Thursday, December 28, 2006

Praying Like Jesus

Christmas was great. I got to spend some good time with many of my family members and was even able to share some spiritual experiences with my Nana. I love Mayer’s new CD, Continuum. My favorites so far are Belief and Stop This Train. A while back, he played the whole CD on Star 98.7 and gave commentary between songs. That airing is available for download as a torrent at

I just finished chapter 2 in God the Holy Trinity. In it, Bray discusses the Trinity in light of Galatians 4:6. He starts off by reflecting on how the concept of the Trinity was one of the basic doctrines that immediately separated the Christians from the Jews. As he concludes that introductory point, he says, “…whereas ordinary Jews were kept out of the holiest place in the temple, Christians have been admitted into the inner life of God. Only in that context, and based on that understanding, can we reconcile Christian theology with the Old Testament revelation. The God who appears as One to those who view him on the outside, reveals himself as a Trinity of persons, once his inner life is opened up to our experience.” Now, this springs off one of the most interesting statements he made which was, “From the beginning, the Christian knowledge of God in Trinity was first experiential and later theoretical, an order of things that has always characterized authentic Christian understanding and confession. We may even say that whenever theory has claimed pride of place over experience, the result has been some form of heresy, as for example in the Arian controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries.” That in itself raises all kinds of questions about what we experience as Christians vs. what Scripture tells us we should experience as Christians. But back to the original quote, let me just say that this is such a beautiful thing! Now, we can pray like Jesus prayed! We can call God “Abba” (if you know any Brennan Manning, that word carries a special meaning to you)!

I sit here, I think, wow some Jews really saw some incredible things happen after they prayed and Jesus told his followers that certain great things would only happen by prayer. I am empowered much more than the disciples were when Jesus was alive on the earth. That thought really challenges me because I really don’t live demonstrating that empowerment. In Mars Hill sermon 399, Rob says that Jesus wants to save Christians from having to have all of the answers because we are simply to demonstrate his presence and then proclaim that this is God renewing and reconciling all things.

As I get ready for Passion07, I am hoping to be reenergized and motivated to live as a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, crying out Abba as the Spirit empowers me to pray like Jesus did.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Chris Tomlin Interview

I am so pumped for Passion07. I highly recommend the Passion07 podcast. There are interviews with John Piper, Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, Beth Moore, and others where they talk about the Passion vision for God’s RENOWN. In an interview with Chris Tomlin, he said that he loved the sentence, “There is something about the morning that awakens a God who never sleeps.” He then referenced PS 30 – Weeping lasts for a night but joy comes in the MORNING, the miracles of manna that were provided in the MORNING, Joshua assembling the people early in the MORNING to march around Jericho, and the women who went in the MORNING to find the tomb empty. I thought about this for a second and thought, its not the morning that wakes God up do something, it’s the morning that wakes us up to what God is already doing. This is the whole principle behind “be still and know that I am God” and the Sabbath. Relax, because while you were sleeping, God was hard at work doing things you could have not even asked Him to do or imagined Him doing. Actually, I think this has something to do with why the Jewish day started at nightfall. When the Jews woke up in the morning, they weren’t ready to start the day, instead they were ready to jump into a day that was already going full force. In light of that, my prayer at the beginning of the day is not for Him to do something awesome through me or for something to happen the way I want it go. My prayer is a prayer of praise for what He has been doing already and a request to be used by Him in that work.

So, may you wake up, looking to see what God was doing through the night and asking that He bring you on board for that activity and may you give glory to God in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jesus Evangelism Question #1

The professor of evangelism at Beeson Divinity School says that Jesus' earthly ministry was characterized by three actions. (I first wrote this post saying that the ministry was characterized by three things, but that is not specific enough. These are actions, not attitudes. Some example answers would include "walking on water" and "turning water to wine". Obviously those arent the answers because we only have it recorded that he did those things once each.) What do you say those three things are?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Christians that set the pace for culture

These thoughts came after listening to Louie's message at the Jump Conference held earlier this year at NPCC.

One of the things I want to stamp on kids in my youth ministry is that Christians need to be setting the pace for culture. I want the word out that if you want something done well, then you need to get a Christian to do it because they do everything like they are doing it for God. Here is a glimpse at a pair of Christians across the pond that are doing just that.

Natasha Bedingfield (born November 26, 1981 in London, UK) is a pop singer and is also the sister of fellow pop singer Daniel Bedingfield. Before going solo, she was a member of a Christian worship band named The DNA Algorithm with her sister Nikola and brother Daniel. She went onto co-write a number of Christian worship songs at the popular Hillsong London Church. Her debut album, Unwritten, landed at #1 on the UK Albums Chart in September 2004. By the second week it went platinum, and it is now triple platinum. She also had a #3 single in the UK Singles Chart titled "Single" in May 2004 as well as a #1 single titled "These Words" in August 2004.

Not only is Natasha the third solo singer in UK history to debut at #1, but she and her famous brother Daniel Bedingfield recently made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the only brother and sister to have solo number ones in UK chart history.

