Tuesday, December 02, 2008

who built this machine?

i woke up in a funny mood this morning. one of those moods when i feel outside of myself. it's one of those days when i think of Christ, and the relationship with Christ that Scripture encourages and then contrast that with churchianity and wonder, 'who built this machine?' i mean how was the simple, personal, relationship with jesus christ, and believers in fellowship with one another turned into such an impersonal machine? i told you i woke up in a funny mood, and days like today my soul craves the simple love of god and love of the people of god. only the misguided could have turned the manger into a gearbox. but it has happened, all over the country and world. what do we do with this machine? do you have thoughts...i do.

shadow boxers and finishers

i arrived early for the race. earlier than necessary i would discover, but i wanted to be sure to get a parking place. so i arrived at 6.40a for the 8.00a race on thanksgiving day. this provided plenty of time to watch other people. one guy provided great entertainment. to observe him you would have thought this was the boston marathon and he was an elite runner. while i sat in my warm car, sipping my hot coffee, he bounced around outside his minivan stretching and jogging in place. at one time i might have been impressed by all of his activity, but i've seen enough of this that now i just chuckle. i just wanted to tell him to relax. did he really think he was going to win? not to pass judgement, but i could tell by looking that was not going to happen. so why all the anxiety and 'rocky-balboa-like" air boxing going on? in my mind only one thing could be more foolish than a middle-aged man jogging in place, in sub 20degree weather, beside his MINIVAN at 7am. only one thing more foolish, that i could think of...that woud be a middle-aged man at 7am, in his truck, WATCHING 'rocky' bounce around his minivan. i did see 'rocky' in the race, and passed him... but didn't say a word :-)

do you ever see people get all worked up over things that don't matter? it's really kind of funny, and sad. do they really think thier shaddow boxing will make a difference? in the race, the race to glorfy christ and make the world a better place, the mature will always pass the shadow boxers.... no need to say a thing, your finish will speak for itself.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"i was stoked when my peeps told me it was church time!" that's how i translate psalm 122:1 "i was glad when they said to me, 'let us go to the house of the Lord!". this ancient psalm is a song of ascent. it is one of the songs the Hebrew faithful would sing as they made one of the tri-annual trips up to jerusalem for worship. they literally ascended to a place of worship, climbing the 'hill of the Lord.' but even more powerful was the spiritual and emotional ascent the journey provided. it was uplifting, an ascent. our dream for breiel church is that it will be the most positive, uplifiting, hopefilled place in this entire region- the best in the WORLD at offering our community hope. our dream is that going to breiel, being around breiel people, is an ascent- spiritually, emotionally uplifting. i think we're getting there, just keep climbing. hope is stronger than fear.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

thoughts on the election

regardless of one's political affiliation, it seems to me that one would have to be totally unplugged emotionally not to be moved by the outbursts by the masses following tuesday's presidential election. particularly moving was the hope in the eyes and voices of african americans who now can believe that possiblities really do exist for all people in america, a nation with the ideals of christiainity embedded deeply in its frabric. we will not all agree with the decisions our new president will make, that is for sure. some of us may be cautious, even suspicious of him. but as christians we must all pray for him, and i think as christians and americans we can be proud of what having an african american reach the hightest office in the world represents. america has come a long way...from abolition, to voting rights for all, to electing a black president. that is positive. that is maturity. and the church has played a pivotal role each step of the way.

on a personal note....growing up in milton louisiana i went to grade school with Derrick. He was the only black kid in our grade and he was my friend. we grew up together. he got me my first job bussing tables at the Landing restaraunt. I haven't seen Derrick in 20 years, but today my heart is glad for Derrick.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

