our faith into Jesus Christ, he actually comes and lives inside of us. Talk about a personal religion.

I am reminded again this week that my only hope is Christ living in me. As a go about me week, my prayer is that I reflect that hope to the people around me and that I can teach it well on Sunday night. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Starting conversations about Christ

I stumbled across this blog on The Resurgence website and thought that it was worth sharing. It's a pretty good resource for starting spiritual conversations.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Relativism in seminary

This winter I started taking classes at Bethel - finishing up my mdiv. One of the classes that I am taking this semester is World Religions. It' s a great class and it brings up a lot of good discussions. Last night during a break, a woman from the class asked a bunch of us sitting around some tables, "How many of you believe that Christianity is the only way." Much to my surprise, the group of students was just about split down the middle - about half of them said that they did NOT believe that Jesus is the only way. 

I was surprised at the response, but I wasn't surprised at the way they tried to justify their reasoning. All of the reasons were based on emotion and not on a Biblical hermeneutic. When asked what they would do with Jesus quote in the garden when he said, Father if there is another way, let's do it that way." The response from my fellow seminarians was, "God's grace must be bigger than that." God's grace bigger that the blood of Christ? Think about that statement. What showing of grace could be bigger than the sacrifice of a son? That act, in fact, defines grace.

I fully expect to encounter these views when I go and talk to people on college campuses, but I didn't expect that at Seminary. I think of Paul's response in Galatians when he says, "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you."

What I realized last night, was that those who contend that Jesus is the only way will continue to fall more and more into the minority - not only out in the world, but also in the church and even in Seminary. My hope is that there would be a resurgence of people who are committed to a theology based on solid Biblical interpretation... not based on our emotions. 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A. W. Tozer quote

I thought about this quote as I was preparing for a message that I am going to teach this weekend on Colossians 1. It is sucha rich passage and I was reminded by Tozer how important it is that we truly grasp and understand what Paul is saying. If Tozer is right, than it may be the most important thing about us.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God.”

–A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961), 1.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

one of my favortie things

I was reminded today that one of my favorite things is going onto college campuses and talking to people about faith, Jesus, and inviting them to come and check out our college group. I was once again surpried today at how open college students are. I can really sense that God is working and moving, changing lives as only he can. Today I am humbled that he chooses to use me. What grace!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

I just watched it this John Piper youtube video. Interesting. I thought it was interesting that he added to his “catch-phrase" in order to make his point. His catch phrase is “God is most satisfied in you, when you are most satisfied in Him,” and in order to make his point he changed it to “God is most satisfied in you, when you are most satisfied in Him… in the midst of loss.” To be honest I agree more with his first statement. Why is God more glorified in me in the midst of loss than he is in the midst of joy? His illustration of the girl flying through the windshield was way over the top and obviously made for dramatic effect…

To be honest with you I think Piper may be reacting to a beast that he helped create. His book Desiring God has the subtitle “Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.” While I have read the book and understand his point (I’m not saying that I agree with his point, but I understand what he was saying), I wonder how many people took it out of context and equated Christian Hedonism with Prosperity Gospel. It’s really not too far of a jump is it? What do you think?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Best time of year...

In my opinion, this is one of the best times of year! March madness is in full swing, the weather is starting to get warmer (that was more of a big deal when I lived in Colorado, it's pretty warm in San Diego all year), and... baseball season is starting TODAY! I can't wait. Opening day of the baseball season is always so fun. My prediction from a few weeks ago still stands. I think the Rockies will win the West and I think they will win the series. 

It's a great time of year!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gone Barry, gone

Today I saw an article posted on that said the San Fransisco Giants took down all of the pictures, plaques for the records, and basically every memory of Barry Bonds - because of the allegations of steroid usage. What a crock! There is no doubt in my mind that Bonds used steroids, I mean the man's head grew to the point where he looked like a caricature of his former self. But are the Giants trying to tell me that they didn't know that Bonds was on roids last year when he broke Aaron's record? Of course they did... it just benefited them because he was hitting tons of home runs and they were selling out the stadium every game because people wanted to see him play. Now that he is not on the team anymore (and the Giants have already reaped the benefits for having him there when he set the record) they are taking down all memory of him.

