Monday, February 24, 2014

Defining Church...

Don Miller stirred up one hell of a storm by stating he doesn't connect with God in a traditional church service setting and so, he doesn't attend church regularly. I have very good friends of mine who don't feel comfortable or connect in traditional church services. I've been in bible studies and home churches with them. They are great people who have challenged and help me grow in my faith. And I love and am extremely grateful for them. 

Kevin Miller wrote a piece about how sad and how far Don Miller, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell have fallen. There were a couple points in Miller's piece that bugged me more than others. 

(Kevin)Miller has a problem with Don's story about a communion experience he had with some friends of his. 

As a movement, we treasure the individual getting right with God, the religious born-again experience, the innovative way to do mission. Sounds good, but when individual trumps communal, experience trumps received teaching, and innovation trumps the Great Tradition, you get exactly what we've all just lived through. It can go no other way. How else can you explain Don Miller's nostalgic delight in do-it-myself Communion: "I remember pulling over on the side of the road with friends, climbing into an old abandoned building that we thought looked interesting and doing communion on a loading dock using hot chocolate and cookies. … It was a fantastic bonding moment between us but also between us and God." The same soil that grows create-your-own sacraments feeds create-your-own moral teaching."
Isn't (Don) Miller's experience with his friend, the essence of communion? Isn't it a beautiful picture of what communion can be? That communion doesn't have to be limited to inside church walls eating stale mini crackers and grape juice past its best by date. I'd take hot chocolate and cookies any Sunday morning. Communion is a meal of remembrance. Isn't stopping, taking a moment to recognize God's goodness, and celebrate what's He's done in your life , with whatever elements you have? Why should this beautiful expression of communion be frowned upon? How did we get from a communion that features hot chocolate and cookies to create-your-own morals? That's quite a leap...
My other big issue was this statement...
"yet that Scripture was written by the church to the church for the church, so it must be read within the church."
Uh... Say what? On certain levels I understand what Miller is trying to convey... But it's a little offensive. I love my church. Our teaching team is phenomenal and I love them! But... Most of what God has shown me and taught me in the last year has not been in a sermon. It's been in my own personal reading time. In fact the message with the most impact on my life in the last year was given by Don Miller. If the only place the scriptures are being read is the church... That's a problem. And I know this isn't what (Kevin) Miller meant, but it sure sounds like he's suggesting that our spiritual fill of scripture should come from the church alone. 
Why are we trying to define and limit what a church is and should look like? 
The church is you and me. It meets in beautiful church buildings, movie theaters, coffee houses, bars, wineries, abandoned warehouses... Heck, have church on a baseball diamond (why not!). The church is Keveil Miller, and Donald Miller, and Rob Bell, and Joel Osteen, and the right wing gun owner, and the tree hugging democrat, and all of us who proclaim Christ as our Savior. We are the church. We need to work together and love each other. The world will know we belong to God by our love for one another (John 13:35). Shouldn't we be focusing on our common ground and strive to work together to bring the love of God to everyone? Isn't that what matters more?

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Wanting In The Waiting

I just found this on my computer. Not sure when I wrote it.

"The wind chimes clash together in an un-united melody, a sound so unsettling yet so beautiful that my ears can’t help but listening
Her high-heeled gait breaks through the sound of the tea kettle singing as she walk down the stairs towards me.
Her hand brushes my shoulder as she walks past. Click, clack, click clack
There’s a bird outside my window singing the prettiest tune to the lilies about how wonderfully dressed they are.
The reassurance of a promise long ago given.
Fear not my child, your father knows exactly what you need.
The radio played a sad song but no one was around to cry.
Wedding feasts contained laughter but no body danced.
The street preacher is calling for repentance while a man tv is asking for my money
And somewhere a baby cries for the very first time, bringing a smile to it’s mother’s face
There’s a violent storm raging in my heart
The thunder speaks louder than all the words of man
But I’m still waiting for the whisper that is your voice
To speak truth and peace into my soul
There’s a crack in the window that turns this blustery day into a summer breeze
But it’s January and the wind is cold
Set my soul on fire, like California in the summer"

Friday, February 14, 2014


I was going to blog about the law that just passed in Kansas but it's Friday. And it's Valentine's Day. So not hatred today! Just love!

And what could be better for this Friday than spreading the love of hip hop!

For a limited time De La Soul is offering their entire catalog for free!!! No joke! FREE!!!

Why are you still reading my stupid blog? Go get some free music!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Man Fail?

So Tide released this commercial...

It's kind of funny. It made me chuckle. It apparently ticked Owen Strachan off. Strachan had this to say about the ad...

"I will say, though, that the “Dad Mom” concept is a “man fail” in my view."

And I'm super offended by this... 

Strachan declares that men should be out working and bringing home the bacon and women should be where God has placed them... In the kitchen and in the laundry room. 

It's 2014... Maybe I'm "too influenced by the culture around me", but this kind of thinking is really damn primitive. 

I do the laundry at home. I cook dinner 50% of the time. I clean the dishes often. I cleaned our house the other day to get things ready for small group. Does that make me less of a man? 

Look, I haven't been able to find a full-time job in four years... I would love to be able to go to work all day and be the one bringing home the bacon, but I'm not. And that probably wouldn't change the dynamic of who does what in my household. I'd still probably do the laundry. Why? Because my wife has a lot more clothes than I do and I just need to laundry at a rate that is significantly higher than she does. And I'm man enough to my own damn laundry! Who did Strachan's laundry before he got married? 

