some updates

22 02 2009

Wow. It has been so long since I posted. We had layoffs at work a few weeks back and I have been incredibly busy ever since.

We got new phones, and this one has wifi. So, I am posting my first post from my phone. We got Palm Treos and I really like mine.

Our old college friend is in town for several weeks. Something about him brings out the laughter in both of us. He is going through some tough stuff, so I offered to have him come stay with us for a while as a sort of retreat and time of renewed perspective. And he took me up on it. I am glad to have him here.

Our church plant is going really well. It is so fun to be a part of something so new and authentic and to see real progress in the lives of people in our neighborhood. It has been fun to see certain things start to click with our kids.

I am sorry for the scattered post, but it feels good to write again.

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The Story of a Kiva Loan

22 01 2009

This is a great video with insight to how Kiva works. It also has a nice personal touch that shows real people involved. Check the video out and then go make a loan at Kiva.





100% Organic

18 01 2009

01172009-organicFirst of all, I apologize for my silence.  I have wanted to share this for a while now, but felt it was best to wait until my wife had a chance to first share it with the board at our church and we had had a chance to personally let people close to us know.  But, for the most part that has now been done.

So, what’s the big news?  Well, my wife and I have decided to make a change in our lives.  I have basically gone to the same church all my life.  However, God has opened up a door and called us to do something different.  We are going to be a part of an organic house church that meets in our neighbors’, Darrell and Robin, home.

My wife, who was on the board at our old church, did a great job of explaining our feelings and reasons in her resignation letter to the board.  So, check that out for some background.

I will just add a few things to that.  First, this transition has been much more difficult than I expected.  Communication with friends/family at our old church has been challenging.  It has been hard to control the message so that feelings are not hurt and misunderstandings do not result.  But, we are getting through that fine.  In no way is our decision based on anything negative about our old church.  This should not be viewed as a threat of any kind.  This should only be viewed for what it is: a mission to build God’s kingdom in our neighborhood.

What is so exciting to me personally, is that my entire mindset has changed.  My thinking when I encounter people in my neighborhood has changed in a big way.  Before, the thought of inviting people to join me at my church hardly even crossed my mind.  Not necessarily because there was something wrong with my church, but for a couple other reasons.  Either I didn’t think they would go to a church building, or because I felt that the church I went to was too far away (we live about 25 minutes away from it).  So, I never really invited anyone to join us.  But, now, my thinking has completely changed.  Now, every person I come in contact with in my community, I think about how I can reach out to them, how I can connect with them.  Someone that I never would have thought about inviting to a church building a half hour away certainly might be interested in living life together, “being” the church together, if you will, right here in a house on their own block.  Instead of an acquaintance that I occasionally wave to while passing by, they now become someone that I have to figure out how to relate to, how to be in relationship with.  And, “being” the church doesn’t necessarily mean getting together once a week at Darrell and Robin’s house next door and talking about God.  It means, getting to know people around us, meeting them where they are at, and being in relationship with them regardless if they are interested in coming to Darrell and Robin’s on Sundays.

Afterall, it’s organic.  It’s alive.  It’s fluid.  It moves.  It doesn’t really keep a schedule.

Anyway, I am sure I will have much more to say about this is the days and weeks to come.  But, I wanted to get some of this out because it’s been stored up inside me for a while now.  I am excited and at the same time scared of what God is doing.  I ask for prayers that my family and I will be willing to do what he desires in the days ahead.  But, mostly, I am just excited.  Excited to see where this organic church is going.

Afterall, it’s organic.  It can grow.  It has feelings.  It has a message to share.  It loves.





Evangelism

1 12 2008

My wife and I are in an evangelism study group at church.  This week, as a class, our task was to, in 3 sentences or less, explain to someone what we believe.  In other words, when an unchurched person asks us what we believe, what is a short, concise response that will perhaps open the door to further witnessing.  Here is what we come up with.  I welcome your feedback.

“I believe that God loves us and created us for a relationship with Him which is a free gift available to all who chose to accept it.  We were all born sinners, but God sent His only son, Jesus, to pay the price.  He overcame death on the cross so that the relationship with Him can be restored forever”.





4 questions, 4 answers

11 11 2008

Tonight we met with a small group of friends from church.  We were asked 4 questions related to our local church.  Here are the questions and my answers:

11102008-church1.  What brought you to our church?

I was brought to our church by my parents shortly after birth.  Except for the first three years of my married life, it has been my church home ever since.

2.  What is the most meaningful experience you have had at our church?

The day I married my beautiful wife almost 11 years ago.

OK, the first two questions were easy.  The next two, not so much…

3.  What is your dream for our church?

A church that is reaching out, one with a wide variety of people – diverse. A church that is not completely traditional and isn’t afraid to think outside the box.

4.  What gifts/passions do you have to make your dream a reality for our church?

I had two answers.  First, I am a great helper.  I am not a visionary thinker, but I can get behind someone who is. If you persuade me on an idea, I can execute whatever tasks required to make it happen.

Secondly, I have always been good at identifying the outsider, the marginalized one among us.  And, mostly, I am good at bridging the gap and reaching out to them (although not always).








prayers of a 4 year old

29 09 2008

My 4 year old is starting to get quite creative with his bedtime prayers, which is awesome.  Here are a couple of nuggets from the last week or so:

  1. Thank you for our mouths so we can eat.
  2. Thank you for our shoes so that our feet don’t get burned on the sidewalk.

Everyday it becomes more and more obvious to me why Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me”!





Jury Duty on earth

24 09 2008

Yesterday I participated in my civic duty as a Collin County resident in the state of Texas.  I had to show up to the local court house and wait to see if my name got called for one of the 2 jury panels needed for the day.  It wasn’t.  They took the first panel of 25 right away.  Then we all sat there while one woman worked with 8 or 9 different people to either postpone their service or cancel it altogether due to some affliction or another (I didn’t really understand the ones that were allowed to leave without rescheduling because the summons I received in the mail clearly spelled out every acceptable reason to get out of jury duty – all they had to do was mark the appropriate box, send it in and then just not show up).  Anyway, she finally got around to calling the second panel of potential jurors and then let everyone else go home.

So, what did I do while I sat there waiting?  I read a few pages in the book “Jesus for President” by Shane Claiborn and Chris Haw.

Consider the irony of these words that I read as I sat in a courtroom waiting to see if I would be selected on a jury to decide the fate of an accused criminal:

Some might read the popular phrase, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and mistakenly think that Jesus

meant, “My kingdom is not in this world.”  But Jesus was speaking more about essence than location.  In other words, he was talking about the “real world.”

Jesus said this while on trial for insurrection.  His kingdom had finally collided with the kingdoms of Herod and Pilate, and they wanted answers.  Since Jesus’ birth, he had been at odds with the establishment.  They wanted him dead ever since the rumors about the other King of the Jews.  Because of this Jesus had, for the most part, stayed on the fringes of public life, insisting that the kingdom he preached and represented be undetectable to the powers.  But now he had paraded into the center of power, flipped over its tables, and hosted a public and critical teach-in, creating the conditions for his arrest.  Now under government control he is questioned:

Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?”  Pilate replied.  “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me.  What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.  But now my kingdom is from a different place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.  In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate…

From then on Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.  Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out … “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews…

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

John 18:33-38; 19:12-15.

…His Kingdom is not of this world because it refuses power, pledges a different allegiance, and lives love. In a world where truth had become smothered and rulers don’t even know what it is anymore, Jesus embodies a truth that will set us free – even Pilate.

That’s the kingdom I want to be a part of.  Reading those words while sitting in a Collin County courthouse just drove home the point.