Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

". . .worship isn't having a song service or prayer time. . .It's living as a daily sacrifice in the life of Jesus, which is letting Him demonstrate His reality through you. This is the joy of living in the kingdom--watching Him work in you." (Jacobsen & Coleman, "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore")

Sounds a little bit like Romans 12:1 and Colossians 1:27, doesn't it?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

(I think this nails it.)

"Isn't it sad that we thought we could press people into spiritual change, instead of helping them grow to trust Father more and find Him changing them? You can't press a caterpillar into a butterfly mold and make it fly. It has to be transformed from the inside."

(I'm currently reading and enjoying this book, and am posting a quote from it each day so you can decide whether to buy it or not.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

“Religion is . . . a shame-management system, often with the best of intentions and always with the worst of results. In the end people are still addicted to shame and bounce between self-pity and self-glory, never finding freedom to simply live in Him. It makes people think God wants a cause and effect relationship with them. If they’ll be good, He’ll be good to them.” (Jacobsen and Coleman, "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore")

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Something Old, Something New

This little 3:19 video, with an old-timey voice-over and modern effects, will shake you up!

Quote of the Day

(Ooh. This will make you think.)

"It's valuable for the body of Christ to find one another and share His life together. Where people are doing that they don't need commitment. They'll bend over backward to be with one another. Where they aren't doing that, it does little good just to be committed to a meeting. I'm convinced that most Christian meetings give people enough of God's things to inoculate them against the reality of His presence . . . Discipline holds great value when your eye is on the treasure. But as a substitute for that treasure, obligation can be a real detriment when it gives you satisfaction just for completing a task."

Quote of the Day

“If you really want to learn how to share Jesus’ life together, it would be easier to think of that less as a meeting you attend and more as a family you love . . . Anything valuable you experience in your life together will come from your life in him.” (Jacobsen and Coleman, "So You Don't Want To Go Church Anymore." Get the book here.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

“Our biggest messes come when we try to do something for God that we’re convinced he can’t do for himself.” (Jacobsen and Coleman, "So You Don't Want To Go Church Anymore." Buy it here.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When You Need To Say "Buh-Bye"

Just a little weekend humor--have a wonderful time!

Quote of the Day

“When we’re looking to the future, we’re not listening to Father. Anything we do to try and guarantee stability on our own terms will actually rob us of the freedom to simply follow him today. We’ll resort to our own wisdom instead of following his. The greatest freedom God can give you is to trust his ability to take care of you each day.” (Jacobsen and Coleman, "So You Don't Want To Go Church Anymore." Buy the book at:

Friday, April 23, 2010

At The Conference

I’m having a terrific time at the AELM Conference, here in Estes Park, Colorado. What fantastic and fun and deep and loving and kind these people are. I’m thinking of starting a commune with all of them as charter members. And with my wife and girls joining us tonight, the picture is fairly complete. We might let a few others in . . .maybe not.

Quote of the Day

“Just remember he’s not worried about tomorrow because he has already worked that out. He’s inviting you to live with him in the joy of the moment, responding to what he puts right before you. The freedom to simply follow him that way will transform so many areas of your life. He loves you . . . and he wants you to live in the security of that, without having to figure everything out.” (Jacobsen and Coleman, "So You Don't Want To Go Church Anymore")

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

“. . .Paul (the apostle) saw another way to live in God’s life that was so engaging it transformed his entire life. He knew that our failures all result from the fact that we don’t trust God to take care of us. As Paul grew to know God better, he discovered that he could trust God’s love for him. The more he grew to trust God’s love, the freer he was from those desires that consumed him. Only by trusting Jesus can anyone experience real freedom.” (Italics mine.)

(I am currently reading "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore," by Coleman and Jacobsen, and I'm lovin' it. I'll regularly post some quotes from it so you can get a feel for what the authors are saying. And so you can decide whether or not you want to pick it up.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First-of-the-Year Pilgrimage Complete

Just this afternoon, we made our first trek of the year to a nearby lake. Success was sweet!

Quote of the Day

Today I am offering two quotes for the price of one.

"No prison is as strong as religious obligation. It takes us captive even while we're patting ourselves on the back."

"We're not changed by the promises we make to God, but by the promises he makes to us. When we make commitments that we can live up to only for a brief period, our guilt multiplies when we fail. Upset that God doesn't do more to help us, we usually end up medicating our guilt with something like drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, or anything else that dulls the pain, or it creeps out of us through anger or lust."

