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Showing posts from July, 2019

Worthwhile: July 26, 2019

It has been hot here in San Diego County... and much of the country. So as you find some AC to stay cool why not punch up these worthwhile bits of the internet to get you through?! Three huge gospel influences in today's pile. What it means to be a pastor, equipping disciples and why we should follow Jesus. Get some. Jared Wilson's post this week on pastoral ministry as a job has been getting a lot of attention and it should, it is a good piece. I know firsthand how well-intentioned people can still be confuse as to the actions (other than preaching) and responsibilities of a pastor, and in turn wonder if they are worth the expense. Wilson points out some key differences that are worth noting and thinking more about. But the truth is that good pastors are not able to take the pastor hat off at the end of the day or leave their heart for their flocks in the office when they clock out. It’s just not something you can turn off. For all these reasons and more, it is fine and prop

A Visual of Multiplication by Subtraction

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Last week I shared a post from Alan Frow on his forthcoming book on church multiplication. I also shared the post on our church site with longer quotes from the book. Because of the drama involved in a church with a multiplication DNA it has stirred up some conversation. One of my ministry partners that thought it an important call, we shall call him Gopher Benji given his line of work, shared the following visual illustration of church multiplication. " Your post this week about subtraction and its pain reminded me of an analogy of church planting I observed over the past six months in propagating my succulents.  Here it is in a nutshell, with my amateur photographic journal: 1. Plant 1, well-rooted (sorry for the algae...) 2. Plant 1, now under duress, as half of it was broken off to be re-planted. 3. Plant 2 -- formerly the top of Plant 1 -- growing, putting down roots -- notice the roots don't have to be huge, just need to be present. 4. Plant 2 gets lopped off -- now mu

Worthwhile: July 20, 2019

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Already we have hit the tail end of July and we are beginning to think about all those projects we want to tackle this fall. Let's not waste today though, there are many worthwhile things out there! This week I have been a hermit. My family is in Oregon for some summer fun but like most of you I only have so much vacation time to use... so instead I am terribly lonely! Not in a bad, depressive way, but in a "the house is quiet and the dogs don't talk back" kind of way. I have been able to give undistracted time to at least one project, but mostly I am just going through the motions and paying keen attention to the difference. The results of my "study" so far are that I really miss my tribe and look forward to their return! Some of the things that have filled my time are these worthwhile bits that I am happy to share with you. First up from Jonathan Dodson is a needed reminder on the way grace works backwards . How grace doesn't just cover the present, a

Pastoring Spiritual Refugees

As I have been praying for the people I pastor this week I was struck by the realization of just how many of them have been harmed or carry scars from difficult church experiences. Now it is to be expected when you replant a church after leadership failure and abandoning of the church but even those new since my arrival have similar stories. Thankfully we do have a few that are new to the faith and learning "church" as we worship together but the vast majority came seeking something different than their previous experience, a better polity, deeper theology, smaller numbers, quieter music. Even just a place to lay low and heal after a hard church break-up. Truth be told I am okay with this. Of course I, and the people in our church, would like to have growth with new believers. But when we took this assignment Stacy and I knew we were going to be used by the Lord to help bring people to health. And I think I am learning to see what that health looks like, but there are challen

Worthwhile: July 12, 2019

Happy Friday friends. We are moving into the second half of July and making all the plans for fall. New projects. Renewed vigor. And the same need of daily naps. Start your weekend with some reading, and listening, with these worthwhile bits of the internets. From a perspective hard to swallow all the way to Christian music that is genuine and artistic. "Here his concern is only with the basic question of where authority and rule lie in world events. He will reply that all events originate in heaven, all individuals are stirred and guided by the Lord, all empires rise and fall at his direction: there is no other ultimate agent." J. Alec Motyer on Isaiah 41 First up is a topic that comes with quite a lot of controversy but deserves our thoughtful engagement. Reparations. Now answer this question, have you ever really deeply thought about it or do you immediately jump to impossibility when thinking of the topic? Well, I want to encourage you to actually take the effort to under

Vitality found with brothers

Today I found myself again. I was given tremendous grace from Jesus as I met with a group of dear pastor brothers first at a coffee with two important friends and then the cohort at San Diego Church Planting. The cohort is a group of pastors and planters with a desire to do ministry in our city together for a long time. To support and care for one another. The day began for me juggling the many needs of our small church and a lamenting session with elder Bill about how tired I was shouldering the responsibilities as a lone staff member. Added to that feeling a headache and pinched nerve in my back, I was a grumpy Gus. But the Lord used these brothers to administer his grace and goodness to my weary soul. First over coffee I was reminded that my struggles are not unique to me and as we talked about the challenges and hopes of our churches I felt the keen reminder of God's grace for our work and the need to rely on the Spirit for the power to do the work he has called us to. Then ove

What I Miss Most (and Least) About Working in Political & Nonprofit Communications

Today For the Church published a post from Jared Wilson on what he misses about pastoral ministry. It is a good look into some of the realities of being a pastor if you are looking for insights into that... which so few people are unless of course you desire to be a pastor. But the post also had me thinking about about my previous work and what I miss about it. I am always fascinated that so few pastors have had paid work outside of Christendom and am so grateful that I had the opportunity to earn a paycheck outside of the spiritual industrial complex! I think it gives me healthy perspective as I now pastor people working in all sorts of fields. It has been nine years since I left DC and the career I was building in communications. These are the things I miss most (and least) about working in political and nonprofit communications. What I miss about working communications 1. Non-believing Colleagues My big reason for sending my children to public school is that I don't want the o

Connecting the Dots

Stacy (my beloved wife) and I were discussing discipleship in the church and our goals for leading and caring for others and she said something that stuck with me. "How can I get them to see how the gospel applies to all of life?" It is a vital question. In our family we try to take it seriously, pressing the good news of Jesus' finished work for us into every nook and cranny of life. We certainly miss it at times, trusting in our own strength, getting even, attempting to earn grace, and then we repent and begin again. But what if we don't connect the dots from the cross to our daily experience? What if we don't preach the gospel to ourselves, to each other and to those around us? Honestly, to us existence would be pretty vapid and hopeless without the defining news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection for us. We have had too many friends reject Jesus or loose sight of his grace to tempt missing the point. We have life because Jesus has given it to us and t

Loving God for Himself Alone

This week I preached on the bigness of God from Isaiah 40:12-26. That because he is so big we can trust him with our lives. Now all of us that claim faith in Christ can on the surface agree to this and let it warm us on a Sunday morning, but how does it help us on a Monday afternoon? Normal pressures of life punctuate the worship gathering and we swim back into the soup of the clamor of smaller things demanding to reign in our lives. We believe God is big enough to care for us, but how will the bills get paid? We believe God holds all of creation in his hand, but what if our adult children never speak to us again? We believe nations are emptiness before God, but what about the burden of our tax liability? The list could go on, and sure it would be specific to you, external demands, responsibilities, emotions and the overall sense of exile without end weigh us down. Can we really turn to Jesus with all of this? It is far too easy to turn faith into a transactional relationship. I believ