Thursday, July 30, 2009


It has been said that God comes to us as our life.

One of the things I think this helps us think about is how we learn from our life. Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and had to miss one of the highlights of my week. It was a lesson in obedience and humility. Not one I wanted to learn but better to learn from life than not to learn at all.

There are other opportunities as well. Difficult people help us learn to love our enemies. Financial issues help us trust providence and deepen our intercessory prayer life. Our spouses can teach us vulnerability and traffic can teach us patience and help us see where our anger level is.

There are constant opportunities in our lives to help us grow into more Christ like character. We need to open our eyes and see these opportunities.

How are you learning from life?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Prayer changes things because prayer changes us. As we come to God with prayerful attention the repeated encounter changes us from the inside out. As changed people we respond differently to our surroundings and to the people in our life. We gain different values and seek different goals.

I remember a wise woman once telling me that as we pray God gives us the desires of our heart because our hearts begin to desire what God wants. He takes our selfishness and uses it to his advantage.

Prayerful people are softer, they have a tenderness about them because they have received tenderness from God. Don't confuse this for timidity or passiveness. Rather it is a deep strength that comes from not needing to prove oneself.

Loving attention on Christ is a good prayer practice, one that asks for no rewards save from the joy of giving our attention to Christ.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wisdom and Age

What I have discovered in my almost six years in ministry is that most of the men that I have worked with are somewhere between the ages of 50-70. These guys have seen some amazing life change. I think it is because at this age men become open to wisdom. They have lived enough life to see through the distractions and they want to spend the rest of their life in ways that are meaningful.

I wish that younger men would seek wisdom. I remember I heard where a preacher once said that there a lot of smart and capable people in the world but very few good and wise people. Therefore, we should seek to be good and wise.

We, as men spend our younger and working years trying to prove the world how smart and capable we are. Meanwhile what the world really needs is good and wise men to use their talents in ways that honor Christ.

I remember praying for wisdom as a result of that sermon.

My first taste of wisdom came when I was struggling so much in my first church. My ego took a beating (which it needed)and I was finally open to learning what discipleship meant. I had been spiritual but had no real practice to shape my inner life. Wisdom begins when we are humbled and our pride is taken from us.

Letting go is a prerequisite to wisdom.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I read a little while ago that men should be about the work of blessing other men. Sometimes this comes as a formal blessing such as a coming of age ceremony but more often than not it is an encouragement.

I received two blessings this Sunday. The first was from a friend who told another man in my presence how proud he was of me for a recent accomplishment. I felt blessed.

Shortly after another man told me he appreciate some writing I had done.

These comments weren't praise; they were blessings. They were blessing because I know that I am loved by each man and he was pointing out the goodness of what God is doing in my life and helping me to see it and rejoice in my blessedness as His child.

Thanks guys, I left feeling blessed and loved.


I have been thinking about how disconnected we are from nature.

I remember hearing or reading about people growing up on farms. The spoke of knowing the rhythms of life because their livelihood followed the seasons. They worked so hard during harvest and then rested in the winter. Nowadays we get two weeks vacation and work hard all the time, we never make time for rest.

They experienced life and death as animals were born and then slaughtered for dinner. Today we sanitize death, we rarely have bodies at funerals. All of the death we now see is on the TV or via video game. It is fictional rather than reality. We are out of touch with our connectedness to nature.

Jesus, God incarnate is the connection between our spiritual life and creation. He who created all things became a created being in order to help connect us again.

I remember the first time I spent the night in the mountains. Seeing the sunset was amazing. Listening to nothing but Mother Nature was overwhelming. Waking up in an alpine basin is indescribable.

Human, the word in Hebrew means Eathling. We need to help our young people disconnect from the computer and connect to nature. Creation desperately needs us to live out our original mission which is to care for all God created in cooperation with him.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The three Bs


People want to belong to a group. We are programmed as humans to belong. People sort themselves into various groups: climbers, hikers, bikers, hunters, etc..

Even though we naturally sort ourselves into groups it doesn't mean that we feel like we belong. Mother Teresa said years ago in an interview that the world's greatest problem was loneliness. People are lonely, despite the fact that we have more ways to communicate than ever before.

As Christians we should first welcome people into our fellowship before we force them to believe or behave in ways that we think they need to. Jesus went to the people on the fringes, he met them where they were and after their encounter with him they began to change.

We need to trust that if Christ is in our midst that people will encounter Him and by encountering him begin to believe in Him and in his message.

The second "B" is believing. It is the context of belonging that people begin to ask questions, seek answers and begin to believe. This is why the Alpha course stresses hospitality first and foremost. As Christians we should model radical hospitality that recognizes the inherent value of each person based on their being created in the image of God.

The third "B" is behaving. After people have encountered Christ through radical hospitality and love, been able to work though their intellectual issues then they will begin to behave in ways that are consistent with gospel living.

So often we start with believing, then move to behaving and finally based on right belief and behavior allow people to belong. This is totally the wrong order. We need to recover a more Christlike way of welcoming people.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I was driving through some farm country yesterday and it reminded me of how farming or gardening is like spiritual growth.

Crops bear fruit in due season, so it is with our lives. We need to be patient with the fruit of the spiritual journey just as the gardener is patient with the fruit from the garden.

So often we want to rush our spiritual growth and have the results now. It just doesn't work that way. We need to trust that God is working in our lives and will bear the fruit he wants when he wants.

Just as the gardener waters, fertilizers and tends to his or her plants so God is tending to our souls. Trust and be patient, fruit will be born in our lives.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Little Book

I am writing a little book on how to be a disciple of Jesus. Much of my writing time is directed there and when the draft is done I will make it available.