(I am currently reading "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore," by Coleman and Jacobsen. I am enjoying it very much, and I'll regularly post some quotes from it so you can get a feel for what the authors are saying. And so you can decide whether or not you want to pick it up.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Air Guitar & Conspiracy

My daughters are in on the conspiracy, I’m sure of it.

Almost two weeks ago, the Spirit surprised me with the following words in my head: “I want you to have more fun. . .with me.” Well, I’m having some trouble with that. I mean fun is for weekends and vacation, right? Fun is for kids on a playground and idiot youths on sleepovers. Fun is irresponsible. Fun is not productive. Right? Hasn’t anyone ever told you, with a bit of a sneer, “Hey! You’re having too much fun! Don’t you have a job or something better to do?!” Only they didn’t mean better, they meant harder, more responsible. And more quiet. Probably they meant something like, “Dear God, can’t you get yourself together and act like an adult?!”

The words were drenched with shame on you.

Well, if I’m ever going to live by faith, then, for me, that’s going to mean having more fun with God even around people who might think I’m being, well, bad, or less than the good I should be. Frankly, I don’t particularly like it when people draw the target of disdain on my back—you know what I mean? Have you ever caught a glimpse of someone giving a he’s such an immature idiot look to those who are the audience of your loony moment? It’s like that person is looking around at everyone except you in order to form a gang by shaping their opinion that you are, in fact, an immature idiot. Now, thanks to your looniness, everyone knows what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Let’s get to work, since Ralph, the epitome of immature idiot-ishness, isn’t getting anything done.

Honestly, I adore God, and that often reduces, er, liberates me into childlikeness, which is a really close cousin of childishness. And hasn’t Cousin Childish gotten a bad name? Between those two words, childlike and childish, entire nations have squared-off against each other and gone to war. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but haven’t you noticed how much fighting and shaming goes on by the behavior police over which is which? Over which is acceptable and which is not? I mean, who is to say? Childlike & Childish: A Paradigm for the 21st Century wasn’t a class offered at my college. Yours?

I know, I know. My favorite bible person, Paul, wrote about childishness, telling the Corinthians to knock it off.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child (infant), I talked like a child (infant), I thought like a child (infant), I reasoned like a child (infant). When I became a man, I put childish (infantlike) ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:9-12, italics mine)

But Paul wasn’t saying that they should quit acting like kids—stop playing around!—he was telling them (and us) to stop clinging to what we believed when we were imprisoned under the law! If they didn’t, they would be stuck as infants (Nepios, the Greek word) in immaturity—move on! Grow up. There’s a new covenant now where love is the greatest—both the receiving and the giving.

I’d say the church (and me!) is being infantish when it refuses to have fun with God because it’s busy being serious, as if seriousness equals maturity. It doesn’t. Often it means locked-down behavior, the end of funny antics and loony playfulness because The Scrutinizers have spoken. Thus saith The Scrutinizers. Paul meant that we must come away from a faith that keeps us in immature infancy (Nepios); he didn’t mean that we should leave the playfulness of childhood. It is unfortunate that we’ve attached an inaccurate meaning to the word, “childish,” and stuck it into our biblical interpretation. Nepios means “infant,” with regard to what one believes. It usually has nothing to do with behavior and everything to do with believing.

Let’s invite Cousin Childish back into the room, and praise him for his true identity. How ‘bout a round of applause for C2!

Anyway, over the last few days each of my daughters has given me something that has induced childishness in their father. I know God’s in on it, even if they don’t—it’s His conspiracy. First, Emma told me about a video where some guy prays wicked prayers for his former girlfriend, who recently rejected him. (Didn’t see it? Scroll down and look for “New Prayer Tips.”) I loved it, and, throwing off the heretofore well-fitted, I-must-be-serious-before-The-Scrutinizers cloak, posted it all over the place. And then this morning, Ellen gave me a Creedence Clearwater Revival CD with not only some songs I didn’t have (How did THAT happen?!), but one I hadn’t heard in eons—It Came Out Of The Sky. Have you heard it? Come on—it rocks! (Click on the video below.) And I’ve played it eight times already, ripping some fantastic air guitar, air drums and air mouth(!) during at least three of the plays. Maybe four.

So immature. Except that nobody could see. There was no one to scrutinize and shame me. And God loved it. He was on background vocals. He’s pretty good with harmony.

I’m going to go take our dog for a walk, and I’ll be bringing my iPod. CCR is about to be in concert on my head.


Quote of the Day

"This is no distant God who sent his son with a list of rules to follow or rituals to practice. His mission was to invite us into his love--into a relationship with his Father that he described as friendship. But what do we do? We are so quickly captured by a work-driven religious culture that thrives on guilt, conformity, and manipulation that it devours the very love it seeks to sustain."

