Friday, December 21, 2012

The Switchbacks

So I had a dream that I was walking up a mountain road, switchback after switchback. The road was well maintained, but the sides were steep and covered with sharp rocks of all sizes. As I walked up the mountain, something came and knocked me off the road and I tumbled down the rocks. I was cut and bruised and hurting as I got up and looked at where I fell from. I was close to the road below, and I could easily walk down a little ways and get back on the road, but instead I decided to try to climb back up the steep and rocky hill to the place I was. I didn't want to lose ground, so I struggled and fell and pushed and tried to climb.

During the midst of my climb, I realized what a fool I was being. I needed to get back on the road, not attempt to scale the steep hill. It would cause me to lose some ground, but it would be more effective to walk along the road. Climbing was getting me nowhere. I turned and carefully made my way down to the road and began to walk again.  Back on the road once again, I began to walk back to where I was, saving myself a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.

I realized that I have been living this dream out. I have been fighting to try to get back to the place I was.  I have pushed myself to climb a path that is not a path at all. Walking the narrow road may be difficult, but taking a short cut is impossible. The narrow road is long and winding full of switchbacks, and sometimes there are setbacks. We must stay on the path and continue the course without trying to get ahead of ourselves, take a short cut or find a better way. The road is the place to be. Blessings for the journey.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Torment of Melancholy

Charles H. Spurgeon has the mal-order of melancholy.  He didn't like it, in fact he loathed it, and I think he experiences the same issues I struggle with.  I have dreams and goals and projects.  I am writing a couple books, have a theological idea, a non-profit envisioned, a personal calling, a goal and lots of small projects along the way.  My depression so often cripples me from getting them done.  I can't explain why I can't just push through with willpower, I don't even understand it myself.  To try to explain it to someone who doesn't experience depression is impossible.  I can't understand why I can't snap myself, I can't put the debilitation into words.  I can usually force myself through the have-tos, like going to work and eating.  I can sometimes push myself through the shoulds, but the wants tos always fall by the wayside.

Here is my second issue, the more things get neglected, the more I become angry at myself.  I become so enraged at my lack of ability to get thing accomplished that I begin to spiral into a pit.  I think CHS experienced in his spiral of depression.  I think he found places where he was angry at himself.  It makes me so frustrated when people look at me and say I just have a lazy spirit of entitlement, that I just don't want to try and don't want to work.  In reality I am as prideful as every American male who wants to work hard and be successful.  More than that, I have dreams and passions to see people find a place in ministry, and I am driven by a desire to make a difference.  Yet here I sit again, crippled on the road side.

Do you struggle with depression?  Maybe we should meet, talk about it or something.  Maybe it would help to have a depression meeting to talk about how we strengthen each other.  I don't know of any other answer anymore,  Let's pray for each other, maybe we can fight against this thing that holds us captive.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Confession- Bitterness

Sometimes at night I lay awake and thing about my life, and I realized the other night I still have some bitterness about things that have happened.  Growing up, I was unpopular.  I am not sure how it when it happened that I became the picked on one.  I was never real competitive  never real athletic and never in the popular crowd.  I can't tell when it happened or why it happened, but my the time I was in 7th grade, I was officially a nerd.  I was picked on, harassed  teased and bullied most of my middle and early high school years.  Even in my group of friends, I was often the butt of the joke.  I was teased and pushed and harassed most of my middle school and much of my high school time, until I was a junior.  I have never been the best, not really the worst, always someplace in the middle.  In the middle of the band, in the middle of the pack, in the middle of the rankings.

I had several people who hurt me in significant ways as I have grown and into my adult life.  I have done my best to forgive them and try to move on, but I realized the other day that I am still harboring a great deal of bitterness and anger.  The only fist fight I was ever in (and lost) I wish I could do back, because I could have won but I quit before it was over.  May times I was wronged and I didn't stand up for myself.  There are many people who I wish I could broadcast how they hurt me to get revenge.  It's wrong and I need to get over it.

The problem with bitterness is that it's sneeky.  It's hard to get rid of, sometimes you don't even know it's there.  Things that are long sense gone are still down in my soul, and even writing about them right now I get a sick feeling in my gut.  Remembering the things in my past that hurt, they cause me to have pain, and letting go of that pain is not easy.

We serve a God who loves us no matter what, but we live in a world that is very conditional.  Our jobs are based on performance, our grades, our ranking, our awards.  We reward success and we celebrate achievement, but none of us are good at everything, so we are often in the middle and sometimes in the bottom.  We have been hurt by being not good enough, or sometimes just good enough but not excellent.  Are you hurt today by being just good enough?

I have begun to really pray about my damaged heart and my soul that is hiding the pockets of bitterness.  There is no easy way to get rid of it, no quit solution.  Confession, repentance, prayer and deliberate forgiveness begin the process, but it's slow going.  I know it will be worth it in the end, I just have to make it to the end.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting a Shot in the Head

A Review- A Shot of Faith (To the Head)

I am not a huge fan of apologetics most of the time.  I love apologetics, don't get me wrong, but I don't often use it.  I don't believe that people can be argued to faith.  This book, however, I really enjoyed.  Partially because it appeals to that part of me that is nerdy and loves to think about these issues.  The other part, however, is that there is much use in helping young believers understand the truth behind the myriad of garbage spewed by the cranky atheist.

There is so much being published about "proof" coming from science that is totally unprovable.  This book takes a great hard time about the lack of science in the modern atheist who claims to use science.  It is great for a Christian who is struggling with faith in this age that seems to shoot holes in the concepts of Creationism, Theism and the Supernatural.

This is an easy and enjoyable read and a great book.  I enjoyed it, check it out.  I don't recommend a lot of books on apologetics, but check this one out, it's a good read!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The House Church- The Beginning

Well Elaine and I are going to plant a house church, and it's a glorious and nerve wracking experience at the same time.  The basic plan is this:

Begin the house church with a small group.  From 10:30-11, time for the kids.  All the kids and adults are together, an adult tells the story, some of the other adults help and engage and help the kids.  This goes until 11:00 and the kids go to another area to work on a project or a craft.  At this point, the adults will begin Bible Study and worship time.  A leader or a couple will lead off in the teaching time and having time for prayer requests and sharing.  After the Bible Study, there will be a lunch and a time of meal and sharing together.

