Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Playground Theology

My buddy Jesse was at the park with his boys last week, pushing them on the swings. On the swings next to his boys, two 8 year olds were swinging. Here was their conversation:

Kid A: I’m nine.
Kid B: No you’re not, you’re eight.
Kid A: I know.

Kid B: God hates liars. Liars don’t go to heaven.
Kid A: I know, liars go to hell.
Kid B: We don’t say hell. We just say ‘don’t go to heaven.’

Kid A: (after a pause) I want to go to heaven.
Kid B: yeah, good luck with that one.

Pretty funny dialogue between Kid B, our fundamentalist in training, and Kid A, who needs a caring adult to build into his confidence level.

But it does bring up an interesting reality…on our own strength, it’s good luck getting into heaven. Due to the deceptiveness of our sinful nature, because of the habitation of dragons that our hearts are, we don’t stand a candle’s chance in a windstorm. There’s a Kid A in all of us, cocksure, rule making, judgmentalist, and morally superior creating the kind of proud, hard people that are incapable of seeing our arrogant position before God. There’s a Kid B in all of us, weak minded and weak willed, unsure of ourselves and doing and saying things just to fit in with the hard world around us, which means that moral compromise is a constant temptation. That’s why the good news of Jesus is such good news. He is the one who justifies, making it just as if I never sinned. He is the one who cleanses and forgives, who heals and makes whole. He softens our hardness and strengthens our weakness. He is the one who loves me, even in my unlovable places. He loves you in your unlovable places too. He loves both Kid A and Kid B, despite themselves.

The good news is that you don’t have to trust to good luck for heaven.
The good news is that you can trust Jesus.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Pray for Miley

Today on my run, I confess that I listened to Miley Cyrus on my wife’s ipod. Already my friend Jesse would be mocking me, that is, if he ever read my blog. Through my daughter, Miley, or Hannah Montana, has invaded our home, via Disney TV, cd’s played in our car, and merchandise like cups, nightlights, and toothbrushes. Miley is a big deal around here. So I thought I’d write Miley a quick note. You are welcome to read it, too.

Dear Miley,
I pray for you. I invite others to pray for you as well. I bet that might come across sounding hard, or meanspirited, but that’s not my heart. It is offered with compassion and grace. Here’s what I mean:

Miley, you have achieved the kind of stardom and wealth that very, very few people ever achieve. I’m talking Solomon-like wealth. Flipping through an issue of Time, I read that last year, your merchandise net alone brought in 1.3 billion dollars. Bring in the way Disney has packaged your TV personality into a product. Add in the CD sales and your 3-D concert movie. Remember that you can sell out a stadium concert faster than anyone ever has. There’s a lot of gravy flowing, and Billy Ray’s little girl is riding it at breakneck speed. Since wealth is power, I pray that you’ll steward yours well.

As far as I know, Miley, you are like 16 years old. I can remember how chaotic and circus-like my life was at 16. There was friend drama, the weeks that circled around our Friday night football games, the invites to parties, the time I crashed my car, and of course the pinnacles and heartbreaks swirling around the quest for a girlfriend. And if life was crazy for me at 16, I can’t imagine how crazy it would be for a person who is an uber-gazillionaire. In America, celebrity is royalty, and Miley, you are the current reigning princess. That has to mess with your head. So I pray that it doesn’t.

Not only that, but I remember making some pretty dumb moves as a 16 year old. And the thought of having every bonehead move photographed and splashed on the front page of a gossip rag is just shameful. I mean that literally…it produces shame. To know that everything you do, every boy you go out with, every fight you have with your dad will be news…I imagine that produces an overwhelming amount of pressure. So I pray for you.

I ran to the punk-pop-beat of your songs today, and I was admiring them. The come across like 80’s tunes (I cut my chops on the 80’s) filled with energy, and a bubble-gum-smack voice that cracks at just the right time, like Cosette from my Les Mis Broadway Soundtrack (I am hoping this is a compliment to you both). But here is why I truly like them…the Lyrics. Wholesome, filled with themes of love, of falling in love, and of empowerment. You sing a song to your deceased grandfather called I Miss You, and it’s touching. You have a song with a chorus that says, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not strong enough.” And when I see my daughter belting those words out with all that she’s got, I get this crazy lump in my throat. There are so many negative and hurtful messages in the songs of our culture, and I celebrate the ones that are joyful or quality. And so I pray for yours.