anything else would be uncivilized

i think john the baptist used right guard deodorant (i'm sure he would need it). no really, i think he did. because all the crazy dudes do. i've come to this conclusion because i remember the old commercials, when they use to have all those ruthless football players, dressed up in tuxes, telling me that using anything else would be "uncivilized." i've read about john the baptist, and look, he was really different. i suspect he never even tucked his dress shirt in. in fact, i would be surprised if he even wore a shirt half the time. and yet as eclectic as he was, he was totally dialed in to what God was up to. he was a step ahead of everyone else when it came to sensing the activity of God in the world. jesus himself said of john that no other person got it, understood it, pursued it like john the baptist did. john was an example to others. i'm not sure how i feel about a shirtless wild man being my example. but then how i feel about it, really doesn't matter. it just matters that my opinion line up with God's opinion..."anything else would be"uncivilized."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

stuck in second gear

my first car was a 78 cutlass calias, 4-door.. cracked windshield, baby blue, wagon wheel mags. o yes it was awesome! the batmobile, as it was affectionally called, also had a little transmission problem. when it rolled off the assembly line it was an automatic, but by the time i picked her up she was barely a semi-automatic. it would stick in second gear so i'd have to manually shift her into third. but over time i didn't even notice this little quirk. but friends would hop in the car and they notice right away that my ride was broken. even to a parachute-pants-and- RATT-t-shirt-wearing kid, this semi-automatic thing just couldn't be right. but somehow i had gotten use to it, so use to it that i didn't even notice it was semi-broken.
our lives get like that 78 cutlass sometimes. things are broken, but the longer we live with it, we just assume broken is normal. this happens in marriages, in businesses, and even in churches. one of God's great gifts to us is to bring truth into our lives, often through other people, to help us realize what is broken around us- and that broken isn't normal. Jesus came not primarily to tell us that things were broken (a reality most were thoroughly convinced of already) but that broken didn't have to be normal- that wholeness could replace brokeness, we could finally shift out of second gear.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Leader's Go First, even in the Rain

Ezra was not happy it was a rainy, overall cruddy day. from the words in his book it is obvious this brother was not having a good time. he was grieved by the spiritual condition of the Israelites who were exiled from their homeland. as a symptom of their lost identity and broken connection with the LORD the men had intermarried with women who did not follow the ways of the LORD. and consequently were conceiving, birthing, and raising children that were altogether spiritually confused. and the we learn that it was the leaders to took the lead (surprise) in this act of unfaithfulness (ez. 9.2). to remedy this situation, after prayer and consultation, it was decided that the leaders would go first in making it right (ez. 10.14). the people would not change until they saw that the leaders were willing to submit themselves to the pain of change first.
what a lesson on leadership! leaders are those who go first. i mean as far as i can tell a person is not leading if they go second....ummm....because the person who went first was/is the leader. it seems to me that when it comes to change, its really important that those with positions of leadership go first even when the change means (as in the case of Ezra's people) the first to repent. As far as i can tell, leader's must go first...even if its raining!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thoughts on 1 Cor 10.1-5

I read this morning about the phenomena of a group of people sharing similar experiences yet ending a different points. the apostle Paul points out that Israel (1 cor 10) all together experienced the miracle of the exodus, they all were benefactors of God's provision in the wilderness, and yet they did not ALL honor God with their lives. Some did. Others did not. They ended up in different places at the end. That is always a puzzling thing isn't it? We see this phenomena with children raised in the same home who come out of the teenage years very different. We see it in churches, where people share experiences (sometimes for decades) but overtime become very different people. There are many reasons for these variant end points, but I think it must have a lot to do with the individual and his/her heart before God. Christianity is a community faith for sure, but it is also deeply personal- between the individual believer and God. And if this vital link, the personal walk with God, is not sustained and fostered the "community faith" will never be enough to save us.

