Showing posts from February, 2013

Fighting for your own

I am excited to have Micah Bournes at an ABIDE Assemble in May. His words are provocative but poignant. [vimeo] HT: Marc Cortez

Celebrate the team

Celebrating with you team and encouraging them is vitally important. Even if you don't have the"gift" of encouragement, you should see it as your duty if you are leader. Justin Buzzard has just hosted his second annual celebration for church staff and deacons. His insight is helpful. "Why don’t we celebrate? Because leaders are typically future-oriented." "As leaders it’s easy to skip celebration, to keep charging the hill and moving onto the next big challenge. Don’t do that. Take time to stop and celebrate. Make celebration an important part of the culture in you church or organization." This is good. Celebration should be an important part of our churches and organizations. As Christians we should be known for our celebration! Out do one another in honor. Encourage and

A Song of Declaration

I don't know if I have posted this song here before but I am needing its message this week! All I have is Christ. [youtube=]

Jesus as our Reward

The more I hear people talk about other rewards in heaven the more I am disturbed that we don't want Jesus. Is Jesus truly enough for us? When he speaks of reward and treasure in scripture he speaks of himself. Is he enough of a reward for me? I know too often he is not and I misplace my hope and put it in other things. Jesus, help me to see you as enough. [vimeo]


Aaron Youngren is doing a series on his blog about discipleship and meeting in groups for gospel accountability. Today he share his "spurs," the guys he meets with every week to lovingly slap around and seek Jesus together. I thought it was a great read. He write how these types or relationships are not easy. "It takes work, though. It takes practice. An appetite for spurring is something you cultivate. At first, it feels about as natural as riding around on a unicycle with your pants on fire. Conversations are awkward. Confessions go only half-way. You know you’re there to talk about what you don’t want to talk about, but the trouble is, you  really  don’t want to talk about it. So there’s a lot of hemming, and hawing, and long, drawn out, awkward pauses, until someone finally gets fed up and says something like, “If I was your wife I’d have smashed your nose with a toaster three weeks ago.”' And the reality of our world; "Only when truth and love meet can we

Love for All Generations

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations , forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 I do young adult ministry. I focus on 18 to 35-year-olds and happen to think this age range (which is huge in diversity and stage of life) is vitally important to the success of the church. But I also think we must position ourselves to be a vibrant multigenerational church. We must have love for all generations in the church. This is not a call for more argument about how loud the music should be but is a call for young and old, and even younger and older to realize the importance of love for each other and unity within the church for Christ's glory. Young adults need the experience and wisdom of those that have come before. We need to hear your stories and ask you hard questions. You might think that these youngsters don't wa

Gospel for the Whole Life

This is good. [youtube=] HT: Ty Neal

Exposing Bitterness

Don't be bitter. We read it. We hear it. But we end up bitter. We feel slighted or unappreciated and it becomes sin for the Christian because it turns to anger and resentment all distracting us from our call to pursue Christ and reconciliation. This story out of Seattle has me thinking about how we hide our bitterness but it eventually is found out. A barista thought he would start an anonymous site releasing his bitterness on customers and even his boss. Once he was outed as the author he lost his gig. While he doesn't seem too worried about - funny side is that he is a hip hop artist in the making - it reveals our cultural comfort with bitterness and enjoying seeing other express theirs. I get bitter. Fo' sure. I feel slighted, underutilized and disrespected. But it is sin. I should not allow life and experience to turn into bitterness. I should run to Christ for my answer and hope. When I don't, I wreck things and dishonor what I am called to. Thankfully I don'

Why your kids left the church

I would like to start this post with some choice swear words, but I am a pastor and I don't do that, unless my wife is around to scold me. I have just read a piece that has convicted me and I have to repent to you for doing ministry in an artificial way and I must stop it. I don't know who Marc is or where he is at but he has written a post on why young adults have left the church and where the church went wrong. These things must be understood and changed. Read the whole article here . Below are some choice quotes and his reasons that youth leave the church. "There’s no easy way to say this: The American Evangelical church has lost, is losing, and will almost certainly continue to lose OUR YOUTH. "For all the talk of “our greatest resource”, “our treasure”, and the multi-million dollar Dave and Buster’s/Starbucks knockoffs we build and fill with black walls and wailing rock bands… the church has failed them..." The top ten reasons the church has lost young p

