Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A moment of prayer and reflection.

In light of what is happening in the South East, I didn't want to spend time talking about me. Take a moment, and say a prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. As you are praying, ask the Lord, "What can I do to help?" Allow Him to guide you in how you can be involved in the process of restoring the lives of so many.
Here is a list of relief organizations, should the Lord lead you to get involved:
Here is a list of phone numbers set up solely for cash donations and/or volunteers. Donate cash to: American Red Cross 1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English, 1-800-257-7575 Spanish; Operation Blessing 1-800-436-6348 America’s Second Harvest 1-800-344-8070 Donate Cash to and Volunteer with: Adventist Community Services 1-800-381-7171 Catholic Charities, USA 1-800-919-9338 Christian Disaster Response 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554 Christian Reformed World Relief Committee 1-800-848-5818 Church World Service 1-800-297-1516 Convoy of Hope 417-823-8998 Corporation for National and Community Service Disaster Relief Fund (202) 606-6718 Lutheran Disaster Response 800-638-3522 Mennonite Disaster Service 717-859-2210 Nazarene Disaster Response 888-256-5886 Presbyterian Disaster Assistance 800-872-3283 Salvation Army 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440 United Methodist Committee on Relief 1-800-554-8583 For further information: visit the website for the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) at:

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sorry for the inconvenience...

Sorry for not posting since last week. My laptop is at Geek Squad reconciling some issues with a recent spy-ware episode. I should have it back tomorrow and be back in the saddle. In the mean time, over the next week I'm going to be sending out my proposal for The Journey trying to line up some financial and prayer partners. Be praying that God will overwhelm us with both catagories!

Friday, August 26, 2005

My New Ministry

The Journey met for the second time tonight. We're having a great time in Christ. We talked about covenants, and what we can expect out of people who join us on the Journey. We even had one new face tonight. I'm really excited because that new face invited us to cook out at his apartment next week! We're going to have a swim party and cook out where he lives, and get to meet his friends. This is a step towards discovering our People of Peace. Be praying that there will be lives who are open to building a relationship with us next week!
As some of you know, I spent a good deal of time on the road this summer speaking. As I have prayed about doing that on a regular basis, seeking God's will for me in this, I have received several invitations for speaking engagements. Some are local, some are not. In the coming weeks, I will be speaking at a local church for their 3 morning services, then doing a DNow for a church here in town. From the DNow, I will go to New Mexico where I'm leading the music part of a church's "revival" services. A week after that, I am speaking at a retreat out at PBA for some local churches that are doing their fall retreat together. Then, in November, I'm doing another DNow in New Mexico. And, I've already gotten two dates for next summer! I think God is answering my prayer and giving me direction for the future. I started the process of incorperating and getting my 501c3 tonight. Be praying that it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg. I want to say thanks to my friend, Pat Camarrata, who gave me some great direction on getting this proces going. Also, be praying that I will fill more dates as God opens doors for me to travel and share! I will probably use the same 501c3 for my consulting ministry, too. That should be a promising endeavour. I'm excited about that ministry.
I'm launching a learning community next month for guys and gals that are on the journey of discovering ministry techniques and models for ministry in our ever changing culture. I've already had three guys tell me they are in, and am expecting more. One thing to pray for in this area is that I am praying about extending a learning community to Plainview for the students at Wayland who are interested in this sort of ministry. Pray that God makes this clear and possible! So, lots going on!
In the midst of all this, the Little Man started school, and my princess started MDO and Tumblebugs (Her gymnastics class). She's really growing up fast, too. She tries to reason with me about things, and can make a pretty good case for her perspecive at times. She looks like her mama, but argues like her daddy! They sat in our worship gathering tonight, and did well during the singing part. I figured they wouldn't be interested in the discussion on covenants, so they went and played in their rooms. Tomorrow morning (or I guess later this morning) I'm going to take them to breakfast before I take Jeremiah to school. Cayla has been asking me for another date. She and I sneak off sometimes to a local tea room, and talk while she drinks hot chocolate. I think we'll end up there tomorrow while Caryn is at PT.
Anyway, that's a snapshot of what's going on around here. Drop us a line and let us know how you are doing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Bueno Day

