Monday, June 25, 2007

Books I'm Reading

Recently, I decided I needed to read more. Reading energizes me. So I just thought I'd mention a couple books I'm currently reading:

Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna. Incredible book so far. Very challenging and potentially life-altering for parents (and kids - b/c if parents change the way they parent - kids change!). Main thing I'm learning is that it takes a lot more than most parents (including me) realize to pass on their faith to their children. Status quo "religous parenting" is just not enough. It takes "revolutionary parents" to raise children who love God and make an impact for Him in the world.

They Like Jesus but Not the Church by Dan Kimball. I've read several books by Dan before (he's the pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA - and this one is as good as the others. If you really want to break outside the "church bubble" and see the world from the perspective of someone outside the church - read this book. I'm only about a quarter of the way into it, but I've been challenged once again.

Got a couple other books I'd like to start soon, too. Just need to get through these first!

Monday, June 18, 2007


This is my 4 year old daughter - Julia (we call her Jules). Just thought she looked cool/hip in these sunglasses. She was sporting them at my ordination worship service last week!


Last Monday was a big day for me. I was ordained an "elder" in The United Methodist Church (UMC). Basically, this means that after completing seminary and then a 3 year process of examination, The UMC affirms my call to be in mission and ministry as a pastor. In many ways this process has felt like jumping through "hoops" ... if you've ever had to do anything like that. But I was surprised at how meaningful the day ended up feeling to me. It was pretty overwhelming, to be honest. It made me think that this might be how it feels for a marathon runner - you know - running and running and running - never feeling like the finish line will arrive - but then it finally does. I've never run a marathon, but I think I kind of know what it must feel like.

Note: I don't usually wear a "robe" - but it was required for this day and so I did. Just wanted to let those of you know who don't usually see me dressed like this, what I was wearing! The robe has been around for a significant period of time and has certain meaning. However, I have chosen not to wear the robe in my ministry and context.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Celtic Christianity

Saint Patrick's Day is every March. But ask most folks about him, and you'll find that people connect him with Ireland, the shamrock, and the color green - but that's about it.

Awhile back I read a book that caused me to really appreciate Saint Patrick and his contribution to faith-sharing. Hundreds of years ago, a large percentage of Ireland became Christ-followers during the lifetime and ministry of Saint Patrick. I believe that a huge part of this can be attributed to his approach to people and faith-sharing with them.

In the book - The Celtic Way of Evangelism - author George Hunter describes how Saint Patrick's approach to faith and community (and specifically the process of sharing Jesus with others) was revolutionary for the time. It marked a changed from the older "Roman" model of evangelism/faith-sharing. The two models (Roman vs. Celtic/Saint Patrick) are:

- Presentation
- Decision
- Enter the fellowship

- Enter the fellowship
- Ministry and Conversations
- Belief, Invitation to Commitment

You'll notice that the processes are basically reversed. One model made "community" (fellowship) the final step of evangelism - following the linear pattern of someone presenting the Gospel, the hearer then making a decision, and finally entering community/fellowship.

Saint Patrick believed that the process should begin with inviting any and all people into community FIRST. He believed and demonstrated that this led to openness and conversations, and in many, many cases finally led to belief and a life lived for Christ.

I really believe that Saint Patrick was on to something ... and onto something biblical. One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Luke 15, which begins by saying that Jesus was hanging out with (ie, community and fellowship) people who were "outside" the Church community. Luke describes how the religious leaders of His day condemned Him for this. But Jesus didn't budge. He loved people. All people. Invited them into community and fellowship for the purpose of loving and serving them and showing them God.

Saint Patrick has been gone from this world a long time, but I believe we could learn alot from Him in the in the 21st century Church.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Remembering the Past

Last night I spoke at "Fountain" Campground near Camak and Washington, Georgia. It was founded in 1822 - almost 200 years ago. These are a couple pics of what they call the "tabernacle" (Old Testament idea of God dwelling in "tabernacle"). As I sat there before speaking, I was somewhat overcome with an awesome realization of history. What I mean is that for almost 200 years, people have been gathering in this same tabernacle and sitting on the same benches - singing, praying, and listening to people talk about God and life. It made me feel "small" - in a good sort of way - and that I ought to approach life a little more humbly, if you know what I mean. There have been other people who have come before me, and there will be plenty that come after me. I have an opportunity to live for a short time and be a part of history and what God is doing in the world. Pretty profound if you really think about it. I'm glad I had the opportunity to speak at the tabernacle last night.