Preaching in a coffee shop

Every week we host the ABIDE Assemble, a gathering of young adults in the Tri-Cities, at Sharehouse. It is busy, noisy and crowded coffee shop. Often only half of the people in the shop are there to participate in our musical worship, our teach or the discussion but all of them hear it. It is doing church in a strange environment. The gospel is proclaimed and community is built. But it is strange. By no means is the environment ideal for the thorough exposition of scripture. It is just too distraction filled and loud. But we wage in and do it anyway. Why? Because we have been corralled behind the walls of a building for too long. And people need to hear this message of hope. And people are hearing it. The other half, those that are trying to study or just hang out with friends. Those of all ages and political views. Those that happen to be in the coffee shop at the time see us and hear us. They see our community. The hear our conviction and hope. Some might be offended and I take rest

Christ is my home.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 1 Corinthians 5:17- 21 I love this text. The young adults I lead know I love this text. ABIDE's slogan for the year is "Go Forth" and we use this text to challenge each other to live up to our role as ambassadors. But this text has wrecked me. Let me explain a little to give you context. For the last few weeks I have really been struggling, probably in s

Plants and Animals stop growing

Even when we say we don't worry about number of people attending our church or ministry, we really do. We learn to call increase in numbers "fruitfulness" and convince ourselves that health equates to growth. We even get the natural world involved. We say things like "everything that is healthy grows; plants animals, so should our church..." I have to tell you , this analogy is as absurd as our focus on numerical growth. For one, in the physical world things that grow beyond their design or DNA are unhealthy - often diseased and quick to die. Think about it. Ants don't continue to grow bigger once they reach maturity. Sure some trees get really big, but they are Redwoods designed to be that big; a Japanese Maple will not shade your neighborhood unless you mutate it. And think of humans. I am a fat guy. The more I eat and don't move, the bigger I will get. But the bigger I get the less healthy I am. Stop using this analogy; it is stupid. So what is a fair

The Call to die

This  looks amazing. The follow-up to Platt's Radical. [youtube=]  

Know your neighbor?

  A major sickness in the American church is a lack of relationship. Not only do we fake it in 'relationship' with other believers, we rarely take the time or care to know the people around us. Justin Taylor has quoted this story from a book: "One of our community group coaches went to visit a community group a while back, and found this tendency at work. "It was a newer group at a campus that had recently launched, and the group members were eager to do something big and evangelistic. They wanted to coordinate a fall festival or cookout at the campus, inviting the neighborhood around the church to attend. The coach list ened, nodding, and finally interrupted. “These are all great ideas, but let me ask you something. What’s the guy’s name in the house next door?” There was a long and awkward pause. Finally the group leader spoke up. “Uh, I’m not sure.” “How ’bout across the street?” the coach asked." This reminded me of the old book The Gospel Blimp . I have to

What you might learn from a pastoral mentor

I am grateful that I am surrounded by wisdom and ministry experience and often get the opportunity to challenge assumptions and hear the opinions of those more mature than me (yes even at 35 I have not reached maturity). And while I have a great relationship with my supervisor and other members of the church's leadership team, I don't yet have a pastoral mentor that I am investing time to learn from and know (except those that have taught me in seminary or through books!) Chris Castaldo however has and he has written about three key things that he has learned from that relationship. R. Kent Hughes has been his boss and mentor and from him he learned to: 1. Take Time to Listen . Hughes would ask him about his work and for his expertise. I think any member of a team would feel valued if we take time to listen to them. I am learning to do this with those I am discipling and seeking advising from in ministry. I prefer to dole out order but perhaps more would be done with passion i