Thursday, August 28, 2008

Decatur and Politics

I have fallen in love with the Decatur Church of Christ. I was honored to speak there again last night.
After a nightmare experience in their previous church, my parents are now in a church that specializes in loving people. God is using my dad's voice from the pulpit to form a church into the image of Jesus.


I have respect for Republicans. I am related to them; I am friends with them.
I have respect for Democrats. I am related to them; I am friends with them.
I have respect for Lipscombites (those who don't see the need to vote or be involved in politics). I am related to them; I am friends with them.

I know people who follow Jesus wholeheartedly who are die-hard Republicans, Democrats, and political pacifists.

The next few months are going to get a lot of coverage. We have another night of the Democratic convention, a week of the Republican convention, 3 presidential debates, and 1 vice-presidential debate.

How about a toast for healthy dialogue, respect for other voices, ears to hear, mouths that speak in love, and hearts that put all of our hope and trust in the greater Kingdom--the Kingdom of God--the Kingdom that will never pass away.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Olympian Hero--Michael Phelps

A friend sent me this picture today.

Now is the time to become a swimming instructor in the US of A. With Michael Phelps performing like he did, swimming lessons are about to quadruple.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I preached from Luke 1 today. The story of Jesus in Luke begins in barrenness. He begins his gospel with 2 miraculous births: 1) an old lady who was "out of her prime," and 2) a young teenage girl who was a virgin. God seems to enjoy working within the realms of the impossible.

However, Elizabeth and Mary aren't the only ones expecting in Luke 1, all of Israel was expecting. The beginning of Luke asks us, "Are we expecting? What are our expectations for God?"

Elizabeth and Mary aren't the only ones delivering in Luke 1. Even more so, God is delivering. He is delivering a new prophet, a new King, a new teaching, a new community...ultimately, he is delivering good news to all of humanity.

And, He is still delivering today!

Friday, August 22, 2008

20/20 & Infant Mortality

Tonight at 9:00pm central, 20/20 will be reporting on infant mortality in Memphis. It just so happens that the city I minister in is the deadliest city in America for babies.
I love this city, and every single day God is cultivating inside of me a deeper love and passion for Memphis. I want to see the Kingdom of God come here; I want to see "Satan fall like lightning".
For years I have been drawn to justice/injustice and liberation. As I read Scripture, I see these principles as something that is so close to the heart of God. I don't have answers, but I choose to fight with love, faith, compassion, and prayer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Football in Wisconsin

Do you think people in Wisconsin take their football seriously?


What are we expecting?

I pray today for God to stir within our hearts a deep desire to raise the level of expectation for what God can do in us and around us. Let's be honest, we often live with no expectations of God breaking into our lives, our churches, or our communities.

God is inviting us to dream with him today of what this world can look like when the power and presence of God is embraced as the ultimate reality.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sabbath Rest

I have learned to treasure Sabbath Rest. In Genesis 1, we discover God creating a rhythm to creation--you work and then you rest. If you are like me, it is hard for us to allow this rhythm to penetrate and guide our lives.
I am just now returning from a 7 day adventure with Kayci and our good friends Josh and Kara Graves. We chilled on the beach, watched Olympics, had our own Olympic challenge (I got 2nd), ate some great food, watched two minor league baseball games, and even went to Disney World. Yes, JG and myself enjoyed an entire day with our lady-friends at Disney.

I read 3 books this week (I'll write more on this later):
1) Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians (Jim Henderson and Matt Casper)
2) Father Joe (Tony Hendra)
3) The Way of the Heart (Henri Nouwen)


On Thursday, our good friends Luke and Lindsey welcomed their daughter, Avery, into the world. I can't wait to get my hands on this little girl.


Michael Phelps is one of my new heroes. The guy is absolutely incredible.


We are glad to be back. We deeply missed our church family this morning.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


The summer Olympics are so much more entertaining than the winter Olympics. Give me a 4x100 relay, any event with Phelps, or NBA vs. the world any day of the week. I love it!

I am going to be out of blogging land for a few days. I'll be back next weekend.

Here's the question I leave you with: what is your favorite event in the Summer Games?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Knowing Neighbors

One verse that has revolutionized my life and ministry is John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and lived among us." In essence, Jesus entered into the world by moving into the neighborhood, and he became fully present to every human being he encountered.
With that said, it seems that our mission in life isn't to sit around talking about who our target group is going to be, planning "neighboring" strategies, and forming outreach committees...(though all of that can be good.) Instead, it seems that we (as individual Christ-followers and as faith communities) need to stand on our porches and claim whatever we see as the harvest that is plentiful. Our neighborhoods need to become our mission fields.
I preached on this last Sunday and was convicted that my office is 50 yards from apartment building 1881. Every day I leave my office and I stare at 4 doors connected to 1881. However, I had to make a confession to SVC that I have been preaching here 10 weeks and I haven't met my neighbors.
So yesterday, my friend Andy and I went over to the apartments to make a few friends. We knocked a few doors and my words were basically:
1) I'm the new preacher across the street and I need to apologize that I have been here 10 weeks and I haven't met you yet. I'm sorry.
2) I want to make myself available to you and your family. If there is anything that I can ever do for you please don't hesitate to let me know.
3) Before I leave, is there anything I can be praying for?

We made some new friends and we were given some prayer requests. Please continue to pray for apartment building 1881.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's Wrong with Us/Them?

Allow me to toss a few stats at you:
1) Approximately 100 million people in America live in apartment complexes. That is roughly 1/3 of America. The residents include people from all social classes and age groups (though the majority are young). Of the 100 million, only 1 million (1%) are affiliated with a faith community or church.

2) In his book "Revolutionary," George Barna writes that his studies have shown that there are approximately 33 million younger people (18-35) living in America who claim to be spiritual and lovers of Jesus, yet they don't want anything to do with a church. 33 MILLION!!!

3) Studies have shown that 50% of our young people growing up in Churches of Christ will leave the C of C by the age of 23. Now, this doesn't mean that they are turning away from Jesus (though some are), but they are finding their homes in other denominations, in church plants, or at the "5th and Bedpost" Church.

4) In the Evangelical world, roughly 70% are leaving their churches by the age of 25.

We are quick to ask, "what is wrong with them?"

However, maybe we need to ask, "what is wrong with us?"

What is wrong with the church when over half of our young people don't want to have anything to do with it by the time they graduate college? And, are we willing to do something about it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Church & Mission

A good question:
Does a Church have a Mission?

A better question:
Does a Mission have a Church?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

NL or AL

Here's a fun question for all you baseball fans out there:
Do you prefer the DH (designated hitter) or the NL-style where the pitcher has to hit?

My personal opinion:
  • There is more strategy in the NL--hands down. I love the strategy of single, steal second, get him over to 3rd, and sacrifice fly to get him home. I love the double switch. I love that pitchers can't hide behind their hitters, but instead they have to put the helmet on and take a few swings.
  • The AL is entertaining in the sense that they play for the 3-run-homer. The DH "ups" the run total, but it takes away strategic moves like the double switch and pitch hitter.

Though I grew up in an AL town (Dallas), I prefer the NL-style.

BTW--the Angels are the best team in baseball. They are unbeatable right now!