That is what we call relativistic morals. When something benefits us, it is okay, but when it stops benefiting us, it becomes wrong. While it's easy to point the finger at the Giants and accuse them of having relativistic morals, I constantly need to check my own heart for the same thing. I think in the church we need to check for the same thing as well. Do we allow certain things because they benefit us? Do we stand up for what is right even when it is hard and when it's going to cost us? See, the Giants could have easily found out that Bonds was taking roids and then cut him from the team... but that would have cost them money, fans, etc...

Are we willing to count the cost of doing what we think is right?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Beautiful Collision

Next week I am starting new series that I am going to call Beautiful Collision. We are going to be studying the book of Colossians. As I have read through this book a few times over the last few days, I am just amazed at how Christological the book really is. I hope that the people at The Well are struck with the truth of what happens when the gospel really collides with our life. My hope is that we might be changed as we see Christ for who He really is.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Steve Jobs on Ministry

This is Steve Jobs talking about business... it sure sounds like he could be talking about ministry. I saw this post on a friends blog and wanted to share it. Thanks Dusty!

Monday, March 24, 2008


So, this Friday night Kelly and I went to bed around 11pm... yeah, I know we are party animals! Well, at about midnight we both woke up to what we thought was an earthquake. We looked at each other, I asked if she felt it also, and by that time the shaking had stopped. We both wrote it off to just being really tired.

Today I found out that there actually was an earthquake on Friday night. I guess it was a 2.8 on the richter scale and was based in Ramona (about 15 miles from us). The crazy thing about it was that this Friday was Good Friday! 2,000 years ago there was also an earthquake as Jesus hung on the cross (Mt. 27:54). Crazy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

last words

I just stumbled across a blog series that Mark Roberts (past, author, blogger, etc.) did on the 7 statements of Jesus on the cross. I found them to be quite though-provoking. Here is the link.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

rose colored glasses?

Around Easter we rightfully talk a lot about the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross. This year I have been thinking about that question a lot. I have heard people and churches say that because of what Jesus did on the cross, God now sees you (if you put faith in Him) as righteous. As I look through the pages of scripture I cannot find anywhere that it says that God sees me as righteous. What I find as I look through scripture is that Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross has made me righteous. There is a BIG difference.

When we state that God now sees us as righteous, it's almost like we are saying that he's wearing rose colored glasses when he looks at us. It's true that we are now hidden in Christ, but we are seen as righteous because we are righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He (Jesus) became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God." He sees us as righteous because Jesus has washed us clean and made us pure... righteous. 

If we really start to believe this truth, I think it will greatly impact the way that we act and live. Maybe its just semantics, but I think it has more theological undertones than we would care to admit. Because of what Jesus did 2,000 years ago... you can be made righteous, pure, cleansed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hearing the story fresh

Have you ever heard a story so many times that you no longer really hear it? I wonder how many of us are like that with the story of Easter. I wonder if its old new that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered death. My desire for myself this year (and for you) is that we would hear the story with a fresh set of ears and that it would shock us once again. I thinkthis quote by author Steven James summarizes it well.

“Over the years I’ve become more and more wary of people who try to make Christianity sound reasonable. God said his message would be foolishness rather than sensible, that it would be offensive rather than politically correct. The reality of the cross and the naked corpse of God is highly offensive. Until it offends us, we will never believe.”
- Steven James

Monday, March 17, 2008

Glad I don't have to kill bulls

Last night I taught on the passage where Jesus says, "It is finished." (John 19:30) I've always wondered what exactly he was talking about - but I think there are a few things we can be sure that he finished. He finished atoning for sin and he finished/fulfilled the old covenant. I was studying for this message and I spent a lot of time in Leviticus and Hebrews - and I was reminded of all that people in the Old Testament had to go through in order to have a relationship with God. In Leviticus 16 it describes this ritual that the priests had to do every year in order to atone for the sins of the people. The process took a few days and it involved killing a bull and a goat.

Just by way of commentary, can you imagine killing a bull. I went cow tipping one time and I accidentally jumped in a pen with a bull - it was as scared as I have ever been in my whole life. Crazy.

