January 31, 2009

2 Questions: Part II

Thanks to everyone that took some time to read and respond to 2 Questions: Part I. I've really enjoyed reading over and thinking about your comments. I thought there were some really great points made in response to the 1st question, I would love to hear you elaborate on a few of them. I found it interesting that no one used the word 'disciple'.

For me the purpose of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus.

Over the past couple weeks there has been some buzz surrounding 2 questions at our church and I thought it could be kind of interesting to get your thoughts on those very same questions. I'm not going to give any explanation or share any of my thoughts yet because I would hate to 'taint' your view but would invite you to comment and join in on the discussion that follows. Notice the 2nd question below. Please feel free to respond to either or both if you haven't already and you want to share your thoughts. I'll give you a few days to think and share and then I'll post some thoughts and ideas.

The 2nd of 2 questions is:

-What is the purpose of the church?
-What is a disciple?

January 30, 2009

"Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile"

I just started reading Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile written by Rob Bell & Don Golden. I'm only 2 chapters in but find it to be a pretty easy read (once you get past the odd formatting and wasted page space) and not too bad so far. I like the way the book retraces the Old Testament story and am hoping it doesn't quickly become a political commentary. I guess only time will tell. A couple things that jumped out at me so far:

"This God doesn't need images in the form of wood or stone or marble, because this God has people.

This God is looking for a body." (Pg 33-34)

"God gives power and blessing so that justice and righteousness will be upheld for those who are denied them." (Pg 44)

"Weeping leads us to reconnect with God." (Pg 53)

"Our tears are sacred. They water the ground around our feet so that new things can grow." (Pg 53 *possible quote from Anne Lamott as noted by the authors)

"The first exodus was just a hint of the redemption God has in mind for all of humanity." (Pg 56)

January 29, 2009

Midwinter Rooftops

I was awakened this morning at 4:27am by the steady, rhythmic sound of an unidentified dripping. It took me a minute to locate the drip and figure out where it was coming from. It was about this time last year when the drip was actually landing in our bedroom but fortunately this time the drip was only able to get as far as the outside windowsill. Over the past couple days we've gotten over a foot of snow and after lying there for a couple minutes I decided I had to do something about this persistent little drip. So I told my wife that I was going to go up on the roof and shovel it off and after explaining to her that: a) yes I meant right then and b) yes I was aware what time it was she told me to take my phone with me in case of an emergency.

Fortunately the only thing I used my phone for was to take some pictures after I finished clearing off the roof. Though it was a little chilly I found it to be quite peaceful as I looked out over the snow-covered rooftops in my neighborhood thinking that I was pretty thankful to have a roof to have to shovel off. I also realized that I am thankful for the people that get up that early on a regular basis to do things like clear roads, turn on lights in buildings, make coffee, warm-up school buses, make sure things are working like they should, etc. for the rest of the world that wakes-up hours later.

January 27, 2009


I don't know if you've ever had the chance to reconnect with a relative after a number of years or what that experience might have been like for you but I had the opportunity to do just that tonight over dinner. I came to find out that one of my cousins works for a company that has a regional office here in Indy and he decided to call me up to see if we could get together and I'm glad he did.

A little background...My dad's side of the family is from Bay City, MI (which is where I was born) and we would travel there every year to celebrate Christmas with that side of the family. Well, as I got older and eventually moved to Indiana and got married I was not always able to make it up there during Christmastime. This year was no exception but apparently as my dad was there with his side of the family he was talking to this cousin who mentioned that he traveled down to Indy quite often and so my dad gave him my cell number. I got a call this past Friday night from my cousin letting me know he would be in town for a couple days this week and so we planned to get together. Which we did tonight.

I honestly don't remember the last time he and I have had the chance to sit and talk like we did tonight but I know it was certainly before either of us had "real" jobs, wives or houses. It was great to hear that he and his wife were doing well, that work was going well for him and share some memories we had of Grandma & Grandpa's house during family gatherings. Besides getting a chance to reconnect with him it was pretty cool to be reminded that I am a part of something bigger, that goes beyond myself and my little world. Thank God for inviting us to be a part of something even bigger still.

January 26, 2009

2 Questions: Part I

Over the past couple weeks there has been some buzz surrounding 2 questions at our church and I thought it could be kind of interesting to get your thoughts on those very same questions. I'm not going to give any explanation or share any of my thoughts yet because I would hate to 'taint' your view but would invite you to comment and join in on the discussion that follows. I'm only going to ask 1 question to start as the 2nd question is dependent upon the potential responses to the 1st. I'll give you a few days to think and share and then I'll post some thoughts and ideas.

The 1st of 2 questions is:

-What is the purpose of the church?

