"Take Me to Your Leader!"


"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956)


Better than 90% is Not Enough!

The US poverty threshold for a family of four is approximately $22,000 a year.

Earning $22,000 a year places you in the top 10% of households worldwide.

Seems like a disconnect to me!

The US poverty threshold is much lower than what allows people to receive public assistance of some kind or another. In our area, a family of four can qualify for help with utilities, health care (of course this will be changing), and food, if they make less than $45,000 a year.


$45K !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...and it's not enough!

Leadership Video: Intro

Series Introduction

Part 1 Introduction

The Master's Plan

In giving himself to God, Jesus gave himself to those about Him so that they might come to know through His life a similar commitment to the mission for which he had come into the world. His whole evangelistic plan hinged on this dedication, and in turn, the faithfulness with which his disciples gave themselves in love to the world around them.



"Integrity would mean, among other things, that you don’t have to run different processes in your life—that you’re transparent and all parts of who you are hang together, are consistent, so you don’t have to keep parts of yourself hidden."

Dallas Willard (Click on the title link for the whole article)


Disciples or Customers

"The reason several thousand volunteers do what they do ... is because those volunteers understand that we're not simply parking cars, we're not simply taking care of kids ... we're creating irresistible environments. When people come into those environments, there's kind of an ‘aha’ moment as they begin to connect with not a church, and not a message, and certainly not a person, but they begin to connect with the relevance of the gospel and the relevance of Scripture as it relates to their everyday experience."

A Famous American Megachurch Pastor


While I admit, I want to play the same game. I want to gather crowds who affirm my calling and ministry by nodding and smiling at appropriate moments, and giving their energy and money to my vision for their lives. But, I have to question a system that defines 'spiritual success' as people being provided with 'irresistable environments' by virtue of scratching their consumer itch.


"Whoever wants to be my student must be nailed to a piece of wood and left for dead."

A Famous Palestinian Revolutionary



"Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor--that is the only way out of our 'hole'. This process of surrender--this movement full speed astern--is what Christians call repentance."

C. S. Lewis



"Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. It cannot happen."

C. S. Lewis



"Mark 1:15 “Jesus then came into Galilee announcing the Good News from God. ‘All the preliminaries have been taken care of,’ he said, ‘and the rule of God is now accessible to everyone. Review your plans for living and base your life on this remarkable new opportunity.”
This is a call for us to reconsider how we have been approaching our life, in light of the fact that we now, in the presence of Jesus, have the option of living within the surrounding movements of God’s eternal purposes, of taking our life into His life."

Dallas Willard


True Wisdom

"EVERY man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars. He who knows himself well becomes mean in his own eyes and is not happy when praised by men.
If I knew all things in the world and had not charity, what would it profit me before God Who will judge me by my deeds?
Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise.
Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God.
The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you. If you think you know many things and understand them well enough, realize at the same time that there is much you do not know. Hence, do not affect wisdom, but admit your ignorance. Why prefer yourself to anyone else when many are more learned, more cultured than you?
If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel. To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself."

Thomas a Kempis


A Parable

If you didn't already read this, then make sure you do!


His Mystical Body

“When Christ was here on earth, He was limited to performing His ministry in one place and at one time. He was one man, walking beside one sea in one little corner of the earth. He healed whomever He touched, but His touch was necessarily limited by time and space. Now, does it make sense that the Father would send His Son for this limited ministry? I don’t think that is tenable. He made provision to carry on the work through the Holy Spirit: we are to complete His mission. We are His multiplied hands, His feet, His voice and compassionate heart. Imperfect and partial to be sure, but His healing body just the same. And it is through the Holy Spirit (Christ’s love which is everywhere at once) that we receive the power to carry on the work of the apostles. It is a challenging and sobering thought: when we receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, we receive the same urgent and life-giving force that led our Master.”

Frank Laubach


Easter Discomfort

Easter should be more disquieting than Good Friday.

Good Friday is a celebration of torture and death. Even more, it is the celebration of the torture and death of the only Good Man, God's own Son. For this reason we are uncomfortable; add the fact that we bear some culpability in this act and it is an obvious cause for squirming in our seats.

Easter, on the other hand, is warm and fuzzy... or is it?


Easter is about God's future breaking into the present. Easter is about God's rule and reign breaking into our petty kingdoms. Easter is about the undoing of all of our own plans for our own ideas to become our own reality.

We don't squirm in our seats about Easter, because we don't understand it.


Everybody Gets to Play

Click on the title link to another guest post for Jason Clark.



"The English Premier League presents football at the highest level: which is great for the sport, but not so great for ministry. In fact, the professional game presents 22 men desperately in need of rest being watched by 22,000 people desperately in need of exercise! It sounds a little bit like church life, doesn’t it? If the goal is to provide a high level of entertainment then excellence is a requirement, but if the goal is to equip others, excellence can become the enemy."

- Ray Hollenbach

(Click on the title link for the whole post)

The Idealist

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them!"

Henry David Thoreau



...the command to be perfect as God is perfect is not idealistic nonsense, nor is it a command to do the impossible. God wants to make us into people who can obey the command.