from one to many

a few weeks ago we had an installation service here at Breiel. and installation service is sort of the official 'wedding' of new pastor with congregation. it was a very special day. in that service, a friend Brent, shared about how God had worked things out on the church's side to lead them to offer me the position as lead pastor. it was very comforting to hear and sense god's orchestrating events and the process, but the comfort soothes at an even deeper level. becuase if I am convinced that God led in one area of life, could I not also find it believable that he would orchestrate events in another area of life. and if God were working last year to bring this together in my lifie, could it not also be possible that he is working right now to bring future events to fruition in my life. and if god is working right now in my life could he also be working in the lives of a few others to bring to fruition his plans for thier lives? And if God's is doing that in a few lives could it not also be possible that god is working right now to bring about his purposes in your life....is it possible still that he is working to bring about his purpose for the lives of every person who calls on his name, greater still that god is working to bring his purposes for the entire world?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

olympic hangover

this whole deal is starting to catch up with me. i'm tired. i'm toting around an olympic hangover everyday for like two weeks. and its all from staying up late every night. its crazy. i got of bed this morning, tried to chip the sleep out of my eyes, and avoid tripping over the cat, but...lets just say i'm wearing my glasses and she didn't yelp too loud.
i think i have a problem, i think i'm like literally addicted to the olympics. i mean shawn johnson, i've watched enough hours of her that it feels like she's family, like my little sister (no i'm not old enough for her to be my daughter, at least in most states). anyway it will be good when china kicks us all out again, so i can go back to sleep. i am tired of sporting my gold medal hangover, even if they do play the national anthem at my award ceremony. this was random...i know...i told you i'm tired.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

tater tot or french fry

really what is the difference between a french fry and tater tot? i mean as far as i can tell, the difference is when you eat it. if its before 10.30 its a tater tot. after that its a french fry. and oh yes...one is round-ish.

Monday, May 12, 2008

bride, not a prostitute

yesterday was my last message at water's edge. i really love those people, and i really love the bride of christ. which got me thinking about something...

okay, i was thinking about how the consumer mindset has invaded (in some places taken over) the north american church. and this is exemplified by people (many so called christians) who use the church for what they want and then dump her. these consumers (or johns) go from church to church treating the bride of christ like a ***** (prostitute). and after they get what they want, they dump and go carousing for another. have they forgotten that Christ's church is his bride...not a woman of the night? or do they care?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

sticky dots

i've got this stuff in my hand. i've never seen it before and it's hard to describe. it came to me in a promotional packet from the Catalyst conference. it looks like dip n dots ice cream. at least the little dots are about that size except these are kind of like styrofoam, but i am fairly certain, for the sake of the baby whales, they are not styrofoam. the little dots stick together, buts its not sticky on the outside...like it doesn't get your hands sticky. and so you can form this clump of dots into anything you want. that is, if you had any skill for that kind of thing...i make mostly snakes.

but i was thinking...that little clump is like the body of christ. all these members sticking together, able to morph into what ever god needs done in or for the world and for the glory of his son. and we aren't even sticky, no yucky residue and we're environmentally friendly ;) (ref.. 1 Cor. 12)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

give and take away

its april 15th, tax day and pay day. it brought to my mind the popular song, "blessed be the name of the Lord." a line in the song says 'you give and take away, my heart will choose to say blessed be the name of the Lord,' that's a timely word for today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

big announcement

after much prayer and a clear call from god i have accepted the lead pastor position at Breiel Blvd Church in Middletown Oh. i am very excited about this opportunity to impact that community in creative and relevant ways with the power of christ.

of course, it is terribly hard to leave a people and place that i love here in vb. in weaker moments, i feel like abraham leaving isaac on the altar a little bit...but god goes before and he stays behind (he's like everywhere!) and he will take care of things here and there. water's edge chruch is an amazing, exemplary church in so many ways. i know god will use them in even greater ways in the years ahead.

Friday, April 11, 2008

pop goes the ..

You’re all invited to a day some time soon when I utterly annihilate a household good. I don’t know... I may blow it up.... or I may shred it into itty bitty bits...oh, I know I might run over it with my 4x4 Expedition... or even burn it with lighter fluid. The possibilities are endless. I don’t know if I’ve ever detested anything more. Being a person of the cloth, I know its risky being so honest about my feelings here. But you are probably going to find out when I blow it up anyway, so you might as well take cover now.

