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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.

03 November 2010 ~ 4 Comments

Day After Election Day…I Love California

It’s been interesting reading Facebook statuses the day after another CA election.
The “red” friends.  The “blue” friends.
I think I’ve become more maroon, but that’s aside from the point.

I have a lot of frustrated red friends today.
(Actually, I noticed a lot of the blue friends were only slightly happier, if that.)

But here’s the deal.
I just drove to Starbucks.
It’s November.
I drove right by the beach on my way.
Shorts.
Flip flops.
Windows down.
Sunroof open.
Gorgeous day.
Just sayin…regardless of who’s in what office, I love California and I aint goin anywhere!

So let the positivity flow friends.
Do share, what do you love about California?

29 October 2010 ~ 7 Comments

Halloween: Rethinking The Holiday

Halloween is approaching this weekend.
And for the first time since 2003, I won’t be slinging hay around a church for Halloween.
I’d be lying if I said I was bummed about that.  I don’t have a very good relationship with hay anymore.  I’d say it’s love/hate, but I’m not sure where the love comes in.

Lots of churches take the opportunity of the cultural holiday to bless their communities and provide a safe environment for families to celebrate for Haloween…errrr…Harvest.  I get it, and for those doing it, that’s cool.  Go for it!
For me, several years ago my take on that approach started changing a bit, though.  I was always the, “let’s produce a big event” guy.
But something started getting to me about Halloween.
(And no, it’s not that I decided Halloween is evil and we shouldn’t participate.)

All year long, many of our churches encourage people to stop spending all their time at church and get to know their communities.
We encourage people to get to know the people that live around them and actually get involved in their lives.
Still I’ve had church people admit to me that they have no clue who their next-door neighbors are.  Like many in our culture, they go to work, come home, drive into their garage, close the garage and go inside til the next morning when they open the garage door long enough to drive out and go to work again.
Then, on the one day a year that most of our neighbors come knocking on our door, we ask people to leave their house and come to the church, which nowadays is often in a completely different community.

So the question is, if we are going to be at home, how can we be more intentional about being there.
Oh, and the answer ISN’T give each kid a piece of paper telling them what you believe and that they should believe it too.
Here’s a couple ideas:

  • One friend told me about a neighbor who would make Root Beer Floats in the front yard and it always ended up with a bunch of families milling around having floats together.
  • It’s a bit cold where we live for floats, so Rachel and I are hoping to have some hot cocoa and/or cider along with candy to warm people up and give em a chance to stop and drink for a few before moving on.
    Speaking of, anyone have a hot water heater with a spicket or a big thermos container I can borrow?
  • Throw a Halloween party.  (Actually, can’t wait to go to our neighbors party earlier in the day. It helps having awesome neighbors and they know how to throw a party!)
  • Simply ask if they’re from nearby and introduce yourself as you hand out candy.
  • Just have a few friends from the area over to watch a festive movie with or have some drinks and play games with each other while you wait for trick-or-treaters to show up.
  • You could make your house into a cool maze for people to go through.  I always loved those houses as a kid.
  • Ante up and give out full size candy bars.  You’ll probably end up with all the neighborhood kids coming to your house before long.  That being said, we aren’t planning to do that one!
  • What if churches split up the money they use for the big event and gave it to home groups to do something fun at a nearby park or a house in their community?  I’ve heard of a couple churches doing this and it sounded like a pretty good compromise between the two.

What can I say?  I’m an extrovert and love opportunities to get to know people and make a few more friends.
What other ideas can you add?
What are your plans this Halloween?

27 October 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Man Cold

I think the wife and kids passed on their sickness to me.
Just in case you haven’t seen this video, it’s a lottle like our house this morning.

26 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Keys To Planting a Church

Early this year I was listening to some teaching from Francis Chan from the Gospel Conference they did for the folks at Cornerstone Church.
As he was sharing his heart, I remember him saying that when they started Cornerstone, there were 5 things you had to have to start a “successful” church:

  • Good teaching
  • Great sound system
  • A worship leader
  • A school to meet in
  • A good kid’s program

That was the formula.
Boom.  Instant church.
He was being somewhat satirical but truthful at the same time.

A friend sent me this video from Ed Stetzer with everything you need to know now in 3 minutes in order to plant a “successful” church.
Pretty funny.

So what else would you put on the list of “needs”?
And let’s keep in mind, this was meant to be satire.
Sorry to burst your bubble if you were hoping this was your ticket to starting your next mega-church.

