Category Archives: General

My Book Manuscript Was Accepted By VIP!!!

VIPGood news folks – my manuscript was accepted by Vineyard International Publishing (VIP)!!! 😀

And more importantly, they said that they loved my writing style: “It reads easily and communicates well.” Much happiness!

I still have a way to go before the book is officially published… right now I’m awaiting feedback from some reviewers. Once I’ve heard back from them, I will need to tweak the content before sending it off to VIP to be edited (say, in  September-ish).

I am also going to launch a Kickstarter campaign in a few weeks to raise the funds needed to cover the publication cost. Being a small publishing company, VIP works with new authors to help them publish books but they don’t provide them with any monetary advances like some of the big publishers. As such, I am going to need to raise around $1,500 to cover the editing, cover design and book layout costs.

So yeah… there’s still a lot of work left to do over the next several months. But, hey, the ball is moving and it looks like I just might have a book published in 2016. =D

Engaging the Community: Park Clean-Up

trashTwo months ago our family moved into the big city from our small rural village. While we are still adjusting to the background noises of the city live, we are enjoying being close to the different amenities of city.

One of which is a great city park walking distance from the house. Rare is the day that our son isn’t trying to get us to go over to the park so that he can play on the slides, swings and monkey bars.

The crazy thing about the park is that it seems that there is always trash scattered around the play area, tables and throughout the grassy fields nearby. I know the city park crew is trying hard to keep up with picking up the trash; yet it seems that folks are littering faster than the park crew can pick things up.

In chewing over this problem, our small group (i.e. our family and one other family with two young kids) decided to leave the comfort of our home Bible study and start picking up trash every other week. In doing so we are not only teaching our children the value of loving others and engaging the community around them, but we are also fighting the spiritual battle of selfishness, laziness, and waste that fuels the littering issue. In picking up trash we declaring that God’s rule of love, kindness and self-deny is entering that piece of earth.

kids picking up trashIt may sound strange to some ears, but to us the act of picking up trash goes beyond the physical world and deep into the spiritual. The two are interwoven and can never be unwound; hence the selfless act of a child of the King defeats the selfish act of sin that caused someone to throw a piece of trash on the ground.

In addition to fighting a spiritual war, we have the opportunity to pray over the park and the families that visit it as we walk around. So far we have only had two park-clean up days, but I am looking forward to doing this every other week throughout the summer. Who knows, perhaps one day someone will ask us what we are doing and we will have the chance to tell them that Jesus loves his creation. Perhaps no one will say a word.

Either way, I’m excited about what the Creator King will do within and through us. It should be a good summer. 🙂

 

It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers…

It is easy to forget that Christianity is about a relationship with a person (i.e. Jesus) and not about having answers to all of our questions. No matter how much we study or how many years we follow Jesus, there will always be unanswered questions. Rather than getting upset at this, we should embrace the mystery and wonder of the Creator King who actively seeks a personal and intimate relationship with each of us.

Kallistos Ware

Remembering Dr. Bill (Jax) Jackson

bill jacksonI went camping this past weekend, relaxing under a shade tree while my son dug holes in the ground (LOTS of holes and tunnels, mustn’t forget the tunnels…).

Keeping me company on this trip was Dr. Bill Jackson’s “A History of the Christian Church: Book 1: AD 70-1730.”  Ever since last fall when I heard that Bill (or Jax as those in the Vineyard called him) was publishing a book on church history, I have been wanting to read it. Some extra birthday cash gave me the excuse to download the book to my Kindle and, well, the rest is history. =)

In a kind of sadly odd way, this reading of Jax’s book turned out to be a tribute to him as Dr. Bill Jackson passed away while I was camping (June 7, 2015) after a long battle with his health.

questradicalmiddleA tribute… yeah, I think I can call reading Jax’s book on history a tribute as he spent his life telling the story of the scriptures through the lens of a pastor/historian. His first book was a history of the Vineyard movement called “The Quest for the Radical Middle.” This was one of the first books I read when I joined the Vineyard Movement twelve years ago. Published in 1999, this book told the story of the Vineyard, warts and all. Lite on fire by the Spirit during the Jesus Movement of South California, the founders of the Vineyard (Kenn Gulliksen, John Wimber, Bob Fulton, Lonnie Frisbee, and others) tried hard to walk the line between Pentecostalism and Evangelicals, having traits of both but belonging in neither group. In reading this book and experiencing the radical middle through the Vineyard Boise, I found that I had stumbled upon a tribe of people I could run after Jesus with. It was a good feeling.

Years later I read Jax’s second book, “Nothins Gonna Stop It.” For decades Jax went around the nation telling the Bible story from beginning to end as most Jesus followers don’t know or understand how all the smaller Bible stories fit together. This book was originally a study guide for his video class under the same name. Later on Jax would publish a shorter version of this book (“The Eden Project: A Short Story”) as well as a longer version (“The Biblical Metanarrative: One God – One Plan – One Story”). The latter book along with the original were both VERY influential on my understanding of Kingdom Theology.

In addition to reading the above books, I had the pleasure of reading several of his papers – both pastoral and scholarly. Most notable, his pastoral teaching guides “Learning to Ministry Like Jesus” and “Notes on the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts” were EXTREMELY helpful on my journey towards the radical middle from a Pentecostal/Charismatic upbringing.