I'm so glad that Jesus finished his work on the cross and that we no longer have to kill bulls in order to have a relationship with God. This Easter may we take advantage of the unbelievable truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This just in... Catholic Church Names 7 new sins

That's right, that Catholic Church named 7 new sins on March 11th. Here is the list of the "new" offenders. Let me know what you think...
  1. Polluting the environment
  2. Genetic Engineering
  3. Being obscenely rich
  4. Drug dealing
  5. Abortion
  6. Pedophilia
  7. Social Injustice
To call some of these sins 'new' is hilarious. For example, social injustice is one of the main themes of the old testament. We could go on and on, but I'll leave it at that for now. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March Madness

Now is a great time of year to be a sports fan. There are a ton a basketball tournaments taking place... and march madness is right around the corner. I can't wait. It's always a great time. The glory of the tournament is that there are always upsets and you never know who is going to win. My pick this year... UCLA. I think they are going to surprise!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Into the Wild

Last night I watch the movie "Into the Wild." I though it was a great movie overall (there were a few unnecessary scenes - if you know what I mean). The movie is based off of a Jon Krakauer book by the same title. The book was better, but the movie was very good as well.

The story is about a man who graduates from college and embarks on a journey to find true life. He is disenfranchised by the typical American existence and sets out to find his own way. The movie does a great job portraying the longing that exists in every human soul - the desire to be fulfilled in life, to feel like your life has significance, etc.

I won't spoil the movie for you, but I thought the last line of the movie summarized the point brilliantly. Christopher McCandless wrote, "Happiness isn't real unless it is shared."

How true!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Famous Last Words

This weekend we are going to be starting a new series looking (over the next 3 weeks) at the words that Jesus said on the cross. Through all 4 gospels, we only have 7 statements that he made. We have to assume that these utterances were important.

The first statement we are looking at is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." As I thought about this amazing cry of Jesus, there were a few things that came to my mind. First, the trinity was separated for the first time... ever. I had a theology prof that used to say that we in the west see the trinity as a problem to solve - when in reality it should be a mystery to enjoy. We serve a relational God. Embedded within this cry is the pain of relational agony. The father and son separated. The second thing that I thought about was the way that Jesus actually became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). What an amazing truth, and yet I really can't wrap my arms around the concept.

I think that one of the things I resonate with most about these cries of Jesus is that we have a God who can relate. We have a God who can relate to loneliness, pain, a broken heart, etc. Our God can relate to where we are at. What a wonderful truth.

My hope this year is that we don't journey so quickly to the open tomb that we fail to see the crucified savior. I think that especially evangelicals (maybe protestants in general) are so quick to pass by the crucifixion. This year, let's really think about the sacrifice that God made in order to make a way for us to be with him. Jesus took the separation that we truly deserved.

Monday, February 25, 2008

No More Masks

That's the title of my first message on our retreat this weekend. The weekend series is going to be called "What Lies Beneath" and is about journeying deep into relationships with other people. I am excited for our students to hear from God's word on topics like - God's desire for us to be who we really are, to not wear masks. As I thought about this message, I was struck by how many masks I wear, most of them without even thinking about. I am struck by a God who asks us to come to him and to each other just as we are. It's interesting to me that Jesus saved his harshest words for those who he called hypocrites. Literally, actors or mask wearers.
My hope and prayer is that as our group begins to get real with ourselves and with each other, that ultimately we would find healing and assurance in the one who says, "My grace is sufficient for you." I love he fact that God doesn't want me to feel like I have to get dressed up to come see him. I love the fact that God wants us just the way that we are.
One parting thought... The passage I am teaching on is Matthew 23 where Jesus chides the pharisees for cleaning the outside of the cup and making it look all nice and clean without worrying about the inside of the cup. As I thought about this passage, it struck me that Jesus never condemns the pharisees for the DIRT. It's like he knows that the dirt is going to be there, the question becomes, what are we going to do with it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

can't wait

Well, it's that time of year again... spring training. The baseball season is right around the corner and I personally I can't wait. While the Rockies won't be a surprise this year, I am going to go out on a limb and say that they are going to win it all this year. Go you ROX!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Funny Picture

I saw this picture on Marko's Blog... hilarious! 

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rob Bell: Relevant

Relevant magazine recently published an article about Rob Bell in their most recent issue. It was an interview with him and they asked him some pretty thought provoking questions. I have always liked Rob Bell, but I felt like in the past few years he has wandered from the mission of preaching the gospel. I'm not necessarily sure that it true anymore. I think that his understanding of the gospel has changed. I still think that he is leaving out a fairly significant issue - the fact that Jesus called us to make disciples and that he was constantly calling people to follow him. But, what I liked about the interview that I read in Relevant was that Rob Bell is extremely consistent. He believes that a large part of being a follower of Christ is realizing the interconnectedness of humanity. There are many ripple effects for this view - being an environmentalist, caring about social justice type issues, being involved in what's going on in Africa...