Well, as I write this, it’s Tuesday morning about 8 a.m. It’s been an exciting night. See, there is a new Taco Bueno opening in Lubbock tomorrow, and the first 10 customers get $500.00 of Bueno bucks. I know! That’s a lot of Bueno. Anyway, Marcus called me Sunday as I was returning from Artesia and asked me if I had plans for Tuesday. Of course, being unemployed, I had no plans so he clued me into the Bueno deal and I said I would be there. Well, yesterday (Monday) we noticed a lawn chair by the door, and thought the line was already starting. So, rather than being a day late and $500.00 short, I headed for Bueno. Turns out, the chair was just holding something, and was gone when I got there. Well, I thought it’d be alright to go ahead and start the line. I arrived at Noon on Monday, and pitched my tent. I endured the hottest part of Monday with only a slight sun burn to show for it. At around 4:00 p.m., my friend, Jeff, showed up with our guitars. We sat around and played for a couple of hours. Marcus arrived next. The upside about getting here Monday was they were training the drive thru crew, and we got tons of Bueno for dinner. The regional manager, Roger, asked us if we would like to plug in our electrical gear for the night. Heck yes! I plugged in the 21” TV, Marcus’ X-box, our laptops, and cell phones. It’s all set up in the back of my truck, like a high-tech mobile office. Of course, we had people drive by and scream obscenities at us most of the night. They yelled things about how stupid we are, or how crazy we are. Every now and then one would venture into the parking lot and ask us what we are doing. Their expressions were priceless. But our greatest guest of the night is the famous Nick Watts! Yes, Nick who also camped with us at Krispy Kream’s grand opening came by to lift our spirits! I need to also give a special shout out to Katlyn for the picnic basket of goodies she brought us last night.
Shortly after Marcus arrived, a man who works at Texas Frame & Body showed up, and asked if he was in time for the Bueno bucks. He joined our merry group at 7ish on Monday. Futrell showed up next, around 8:30. We played Frisbee, X-box, and other sundry silly stuff. We watched “Big Fish.” It was a touching movie. The coolest thing, though, has been meeting the staff. At some point in my nearly 24 hours here, each employee has come out and asked us what we are doing and how it’s going. Some of the management I’ve met by name. We’re building relationships. Is it worth $500.00 of Bueno bucks? I think so, but some would say not. Is it worth building name and face recognition with people who need to know our Savior? Definitely! One of those people is the General Contractor who built the building. He was here until 1:30 last night. I got to visit with him about his life, what he does, where he lives, etc. He lives in Abilene, but is here doing 3 jobs. He’s been married 27 years, and has a house in Florida as well. He’s currently bidding the new Bueno that is going in on the other side of town. I think he would say that we are newly acquainted friends. I’ve recently realized that I need to go to greater lengths and make greater sacrifices so that others can experience Christ. And this has been one of those moments. And besides, free Bueno for our meals, $500 of Bueno bucks, and my family getting to come hang out at our base camp in the parking lot are all fringe benefits. I think sacrifice can be fun, if we see it as such!

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Journey Begins

Last night was the first official meeting of The Journey. We called out to our Heavenly Father to show us His will and His direction. We watched a compelling video re-expression of The Pilgrim's Progress, and then discussed our journeys and what life is like for everyone. From there we began to dream and share about what "church" should be. And, much to the credit of everyone involved, the discussion was positive and centered on the fact that we are the church. We discussed what our lives should be like. We came up with some things that are no-brainers, but essential for life:
A Life of Christ-like sacrifice: We should be a people who do as Christ asks reguardless of how we feel. We lay aside ourselves for the Cross of Christ.
People of Prayer and God's Word: We need to be people who are in constant communion with our Lord and Master. If we are to do His bidding, we must know His mind. And as flawed beings, that means constantly overcoming our flesh with His Spirit.
Ministry From Overflow: We don't need to fell like we have to be doing something to be on mission. We just need to be living life with Christ and allow Him to flow out of us as we do life. We will stress obedience over activity
Relational Disciple Making: The "bottom line" fruit or eternal work we should be about is bringing glory, fame, and honor to God by reproducing our faith in others. Our Master's last words before His assension were to go and make disciples. That's what we'll do, out of the overflow of our relationship with Him.
Ministry of Restoration: We will restore those who error, and we will do it in love with gentleness. We will invest in the lives of each other, so that when discipline must happen, it is given and received in love.
Breaking of Bread, Fellowship, and Prayer: We will have all things in common, sharing the elements of our faith with one another as a relevent expression of our love for Christ, and we will be all things to all people that by all means some might be saved.
So, all in all, it was a very good evening. If you're in the area, and would like to share in this fellowship of pilgrims making life's journey together, stop by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Journey