As this group grows, we will pray about the individual or couple to become the next house church leader.  After some one on one time with the existing house church leader for some training and sharing, a new house church will be formed.  The process begins all over again, new group with the similar structure, adding more and more churches in the network.

Once a month, all the churches in the network will meet together for a copperplate time of worship.  The network will also partner for mission projects, in missions giving and support.  Each home church is led by an Elder, and those Elders meet together once a week to discuss, have prayer and support one another.

This is the vision that Elaine and I feel like God has given us.  Right now, we are praying and seeking God, talking to the kids and what will happen and getting the house put together (new place, we've moved)  I hope you will join us in prayer as we begin this new adventure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Theology in Real Life

I won't lie, I like theology.  I like to talk about theology and read about theology and think about theology, I find thinking and learning and focusing on the nature, person and majesty of God is amazing.  I think that theological work is a form of worship, but the real question is how does your theology play out in real life.

I have a secular job these days, I sit in an open cube type area with some other folks close by.  Some of them have faith in common with me, many of them do not.  I can debate about Calvinism or Traditionalism all day long, but what I see is such a weaving together of the power of God.  God has placed me in a situation that I can share the Word.  The Holy Spirit works in that, God's sovereignty that works with my actions to do something amazing.  His power working through us, His body.

It's amazing how God weaves everything together, putting me in a place that I can share His love through choices that I thought I made.  It's theology that I live out every day as I am part of God's plan.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pray with me

As you probably know, I am in some transition with my job. I am still called to be a pastor, and still pursuing that calling, but the source of my income has changed. I am currently working for a call center, and really trying to do my best. I have struggled some because of my dyslexia, keeping all the processes straight, serial numbers and codes. That has been a challenge, but it's been a pretty good job. I have applied for a job that I see a million benefits with, I have sent in my resume and I am asking that you join me in praying for God's favor with this job.

It's a position with the School District that they would train me to do that would have great benefits in having to bless local churches. It would be a job that would be putting together my talents and passions and it would help increase my salary to a level we are above water again.

I am pleading with God to open this door. I know that if it's in God's will, but I see the example of pleading for God's favor with David, Elijah, Moses, Isaiah. The concept of prayer and fasting, and the parable of the persistent widow. Please plead with the Lord on my behalf as I seek His favor in this.

That you all so much for your prayers and love and grace. Every day I am learning more about what it means to be a true part of the family of God, the Body of Christ, and willing to be humble.

In Him,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wanna Help Out?

So most of my friends and readers know what has been going on, but I want to step back and take a brief historical look.  We had a house in Arizona, and we were going to sell it and use the equity to pay off the debt I got in school.  The bubble popped, we short sold.  Moved to Iowa and to make a long story short, we are close to getting the debt settled but the recent job change has moved us from the black to the red.  I am working, but making a lot less, and we are stretched thin.  The Bible said that believers supplied for others who had need, but how do I expect anyone to know we have need if we never say anything about having need?

I am going to put this on Facebook so you can all see and read it, I know not all of my friends see my timeline and not all of my friends who see my timeline read my blog, but I want to throw it out there, just to say if you want to help, you can and I want to make it simple and use some tools, here is a paypal link.

If you feel called to help, that would be appreciated, if you don't, then no worries.  We know God will provide, I just want to do what I feel like I should do, be humble and share my need.  Thanks everyone.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Trust, or lack thereof.

Do you trust someone?  Maybe a better question is, do you trust anyone?  We say "of course, I trust my best friend" or "I trust my spouse" and those who are more spiritual like to say "I trust God".  In reality, however, we often don't trust anyone, including God or spouse, our pastor or ourselves.  Trust is a hard thing these days because let's be honest.  We are pretty selfish and self-centered for the most part.  When someone does something that isn't for our immediate benefit, or if they do something that isn't the way we think it should be done, something lets us down we struggle to trust them.

This becomes a problem because trust is an integral part of faith.  How do we live out our trust in God in an every day basis?  Do we trust Him with our families or our children?  If we do, we would live our lives based on the Biblical principles and not the latest books or studies.  Do we trust Him with our money?  If we did, we would trust the Biblical Principles for money and not the latest advice or trends. If we trusted God with our marriage, we would do what He said to do in our marriages.

It's ironic how we call something trust, but in reality we are doing what we think is right.  In reality, we are trusting ourselves and our ideas, sense of work, ethics, etc.  Even in ministry, as we seek to follow God, we do so even in ways that make sense to us.  When is the last time we were willing to just trust and follow what the Bible teaches, even when it doesn't make sense or seems counter-intuitive.  Maybe we need to re-learn to trust.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Carrying the Weight

Do you feel the weight of the current situation in this country?  I wasn't feeling things too bad until July of this year, when I became a statistic.  Oh, it's not so bad, at least I had some good company, with close to 10% of the population being unemployed.  We have some wonderful friends who gave me a job working in their pizza place, and I was blessed for a few weeks to be able to get some income while I found a full time job with benefits and all that stuff.  I would have rather just stayed at the pizza place, but that's not the issue.

Now, here I am with a Master's degree, can't find a place to rent and can't buy a house with the bank loans.  I have a job with kids who just fell out of high school, and I feel the weight of the economic situation.  It's not fun, and like me, many of you have it bad.  More month than money, more debt that income, and more stress than fun.  It's not a good place to be, yet I know there is hope.

Remember the poem footprints?  I saw one the other day about the line in the sand is when Jesus was dragging me.  That is true.  I have been carried, pushed, pulls and drug because I haven't had the strength and motivation to stand.  Right now I am writing a book, planning 4 or 5 more, starting a non-profit, looking to plant a house church network, trying to coach and beginning to plan a outdoor based novelty company, to make things like wooden and log furniture, laps, pens, desk sets.  I am not sure I'll have time to finish any of them, and I am going at this like a blind man in a boxing match, but I'm going for it.

