The trouble thoughts


It’s always so much “fun” recovering from days where the performance button is pushed. Today was like that for me, nothing major, but just a few minor mistakes leading me to feel frustrated with myself.

In an environment with multiple simultaneous demands, interruptions, and the need for accuracy to save my poor co-workers from confusion and frustration, I have a hard time hitting the spot all the time. Worst of all is when it happens multiple times.

The trick in these scenarios is stepping into the truth that I’m just human, mistakes happen, I’ll slow down, make adjustments where needed and move on. My identity is not tied to my performance, this is a truth that is FAR harder to live out, and it’s one that I encounter all the time. If I want an easy way to stress out, be mad, be more frustrated, and treat poeple as non-human, it’s forgetting this vital truth.

When I get in the groove of performance then I actually start making more mistakes, covering them up, making excuses, and really just cause more problems. It’s a huge snow ball effect, one I don’t recommended….

My identity, and the original and true identity of all, is within the Kingdom, where Jesus says we are his children, and by that alone we are righteous, pure, and good. Getting into the Kingdom is not a performance game, so living as a citizen of His Kingdom requires nothing but unconditionally loving Him, loving others, and loving myself.

Listen, it’s always best.


So, I had wrote a rather long post about stepping into the Kingdom and how it takes knowing your true identity….  but you see… I didn’t listen.

Right after finishing it up on my phone, I had a momentary “thought” to save it as a draft. But instead I went looking for a good picture to compliment the post…. well now I have no post because I didn’t listen to that voice, that very kind and gentleman like voice, that told me I should save a draft first… because as soon as I found that “perfect” picture. CRASH, WordPress said “force closed”. End of story, game over.

You see, I actually had as feeling that I should wrote about listening earlier… but I didn’t really “feel” it… instead I had a great idea to pontificate about some idealistic thing like Kingdom living… well, the King gets His way.  He was nice about it though, I’ll hit up the link on Kingdom living and identity soon enough.

Two weekends ago I was engaged in a worship experience that was just right… love, truth, and grace flowed into my spirit, perfect until… that darn voice.

The voice said “there’s a ripe group here, the harvest is now”.  Oh man! I knew it, and he asked me to get that message to the speaker. I stalled, big time. The speaker was no less than 20 feet from me, worshipping as well, my heart was quick… but I was nervous… not exactly walking in my identity.

A song or two went on and then, it happened, the nice gentleman (AKA, God, our King) apparently laid the same message on our worship leader too. Dave (our worship leader) began praying for those that were ready to know Jesus. I knew I needed to still emphasize that prayer to Arlin (our pastor speaking that service)… but I never did. Even when I told my wife, and she gently encouraged me, something was frozen in me.

I know what I should have done, and I had an hour or so of “grrr I should have…..”, thankfully I also heard Him say “I still did my work”… and I’m sure He meant in me and in the ones who were ripe. Next time!



I’m simply glad that we have a new beginning everyday with the Lord. For a variety of reasons, mostly relational, I have been challenged over the couple of years in ways I never imagined. I consider myself a very loyal person, I don’t “leave behind” relationships easily, I always try to make sure the lines of communication are open and clear, that people understand, and most of all that my love for them is the driving factor.  However, these last couple of years have presented challenges which, at this point, I am simply stuck – unable to do much of anything but pray. As I wait for God and/or others to make the “move”, I find myself incredibly challenged and frustrated.  There are times where I so badly want to yell at the other parties and make them “restart” and actually let God’s principles take place… but we are human, and so therefore, part of God’s principles are human in nature, because we are made in his image… (this is all very messy). Thus, with this humanity stuff mixed in, things can’t just “restart” and be back to “normal” or even some kind of “modified normal” in a time-frame I like.

So, I sit here today, still stunned, and when I think about everything (over the last couple of years) I begin to wonder will my ideal “restart” ever look like reality? At least I know, personally, God has given me a restart, and I gratefully take it at every chance I remember to (which is far less than I should). The strongest piece of truth I hold onto is the fact that God gave me clear words over the past year, the victory is His and can not be taken… obviously I need to ask what that looks like… because my picture sure isn’t reality (at this time). Love empowers, I just pray that I am continually refilled to continually pour out.








