Monday, August 25, 2008


I am amazed by the Olympics.

Just a few things to be amazed by:

-$40,000,000,000 spent by China to put on the games.
-The incredible number of hours spent by each athlete to prepare for the games.
-The ability God has given so many people in this world.
-The creativity God has planted within individuals that was shown during the opening and closing ceremonies.
-The amazing diversity of God's Creation.
-The unity that is forged by these games between countries that cannot talk together otherwise.

I guess I am most amazed by the last two amazing parts of the Olympics. It is easy for us to conceive of God's kingdom as mostly made up of Americans. But the Olympics reminds me of the diversity of God's Creation. The new heavens and the new earth will include people from all nations and nationalities. In fact, as I watched the closing ceremonies last night, it was as if I was watching heaven on earth.

There are protests in the city of Denver as we speak around the events of the Democratic National Convention. There are also wars and genocides which place violence as the means to fixing the worlds problems. Yet, amidst all of the chaos in this world, last night I sensed heaven on earth.

Other than sports, what event or situation brings all nations together under one roof? I can't think of anything but the Olympics. Unfortunately the Olympics represent a two-week hiatus from the strife between nations. However, we serve a God whose kingdom is advancing against the powers of this world.

Last night, sports provided a glimpse of the kingdom and I was a happy viewer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Becoming A Church of Christ

I love Churches of Christ. I am a ninth generation member of the Restoration Movement. If I didn't love our movement, I wouldn't have become a minister in Churches of Christ.

However, we also have a checkered past and a poor reputation in many areas. Our arrogant "We are the only ones going to heaven" attitude has surely turned people off in the past. Our movement was never intended to become such a sectarian movement. We began seeking to be "Christians only and not the only Christians."

I want to see us thrive again! I want people to know Churches of Christ as a group of churches that loves God and loves others. I enter ministry in this movement in order to transform our reputation, but more than that, to further the name of Jesus Christ above all other names.

This past Sunday, I challenged Littleton to become a Church of Christ. In other words, to become Christ's church. We represent Jesus in every moment of our lives. And if we are going to leave Christ's name as the center of our name as a movement, we must be willing for him to lead our church in every way. The sign claims it's his church, but often we try to make it our church.

We are always becoming a Church of Christ. We are on a journey, and until Christ comes again, we will always be in the process of becoming his church. Live into the name on our sign. Ask God to transform you into the image of his Son.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


What a week it has been! My first baptism as a minister occurred this last Wednesday night as Larry, an 88-year young man asked me to baptize him. I couldn't have been more pleased. It was a wonderful blessing to be able to raise Larry out of the waters of baptism with the smiles we shared together.

That night I was preaching on grace. This ever-elusive doctrine we preach, but that we rarely understand and experience in our own lives. I can remember thinking of God as a judge who demands perfection from us. God the judge wasn't preached from the pulpit, but somewhere in my beginning understandings of God was this harsh taskmaster of a God who would never be happy with me. So, I tried to be good enough for him, and with every sin I was turned away from God.

But grace asks something far different from us. Rather than turning away from God, grace allows us to turn toward God as we move closer to his heart. At times, I think the pendulum has swung in our churches. Instead of the fire and brimstone law that was preached from our pulpits years ago, we preach grace, grace, and more grace. And that is the gospel isn't it. Not a cheap grace, but a deep grace that heals us from our deeper understanding of our sin.

God, the judge never made me feel accepted. But God, the one described in Scripture as steadfast love, is a God I want to follow. I want to seek him in his silence. I want to chart his wonders in my life. I want to live for him. That's a God I can worship!

Tomorrow, I begin my series in the gospel of Mark with an intro sermon out of Hebrews 1:1-3. I've entitled it "Becoming a Church of Christ." You'll have to wait and hear it (at church or online). Doesn't a title like that just peak your interest. More on that in the coming week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Four gods I've Worshipped

I've begun a four-week Wednesday night series entitled "The Four gods I've Followed." Through this series, I am intending to let the congregation know about my evolving relationship with God through the years. Each week I am talking about a different understanding I have had of God throughout the years: God the genie, God the judge, God the absentee father, and God the great lover.

Each time we enter worship together as a community, we should become aware of new facets of God. He cannot be kept in the boxes we try to keep him in. He is bigger, deeper, and more mysterious than the church during the Enlightenment could ever consider. God isn't either/or, he is both/and. Love and wrath, grace and judgment, mercy and demands, personal and mysterious. I love experiencing him in new ways every time I encounter him.

The past two weeks have been wonderful and difficult at the same time. I feel so blessed to work with such a great staff and church. The people are wonderful. The view out of my office window could not be better. Holly and I are so happy in Colorado. But the past two weeks have also brought their share of struggles. We have mourned the loss of two incredible people in our church.

The phrase that I keep repeating is "I didn't learn about this in grad school!" And that is the exciting part. Though I've finished a good part of my academic education, I'm getting an entirely new education on the job. And nothing can replace the things I am learning now.

Question: What other ways have you understood God in your life?