I don't know what the next 4 years are gonna look like, who will be the President, what the economic outlook will be, if I'll have a better job or if I will finish my books (let alone get published).  I just know who holds tomorrow, so let's make a deal.  You pray for me, I'll pray for you and we will stick together.  Oh, and if you have a house I can borrow. . . oh nevermind.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


There is a clinical diagnosis of depression with many, many people struggle with.  The feeling down, the feeling blue, even feeling hopeless.  Many of us struggle with depression, occasionally feeling down, the feelings of blah.  It stinks, it can be chronic and follow you around like a cloud.  If you struggle with depression, I pray that you find a way out and find joy again in your life.

There is another feeling that is similar to depression, and sometimes in life it finds us.  We lose a job, we love a loved one, we hit a wall, the end of options.  We run out of money, out of time, out of luck.  An overwhelming feeling of darkness, an ache that goes down into your soul.  A pain that shuts down all other emotions, the feelings of despair.

Elijah had despair, he said it was better for him to die, hiding from a queen, fearing for his life, feeling left alone.  He was at the end of his rope.  He was in the depth of despair.  David found himself in despair, his son wanted his throne, his son ends losing his life, and this is not the first time David was in danger.  David knew despair, and the book of Psalms is filled with the cries from his heart.  Job felt despair, sitting in a pile of ashes, scraping his sores with pieces of broken pottery.  These men have all found that place where darkness surrounds them and their soul is weighed down by the weight of fear and pain.  They were in the midst of despair.

Perhaps you have felt or are feeling the crushing weight of despair.  Perhaps you have lost something, or you have too much of something you don't want.  Maybe your depression has built into more depression, crushing you under it's weight until it squeezes all of the hope from your soul.  Maybe illness or loss or absence together has crushed your spirit and you feel like all you can do is stare at the wall.  Do you feel like you can't get any traction?  Do you have goals and dreams and desires, but you can't seem to make anything in your life work?  Do you feel like you want to sit in ashes in burlap, alone with nothing being said, just the sound of your tears falling to the ground?  Do you connect, can you relate?

The pain has a purpose, and I know that seems hard.  As I write these words, I am battling some despair myself, but I know the pain has a purpose.  Despair causes us to look upwards, to wish and to hope.  Despair can cause us to pray and to seek and to knock.  Despair makes us vulnerable and God moves in our lives the most when we are the most hurt, if we will let Him.  God will come in and bring hope and faith to our despair and pain, but only if we will allow Him.  Too often we tell God to get lost, and He is a gentleman and He will be absent if we tell Him to be absent.  Sometimes our selfishness, our need to feel good or feel better will chase away the only cure.  We blame God for our despair instead of looking for the purpose of our despair.

Struggle is never welcome, and no one wants to be in the grips of crippling depression.  No one wants to feel despair, or to lose hope.  No one wants to hurt, but we hurt.  Despair will give us an opportunity to find a deeper relationship with our creator.  Being in right relationship with God, being close with God, having intimacy with God is much more that having worldly happiness.  We can pursue happiness, but we will always be back to despair.  It is fleeting, the only real purpose and joy comes from knowing God.  Learn to love God through the joy and despair.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why The SBC

Living in the Northern Mid-West, there isn't a large number of Southern Baptists, which is a shame if you ask me. Part of the issue is the reputation that often the SBC carries. It is often viewed as a group that is crazy or hateful or extreme, or if nothing else, a southern ministries that doesn't belong here in Iowa.

I have also found that even Southern Baptists in Iowa are ashamed of being Southern Baptist. There is often a sense of apology for who we are. It's time to begin to change that perception. We as Southern Baptists should be sharing who we are, how we love and the ministry we do. After all, the cooperative program, Disaster Relief and a commitment to Biblical truth, these things should be used to set people free. We should be committed to Jesus Christ, focused on the gospel and the ministry of reconciliation. In doing so, we should never be ashamed that we do these things as Southern Baptists.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Looking for a job

I never really thought I would be in this situation, but alas here I am.  It was my plan to stay at last job indefinably, but God had other plans it seems.  Now I am currently not in paid vocational ministry.  I had always looked at the stats about all the guys who don't make it in Ministry, and figured I would never be that guy.  Today, I am looking for work not in vocational ministry.  It is a disheartening thing in many ways, but I know that my ministry career is not over forever.

I know that God will have me plant a house church network or something like it in the days ahead.  I have felt that conviction for some time.  I know my non-profit ministry has an opportunity to touch people and change lives.  I hope to one day get my PhD and teach at a college level in a Christian environment.  In the mean time, I have to find a job outside of the field that I always assumed I would be in.  Time are lean, ministry jobs are scarce and I am not good with the idea of packing everyone up and moving around again.  I can't do that to my family, and I don't want to be one of those guys in ministry that moves every 3 to 6 years.

Pray for us, for me.  This is not a place I ever planned to be, and I don't have a lot of skills outside the church walls, but I'm trying.  I am hoping I can get something that will pay us enough to give.  It's been a challenge, it's been hard but I know that God will take care of us.  I just pray He provides a job soon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Dangers of Community (and blogging)

Years ago I proposed a theory about community in the house church model.  At that time, I had a good friend who was working as a Church Plant Movement Missionary, his job was to start a home church movement, not a small task.  One of the things that we realized is how hard it is to get people to come to a strangers house for Bible Study.

It's a really straight forward concept, the willingness of an individual to be open to a group is dependent upon that individuals desire to belong to that group.  If I want to be part of a group, I am more willing to be open and at risk in that group.  I will share about myself, I will risk involvement and I will open my self up to possible hurt.  One of the things we have discovered in the house church moment is it's difficult to get people who are not at some level in relationship with the hosts.  People don't seem to want to attend a house church if they are unchurched.  The unchurched don't have a strong desire to attend a church, otherwise they would.  We, unlike China, have ample opportunities for people to attend a church, and those who want to go to church, they do.