NGS003.176I also had the honor to meet and chat with Jax on a number of occasion. He was a regular at the Missional Leaders Meetings hosted by the Vineyard USA Missions Office for many years, allowing a young mission minded pastor the opportunity to bump into him. Rather than being standoffish, Jax was kind, caring, loving and more than willing to answer the questions of a rookie pastor trying to find his way in the world.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was an email exchange I had with him in the summer of 2011. I had just read his “Nothins Gonna Stop It” book and was thrilled to find that he had listed out some of the different gods the Creator King had conquered during the ten plagues. This was something I had been searching for and could not find… in an effort to find out where he had gotten the information from, I emailed him. Not only did he get back to me quickly, he also shared with me his “Nothins Gonna Stop It” notes with the full bibliography as well as his recent PhD dissertation on Luke-Acts!! It was like I had won the jackpot at Vegas!! Here I was, an unknown young man in the back hills of Idaho, receiving notes from THE Bill Jackson!!!!

Thank you Jax for sharing your love of the Kingdom with me. May you enjoy dancing before the King as we await the blessed hope of the resurrection.

ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς

The Great Omission

too smallI have to admit, it was my wife and her heart for children who opened my eyes to value and relevance of children. They are part of the church TODAY, not simply just the church of the future.

Dr. Wess Stafford’s book “Too Small to Ignore” should be read by every Christian leader – followed by actionable steps to include, teach and release the children to do the things of Jesus. Yes it is messy and very, very noisy – but it is also fun, cool, exciting and mandated by the King.

Take a risk and see what happens when you let the children join in instead of being pushed aside.

 

 

Stick Close to Jesus

celtic cross vineyardAndy Croft, Senior Pastor at the Soul Survivor Church in Watford, UK, recently released a short two minute video about the key to longevity in ministry via Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland.

In listening to his talk, I couldn’t help but think about my own ministry journey… the last decade has been full of activity, pain, joy, happiness, and struggles. There have been times when I have felt close to Jesus and seasons where he has seemed very far away….

Sticking close to Jesus…it is a good policy. Perhaps the best one as Christianity is a journey rather than a doctrine or a destination. There was a reason why the first name for the church was the Followers of the Way. The Way…. a name that hints at a journey with Someone…

yeah… stick close to Jesus. That’s what we I need to do. One step, one moment at a time.

I Would rather Be a Torchbearer Rather Than Run a Relay Race

I recently stumbled upon a GREAT video by Rick Olmstead (Vineyard Church of the Rockies) about his desire for the next generation to be included and working alongside previous generations. Instead of viewing the next generation as those who will take the baton of the previous crew, Rich paints the picture of being torchbearers who light the fire of those around us.

I don’t know about you all, but I like the concept of a torchbearer better than a relay race. While I respect and honor those who followed God before me, I really don’t want their baton. I want to carry the baton given to me by Jesus, which may or may not align itself with what others have done.

Including The Next GenerationThe picture of an older torchbearer lighting my torch so that I can go out and light others… now that is a picture that I can grab a hold of and run with. It allows me to receive the wisdom of previous generations and work alongside of them for Christ while not having to carry their baton. I can be free to pick up the baton given to me by Jesus while working with those who started the race before me.

I also don’t want to give up my torch/baton until I’m dead. However, I would love to help lite the torch of those around me – whether they be physical younger or older than me.

What do you all think about those two word pictures? Does anything stand out to you about them?

April Showers…

park 3April has been quite a full month….

First off, we found a renter for our house and moved into the big city – finding a great 3-bed room house near a city park, pool, bike/running path, and, wait for it, a community garden. All the things one need within a block and a half. =?

Secondly, as if moving wasn’t enough, my day-job is in the process of launching a new service offering with yours truly in the midst of the launch. I love doing this type of stuff, but…wow…did I have to move in the middle of this?! Timing, Lord, timing… =/

Thirdly, my wife’s pregnancy is moving along great. A few more weeks until we get to welcome a new life into the world. =D

It may be another month before things settle down so I apologize ahead of time for the lack of posts…  little by little things will settle down and get back into a rhythm.

Until then, keep on chasing the Wild Goose.

Magic in the Bible and Christian America!

phil vischer podcastOh my!! Phil Vischer’s newest podcast is mind blowing!!!  Wow! I’m telling you right now, it is worth watching!

The first topic Phil, Skye Jethani, and Christian Taylor tackle is magic in the Bible – and man do they nail it! In fact, I would say that if you only have 16 minutes, you need to watch the first 16 minutes of this podcast as they hit some GREAT points!

The remaining 27 minutes is spent talking about a recent New York Times article which suggest that  “‘Christian America’ is not just a modern idea, but a modern idea invented by corporate America!” The article was written by Kevin M. Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton, who recently released a book entitled “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America” (which, BTW, I have not read.)

While this topic may be controversial among citizens of the United States, I also firmly believe that we need to know our history. Things are a lot more complicated and twisted then we tend to want to believe. In the podcast Phil, Skye and Christian do a great job at trying to make sense of the twists and turns of history while acknowledging how hard it is. The fact remains that each of us may draw different conclusions from history, which is fine as long as we know what happened and love/care for those who draw different conclusions. 🙂

How’s that for a teaser? Have fun watching the video.

Also, if the topic of “Christian America” is of interest to you – I would recommend reading Greg Boyd’s “The Myth of a Christian Nation How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church.”