Thursday, January 28, 2010


As part of my regular ministry I meet with people who are suffering. I notice one thread that runs through people who have joy in their suffering; they are people deeply marked by gratitude.

They are painfully aware of their suffering but they are equally aware of the gifts of life that are given every day. They deeply know the truth of James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows".

They wake up in the morning and give thanks for the day even though they know it will have trials. They give thanks for food, care givers, beds, TV, email, friends, family, animals, sun, rain etc... Their lives are permeated with gratitude.

They are most thankful for our Lord Jesus, the crucified man of many sorrows, well acquainted with grief. The one who "bore our infirmities". The meditate on his passion and crucifixion. They know he knows the pain they suffer and they know most profoundly the daily grace he offers and the promise of the resurrection. They talk about heaven with joy and expectation because they know our Lord is preparing a new and glorious life.

One doesn't have to be suffering to begin this process of cultivating gratitude. Try writing those things for which you give thanks to the Father of lights..

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have been wondering what sparks a person's soul to where they are fixed upon Christ and desire to seek his kingdom first and trust the rest to him? What moves a person from simply an observer in life or one who is caught and drifting into a committed disciple of Christ?

Maybe it is reading about, seeing or being touched by another who has been engulfed in the flame of Divine Love and now burns with like the burning bush, burning but not consumed, transformed, not conformed. Maybe it is the gentle breeze of the Spirit or failure in life that open's a persons eyes to the reality and profundity of God's love and present kingdom.

What holds a person back from embarking on the greatest journey ever, that is following Christ?

Men's Ministry Thoughts

Men’s ministry is about discipleship; therefore it is about relationship. It is first about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The first disciples spent time with Jesus, learning from him about the kingdom of God. He called a small group to learn to follow him. Therefore, discipleship is about our relationship with each other. One of the primary goals for men’s ministry should be deepening our relationship with Jesus and each other. The strategies we employ need to deepen these relationships.

Secondly discipleship is a learned skill. We need to learn how to follow Jesus. The first disciples spent three years full time learning from the Master. They quit their jobs in order to be disciples. We today don’t have Jesus in the flesh to disciple us but he does disciple us through the power of his Spirit and through time tested practices. After spending time with the men’s ministry a man should know how to be a disciple and how to disciple another man. I propose that we adopt a basic curriculum to facilitate this process. For that I recommend the Apprentice Series. It is probably the best place to start. The website is

So for me I think that every man should go through Alpha and then follow up with the Apprentice Series, specifically in a small group. This can be done after a bike ride, a round of golf, trap shooting or any other activity.

Evangelistic. We need to prayerfully explore the opportunities to reach the unreached and think about how our activities can facilitate building relationships with the unchurched.

Once a man has been through basic training: Alpha, Apprentice Series, Spiritual Gift Inventory then we can go more deeply into certain aspects of the spiritual life and help deepen our understanding of the nature and character of spiritual formation into Christlikeness. For this Renovare has the best stuff.

When we meet again I want to know who and how we will put this overall vision into practice. I would like to see a clear strategy with accountability to help us move forward and battle the devil as we seek the kingdom of God. I am thankful for all of you.

In Peace and Love,


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Water cooled

When I was younger I ran a lot. I ran a number of road races when I was in my early teens. When I would go for a run while it was running my mom would ask my why I trained outside instead of going to the gym. I told her I liked "water cooled" runs. I really liked being out in the elements.

Today I am planning on a run and it will be more challenging than any run I had when I was younger. Getting sick and older has made running harder and with the pain in my feet I know I should shift my focus to something inside with less pounding. Part of me still lights up at the possibility of a water cooled run. Since I know that those days are limited they are more precious now just as they are more difficult.

Being aware of things sliding away has increased my gratefulness for what is now and encouraged me to live into the now and leave less regrets. I think cultivating gratitude is one of the most important spiritual practices we can have. It transforms so much about life. When we begin to look we see reasons to be thankful everywhere and it is very powerful.

Later today when my feet hit the pavement I will be thankful that they can still hit the pavement. I will be thankful for the pavement, the rain, my shoes, clothing and a warm car and house to dry off and a change of clothing. I am thankful for time in my day to run and each breath (no matter how labored) I breath. All this is gift, grace and for that I give thanks to the Father of Lights who gives all good things.

Giving thanks to my Lord while running transforms it from a mere workout to an act of praise and worship. What a good God we know and serve.

Failed Contemplative

I have been listening to Eugene Peterson's book "Eat This Book" and in this work he uses the term "failed contemplative" and I have to say that I really like the term. Being a contemplative, that is a person who lives in the ever present reality of God and seeks the kingdom which Jesus proclaimed is a beautiful word. When I think of the great contemplatives my name is not among them, yet I consider myself a contemplative albeit a "failed" one.

I really like the freedom this term gives me. It calls me to the path of continual surrender to Christ in the present moment, to a life of abandonment to Divine Providence. I feel the call to seek the kingdom and live into it's reality now. I also lose my patience, forget about God and seek other things before the kingdom. I fail daily. I also experience the kingdom daily. I live both the kingdom and failure, I am a failed contemplative.

I really like that failure doesn't mean that I am not a contemplative and my contemplation doesn't turn into self righteousness. This term has a wonderful earthiness to it. It is like Luther's saint and sinner. I just like failed contemplative a whole lot better.

Monday, January 4, 2010

dying little deaths

As Christians we know that death is the gateway to everlasting life, Jesus secured that through his crucifixion and resurrection.

Much of the time life forces us to let go and die little deaths along the way. We let go of presumptions, plans, abilities and relationships. There is pain in each little death, grief and loss. This is a difficult process, yet Christ is with us every step of the way.

I find as we abandon ourselves to Divine Providence these little deaths are given new meaning because our meaning is not tied to these things. Our meaning is now tied to the seeking of the kingdom of heaven and being found and grounded in Christ's divine and fiery love. Abandonment brings a new freedom and focus for our lives and everything gets reshaped by a new vision of kingdom reality.