In fact, the biggest reason that I pray for you, Miley is my daughter, Alex. My daughter is 8 years old. She wears glasses and plays soccer. She has the most beautiful, innocent, compassionate soul that I’ve ever seen. She befriends everyone, especially the kids that don’t have a ton of other friends. Once her teacher brought in a new student, mid-year, who didn’t speak much English. Alex moved her seat to sit next to her, and stayed with her all day showing her around school, and introduced her to all her friends. The only reason I know this is because her teacher emailed the story to us, and both my wife and I teared up when we read it. I’m tearing up right now as I try to figure out how to communicate the absolute golden nature of this beautiful child of God who has Jesus in her heart and Hannah Montana on her wall. For one reason or another, Alex has made room for you in her heart. Miley, what you say matters to Alex. How you live matters. The lyrics in your songs matter, and the choices that you make…I just want you to know, they matter.

They don’t matter to the paparazzi who want to exploit you for a buck. They don’t matter to your PR folks who can figure out how to spin your life in an interesting way and sell the story to VH1. They don’t matter to handlers and managers, because the wild exploits of celebrities are what keep them in business. But they matter to little girls who have never had a hero before, and who have decided that you’re it. Life is going to try to knock those stars out of her eyes soon enough, and so I’m hoping…I’m begging…I am praying for you. I’m praying that you would please handle her heart with care.

And as I pray for you, I’d love to remind you that at the end of the day, this voice, this honor, this wealth, this ride, and this life that you’ve been given…you’ve been given it all by God. He loves you just because you’re you, I know you know that. And the greatest thing you can do, is to offer it all back to Him as a gift.

I’m praying for you.


Just a Dad

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


When I was 19 I lived in Heidelberg, Germany as a part of a study abroad program with Pepperdine University. My good friend, Toph, was there all year, and I arrived for the second semester. I wrote a book about it called Miles to Cross, which has sold dozens. You’d like it. I’ll make you a good deal. I’ve got a few in my garage.

That’s not what’s random.

In the fall of 1989, before I joined them, the Pepperdine Students from Heidelberg were on a field trip to Berlin. The city was in an uproar, with thousands of protestors on the streets, gathered at the Brandenburg Gate, and standing on the wall. THE WALL. The Berlin Wall, splitting the city and freedom in two, and standing on top of the wall, right smack in the middle of an historic moment, were my friends from Pepperdine.

That was the night the wall fell. People from the east were helped up and over, and the crisp wind from the west stung the tears running freely down hopeful faces. I visited the wall a couple months later, and chipped off some pieces to save before it existed only in memory.

None of this is what is random.

Today, I’m walking through the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. Billy is such a total and complete stud, a true hero of faith, and a pillar of integrity. Throughout the museum, there are film clips of moments of history that Billy Graham contributed to. There were clips of the times he visited behind the Iron Curtain, where people gathered in mass to hear him proclaim good news in a cold war. And he was able to enter soon after the wall fell and crowds upwards of 150,000 came out to try to hear him. Again, not qualifying as random.

Here is what is random:

One of the film clips shows two students helping people up onto the wall. One of the students is wearing round glasses and a red coat. Both students look familiar, so I do a double-take. My eyes pop out of my head, Roger Rabbit-ish. It’s my buddy Toph and our friend Barry, helping people up and out. A triumph of freedom, a pivotal moment in history, and two college students blissfully participating in the revolution.

Since I don’t really believe in random, I’m struck by thoughts: 1) the world is really small, and 2) God is really good. I imagine him smiling at the way he jumped me with joy and friendship in the middle of a Library in Charlotte.

And 3) you really never know when the camera is rolling.

Glosoli II

I found this poem, and it fits perfectly with the Glosoli entry from last week:

Come to the edge,
He said.
They said:
We are afraid.
Come to the edge,
He said.
They came.
He pushed them.
And they flew…

-Guillaume Apollinaire

Chalk Poet

I finished another long run on Friday. As I was walking to my car at Riverfront Park, I noticed a message. It was written in chalk on the pavement, in nice, curly script, as if it were written by a careful and intelligent young girl. Here is what it said:

“As I sit here
I have noticed
That the drop of a hat
Or the turning of a wheel
Can change everything.
I have decided that means
That I should make
My life count
And I think
You should too.”

It moved me, as I imagined a young girl, marred by tragedy in her life, nevertheless chooses to live.

I did a funeral for a man named Bill. He was a great man, a good husband, a gentle father, and a committed follower of Jesus. He used to say, by way of commentary on the difficult things in this world, "Life is but a vapor." It is.

