Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Thoughts

1) Friday! I'm sleepy.

2) My friends from India are in town!

3) The book of Romans. Whoa.

4) Restarted Calvin's Institues of the Christian Religion, it's basically FREAKIN' AMAZING.

5) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Dear Sirus Black, you're my favorite.

6) 'Member that one time we lived in hell, I mean, Kansas?

7) Hung out in a dang cool church on Wednesday. (Look at da pichure)

8) I wanna see Brave. If you judge me I'll do something.

9) If you're not doing anything tomorrow night, be here.

10) Christianity shouldn't be man-centered. If it is, it's not Christian.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In the End

After all is said & when all is done; even then, even still we look to Jesus. Our hope & our great reward.

We can portray the gospel perfectly, we can speak it clearly, we can do it all ‘right,’ but even still some will not believe it. It’s not a failure on our part (even though some of us have been taught to think so). They just don’t have faith.

But discouragement for us is still there. We love them. We’ve been called to love them, the ones with faith and without. So it hurts when they don’t believe in the same life giving hope we believe in, it hurts badly.

But after we’ve said it all and done it all and loved them well (which won’t end until we’re dead), even then we still look to Jesus.

Not our actions or our words. Not our love or care. Just to Jesus.

Simple, right? Profound too. Just to Jesus.

Giver of life and love deeds and words. Everything.

It breaks us and makes us whole. It kills us and brings us to life. It softens us and emboldens us. Very simply we look to Jesus.

He’s the one who saves, who calls the dead to life and gives the life to live. He does it not us and our ability (or inability) to present the gospel in the clearest of fashions. Not the formula or the ‘Evangelist’ Jesus saves souls.

Boil all of our Theology and doctrine down to one simple thing; Jesus Christ came to save sinners for the glory of God. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


I sat in a funeral for a young man this morning, a boy really. His daughter won’t remember him, she’s too young; she’ll look at pictures of ‘daddy,’ but’ll never know his voice, or what it’s like to be walked down the isle to her husband by him.

18 years old is far to young to die, but it happens all the time.

Whether the pressures were too much or the showing of love not enough, we’ll never know. But a gun, in his mind, seemed to solve the problems.

Sadly, for him it’s too late. His mother weeps and his father pushes all to not waste their life. The pastor said something about now being the time to think about eternity.

And though while I agree, we should think about eternity, that’s not what we should be worried about.

It’d be far better to think about Jesus and what he’s done, and not so simplistically as to think we only think about him for what we want. No, we think about him for and in all things.

Not just cause we get heaven through him, but because we get God in what he’s accomplished. Not just because we avoid hell, but more so because he gives us himself.

You see, if we only love him for what he gets us we don’t love him at all.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Thoughts!

1) Writing a series is fun, but it's nice to be done with it. Give 'em all a read would you?

2) There's another one coming up.

3) I turned on the sink thinking it'd turn on the lights... It's been a busy week.

4) I'm excited about tonight because of this.

5) Have you seen the What Nots page?

6) Dear Lord, I need coffee like a fat kid needs insulin. (Too much?)

7) Reading Harry Potter is like going on vacation in my brain.

8) My friends from India are coming to Wichita, Yay!

9) I got a Gandalf pipe.

10) Mission isn't safe, or is missin clean; don't expect to be the same.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rumored Thought (Pt. 6; The Final Post)

So conjecture, right?

I’ve schpieled for five posts about my thinkings and museings, but this doesn’t make them right. Just 'cause I could write them in a cohesive manner doesn’t mean we (or just I) should follow my thoughts on mission.

What we need is solidity and authority. What we need is Scripture.

Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:7-8 are all recordings of the Great Commission. Wherein we are told that all the nations should hear of the name of Jesus until he returns.  Making disciples, AKA tutoring as one goes about life, being the main highway of showing the gospel to others.

So to be a believer is to be a disciple-er.

John 13:21-30 is Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. He bore the title of Apostle. One of Jesus’ closest, the inner circle, if you will, one whom Jesus picked to be his own, knowing he’d betray him. The point is this: Judas carried the title, but wasn’t truly a part of the Church.

So to be a title bearer doesn’t mean you’re a Christian.

