Showing posts from May, 2013

The Truth Matters and How We Share It Does As Well

This week during the routine Theological Life session at 6:30am in the morning (this is a group of young adults that discuss theology before the rest of the West Coast wakes up) we talked about calling other Christians out for what we see as misguided theology or misinterpreted scriptures. Are we called to be "unity at all costs" types of people or are there things we must stand for and speak out about? This is the tension of a technology and information saturated culture. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a global platform to share it. It is far too easy to call our the heresy of the other than it is to admit we personally have preached something wrong. So how do we live as salt in this cultural reality and still cling to the things that are important? I suggest we use as a guide two ideas 1) the truth matters & 2) so does how we share it. The truth, as best as we can interpret it, demands to be proclaimed and error should be shown for what it is. There are centra

A Summer of Prayer

Summers are always an interesting season for the church. In our context we have a lot of small groups that take the summer off from regular meetings as families travel and have children's sporting events. It is simply following the natural rhythm of our culture to slow down and take a break. While I think rest is good and we should be flexible, our young adult ministry keeps meeting through the summer (though in different settings) and I am blessed by the number of young adult small groups that plan to keep meeting through the months of summer. Last year for our weekly gathering we moved to a local park and did three months we called "Note to Self Summer." We read daily from Joe Thorn's Note to Self  on preaching the gospel to ourselves and each other. It was an important series for us as it set our goal as a ministry clearly before our young adults - we will preach the gospel to ourselves and each other, nothing else. This summer the gospel remains central to how we

Christ-centered preaching

"Good exposition will expose the trees and the forest, giving respect for the original author and respect for the redemptive story and its hero: Jesus." I commend this article by Tony Merida to you - especially those that preach and those that desire to hear about Jesus when preached to. In it Merida takes on the challenge of preaching Jesus in all texts of the Bible.

Read: Deep & Wide

I have to be honest; I would typically not seek out a Andy Stanley book to read. My preference has been to avoid books on how to do church (unless of course they agree with how I want to do church!) so I spend more time reading theological or devotional works that get me excited about Jesus. But Stanley's Deep & Wide must have been on sale for Kindle so I picked it up and spent the last week reading through his account of the birth of North Point and how they approach ministry. Since I am being honest, I need to tell you that I agreed with more in this book than I thought I would. In fact, I agreed with most of it. This is definitely a book for those thinking through what a church should be about and how it should live out its mission. Perhaps this truth reveals that I have now been out of the protection of my wise seminary professors too long, or that I have finally been in ministry long enough to grasp points I once felt off the mark. Either way I think there is much to gai

Who do you say he is?

How do you answer the question: who is Jesus? [vimeo]

Failing to fight procrastination

Peter Bregman has an insightful post on the Harvard Business Review site about something he noticed while sitting on a beach and watching surfers.  "No matter how good, how experienced, how graceful they were on the wave, every surfer ended their ride in precisely the same way: By falling. "Some had fun with their fall, while others tried desperately to avoid it. And not all falls were failures — some fell into the water only when their wave fizzled and their ride ended. "But here's what I found most interesting: The only difference between a failure and a fizzle was the element of surprise. In all cases, the surfer ends up in the water. There's no other possible way to wrap up a ride." Bergman then suggests that preparing for and embracing the "feeling" of falling is the best way in our professional lives to overcome procrastination and truly excel.  "The answer that kept coming to me was that we would take more risks. That difficult conver

Netting in the Church

Pigeon guano. It is gross, filthy stuff. And it doesn't look pretty. My office looks out to a small courtyard were we have a little fountain and some plants. It is a great way to let light into our offices and give us the occasional shot of fresh air. But years ago some vermin found out about the lovely spot and tried to claim it as their own. Pigeons. The roosted and with glee pooped all over the courtyard. Our facilities team tried everything to get them to leave. First it was the fake owls that would hoot when their motion sensor went off. Then the pellet gun. This was gruesome. I would be writing a sermon and watch as an innocent pigeon fell from the sky when the pellet fit its mark. Nothing would work however and the pigeons kept coming back and making a mess of the place. So last week the courtyard's opening to the sky was netted. Now nothing larger than a quarter of an inch can enter the courtyard. No pigeons and no other birds for that matter. I am glad for this. It wil

Mother's Day and the Gospel

Sally Lloyd-Jones it an amazing author that is helping children and adults alike realize the truth of Christ and she has written a piece about Mother's Day that is worth a read. She speaks of the reality of the holiday and how it is hard to give and accept gifts and praise. "We live in a sin-cursed world and no matter how much we try to honor someone we love, it always seems to come out wrong. We can give the sweetest presents with the best intentions but still . . . it just never turns out like we hoped it would." She also gives a fair assessment of how people really feel on the day. But what is most profitable for all of us is Lloyd-Jones' frank words of an appropriate view in the midst of the holiday. "The source of true happiness is not found in being praised or anything we have ever done. True happiness is found in dying to ourselves and celebrating what Christ has already done for us." "True happiness is here: It is found in Jesus’ work. The bes

Vision and Update on Sharehouse

Among a great series of updates from churches in Southeast Washington, CBNW has posted a video of me sharing about the vision of Sharehouse and how things are going. How could I not share a video of me with you?! Of course, the voice aside, Sharehouse is making its mark on the community and I am blessed to be part of a vision that existed before I arrived. Our team is working tirelessly to provide a great product but more importantly an environment where some might meet Jesus. [youtube=] To see the other stories from our part of Washington, visit here .

Obedience and Orphancare

One of the best things going on at our church (in my opinion!) is the Orphan care ministry. A team of passionate leaders are working to live the gospel through adoption and care for those abandoned, hurt and in need. I am blessed by their work and hearts. During our Sunday gathering they shared an update video to highlight the work God is doing through these families. On Friday my wife caught me teary eyed watching the video. In the video the a couple from Bethel discusses the process they are going through and the father, Lee Williams delivers the best line of our gathering. [vimeo] Talking about the decision to pursue adoption, Lee said, " God calls us to obedience not outcomes ." Yes and amen. This is not a truth only for those adopting but for all of us as believers in Christ. His call was for obedience to what he taught and there are so many things that attempt to take us off track from that. The truth in obedience is that the outcomes are not a

N.T. Wright on the Gospel and Repentance

I quoted N.T. Wright last night on the way we communicate repentance and I wanted to share it with all of you. Thanks to the gents at Near Emmaus for posting. Wright answer a bunch of good questions and it is worth a listen. [vimeo]

The need for age diversity in the church

Thabiti Anyawale has written on the importance of a sort of cross-generational self-ministering of the church. Old to young and young to old. He see a reality most of us experience, segregated groups within the church based on life stage or age. "By and large, people seem to spend the bulk of their spiritual energy and time with other people in the same stage of life. There’s much that can be said about this–its scope, causes, benefits, and so on. But one thing that strikes me today is that segregating into enclaves based on age and life-stage tends to weaken the future of the church." I thought all we had to do to keep the church strong was reload with some young whipper snappers... Thabiti has more to say. "We have congregations of people “trying to figure life out” largely alone. Great amounts of time get invested in helping young people negotiate the choppy waters of early adulthood, middle-aged people work their way through challenges of marriage, family, and caree


"We can only lay bare our sinful hearts when we are certain of receiving forgiveness..." Brennan Manning. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 "Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful..." Joel 2:13 You can be certain of your forgiveness in Christ. Come to him.