Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wanna go for a walk?

I have been thinking about/ had the images of the account of Jesus transfiguration stuck in my head for going on a year now. Even after a year my thoughts on it are still pretty disjointed so please add your $.02 or ask for clarification.

My really rough paraphrase is this: Jesus asked his three closest friends to go for a walk. When they got to where they were going things got funky. Jesus started to glow. Then two other guys who had been dead for hundreds of years show up. Not knowing what else to do, one of Jesus' three friends, Peter, suggests they set up camp so they can all hang out for a while. Then this voice from the clouds starts in, " This is my son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
Petrified Jesus' friends bury their faces in the ground. When they look up, everyone is gone and everything is quiet. Jesus helped them process through what they had just seen and asked them not to discuss the whole thing with anyone else for a while.

The actual account is recorded in the book of Matthew.

Jesus spent three years, pretty much 24/7, with Peter, James and John. They got to see Jesus do all kinds of amazing things and what I imagine must have been all kinds of mundane things.
We don't know if Jesus was aware of what was about to happen when he asked the three to go for a walk with him that day. Nevertheless he asked and ended up sharing one of the high points of his life on earth with Peter, James and John.

They didn't balk at his invitation. They were used to Jesus sharing not just his work or ministry with them but his life as well. It was not out of the ordinary, again my really rough paraphrase, for Jesus to say to Peter or James or John or all twelve of the disciples, "Hey I have to run a few errands, wanna come with?" In sharing his life, his friends got to see how he responded to the valleys, to the plateaus and to the mountaintop experiences. Jesus' "training program" was no program at all. He simply lived life out in the only way he knew how and invited others to come along for the ride.

Finally, after Jesus and the twelve had been together for a while Jesus started to ask them to run the errands by themselves. They would go off and do their thing, with varying degrees of success and return to Jesus and tell him about what they did.

So what? So if I call myself a Christ-follower, then I need to be intentionally developing relationships, intentionally sharing my life with others. Not simply reading through the gospel of John with Harry or Sally on alternate Tuesday evenings but opening up my life and allowing others to see how I walk with and respond to God in the valleys, on the plateaus and on the mountaintops. Have them over for dinner, ask them to go to Home Depot with me, tell them I am volunteering at a soup kitchen and ask them to help out. We never know when God might break through in the middle of the mundane and do something amazing. How cool would it be if we could share it with someone?

If you are on the other side of that coin, trying to follow Christ or figure out if He is trustworthy to be followed; ask someone you know who has been doing it for a while. Ask them if you can tag along?

Like I said a little disjointed, but some really important stuff in this story about Jesus and his friends going for walk.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

....not every man really lives.

If you were rich but you had to work, you know there was a law or something that said everyone had to have a job what would you do for a job and why?
That question is supposed to tell us what we were made to do. I’m not sure how reliable the question is but I do know this. Each of us has dreams, passions and talents inside of us. And if we don’t let them out, we die a little bit everyday.

You hear people say we only use 10% of our brains or whatever it is. I think the large majority of us only really live 10% of our lives. We settle for something way short of what I think life was meant to be.

As a high school student, I remember looking out into the Adult world and thinking to myself is that all there is? Go to school; get a job where I work crazy hours to get a promotion so I can work crazier hours so I can buy a car with the right emblem on it?

I literally used to live in fear of life as the walking dead; like the opening scene from Joe versus the volcano. An army of grey suited drones schlep into an awful grey tinted, fluorescent lit, cubicle enclosed world, day after day after day. It was my definition of hell on earth A girl I dated, once played this song for me called Ordinary Joe. She told me she meant it as a compliment. The song is about this guy who goes to his cubicle everyday and does nice things for the people in his office. He just lives an ordinary life doing nice things. I freaked out. I was so pissed I couldn’t even speak. “Is that what you think of me? I’m just gonna be some schmo in an office?” It still irritates me and that was a long time ago.

I think the reason it made me so mad was there was nothing about working in an office that lined up with the any of the stuff I dreamt about or was really important to me. I have come to realize that those dreams, passions and talents are a part of who I am, a part of who I was made to be. I don’t know what all of you guys think about God or even if a God exists but I believe in God and I believe He put those dreams and passions and talents inside me and inside you.

There is a verse in the Old Testament written by a guy named Jeremiah, he was a prophet, a messenger from God that says:

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen.

13"When you come looking for me, you'll find me.
"Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, 14I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." GOD's Decree.

The God of the universe places dreams and passions and talents inside each of us. He wants to see us live the life He intended for each one of us. When we come to Him, He will help us live the other 90% of life that so many miss. It won’t necessarily be safe or worry-free, but it will be a life fully lived.

“Every man dies, but not every man truly lives.”
~William Wallace~

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Origami Hustle

A friend and I recently entered this video in an Art show. The theme of the show was feet. The piece was his idea and his craftsmanship I just helped him put it on video and do a little editing.

Enjoy it.


Sunday, September 10, 2006


We held our annual baptism service this morning. The people standing at left were all the baptizees. The weather was perfect. The day is always important in the life of our little community of faith but today was even more so for me and my family. I got to baptize our oldest son Jake, founding member of Kayos. That's him, leaning forward, in the red trunks.

I looked at Jake and asked him, just loud enough for the two of us to hear, "You ready buddy?"

He nodded with a big smile. I grasped his hand and said "Jake, I" .......... Long pregnant pause.....I was overwhelmed at what was happening. My oldest son was placing a stake in the ground, in his words, " I want to spend the rest of my life with God." I choked back some tears, "Jake, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." I dunked him, then yanked him up out of the water and gave him a huge bear hug.

It was a good day.

technorati tags

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

George Barna's Revolution

I read Barna's book back in March and wrote this about the same time. I saved it as a draft and forgot about it. Here it is, better late than never.