23 October 2010 ~ 5 Comments

Still Grieving…

A few weeks ago at the all-county Men’s Retreat I realized just how ridiculous I sound at times.  Or how ridiculous my expectations are.

The first night set the tempo for the weekend.  Joe Bishop shared out of Matthew 11 and introduced the theme for the weekend, finding rest in Christ and releasing our burdens to him.
After his talk we took a few minutes to share with a couple guys one or two burdens that we are carrying through life right now.
When it was my turn, I shared that my mom had passed away about a month prior, and I kinda feel like I should be over it and moving on with life now.
But the reality is I’m still struggling.

Wait…did I really just say that?
It’s been a month…get over it?
The truth is that’s how I feel, but I would never expect someone else to feel that way if I heard them say it!

Last night I had one of those nights.  I sat on the couch and just wept with my wife.
The kind of weeping where your whole body convulses with each cry.  It’s happened 3 or 4 times since mom passed.
Just admitting that publicly is super tough for me.
I hate admitting that I cry almost as much as I hate actually doing it, both of which are more comfortable than actually being caught in the act.
Not sure how I got that way, if it’s the guy thing or what, but it is.

I realize more and more that I don’t get this whole grief thing.
I don’t know how to do it correctly.  If there even is a correctly.
I thought I’d have it wired after experiencing the loss of my father at 16.  This is completely different.
I don’t know how to allow myself to mourn and just let go, so instead I end up taking it out as frustration at my family.  Not fair at all.

Recently I started meeting monthly with a spiritual director.  We talked about all this and he encouraged me to stop thinking about doing it correctly and just let it happen.
One thing he strongly encouraged was caring for my own soul by doing some reading about grief.
He suggested some books, one that stuck out to me being A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis.
But I have a list of more important books to read.  You know, ministry books and stuff.  Besides, do I really need a book to help me grieve my mother?  OK, well, I guess it couldn’t hurt.
After doing some looking on the web this morning I decided to take him up on the suggestion and went with In Memorium by Henri Nouwen.
I really dig Nouwen, and the book is his own reflections on the loss of his own mother.
It’s going on the Kindle App on my iPod touch now.  I’ll add it to the list of books I feel the need to read right now.  But maybe I should bump it to the top.
Perhaps I’ll share some reflections as I process the book.

In the meantime, I’m bringing it to Jesus, including my questions and struggles, and doing my best to grieve well.
Just a quick, honest snapshot into the current state of my soul.  Part of it anyway.

22 October 2010 ~ 3 Comments

“House Of Worship”

Cheesy title, but I stole it from NBC.
Rachel caught this segment on NBC Nightly News last night and saved it on our DVR for me.
House churches.
It’s not exactly what we’re doing, but it’s a whole lot closer than the traditional model of church that most are familiar with.
At a time when I know a bunch of pastors who are struggling financially to keep churches afloat, it does pose some interesting thoughts as to another option for how finances can be used and what a community of faith can look like.  Not the only option, but another one.
Check out the segment:

I’ll share more thoughts next week that have been rattling around my dome this week about alternative ways of doing church and being the church.
Interesting to see the nature of this particular church in the story and the commentators perspectives on church.
But for now, what thinks you?

18 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

God? What Do You Want?

Several months ago I was sitting at a coffee shop sharing about our dreams and plans for Missio Dei Community with a friend.
As we were chatting and I was honestly sharing my excitement and my fears, she asked a very interesting question.

“Are you 100% sure this is what God is calling you to do?”

It’s a question I’ve heard more than once.
And in this particular instance, I know that she was not asking it antagonistically or doubtfully.  It was simply an honest question about the direction we were traveling with what was on our hearts.
And it was a very easy question to answer.
I confidently replied,

“Nope.

I’m about 93.86% sure.  And I don’t think I ever could get to 100%.”

I tend to think there are very few times that we can be absolutely sure as to where God is guiding.  I am not someone who has ever heard an audible voice of God guiding or directing me to do any particular thing.  He hasn’t showed up in the form of Morgan Freeman with any specific directions, yet.
And too often, I’ve seen that be an excuse for not doing anything at all.
I might even argue that at times God isn’t super concerned that we do one particular thing, rather he just wants us to do something!