All community carries this risk.  When you open yourself up to belong to a community, you put yourself at risk, are the individuals in that community going to support you, or are they going to reject or even attack you.  For example, I shared some information on a blog and instead of the ensuing conversation being about the topic, I was attacked for the information I shared.  I have not been inclined to go back and write anything for that blog since that experience.  People have the same things happen at church, clubs, social events, even in groups of peers.  When we become open and our desire to belong increases yet we experience negative feedback, our desire to belong decreases.  When it does, our willingness to be open decreases and we pull away from that group.

I believe that is the trend we have seen with many of our Christian organizations, and with church.  When we as individuals are open in a Christian context about struggles, hurts or failures, often we are attacked, hurts and abused by those we attempted to connect with.  This causes a huge decrease in our desire to be part of that group, and therefore our willingness to be open.  In the church today, we see people who marginally want to be part of the church, they attend, but they are not open, they do not fellowship or connect.  These people are not inclined to join a small group, Sunday School and wouldn't attend a house church.

To make things harder, we often attempt to reach those who have had a negative church experience with a house church model.  We have not done real well at doing this, because those individuals have no desire to belong to a church.  There is hope however, and there are several house and cell churches who have discovered the secret.

In order to increase an individual's desire to be open, and therefore attend a small gathering, we must find to increase their desire to belong.  We have to be the kind of people that others want to spend time with.  We need to be friendly, loving and compassionate.  The small group that meets in my home is composed of people who I have a great relationship with.  I am not meeting with people who I barely know, and the people who don't care for me, they don't attend my small group.

In many ways, we have driven people away from the living water, because they don't want to have to stand next to us.  We have to get rid of the model of standing around in our group and waiting for people to show up.  We can't expect people to come because we are having church.  If they wanted to come to church, they would have shown up by now.  We have to go out and build relationships and share and be open with people.  When they see they can trust us, they will be more open and have a desire to belong.  That gives us the opportunity to share, to care and to disciple.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Atheist Farmer - an oxymoron

Have you ever met an atheist farmer? Thinking back to all the farmers I have met, many of them were not real religious, most prayed (especially when they were in need of rain). I have never met a farmer who didn't believe in God. As I was driving in rural Nebraska, looking at the corn and soybeans which were an unnerving shade of brown, I thought about the farmers.

I don't know of any profession that will get you nearer the heart of God than the farmer. The farmer works the land, plants the seeds, treats for weeds and fungus and bugs, and depends on God. Only God can make the crops grow. We have irrigation, but only God can make it rain. Only God brings the sunshine. The farmer has the responsibility to do his part, but the results are up to God.

What a beautiful picture of God's power and man's responsibility coming together. We do our part to share the gospel. We share the truth, answer questions, silence skeptics but only God brings someone to Salvation.

I have had many titles in my life. Teacher, leader,manager, pastor, director, but the title I would love to have is farmer. Tilling soil, planting and watering and praising God for the increase.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Life is certainly changing. I have resigned my position as Associate Pastor, but not my call to ministry. God has always put me in front line ministries, and that is what I am going back too. Student ministry, house church ministry, coaching,consulting and training. I am going to focus on where I am called and gifted.

Some have wondered if I got fired. No, I wasn't fired. I didn't just leave either, it was a decision that I made with the guidance of others. Parting was hard, but a friendly, loving seperation. I willn still maintain and build relationahip with that body of believers as I do the other things God has called me too.

You can be a part, by praying for us. Lots of changes and uncertainty. We are looking for a place to live and a job for me. Pray God opens the right doors. Thank you allnso much, the journey is just beginning.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Statement of Woven Theology

We affirm that God's sovereign plan exists outside out time and in the realm of eternity. God's plan is set out, preordained and can never be thwarted or undone.
Romans 8:29, Ephesians 1:5, 11, Acts 4:28, Isaiah 46:9-11, Psalms 102:27

We believe that God's eternal nature is higher than man's ability to comprehend and to fathom. We only relate to this nature and aspect of God in prayer and worship. God's eternal nature does not change, and His plan and will does not change.
Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6, Isaiah 55:9

We affirm that the concepts of predestination, election, prophecy and the end times are based upon this aspect of God's nature and character. All good things, all gifts and all holiness come from God and He receives all the glory, honor and praise.
James 1:17, Romans 8:29, Psalms 99:5, Hebrews 12:28, 13:15, I Thessalonians 1:4

We believe that God interacts with us in a relational and temporal nature in which we interact with in a very personal way. We see this all through scripture where God's nature and attributes connect with His creation in a very relational way.
I John 4:10,19, Jeremiah 31:3, James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8

We affirm that God related to Moses, Abraham, David and others in a relational way, working in time and with them in relationship. God connects with His creation in a way to build and grow relationship and understanding.
Exodus 3:12, Exodus 18:19, Genesis 18:17, James 2:23, I Samuel 18:14

We believe that Jesus Christ came to the earth and existed temporally and connected with the creation is a temporal, relational way. In this nature, we see that Jesus interacted with people in a relational way.
John 15:9, John 14:10, 11, I Timothy 1:15, Matthew 9:13, 36, Luke 7:13

We affirm that human kind exist with a sinful nature, tainted with the consequence of the original sin, understanding right and wrong and choosing wrong and sin and rebelling from God at our first recognition of evil.
Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Psalms 14:3, Psalms 51:5, Romans 7:8-11

We believe that we are responsible for our sin, and it's our sin and our choice that condemn us to hell. We have made a choice to rebel against God, our sin nature that is ingrained in all mankind draws us into rebellion against God, and we believe that ever person has sinned and in in rebellion against God left to their own. They are incapable of being free from sin, from seeking God and from any works that will save themselves.
Romans 3:12, Romans 6:17, Romans 7:7-11, Genesis 3:6, Hosea 6:7

We affirm that man does not work for, earn or merit salvation. Salvation is a work of God and comes only when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and calls. In God's eternal plan, those individuals who are saved have been seen and predestined from God's eternal nature outside of time and before the foundation of time. Salvation is a gift of God, and God receives all the glory and honor for salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9, John 15:16 Romans 9:22-24, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:28-30, Acts 13:48