I agree with Bell that we should be involved in these issues, but we can't leave out the fact that Jesus called us to make disciples. Last time I checked that was the great commission. Otherwise will end up propagating the powerless social-gospel all over again. I like Bell because he is such an innovative thinker - but let's always measure what everyone says against scripture. I don't think that Bell is unscriptural at all, but I just don't think he is teaching the whole counsel of the word.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

God wants you to be rich

That's the name of my message this weekend. "God Wants You to be Rich." No, I'm not going to be teaching the properity gospel, but I am going to be teaching on money. I'm not sure there is anything else in our culture that has sucha great potential for good... and for evil (or at least to lead us astray). Money has such a way of distorting our view of what really brings happiness, contentment, and life... and yet, it has the potential to do so much good. The title comes from Luke 12:21 where Jesus states, "So is the man who stores up treasure on earth and is not rich toward God."

I started thinking this week about what it looked like to be rich toward God. I came across this quote by John Ortberg. I think he summarized it well.

Being rich toward God means growing a soul that is increasingly healthy and good.
Being rich toward God means loving and enjoying the people around you.
Being rich toward God means learning about your gifts and passions and doing good work to help improve the world.
Being rich toward God means becoming generous with your stuff.
Being rich toward God means making that which is temporary become the servant of that which is eternal.
Being rich toward God means savoring every moment of every day.

- John Ortberg

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I can remember I encouraged students at my old church to celebrate lent and I had parents come to me and ask me if I was catholic. I remember thinking that was sort of funny. I grew up Presbyterian and can remember going to chruch on Ash Wednesday and getting the ash mark on my forehead. I never knew I was catholic.

The more I think about, the more I am pursuaded that the people who walked before us were onto something. Lent has been celebrated by the Christian church since around 300ad. It's a time of repentance, fasting, and confession - all in preparation of Easter and the risen Christ. Unfortunately, many evangelical churches are afraid of traditions. I get it, we don't want to be rligious just for religion's sake. We want to follow the Bible (and Lent is not expliciately in the Bible). But I wonder if we have lost something significant. I wonder if we have lost the sense of connection to story larger than our own - the fact that we are jumping into a stream that has been moving for 2000 years. I just want to throw this out there... maybe our celebration of Easter should be more than a service on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Just a thought.

This year I didn't give anything up for Lent, I decided to take something on instead. During lent this year I am going to try to memorize Galatians (per my pastor's challenge to us). For me its just a way to center my thoguhts and focus more fully on the one who gave himself for me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Carpe Diem

Kairos is a Greek word that means ‘time,’ but it is not time in the sense that we usually think of it. Kairos means; appointed time, season, opportunity, almost a divine moment. I am teaching on a passage this weekend that has this word in it and I am so excited to unpack this idea for our college students. I’m excited because I think ‘kairos’ moments come everyday – and we have the choice of whether or not we will respond to them.

I saw the movie Dead Poet Society a few years ago; what a powerful movie. The whole movie revolved around the idea of carpe diem (Latin for seize the day). I wonder why the church hasn’t gathered around this idea with more vigor. I wonder why we aren’t on the lookout for more opportunities that God might be bringing our way. I guess I’m writing this because I have seen the way that I have hesitated to respond to kairos moments that God has brought my way… today. I want to respond with boldness and walk into what God has orchestrated, with great confidence.

So, our college ministry has had the doors opened as widely as they could be to start a service at Cal State San Marcos. For a college pastor this is the ultimate kairos opportunity. I want to step into it boldly, but I feel myself holding back because I know the reality of the cost. More thoughts to come on this…

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Adam's pick up lines to Eve

10. "You know you're the only one for me!"
9. "Do you come here often?"
8. "Trust me, this was meant to be!"
7. "Look around, baby. All the other guys around here are animals!"
6. "I already feel like you're a part of me!"
5. "Honey, you were made for me!"
4. "Why don't you come over to my place and we can name some animals?"
3. "You're the girl of my dreams!" (Gen. 2:21)
2. "I like a girl who doesn't mind being ribbed!"

And the number one pick up line from Adam is:
"You're the apple of my eye!" *

Saturday, February 2, 2008

All In

I am teaching a new series for the college ministry starting this weekend that we are calling 'All In.' My first message will be on God's Missing Attribute... His Generosity. As I have read through theology books and books specifically on God's attributes, I have yet to read something that talks about God's generosity as one of His attributes; as part of his innate character. We talk a lot about God's holiness, righteous, etc. but we don't ever seem to state that God is exceedingly generous.