John 13: 31-38 is Peter’s denial of Jesus. He is considered scum at this instance. We pity him for his foolishness, but he is the chosen, part of the Church of God. Though his actions are damnable, he is the called of God, his elect, yet he could arguably be called the un-elect. He denied Christ.

Romans 14, the strong man, weak man, and the implied legalist are here shown. The strong man is able to do all things to the glory of God. A kind of, “Love God and do what you want,” deal. The weak man first knows his own proclivity to sin and therefore fights it.

The legalist… They’ll sit in the corner with their tea and judge the weak and the strong because works--not grace--determine the salvation of the legalist. But they’ll claim the grace of the cross, but know none of its power.

So, you see, mission shouldn’t be about cleanliness or safety.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11, spiritual gifting. Some may be called and gifted to teach, i.e. pastors and elders (1 Tim. 4:13, 16; 5:17; 2 Tim. 4:2) to “evangelize” to others, both those known and unknown to the speaker.

Teaching isn’t for all, only for the gifted. So a pastoral call isn’t placed on all Christians like a discipleship call is.

So, mission isn’t safe and it isn’t clean. Discipleship is for all, while teaching isn’t. And simply being a title bearer means nothing in the scheme of salvation. Rather we hope in Christ, both leader and follower alike. For in Jesus and no other is salvation found.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rumored Thought (Pt. 5)

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & Part 4)   

Jesus is to be our example here, in the scheme of mission (as pastors and as people), for he lived the ultimate mission, and he did so for the right reason, his own glory.

But what I want us to see in the story of Jesus is exactly what I’ve been writing about.

Jesus proved mission wasn’t clean; he took on the sins of every member of his Church. He proves mission isn’t safe; he’s killed in the worst possible manner. He proves the leader is the one in the fray; he’s the one doing the saving not a contractor.

He hung around with a tax collector, a zealot, a bunch of fishermen, and a guy who'd stab him in the back; the jokes probably weren’t clean, the wine was probably nicely fermented, and the brotherhood was better than many of our churches now know.

But here’s what I’m not saying.

I’m not saying we are all called to be on mission in the same capacity. I’m not saying the congregant must be as vocal as the pastor. I’m not saying you better hang around drunks and be personable to geeks or you’re a failure.

What I am saying is this:

We are all called to make disciples. To lovingly lead others in the walk called faith. Being sensitive to the movement of the Spirit and in so doing reflecting the glory of God to others. Which means what?

It means mission happens in everyday life. When moms disciple their kids, and dad’s wash their wife in the Word. When a co-worker is loved and cared for, because of one’s love for Jesus and the person. When relationships are built and Jesus is shown and proclaimed to be the most beautiful hope giving reality of all reality.

(I suppose it’s typical to start something like this series of post with a defining of words, so everyone knows what I mean. But doing it at the end should be jarring.

Specifically, mission, what I mean when I say mission, isn’t a two-week trip. What I mean is, “building relational bridges that are strong enough to bear the weight of truth.” Which, quite frankly, is a great definition for discipleship. So what I mean when I say mission, is discipleship. There, that’s what I mean.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rumored Thought (Pt. 4)

Here are Part1, Part 2, and Part 3.

“And who knows who are the people of God, when throughout the whole world, from its origin, the state of the Church was always such, that those who were called the people and saints of God who were not so; while others among them, who were as a refuse, and were not called the people and saints of God, were the Peoples and the Saints of God? As is manifest in the histories of Cain and Abel, of Ishmael and Isaac, of Esau and Jacob.” (Luther. p 97-98. Bondage of the Will.)

Just because one carries the title ‘Pastor’ does not make them a part of the Church. The title, you see, doesn’t make the Christian, not at all, Jesus makes a person a Christian and his Spirit gifts them to be pastor.

But leaders abound in all the world, in every religion, and in business. So is it possible to be a leader in the Church and not be a Christian? Yes. To the destruction of hundreds of souls, yes, it is possible.

Possible to preach week in and week out on the beauties of true religion, but not know it. Possible to elaborate on the nuances of the gospel and the life it ought to produce, yet dead. Possible to expound on the light of glory in the face of Jesus Christ, yet be blind.