From George Barna's Revolution p. 49

The above is the graphic depiction of what George Barna has labeled the next great age of church history, the Revolutionary Age. I spent the last two weeks reading and underlining and dog-earring pages in Barna's latest work entitled Revolution: Finding vibrant faith beyond the walls of the sanctuary. In a nutshell, Barna's research has led him to the conclusion that the local church, it's attendance, bank roll and importance in the lives of believers and seekers (I don't like that word but don't have a better one) alike, has been and will continue to wane in importance. The lives of those truly trying to follow Christ, as defined by following Christ in the way of the apostles, are being shaped by influences other than the local church. Barna contends that "there is nothing infherently wrong with being involved in a local church but association with a church no more makes you a follower of Christ than "being in Yankee stadium makes you a professional baseball player."

Barna refers to those who are at the heart of this movement as Revolutionaries. He lays out seven traits of the early church which are, according to Barna, at the heart of the Revolution as a movement and the Revolutionary as the individual. He also draws upon his years of polling and research to see how the local church measures up to the early church.

Every believer was expected to worship, not attend a service but a commitment to respond to the greatness and glory of God, every day, both in private and in the company of other believers.
For those who participate in a local church... Worship happens only in the context of a service once or twice a week. Only 50% of all Christ followers say they have entered into God's presence in the last year.
Faith based conversations pour out of the revolutionary; springing from the very excitement that one has about their own relationship with Christ.
For those who participate in a local church...Most will die without leading a single person to Christ. Most cite lacking the gift of evangelism as rationale for not sharing Christ's love with others.
Intentional spiritual Growth happens as individuals actively pursue it; not sit back and wait for it to happen.
For those who participate in a local church...Most spend more time in a year doing just about anything else (t.v., music, hobbies, reading other books) than reading the bible. Success is hardly ever defined in terms of their relationship to God.
Servanthood Nothing reflects Christ, his love and his message more than selfless of acts of service
For those who participate in a local church...Most would rather give money than be personally involved in helping someone. Only one out of four in the local church actually serves others and in most cases it is other congregates
Resource Investment The apostles shared "everything"as they had need as good managers of what God had entrusted to them.
For those who participate in a local church...The average yearly donations total roughly %3 and that is self perceived as sacrificially generous.
Spiritual Friendships Intentional relationships built on accountability and encouragement were the one of the centerpieces of the early church
For those who participate in a local church...The biggest influencers are the law, media and other family members. Fewer than 1 in 6 have an intentional spiritual relationship.
Family Faith The home was the primary vehicle for spiritual growth and development of all family members.
For those who participate in a local church...Fewer than 10% worship, pray or study the bible together outside of church. Most families feel they are not doing a good job at spiritually growing their children

The bottom-line according to Barna is that placing all our hope in the local church is "misplaced hope." The implication is that because the local church, as Modern America has constructed it, does not look like the early church and is not sufficient unto itself to support and/or facilitate life in the way of Jesus; the Revolution. As Barna himself writes, "A healthy local church will always have a valid and valuable role within God's kingdom...The revolution is about recognizing that we are not called to go to church. We are called to be the church."

The Revolution also marks a departure from the other major movements within the church. According to Barna, " it's impetus [The Revolution] is not salvation among the unrepentant but the personal renewal and recomittment of believers...In the end the Revolution transforms believers so that they can transform the world." This is the part of the book with which I have the greatest trouble. If the Church, those who call themselves Christ followers, becomes completely introspective (which I take Barna's use of the word impetus to mean) it will have failed. Our natural inclinations, are always to turn inward. We want to surround ourselves with people who look like us and act like us and think like us. This type of mindset quickly becomes us and them. This mindset is antithetical to Jesus' ministry. Jesus had hard words for the religious people of his day for just such a mindset. Jesus' impetus was "to seek and save what is lost." In my mind, the bottom line on this issue is the Christ follower's job is "to make disciples of all nations," believer, seeker or otherwise.

Barna suggests local churches have 2 responses to the revolution: 1) Fight it and defend turf, territory and traditions but he adds why fight it? Barna's interpretation of scripture is that the modern church, as we have constructed it, is absent from scripture. He relies on several passages from the Book of Acts as a blue print for the Church. (Acts 2:42-47, 4:24, 31-35, 5:17-18, 27-29, 40-42) The requirement that he points out is one of continual worship in spirit and in truth. Therefore, whether someone is connecting with God and other believers on blogs, in a Starbucks or within the walls of a church does not matter.

So in reality, in Barna's mind there is only one choice; figure out how to become part of the Revolution.

There is much that desreve close analysis in Barna's effort. I see real life people and their stories that match Barna's data. Sadly, I see how the modern church does not reflect the early church. But I am not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water. Barna paints a utopian picture of revolutionaries and their impact on the world. Are there people out there who are completely sold out for the cause of Christ? Absolutely. Is it possible for people to grow in Christlikeness outside of a "church" context? Sometimes. I appreciate Barna's book as a reality check. The seven passions of a revoltutionary are things, that as Christ followers, we should all be passionate about. How I am doing as an individual in these seven areas? How is the church that I am part of doing? What can I do to make these seven things happen in my context? What should I stop doing that might allow these seven things to happen? However, it almost feels as if Barna is encouraging folks to leave their churches in search of Christ. Even more than that, if you are serious about Jesus than you must leave the local church. He throws in the occasional, well sure there are churches that are healthy and those are good. It feels almost like a token gesture.

technorati tags

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


This was the sign hung on the door to the men's restroom of a local fast food place. I am a big fan of clear, concise, pointed directions.

I wonder how many "unfortunate incindents" there were before this sign was hung?