Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Joshua Generation

As yins might know, I am a huge bluegrass fan. Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder is one of my favorite bands (and I got to see them in concert last year....coolio!). They sing a song called "Joshua Generation." It is about how we need to stand up with holy boldness in the church today as Joshua once stood.

I have been reading through the Bible again this year and am in Joshua right now. It was fun to read these verses yesterday:

Joshua 1:6-9 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (NIV)

I wonder if I'm supposed to be strong and courageous?!?!?!?! God only tells Joshua that THREE times!!!

And the key to that? The "Book of the Law" and faithfulness...

Lord help me to spend some time in your word, being faithful, and trusting in your faithfulness...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Acting Like a Kid Again!

This past weekend, I was blessed to lead worship and speak for the Washington District Youth Retreat held at Jumonville. What a blast...the theme for the weekend was CLIP...Christ Loves Imperfect People. This was what their youth leadership team came up with and what they gave me as a direction. I started off Friday evening by having one of the kids "clip" the word "clip" in my hair on the back of my head! We talked about how Jesus loves us no matter how goofy or messed up we are, and we took the next step to talk about how we need to be His hands and feet to love others into His Kingdom too. All in all, I had a great time. I pray that I was used by the Lord over the weekend and that some youth can see Jesus a little more closely and be used by Him a little more as they live their lives.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Leaders on the anvil...

We are pretty foolish sometimes! Think about it, we often just hope that things will drop in our laps without any proactivity on our part. One of my favorite stories in Scripture is that of the Israelites pressed from all sides as they're pursued by the Egyptian army. The army is behind, the mountains are to the north, the desert is to the south, and the Red Sea is in front of them. The Israelites begin to complain to Moses who begins to pray to the Lord. The Lord's response is, forgive the MOW (my own words) translation, "Quit praying and get moving!"
I've been thinking a lot about leadership these past few months. As we seek to adopt a more team-based approach to doing ministry as Cornerstone, and now with my involvement on the Conference level with a desire to produce better pastors. It seems to me that both in the life of our Annual Conference and in the life of the local church, we just expect that God will drop the right leaders on us just when and where we need if God is the "leader fairy."
I believe with increasing conviction that the church needs to put itself on the anvil...allowing ourselves and those who may be called to lead to be formed by God into that role. Moses did. David did. Peter did. Paul did. These guys didn't just fall from the sky, but were molded and formed by God and the faith community to be used for the Kingdom.
So must we. We need to be investing in the lives of potentially great pastors and putting them on the anvil to shape them into that instead of putting so much time into poor and mediocre pastors who will never step up.
In the church, we need to be praying with discernment that God will show us those who can be leaders if we invest in them. And we need to be patiently placing them on the anvil of God's grace to be formed into the next generation leaders....
Am I off base?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!

To Shadrach, that is! On Tuesday, February 20, "our boy" will be 7 years old. He is a faithful friend who is always loving and forgiving. Although he frustrates me sometimes, he almost always manages to bring a smile. He is always happy to see me, and is always excited about "the next big adventure" that we're going on. How God could pack so much of Himself in our dog is amazing...

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm to meet my "pa"?

Get it? Like to meet my "paw"? Here is my teddy bear that I've had since I was a wee one. (You can read into "wee" whatever you want.) He used to say things when you pulled his string, like the title. He also said things like "I think I'll go to bed...set the alarm for Spring!" and "I'd like a peanut butter and honey sandwich" and "I can't see the forest for the bees! Ha, ha, OW!"
A couple of BearyBear thoughts:

First, can someone please tell me how I can remember all the sayings of BearyBear when I can't seem to memorize Scripture to save my life? (I'm also an expert in TV commercials from the 70's...)

Then there is the nagging it OK for God to be my BearyBear once in a while? I mean I know I'm supposed to serve God and love Him and that I've been created for His plan and purpose and all that Christian-eaze stuff ( got your ears on?....sorry bro!) But sometimes I need comfort and joy and peace and security that comes from knowing God through His Son Jesus. Is that OK? Maybe I need to spend a little time just hugging Jesus about you?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy VD...

