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My Worship Revolution I lead a missional community of faith in Santa Cruz, CA. I am a husband, dad, musician, speaker, performer, community catalyst and dreamer. Welcome to the conversation.

23 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Rediscovering a Rhythm…

Blog…of blogging.

I have a friend (well, probably several) who told me he doesn’t believe in New Years Resolutions.
“If I want to change something, why wait for the New Year?”
Fair enough.

At the same time, there are passages of time that allow for natural points of reflection for me, personally. The beginning of a new calendar year is just another point at which to think over the past year and to ask what rhythms I sense a leading to continue or adopt.
All that to say, one of my resolutions this year is to blog once a week or so, at least.
As you can see, I’m off to a roaring start.

A few reasons to get back into blogging regularly…

  • Authenticity. Blogs are just a better place for hashing out actual thoughts than Facebook. Let’s be honest. Typically if I see a status where I have to click see more and it’s longer than the height of my screen, I might scan it, but typically I move on. You expect to read more on a blog. And the commenting tends to be more civil. Not that I haven’t been freaked out by the stay-at-home-mom blogposts that have hardly any readers and then go viral because of something they post, but hey, might as well throw it out there.
  • Therapy. I’ve finally given into journaling a little bit after years of hating it. I’m actually finding it a good practice. But as an extrovert and a verbal processor, there is something therapeutic about sharing and conversing. In a way it is a bit of a spiritual discipline for me.
  • Communication. In the past my blog has been a mix of dumping my deeper thoughts and just sharing what’s going on in our lives. I’ve had friends comment about missing both of those things and I’ll try to keep em both going. A lot of the daily life posts are now easier on Facebook or Instagram, but it’s nice to have a place that I can look back on a bit easier after a passage of time.
  • Ministry. In a way a bookend to the first one. One of the upsides to sharing my thoughts is having a place where the people I do ministry alongside or those who want to get a better understanding what we’re about and what our ministry is up to and what is important to me, both recreationally and spiritually.

So 3 weeks into 2016 I’m finally giving a go at starting my New Years Resolution.
And a bunch of you may have already stopped yours.
So better late than never, I figure.
Did you make any resolutions? If so, what and how is it going?

30 October 2015 ~ 1 Comment

3 Reasons For A Movie In A Cemetery


For the past 4 years or so our missional faith community, Missio Dei, has periodically gone out to clean up and beautify at Evergreen Cemetery (at Harvey West park).  It is owned by the Museum of Art & History, with the earliest headstone they’ve found going back to 1850. The city and the museum had a desire to see it cleaned up and become a safe family space like the park that surrounds it and a place to tell and celebrate the stories of history that make up Santa Cruz.

We’ve also been out there for several years at their family legacy day where they honor a family who is represented there, do headstone rubbing with the kids, host a tour, and at the event we serve ice cream.  They have wanted to make it a space where families could spend time and be comfortable enjoying the outdoor beauty of the area.

A few malthea-stone-evergreen-300x196onths ago we were helping at the Legacy Day and as we walked to get Ice Cream I mentioned to Sibley, who is one of the primary leaders of the restoration project, that I thought it would be pretty awesome to watch the movie The Book of Life there as part of the museum’s Dia De Los Muertos celebration.  He liked the idea and I let him know that our church family has a screen and projector that we could provide. He has the generator and popcorn machine, and the rest is history.  On Sunday we get to hang out under the stars and watch the movie.
That being said, some have mentioned that the idea of watching it in the cemetery is kinda creepy. Others have just given me that odd look when I tell them what we’re doing.  And still others in the Christian community I’m sure question it cause some of them already have some qualms about Halloween weekend.  So as I have been thinking about it, here’s a couple reasons I’m excited and think it makes sense:

  • God cares about people and stories.
    The beautiful thing about the space is the rich histories and real life stories that are represented there (including this story of Louden Nelson, a freed slave who came to Santa Cruz, bought property, and left an endowment for city schools upon his death).  The Book of Life (as well as the tradition of Dia De Los Muertos) celebrates stories, the memories of people who have gone before us, and the value and power of love.  Those of us who are followers of Jesus are part of a larger story that shapes us, stretching back thousands of years. Stories shape us, including those of the areas we live in. It’s cool that we get to watch this movie with our families amid the memories of all those stories that make us who we are today.
  • We have issues with death.
    We were having some great political and culture discussions among friends who all had differing opinions at my house the other night. One of them who has been a nurse for over 30 years stated that as Americans, we are very afraid of death. While a cemetery can seem like an odd place to have an event, much of this is because of our fear of the unknown and what our culture has made “graveyards” out to be. As people who believe that death has been defeated through the resurrection of Christ, wouldn’t it be cool to transform our ideas of a beautiful, old cemetery into a special place where another real and potentially beautiful part of our journey is recognized?
  • It sounds really fun.
    Yeah, fun sounds like a good reason too. Watching movies together outside is fun, and it’s gorgeous out over at that park. We think part of being a community is having fun together and being out in our city. It’s another way of celebrating life. So that’s enough for me.

And yeah, if I’m being honest there is that side of me that thinks it’s fun to say we’re watching a movie in a cemetery on Halloween weekend. But that’s the Jr. Higher who still lives inside of me and gets out sometimes. BookOfLife

04 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Creating Space To Connect

About a month ago we finished working through a book a called Space For God.
By “we” I refer to our faith family, Missio Dei Community.
We talked about creating space to hear from God and converse with him. We tried some new prayer practices and created our own plans as to how we were going to intentionally engage with God for the next month or 2.

As soon as that ended, life got nuts for me. Already, I had started rehearsals for Schoolhouse Rock, Live! which I am performing in at Cabrillo Stage. I had a week off from that when I traveled to San Diego to direct an Improv comedy festival for CYT. As all that was in process I agreed to co-direct Shrek Jr. for CYT Santa Cruz.  So last weekend was full days of rehearsing for Schoolhouse, and production meetings for Shrek in the evening, then for the past week I have spent all day directing at CYT Santa Cruz and then going straight to rehearsal.  It’s been a stupid schedule. All that in addition to trying to lead and think vision for the fall for Missio Dei. (So thankful for great leaders like Katie Garcia who led the charge on last weekends service project that I couldn’t make.)

Now I don’t share all this to whine. (Although I may be doing that a little.)
Unfortunately, when things get really busy, the reality is that the first thing to disappear is time spent centering myself and listening for/being aware of God’s presence. Time that I need in order to carry his peace with me into the chaos.
Today I have the day off.  I decided to intentionally lay low cause I’ve been having some throat and respiratory issues that need to heal up quick.
This morning I took some time for silence and reflection.  It was refreshing. And a reminder that even 5 minutes in the day to have some intentional silence can make all the difference.
It’s too bad that often the most important things are the things sacrificed when tasks and relationships – even really good ones – start to press in.
It’s not that I don’t have the time. It’s that I don’t fight for it and create the space.
Good reminders heading into the week before opening night.

22 April 2015 ~ 0 Comments

The Value of Retreat

“Just make space. Attend to what is around you. Learn that you don’t have to DO to BE.”
-Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

This year Rachel bought some workout videos called Metabolic Aftershock. It’s around 20 minutes of intense workout 3 times a week that is designed to speed up your metabolism.  It’s been worth the time and money. I’ve done some other programs in the past, but this one has worked the best so far, partially because it isn’t 1 hour or more, 6 days a week.

LOTS of people I know spend time and money on fitness and health. (Sometimes just money by donating to gyms we never head to. Been there, done that.)
We carve out time to exercise or rearrange our habits to eat a little healthier. Or at least make attempts.
We make time to take care of our mental health by doing recreational activities. I’m good at that one.

All of those are important and all of it is spiritual.
But I notice that in my own life and the lives of most of the people I know, it is caring for our souls and our active relationship with our creator that doesn’t get much thought, time, or intentional effort.  God will always be there, so perhaps it doesn’t feel quite as urgent.

This weekend our faith community is taking a sabbath period away to make space for God. From sundown(ish) Saturday to the same time Sunday.


As we have all attempted to navigate our spiritual journeys and twists and turns of life, I have often asked myself and others, “What do you hear the spirit of God saying about that?”