Now don’t hear what I’m not saying.
That doesn’t mean we took the decision to embark on starting a spiritual community in Santa Cruz lightly.
We spent months praying intently for God’s direction.
We spent that time fasting once a week in an effort to hear more clearly.
During that time we had about 20 other people praying with us and for us as we tried to discern what the next season of life was bringing us.
We had conversations with trusted mentors and friends in our lives, and I believe that God often spoke to us in the context of those relationships.

But the truth is, even with all of that, I can’t say we reached 100% positivity regarding what God’s “perfect will” is.
I don’t think I ever have.
And it’s possible I may receive some radical divine revelation, but in all probability, I never will.

But I decided a while back to not use that as an excuse for inaction.
I will seek God as much as possible, and when I think I’m on the right track, I wanna look for what God is already blessing and go for it.
It sure beats sitting around waiting.

So, my question for you…
What might God want you to do that you aren’t cause you just aren’t sure yet?
Are you seeking God in an effort to do something about it?
Or are you using that as an excuse to do nothing?
Sure there is a season for waiting, but don’t get caught up in the waiting and let the journey pass you by.

Go live out your dreams and change the world, doing your best to follow Jesus every step of the way.

03 October 2010 ~ 3 Comments

Sunday Night (Err…Monday Morning?) Mind Dump

Tomorrow, Rachel and I leave town without the kids to this place:

That would be Hume Lake.
I picked the one with snow in the pic, cause, well, I read it could snow in the area this week.

Our network, Converge PacWest saves a couple spots for church planters at the pastors retreat there every year.
Never been to Hume Lake.  Supposed to be a mecca of Christian retreat/camp places so I hear.
I’m just looking forward to getting away with my wife for a few days.

As soon as I get back I head for 3 more days of retreating at the Santa Cruz All County Men’s Retreat.
I get to lead worship there and it should be a blast.

I haven’t been blogging lately, and it isn’t for lack of things in my head to blog about.
So I’m hoping after a week of being pretty much unplugged, I’ll get back to making some time to post.
There’s plenty to post about:

  • Our Missio Dei Labor Day BBQ (Maybe too late for that?)
  • Thoughts on being “100% sure” of our calling to plant in Santa Cruz
  • Recap of our church riding in and being a sponsor of the Surf City AIDS Ride
  • One of the most amazing nights of worship leading with my former community of faith and family
  • Recap of San Francisco Triathlon (now that was a loooong time ago)

Other random thoughts that probably won’t get posted about beyond this:

  • Charlie & Bridget had a baby! (Good friends. Was gonna post pics but missed the window of opportunity.  Sorry guys.)
  • My Chargers provide a roller coaster of emotions.
  • My Fantasy Football team sucks.  0-4/  But it’s all good.  Who wants to be the ’72 Dolphins when you can be the ’68 Bucs?
  • Brought home some stuff from my mom’s house: a piano, a big TV, the nicest car I’ll ever own, some paintings, and half a freaking garage full of Hockey Cards.
  • Finally bit the bullet and got Dish Network.  First time with cable in 3 1/2 years.
  • Caleb turned 4.  And he likes to tell everyone.
  • Oh, and if I didn’t share yet, I’m working part-time leading worship on an interim basis in San Jose.  That one actually probably will get more post time.

But Monday morning I turn off the laptop, and intend to leave it off til Thursday afternoon.
I will probably be in a cold sweat by Monday afternoon, but hopefully by Thursday I’ll be done detoxing.
Catch ya in a week (I hope).

28 August 2010 ~ 19 Comments

We Miss You Already Mom

Today we lost my mom to a 9 month or so battle with cancer.
4 months shy of her 60th birthday.
There’s no easy way to lead into that, so there it is.
Walking through that (along with stupid distractions like Facebook games and Catan online) has contributed in part to my spotty – at best – blogging lately.

She took a serious turn for the worse over the past several days.  I was supposed to fly out Tuesday, but changed my flight to today being unsure she would make it til Tuesday.  This morning my sister called me at 4:30 a.m. to let me know that she was gone.

Many of you have been at least somewhat aware of what was going on and have been praying for and supporting my family continually.  Thank you so much.  And for those who didn’t know, no worries, we still need much prayer as we process it all and deal with all the details that come with the death of a parent, sibling, grandparent.  Perhaps I’ll share more from the journey over the past year now on the blog. Perhaps I won’t.  We’ll just see.