Life can change. It can end, or it can reveal sudden glory, and many times it ends up doing both in an instant. At the drop of a hat, or the turning of a wheel. And this reminder, leaping suddenly upon me from the wet pavement, to make life count.

Jesus calls us to life. To make life count. Full life. Rich life. Abundant life. And then, eternal life. It’s being offered right now. He offers himself. And having Jesus crash into your life, crash into even the most broken and wounded places of your life, and covering it with this indescribable love…that is an event that happens in an instant, and changes everything. In an instant in my life, on a rainy beach in Malibu, everything changed. I have decided that means that I should make my life count. And I think you should too.

My thanks to the Chalk Poet of Riverfront Park. My prayers as well.

Let’s make it count.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Son's Tooth

Caleb lost a tooth.

He's thrilled. He really wants to meet the tooth fairy. He lost the tooth at Tae Kwon Do. His instructor pulled it out. It bled a little bit and Caleb grinned ear to ear. When I saw him I hugged him huge and he told me the story, with a new little whistle in his cadence.

Stop growing, I told him. And I meant it. Not really. But I want to savor these days while my kiddo is still a boy. This is one of those milestone days.

He's also shaving, I might add. He uses shaving cream, and a disposable razor that has the plastic cap glued on it. After he finishes he rubs his chin and whispers, smooth...smooth. Stop growing, dude!

Oh, and I think he has a girlfriend. I know he has a girl that likes him, and spends time with him at school, and who follows him around quite a bit. I was at the Ice Cream Social. I saw it. I don't know exactly how he feels about her, but I know he likes being friends with her. To be fair, he's got a ton of friends who are boys. But then again, there are also 5th grade girls who think he is just so cute, and wave at him, and hug him goodbye. STOP GROWING! Seriously.

For now, the tooth fairy is excitement enough.


The Bible says that a believer without a church home is like an organ without a body, a child without a family…
Or, I might add, a marathon without a running partner…

Last year, I rand the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego…this year, Portland. I ran the last one with my buddy Toph, this one with my buddy Stooky. I call him the The Stook. It sounds more like a mafia name, which is a plus. Don't mess with The Stook.

I haven't been training as well for this one. I ran a 22 miler last Friday, and my knees almost went into full revolt. Ice and Ibuprophen, both are gifts from Jesus, both helped tremendously on Friday night, both begin with the letter i, as in the sentence, "I need some help with the pain in my knees." Needless to say, I'm sweating this one. I was well trained for the last one, I knew my pace, I knew what splits I needed to maintain to hit my goal, I was ready. But even in last year's race, my knees started to hurt. My IT bands tightened up. And honestly, around mile 16, I was just plain tired. If I was running alone, I would have just bagged it, it was that bad. But you see, I was running with my buddy Toph.

And because we were running together, I WAS encouraged by him. He’d say things like, “Let’s just run the next four miles together. We’ll just do a little four mile jog. No worries. Anyone can run four miles.” We’d ask each other “how you doing?” but honestly, the biggest support I think we both gave and received was just the support of being in the race together.

And this faith is a race, and we’re running in such a way as to get the prize. But I guess what I'm trying to say is just this... that faith is one race is one you can’t run alone.

Herding Cats

Last year, I was the soccer coach for a team of five year old boys. The Starhawks. You probably read about us in the paper. My son Caleb was on the team as well, which makes for its own joys and sorrows. Mostly we had a blast, and I spent my time reminding the boys to stay focused on the point of our being together, which was, after all, the sport of soccer.

I had to keep reminding them, because focus can be an elusive sprite. Especially for five year old boys. Chaos was an understatement, a tamed concept of what I was dealing with. I would tell people I’m coaching five year olds, and they would usually quip something like, “Must be fun to watch them clump in a pack and follow the ball around the field.” “No,” I’d say, annunciating every word seriously, like Christopher Walken, “If my team followed the ball around the field, I’d lose my mind with joy! I’d celebrate if they realized that in the sport of soccer, the soccer ball matters.”

Instead, when the game would start so would WWF smackdown, boys wrestling in the dirt like dogs. We’d just get them on their feet when suddenly an air-guitar performance would consume our defense. The barrage of sound effects always impressed me greatly. Just about every kid on my team liked to make dirt angels during play. My favorite was one boy on the team who would literally hurtle HIMSELF into the goal, at random times and completely independent of the play of ball, and yell “SCORE!” Last year, we wore uniforms and arrived with a soccer ball, but the games we played had very little to do with the sport. Herding cats is not as glamorous as it sounds.

