i want that

had an experience the other day that for me really challenged me and where i'm at right now. it's funny how when we get around other people there's unplanned and unanticipated moments where God uses their life to point you in a direction you need to head.

we were just about to start a student leadership meeting (all of our ministry teams come together once a month for lunch, training, discussion, and prayer). as the meeting was just about to get started some things occurred that absolutely torqued me - my blood was boiling. i knew it needed to be addressed in the meeting, and i knew i needed to use a specific passage of scripture, namely the one where the disciples are arguing about who's gonna be first in the kingdom, and Jesus comes at them and says the famous line 'whoever wants to be great among you must be a servant of all'. i felt like as a team we were really missing the boat on the heart of leadership - that at it's core it's completely about selflessness and servant-based. i knew this passage was right for it...but i had a problem... i couldn't find it. i searched and searched, but came up empty. the dinky concordance in the back of the bible i had wasn't cutting it. it was like it had entries for "jesus" and "God" and "love"...but nothing else. i asked some of our adult leaders if they knew where it was, and they began pulling out their bibles and searching as well.

finally i knew the meeting had to get started. in one last effort, i asked one of our other adult leaders who's known for spending hours upon hours reading and studying God's Word if he knew where it was. after asking, he said...'give me a second'...and literally i stood there for 5 seconds watching him close his eyes, think really hard, and then he said: 'mark 10'.

i turned there, and sure enough mark 10:35-45 was exactly what i was looking for. amazing.

as i left the meeting for the next thing in my schedule, all i could say in my mind and heart is 'i want that'. i want to be able to have read, stared at, breathed in, meditated on, looked at, and studied up God's Word to the point where i can just shout out where something is on command. not to puff my already stuffed ego up any higher or give myself some sense of spiritual elitism... but to be able to use His Word as it was designed. any soldier over in afghanistan knows how to use his gun - he knows how the specific parts of the gun were designed for different functions, and he's been trained and is ready to use it when needed.

i want that. wow...i want that!


it's official

just received the phone call we've been praying for - we'll be closing on the house this coming friday at 11:00am. still on target to move everything over on saturday as planned.
praising God for the incredible blessing of this home and for how he'll use it in the years to come!


plane crashes and tough questions

got a call from one of the reporters from the democrat & chronicle last night asking how our church is dealing with the tragic plane crash in buffalo. you can read the short article in today's paper or online here. but it leaves me wondering...like everybody else...why these things happen. obviously, the overarching (and easy) answer is that there's sin in the world, ie. if there was no sin there'd be no pain and hurt. while that's true, i'm still not sure it really answers the question. tough stuff...


when christians get it wrong

i was intrigued by the series title when i first was encouraged to watch the video below. super challenging message that i believe can point the discussion on homosexuality and the church in the right direction. as christians we really have gotten this one wrong. totally worth the 43 minutes...


it's just lunch

i'm so torqued right now - beware...rant coming. i've been getting lots of spam in my personal email lately...which isn't why i'm torqued, although that alone is frustrating. every now and then i'll have a "for real" email sent to my spam, and so it's important for me to skim through the lists (all i see is the sender and subject) to find any needed emails. at any rate, there are tons of spam emails for eharmony-type hookup companies. one that i've seen a lot lately, targeted to married people has a subject line titled "it's just lunch".

no it's not just lunch. it's never just lunch.

trying to figure out why this bothers me so much today. maybe it's because the value of marriage is disintegrating in our nation. maybe it's because without subtle erosions of the characters' marriage we'd have nothing to laugh at on tv. maybe it's because there are people we know and love who's marriages are ending, as we speak. maybe it's because i'm at 1 corinthians 7 in my bible reading right now. maybe when you are the one begging and pleading couples to keep it together this stuff no longer is funny. maybe when you see what it does to their kids and how the sins of the fathers will likely revisit them you get kind of sick of it.

dang it ticks me off. it's never just lunch.



after speaking at new men in christ this morning (lakeshore's men's ministry that meets the first saturday of every month) shanna and i tried to get as much packing done as possible. from the pictures it may not seem like a lot, but it really is and every little bit adds up. there's only like 2 things hanging from a wall in our apartment now, which kinda makes it really look like we're moving.

this is shanna when i told her that we'd have to pack away her shoes. "one pair for the next 2 weeks...that's it". imagine that...


are we there yet?

so shanna and i are planning our 4th move since we we got married less than 4 years ago...and while we are super grateful (beyond words or explanation) for the ability to get into this house in just about a week and a half...i've gotta say i'm getting sick of moving. not trying to complain, but it brings back a frustration that i think we all experience during transitions. the uncertainty and confusion...the nagging sense that things aren't in the right place...the inconvenience of living out of boxes...and the questions of how much longer till it all happens again.

in addition to the boxes, packing, and all the mortgage paperwork and meetings in preparation for closing, i will be moving my office at the church further down the hall next week to make way for the church's next hire. transitions are frustrating, confusing, and take us out of our comfort zone. the thought of the new is exciting, but it can be hard to get through the present when you're in transition.

just read a profound article called it takes 12 months by tony morgan. it's worth the quick read, especially for those in leadership positions. i'm nearing the 12 month mark at lakeshore, and it was comforting to know that in these first 12 months it's "natural" to be only trying to survive. so many weeks it has felt like i have been just attempting to make it through. in that time i've discovered a host of things that work...and even more that don't. i have a better understanding of the different paradigm and the unwritten cultural values. and now...i just want to get stuff done. i want to add value and make an impact...and it demands a commitment to longevity.

shanna and i are here for the long haul. i'm tired of transitions.

prayer for a friend

had a conversation with a friend today... one of those ones where there's nothing to say that will ease the pain...but you're just committed to "be there" with them through it all. rather than trying to write something profound, the lyrics below sum it up pretty well.

Lord, I lift my friend to You, I've done all that I know to do
I lift my friend to You
Complicated circumstances have clouded his view
Lord, I lift my friend up to You

I fear that I won't have the words that he needs to hear
I pray for Your wisdom, oh God, and a heart that's sincere
Lord, I lift my friend up to You

Lord, I lift my friend to You
My best friend in the world, I know he means much more to You
I want so much to help him, but this is something he has to do
And Lord, I lift my friend up to You

'cause there's a way that seems so right to him
But You know where that leads
He's becoming a puppet of the world, too blind to see the strings
Lord, I lift my friend up to You
My friend up to You

Lord, I lift my friend to You, I've done all that I know to do
I lift my friend to You



so this morning shan & i were teaching the junior highers in revolution about the 7th commandment (adultery)...

question: "what are some of the most important reasons why God put this commandment in place?"

junior higher: "overpopulation".