The stifled drive

Edmonds Waterfront 7-2-2011

This is a continuation of my last post, after a few days of mulling things over I have realized one of the core frustration points in my life… I feel stifled… unfortunately (as is usually the case) I’m not in control (heh, that seems to be how this world is set up). However, I have given these frustrations a lot of thought and prayer and have come to terms with them. I have huge dreams and hopes to make a difference in this world, I don’t really care to be “someone” remembered, I just want to consistently make a difference in people’s lives.  I have put a lot of my hopes, dreams, and ambitions into pleasing others – that’s not my goal, so that’s my first term to a different direction. Recently, a friend of mine has been encouraging the boldness factor in me, I find boldness from time to time, I just wish I could sustain it.  Too often my boldness disappears because I don’t like to argue, and many times it seems most people just want to go on without seeing another side – so I think to myself “what’s the point of trying.”

I guess part of the issue is that it takes a lot of energy to actually care, the funny thing with me is that I care so much, that I exhaust myself “caring” before I can even express the love.  This is when I feel stifled, caring so much, wanting to see a difference, but after witnessing so many not wanting to listen, or truly care themselves, I have become jaded.  I don’t want to throw pearls at swine, I guess all to often I figure that’s the category people are in… the swine pit… that’s not very caring now is it?  This whole debacle is a classic trap of “the enemy”, get me to think/fear one thing, so I can’t live out my passions, so I become frustrated and “unable” live out the Kingdom.

So this entirely outlines the need for a close relationship to God, for the inter-dependency of the Church to help us be connected with reality, and for the honest to God humility of one’s heart.  There’s a lot stored up in me right now, but do the above stated “frustration” I feel stuck – however, I have access to a solution – it’s God’s restart button – MERCY and GRACE.  I don’t have to worry about my thoughts from the past, I can start over today and act according to my passion and call today, sure it might make some heads turn (especially my wife) – but I can explain it, walk away from the shame, and move on.  This is the beauty of living as a child of God, saved by the Son, and living in his kingdom.

When values conflict

Window in the Pearl

Being an idealist (and a Christian one at that) may cause one to have ulcers. Sometimes in my quest to live out what I believe are kingdom principles (love people like our Father does, as a child of His be disciplined, and realize His ways are higher than mine) my head spins, my heart aches, and I’m left paralyzed without much of an answer. More often than not I am left feeling like I’m one of the few who truly care, and therefore, what on earth can I do?  I’m reminded, it’s not me, it’s Him that needs to do this stuff on earth… or is it “just Him?” – my spirit screams no, I must do something too.  So, as I try to align all my thoughts, concerns, and deep love for humanity, I become confused with why so many around me move around as if there wasn’t another human around…

So, what values of mine are conflicting? It’s my idealistic values of the Kingdom, and my insecurities of the past. It’s the value to honor my fellow friends, brothers, and sisters, and my need to know I’m “doing” the right thing… aka “approved.”

Sure, people generally care about those around them, but do they care about the ones they can’t/don’t see around them?  Then I think to myself… well I haven’t done much either, so who am I to say much and try to bring awareness to others? I so badly want to see people encounter God, and to see the Church being the Church (having people encounter a dwelling God among them).  So what has held me back?  Honestly, it’s this idea that I need some kind of “permission” or “commission” – some kind of authority figure to “bless” me and say “go do it.” – well, I have heard it, from the Father himself, and I need to stop seeking out the humanly and just walk out what I know is true in the Spirit – respect the human authority – and honor the Spiritual authority.  To be continued…

What’s the point?

seedlings growing

Why do I do the things I do? Why do I hold onto the “high road” and look for “peace”?

Why do I discipline myself, correct myself, and look out for others? Why do I care when so little seemingly do not?

Why do I give so much, invest so much time, repeat myself, and give grace all around to receive “nothing” in return?

Why am I loyal, when most are not? Why do I commit when others will not? Why do I stay quiet when others won’t?

Why do things about life on earth and humanity bother me, but are the jokes of others? When will I learn, or when will they learn?

What effect do my “convictions” really have? How do I affect others when I screw up? Why is it hard for me to be satisfied?

Does it make any difference when I love instead of hate? Does it make any difference when I give grace when “grace isn’t deserved”?

Why are my values constantly conflicting? How do I prioritize the world, humanity, friends, family, and God?

Why do I so often shrink back to that middle-school kid who doesn’t have a voice? Why do people have to “confront” the little things and not the big things?

Why do people have to argue? Why can’t people just get along? When will we ever learn to have tolerance for each other?