You are traveling down a long, straight highway, knowing that home lies somewhere well beyond the horizon. You have never gone this way before, but others have told you it will get you to your destination. So, you settle into your seat, adjust the radio, set the cruise control, and off you go. You are hoping to enjoy the wide and extremely well traveled road, but you really want to be home. You consider the journey a long but necessary trip. You concern yourself only with keeping it between the lines as your mind blissfully drifts from thought to thought. Then it happens; a noise, some sort of bump that jars you back to reality. The road isn’t as smooth as you had thought. Surveying your surroundings, you notice a person standing on the shoulder ahead, possibly a hitchhiker. He’s holding a sign that simply says, “Home,” and points to a much narrower and much less traveled road. It strikes you as odd, but you decide to keep going. As you pass the long-haired man, he makes eye contact with you, turning as you travel past him. You look at him in your rear view mirror, reading his sign, and watching his frame shrink into the distance behind you. Something stirs inside you. You begin to think, “Where does that road go? Who was that guy? Should I turn around and check it out? What if I’m on the wrong road? Can I trust that guy?”
We believe that life is a journey, and everyone starts the journey as a wanderer on the wrong path. But some of us have been shown the narrow road that we are meant to travel, and have chosen to follow The Guide on this narrow path. That’s where the real journey begins. We begin to move with intention and design. We have discovered that there are only two paths through life, and the one we were on leads to destruction. But, because Jesus of Nazareth has shown us the right path, we continue the journey on the right path towards a new destination with new purpose and new hope. We now find ourselves in the midst of the greatest journey of all; with the Great Journeyman as our guide. Our purpose has changed from making it home to making Him famous. We no longer travel uninformed. We get our direction from the One who set us on this path. He tells us things that would not have made sense on the other road. We know our destination, but concern ourselves with the journey, understanding that He is concerned with the journey. He asks us to travel together as strangers in a strange land. He leads us to help each others to be better travelers. He expects us to offer assistance and direction to those who are lost or stuck. He compels us to hold up our signs for those who are still on the wrong path, imploring them to change direction. Home, it’s just a matter of turning. All the while, we are learning that the journey is really all about our Guide. Ever bump, every breath, every step, every valley, every new traveler, it’s all about Jesus of Nazareth and His way. We find that He is the Way.
Where are you on the journey? Are you still on the broad and well traveled road? Are you considering making the turn and trusting this Jesus of Nazareth to be your Guide? It’s the right choice, and the only way home. Are you a traveler who has made the turn, but gotten stuck? Are you close on the heels of the Great Journeyman? Wherever you are in the journey, we want to come along side you and travel this strange road with you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Little Man

Well, today is a big day in the Bishop's home! Jeremiah starts school today. It will be his first day at kindergarten! He will do great, I'm sure, but here it is past midnight and I am still awake. I feel almost as keyed-up as I do the night before a big trip. My little guy is taking his first steps to a "bigger" life.
I remember the night he was born, and I held him in my arms and explained the Gospel message to him. It's something that he knows and believes (even more faithfully than I do sometimes!). As I talked with Caryn about it tonight, I realized this will be the first time in his life that someone else will have a primary place in shaping his world view. Someone else will be investing in him every day. It brought two things to my mind:
1} I need to stay as connected as I can to be sure that he is learning to apply what he hears with a Biblical perspective, and
2} I need to pray for his teacher to communicate truth for my little boy to hear.
Tonight, Jeremiah was running in circles in his room as I tried to get him to bed. He came over, laid down on his bed next to me, and told me that everything would be great. For a moment that I will remember forever, we just laid there on his bed, his head on my arm, and stared at the ceiling. He looked at me and just smiled. He knows something big is happening, he's just not sure what. After he fell asleep, I went back in, and kneeled by his bed. I placed my hands on his head while he cranked out his little version of snoring, and I prayed for him.
Caryn and I have been so deeply blessed by God through our children. Some of you may not know that we lost two children early in our marriage, both of them at 7 weeks into the pregnancy. The same pattern began to develop when Caryn was pregnant with Jeremiah. I remember the Friday that we thought we'd lost him, and Dr. Ashby couldn't see us until Monday. It was a long and silent weekend. But, when we got to Dr. Ashby's office, he did a sonogram, and there was the Little Man's heartbeat, good and strong! He's our miracle child. And now, 5 years later, he's off on a great adventure.
Please join us in praying for him. Pray that he will begin to see school as a ministry field, and a place to live a life that expresses the joy of Christ as only a child can.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Just do it!