May you set the pace for culture

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Kyle Lake's last sermon

I wrote this on July 4th

I just finished reading Kyle Lake’s last sermon. It is inspiring. I really like it. Some might say that it is too light on theology…heck…I might say that. But inspiration, creativity, connection to the speaker, and connection to God are what I think are the cornerstones of a good sermon. This sermon has them all. If you know me, you know that I think Rob Bell and Louie Giglio are the greatest preachers around today. Now, I want to get my hands on some Kyle Lake stuff so I can see what he was all about and have my preaching style shaped somewhat by his preaching style. This sermon was never preached because he was electrocuted on Sunday morning just before he was to deliver it. Good thing for us that he didn’t prepare his sermons like me and walk up there with an outline written in crayon during the announcements. Here is the conclusion. Maybe it will tempt you to read the whole thing.

And Live Well.
Breathe in and Breathe deeply.
Do not be past.
Do not be future.
Be now.
On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin.
Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE.
And Grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke.
And if you eat, then SMELL.
The aromas are not impediments to your day.
Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven.
Taste every ounce of flavor.
Taste every ounce of friendship.
Taste every ounce of Life.

If you want me to email you the entire sermon manuscript, then just say so in the comment box.

So now...may you LIVE and find inspiration from the great crowd of onlookers that watches every step you take in the race!

Underoath, church, Jesus, and forgiveness

Current reading: Can We Do That?, Relevant Magazine
Current listening: Hyperstatic Union, Practically Speaking Podcast

“It’s a big deal to us to burn all Christian stereotypes because, unfortunately, those stereotypes are often true. Ninety percent of Christians turn their back on people and make you feel uncomfortable and awkward. In my experience as a child growing up in the church, people were like, ‘If you don’t believe what I believe, then you don’t belong here.” - Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillepsie from Underoath.

The stereotype - Christians are unforgiving and like to point out your wrongs while they hurry to cover up theirs.


When one of the key themes of the gospel is forgiveness, it seems like we have turned out much like the Pharisees trying to keep a list of do’s that American organized Christian religion has out there (unwritten of course). So, what is the solution. How do we get forgiveness back to the center of the cause of Christ followers? How do we break the stereotypes?

Underoath members have at least two reactions. The first one is to say forget about church and just focus on your personal relationship with Jesus. thanks to that suggestion. The reasons are too many to list here.

The second though seems like what Jesus was going after when the Pharisees caught a woman in the act of adultery and dragged her in front of Jesus for judgement. Chamberlain says that the new album is going to be more than heavy. It will be more honest as well. “Its important to the band, both personally and artistically, to be raw and transparent in their songs. My trash is all out in the open” says Chamberlain. If we are going to join the ranks of worshipers like this woman and the woman that washed Jesus’ feet, wetting them with her tears and drying them with her hair, we must be like Isaiah when he cried out that he was a man of unclean lips who came from a people of unclean lips. We must realize the greatness of the separation that is between God and every man I am a man of unclean lips, eyes, mouth, ears, hands, feet...I have wronged over and over, but I sit here forgiven! That separation was bridged by JESUS!

So...may you forgive widely and very Jesus like out of the great sense of forgiveness you have received yourself.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dreaming For God's Glory

Current Reading: Erwin Mcmanus - Seizing Your Divine Moment
Current Listening: David Crowder* Band - B Collision

When I was in third grade my teacher wrote on my report card that it seemed that I was “out to lunch” during class. I was then and still am a daydreamer. I think of awesome things, incredible things, and things I probably will never do. Some things I think of excite me and some things scare me. Sometimes when I drive over a bridge I think of what it would be like to drive off of the bridge, my car flying through the air and landing in the water.

Would I live?

Would the Ranger XLT sink quickly?

Not that I want to hurt myself at all, but the thought of the event and the exhilaration are painted perfectly in my mind in an instant. Sometimes I have to shake myself out of my dream world because it seems so real. Dreams are exciting! They give us something to live for. We aren’t going to live above what we dream about. My buddy Jance put it like this, “If all you dream about is flipping burgers, then that’s all you are ever going to be.” I think God wants us to dream big and dream wild.

So, as I thought about our dreams I wrote down “dreams are always better than reality.” I read it out loud thinking about it and it was like the Holy Spirit spoke to me directly and said “but it doesn’t have to be.” Now first off, if that was the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t use proper grammar, but hey…they Bible is full of things that wouldn’t be considered proper grammar in English today. When I presented this idea to my youth group (Dreams are always better than reality…but they don’t have to be) one kid insisted that daydreams would always beat reality. He said that nothing could happen that could beat something he could imagine. My mind immediately went to a statement made by Paul when he was writing to the church in Ephesus. Here is Eugene Peterson’s translation of Ephesians 3:20…God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. So here is the dichotomy…We aren’t going to live beyond what we dream about, but we can live beyond our wildest dreams!

So…may you dream big and go for it and may God take you beyond all that you could ask or imagine.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

God still speaks prophetically through His servants

Its 4:51 am. I just went to Duff's huge house to drop off his Toyota Land Cruiser and pick up my Ford Ranger to drive it back to my tiny apartment. On the way I start thinking. I hate driving this crappy truck and I start getting down on myself about some other stuff. It wasnt a good trip home. When I get home, I get an email from Brian. I can see the first few words while it is still unopened in my inbox because of how GMAIL is set up. The words I see are Dude, there were some NLers talking about you and... I think to myself, "Great! What did I do wrong now?" I opened the email to find the following message.

