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.