So, as a coach, I loved and encouraged, I prompted and I practiced, and if I felt frustrated at their lack of interest in the actual sport of soccer, I just chalked it up to their five year old maturity level.

I’ve been seeing the growth in my team as a metaphor to our growth spiritually. The transformation of a five year old air guitarist in a soccer jersey into a World Cup finalist is a journey very similar to the maturing of our lives in Christ. At the end of the day, faith, like soccer, is a team sport. Which means that learning must happen together.

As far as I can tell, the Church for 2000 years has met in the Temple Courts and house to house. So my challenge is to get in a group! In other words, commit yourself to a team that gathers for the purpose of spiritual growth! I promise you, there are churches all over the Northwest with excellent programs aimed at spiritual growth in small group settings. Some churches call them Community Groups, in other churches they are called Small Groups, or Growth Groups…at Overlake we call them Life Groups. The important thing is not what they’re called, it’s that you’re connected. And the way spiritual growth happens in groups…well…it’s a bit like herding cats. Which is why the following values must continue to be affirmed:

FOCUS. Since most of us have attention spans near that of a five year old soccer team, a valuable Life Group (and a good group leader) will continually bring the focus of the group back to the basic purposes of life. Loving God. Loving one another. And understanding more of God’s Word so that we’re able to accomplish these purposes. As always, Jesus is our foundation, He’s our teacher and our model, and because of His death, burial, and resurrection, He provides inspiration…the Holy Spirit living inside of us and working in us to live the life we’re called to live. So the focus needs to brought back to Him again and again.

CONSISTENCY. Life is busy, and there are many things that will wrestle against your decision to be consistently connected to a Life Group. One of the most obvious forces coming against this decision are spiritual forces. There is an enemy of God, and he desires to keep you isolated and alone in your faith, unsupported and unaccountable. Being connected in a small, Biblically focused fellowship means that you are consistently being loved, cared for, known, supported, challenged, growing and accountable. Your steadfast commitment to the others in your group makes you strong. I understand that being committed relationally is hard work. It’s always easier to love people in general than it is to love specific people. But its specific, individual, real people that God has called you to love. The Message paraphrase of James phrases it this way:

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. James 3:18 MSG

Consistency takes hard work, but robust community and right living with God are worth it. Focus. Consistency. And the last value is:

TOGETHER. I believe God wants us to experience His grace together. The Bible says:

See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we really are! 1 John 3:1 NLT

So many followers of Jesus focus only on the gift God gives us in adopting us as His children, and forget that a major part of God’s grace to us is His family. God adopts us into His household, and it’s through His family that He showers us with His love. The church is the family that God has adopted us into, and it is His plan to use it to grow us, to nurture us, to experience more of His love, and understand more of His grace. Knowledge is only one aspect of growth, implementation is the true measure…and love can happen solely in context of relationships.

I can honestly say that for the last couple of years, my Life Group has become my family. I am challenged and encouraged, loved and supported and I seek to contribute those qualities to my Life Group as well. We celebrate birthdays and holidays together, we walk through difficulties and stressful times together. Through our focused consistency, I can honestly say that we are being grown in the character of Christ, together. I would challenge ALL of God’s people to be in relationships nurturing that kind of care.

I’m excited to report is that, now, the second year that I have the honor of coaching these boys, they actually DO follow the ball around in a clump. I’m thrilled. They’ve grown. Strength, stamina, interest, focus, and comprehension are all much improved over last year, and it is fun to affirm their growth, and to continue to influence them to pursue more.

And therein lies the great hope. I’m watching these boys suddenly bending it like Beckham, and it hits me…this is how God does His work of sanctification. He loves and he encourages, He prompts and helps us practice, and through His guidance and His family, we somehow become more like Him. All the while He keeps patiently reminding us, like an inspirational coach: “Focus! Consistency! Together!” I am so thankful that He has mastered the art of herding cats.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Tonight I took a run in the twilight.
I was running only a few miles tonight, just a warmdown from yesterday’s eighteen miler. And it was gorgeous.

Bats were flitting around the warm summer evening. I startled a well fed coyote. The silhouettes of pine needles and maple leaves were so sharp you could cut yourself on them. I was loving Jesus as I ran, thankful for this summer day, thankful for the soccer games and the sunshine, thankful for friends and family, thankful for church.