We believe that man has a responsibility to trust Christ and put our faith in Christ. We have the responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our heart, not to reject His call through blasphemy. We are responsible for our actions and reactions in the context of salvation, our openness of ears, eyes and heart.
Romans 10:9, 13, Acts 16:31, Hebrews 4:11, Acts 2:37-39, Acts 7:51

We affirm that the process of salvation in an intersection of God in His sovereignty, power and foreknowledge and man's responsibility and response. It seems there is contradictions in this nature, but we see that God's eternal attributes in Salvation and not comprehensible, yet God's temporal nature interacts with us making salvation a relational experience. They intersect in a way that fit together in God's eternal plan and our relationship and responsibility.
John 14:15-29, John 17:6-12, II Corinthians 5:11-20

We believe that salvation always occurs from conviction of sin. Without the Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin and enlightening the sinner to their true nature, the sinner will not repent. Without repentance, true salvation will not occur.
Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22

We affirm that when a sinner takes the responsibility for sin and places their faith in Jesus Christ, then The Holy Spirit will regenerate their spirit, and once they Holy Spirit indwells the believer, they are secure in that Salvation for eternity. They no longer are their own, they are now a child of God, and in God's sovereignty that child will never be lost.
Romans 11:29, John 10:28 - 29, Jude 1:24, Romans 8:38-39

We believe that once the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, God's relational nature works in that individual in the process of sanctification through learning, faith, the church and through good works. Good words come through salvation and sanctification for the purpose of the believer experiencing God in a real way and touching the lives of other.
John 21:15-17, John 15:26, I Corinthians 12:3, Acts 10:47, Hebrews 2:4

We affirm that God uses His people to reach out and share faith. God's nature is relational and He chooses to use us to build relational unity in His Church. Salvation is a connect and intersection of God's plan and our responsibility and evangelism is God working through us and in us.
Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, Romans 10:14-15, Luke 24:47

In summary, we believe that man's responsibility and choices are woven together with God's eternal attributes, sovereign plan and predestination. This interaction brings God's plan and will to pass in a way that builds relationship and connects His people in His Church for His purpose and glory.

If you would affirm this theology, please sign your name, your city and how you serve God in your local context.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Free Download Not Equipped for Failure

I want to offer a free copy of my book Not Equipped for Failure.  It's a guide for being strategically Evangelistic.  If you would please let me know your thoughts.

If you would like a copy, please email a request to  Thanks.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Have you ever experienced a time of dryness in your life?  I am having one with my writing right now.  I sit down to write, but I feel like I have nothing to give.  The well is dry and I scramble to put something together.  It's bad enough I am writing about not having anything to write about.

I am not sure where these times come from.  Dryness or depression or anxiety or despair or even times blankness, the blahs.  They happen to most of us, some more than others.  I hope you are doing better than I am in your passions and in your dreams.  Mine seem to be a little dried up and dusty right now.  Still have some projects, but seems like trying to pull and oak tree out of the ground by putting a chain on your bike.  Lots of effort, but the oak tree isn't moving.  I guess we just keep peddling.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My view looking at myself

One of the things I have worked on for years is knowing and understanding myself.  I have taken a large variety of assessments and critiques and I know what is good and bad.  I know that I am pretty interdependent, which is good and bad.  I have a tendency to isolate myself, don't form a lot of close connections and struggle to maintain healthy relationships outside of my immediate family.  I don't like to depend or rely on others, not strong at working in a group.  I have developed some leadership skills and qualities, they are not my natural tendency, my natural and default mode is independent work, which is why I am drawn to cars and computers and other task oriented things. 

I am pretty abstract, I think outside the box and I am pretty imaginative.  I am a theoretical thinker, which leads me in the direction of theologian and academic.  I don't like to be wrong, I like even less to be criticized, I don't particularly look for esteem or accolades either, mostly would just like to be left alone.  I struggle to do things that I don't see the value in, if I value or believe in something I'll work myself to death to make it happen.  If I don't fully believe in it, then I will do what I have too, but I have a hard time getting all in to it.  I am not particularly confrontational, but if it needs to happen, I usually end up being the one who starts off.   I have found myself in many leadership roles by default or by accident, where I was put in that position.  I am very analytical, I look for deeper issues in almost everything.  When it comes to problems, people, organizations when there is a problem I analyze it and look for the root of the issue, I don't want to deal with surface issues. 

When I get angry or frustrated I shut down, I don't express emotions as a general rule, I bottle up everything and repress it.  I love to share ideas and concepts with people, I enjoy teaching and leading in learning activities.  My leadership abilities are best expressed in a discipleship or teaching environment.  I enjoy writing and I try to read a great deal.  When I have a close relationship, I will invest a great deal into it, like with my wife and my kids.  I don't have a need to prove myself to anyone, but I do try to encourage and support people.  I care what people think, but I don't have a drive to try to impress them or make them think I am wonderful.  If someone dislikes me, it doesn't bother me much, because I am not a person oriented individual.  In my years of ministry, I have had to really work on connecting with people and not on the tasks to do.  Large groups who I have to interact with, especially in a social and unstructured environment exhaust me.  I have some anxiety that often centers around random things, and I am hard on myself often, I will beat myself up over my failures or conceived failures.  I don't like to have weakness or need because that puts me at the dependence of other people, and I hate that.  I have to really work on being connected to the Body of Christ and expressing need and letting people help and support me.  My flesh tends to push me towards isolation. 

I am cynical and have a melancholy, sarcastic and sometimes dark sense of humor.  I'm not particularly trusting of people.  I have the ability to read people pretty well, I have a knack for seeing what is really driving a person, and it sometimes leaves me suspect of motives.  I think many people are driven by motivations they are not even aware of.  In this country, we have celebrated pride and ego to the point it drives many leaders and they are unaware, but that's another matter.  I have to force myself to trust, I am suspicious and cautious.  I have a hard time with people who seem to have all the answers, because that means they aren't really asking the questions.  I want to see what is deeper in life, find the truth and examine the depths, and the shallowness I see makes me frustrated. 