Why does doing laundry, or cooking and cleaning equal a man fail? Aren't there guys who just enjoy doing these things? Can't a guy work from home and have more time to do the laundry? Why is being a stay at dad home such a bad thing? Can't each marriage define the roles they take as a partnership? Can't that look different for each couple? Why are we branding a couple's decision as a man fail? Because he stays at home? Didn't maybe God design different people to hold different roles? Isn't it oppressive to tell your wife she has to be the one at home taking care of all the household chores because "It's God's design?" Does that sound like God? 

It seems backwards to me... If doing laundry makes me a failure as a man, I'll just continue to fail. Besides, my failures are why I need Jesus... ;)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Paper.Beats.Rock - Steady

I've been listening to the new ep from Paper.Beats.Rock today. Loving the ep. Catchy ep, full of rich instrumentation. It's refreshing. And I love the band's idea behind the ep.

"In a world of highs and lows, we have found steadiness in God and His grace alone. Our experience leads us to believe that human beings are not meant to be the foundation of hope. We’re too emotional, too instinctual, too inconsistent. One doesn’t have to look too hard to see a broken world and a broken way of thinking. This EP looks to move from the unsteadiness found within humanity into the steadiness found in an unchanging, unconditionally loving God."

Check out the ep

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Amanda downloaded the OkDoThis app onto my phone while we drove to Alabama for Christmas. And it's pretty much sat there dormant. But I've been pushing myself to use it and try and spark some creativity in my life. Just find a do and take a picture. I've learned a couple of things...

1. I take terrible iPhone pictures. And I'm ok with that... It's a phone. Sure, I've taken some nice shots. But when I'm trying to be all artsy on my iPhone, I fail.

2. Taking pictures of random stuff as prescribed by someone else, doesn't get my creativity flowing... Not photographically. I had an idea I'd been kicking around for a little while and it's started to take shape over the last couple of days. My juices have gotten going. Not sure if it's app related or not, but hey... Something happened.

OkDoThis is fun. You should give it a spin!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


"See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you." (Exodus 23:20)

Life is tough and it doesn't always feel like God is with us, or keeping us safe. I read the verse above and just pondered on it for a moment. The NIV version says "I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way." I like guard better than safe. 

Because the Israelites journey into the promised land wasn't going to be safe. It hadn't been safe. They'd already fled from Pharaoh and had been in a battle where they took casualties. And that was going to be the first of many battles that Israel would go through. And they had to fight to claim the promise God had for them. 

But God was still there. He was guiding them, preparing the place he had in store for them. And even though the road was going to be tough and it would feel like God wasn't there at times, He was still guiding them and keeping them "safe".

Don't lose heart. God is preparing the way, and He's got your back. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Keep Waiting... God Has Not Forgotten

The more I read the book of Exodus, the more I love it. The more I relate to Moses. It's a behind the scenes look at how God works at times. Because the Bible is full of great stories where God shows up and bam, things get done! But the freedom of the Israelites and their coming into the Promised Land, takes a long time.

In Exodus 5, Moses visits Pharaoh and demands that the people be let go. And Pharaoh says no. Not only does he say no, but he makes life even harder for the Israelites and they are not happy about it. And Moses doesn't get it. God said he'd free the people and he hasn't yet... What gives?

Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22-23)

But God reassures Moses that all is ok. 

And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the Lord.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’ - but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.  And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners.  You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. (Exodus 6:2-4)

God goes on to reassure Moses that the people of Israel will be set free from captivity. He doesn't set a time table for when this will happen, just that Moses and Israel can rest easy knowing that God's got this. 

But I love the phrase "And I am well aware of my covenant with them" from verse 4. God hasn't forgotten his promise, because he never does. Abraham didn't get to see God's promise fulfilled. Isaac didn't get to see God's promised fulfilled. Jacob didn't get to see God's promised fulfilled. And Moses didn't know it, but he also wasn't going to get to see God's promised fulfilled. But God was still aware of his promise. 

God doesn't promise that we won't have hardship and God doesn't work with our time line in mind. But he is well aware of his promise. 

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Letting Fear Ruin Our Destiny

Moses tried really really hard to forfeit the plan God had for him. He didn't want to go back to Egypt and free the Israelites. Moses was happy where we was. Even with God speaking to him from a burning bush, Moses had no intention of carrying out the plans God had for him. Moses was full of excuses, even with the assurances of God.

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied.“Throw it down on the ground,” the Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—really has appeared to you.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with a severe skin disease. “Now put your hand back into your cloak,” the Lord said. So Moses put his hand back in, and when he took it out again, it was as healthy as the rest of his body. The Lord said to Moses, “If they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign. And if they don’t believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, the water from the Nile will turn to blood on the ground.” But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you.  Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.  Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. And take your shepherd’s staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.” (Exodus 4:1-17)

Three times in Exodus 4, Moses asks God to use someone else. What if they don't believe me? I'm a bad public speaker. And then just, please Lord, use someone else. 

I'd like to think that if God showed up and spoke to me in a burning bush and asked me to do something, even something I didn't want to do, that I would listen and wouldn't argue. But I know myself, and I'd probably be like Moses and put up a fight. 

Fear can be crippling. Fear prevents us from taking the steps God has in store for us. But if we let fear get the better of us, we can miss out on the destiny that God has in store for us. Moses tried to default on God's plan for him and let someone else take the wheel. 

And to be fair, the destiny God had in store for Moses was going to be difficult. God says He's going to make Pharaoh's heart hard and not willing to let the people go. God makes an attempt to kill Moses shortly after he heads towards Egypt. And Moses' first encounter with Pharaoh doesn't really help the Israelites and doesn't make them view Moses with a lot of favor. And then Moses had to deal with the Israelites, who made is life awful!

But Moses got to talk to and see God. He got to free God's chosen people! And he tried to throw that all away...