The music on my playlist changed to a song by Sigor Ros called Glosoli. This is a band from Iceland, and they sing not in English, but in some hauntingly mythic language (I’m guessing Icelandish). The song begins like a whisper, and then builds like a hurricane, but the whole thing is so beautiful it gives me a lump in my throat. There is a video that goes with the song.

It’s more of a short film.
A boy with a drum. He begins to journey. As he travels, he enlists other children to join him on his journey. Each child is so beautiful: they’re symbolic, they’re metaphoric, they’re Icelandic. These two are frightened and so they’ve hidden behind masks. These have learned violence, somehow. This one is isolated, alone. This one knows love. The boy with the drum calls them, and they all come. They leave whatever life they have known, they drop their nets, and they join this quest, this journey, this pageant. When the boy with drum arrives at the place he has been leading them to, he looks significantly at the horizon. He sets his face towards Jerusalem, if you will. And then he beats his drum.

He beats his drum.
He beats his drum.
With wild abandon, he begins to run with all that he has forward, upward, over a gently sloping grass-covered hillside. The other children join him. It is serious, ecstatic, jubilant, triumphant. The drum is cast aside. The final masks are removed. The children run upwards and upwards until they reach the very edge of an impossibly high cliff.
And then they soar off the edge.
They soar.
Faces beaming, they soar.

And that’s the end. We don’t know the back story, and we don’t know the future story. Here they are. They find one another. They journey together. They run. They soar. All led by a boy with a drum.

Jesus came to bring us life, and life to the full.
He didn’t just come to set us free, he came to set us free, indeed.
And I would argue, even now, he’s beating his drum, and ready to show you what it takes to soar.

It was dark as I finished my run. The song was over, and there was a lump in my throat. I walked the last bit in silence, listening to the sounds of the night. I felt joyful, quiet, serious. It is a good thing to know the drummer. It’s a good thing to follow him to the heights.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


My wife Jodie is a blogger, and she's the one who got me into this blog-world. I'm a mere novice, trying to take notes from the fount of her wisdom re: the blog. You can find her at sunbreaksintherainycity.blogspot.com for more. The other day I read an entry from her that hit me just so. Since I know how to cut and paste: Enjoy...

Last night Caleb and I found ourselves alone. Alex was at a sleepover and Mike is at his 20 year high school reunion in California. (He's called a few times to report that the homecoming queen and prom princess have lost some sparkle and that many of his buddies are bald.)

I asked Caleb to go on a date with me. He accepted with a cute little smile.

"Buddy, pick anywhere you want...just not Chuck E. Cheese...Ok?"
"Mama, I want to eat at your restaurant. I want to stay home with you and play."

How could I say no? All he wanted to do was stay home and play with me. I was able to convince him that mommy's restaurant was kind of closed and we should go grab food and bring it back. We had a picnic in the front yard and played "superheroes" while we ate. My super hero name was Supersonic. I had laser vision, super strength, nostril power, and could fly.
Caleb had a host of powers I can't remember now but I do remember the bad guy had vomit power.

We sat in the sunshine, and Caleb did all the talking, not a surprise if you know my son. He narrated a story line and I nodded and listened, throwing in a "wow" or "cool" or "no way" at appropriate moments. I also threw in "one more bite" and "watch your drink" a few times.

At first I thought I was giving Caleb the gift of my time, that he was the one benefitting from our game. Then, I realized, sometime after vomit power man tried to douse us in puke and I warded him off by blowing with my nostril power, that I was the one who needed the playtime. The reality that he's growing up hit me like a ton of bricks. There will be a day when he doesn't want to play superheroes with me on our front lawn, when eating at home will not be his first choice.

I soaked up the time with my son. Someday, when he drives off to college, waits for his bride at the end of the aisle, or becomes a daddy himself, I will pull out this memory and remember the little boy who just wanted to play with me.

Cure for the Common Church

I don’t really like church. I never have. Ironically, I’m a pastor. Interesting combo. I love people, which makes it work, but I’ve always viewed the institution of church as slightly more helpful than Jiffy Lube. A place that keeps you on the road and moving forward. Maybe the Church Experience just brings out the weird in people…

Why am I not a fan of the typical Sunday Morning Church experience?
Mostly because I feel a bit on the outside.

You see, in many of the church settings I’ve explored in my lifetime, I’ve not been in on the “I’ve Arrived” Conclusion, the “happy-happy-joy-joy” that seems to pervade. In many settings, Pastor and a good percentage of the congregation seem plastered with Perma-Grin, walking on emotional Astro-Turf, like they were stuck at a family reunion picture moment and good old Aunty was fumbling with the timer on the camera, everyone glued in place, smiling like cardboard, and forced to say “Cheese” again and again, over and over, world without end, Amen.