I strongly believe that God is involved, present, and communicating with us on some level.
We need to take time to be with God and to just BE.
We need tools to help us engage in that conversation.

Over the past several years, and especially over the past 8 months I’ve found a lot of value in some helpful contemplative practices for creating space to take care of my soul.
So this weekend we are getting away together with 2 primary purposes:

  • Creating space to talk to and hear from God as we rest (or sabbath).
  • Coming away with some tools to try using on occasion at home to take care of our souls, just as we do other parts of ourselves.

So I invited our local friend and a mentor to my wife, Kelli Gotthardt, to come and facilitate the retreat so I can be a part along with everyone. She is finishing her Masters in Spiritual Formation and is a gifted leader and speaker.
Click here to find out more details about our Space For God retreat.
And if you could use the time and tools, there’s still time for you to join us! Please do.

After the retreat Missio Dei Community will spend 9 weeks going through the book Space For God on Sunday evenings to continue learning and experiencing practices to care for our souls.

20 April 2015 ~ 0 Comments

6 Things I’m Not…

We will never experience life in loving union with God as long as the roots of our identity, meaning and purpose are grounded in something other than God.
-M. Robert Mulholland, Jr., The Deeper Journey, p. 112

I heard this quote not long ago and it stuck with me. It got me thinking about all the things that I am often tempted to find my identity and meaning in, other than God.
Thus, I started thinking about the things that in reality don’t define me. Or at least shouldn’t…

1. I am not a minister
Or a “church planter” for that matter. Or a leader of a missional community in Santa Cruz. One of the first questions that is asked when we meet people is, “What do you do?” I am lucky that my vocation isn’t just what I do, but really is who I am. But even at that, it is tempting to let my significance get wrapped up in that role. And when things don’t go how I think they should, that is bad news when that is where I am drawing my worth from.

2. I am not American
‘Murica. It’s a great place. Even with it’s issues and imperfections. But we have a tendency to worship a civil religion and get it mixed up with our faith. Being American somehow becomes entwined with or more important than not only being a Christian, but being a part of the global human race. It’s part of why I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with pledging my allegiance to anything or anyone but Christ. But perhaps that’s another blog post.

When we traveled to Africa last year to work with Cherish Uganda, I had people who asked why we would help over there when there are so many issues here. I understand the question. I agree there are lots of needs to be met here and I want to be a part of sharing compassion and justice here, as well. I am also connected to and responsible for people in other countries as a member of humanity and that is important, too.

3. I am not Democrat or Republican…or Libertarian
Nowadays my Facebook news feed is full of articles and such about politics, whether from a conservative or liberal angle. It’s not gonna get any better with a way too long presidential race kicking into full swing. And I quickly start to get sucked into it all. Partially because politics is important as a vehicle for fighting injustice and I am still wrestling with what level of engagement I think is appropriate for the church. I admit I get frustrated that because I follow Jesus it is often assumed that I’m a Fox News conservative. I tend to want to make it clear that I’m not. But if I look for ultimate meaning, purpose, or salvation in politics I am going to be sorely disappointed.

4. I am not straight
So there’s this pretty intense discussion in church worlds right now about how LGBT inclusive churches and denominations are or should be. That is not a discussion I’m looking to have on this particular post. However I do think it’s worth noting that a big point being missed in many of these conversation is that of identity. This one is tough because our sexuality really is a huge part of who we are. But no matter what my orientation, my identity shouldn’t be rooted in that. There are plenty of men in the church world who define themselves by some cultural macho image of what it is to be a straight man and some church cultures not only allow, but encourage this. Not cool. Before we have arguments about what you think is or isn’t OK, let’s talk about what is defining our identity. That is the primary conversation and is the same regardless of orientation.

5. I am not evangelical
Yeah. That word. Besides the fact that I really DON’T want to be defined by that word at all because of what it’s come to mean (see Fox News conservative comment above), I should be wary of being defined by any church movement or denomination. I am also not Baptist, mainline, Anglican, Catholic, etc.  All have some beautiful parts and some crumminess. Doctrine and tradition is valuable so far as it draws us to the source. Our labels usually screw that all up.