January 20, 2009

A New Chapter to a Great Story

The significance of today can not be understated. For the first time in our nation's history we have elected someone other than an older white guy as our president. Not only is this a HUGE step for the Unite States as a country but also for the way in which we are perceived around the world. I hope and pray that other nations will begin to see that our internal race relations are moving in the right direction and though we still lag behind other countries, progress is being made.

It's important in the midst of all the hype, historical significance and celebration that we remember the role that Christ plays in this unprecedented event. Especially as people who would call ourselves Christian because if it were not for Christ, none of this would be possible. Let us be reminded of two important things as we commemorate this day:

1. Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians, "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" (2:14). Jesus has always been and will always be about tearing down the things that divide us...gender, race, economics, education, politics, etc. Jesus is all about life-transforming change and it's in this type of change where we are able to truly find hope.

2. God puts leaders in their place of leadership and uses them to accomplish His purpose. God is telling a story through His Son and through His Church, the authorities have been put in place to not only be a part of that story but also to advance it. You may not agree with the party affiliation, the policies or the rhetoric but as Christians we can not argue the fact that God is in control, has a story to tell and is going to make sure it is heard. We are simply called to play our part.

Congratulations are due to everyone for whom this day holds special significance, which in reality should be every single citizen of the United States. I am excited to see the changes that God will bring about through a new administration which, whether they are aware of it or not, will be used to tell His story.

January 14, 2009

When is Enough Enough?

The war in Gaza has to stop! It is getting sickening hearing the reports of Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip over the past couple weeks and the relative silence from the international community. I know that various international organizations are calling for an immediate ceasefire but refuse to put any "teeth" behind these calls for peace and so the result of these calls has been nothing. In fact, Israel has actually "stepped up" their assault into Gaza which has caused more than 1,000 deaths, over half of which have been civilians.

I understand that we are about to witness two history making administrations enter and leave the office of president but can we continue to sit in silence as a country, blindly (in my opinion) giving our support to any action that Israel feels they need or want to take? Of course I know there are various views on this sensitive subject but at what point is enough enough? I have no doubt that there is a lot of information that I am not aware of concerning this conflict between Israel and Palestine, is there enough for me to keep from describing Israel's actions as 'excessive force', not sure. I can't help but think about the story of a young shepherd boy who faced off against a giant, armor covered warrior carrying a spear, sword and shield...which is somewhat ironic since most Israelis would know this story quite well. What's sad is that the young boy in our story today doesn't stand a chance.

January 12, 2009


I like to pretend that I am the sort of person that likes to "fly by the seat of his pants", is super laid back and not only doesn't need a routine but will actually go against any resemblance of one. I must confess that I think the routine is back and I'm looking forward to it.

The past couple weeks have contained holidays, travel, family, me turning 30, vacation, and a week down in Kentucky taking a class. I'm finally home with no major holidays in the near future or any anticipated time off and I think I'm actually excited. I think I'm looking forward to heading into the office tomorrow morning ready to find my groove and get some stuff done. It's almost like the new year has officially begun for me this week. I'm feeling weirdly motivated, disciplined and excited to get things going and the idea of a routine makes me think those things might just be possible. I guess only time will tell.

January 5, 2009

Caller ID

So often we hear people talk about their "calling" in life and typically we take that to be the thing they were meant to do. When someone who identifies himself or herself as a Christian talks about "calling" we generally assume the same thing with the added caveat that it is God who is doing the "calling".

Today was the first day of a class I'm taking this week at Asbury Theological Seminary for my Masters in Christian Leadership. The class is called Christian Leadership Development and today we spent a little time talking about people's callings. We talked about how what you do is not the calling; teaching, writing, administrating, painting, singing, etc. but rather where you do it is the calling. If you have been given the gift to teach, then you should know that and do it wherever you are regardless of where that is, God will call you when He wants you to do it some place else.

This got us thinking a little bit about where God might call you and I to go...Is there anywhere He doesn't call us to go? Is it possible that He has called some of us to go to places that we might normally be ashamed to go? Might there be some of us out there that have heard the Holy Spirit calling to us to go somewhere but we were too afraid of what people might think or say if we actually went? All the more reason to be walking closely with Him so that when He does call, we know exactly who it is.

January 2, 2009

Another Year

First let me say "Happy New Year!" I hope that your new year festivities were safe and great. I don't know if anyone made resolutions for 2009 but I'm still thinking, so if there are any suggestions let me know.

Today also happens to be my 30th birthday. Now, I don't say that to get birthday wishes but simply to say that I've been thinking about the past 30yrs of my life. It's interesting to look back and see the different ways, places and people that God uses to impact, direct and guide our lives. While the new year turns our attention to the future, I think it's important to keep in mind the things that God has brought us through to get to this point.