I am very aware of my own condition most of the time, I stop and think about how I am thinking, how I am feeling and what is going on.  I am aware when I am a little manic, I am aware when I am struggling with some depression, I am aware when things are clicking and when things are not.  I'm not afraid to walk away from something that isn't working (other than my marriage).  I am committed to Jesus Christ and to Elaine, my kids are my kids forever, but if a job, organization, position, ministry, title or position isn't working, then I'm out.  I'm not in this to play games, build credentials, impress constituents or make money.  I do what I do to serve Christ, and if that isn't happening, I'll find someplace it will.  If Paul left places, broke company and went where the Spirit told him too and didn't go where it told him not to go, then it's good enough for me.  I could care less what American culture says about it, the American ideals that are not biblical and the notions we buy into about being great, or even "good enough". 

I worry the culture has changed Christians more than Christians have changed the culture, and I don't want to be part of it.  I want to be Biblical and sold out to Christ.  I will mold, shape and conform however I have to in order to fit that model.  In that context, I can and will work with anyone in any place.  I will do what I have to do to help, get along, get in line and fit where I am called.  When God puts me somewhere, I am there until He tells me I can do (not that sometimes I don't request to go).  I get frusterated when I feel trapped, when I feel like I am at the mercy of someone, especially if I don't particularly trust them.  I don't like games, I don't like politics and I don't like it when people are shady.  I am sort of a lay it all on the table sort of guy.

I struggle with having a disciplined schedule.  I am not much of a schedule sort of guy.  I do what I need to do when I need to do it and tackle things as they come or in order as they come up or importance.  I often work on multiple things at the same time, and I converse and work simultaneously sometimes.  I like to stay busy and have things going and plates spinning.  When there are things undone, I like the get them check off.  I don't leave unread e-mails in my inbox, I don't leave unread text messages.  I don't put CDs in the wrong case, I want my books put back right in my book shelf.  I can't stand it when someone opens something without using the already opened item (like shampoo or ketchup).  I don't like to discuss items with people who say they are open minded, but in reality are convinced of their own opinion and just want to tell you why you are wrong.

This is not an exhaustive list, this is not all of why I am, but this is much of what makes me up and how I operate.  Much of this I struggle though, I want Christ to be expressed in me.  Much of the issues are in my flesh, which I strive and seek to crucify each day, but I am not always successful.  I am constantly striving to become less so He can become more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meditations of a Woven Theologian

I am hesitant to call myself a Theologian, it sounds a little arrogant, so I am going to let you judge whether or not I deserve that title.  I am not sure how one gets the qualifications.  That is not the point of my blog, so you can drop a quick comment, but let's not focus on what the qualifications of theologian are.

You probably know that I call myself a Wovenist, I have written some blogs about it and shared it in some comments.  Dave Miller's recent blog on SBC Voices got me thinking more and more about it.  The reason I call it Woven Theology is because it's the weaving of man's responsibility and actions and where they interact with God's Sovereign design and plan.  Man exists inside of time while God transcends time.  There is a point where God's eternal attributes interact with man in time.  It's those points which we argue, because we view the different aspects and think for them to be contradictions, when in essence it a merging of the temporal and the eternal in a beautiful moment.

What I have been meditating on is much of what happens after the moment of salvation.  We often think that Salvation is God's work and Sanctification is man's work.  The scripture doesn't teach that, the Bible teaches that He who began a good work in you will bring it too completion.  Philippians 1:6 say so.  So if Salvation and Sanctification is God's work what is my responsibility?  After all, if Woven Theology is the intersecting of God's power and my responsibility, I must have some right?

First, let me tell you what I don't think our job is.  I don't think it's our job to go 'discover God's will for our lives'.  We don't need to go out and find what God has for us, God will take us where He wants us to go.  We are not out to find God, to earn God's favor, to amuse or appease God.  God is taking care of that part, He has the plan and He has a plan for me.  So what do I do.

As I read through the scripture, here is what I see.  The revived spirit in man, the part that is born again out of Salvation works in and with and through the Holy Spirit to achieve Godliness, righteousness and find God's purpose for our lives.  The fruit of the spirit grows up in us and we follow God in Christ.  We follow Christ like water follows a riverbed.  We flow, we move with ease in the cause of Christ.

Here is the problem.  Flesh.  We still have flesh and it clings to us and pulls us and moves us out of the riverbed and we cease to flow and we stagnate.  I think many Christians, many churches are in this place where they have stopped moving and started to stagnate.  We try to get flowing on our own power, and we can't.  We can't get moving, we can't find life we just sit there and become frustrated.  (I know, I am using we again, and you all hate that.  When I say "we" I am talking about me and the people with me, so if you are with me, you are part of 'we'.  If you think I am insane, then you are not 'we' you are. . . 'they' I suppose.)

We try so hard to make our lives work, not realizing we are working on our own because we are not in the banks.  We are in the works of the flesh.  You know them, they are in Galations 5:19, and Paul leaves us a door open, this is not an exhaustive list.  He says "and things like these".  My flesh struggles with strife, jealousy, anger, envy and even though it's not on the list, pride.  I think pride is our biggest work in the flesh, because we want to do it on our own.  We want to follow Christ on our own two feet, to pull ourselves up.  We say "no one ever gave me anything, I earned what I have" so we decide we are going to earn our own sanctification.

Here is where I find myself.  My own pride to follow Christ on my own is keeping me from really experiencing Christ in that powerful river of The Spirit.  My own desire to do good is keeping me from doing good.  My good deeds are filthy rags because they are my deeds and I put my faith in them.  I have my faith in my ability to follow Christ.  It's a slick and a tricky deception.  We want to please God, we are to please God, we are suppose to live for God, it's not so much if, it's how.  How do we please God?

On one hand, I can try to please God on my own.  Do it better, faster, grow in maturity, read my Bible, pray, go to church, study, go to seminary and become a pastor or a leader, and then look back at all I've done and say "God, are you pleased with me?"  If I have done all this without faith, the answer is "no".  The Pharisees, they worked hard, studied and knew the law, but they were stagnant held back from the river by the wall of flesh.