(I am currently reading "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore," by Coleman and Jacobsen. I am enjoying it very much, and I'll regularly post some quotes from it so you can get a feel for what the authors are saying. And so you can decide whether or not you want to pick it up.)

Good News!

(Once in a while I like to post things from others people's blogs because I think it will help you. This one comes from Lewis and Lue Gregory. I receive their weekly e-letter in my email on Monday, and you can too. Go to and get all you can.)

THE WORD IS: Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Romans 6:3

THE POINT IS: “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Or so it’s been said. However, if you’re not aware of certain things, you will miss out on the benefits. And that can be very costly, perhaps painfully so. This is especially true for Christians. Many Christians don’t fully know what happened to them upon receiving Christ. Since they don’t know what happened to them, they don’t know what’s available to them. So, what’s there to know? The first thing Paul said we need to know is that when we received Christ, the Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ. The kind of baptism referred to here is a spiritual baptism. This is a work of the Holy Spirit which He accomplished when He immersed us into Christ. We were placed into His life. Thus Christ became our life!

THE APPLICATION IS: But before you can enter into His life, it is necessary to be baptized into His death. Therefore, the first and most basic thing Christ did for you was to die in your place. He accomplished this by becoming one with you on the cross. The miracle of Christ’s death is the effect it had upon you. What effect was that? You died! For you, it’s good Friday all over again. What’s so good about it? Although death is normally a sad time, this is the one exception. Why? The old person you were in Adam died with Christ. That person no longer exists. Your former self is dead and gone. That’s not you anymore. Your new self is bound up in Christ, which makes your new self a good self. You’re now the best that you can be because of your union with Christ. Christ has become your very life. Therefore, everything you are and have comes from Him. The good news is that your old life has ended and a new life has begun!

So now you know!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

As I have noted in the right column, I am currently reading "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore," by Coleman and Jacobsen. I am enjoying it very much.

I will regularly post some quotes so you can get a feel for what the authors are saying.

John, a mysterious yet godly man in the book, is speaking to the main figure in the story, Jake. "Your struggle stems from the call of God's Spirit to your own. Ask him to forgive you for substituting anything for the power of his love and invite him to show you how your diligent efforts at good works for him may be obscuring His love for you. Let God do the rest. He will draw you to himself."

How's that sound to you?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Just Some Good (Maybe) Weekend Humor

These got some chuckles outta me, so I thought I'd throw them up for the weekend. Have a good one!

* Hey there, Larry King: Looks like Paris Hilton is single again, too. Just sayin’.

* President Obama has outlined his plans for deep space. First, we get the aliens some health care, then. . .

Ways To Tell You’ve Chosen A Bad College:
* Registration is held in an R.V.
* The school crest features a motto written in Pig Latin.
* Professors end lectures with “…or so I’ve heard.”
* The dean looks a lot like the woman who serves salad in the cafeteria.
* The campus bookstore buys back used coloring books.

Rodney Dangerfield-isms:
* My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.
* It's tough to stay married. My wife kisses the dog on the lips, yet she won't drink from my glass.
* When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
* When I was born I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother.
* I was so ugly my mother used to feed me with a sling shot.
* A girl phoned me the other day and said... Come on over, there's nobody home. I went over. Nobody was home.
* I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.
* I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.
* I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.
* I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Fun

This is fun.

Not long ago I asked my three girls (my wife and two daughters) a ‘what if?’ question: “If you could pick one person or group to see in concert, who would it be?” I went to quite a lot of concerts way-back-when (especially the 70’s and 80’s), yet very few in the last bunch of years. But I’ve had it in my head that it was time to ramp all that up again, and to include my girls. Cool.

My youngest answered, “Taylor Swift—no doubt, dad.” My eldest said, “the Eagles—there’s nobody else, actually.” And my chief girlfriend said, “Oh, I don’t know. A symphony, sure, but, um, maybe James Taylor. . .and Carole King.” Naturally, they wanted to know why I was asking, and I said, “I don’t know. Just curious.” And that was true.

But then I went hunting.

To my shock, I discovered that Taylor Swift was playing at the Pepsi Center (in Denver) in early April, the Eagles in May, and, lo and behold, James Taylor AND Carole King were together in July. I was thrilled. But since I haven’t done much of anything like this in a long, long time, I was nervous. Why? I’m not sure. But when I asked my Father for a red, green or yellow light, He gave me a brilliant green. “Go for it, son,” is what I heard in my head. So I did. I found that tickets cost just slightly more than they did in the 1970’s. Right?