Yet more horrifying than this, it is possible to lead a congregation to the pits of hell and be greeted by their screams upon his own entrance…

(Let that sink in and ask yourself whom are you following? A boy with a vendetta to have a following, or a man seeking to glorify God by giving up all he is to preach for nothing else than the glory of God?)

How does this tie into mission? By the pastor knowing the condition of his own soul before attempting to proclaim the gospel to other souls.

He is to be the leader in mission, and therefore he must believe what he will proclaim, or he will prove to be more of a hindrance than a help in the fight of faith; because his fight will be in another sector (maybe even another country) rather than on the same field as the true Church.

So simply being a pastor doesn’t make one Christian (and simply calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make it true). And sadly, now, it doesn’t always inspire hope that all pastors are Christian. So as those on mission for the glory of God and the good of the Church in the redemption of souls we must carefully submit to godly leadership to lead us in mission.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rumored Thoughts (Pt. 3)

So all of this began my thoughts on a pastor’s role in/on mission.

Leaders are what pastors are, the ones who are to be in front of the rest of the people both showing them how to do things and how to not do things. Teaching doctrine and discipleship while living a life on mission.

So it should follow that a pastor should be leading the charge in the mess of mission, right? That these men shouldn’t be the archetypal clean man, but rather the one in the fray, learning and leading with cuts on his knuckles and blood in his eyes.

Yet, often times the one who’s the cleanest is the one in leadership. (This is what my past has shown me at least.) Ironic, if you ask me.

This isn’t flattering to pastors. This isn’t flattering to myself. This isn’t flattering to any Christian. It ought to be hurtful, to all of us. The ones leading us aren’t the Braveheart type of leadership; rather they’re the one’s standing in the back, “’Cause they’re too important to lose.”

Our leaders (me) aren’t showing us mission well, because rather than disciple-ing (teaching while going about life) they sit behind their desk (or coffee mug) and tell others how they ought to do mission.

So the change should be, what? That a pastor should lead his people in the charge of mission? Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. It ought to be the pastor’s primary aim, mission.

Indeed, preaching and administrating are affective tools in mission, but they are not mission itself; they are not the aim. Rather discipleship is the focus of mission and therein the pastor should strive to thrive.

Discipleship is the focus of mission because the gospel is the focus of discipleship, and the gospel is the focus of discipleship because the gospel reveals to us the glory of God, and to that end the leader must lead, or he is no pastor.

At least this is my understanding of the pastor’s role.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rumored Thought (Pt. 2)

Check out Part 1

Safety in mission is a relative impossibility, rather implausibility.

My dad told me just before I trounced off to Egypt for a summer, “I know you’ll be safe, ‘cause you’re in the center of God’s will -- but I guess that’s not safe, it’s just right.”

We can’t embark on mission and expect to come out the other side the same. We’ll be changed; we’ll be effected by what we’ve seen, whom we’ve spoken to, and the relationships we’ve built.

If we informally understand safety as the retention of normality than we must never see mission as safe. (And more often than not when we, as modern Americans, talk about safety we mean the normal.)

Internationally I’ve been in some rather dangerous experiences all for the sake of mission (things I’ve not told my mom… until she reads this that is), it wasn’t safe. Locally I’ve been in situations just as hairy.

My point is this: mission will never leave us the same. It won’t allow us to be just as spunky as we were when we were kids. It’ll wear our souls out and cause us to be ragged and rough. It won’t polish us up and let us be the neat little Christian legalism has told us we ought to be.

“The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, 

One little word shall fell him….
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.”

Life is a tempest, which will drowned our tiny boats eventually. We are not as we once were; we are not children anymore. No, and the cares of life have brought us the realization of reality. So why should mission be different? Why should mission cause us to be clean and neat and safe when it asks us to do precisely opposite?

No. No, mission isn’t safe, and we’ll not come out the other side of it the same. Thank God.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rumored Thoughts (Pt. 1)

Mission is never clean; never is mission simple; never is mission easy.

Recently I’ve been confronted by the fact I don’t look like most pastors (neither do the ones I work with). I’m glad for it.