6. I am not a sinner
Now that one may get some push back from my more fundamentalist friends. A common Christianese phrase I’m not a fan of is, “I’m just a sinner saved by Grace.” I understand what the point is. Yes there is some truth to it as well. But I will live into whatever I continually tell myself defines me. I think it’s interesting that none of Paul’s letters are addressed to “the sinners in (fill in the blank).” They are to the saints. In the language of scripture, yes, I was a sinner at one time. But that doesn’t define me. I am a saint. Who also happens to fall short of God’s ideal for me regularly. But those shortcomings are not who I am.  When my kids misbehave, I’ve tried to get into the habit of reminding them they are good kids and invite them to live into that truth rather than tell them how bad they are.


I often find it easier talk about what I am not rather than what I am.  While I did just spend a whole post defining what I’m not, I admit it’s more important to know what or who I am.
I am beloved of God.
Period. His creation. His kid. And so are you.
Not cause of anything I do or stand for or represent.  Just cause I am.
Rooting my identity in THAT truth brings life and relationship with God.
Some of those things above are byproducts of that, but they aren’t the source.

What identity, meaning, or purpose are you finding outside of a rootedness in God?

24 December 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Christmas Eve Advent Reflections

No more lives torn apart /
That wars would never start /
And time would heal all hearts.

We’re in Big Bear for Christmas.  Tonight Rachel and I will sing those lyrics at my in-laws Christmas Eve service.  They are from the song Grown Up Christmas List.  Considering how much as I like to playfully harass my wife about her love for Amy Grant and only knowing songs by her from her childhood, it is kinda funny that we’re singing a song made popular by her.

A few nights ago those lyrics were swirling in my head as I tried to fall asleep.  After seeing some posts on Facebook about volatile current events, I was feeling very negative and a bit hopeless.  I thought, “Seriously? As great as this sounds, it’s ridiculous. It’s a bunch of hippy dippy junk. Everything seems to be falling apart and no one can even have civil conversations about it.  How will things ever get better?”
(PS – that’s not like me. I’m a bit of an eternal optimist.)

As I laid there and contemplated, my thoughts turned to Advent. Many of us are already saying Merry Christmas, but it’s still Advent.
Advent – a season of waiting. Anticipating.
In a long season of waiting and unrest, Israel held tightly to the hope that God would show up as he promised he would.  When much of what they could see brought despair, they could find hope, peace, joy, and love in what God promised he would one day bring.

And looking back from where we stand now we also know that restoration didn’t come as they expected.
But I’ll revisit that thought during the Christmas season.
Right now, it’s Advent.
No matter how bad things seem in the culture around us, I’m grateful that I can live in anticipation of a coming reality where God is in control and all is made right.
He showed up once bringing that reality with him.
We partner with God to bring about glimpses of that reality (on earth as it is in heaven), and look forward to experiencing the fullness of that reality someday.

Everyone would have a friend /
And right would always win /
And love would never end.

Today we anticipate and hope.
Tomorrow and in the days that follow we celebrate that love wins.
And that love never ends.
Regardless of what I see, I’m reminded that I can have hope, peace, joy, and love and sing with a sense of expectation rather than defeat because light WILL overcome the dark.

The people who walk in darkness
    will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
    a light will shine.
[Isaiah 9:2]

03 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

40 Days Of Jenny

Along the way in life and in ministry, there are people you meet who you know are friends for life.
As Rachel and I have moved around a bit, there are certain friendships that show themselves to be legit when they stand the test of time and distance.
I was reminded of a few of those recently – and one in particular – when I was packing a small suitcase about a month or so ago.

I popped open a zipper and found this in there:

A baby shower thrown by 3 of our closest friends when Caleb was pregnant 8 years ago.

Right around the corner is Jenny Platt’s birthday.
She’s being celebrated by her friends and family leading up to that.  Don’t read anything into the numbers, of course. ;)

So this is a quick post to let not only Jenny, but everyone else as well to know how awesome Jenny is and how much she has meant in our lives.
I like to think that we still have that invitation because we never quite wanted to throw it away because of what a meaningful gesture it was to us.
And Jenny has always been amazing at that. At celebrating and blessing others selflessly and all out.

