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!