Here am I, in the year 2012, and I want to be better.  I am frail, I am fragile and I can't do it on my own.  I have tried to be better, smarter and faster.  I have gone to seminary, read all the new books, listened to sermons, gone to conferences and tried and tried and tried.  God is not pleased by all my self effort, because at the center of my effort is me.  In all of my goal to get better, what am I trying to get better at?  Loving God?  Do I really want to be closer to Him, or do I want to be better FOR him?  Sometimes I feel like I am more of a campaign manager for God, working in a city far away trying to get people to vote for Him, but never really knowing Him.

I want to get back to the river.  I want my flesh to get out of the way, I want to stop being envious of those with a great ministry, I want to stop being angry and bitter at those who hurt me.  I want to let go of the pride that thinks it needs to be done my way.  I want to let go of the hurt that springs up when I see someone doing better than I am doing.  Pride and envy, they need to die so I can live.  I have to crucify my flesh, and the only way to do so is to intersect God in a real way on this path, to become woven with Him.

So I have my responsibility, to get my flesh out of the way.  I am praying, I am fasting, I am seeking and knocking.  I am confessing, I am repenting, I am crying out and I feel movement again.  I feel like I am moving towards something greater, and my heart once again has life.  I feel like my life is being woven into a greater tapestry that I may become less and He may become more.

I find this isn't popular.  There is no way to chart it, graph it, put it on paper or show results.  I can't document it, I can't budget for it, and most importantly, I can't control it.  I have a hard time explaining it, I can't share it, I can just testify to it.  I feel like I have found a truth, but I can't make anyone else believe it.  I have discovered that I too, like Paul am a wretched man, but Jesus Christ can save me from this flesh.  Are you part of "we"?  Are you with me, in this boat of self effort that seems to be sinking faster than you can bail?  Are you feeling like your spiritual life is a breeding ground for mosquitoes?  Let's stop trying to be Godly and seek to be fleshless.  If we become fleshless, we can live in the Godliness that we already have in Christ Jesus.  It's time to live out of who God made me, and not who I am trying to make myself.  Are you with me?

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Depths of Biblical Truth

I recently drew this illustration in discussion of problems in the church today.  You see, all too often we have painted the Bible as a simple story book.  It has become shallow, surface readings and quick interpretations.  We have forgotten about context, culture and we certainly have no clue how to exegete.  We have gone into the sea of Biblical truth up to our waist, and assumed that the whole expanse of Biblical truth is only waist deep.

In reality, we need to become equipped.  Like a scuba diver learns the equipment and is trained how to go deeper than any weekend shoreline splasher could dream of going.  They dive deep into the depths, seeing and exploring things that he previously never dreamed existed.

We must learn how to ask the right questions.  What is this passage saying to the original audience?  What do the words mean in this culture, what is really being said here?  What does this mean in the context of the rest of the scripture, how does this change my life?  Why did God choose to have this passage in the Bible, why do I need to know these things which seem so insignificant?  What do i need to do in light of what I am learning?

As we begin to pour ourselves into scripture and really get into the depths, we will learn greater and more valuable lessons each time.  We must spend time with other learners who are taking the same journey and learn to really get down into the deep water to find the pearls in the depths.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Theological Lessons for auto repair

The theological lessons from auto repair are many. For example, I think when Ezekiel spoke of a wheel within a wheel, he saw a wheel bearing inside a hub. Well maybe not, but I learnedly a solid lesson on prayer and patience. While trying to get my torque converter seated yesterday, I didn't have the room to get my hands inside. I couldn't get the transmission to move back any farther, so I asked God for help. A still small voice came to me and said "twist it" so I did. Transmission slid back perfectly. I was then able to get my hands inside and with much rejoicing, seat the torque converter. I am a long way from being done, and I am learning patience while I continue to work on the truck.  Our God is faithful and hears us with all matter, big or small, spiritual or automotive.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Review of "Afraid to Believe in Free Will" By Carl E. Begley

I review books often, so I decided to read one that was on the opposite viewpoint of where I stand.  I believe in the will of humans and the ability to make choice, but I reject the idea of "Free Will", because I believe the human will is in bondage, we are slaves to either sin or Christ.  We are driven by our depravity or by the Holy Spirit and are not neutral and do not have the ability to choose in every situation.

That being said, I was hoping for a strong argument for the concept of Free Will.  I didn't get it, at all.  This book has some counselor and physiological mumbo jumbo, mostly which I understand.  None of it was convincing.  The author basically said, "you make choice, so you must have free will, now here is why everyone else is wrong".  He didn't make a case FOR Free Will, he made cases against those who opposed it.  I was not impressed with this book, don't waste your time.  If you want to read something on Free Will, find something with a stronger theological base.  This was just acrobatic babble.

Are you Encouraged?

Are you encouraged?  Do you feel like you are encouraged?  Why or why not?  I will tell you what it is for me, who I spend my time with and how I spend that time will leave me feeling energized or drained.  When I am around people who share my joys and my passion, who want to help and they affirm me, I feel encouraged.  When I am down and they share with me, support me and help lift me up, I am encouraged.  When I find people who challenge me, talk through things with me, listen and share, I am encouraged.

On the other side, we often find ourselves with critical individuals who are quick to point out our short comings.  They are often demanding, short tempered and demand everything to be to their standard, which few can achieve.  These people cut is down, tear us down, beat us up and leave us feeling worthless.  They are critical of our passion, want us to conform and be more like them, and leave us feeling drained and exhausted.

For the most part, people won't be this cut and dry, but you know when you leave a social interaction if you are feeling drained or energized.  If you life, you need some draining people to push you, to challenge you and to help you really take some long looks at yourself.  On the other hand, they should not be the bulk of the people you spend time with.  You should also surround yourself with those who encourage you and lift you up.  We all need a Barnabas or 2 or 5.  Make sure in your life and ministry, you have supportive people who pray for you, encourage you and really care about you.  There will be plenty who don't.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Blog Madness

My blog readers, my blog has made the March Madness List on SBC Voices.  Please head on over to SBC Voices Blog Madness and vote for my blog!  Thanks everyone!