She spearheaded this awesome party with Bridget and Stephanie.
When I left Revolution and Southern California, she was the one who organized a going away party at Fuddruckers where people gave us letters about how our ministry had blessed them.  It meant so much.
Many a night were spent on visits back to Long Beach staying up late in the Platt’s living room discussing life and solving the worlds problems.
I think of Jenny every time there’s a season finale for Survivor as we spent more than a couple with them.
And of course, then there was the time a few years ago that she crashed at our Santa Cruz home while we were out of town. We hung out with them their first night and then had to go.  When we got home there was a card where their family and the Lasch’s had put all the things they thanked us for.  And of course I had to laugh when I saw “liberal babble” in Jenny’s writing.

All that to say, Jenny is one of the most fun and selfless friends we’ve ever known.  Her and Darrenn are part of our support teams for Missio Dei Community and I am so blessed that we still get to do ministry with them from a distance.
Jenny – thanks for being and amazing friend and person.  I can’t wait to see all the people you bless and the way our friendships continue to grow in the future. ANd a blogpost can’t come close to conveying the mark you’ve left on mine and my family’s lives.  Thank you for being you.
I hope you feel really loved and really special during your 40 days and beyond.
Happy early birthday.

22 July 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Kenya: The Backstory

Recently, you’ve probably caught Facebook posts about being in Kenya, that last blog post, or even more likely, stuff about our missions trip to Uganda.
So how did we end up here?
Let me tell ya…

As most of you know, my mom passed away 4 years ago.  Obviously, it was a rough season.
With that came some money she left behind as an inheritance for us.  A huge blessing wrapped in an unsettling blow.
As we budgeted and sought to be wise with what we had received, we intentionally set aside some of that money and said, “Let’s do something special for our 10 year anniversary that we never could have dreamed of doing otherwise.  My mom would like that.”
Honestly, she would.  I’m not just saying that.  She’s probably a happier about that than the parts we gave to church and non-profits. ;)

Truth be told, I really wanted to take Rachel to New Zealand. By far my favorite place I’ve ever been.  But the timing didn’t work out with seasons, jobs, and flight costs.
So as we searched for other options, Rachel came across the idea of Mombasa, Kenya.
Neither of us had ever been to Africa.  So the idea of experiencing something new together sounded appealing.
However, we had always dreamed of visiting Africa for the sake of humanitarian efforts and Christ centered missions opportunities.
By the way, part of what we tithed from my mom we also set aside for the purpose of short term missions. We really believe in them, both for the sake of the good they can do and the life-changing power they have for those who go.  Pretty sure that’s deserving of a post all of it’s own.

So we said, “Hey, let’s invite our faith community to join us on our anniversary trip!”
OK, maybe we didn’t wuite present it like that.  That’s just kind of awkward.
but we did figure we could have them join us for part and mix “business” with “pleasure” considering we were flying over.

So after all is said and done, the result has been the experience of a lifetime while my sister and her husband split kid watching duties for us with Rachel’s parents.  We have had the opportunity to relax, experience insurmountable beauty, already be challenged by the confrontation of the reality of poverty and developing countries, and breath, centering ourselves on Christ together as we get away.
And in a couple of days we get to greet 4 of our best friends to share that leg of the journey with.

So there ya go.  Now you know.
(I guess that was a little Uganda backstory too.  But there’s a little bit more to that one.)
Really hoping to find the time to share some pictures and videos here when I find the time.  Maybe before we leave.  Maybe not til after we get back.
And to follow the missions part of our trip, click here for our Missio Dei Community Uganda blog.
Thanks for sharing the journey virtually.

20 July 2014 ~ 0 Comments

10.5 Years Later…

This Thursday Rachel and I will have been married for 10 1/2 years.
Having an amazing trip in Kenya to celebrate our tenth anniversary.  This was the best time of year to get away.
Thankful to my mom for leaving us the resources to make it possible.

At Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant (#19 on this list)

As breathtakingly beautiful as Africa is, it pales in comparison to the radiance of this woman’s smile.
Kinda Cheesy? Yup.
Make you wanna throw up in your mouth a little bit? Probably.
Deal with it.
What can I say…
I’m still madly in love with her 10 years later.