This weekend I am going to teach on the story of the prodigal son, but I am going to take a different angle. I wonder if the story should really be called the Story of the Generous Father. The Bible doesn't call that story the story of the prodigal son... we do. I wonder we missed the point. I wonder if even that goes to prove and illustrate how truly egocentric we are. When we view that story through the lens of the father, we see how amazingly generous God is to his children. Giving (his inheritance to his son), then running (toward his son), then forgiving, then throwing a party... but at the heart of the story God is always giving.

The series is going to be about living a generous life, but that really starts with understanding that God is a generous God. He has given us everything... and he asks us to do the same. ALL IN!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shadow Missions

I just watched a message by John Ortberg in my seminary class in leadership. t was a message that he gave at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit in 2007. The message was called "A Leaders Greatest Fear."

This was one of the best messages I've ever heard on leadership. It was powerful. If you are a leader (of any sort) I highly suggest buying it and watching it with you team. It was really powerful and convicting. Here is a link to the site where you can buy it if you want. Well worth the $.

sweet spot

I'm not a huge Max Lucado fan, but he wrote a book recently where he described living life for the reason you were created as, "your sweet spot." Well, I am so elated to say that I really think that I am in my sweet spot. I love my job. I love journeying with college students, encouraging them, teaching them, and walking through the questions and disappointments with them. Here are just a few things that I love about my job.
  • The people. I get to work with great people and we fun together. What a huge blessing.
  • I love the mission that we have - to help college students find and follow Jesus Christ. Our desire is to introduce people to the beauty, truth, meaning, and community found in Jesus. The more I have though about, the more I am convinced that there is nothing else that I would want to dedicate my life to.
  • God is working in my heart through the calling that he has given me. I am growing as a person, as a pastor, as a husband, etc. God is growing me right now at a rate that has been unprecedented for me for a long time.
God takes us through seasons in life. Sometimes it feels like we are walking in the darkness, and sometimes it feels like your standing on the top of a mountain surveying all God's beauty. Lord, thank you for a time of refreshing. Thanks for the perspective from the mountaintop... may I not forget it when I am in the valley.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Last night I watched (by default) part of the State of the Union Address. I just want to make a quick comment on how big of a joke politics has become in the US. I heard afterwards that GW was interrupted over 40 times by clapping. The guy could hardly get out a sentence without being clapped for. I mean, he could have said, "I love yellow labs" and the crowd would have given a standing ovation. It made it excruciating to watch. Politics hasn't always been like this. If you go back and read some of the presidential speeches and debates from the past it wasn't always such a show. They actually made intellegent comments about where they thought the country was heading and what we needed to do in order to get there.

I long for the day when we have a president who thinks what he is going to say is really important and asks the audience to hold their applause until the end. Just my thoughts. Did you watch it? What did you think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Reliabible (copywrite Rob Klein)

I spent a lot of time last week studying the reliability of the Bible. One of the cool things that I ran across was the unbelievable number of manuscripts we have of the New Testament in comparison to other ancient books - and their proximity to the original. Here are some of the stats:
  • Gaelic Wars – Julius Caesar – no one refutes it – less than 10 manuscripts written 1,000 years after original
  • Aristotle poetics – less than 5 copies– written 1400 yrs after original
  • Iliad – 643 manuscripts, earliest 13th century – 2100 years after the original
  • NT manuscripts over 6,000 copies - earliest copies 120 AD - 25 years after the original

Pretty amazing when you look at the Bible in relation other books. I was encouraged as I studied. There is just so much information out there. My hope is that that body of Christ would be well prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). If you want to listen to the message head to

Thursday, January 24, 2008

lost enough

I was reminded of a line from a Rich Mullins song the other day. He wrote, “I’m not sure where you’re leading me, unless you’ve lead me here, where I’m lost enough to let myself be led.” I have realized lately that I love to have control of the reins. I know all the rhetoric and the verbiage to make it seem like I really trust God, but when the rubber hit the road I wanted to do everything myself. For me it took getting to the place of being lost to know that I needed to be led.

I have heard it said that we often see God’s hand leaving - not coming. It’s so true for me. I want to grow in this area and get to the point where I am sensitive to His Spirit and sense it’s leading… without having to be lost.