I’m not condemning anyone in this statement…it’s just what I’ve FELT as I’ve ducked into multiple spiritual settings over the years. And the funny thing is, I know exactly why they do it, and I’m guilty of doing the same. Here is why:

The Bible refers to a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. It refers to this relationship as the key to life, both abundant and eternal (see John 3:16, John 10:10). [Side note: I believe what the Bible says here, I really do. With all my heart. End Side note.] The Bible also indicates that with this relationship, a whole new identity emerges, a new you is born. The Apostle Paul writes that if anyone is in Jesus, they are a new creation, “the old is gone, the new has come.” [Side note #2: I believe this too! Seriously. My issue is not with what the Bible says. Truly. End Side note.] Here’s the problem with the human entity, with church institutions filled with same entity, and with me as well: Many people who believe in the Bible and who have a relationship with God through His Son have not yet accessed that new life.

At least, not totally.
I’m throwing myself in here too. Bits and pieces, maybe. I think the reality is that in glimpses, maybe, we’ve seen it, like a massive Where’s Waldo in which we find Him, only to lose Him again as we turn the page, where we find Life in an instant, or true Joy in an hour, but the page turns and we’re searching again, and we turn pages everytime we breathe.

So instead of honestly talking about the real journey that we’re on, the real struggles that we face, the real hope we can have in God’s presence; the church that I really struggle with has settled for a mediocre brand of bland, for a Perma-Grin existence in which the greeting, “How’s it going?” is met with the eternal and angelic, “Fine, thanks. [Smile] Everything’s Fine.”

Not YOUR church, of course, if you go to church. And not mine, actually. I love the church I attend…I love the church we’re becoming. I’m talking capital “C” church. I’m speaking in generalities. But the First Perma-Grin Church of the Arrived Ones is alive and well on planet earth.

Is it any wonder that the Christian Community can be satirized like we are by the non-believing world? So much of what passes as Christian Church Experience is just plain nutty. Jesus was ostracized too, but not for being plain nutty. He was villain-ized for turning world’s upside down.

Please know…this is only how I FEEL, and I’m bringing it up only because I feel and have always felt that the Church Experience ought to be so much MORE. This is why I’m in ministry…because it’s JESUS we’re talking about and learning about and walking with…my belief is that the Church Experience ought to be the most powerful, passionate, personal hour of the week.

Jesus told Peter that He would build His church upon the Rock of Peter’s proclamation, that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and against His Church the gates of Hell shall not prevail. The Church Universal, Jesus’ Church, the actual body of believers spanning geography and history is a precious thing to Jesus, as well as a dangerous thing that is charging the gates of Hell. Fierce AND beautiful, like my daughter at Tae Kwon Do Sparring competition.

It’s THIS family I want to be a part of, following my Savior as He charges the front lines. It’s THIS CHURCH that I’m ready to go Braveheart for.

So how in the world do I reconcile?
I’m a pastor who loves God and who loves people, but who doesn’t really like church as an institution.

Maybe God wants honest men and women who are aware that they are on a spiritual journey, gathering weekly for encouragement, for praise, for repentance, and for humble petition for God’s help to live the life He calls us to.
Maybe God wants His people to put together an authentic church experience that seeks connects people with Him, with one another, and with a call to make a difference.
Maybe Jesus really does desire church to be a sort of fueling station, a spiritual Jiffy Lube…keeping us on the Road and Moving Forward…but serving better coffee.

And by “us,” I mean, each one of us.
Pastors included.
Normal people included.
Everyday strugglers included.

Maybe this is the rich soil of soul that God has been cultivating. Maybe He planted the dream of “church for people who don’t like church” here. By necessity we are an experiment in spiritual relevance. This last weekend we celebrated the peace, purpose, and passion of the Revolution Jesus started when He refused to stay dead. Among the thousands who experimented with us, we had homemakers and heroin addicts, Professional Football Players and porn voyeurs, deacons and decadents. Thank God.

A church expression that Jesus Himself would be welcomed into. The cure for the common church? Only Jesus knows. But I’d love to invite you in…

Illuminate the dark in me with the LIGHT of your presence, a FIRE for your glory, and a LOVE of your Bride. May this experiment be guided by your Holy wisdom, our steps lit with the Lamp of your Word. May Your work in our lives so transform us, that we might indeed become the Light of the World, Illuminating the darkness with a clear message of your grace.