Dude, there were some NLers talking about you and the direction of the youth Weds night. They all had awesome things to say about you and where you're taking the teens.

It's coming bro. I think you're doing some great stuff. We all knew you were capable. Just keep it up and God's gonna honor your willingness to serve. Love ya bro.

I sent him back an email with a gladness in my heart that God still speaks prophetically through His servants. Those were the EXACT words I needed in that situation.

So, now...may God speak through you and may you, when He is speaking through you, be an open pipeline to those who need to hear.

Monday, June 26, 2006

To all of the faithful blogers...big up yourself!

This is me and Becki at our Valentine's dinner at Chez Fon Fon

I think I am back in the world of blogs after reading this post from Its the top ten reasons why he posts.

#10 Blogging is a form of digital discipleship. Neo-scrolls.#9 Blogging is the way I share what is happening in my head and my heart.#8 Blogging is cathartic. It helps me process what I'm thinking and feeling.#7 Blogging is the way I leave a trail. My kids and grandkids can read it someday.#6 Blogging is a sermon supplement. Actually, sermons might be a blogging supplment.#5 Blogging is a way to carry on a conversation with lots of people at the same time.#4 Blogging is a form of auto-biography.#3 Blogging is one way of capturing the things God is revealing to me.#2 Blogging helps me remember what God doesn't want me to forget.#1 Blogging is a stewardship issue. It's one way I share what God is teaching me.

So...may you continue your faithful blogging and may your teaching, relating, and living be fuller because of it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Letting Scripture Read You

Here are some of my thoughts after reading some more in A New Kind of Christian.

What if, instead of seeing the Christian faith like a building (built on one foundation – The Bible) we saw it like a spider web (having many anchors such as spiritual experiences, exemplary people and institutions we have come to trust, and the Bible.)?

What if faith was more like the earth than a building? Faith could never be stable in the way God intended it unless there was come kind of forward momentum and if that momentum was not in the field of the gravity of God. Birds in flight, bicycles, and ships all use movement in relation to larger forces to get their stability.

John Wesley – The church gets its stability from the interplay of Scripture, tradition, reason, and spiritual experience.

Maybe we are working from a much too static model of authority and we need to be called to a higher point of view to see that our situation is much more dynamic, much more predicamental.

Approach the Bible on less defined terms. Instead of approaching it with our modern assumptions and expectations and our aggressive analysis, maybe we need to read it less like scholars and more like humble seekers trying to learn whatever we can from it, in the context of our sincere desire of love for God and do what he wants. I guess that would be the momentum – the desire to do God’s will. Maybe we need to read it with more of that desire and less of our critical analysis. Maybe postmodern is postanalytical and postcritical.

Instead of reading the Bible, let the Bible read you. How does a scientist approach a frog in dissection, a detective at a crime scene, now how is that different from a teenage boy approaching a girl? You would be less aggressive and controlling and more relational. Even further though, what if you were a patient with cancer and you were meeting your oncologist for the first time? What feelings would you have then?

What would happen if we approached the text less aggressively and more energetically and passionately? What if we honestly listen to the story and put ourselves under its spell and instead of going to the text to get our questions about God answered, we went trusting God to use it to pose questions to us about us? What would happen if we just trusted ourselves to it – the way a boy opens his heart to a girl, the way a patient trusts herself to an oncologist? The practice of lectio divina does this.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Where the cross meets the dream catcher

What would you think if you saw a cross and a dream catcher hanging in the rearview mirror of a car? Is that person messed up or is there something messed up in the way we have been presenting the cross?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My mechanistic view of God

I was reading A New Kind of Christian ( the book Rob all goes back to him doesn't it...haha...and his wife read right before starting Mars Hill) and I was wondering if any of this hit you guys like it hit me.

First off, do you ever think of modernity vs. postmodernity? That is a huge discussion in itself.

Is it possible to have a faith that transcends the historical situation we find ourselves in?

What does it mean to say that God is in control? When we think of the word control, we think of someone controlling a car or a machine. We probably can not think of it without thinking of it mechanistically. But, before the modern world, there were no complex machines. Whatever a person in ancient Biblical times would have meant by saying "God is in control" is almost certainly very different from what we mean today. For that person, God's control was associated with farmers controlling animals or parents controlling children or kings controlling subjects - all very different from an operator controlling a machine.

What would that do to the question of how can God be in control if there is so much evil in the world now that the definition of control has been radically changed? If a driver wrecks a car, then its the drivers fault, but if a child is raised to do right and then when he is older he doesn't, then its not the parents fault. Even though the child is thought to be under his parents control, he is still free to make his own decisions.

That example of control is just the tip of the differences between looking at God through a modern lens and looking at Him through a medieval lens or even a postmodern lens.

What do you guys think?

Bought and OWNED!!! (Romans 1:1, Isaiah 26:8)