Sure there’s the preconceived notions of what pastors should look like, the way we ought to dress, the jargon we ought to use, and the places and people we ought to hang out at and with.

My thoughts on this began a while ago, but they were solidified with a rumor I heard about me (I guess being plugged into the Wichita grapevine has an advantage). It wasn’t a nasty rumor, not at all, and it was absurd enough to let it slide off my back, but it has also made me ask some questions. And the answers I’m coming up with aren’t too flattering, to myself or to other pastors.

You see mission is dirty. We’re called to go and to be within the crowd, to get to know ‘tax-collectors and sinners’ and love them in such a way so as to show Jesus to them. I don’t think there’s a way to do this and remain clean.

There’s no way to get to know a drunk unless you go to the bar. There’s no way to love the homeless guy unless you sit with them and listen. There’s no way to befriend the artists unless you go to their exhibit…

There’s going to be a few posts in this, because this is something I need to learn. Hopefully you can learn with me.

(Read all of these posts: Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

That Memory

This’ll be a little sappy.

Do you have memory, which you re-live often? The one that’s like a slide show in your brain, which comes around when you’re happy and when you’re sad. That one where you don’t even know if anyone else remembers (there's probably a ton of them, but there that one in particular, you know?).

Mine is coming back from church camp when I was an eighth grader. We had gone to the beach (for church camp, it was awesome!) it was a 18-ish hour bus ride home. This girl and I (church camp crush) had been flirty for a solid 12 hours.

Anywho she lent me her blanket so I could sleep. When I woke up she had fallen asleep in the back of the bus and looked cold, and here’s the memory: I wanted to give her blanket back, so the choice was this: either, somehow crawl to the back and be classy about it… or throw it at her.

So with all the matured wisdom of my eighth grade mind and all the romantic class I possessed within my body – I threw the blanket into her chair, and smiled at her. Because I was too nervous to give a pretty girl her blanket back nicely, even though I wanted to tell her I liked her so desperately.

My point in telling this semi-embarrassing story (she & I are still friends & she might remember this too) is to give a very real (& personal) illustration of learning. I mean, I could tell you to seize moments and do the whole carpe diem thing, but learning seems better.

Learners are what we are and will be. So learn. Learn from the sappy memory like mine above and from the massive moments encountered. Learn from the drunken old guy who hands you a tract in a bar. Learn in all things to give glory to God.

And then you can tell sappy stories to make a point. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weird & Odd

Getting all my goodies in order for applying to Grad school. It’s been an odd summer so far.

For five years I worked and went to school and did homework and had a life. Now I just have a life and work… Woah. Re-reading Harry Potter has been wonderful, it’s like walking down a path, now familiar, but so deeply loved. Getting a new roommate has also been nice (2 out of 3 of the last done got married, I’m not saying I’m good luck, I’m just saying I'm good luck).

But what I’ve enjoyed the most has also been the weirdest: relaxing.

I don’t do it well. If I’m not doing something I think there’s something terribly wrong (I suck at taking naps).

Last night I sat on my porch with no book and no phone (!) watching the sun go down. I rented a movie and cooked some steak. I got myself hooked on TV series. I read myself to sleep.

Peaceful, right?

A friend of mine always says, “I want a peaceful soul.” And I agree with him, I want that too. But until it comes I’ll settle for some peaceful evenings.

‘Cause right now there’s no love to keep up, no pretenses to uphold, nothing to demand my time other than the job and a life, which, even though it’s odd, is nice.

So, sometime soon, I think I’ll go catch some fireflies and put them in a jar on my mantel. Because God is sovereign. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Riverfest Beginning Thoughts

1) Redneckfest.

2) is up and running again. Praise Jesus.

3) The weather always sucks for Riverfest. It's a sign.

4) Almost finished with the first Harry Potter. So many things tie together so beautifully.

5) There's a zip-line that goes across the Arkansas River. It costs $5... this is why Riverfest doesn't do well. Over priced underwhelms.

6) This weather is European. Hellooo June.

7) Girl Named Tennessee.

8) The Sedwick Country Zoo always surprises me with how nice it is.

9) Fireworks!

10) Deep-fat-fried-everything... on a stick.