I remember Nike's famous campaign, "Just Do It!" Sometimes I feel that I am impulsive, and have thought about how impulsive our society has been. As I've matured (yes, I have matured! Just imagine what I was like 10 years ago! And, for those of you who knew me then, you understand.), I've tried to temper my impulsiveness for a more refined and contemplative approach to life. But sometimes you do just have to get after it, and see what happens. Isn't that just the way life is? About the time you develop a much desired trait, it becomes a hinderance to something important? I wonder if fear mixed with a desire to be "tempered" has kept me from significant things the last few months...
So, today marks a resurgence of a Nike-ish life creed! Less temper and more "Why not?" There must be a balance between making wise choices and seizing the moment. Maybe that's exactly what Jesus is talking about when He says to make the most of every opportunity. We must be in touch with the leading of His Spirit so that we can know how to respond to each moment of life. That's my goal and prayer.
Father, help me to know when to leap and when to wait. Help me to sense the leading of Your Spirit to make the best of every moment and every breath. May life be for me a constant connection with You that brings carpe diem into balance with Cogita ante salis.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

An alright day...

Today was an alright day. I slept until 11 a.m. which may sound late, but I didn't get to bed until 3 a.m. this morning. From there I hung out at the house most of the day. I ventured to the bank and then to my softball game. We won 23 - 5! Our team actually run-ruled the other team. And the miracle? We only had 8 guys! I had a good game. Then, it was back to the house where I started packing for a much needed trip to the coast. The bad thing is it's just for a day. I leave at 6 a.m. for Galveston, and will be back by 6 p.m. Wednesday. But it'll be a good trip!
I'm hoping for some moments of discovery during my trip. I'll be hanging with some of the most brilliant minds in the state. I'm sure that I'll have some interesting posts upon my return. So, stay tuned!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Some Thoughts On The Missional Church

{Excerpts taken from "The Shaping Of Things To Come" by Frost and Hirsch, p. 11-12}
I've been reading this book that has kinda messed me up, but in a good way. The book is "The Shaping Of Things To Come" by Frost and Hirsch. There are some things I don't agree with, but most of it makes sense. Here's a little bit. Read it and tell me what you think:
The author use a term for the disciple-making church as being a missional church, or the church with a mission. I love that! It's not just church because...It's church because of a purpose! Frost and Hirsch mention an organization called the GOCN (Gospel and Our Culture Network/ that has identified 12 keys to being a missional church that will contrast the modern church in some ways. They are:
1) The missional church proclaims the Gospel.
2) The missional church is a community where all members are involved in learning to become disciples.
3) The Bible is normative in this church's life.
4) The church understands itself as different from the world because of its participation in the life, death, and resurrection of its Lord.
5) The church seeks to discern God's specific missional vocation for the entire community and for all its members.
6) The missional community is indicated by how Christians behave towards one another.
7) It is a community that practices reconciliation.
8) people within the community hold themselves accountable to one another in love.
9) The church practices hospitality.
10) Worship is the central act by which the community celebrates with joy and thanksgiving both God's presence and God's promised future.
11) This community has a vital public witness.
12) There is the recognition that the church itself is an incomplete expression of the reign of God.
Hirsch and Frost give three more, overarching principles for the missional church. I agree with all three, but would remove the apostle from the leadership of the church because no one alive has seen the physically resurrected Christ. Therefore, no one can be an apostle. But, here they are:
1) The missional church is incarnational, not attractional, in its ecclesiology. By incarnational they mean it does not create sanctified spaces into which unbelievers must come to encounter the Gospel. Rather, the missional church disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don't yet know Him.
2) The missional church is messianic, not dualistic, in its spirituality. That is, it adopts the worldview of Jesus the Messiah, rather than that of the Greco-Roman empire. Instead of seeing the world as divided between sacred (religious) and profane (nonreligious), like Christ it sees the world and God's place in it as more holistic and integrated.
3) The missional church adopts an apostolic, rather than hierarchial, mode of leadership. By apostolic they mean a mode of leadership that recognizes the fivefold model detailed by Paul in Ephesians 6. It abandons the triangular hierarchies of the traditional church and embraces the biblical, flat-leadership community that unleashes the gifts of evangelism, apostleship, and prophecy, as well as the currently popular pastoral and teaching gifts.
So, comment and let me hear your thoughts!

