Joining an Ongoing Story

Joining an Ongoing Story

Alice was a lost soul wandering through a strange land trying to find her way back home. Along the way she stumbled upon a cat sitting on a tree branch. Initially frighten, she overcomes her fear and asks the Cat which way she ought to go. The Cat, being a bit mad, responded with perhaps the most powerful statement ever recorded, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”[1] George Harrison would later paraphrased Alice’s conversation with the Cheshire Cat in the equally profound lyric, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”[2] This advice, while originally given in the context of spatial dimensions, is equally valid in a temporal and spiritual sense. If we, the followers of Jesus, really want to find our Beloved in the darkness of the unknown, we need to first know where we are going. It may sounds strange to think about knowing where you going while embracing the mystery of the unknown. Yet, it is exactly in this paradox that we find the truth of life. Years ago when the people of Israel were on the edge of the unknown with Jerusalem and the Temple about to be destroyed, the Creator sent the prophet Jeremiah to tell them not to worry. Rather they were to “stand at the crossroads” between the known and unknown and “ask for the ancient paths” (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV). It would be in walking down the ancient paths of those who followed the call of the Creator King that they would find rest for their souls. The same is true...
Following Those Before Us

Following Those Before Us

Our journey through the darkness of life is a lot like a blundering trip through the woods at night. The circumstances of life will sometimes force us to strike out into the unknown though we may want to stay where we are. We may even start off walking on a familiar path only to find ourselves lost in confusion far from any recognizable landmarks. At some point during these times of wandering we will most likely stumble across some type of marker left behind by those who went before us. And when we do stumble upon a marker, it can be hard to know which direction to go. Luckily for us, some of the people before us kept a record of what they did and what the Lord did around and through them. We call this record the Bible and it was written over approximately 1,500 years by at least forty different authors. Within its pages we find life and encouragement to keep walking into the darkness of the unknown. We can read about a farmer named Gideon who nervously stepped out in faith and followed the Lord’s command. Or we can hear how a few fishermen, a tax collector and some backwoods nobodies changed the course of human history. Furthermore when we are awakened in the night by a thought provoking dream, we can open up the Scriptures and read about Joseph and his dreams. In reading these stories, we can build up our faith and courage as we see how God worked in and through average folks just like us. In addition to reading the ancient stories,...
Learning the Rhythms of Work and Rest

Learning the Rhythms of Work and Rest

“The rhythms of work and rest are fundamental to our well-being.” – Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership I spent my twenties and early thirties running hard and fast with very time allowed for rest. It wasn’t that I was out partying or going “crazy.” Rather I was a workaholic like my forefathers before me. For example, there was a time in my mid-twenties when I worked a full-time salaried job (think 40+ hours), joined a church planting team, went to school (VLI), and led/participated a few local church ministries in the sending church. I did all this while living an hour drive away from my day-job and sending church. So yeah, I was one busy guy – and I loved every moment of it!! Somehow the Spirit of the Living God was able to break into my busy life and began the hard job of teaching me to slow down. One of the things that the Spirit used to slow me down was my two sons. It may sound strange to think of children as something to help you find rest, but that’s my strange life! 😀 You see, over the years of being a parent I have noticed how much my kids need down times at home. They, like myself, have a strong desire to go out and have adventures in the wider world. Playing with friends, being at the park, going here or there…. yet as I watched them, I’ve noticed that there is something powerfully therapeutic about being home with all the family members. Accordingly I have found myself staying home more and more...
Back on Bass

Back on Bass

It has been about three years since I played in a band, but I back now! 🙂 Last night I had the honor of joining the Vineyard Boise’s Celebrate Recovery band as they kicked off the evening with a worship set. They usually host the CR folks in the Chapel, which has an inmate setting. However being Good Friday, we had to move into the sanctuary, which meant a HUGE stage and lots of cool sound equipment. For example, I got to use a personal mixer that allowed me to adjust the band’s sound to my personal liking. Granted, why cool, playing with sound canceling ear buds was very strange! All in all, it was a great evening. We played three songs and I didn’t make any big mistakes. The worship pastor even kept me on the schedule next month, which is a good sign!...
The Light That Leads Us Home

The Light That Leads Us Home

The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “The Light That Leads Us Home” booklet published by the Vineyard USA. “’Twas the night before Christmas…” the 19th century poem begins, and goes on to say, “…the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.” Saint Nicholas. Known in many countries for over a thousand years as Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Weihnachtsmann (“the Christmas Man”), and, of course, Santa Claus, the name of Saint Nicholas has become synonymous with the ideas of winter, generosity, festivity, presents, children, box stores, outrageous sales, and last, but not least – Christmas. A Generous Man Though legends abound, Nicholas was a real person who lived in the 4th century AD. Nikolaos of Myra, as he was known, was the Greek Bishop of that city (now known as Demre, part of modern day Turkey). Born on March 15, 270 in the port city of Patara (also in Turkey), he died on December 6, 343, and was the son of wealthy, Greek Christian parents. Nicholas grew up in a home full of faith, and after his parents died in an epidemic, he went on to become a priest, and later, a Bishop (a pastor of pastors). In his lifetime, Nicholas was respected for his acts of kindness and generosity. He was known especially for giving gifts in secret. It was said that he would put coins in the empty shoes of those who were poor when they left them out for him to see. Legends grew around this great man of faith into the story of...