So many thought and feelings are running through my heart and mind right now that I can hardly begin to process them all.
We’ve known for a while now that this day was coming.  I lost my father at 16 and thought I’d have some idea what to expect and how to prepare.  But this has proved to be, by far, the most difficult event – or really…process – I’ve ever experienced.

My mother will be deeply missed.
She already is.

I’m sitting right now in the Salt Lake City airport waiting for my flight to San Diego.
As I was sitting on the plane, I asked myself what the date was, knowing that it will more than likely be forever burned into my memory.
8/28.
It took mere seconds for Romans 8:28 to wash over my dome as I recited the number to myself silently.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

There is little that seems good about a time like now.  But what a great reminder that while it may not feel good, and while I definitely don’t understand the master plan, God has one.  My prayer is that one of the good things that can come is that God would be glorified as we, her family, embrace our own brokenness and rest in a peace that has to be beyond ourselves.  I am reminded of a popular quote from John Piper that has deeply impacted me for years, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him…especially in the midst of pain and suffering.” (Perhaps a loose quote.)

As I was on the first leg of flying, I was reading through a great little book by Henri Nouwen, The Life Of The Beloved.
In considering God using this painful time in my own life and in the lives of others, this paragraph from his chapter on brokenness seems insightful…

“The deep truth is that our human suffering need not be an obstacle to the joy and peace we so desire, but can become, instead, the means to it.  The great secret of the spiritual life, the life of the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God, is that everything we live, be it gladness or sadness, joy or pain, health or illness, can all be a part of the journey toward the full realization of our humanity.  It is not hard to say to one another: ‘All that is good and beautiful leads us to the glory of the children of God.’  But it is very hard to say: ‘But didn’t you know that we all have to suffer and thus enter into our glory?’  Nonetheless, real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.”

The reality is that right now, it mostly just hurts.  But through your prayers, support, and friendships, one day it can be redemptive in pointing to God and  bringing strength and joy to all of us who loved and miss her.
In the meantime, we’ll cope by taking this week to remember her life and to celebrate the gift that God gave us, in the midst of our grief.
I love you mom.
You’re missed already.

03 August 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Tour De SoCal…Again

This summer has been one with lots of travel in it.  And now we are once again on a whirlwind tour of Southern California.
The picture is a map of our route.
Chula Vista,
Redlands,
Big Bear,
Agoura,
Menifee,
Long Beach/Buena Park,
Escondido,
and finally back to Santa Cruz.
All in about 12 days.
Well over 1500 miles on our poor van.
1 day and 3 hours of it in the car, according to Google (make that up to 1 day 13 hours in traffic).

We’re currently about to leave Big Bear for my half-brother’s place in Agoura.
A lot of friends wished us an enjoyable vacation.
Actually, the trip is about half pleasure, half workin.
Rachel’s cousin got married (one of the most fun weddings I’ve been to-congrats Kim & Ben!), we spent a little time with her parents in Big Bear, we’ll get to stop in with a few other family members, and at the end we get a few days with my family on their vacation.
The work part…lots of support raising being worked into there while we’re in the area.  Primarily the reason for so many stops.

Starting a new church in Santa Cruz means we need to put in some time on the front end raising financial support to provide our salary, as well as a bit to supplement the giving of our Missio Dei peeps for ministry budget.  Just like missionaries are supported by those who believe in what they’re doing, so are we.  Right now we are about 46% of the way to our goal for support raising.

The whole process is an interesting one.  Meeting with friends and family to share our excitement about what God’s doing and inviting them in on the opportunity to be a part of making it happen.  Some weeks it’s an incredible blessing as we get to connect with people we love and share our journey.  Other weeks are more discouraging.  But we keep trusting that God will provide and keep on doing what we need to do.

All that to say I’m looking forward to more opportunities this week to see people and share the need and the opportunity, even if all the traveling will be a bit tiring.
I was able to lead worship at Rancho Vista Church last Sunday and share briefly what we were doing.  People were invited to give on the way out.
This Sunday I’m stoked to lead worship at our past home, Revolution Church, and get to share with that family how they have been so tied to our journey.
And then a few days of R&R with Lawrence Welk in Escondido before returning to the daily routine…wait…nevermind.  Routine doesn’t really exist for us in this stage of life.  And for the most part, I love that.  Rachel, on the other hand, is probably a bigger fan of routine.

So that’s what’s going on with us this month and this summer.
Good thing our kids are learning to travel well in the car!
How’s the end of your summer shaping up?