The Frustration Of new Ministry

I love Daybreak! As Nathan and I sat there yesterday, I realized there was a diverse group of people there. And at one point, the place was 2/3 full, and we were the youngest people in there! It just reinforced my thinking that post-modernity is not a generational thing, but a cultural thing. It's not about age, it's about living. Anyone living in USAmerica is living in a post-modern culture, and is influenced by that culture.
As we sat and talked, I was overwhelmed with a question that Nate posed (he usually has those hard questions to ask). As we were talking about the new paradigm of ministry that we face, and small group ministry, He asked "How do we do this kind of ministry?" That's when it hit me: we're facing the same dilema that our students in the past have faced when I have stood before them and challenged them to do the work of ministry. They come away with a deeper appreciation for ministry, but no idea how to do that ministry. Here are two pastors sitting in a coffee sho talking ministry concepts and simple relationship building and neither one of us can come up with an image of what that ministry would look like! That's where the wheels began to turn for me. How do we build small groups from people in our traffic patterns? Most of the people we train never take the time to think it deeper. They do what I wanted to do yesterday: Say "I don't know!" and walk away. But, something in me won't let me walk away. The answer is there, on the edges of my mind. I'm going to have to struggle through it. I think my problem stems from too much life in the bubble! Now, the mininstry God is leading me to requires relationship building with people in a different sphere of life, and I'm trapped on the inside looking out. i realize that it will take time. But more than that, it will take effort. And I think that's where most people stop short. The percieved benefits are not worth the effort. But, if God is going to use me to reach an unreached people group, I must never hold back! So, from here we move forward. Trial and error, baby! Trial and error. I have no idea what it's going to look like, probably chaotic and disjointed, but what revolution hasn't been?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Control, Numbers, and Sorry Theology...

I can't believe it's August already. Today was my last day of discipling the staffers at Plains Baptist Assembly. The summer didn't end without a bang, though. I had the honor and privilege of baptizing a good friend of mine, Jessica. She had never been immersed, and wanted to be obedient to Christ. Here's the kicker, though; several local pastors made it clear that they would not honor her baptism since it took place at a camp and not a "church." I was appauled at the theology that I heard yesterday! One pastor even said that the problem was that if we allow this, anyone could baptize anyone! God forbid that His people baptize someone into the fellowship of the church! This just further accentuates the problem of the modern church: a group of narrow-minded power-mongers afraid that control over the sheep will slip from their grasp! What authority or local church oversaw the baptism of the Ethiopian eunich? What local church pastor gave approval to Jesus' baptism? What Pastor baptized the apostles? I recently read about some soldiers in Iraq who have recently been saved and baptized through the ministry of their unit's chaplain in water-filled holes in the desert. Will their baptisms be invalid to the local church here? Is it okay that a man who is a Christian chaplain, Catholic Priest, Jewish Rabbi, and Indian Shaaman, baptized these soldiers? People! We have got to come to grips with kingdom mentality. Rage against something worth raging about! But to rage about a young lady who wants to be obedient and follow Christ in believer's baptism just smacks of "Hey, that's my number!" or "Hey, I didn't get the recognition for this..." Not one of these men expressed joy or encouragement to this young lady at reaching a milestone in her pilgrimage! So, anyway, I called my Pastor, and told him the situation, and we went ahead and baptized her under the "authority" of my home church, just to quiet the nay-sayers. However, the damage was done. The message that was sent was that their own sorry theology and control was more important than the people involved. May God have mercy on all of us who impose sorry theology on those who don't know any better. God, please forgive us for each time we've placed our kingdoms before Yours.