Hard core community


For all the talk I see about community it sure seems to be an elsuive idea. I have tasted and seen kingdom based community for my own eyes, and I’ve seen people get excited and the idea never materialize. If we are going to be intentional with our lives then I propose we be intentional with our community.

Community is not simply saying hi to our neighbors a few times a week, nor is it an exclusive club of Christians gathering from time to time to just hang out, talk a little, and go about their lives. Community needs to be about the society and culture we live in, and have kingdom influence. How? By first observing the world around us, seeing the needs of those around us that we know God can meet, and seeking his will about how we as believers can meet those needs. Second, loving the community for who they are, living in their midsts and intentionally be God’s hand and feet through simple offers of compassion and benevolence. Thirdly, offering God’s truth in all things, speaking his life giving grace, peace, hope, and love into the community around us.

Sounds all nice and neat, doesn’t it? Well it’s not, the reality is that this takes a grand amount of patience and labor. In my own observance, many people are not willing to sacrifice and suffer their time and money unless they “know” for sure there will be fruit (aka a return on their investment).
I challenege this school of thought, not so that we waste our resources but that we actually be wise in God’s way and take his risks to heart. His ways are higher than ours, and he wins our battles. The victory is already his! I am willing to say (through experience) that stepping out into the unknown to touch the lives of those around you, weather they are people you know or not, will always produce fruit. It may or may not be tangible, and that’s where we begin to doubt.

Community will look different from place to place, but it will always include sacrificial love and truth. I really wish we weren’t all locked up in our detached homes, fenced off from the world, because if we lived lives where we had to cross paths with “the others” we might just see God do something! We might actually hear his voice prompt us to be community. We must surrender all of that to God, and continue on, good and faithful servant.

Filtering life

A mobile post from the ride home, enjoy.

There is really only so much we can do in life, so making “life worth it” can seem overwhelming and unobtainable. There are a lot of different approaches, and to varying degrees I’ve watched many ways fail to bring about the “worth” people talk about. I’ve been a swinger (no not that kind) just rolling around from one thing to the next, unsure why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Now it’s different, there’s meaning, and sometimes that very meaning is what helps me realize – I never had any worth. At least I never had a need to seek worth, because I’ve always had access to it. Simply through God’s grace and sacrifice, which compels me to recognize my faults, and live for him.

So now I live life through that filter, a redeemed man of God who needs not seek worth, but live in God’s worth! I live my life filtered by God’s priorities, his grace, and love.

The hardships of this life are enormous, many of which I have been through and often felt angered at God for one selfish reason or another. From sexual abuse, family crisis, deaths, relational crisis, depression, and just about everything else you can imagine in the lives of those around me. It isn’t because God has protected me, nor is it some super power, nor is it because I’m smarter than the next person. The victory I have experienced is all due to the fact that I and we have made it a priority to put God first, every yes or no we say is because we have filtered it against our walk with God.

Of course we fail in this at times, of corse we get overwhelmed and make mistakes. Yet overall because of te intentional decisions to fiter our decisions to God we have been spared the worst of the consequences, consequences I know would be devastating.


Some thoughts from my Monday morning commute on the TriMet number 9 bus… mobile post, might not make any sense.

Do you have memories of things you’ve done or said that make you cringe? Maybe it’s just me that thinks back on the pas sometimes and wishes I could just erase some of these things. I know that it is these things which make me who I am, so in the end I’m ok with it. Although some of the following memories have some strong emotions of embarrassment, I’m listing them anyway because these are in the past and I need to just lay it down and be who o know I am, whether or not I’m embarrassed. Most of these things are little, but for some reason or another they have or do provoke some feelings that made/make me cringe.

2nd grade – kicking my desk when I got frustrated with math.

2nd grade – lying to a teacher about a jump rope being stolen, getting another (“popular”) classmate in trouble.

5th grade – Not understanding my math homework, and then getting a “white slip”, which was the highest in fraction, for not completing it.

6th grade – Crying after my English teacher mistakenly accused me of lying about finishing a book when indeed I had.

7th grade – being told by one of my best friends “to away, don’t sit here” at lunch on the first day of school and my very emotional response.

In more recent years it’s been a number of speaking opportunities that have haunted me, one was just last spring, mostly because I didn’t receive any productive feedback nor has anyone offered to have me speak again, total insecurity here, I know I need to just askand learn.

I always cringe when I don’t follow up on things I’m leading, I hate it when I fail in my own values, I know I’m just human In a mesed up world.

Love overcomes performance, that’s the bottom line, live it, think it, speak it.

The “sex appeal of missions”…

Now I know that this post might come across as either bias or as complaining… so I’ll start off with this, every living soul deserves the opportunity to learn about salvation through Jesus. So no matter the place nor circumstance of people we the Church should be at least sending a mesage of equality when speaking about world missions and local outreach.