...Valentines Day, that is!!! Can I tell you how blessed I am on this Valentines Day? Good!

First, I am so blessed because I know that God loves me. He proved that on the cross for me! To prove it, I offer this verse from Romans 5:8... "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Wow, God through Jesus Christ has made me His valentine. Cool!!!
Then there is Carla...only the greatest woman in the world. She is the best wife a man could ask for. She is my best friend, my confidant, my partner, my lover, my buddy, my companion, my discipleship partner, and my champion. Again...WOW! Am I blessed or what?

My prayer today is that I might be the same kind of valentine to both the Lord and my wife that they are to me!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Whiter Than Snow...

Yesterday, some colleagues of mine and I had a discussion about relevance. I confess that I don't read books, I don't listen to secular music, I don't watch much TV, and I don't watch movies. Other than that, I'm completely relevant!!! And I love snow. To top it off, I have a great love for the "classic" hymns of the church, and bluegrass music! And so here I sit, in Cranberry Twp, an alien in a foreign land.

Still, I love it here. I feel called to be here. I hope that I stay relevant by being a student of people instead of by participating in what the world, by and large, does.

I want to share the lyrics from a favorite hymn of that speaks of another favorite (of mine, and yet generally unpopular with those around me) subject...SNOW!

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies,
And help me to make a complete sacrifice;
I give up myself, and whatever I know;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait;
Come now, and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought Thee,Thou never said'st No;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Alone With God...

Why is it so hard to find...that time and space and energy to be alone with Him? The Psalmist says in Psalm 42:1-2 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" I wonder how he answered that? How do you? When you're feeling thirsty for His presence but you can't quite find the stream, what do you do? How do you move from that thirst to "yet I will put my hope in Him."?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Update from Michigan

Well I'm here in Detroit for this conference about how to transition the church. It is OK, but not the best I've ever been to. One of the highlights for me has been the concert of Nicole Nordeman last night. What a worship experience that was! I am coming home on Saturday and I can't wait. I miss Carla, and I miss Shadrach. But as "big and wonderful" as the Northridge Church that is hosting this conference is, I really miss Cornerstone. It is a clearly where God wants me right now, and I'm privileged and honored to be there.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Latest Update

You can click here to read my latest update to Cornerstone Church.

Lifelong Learning...

I was at a meeting of our Annual Conference yesterday regarding clergy effectiveness. We were trying to clarify what makes an effective pastor. One of the pieces we discussed was a lifelong commitment to learning. Now, I am not saying I am effective, but I will say that my effectiveness only increases with each learning opportunity. Every day of life experiences is a day that can teach us something. But we must be willing to learn. My accountability group partners and I are heading to Michigan for a few days for a conference called "Change Without Compromise." Again, this is an opportunity to learn. When I come back on Saturday, I'll be praying for the strength to grow into a better pastor for Sunday!

How about you... are you a lifetime learner? What are the latest lessons God is teaching you? How can we help each other to grow more faithful?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Talk about cold!

My office was 53 degrees this morning! This may be the downside to "church in a warehouse"! I mean I love the cold weather, but it is kinda nice to be able to warm up. On a day like today, the heating system in our building just doesn't seem able to keep up. So after sitting in front of a space heater for a few hours and managing to get the temperature up to 58, I decided to work from home. Carla had built a fire in the fireplace so the house it toasty! I am finding that being somewhere else to work for a day is a different experience. I got a lot of work done already...preparing for classes and my new setting. Maybe there is some credence to the idea of freshness of the mind in freshness of the setting!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I preached this past week about how we need to make our prayer and devotional lives more of a community other words, let's spend time in prayer and the Word TOGETHER!! God has blessed us with Christian brothers and sisters in our homes, neighborhoods, and churches and wants us to walk the journey together.

I just talked to Carla on the phone, and she prayed with me. That is so cool. How much better prayer is when you're sharing it with another Christian. Truly when two of us are together in His name, there He is!!!!