18 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Micah’s Lego Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics: a big fancy schmancy word to say “how we interpret the Bible.”
You see my kids got this Lego Brick Bible for Christmas.
It’s actually kind of cool and designed for adults as a fresh perspective on scripture.  Some of it’s good, some not as much, but I haven’t looked at it enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other.
But Rachel has been reading it to the kids some.

Kind of out of the blue, here is a rough idea of the conversation Micah and I had in the car on the way to pre-school this morning.

Micah: Why did the bat almost kill the guy in the Bible?
Me: Huh?
Micah: It says the guy is half dead or something?
Me: Oh, you mean the “Good Samaritan.”

[In a nutshell, this is a story from the book of Luke about a man who is beat up and mugged.  The religious folk walk past and avoid him completely, and finally a guy from Samaria helps the guy, takes him to an Inn, and gets him cleaned up.]

Me: Oh, you don’t mean a winged creature, right? You mean like a baseball bat.
Micah: Uhhh…I don’t know.
Me: The guy gets beat up and then someone finally helps him.  The picture in the Bible was probably with a bat, huh?  That story tells us we should help all people, right?
Micah: Did he use a bat?
Me: Probably not in real life, but that’s how they showed it in the picture.
Micah: Why did they beat him up?
Me: well they were bad people who took his money and hurt him really bad.  Which we shouldn’t do.  Does that make sense?
Micah: Yeah.  But why did they use a bat?
Me: They probably didn’t actually use a bat Micah.  The point is they hurt him pretty bad.
Micah: Was it a baseball bat?

The fact that he could NOT get off the idea of the bat wa kinda humorous to me.  I was really trying to move him on to the big picture of the story, but he was really stuck on what that bat was all about.

It got me thinking about how much we tend read scripture like Micah too, though.
How often do we get stuck on some stupid tree instead of seeing the whole forest?

What do I mean?
Let’s see.  How about we all spend a bunch of time arguing about whether or not the creation account was literal 24 hour days or not.  We can argue all about the Hebrew words and whether science is reliable or not.  And in the process, let’s totally forget about the fact that however you look at it, the point of the whole text is to give us awareness of a God who is creative, beautiful, involved, and brought all things into being.

Or, on this Good Friday, dare I step on some toes and suggest that we tend to do this with the cross and the nature of the atonement.
Atonement – in terms of theology, the reconciliation of people and God.   Repairing the relationship of us and the creator.
There are several theories of how Christ’s atoning work is accomplished.  Penal substitution (he took our punishment from God cause we all suck), Christus Victor (he conquered death), ransom theory (he gave himself as a ransom and released us from the authority of evil), or moral influence (he models and fulfills the message of his life, self-giving love) among others.
I come from an evangelical tradition that leans heavy on substitutionary atonement to the degree that you might as well not be a Christian if you don’t buy in hook, line, and sinker.

C.S. Lewis is one of the more brilliant and respected Christian thinkers of the 20th century.  By the way, he actually leaned more on what is called the “Perfect Penitent” theory, rather than substitution.
In Mere Christianity he writes this:

Now before I became a Christian I was under the impression that the first thing Christians had to believe was one particular theory as to what the point of this dying was. According to that theory God wanted to punish men for having deserted and joined the Great Rebel, but Christ volunteered to be punished instead, and so  God let us off.  Now I admit that even this theory does not seem to me quite so immoral and so silly as it used to; but that is not the point I want to make. What I came to see later on was that neither this theory nor any other is Christianity. The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work.

In other words, we all know food gives us nutrition.  Sure it can be helpful to consider ways that this may happen, how the proteins are broken down, etc., but the more important part is it does. So keep eating.

I’m trying to learn to get a bit less caught up on the trees, and pay more attention to the big picture Jesus has for us as his followers.
For me as his kid.
For our faith community as a family.
What’s important today?  Jesus died, I’ve been made new as a result, and he set me right with the creator of the universe.  Now I get to experience his alternate reality on a daily basis.
Thankful for a reminder today from my 5 year old budding theologian.

Oh…by the way…wanna celebrate that with us this Easter Sunday?
Eggs. Plastic and edible. Not at the same time. Those are 2 different categories.
Join us for brunch.
Click here for more info.