Monday, February 25, 2008

Good Morning...

This morning I am meeting a guy named Dave Browning. He is talking about church paradigm shifts and it should be an interesting talk. I will let you know how it turns out.

Have a great day...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Organic Church - Preface

There has to be a better way. The church in America is in a slump. People are disinterested in church. (Honestly, I get a bit bored with church sometimes.) Many seem to desire to grow spiritually, but spiritual growth has been equated to church attendance and that just does not cut it. Church attendance just does not equate spiritual growth. Many seem to also want community, and the church does not answer that question either. What is termed as "church" (worship and some sort of small group gathering or Sunday School) is meeting criticism from those on the inside as well as those on the outside.

From the inside the leaders are asking why won't people come and how can we get more people here? Why does this not feel like what we read about in the Bible? Why do some many seem not to like us? Why do many of the ones that come, come out of obligation?

From the outside, people are asking why does church not help me grow spiritually? Why do I get criticized when I come or don't come? Why do "church" not look like what I read about in the New Testament? Why is it boring and if it is not boring why is it a show? Why does church suck?

I am frustrated by the fact that when I mention church, the idea that pops into people heads is a building that you go to to worship and gather and that is where church happens.

There has to be a better way and I believe that there is a better way. A way that looks more biblical. A way that you could actually imagine Jesus doing. Away that does not require a trained professional to do. The answer is not in what we have been doing for that last 200 years, but what was done 2,000 years ago.

1. What frustrations do you have with church?
2. What do you believe must be done?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Walking Indee--Passion

Life with my Weimaraner...

So, Indee is a very passionate dog, about a number of, damn squirrels (it's damn squirrels because when she is watching them out the window, you can tell she is thinking, "what are those damn squirrels doing in my yard?"), people and other animals...

She's a smart dog and in her three years of existence she has realized that the place where the food is kept is on the counter (the fact that her nose works overtime has really helped with this realization). She knows that she is not supposed to get on the counter, but that is where the food is kept, so I think she thinks it is worth the risk. When you catch her on the counter and yell at her to get down, she gets down, usually without too much prodding. But the fact remains, her passion for whatever she has discovered on the counter is overwhelming to her and me for that matter.

Passion seems to be a buzz word in the world today. There seems to be some group or other talking about passion all of the time, but at the same time, it seems to be lacking. There is no fire. There seems to be little motivation behind most of our endeavors. Real passion is when you go after whatever and do whatever you must do, no matter who yells at you. Real passion is pursuit no matter what the consequences.

After you catch Indee on the counter, eying that apple that you set out for a snack in five minuter, will be back at that counter ready to pounce if the opportunity arises even tough she just got in trouble.

So, I guess the question is what will you and I pursue no matter the consequences? What is worth our pursuit no matter the consequences?

So, on a sidenote...a quick glance in the concordance in my Bible at the word "passion" all have a negative connotation. It also strikes me that we are not commanded to be "passionate." I know that I may be being a bit strict on the definition, but there are those out there who are "passionate" about being "passionate" and I am just wondering if we should be "passionate" at all?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lincoln's Birthday

Today's is Lincoln's birthday...I wonder if our country would exist without this man...

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "--
Second Inaugural Address

Organic Church

I have just finished a very challenging book called Organic Church by Neil Cole. This book has really shaken me up in a way no book has in quite some time. I think when we look at the church today in America and much of the world, we see it as inadequate and our attitude is that "you dance with the ol' boy that brought ya!" and so many of us continue to "do" church like our fathers taught us.

My friend had a great post on trudging. And that is what many leaders of the church have resigned them self to.

But as Cole points out there is another way, there is a way that looks more like what we read about in the New Testament. There are other ways. Our "fathers" never told us that there were other ways and that is probably because they did what their "fathers" taught them and the fathers never told them that there was another way.

I am looking forward to walking through this book and really contemplating on what is next for us.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What an Awesome Idea...

Play Pumps International...

One of the most creative ideas I have seen in awhile...

Friday, February 01, 2008


This struck a cord with me today from Marko...

i was reading some psalms in the message yesterday morning, and was again blown away by david’s wonderful emotional honesty. sometimes, it feels a bit bi-polar, i have to admit. the dude had moods!

i was particularly struck by the difference between the first couple verses of psalm 9 and the first couple verses of psalm 10:

from Psalm 9
I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I’m singing your song, High God.

from Psalm 10
God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?
Full of hot air, the wicked
are hot on the trail of the poor.
Trip them up, tangle them up
in their fine-tuned plots.

we had a ys staff mtg yesterday morning, so i pulled the first 1 - 3 verses from a bunch of the early psalms. i read them to them slowly, while they listened for the emotion with their eyes closed. then i passed out copies of these verses and asked them to prayerfully select the one they resonated the most with at this point, then write some notes about why. after a few minutes, each table of 3 - 5 people shared with each other. then we moved on with the rest of our meeting. it seemed to connect with people.

here are the passages i used:

from Psalm 4
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!

from Psalm 5
Listen, God! Please, pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help.
Every morning
you’ll hear me at it again.
Every morning
I lay out the pieces of my life
on your altar
and watch for fire to descend.

from Psalm 6
Please, God, no more yelling, no more trips to the woodshed.
Treat me nice for a change;
I’m so starved for affection.
Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue,
beat up badly in bones and soul?
God, how long will it take
for you to let up?

from Psalm 8
God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?

from Psalm 9
I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders.
I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
I’m singing your song, High God.

from Psalm 10
God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?
Full of hot air, the wicked
are hot on the trail of the poor.
Trip them up, tangle them up
in their fine-tuned plots.

from Psalm 13
Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough.
I’ve looked at the back of your head
long enough. Long enough
I’ve carried this ton of trouble,
lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
have looked down their noses at me.

from Psalm 18
I love you, God— you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.

(ht Marko)

Traditions of Men

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. Mark 7:8

This struck me this morning as a fairly common problem for us in today's world. We are very careful to do the "traditions of men," but in doing that we forget or run out of time for the commands of God. The thing that really stuck out to me this morning was the fact that church leadership/pastors spend a great deal of effort in "helping" people by giving them things to do.