But, if that’s you today… if you are lost, maybe it’s a gift. Push in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


It's all about timing. I have realized over the past few months that a lot of my frustration with God is due to His timing (or what I perceived to be the lack there of). I mean, don't you just wish He would hurry up sometimes? I moved out to CA a few months ago and wanted so badly to sell our house back in Colorado so that we could get into something out here. If that would have happened, here's what we would have bought: crap. Seriously! In the time that we have been forced to wait (because our home didn't sell) the prices have come down incredibly. We decided to rent out our house and we are able to buy something out here as well. We put an offer (low ball) on a place that we couldn't have touched a few months ago and the offer was accepted. In addition, the stock market took a huge hit and the fed dropped the interest rates big time.

Over the past few months I have learned a lot of things - most notably, I want His timing and His plans. They are so much better than mine. Remind of that next time I start complaining... I have a short memory.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sir Edmond Hillary

I was glancing through the new headlines today and I noticed that Sir Edmond Hillary died last week. For those who don't know, Hillary was the first (known) person to climb Mt Everest. He did so in 1953 with the now famous sherpa, Tenzig Norgay. Hillary optimized a life of adventure. May we be inspired to follow his example in whatever context we find ourselves in.

measuring transformation?

Recently I have been reading a new book called unChristian. This book talks about the different reasons that current 20somethings are turned off by Christianity. Some of the reasons they state are: the perception that Christians just wanted to 'get people saved', are hypocritical, judgmental, homophobic, sheltered and too political. The book is a fairly in depth study of the aforementioned topics. I recommend this book if you work in a church, especially if if you are working with young adults.

One of the things in this book that I found interesting was a section they had on measuring transformation that is taking place in people who are involved in the church. I have often times found this to be a difficult thing. Taking something that is so subjective (transformation) and making it objective and qualitative is nearly impossible. However, I was intrigued by the measuring tools they used. Here is what they stated:
  • worshiping God intimately and passionately
  • engaging in spiritual friendships with other believers
  • pursuing faith in the context of family
  • embracing intentional forms of spiritual growth
  • serving others
  • investing time and resources in spiritual pursuits
  • having faith-based conversations with outsiders
Any others that you would add?

Thursday, January 17, 2008


"Our ultimate goal shapes our each and every step. When humans live without goals, they get lost" - Scot McKnight (The Jesus Creed)

I am teaching on meaning this week and I think this quote summarizes the importance of meaning beautifully. It makes me think about the actions that I have taken in my life and the goals that were driving those actions. After coming back from New Orleans I have new passion to live as an outflow from the goals that I have - that His kingdom may come. I don't want to get lost. I want my life to count for what matters most.

going home

As I fly home from New Orleans I am left wondering how I might respond to a situation so devastating and seemingly without hope. As I wrote yesterday, I do believe that there is hope, and that the church is that hope, but the need is so great I start to wonder how we/I might make an actual difference. Often times I think we get discouraged by the magnitude of what needs to be done. I wonder if Jesus’ disciples felt the same way. I wonder what they thought as Jesus said to them, “go into ALL the world.” I mean, a bunch of uneducated fishermen… talk about over whelming.

I am starting to be convinced that is right where God wants us; in the midst of over whelming situations because it is in that place that we realize that we need God. We need him to show up or we will be left hopeless. God places us there because he wants us to know that it is him doing the work.

There is another side to the coin though. God often answers seemingly hopeless situations by sending his people. I can’t count how may times in scripture this is the case. God listens to his peoples’ lament, says that he hears them, and then commands them to go. I leave New Orleans today with the conviction that I must go.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

hope for the world

Today I had the chance to take a tour of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29th, 2005. That's about 2.5 years ago. You would think that the city would be well on its way to looking the way it did before the storm, but as you drive through the city, the streets are still eerily deserted, the houses are still destroyed, and it looks as though Katrina could have hit yesterday.

The devastation that hit this city is hard to comprehend. As I drove around today I was reminded of a quote I read in a book by Bill Hybles called Couragious Leadership. In this book Hybles states, "the local church is the hope of the world." As we drove today, the truth of this statement sunk in on me like it never has before. The church truly is the hope for NO, and there is NOBODY else stepping up. The church was the organization that fed people the week of the storm, they were the people who gutted houses, helped rebuild, etc... You name it, the church has done it down here, and the way that the church has stepped up and served has had great spiritual impact on this city.

