Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fanning the Flame

Last week was an amazing week with our high schoolers on the beach.

This week is a furiously paced VBS week at our church. I'm also catching up with the administrative duties of being out of the office for 6 days.

In 19 years of ministry, I've learned a few things to help me recharge during times like these. After all, according to the latest Barna report, Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.) One of the things I do is journal (blogging doesn't count). Another is reviewing journals from years past.Tonite I found a journal entry from several years ago with these words:

"Never forget that you can learn something from leadership.
Growth is not optional.
Be willing to learn from unlearned men.
Haughtiness is not Holiness.
Schedule 'love time' with your kids. Not quality time, but *quantity* time.
Be prayer partners with members of your family.
Build your family into your schedule.
Rest and relaxation are NOT second-class use of your time.
It is NOT glamorous to burn out.
Do not sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry."

Good, albiet random, thoughts. If you haven't seen it, Mark Driscoll, Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has a great post called Death By Ministry. Some of the suggestions he offers are great. I especially like #2, #3, and #9. You should read them for yourself.

Tonite, the boys and rented a slew of animated Spiderman DVD's and laid in front of the TV pretending we had Spidey Sense.

The realization came to me that the only man in the room with super-human strength was the guy in red and blue tights.

God give us strength. Slow us to the rhythms of Kingdom living. Be our Sabbath rest and remind us that Your yoke is truly easy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

God Annoys Me...

Can I be honest? I was thinking along those lines earlier while working on stuff for our middle school camp next month. He seldom does things the way I'd do them. He always knows it all. And there are times when I don't think he's even listening to me...but it turns out He actually was listening, He was just waiting for me to shut my trap and listen to him...

This afternoon, one of our seniors walked in to the youth center with a book entitled 99 Annoying Attributes of God.

Something to think about as we're preparing for our 'Jesus in the Park' gig for our student ministry tonite.'s been raining off and on for days. Again, not the way I'd have scheduled the rain if I was God.

God is annoying because He isn't impressed with what I try to do for Him.

God is annoying because His sense of mercy often gets in the way of my sense of justice.

God is annoying because He often thinks 'no' is a sufficient answer.

God is annoying because He knows all about my personal life and doesn't hesitate to bring it up.

God is annoying because He isn't worried about either of our reputations.

God is annoying because He expects me to keep secret the things I'd rather openly take credit for.

God is annoying because He allows the wicked to prosper.

The conclusion of the book says:
"So when all is said and done, is it okay to find God annoying? One old, battle-scarred warrior of the faith put it this way:

Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle. (Ps. 55:17-18)

Nice to know that while God takes everything personally, he doesn't hold grudges. He does, however, hold hearts--wounded, troubled, and annoyed hearts. "

I'm grateful he holds mine. And slightly less annoyed when I remember...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Have A Dream

After an amazing week at Padre last week, I've been busy catching up on all the blog activity I've missed (see the blog links I dig on the right). Playing catch-up is exhausting and exhilirating. Nevertheless, three people sent me the following from Dan Kimball over the past three days.

It seems at his church, Vintage Faith (what a great name, huh?), Dan recently taught on what it means for his congregation to be 'The Church'. Bottom line: it's not about going to church, but about being the church. He says,
"As part of the series, we had little blank white post cards in every bulletin and asked the question of everyone "What do you dream this church could be?" and then had them fill in the black on the card, "I Dream Of A Church....." and then whatever they might dream of. We are really trying to create a culture where the church is not about just the pastors dreams and hopes but the people of the church, who are the church, are the dreamers of what God could do in us and through us as a church."

Dan posted the entire collection of cards along the walls of the building for everyone to see, but he posted a few of the entries Next Wave (bottom of post) as he recounted some of the ones that brought tears to his eyes. Some of my favs:


- that reaches the broken world to bring a healing that can only come from Jesus Christ

- that is more about helping others than about us

- is honest and open-minded rather than self-righteous and dogmatic OR has donuts. I will be OK with either.

- who is loving and unafraid

- accepts people where they are in life and not just when they have achieved a level of "spiritualness"

- that knows me and loves me anyway

Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball

- that gets lost in worshiping Jesus and lingers in His presence

- that Jesus would be proud of

Pretty great stuff. Sounds like something we need to do often enough to keep us focused on being the body.

The entire article is here at Next-Wave.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Our Padre, Which Art In Heaven...

Yes, we survived. Beautifully.

When Heather and the boys and I arrived on Sunday evening, we hit the beach even before we were completely settled in our condo. Why? The tropical storm off the coast of Florida was producing 12-14 foot waves outside our door. Darien and I were eager to hop on the boogie boards and take on the Lady of the Surf. She was awesome.

We checked in all our rooms for the week, made some changes in room assignments, and the students and sponsors arrived around 4:30 Monday afternoon. We checked out at 8:30 on Friday morning. In between, we spent some quality time with the Maker. We were blessed to have Progeny lead our worship. They were outstanding! Thanks Ben, Rachel, Dustin, and 'little Toulson'! The speaker was pretty mediocre, but our small groups were awesome. We had some really great times discovering the Word together.

We even had a group skip recreation (with their counselor) so they could have more time in the Scripture discussing some personal issues. Good times.

For me, the highlight was watching our students worship in the evening. They were marvelous. And, yes, you can't always judge the disposition of the heart in worship by external expressions... but what I noticed brought me to tears. As our group corporately sat in Abba-Daddy's lap and told him we loved Him, we needed Him, and we're sorry for our unfaithfulness, I began to notice some maturity in our freshmen that I hadn't noticed before. There was dedication in our sophmore and junior classes that seemed to grow more resolute. And I watched as our seniors both celebrated and grieved that this was their last Beach Break as a student. They are all amazing.

Thank you to the adults who gave up a week of their lives to invest in our students. These young men and women of the faith will never be the same because of your gift. Remember that.

Thank you to all the parents who trusted our ministry with your precious son or daughter for a week in the Son. If you'd like to come along next time, we'd love to have you experience it side-by-side with your teenager.

Thanks for all your prayers (especially you, are now officially on my white list again. :) ).

I know there's much to blog about, but today is the first day of VBS... I'll be blogging regularly again tomorrow.

Gracias a Dios!