When will we Christians ever learn to make allowances for each other’s faults? When will we Christians realize our God gave us this planet? Oh wait, when will we Christians be mature to first love, have grace, and tolerance in areas that are unimportant to salvation?

What’s the point, what’s the big idea? Who cares? Who knows? Does anyone care enough? Does anyone do enough? Does anyone live enough? Where’s our direction? Where’s our conviction? Where’s our love? Who will take action, just one small step at a time?

Who will lead? Shouldn’t we all? It’s true, none of us are disqualified, none of us are failures, we’re all just in this together – yet we do it alone. Alone we accomplish very little. Together, we make a difference. Weather we’re organized or not, simply doing, is better than sitting the game out. Love one another, talk to one another, set aside the differences and find the common items and play together.

Talk, learn, grow, be stretched, and most of all, humble yourself to your fellow humans, we all have something to share! Of course this has to be mutual, and that’s where my idealism usually falls apart, so few of us willing approach each other as equals. I find myself trapped there too, sometimes wanting to “win” a point – which isn’t the point at all… the point is to stretch, challenge, and maybe learn something from another’s viewpoint. Yes, there are certain truths in this world that can’t be “argued”, but they can be lived, and that is more powerful than anything.

I live this “idealistic” life not because I seek some amazing return on my investment, but because I know that in the end it matters more than anything to care for people, the planet, and the kingdom to come. Everything else is so trivial. Of course I like to have as much fun in the process as possible, as long as the goals remain, always… yeah I’m serious even when having fun.

And most of all, where does our help come from? It comes from the same source as those plants in the picture.

Relational value

The above picture is from a small group Alexis and I “lead” for three years. Normally when you think of “leading” it’s a lot of ideas about preparing, mentoring, and “bible study stuff”. In our case, it was a lot of those things, but a whole lot more. However, in spite of a lot of heartache, trauma, and down right warfare, we came to love each other as family. It’s been about six months since our last time together and well, just about everything and anything you could imagine has changed. Plans have been “altered” and our paths have been dramatically shifted in such ways that we almost never intersect anymore.

Yet, I would like to believe that if anything horrendous occurred we would remember the three years we were together and not let regular “life” get in the way of genuine relationship. I hold onto this hope, because, I know that within the church (of people) it can seem nearly impossible to be the Church (of the bible) we see. One of the scriptures that motivates me to be the leader that I know God has called me to be is Colossians 3:12-17:

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

So much can happen, disasters, deaths, disease, misunderstanding, miscommunication, warfare, mistakes, unforgivingness, and the list goes on and on – the bottom line is that we are dealing with humanity, and not just humanity, broken humanity. If we look at the relationships God has placed in our lives, can we say “he made a mistake”? No, we can’t – because he doesn’t make mistakes. Rather, we need to look at where maybe we made mistakes, and where we need to take the next steps to enter into community in the way he calls us to do – in peace and thankfulness.

Of course, let us not place ourselves in relationships where the enemy can cause harm amongst us, and let us not make relationships which do not honor our Lord – for that is not representing Him.  Even in the Church the enemy has headways, and many times those are the areas where the Church fractures, where people get upset, bitter, and confused – because many times, in our broken humanity, we put the blame on our fellow brothers and sisters rather than the author of lies (the enemy). Of course, please do not hear me say none of us have responsibility for our actions, we do, it’s just that we need to recognize the author of the lies that drive our poor actions and choices.

Our responsibility to one another should be driven by honor, wisdom, and love. Many times this means allowing those who have gone before us to speak into our lives and provide guidance, even when we don’t really fully understand (or necessarily agree 100%) the guidance, that’s the season I’m in right now. Out of obedience to the principles that Christ laid out for His Church we shall prosper and live the abundant life.

There’s a lot more I could write, but I simply want to state this – if we filter our actions, our decisions, and our relationships based on the above, then maybe, just maybe, we might begin to see a love that surpasses all understanding, and they will know us for our love.  It’s possible, I know it is, I have been there, multiple times – it’s a challenge, and it’s humbling, and not always easy, but it always rewarding. Do you value your relationships as Christ has called us?

Reboot every day


1 I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. – Psalm 121 1-3 NLT

I’m on a team at our church that puts together the weekend message study guide that gets used for our small groups (or at least that’s the idea). Last week was my turn, so I got the privilege of knowing the topic, scripture, and normally even the sermon outline… however this time all I got were three fill in the blanks (for the slides) and the scripture – Psalm 121. I thought it was odd I didn’t receive the full sermon outline, but went ahead anyway with putting together the study guide. It was a fun journey, I hadn’t really gone deep into Psalm 121 in the past.