I surprised them (maybe shocked them) with the news, and a week ago last Wednesday, prepared to go to Taylor Swift’s shebang. God, who often seems to interrupt my thoughts(!), said, “I want you to have more fun. . .with me.” Immediately I knew it was Him. Sometimes when God bursts upon the scene in my head, His voice or thoughts come with incredible clarity and weight—like everything I’ve been wondering is suddenly answered and secured. I like that. As I wiped tears from my face, I said, “Okay, Father. Then could something incredible happen at tonight’s concert? Could Emma get to, I don’t know, sit at Taylor Swift’s feet, get so close that she could see her sweat, touch her hand, see if she has zits—that close? I would love for something beyond normal to happen for Emma and me.”

And off we went.

We arrived really early and poked about the arena, locating our seats and finally settling on pizza for dinner. Emma noticed a message on one of the giant video screens that invited fans (some 17,000 of us) to text a message to Taylor who would pick a few “winners” to be awarded pit passes. We figured that had to be good, so we began launching our messages. Mine was, “I’m here on a daddy/daughter date with my youngest, and it’s her very first concert.” Hundreds and hundreds of text messages began appearing and scrolling on the big screens: “I sing your songs all day long—and I’m a guy!” “I’m your best fan!” “My mom and I drove 13 hours to see you!” “I’m 7 years old, and you’re my hero!” Everybody wanted a pit pass.

Just after the first of three performances began, my cell phone vibrated with a message: Congratulations. You’ve won 2 passes . . . Without breathing(!), I showed my phone to Emma, who, after a couple of seconds, screamed a happiest-girl-in-the-entire-world scream. I did, too. Well, mine had a distinct air of masculinity to it, as you would expect. Yeah, we went nuts.

Security ushered us to the front, where we remained for the rest of the night. We were 3-4 feet from the singers and dancers and musicians—and 3-4 feet from Taylor Swift. She even said “Hi!” to Emma, who turned to me and said, “Did you see that?! She was talking to me!” We laughed and yelled and danced and thanked God 4,368 times. . .and I lost track of how many times thankfulness welled-up in my eyes.

That was one of the best nights of my life—mine and Emma’s.

I share this with you for two reasons: 1) You’re part of my life, and I want to live openly and honestly with you—it’s important to me. It hasn’t been instantly easy for me to have more fun with God, but I think I’m accepting His words to me by pausing to think of things I’d like to do with Him. Although it’s early in the have-fun-with-God game, I’ve noticed an odd belief that I should be working slavishly because, well, because. And I don’t like it. I want to grow in the delight of my Father, and I believe that means fun. 2) I wonder if you might want to ask God about your fun factor with Him, as well. Do you get caught in the demanding web of this world? Has fear built a house in your head from which to launch fearful and slavish thoughts? Have your days been a lot about doing only things that are productive, smart investments of your time, and logical moves that secure your future? Then I wonder if you’re happy with God. I don’t mean that to be at all condemning; I simply want to alert you in case you need a good alert.

Certainly, not everything with God is fun—duh. But there’s a lot that is. How about it?

7 Miles - Are You Kidding Me?!

Here's a pretty cool sermonette from Matt Chandler. It's short and very sweet. Have a look.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Change

No matter what happens today or tomorrow, no matter what happens with my country, I was chosen before the creation of the world, I was included in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and I have one way to live—by the Spirit and Christ in me. Nothing changes that.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Prayer Tips

It's the weekend--time for some fun!

Do you ever get tired of trying to pray nice, Christianly things for those who have hurt or offended you? No? Well, I do. And while I don't recommend the following as your new format, it's sure funny.

Friday, April 02, 2010

He Did It!

This is our traditional day when we celebrate Jesus' taking all of our sins upon Himself on the cross—every single sin!—and of taking the punishment, as though He committed every single sin.  He made the wrong doings of everyone in the world—past, present and future—His wrong doings, and did away with them by sacrificing Himself.

He did it.

Let’s not undervalue what Jesus did by thinking there are sins for which we must still pay.  There aren’t!  There is now no sacrifice left for sin, none needed, because Jesus owned them all for us.

He did it.

On Sunday, we’ll celebrate His resurrection which completes the perfection—the righteous-making, new nature giving to sons and daughters of God—of all those who receive Him.  His act made us like He is—holy and blameless, reconciled perfectly and united with God.

And He did it in three days.

Hooray for God!  And hooray for us.

Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ's death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.  (Hebrews 9:27-28 The Message)

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)