Thursday, May 29, 2008

So the cool thing that happened, that I was twittering about (the thing on the top left of this blog...above my profile) was that I got a motorcycle on Monday! It's a 1979 Suzuki GS750L. It was a sweet deal. I have a couple of things to touch up on it, like the brakes, tune up, replace mirrors, change the oil, speedometer, tighten the chain, muffler (the neighbors will appreciate that), new seat, and a paint job and it will be like new. So I'll start with the first six this weekend...the rest aren't a real hurry. Thanks to Don for selling it and to Tim and Kate for helping me do what was necessary to get it down here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fun Blog

I just had a discussion with Sarah about why I write about what I'm thinking and reading as opposed to fun things. We concluded that hers is the fun blog.
As soon as I stop staying up late reading deep books on pain and suffering these blogs will stop...then I'll post about Human Resource Management and Leadership Principles :-) j/k (the 2 classes I'm taking this summer).

Tomorrow, or today I guess, I'll be having a worship practice at VCA, then tag-team preaching with Justin for a ONE24 vision service at Inspiration Church, then buzzing back to my church to lead worship at the end of our service. Catching lunch with the Doeblers and the Spooners, sans Dave :-( and then heading to a friend's Grad Party and off to Fosston, MN to spend Memorial Day with the Tim and Kate (and Grace and Jude)! I should go get some sleep so I can stay awake for it all!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pain, Perplexity & Promotion

I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of pain in our lives. When Sarah and I went on our East Coast trip we heard more then 7 sermons on testing, trials, and suffering. After that I was kind of wondering if God was trying to say something to us. God had really spoken to me from the book of James during our third miscarriage about faith and perseverance in trials. As some of you know that miscarriage happened around the time we faced a bunch of other problems in the ministry that we had never faced...things that hurt in more ways than there's time to write. So During the last month I've decided to see what might be happening here. I got a book from my Bro-In-Law, David G., called Pain, Perplexity and Promotion that examines the book of Job (I thought it fitting given the melee of sermons on the topic). So far I had heard about the Israelite's testing in the wilderness, Jesus' testing in the wilderness and on the cross, and the testing of the church in James and Revelation. After finishing PP&P last night I decided to read one of C.S. Lewis' books I'd been meaning to get around to: A Grief Observed (it chronicles his grief over the loss of his wife to cancer).
Here are some of the interesting things I've learned from both:
  • A different look at Suffering in the Bible:
    • The Bible begins with suffering (Job was the first book in the Bible to be written).
    • The New Testament begins with suffering (James was the first book in the NT to be written)
    • The Bible ends with suffering and then VICTORY in the book of Revelation.
    • ...this isn't the goosebumps kind of thing we all think of when we read "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you not to harm you." Maybe He prospers us by making us better???
  • God tests us BECAUSE He loves us (Job had it going on, yet God wanted to take him deeper and there was a deep part of him that needed to change in the process of suffering.)
    • It said He was pleased with was God's idea!
      • Sounds sick unless you think of the example of a good doctor who wants to make you better through surgery...which is what happens when we persevere through testing.
  • A lot of times you don't realize you're grieving until you've been in it for a while (it took me several months to realize that I was grieving a family and ministry loss)
  • Grief clouds your understanding when you're in it.
  • Pain and Suffering are part of God's plan of promotion...We all want to be part of the five-fold ministry, but do we really want to go through the fire?
  • The test from God and temptation from the enemy are the same event (each of them has a different end in mind...the devil wants to make you BITTER, but God wants to make you BETTER).
    • Actually the devil wants to kill you, but if he can get you to give up or avoid the test then he's neutralized you and he won.
  • God does amazing things through suffering in our lives that wouldn't be possible without's like a pressure cooker that speeds up the readiness process.
  • Until you've suffered, it's really easy to look at outward appearances and judge the cause of others' sufferings (like Jobs friends)
  • There's a supernatural release that happens when you bless those who judged or accused you in your testing (like Job at the end).
  • I experienced pain, but I have not experienced persecution...
It's too late for more, but I'd like to read C.S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain" one of these days...I also read his Screwtape Proposes a Toast. I bought his greatest works in one way to get them all at a good price. He definitely makes you think.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good to Great

One of the best books I read last semester was Good to Great by Jim Collins. They took a team and analyzed what made certain companies great while others remained mediocre with the same opportunities. They found that the type of leadership was key, a humble/servant leader (among other traits). They also found that one of the most important things was that those business got the right people on board and the wrong people off. They also took the time to move people around that might be the right people just doing the wrong job before figuring out where they were taking the company. These companies had disciplined people, with disciplined thought, that carried out disciplined action. In their disciplined thought, they were willing to be real about their strengths and their weaknesses and truly confront what they were best at and what they weren't the best at, what they were passionate about and where their companies financial survival came from. From that place they were able to make discipled decisions to guide the rest of their journey because they focused their energies on the intersection of their passion, ability, and what drove their economic engine. Once they discovered where those things intersected that's where they invested themselves. Great book that provides some "how to's" and questions to help discover what that is in your context.
I really enjoyed the book and I learned a ton. I would definitely recommend it if you're leading a business, ministry, or other organization.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Knowing More

I've been thinking about how the church approaches Christianity sometimes. It's like we think there's going to be some kind of quiz when we die (and we would probably fail that anyway). The more I think about it I realize that following Jesus isn't about knowing more about Jesus, but about knowing Jesus more. The difference lies in personally knowing and experiencing versus simply learning facts. I love to study about God, but the more time I spend doing what I do I realize that the basics of Christianity don't require years of learning information. I think the basic info you need to get going is pretty straight forward and shouldn't take that long...learning how to apply it take us longer.
How many years will people come to church or youth group and hear about how important it is to know God and then go home and not spend time getting to know God? It's like there's this system where you're graded based on how much you know about God and you could be winning in it without ever spending time with Him! That's MESSED UP! I just think of the story where Jesus told those who had even done miracles in His name: "depart from me I never knew you." Notice He didn't say you never went to enough Sunday schools or went to enough church services. He didn't even say you didn't know enough about me or do enough good things for me! Not only do we need to know Him, we need to be known BY Him! And that takes time in His presence. So you can't really say you're a Christ-Follower if you don't even know which direction He's going...That's HUGE!
Christianity is not about knowing more about God, but about knowing God MORE and being known by HIM MORE...a constant pursuit, like in a loving relationship, to ever be knowing that person more and being known more. I never think to myself: "I know everything there is to know about Sarah, so I don't need to spend time with her." Or, "I spent time with Sarah the other day, so I should be alright if we don't hang out for a couple of days." That's nonsense! When you love someone and you are aware of how much they love you, you want to be with them as much as possible!
How many of us will be shocked to find out that the lives we thought were Christian were merely religious (like the Pharisees) because we missed the WHOLE POINT!?! God bring us to a place to cry out like Paul: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead!" Know him even to the point of suffering and death? I think we get to that place when we're into knowing him more and not simply knowing more about him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


After church today one of the guys from Radiate, Adam, got a group together to go paintballing. It was lots of fun, but I'm definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow. I came home with a really nice shot right on my knee that is blistered and makes my whole knee hurt...but it was tons of fun. There were 7 of us, hopefully next time we can have even more people. I'd say the best game we played was an "every man for himself" paintball version of halo...yeah, you had to walk back to where the gear was to come back in after you got hit.
Spring is like the best time to PaintBall because it's cool and there aren't any mosquitoes :-) That's it for now.