I bring this topic up because, in my observation, the Church tends to lean towards “heart” tugging programs and locations where it is obvious what kinds of physical needs can be met. The overwhelming majority of these missions organizations do incredible work and bring knowledge of Jesus in very tangible ways. I’m not against this at all… but I do have a question to ask…

How can we address the very real need for places like Europe to learn about Jesus? How do we raise awareness in the Church about this less appealing, less obvious, but still as disparate place? Not to mention the thousands of places like it around the world!


The following is a mobile post, meaning it may have typos, incomplete thoughts, it may not even make any sense – enjoy!

Yesterday Alexis posted on her facebook status a parenting question, one that was really more rhetorical in nature than advice seeking, nonetheless people chimed in. The question centered around, how much do we keep telling Emma that pulling on either of our cat's tails is a "no no"?

Now, the deal is both of our cats are really very patient with Emma and as of yet she has not been scratched, but yesterday the cat who we have never heard hiss (aka, Janek the nice one) actually hissed at Emma after she once again yanked his tail. The other cat hisses all the time, and scratches adults commonly, yet hasn't scratched Emma yet.

So, wer'e at this point of knowing the inevitable, Emma's going to get scratched at some point, even though we're watching her constantly, it's really a fact of nature that if you harrass an animal for too long, even the most kindest of animals, will get annoyed at some point. Where is the point where you let a child learn the "natural" consequences? I think it's at the point where Emma is, where she knows what NO means. But she doesn't quite see the "why" behind it. Of course we'll prevent it as much as possible, we're not to put her and the cats together and wait for her to get scratched. We do know at some point though, it will happen.

So, we'll continue to say no, and we'll continue to tell the cats no as well when they hiss or bat at people. Since we know that the life God has called us to involves all kinds of environments out side of our control (mainly life) we'll do our absolute best to explain life to our children, and that includes natural consequences which we'll do best to explain ahead of the events and consule, love, and bring light to their world after bad things happen.

It's hard for me to not be in agreement with other parents, especially my friends, but I also realize that God has shown us a lot in life through things. One piece of it is the fact that we don't have full control over Emma or even our own lives. what other parents do is what they have the option to do, even if we are not on the same page.

A jack of all trades, master of none.

The following is a mobile post, meaning it may have typos, incomplete thoughts, it may not even make any sense – enjoy!

If there is one thing that seems to have nagged me most of my life it is this idea that I am a jack of many things. Most of the time I see this as a gift, the ability to look at situations and address them somehow, even when I have very little expierence or knowledge of the issue at hand. Overall this gift has been an amazing thing to get me through life.

On the other hand I struggle with the fact that I'm really not a master of anything, that I'm pretty mediocre in many of the things I do. The only area where I feel like I'm an expert is in the IT field, which I'm glad that's where I work :). I know that this sounds critical, and that most of these feelings are distractions from the enemy to knock me off course. In the end though there areas that I would like to grow in, places in my life where I need a master, someone whose been there and focused their goals.

I'm willing to guess that their are others like me, not satisfied with the mediocre, desiring more of God, more of Him so they may grow in confidence and excellence. All at the same time, I must remember to hold onto His grace, realize that in a full schedule such as mine, it's the heart which God looks at, He addresses and He takes pride in. It's all about balance.

Christians give me heartburn

The following is a mobile post, meaning it may have typos, incomplete thoughts, it may not even make any sense – enjoy!

The inspiration for this, this morning is John 17 (the whole chapter) – Jesus' heart was and is for unity between believer, and if you read the rest of the Gospels you'll find that thread of truth for interacting with all people.

So if there is one thing that comes to my mind over and over, when concerning the Church, it's what Christians say and do. Often I read or hear Christians saying simply mean things about others, weather it's some snarky remark about a politician, or complaining about a pastor, and everything in between. While I know Jesus certainly criticized the religious leaders in his day, he was also God, we are not, and I don't believe the apostles went around (in a mean and critical spirit) poking at the Christian leaders in the early Church (nor really the government).

The thing is, we will fail at this, we'll slip up and koin our co-workers in this stuff, we'll get into our little Christian ghetto huddles and mock people. We lean on his grace in these situations, and the funny thing is that most of the people outside the Church have far more grace for these slip ups than us in the Church.

So we need to have an attitude of change, to apoligize, and to seek God's heart for all. Of course we have the right to question, critique, and correct – within the bounds of a loving heart.

Serving in Poland

So what may serving in Poland look like?

The first thing it will look like is mentorship, coming alongside the christians we know and partnering with them to fufill God's dreams, promises, and build them up in their identity with Christ.

The second thing serving may look like is befriending our neighbors, our language school peers, and any other people of constant touch and letting them know the God we serve.

The third way we might serve is in with the currently established churches, small groups, and even with catholic groups (God willing) and pitching in wherever our visions and missions are similar.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell, it's about 10 plus years of ideas, the next ten is "going out"… we'll talk about that when we're ready to cross that bridge.