Thursday, March 09, 2006


Hey everyone!

Exciting news...

We've moved this blog over to our new Intersect website. We'll have a few more capabilities with our new blog and it will tie into what Dave Livermore and I are doing with intersect.

We're moving all our posts to the new site and will have them categorized. All our new posts will now be there.

Thanks for journeying with us and we hope you'll enjoy the new features at our new site!

ps. I would like to thank Blogger for giving me a start into blogging and making this venue of expression possible. Keep up the great work!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lent: Heartbeat...

Go to your doctor, and one of the first things they'll do is listen to your heart.

I don’t think about my hear that much. Maybe I should since, if it goes… I go.

The only time I hear my heartbeat is when I’m panicking, scared, alone, or after a long run. Something traumatic emotionally, or physically has to happen for me to notice my heart beating fast.

Lent serves as a season when we pay closer attention to our hearts. Often my spirituality can be reactionary… God, I’m scared, I’m alone, I’m stressed… help me. I need you.

Lent is pro-active. It permits space for me/us to search our hearts, listen closely and consider our condition. Heart attacks are too late. So are spiritual heart attacks.

And so I ask…

-- How healthy is my heart and what am I doing to keep it beating strong (where does my joy come from)?

-- What patterns are damaging my heart (sin, un-forgiveness, neglect)?

-- What corrective measures do I need to take (in my life, my patterns)?

I also hear my heart beat when I’m quiet.

And maybe that’s where it starts.

Help me really mean, ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening…”

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

Dear People of God:

The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.

This is season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

-- The Book of Common Prayer (pp. 264-265)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

CONNECT 2006- Youth Ministry Conference, Milwaukee, WI – March 4

I’m back in Milwaukee March 04 for a Youth Ministry training event called “CONNECT 2006.”

The Conference will be at Elmbrook Church but it’s actually hosted by a number of youth ministry leaders in the area.

Maybe that’s why I like it so much.

I think the event is an expression of a collaborated effort of area leaders seeking to learn from each other, and spur each other on to serve the teenage community. It may not be too late to register for the event, so give Jen- Youth Min Coordinator, at Elmbrook a call if you’d like more information.

I’m looking forward to doing my seminar: Postmodernism in Youth Ministry: Embrace or Resist?

I’ll share more on this event in a later post, but I’m wondering if any of you have your own thoughts on the subject.

Ryan Bolger from Fuller seems to think that “youth ministry” doesn’t fit in a post-modern context because the church needs to emphasize a multi-generational approach. Mark Riddle has some thoughts on the topic, too.

Tell me what you think or are wrestling with, especially if you are a youth pastor, planning to be a youth pastor, or are doing youth ministry...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Seeking Friday- March 03 at St. Mark’s.

As the Emergent West Michigan cohort
continues to grow together, we are wanting to create more ways to connect missionally. We believe one essential expression is through prayer together. As a result, we’ll be attempting to meet the first Friday of every month for “seeking-Friday” to gathering at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for morning prayers at 9:00AM. This Friday will be our first seeking-friday.

Father Mick at St. Mark’s has turned in to a gracious friend over the past few months and I am very glad that we can join his faithful, prayer ministry. We all have much to learn and much to share.

I, regretfully, will be out of town this Friday, but others are planning to be there. You can park in the church lot. Just drive up to the gate and honk. Mary will let you in.

During this first week of Lent, I’m reminded that we can seek God, because God is the true seeker extending through Jesus and the Spirit... toward you, me, and our world.

We seek. We find. Because God seeks.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pre Lent... Exhale.

Today at our church, we spent time preparing and setting up for embarking on Lent together. We, of course, join the historical and world community of faith who follow the church calendar journey toward Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter.

Our good friend, Troy, put together a “Lent Book” which will serve as the metronome for our community this season. I think you can get a .pdf of the book off the Mars Hill website.

As for my thoughts, I can’t say I’m looking forward to Lent. Is it really possible to look forward to it? It’s the time in the church calendar when we deliberately slow down and walk the long, important, soul-searching, gut wrenching journey toward the cross.

In life I find it's... tendency to seek resolution.
Lent forces me to live in the world of the unresolved. preference to only think big picture.
Lent forces me to look at the details. habit to study God.
Lent reminds me that God studies me. pressure to have it all together.
Lent tells me that I need to be put back together. personality to be shallowly optimistic.
Lent makes me find a deeper hope in the darkest corners of my life and my world.

I'm trusting that the specifics of my own Lenten journey will unfold. I guess that’s why it’s a journey. I breath a slow, pensive exhale, and get ready for Lent.

As for our family, we talked today about Lent and how we would take this journey together. There are things we are fasting from and fasting toward as we seek solidarity with the cross and solidarity with our world.

We officially begin our journey, appropriately, with ashes on Wednesday.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

missing the point. an apology...