Post Fast Reflections

I have been out of the Daniel Fast for a while, and my diet is mostly back to normal.  I have added a little more fruit, but the biggest difference is the amount of sugar I have continued to cut out of my diet.  It doesn't mean I don't succumb once in a while to the tasty treats, but I have decreased my overall sugar consumption.

On the spiritual side, I realized how I have to change my outlook.  When I started the fast, I noticed how I missed the things I couldn't have, especially caffeine.  My body told me that I went from 2 to 3 cups a day to 0.  Post-fast reflections, I realize how much I depend upon the approval of others, like a drug to my ego.  If someone is disappointed in me, if they don't approve, if I feel like I have let them down, it causes me a large deal of anguish.  Why?  Pride and ego mostly, but also because I need to learn to have more sufficiency in God.  I depend way to much on others to make me feel like I have worth or value, but I have value in God.  I put way too much emphasis on if the people at church approve of me.  that is not to say that I shouldn't strive to be the best at what I do, but at the end of the day, I am secure in God's love.

As I look back at the fast, I think it was a great experience.  I may do it again someday.  It didn't go as I had planned, it didn't have the effect I thought it would, but I am learning more about myself.  I am seeing my frailty for what it really is, and seeing the areas where I need to continue to work.  I hope on your journey with God, you are finding new revelations about yourself as you draw nearer to Him.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daniel Fast, day 21

Well today is my last day of the fast.  In some ways it seemed to go fast.  I lost some weight, still not sure how much.  Had some trials, the discipline was hard, had a trip for some training and eating away is hard. There was a lot of temptation, but I stuck it all the way though.

I went into this fast thinking that I was going to experience and learn something profound.  I didn't, instead I learned something much more valuable.  Stead, consistency and moving forward one step at a time is much better than some profound experience.  Mountain top experiences are great, but you can't sustain them forever.  You end up in the valley, the key is learning to be stead.  You may miss the peaks, but you will also avoid that valleys.

Through this time, I went to work, read my Bible, prayed, enjoyed time with my family, aside from what I ate, my life didn't change a great deal.  As I searched and long for some epiphany, some great truth, a profound experience with God, I realized that I wasn't going to have a profound experience with God, and that was my profound experience.  I live in connect with God every day, I am in His word, I am praying (not enough) and I am studying.  I live with God in my life, so why I was expecting something unique and profound is beyond me.

I feel pretty good, and I have lost some weight.  I am glad I did this fast, and I will probably try to increase my vegetable consumption in the future.  I do miss sandwiches, and I plan to hit Jimmy Johns tomorrow for lunch.

I didn't blog as much as I wanted too during this experience, but the reality is that life continued to happen, and I ran out of time.  It was a good fast, it was a good experience.  It's later in the afternoon on the 21st day, I'll make me some veggie dinner and will finish the day with prayer and time with family.  It was a good experience, I may do it again someday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fast day 14

Daniel Fast day 14.  I didn't blog as much as I thought or planned too.  I have done two weeks and I have lost some weight.  I feel pretty good, still seeking what God is teaching me.  I am learning to be content with all sorts of food, having discipline and walking away from things I really want. . . like burgers and donuts.  It has been a good exercise, I am going out of town this week.  It will be interesting to see what happens when I travel.  Pastor's Lunch has been difficult enough, but I have made it though.  I guess I will see what happens.  When I get on a scale, I'll let you all know how much weight I have lost.  When God finally brings all the pieces together I will also tell you the divine revelation I've had.

Friday, February 10, 2012

fast, day 3

Well its day three of my 21 day fast. I feel pretty worn out and letargic. I really think if I can survive through day 5 I will be good. I did make some mushroom, tomato, green pepper and red bean dinner. It wad tasty. For now it's bedtime.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

21 Days. Day 1

Today I begin the 21 day Daniel Fast with some other folks. As I begin, I have decided that my perspective is that of thankfulness. I can focus on all the things I can't eat and I'm missing, but I am choosing to be thankful for what I have. I have clean water always available. I have fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other things always available to me. I have more than most of the world's population has access too. I am thankful for my blessings.

In doing this fast, I have been asked why. My primary answer is "to be supportive" because I have a friend who asked me, and I am going to support him. In the mail, I got a free book called 21 Days with Jesus. This book is a journey though John's Gospel, so maybe God has something else is store for me during these 21 days. Day one. John chapter 1. Jesus calls His disciples, and they told others and said "come and see". We don't just learn about Jesus, we experience Jesus. We don't just look at grace, we come to grace. We are called to "come and see".

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Am a Follower, by Leonard Sweet. A Review

I just read the book "I Am a Follower" by Leonard Sweet. This is a concept that I already embraced after hearing Chris Tomlian talk about the concept of being a "Lead Worshiper" instead of a worship leader. This idea that we are leaders is redundant, because we have a leader. Jesus is our Leader, we need to be the first follower! The book shares a video that I have watched online about the First Follower, which is a powerful idea.

Often in the church, we get too many leaders and not enough followers. We need to follow, be willing to be the first follower and follow Jesus. This is a great book, and I would recommend it to everyone. There was some things in the book, theologically, that I didn't completely agree with. None of it was substantial enough for me to miss or lose the main focus of the book. All in all, I really enjoyed this one, check it out.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review of Healing is a Choice

Seems like I review a lot of books lately. I will get back into regular blogging very soon, but I want to talk about a book by Stephen Artuburn. This is the second time I've read this book, my first copy I loaned out. I think almost everyone needs this book. How many of us carry around baggage that we are not even aware of? So often we are hurt, scarred, bruised and broken and most people don't know what to do about it. This is a good plan for starting to work through the process of healing. I have used many of these tips before, Stephen Arterburn puts them together in a solid and useful manual to help heal. Get a copy for you and another to loan out. It's worth it. If you are involved in ministry, this is a great, and essential resource.