The Depth of Offense

In some ways the depth of a relationship can be measured by how deeply we can offend each other without ending the relationship.



8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 Cor. 4:8-12

Thank you Jesus, that your life is available to us, even in our brokenness.


Sex and the Radical Middle

We really have allowed ourselves to be polarized into one of two completely ignorant camps on sexual ethics...

The traditional camp that claims to know what redeemed humanity looks like, but that knowledge somehow fails to communicate what our genitals are for!

...and the laissez faire approach of our culture that seems to know everything about what to do with your genitals, but doesn't really seem to understand what a human being is for!


Rescuers of Men

Click on the title to a guest post I wrote on Jason Clark's blog. Jason is a pastor/planter of a Vineyard Church in the UK. We met briefly at the Society of Vineyard Scholars conference in Texas and have begun to interact online since then. I am blessed to interact with him and his thoughts on the Kingdom and the Church.


While the Church has difficulty engaging, we do largely recognize our need to engage in mission. When we do engage in mission, however, it is largely through programs and events. Mission is often not seen as the responsibility of the Church as a whole; "I don't have to do it, because we pay them to do it." The fruit of our labor is a church that may be full of people, but quite often people have merely changed the label they were wearing. They are now wearing the 'Christian' bar-code, but nothing else has changed. (Or more likely, people have simply abandoned another faith community for ours out of simple consumerism.) The definition of a healthy church is one that is full of healthy people who can afford to pay their mortgage and their car payment, don't get drunk in public, can prove their heterosexuality with some athletic children, and wear a smile when they show up to Sunday services.

1) Rescue: Why?

Christian identity is in Jesus, not anywhere else, not even mission. ...but if Jesus is our identity then His mission will be ours. Mission flows from the heart of Jesus. If we claim to be united to Him, then this will flow out of our heart. (I began with little concern for mission and brought this honestly before Jesus and the Church. My love and devotion for Christ, and my commitment to discipleship under godly men, led me to a desire for mission. We may lack passion for rescuing men, the call is still to simply follow Jesus, He will teach us what to care about!)

This means that, while institutional and programmatic efforts should be made, they should not be central. The community as a whole must take ownership, it must not be simply handed to those few who are so inclined, or compensated, to run the mission, while the rest of us enjoy fellowship. For each individual this must be seen as 'mine,' central to my own individual purpose, and our common purpose. This must be seen as a fundamental aspect of our identity as Christians.

2) Rescue: What?

What do we mean by rescue? We aren't merely talking about praying the prayer, attending services, belonging to an organization, getting sober (or straight), finding a good job, morning prayers, reading the Bible, getting married, learning to lead a small group; but rather entering into the Kingdom. Rescue consists of coming under the Reign of Jesus, submitting to His government. This is true of women and men in all circumstances; the call to repentance and submission is just as poignant for the 'successful' as it is for the broken. This implies a responsibility for teaching the way of the Kingdom, for discipleship. To rescue is to disciple.

3) Rescue: Who?

Our identification with Jesus should cause us to care for the things He cares about. He came to rescue the broken. We must seek out the underbelly of society. It is not enough to 'pack the house' if all of the faces look the same. We must enter into relationship with the other; those who speak different languages, have different skills, wear different clothes, have different values, struggle with different problems. We must be rescuers of mankind, not merely those men who look like us.

4) Rescue: How?

The means for rescuing women and men is simple relationship. Whatever the context, a person will rarely come to faith without another human being interacting with them, and even more rare is it for someone to grow in the Kingdom without another person in intimate contact. This requires an essential geographical, relational, economical, and emotional proximity to those we are rescuing. We must intentionally leave our world and enter theirs. (Those who have must bear the burden on behalf of those who have not.)

This cannot be conceived of in terms of 'number of conversions' or in terms of 'attendance.' Nor can it be conceived of in terms of individual success; 'look at the people who are sober, straight, and smiling.' Rather it must be conceived of in terms of taking enemy territory. Rescue means releasing slaves, teaching them to live without shackles, and then bringing them back into enemy territory to release others.

What this looks like practically can be summed up in some of Jesus own words: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

I believe that the time is now for planting new churches, in new places, and in new ways. It is not enough to plant churches that 'succeed.' It is not enough to find the fastest growing suburban community in the area, open up shop, advertise, and welcome all of the transfer growth. It is not enough to pack the house. It is not even enough to do ministry amongst the broken and poor. It is time to move into the cities, it is time to share life with the muslim immigrants, the foreigners who can't even say 'hello' in English, the kids running the streets who will eat everything, break everything, and steal everything. It is time to engage the hostile tribes in the urban centers, the gay community, the art community, those who have nothing but antagonism for the Church. It is time to stop the syncretism in our churches, to strike at the demonic stronghold of consumerism and individualism, and to engage the spiritually apathetic middle-class. These people are the future of Western society, and if the gospel does not flourish amongst them, then the Western Church is truly dead, and so is any hope for Western society to be rescued.