So last weekend, when I preached at a church, I felt I needed to take time to confess to anyone in the congregation who has felt hurt by any church, as a result of Jesus followers speaking or acting in the name of Jesus that wasn’t really Jesus-Like. I include myself as an offender. In my own passion, enthusiasm, ignorance, humanity, I’m certain that I have not represented Jesus well to certain people. Whether words or actions come out of good or evil intentions, people still get hurt and I feel more strongly than ever that we have to say “we’re sorry” before we start handing out advice to the world.

Anyway, a number of people seemed to be genuinely moved by my comments. Here’s what I said. Tell me what you think…

“As a former pastor and as a Christian leader…. I’d like to publicly say… The Church of Jesus Christ has a history of missing the point… and hurting people in the name of Jesus.

I’m sorry. I ask your forgiveness if you have felt like…

• We have used the Bible as a weapon rather than a message of love from God;
• We have used rules to condition behavior and force control;
• We have used guilt and shame to oppress and exploit;
• We have made Christian and Republican and American as synonymous;
• We have not loved you because of your marital status, your ethnicity, or your sexual orientation;
• We have given trite, Bible verse answers, to the complex issues you face in life.

Whether this has been done out naïve or evil intentions… we have caused hurt and pain… and I confess our wrongdoing and plead that you might not let our missing the point block you from seeing the real Jesus.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Can You Be Emergent and Go Country?

I had a great time with the gang from Kettlebrook Church, last Sunday. Thanks to all who made me feel so welcome.

Kettlebrook is committed to a multi-generational worship service and so all grade school kids and up were in the morning services. I appreciate the effort they are making to be being together as a whole church for whole church gatherings. If they can continue to infuse this DNA into this young believing community, it will be exciting to see what emerges in the upcoming years.

Since there was a wide-spread of people and ages, I thought I’d share a few comments I heard throughout the morning…

“I needed to hear this, this morning because our family has been struggling with church for the last 11 years.” – A 30-something woman.
“Nice talk.” – 8 year old boy.
“I’m just so excited!” – a 60-something lady.
“I think your jeans are cool.” – high school boy.
“Today I think I’m ready to begin forgiving people who hurt me and begin steps toward following Jesus.” – College-age woman.
“We don’t want a youth group… we like it here with everyone.” – Two middle school girls.
“Daddy, should you go up there now?!” – Three year old son of pastor Mike, five minutes into my message.

The rest of our day was spent with the Kettlebrook team and we discussed what it means to be missional in their context. I learned a lot from their discussion about West Bend and the people there (most in the group are from West Bend). One distinction that stood out was that the community loves country music.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking about… “What does it look like for a believing community to incorporate county music expression into their worship services?” More importantly, can this community leave it out without indirectly stating that “this part of your world is irrelevant”?

These question challenged me personally, because whether it’s music or another or other preferences, I am reminded of how quickly I can conclude that something is relevant or not… and many times this comes out of my personal tastes, not out of missional, incarnational thinking and living.

This day, that I was reminded that emergent is not about cool… it’s about incarnation. Cool imitates, incarnation enters in and discovers close, interdependent relationships with those around them.

For more thoughts of the day from one of the team members, check out Andy Christophersen’s blog .

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hug a Children’s Ministry person today…

I’ve had a wonderful time with the Children’s Ministry Conference team the last two days. They have put in a lot of work to serve the Children’s Ministry community and close to 500 attendees came from Wisconsin, surrounding states in the Midwest and we also had Children’s ministry leaders from Ireland, Germany, and Liberia.

The event was held at Elmbrook Church and it’s always a thrill to go back and see so many wonderful people. Highlights were Stephanie’s worship leading, Edie’s encouragement, Brody’s jokes and Alison’s constant stream of coffee for me!

Probably the most significant conversation I had was with an older gentleman who said he worked with grade school boys in his community, many of whom were skaters. He shared with me how many in the church wondered why “those types” were there, and his eye’s welled up as he talked about them.

So much of my life can be caught up in theory. This man reminded me that the best theology is a theology of tears… where we have a love for others that moves us. Maybe he was the true teacher of the conference this weekend.

Here’s some pics of the conference…

Starbucks ready for me first thing this morning… amazing!

Steph and me with our conference bags!

My trip with buddy Dave to Altera… a great local coffee shop.

The team taking the evaluations VERY seriously.

The team after a great celebration dinner!

Friday, February 10, 2006


I'm looking forward to this weekend as I'll be connecting with two really great communities.

On Friday night and Saturday, I’ll be keynoting and presenting a seminar at the Children's Ministry Conference 2006 at Elmbrook Church. The event is sponsored by Kidz NET, a network of area Children’s Ministry leaders and educators.

I hope to bring a perspective of Children’s ministry from a Youth Pastor’s lens. All children’s ministry people… I love you... for you have endured kids like me.

On Sunday I’ll be preaching at Kettlebrook Church. Kettlebrook is a church plant out of Northbrook Church led by Mike Moran. Mike’s a great and passionate guy who’s seeing some cool things happening north of the city in West Bend.

In the afternoon, I’ll be spending time with their core team. Their community is only a year old in existence and I’m really excited about their future as they continue to wrestle with how to live out the gospel in their context.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for journeying along with me...