If you get a moment to read Psalm 121 in it’s entirety do it, it is only eight verses long, yet full of some of the most basic truths of our Christian walk. Sometimes it can be extreamly difficult to to realize that we are simply not in control, and that really, life is far more simple than we imagine, or make it out to be. However, in the midst of crazy times, and believe me I’m not short of crazy in my life, it is not easy to find the “simple truth”.  The most significant theme in this Psalm is the fact that it declares God’s position in our lives, he is our King, and he is our God, and most of all he is our protector. Sometimes it may seem like a mind game to “lean on that truth” – nothing in scripture says it’s easy, or even anything like magic. It takes faith, and faith many times is not natural, it is, in fact, super-natural. Super – as in above, superior, and elevates the normal “situation”.

As long as I am in the right mindset to lean on these truths I find myself at peace, able to rest, and most importantly, able to process life. When I’m leaning on my own tools (worry, anger, fear, control) I lose hope, and many times cause damage to the relationships around me. Everyday I need to reboot, give up my control, and let God be in control.

May you know this in your heart with each moment of your day: Psalm 121:8 – The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.

Wisdom with humanity.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13 NLT


Last night I mused about “humility in humanity” based on the same verse above. Now, the question of the last year has been “what is wisdom?” Wisdom seems to have so many definitions, so many interpretations, and it seems, a lot of different consequences for not following the “right” wisdom. In the verses following the one above James writes:

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:17-18 NLT

For myself, this sums it all right up, I really have nothing more to add… but for the sake of “processing” I’ll entertain these two verses for a little bit. The strongest point that stands out to me is “willing to yield to others” – I believe that today our society holds onto “entitlement” more than anything else… “I have a right to…” and “but I’m entitled to…” The second item to jump out… “It is full of mercy and good deeds” – hmm… that whole good deeds thing again… what is this, do we serve a God of works? – nope, because we don’t do that good works simply because “it’s the right thing to do”, we do the good works because we are urged, empowered, and motivated by our hearts to do them.  Maybe the secret to wisdom is yielding and humbling ourselves to our fellow humanity in the name of our all loving God so that we might empower the many through Christ’s redemption?

Humility in humanity.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom – James 3:13


This is another post that I’m not sure is fully baked, but I’m hoping to just get the brain primed for breaking into a blogging mind-set again. I’ve got things stirring in my heart, I just gotta start letting them out somewhere, even if they are not up to my self-imposed “standards”.

The picture above is at Ground Zero in New York from when Alexis and I visited last month. Whenever I visit a city, of any significant size, I am always reminded of the fact that I’m just one small piece of a very large world. A world with as many different people, views, heartaches, joys, and terrible things as far as the human mind can comprehend… and then some. I believe one reason I enjoy cities so much is because God wired me to see the humanity he created. I can’t walk a few feet in any city and not be hit with the reality that we all share this world, and therefore, we all share the possibilities to have a relationship with God, and therefore, as a follow of Christ, and someone with a proclaimed “love” for Christ, I too must love His people.

So why did I quote James at the top of this post? Because I believe it to be the core of what the Christian life is about, living honorably (with truth and grace), and above all – doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom. You see, we can do everything “good” under the sun, for this cause, and that cause, and even for our own families, our own children, etc… but what does it matter if we do it for our own good, our own “story” or our own “facebook status” update….  It’s extreamly hard to do good works with humility – because many times in order to do something “good” it is usually “bigger than our selves” and thus requires the assistance of others to make it work.  So many times I see these great “ideas” turn into “look at me” dramas.

I’ll let you all know, I’m not writing this post as a response to anything, nothing at all has prompted me to write this, except by my reading alone. My heart aches when I see our Church (not the church I go to, I mean the Church of Jesus’ followers world-wide) essentially waving a flag “look what we’re doing” – but inside there are broken, confused, and sometimes very dangerous people right under our noses. So many times I wonder if we just did what the heart of God commands us to do, love one another and love Him… then what would we see… it’s a question asked OVER and OVER…

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are amazing things happening, ALL OVER – and I wonder… how many great things are going on that we never hear of… because it’s done in humility? We may never know until the day we meet Jesus face to face. Until then, let’s check our hearts.


Next… the key point in that verse… humility that comes from wisdom… I guess we’ll need to see what wisdom is!