Okay so really, I hate (for your more spiritual ones remove “hate” and insert “strongly dislike”) our trash can. It’s a cheapo junk pit with an attitude. It’s not so much her body, it’s her face! The can is okay, but the lid really chaps me! It just WILL NOT stay shut. Literally, I throw my Mill Stone grounds in, push the lid down, and it pops right back open. Some days I stay there for hours trying to get it to shut up.

You know me...I see metaphors in cream of wheat so it shouldn't surprise you that I see one in annoying trash cans...see if this is a stretch.. Our junk just never stays concealed for long. Junky attitudes, stinky prejudices, slimy speech....if it’s in there, it has a way of being revealed. So when the lid pops, make sure its good inside.

Now please, back up....she’s about to blow!

Friday, March 21, 2008

hand stand push ups

a few months ago a friend turned me on to this workout program/philosophy (crossfit.com). now crossfit is awesome and i’m probably in the best shape of my life but i must tell you...there are some exercises in there that, if not done properly can turn boys into girls in a quite literal way or if you are lucky enough to survive an exercise done wrong you can still, and likley will have the baheegees embarrassed out of you.

okay so i’m working out this morning....and look i’m at a point now where i’m starting to feel pretty confident with it. but there are a few excerises i’ve been reluctant (okay scared) to attempt for the above mentioned reasons. and one of those i’ve been avoiding is the hand stand push up. it is exactly what it sounds like, you do a handstand with your legs braced against a wall, and you push up with you hands. kind of like a shoulder press standing on your head. so today i wake up and say what the heck its good friday, i’m going to give it a whirl- the hand stand push up. i completed my warm up and found a wall where I could lean my legs into.

Okay...break for a moment...have you ever been swimming laps and attempted one of those underwater rolls when you got the end. you know like the pros do. yeah...have you ever done one of those and been a little too close the edge of the pool and then like bang the happy out of your feet? yeah...do you remember how embarrasing that was? do you remember maybe looking around, after you choked the water out of you lungs, to see if anyone was looking...yeah- that’s basically what happened to me about an hour or so ago. i was a little too close the wall when I did my roll, and nearly put a hole in the dry wall. the echoing thud got everyone’s attention and concern. i went on to something else after that...i was tired of doing hand stand push ups.

you know sometimes in our walk with Christ we try new things. like serving in a new ministry, attempting a spiritual discipline like fasting or meditation, or sharing our faith, or whatever...and sometimes we are little too close to the wall. but don’t let the thud discourage you...i will get another chance to do hand stand push ups, and i will do them!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

ordinary today

man i'm tired this morning. between the cat stirring around my head, and the crazy wind/rain storm we had overnight, i slept maybe three hours. and then my three year old son wakes me up <6 screaming my name like he's on fire or something. i'm like, dude you have got to stop yelling my name like that...it is not right. he said okay, but i'm not sure he's ready to give up the rebel yell.

i did meet a friend for coffee this am. that was good. good friends make bad days better. god speaks about the importance of friends, friends pick us up when we stumble, trip, or kick the dog. friends help us on days when we wake up getting yelled at.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

win or lose

i stumbled across some notes from a talk a heard a few months ago from ed hyatt. he posed the question to church leaders about what drove their churches. he asked whether the motive was to "win the world", "win one or two", or "not lose too many." if i'm honest, and why not be...i know there have been seasons when our focus has been on not losing too many. and i admit it is a miserable state to be in. but at least we knew it was miserable and that an inward focused church is an oxymoron. it simply should not be the norm for christ-followers. sadly, i know churches that have spent decades in the don't lose too many mode. and the consequences have been, and continue to be, tragic. because the irony is you lose when you focus on not losing people- you lose the "win the world" people, and you keep the people (many of whom) you really don't want. it makes me smile to know that water's edge church is an outward focused community. i wouldn't be so presumptious as to claim we are winning the world...but then again maybe we are...one or two at a time. my prayers this morning are for those church leaders who are afraid to lose too many... i hope they are empowerd to lead their communities in following the master's mandate to go and make disciples.