For all the blunders the church has made over the years (crusades, etc.), I do believe that the Church is the hope of the world. I have never been as proud to be part of the church of Jesus Christ as I was today.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I pledge allegiance...

I’m taking a few more classes of seminary this semester. Striving towards the finish line of the MDIV… it awaits only a few years off. I’m taking a class called “Celebrating Diversity and Embracing Unity.” I wasn’t all that excited for the class – but one of the texts we are using for the class is really challenging my thinking. The book is called, “The Exclusion and the Embrace by Miroslav Volf. The work is truly brilliant. Volf is a Croatian and his family was heavily involved in the Bosnian-Serbian war. He writes on forgiveness and reconciliation from both a theological standpoint, but also brings in a ton of personal experience. His family suffered greatly at the hands of the Bosnians.

One of the statements that he makes is that in order for true reconciliation and even the desire for it to take place, our allegiance must be to the Kingdom of God above all else. If this is not the case, than restoration, forgiveness and reconciliation are impossible. This got me thinking about churches that display US flags in the sanctuary. I wonder what message this sends. Isn’t it true that Christianity is often tied up and encompassed by a western mindset? If our allegiance is truly to the Kingdom first, should we fly flags in the church?

I also got to thinking about elementary school. Remember in elementary school when we had to say the pledge of allegiance? The pledge starts out, “I pledge my allegiance to the flag…” Is that true? Do we, as followers of Christ, pledge our allegiance to the flag (a country) or do we pledge it to a crucified savior who purchased us with his blood? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am unpatriotic, it’s just that I think we need to be careful who and what we align ourselves with as followers of Christ. I’m grateful to live in the US. My brother in law fought in Iraq. I understand what our freedom has cost and I am grateful for it, but that doesn’t mean that my highest devotion goes to a country. My highest devotion is directed at a God who paid everything to purchase me… and it’s to others who are followers of His, no matter what country they live in. I’m not sure that I’ll say the pledge of allegiance anymore, not because I’m ungrateful to live in the US, it’ just that I am pledging my allegiance to a cause much greater than a country and to a people far more encompassing than US.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This week I have been thinking a lot about worship. What does it mean to worship something/someone? How do we conjure up worship? How can we change the things that we worship? As I was thinking about this, there was a passage from the Bible that stood out to me. It's out of Isaiah 6 and Isaiah is standing in the throne room of God completely captivated by the beauty of God. I love this passage because its clear that isaiah is grasping for words. He doesn't have the vocabulary to explain what he is seeing. The beauty of the Lord is evident in this passage, but what is more interesting to me is Isaiah's and the other creatures response. Worship.

I am convinced that worship happens when we see God for who He really is... in all his beauty, purity, holiness and majesty. Another thing that I am convinced of is that worship is so much more than a song. For Isaiah, worship realizing who he was in relation to God and his sinfulness. For Isaiah worship was say, "I'll go, send Me."

Worship is serious business, because we are all worshippers. It's the way we were designed and we innately do it. All of us. It's serious business because worship determines who and what we will become. Ralph Wlado Emerson wrote this:
"THE GODS we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something —have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart—but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it is to our benefit to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Antione de Saint-Exupery

Author/pilot, Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote,

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

This quote has captivated me over the past few years, especially as I think about communicating God's truth. I am convinced that if we see Jesus for who he really was - his brilliant mix of grace and truth - that we will yearn for him, thirst for him, and desire him above all else in out life. That type of teaching ias different than just communicating facts... it's helping people develop desire.

My hope is that I would desire Jesus so much that I would find new ways to seek and know him in 2008.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


As I was preparing for a message that I am teaching on community, I ran across this quote. I think Calvin is right on here:

"The human mind is a factory of idols. When all idols are stripped away, ultimately it’s worship of itself. The big me. The capital me. But when we choose to follow God we commit to something much larger. We enter liminality with each other as we are transitioning from the old to the new, from death to life, as we grow in a common purpose; to become more like Christ."

I'm excited to teach on community because I think that it is such a vital part of what it means to be a follower of Chirst and yet it is something that is so lacking in the church today. As I studied there is one truth that stood out to me; true community forms as a result of mission and purpose. The early church had such strong community because they were united and passionate about the purpose that they had - speading the message of Jesus Christ and becoming more like Him. Maybe the reason we don't have the same community is because we don't have the same passion for our purpose and calling. Just a thought.