Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hey friends,
Josh and I are done...done writing on this blog (not that we utilized it loads and loads anyway).

Our plan is to keep this site open because we may come back to it at some point.

In the meantime, I still write on my blog:  
Keep tabs with me there.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Partnership Matters

We talk a lot about partnership around our church.  It's what makes us ORANGE.

We partner with a great organization, Destiny Rescue, that works to free children from the sex trafficking industry around the world (Tragic that there's actually an industry for this.  Grrrrr!).  Pray for them today.  What a terribly beautiful thing they are doing in the name of Christ.

I thought of Destiny Rescue today because I received a free copy of a magazine called Reject/Apathy.  It included information about Slave Trafficking in the United's awful!

If nothing else, pray for those who are fighting for these kids.  If something more, partner with us to do something about this.

(click image and read)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Put me in, Coach

Like many, I like to think that the best in life comes easy.
But if I give a second thought I realize how hard the best things in life are.

For instance, I used to own a '79 VW Bus.  I thought it'd be easy to drive it from Wyoming to Indiana in January.  My dad and I were just laughing about how much it cost him to tow it back to Wyoming from Minnesota---where the engine had blown out!

I also thought it'd be easy to learn to play guitar.  In fact, learning a few chords was easy but I am still amazed at those who have mastered the guitar.  

In High School I thought it'd be easy to be the Student Government Parliamentarian (that's the guy who knows 'Robert's Rules of Order' and keeps the meeting flowing as it should).  It was easy to win--make a few posters and write a catchy speech--it is still hard for me to know how a meeting is supposed to properly run.  

Ok, you get it.

Good change is difficult and almost never immediate.  There are moments of intense joy and moments of painful difficulty.  

Why do we keep working to effect change?  Why do we want to be in this game?
Here are a couple reasons for me:
a) I'm a dreamer and I'm just not satisfied with how things are.  
Admittedly I have my fair share of melancholy tendencies and sometimes believe it's too hard to do what we want to do.  But I also carry a God-given sense of optimism.   

b) A belief that being a change agent is at the heart of being a follower of Jesus. 

c) I'm a dad.  I look at the world and want to be part of the turnaround...for their sake.

That's a few to get you started.
Why are you still in the game?  
What gets your heart motivated to believe tomorrow is really worth the effort you are giving today?

postscript:  after posting I went to Seth Godin's blog.  His few lines on making a difference today are well said.  Click here

Friday, June 3, 2011

What Do You See?

They say that familiarity breeds unfamiliarity. When we get used to something, it takes a lot more effort to look at it with fresh eyes. For instance, think about John 3:16. You've heard it so many times that rarely do you read that verse without assuming, "I know what it means." Rarely do you (or I) ask questions about what Jesus means when he says this. Familiarity breeds unfamiliarity. 

This principle also applies to people, including those we sit in pews next to each Sunday morning. When you walk into the doors of the church and see the same people getting coffee or greeting you when you drop your kids off or even sitting in your pew, waiting for you to slip in front of them to sit where you sit--you eventually assume that you know those people. And you, like me, rarely take the time to ask questions like, "What brought you joy this week?" or, "What kept you up at night this week?" 

Familiarity also blinds us to other people's unfamiliarity. In the realm of "Sunday morning church," our familiarity with where we park, where our kids go, who the pastors are, when to stand and when to sit, and even where a passage of Scripture can be found--all of this blinds us to the guest among us who has none of the familiarity we do. We forget that it takes great courage for someone to enter a church building with little to no familiarity with what happens. 

Is familiarity bad? Not at all. These principles are not laws. They do not have to be true of us. We can choose to leverage our familiarity with Scripture, church, and the people we see, to deepen relationships within the body and among those who take the courage to attempt to be a part of it. We can choose to courageously look at all the familiar things as if we were seeing them for the first time. 

That stain on the carpet? 
Where are the bathrooms? 
What does Jesus really mean? 
Why might he or she be really tired this morning? 

And when we do, we'll begin to see Sunday mornings (God, ourselves, church) through the eyes of a guest. And guests will begin to see Sunday mornings (God, themselves, church) through the eyes of God. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

21 Days of Praying and Fasting

We are two days into a congregational season of Praying and Fasting.
Please do not feel like it is too late for you to join with us.
Fasting and Praying are not about "earning" something from God.  Rather, we are recognizing God's grace in action for us and are putting effort into our walk with him this specific way.

Get your hands on a prayer guide and start today.

I'm hearing that people are fasting in a variety of ways:
-from Facebook
-from food; only water and juice for 21 days
-from a specific food
-from television

Be creative, be sacrificial.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who is my Neighbor?

A well known parable in the New Testament tells the story of a man badly beaten and left on the road.  A priest walks by and next a Levite--religious people of Jesus' day.  They both side step him.  The final player is a Samaritan and he helps the fellow out but giving him a ride on his donkey, taking care of his immediate needs and paying to have extended care provided.  (Read the whole parable here.)

The parable is Jesus' answer to being asked, "And who is my neighbor?"
It's a good question.  Jesus answered it in a way that challenges our preconceived ideas today just as much as it must have in its original setting.

I want to use that question, And Just Who is My Neighbor?, to ask you if there is anyone in your life who is not, to the best of your knowledge, trusting in Jesus for forgiveness of their sins?  
I want to ask you to consider your neighbor (friend, family, co-worker, and actual neighbors) and courageously ask them to take a next step with you.

It is not my slogan but I love it and we use it at church, Invest and Invite.  

There certainly are people who need a Good Samaritan to be their neighbor.  I believe Christians are to be about the work of Justice and Mercy.  I also believe that our church's greatest outreach tool is you.  You have relationships with people--they are your neighbors.  You have invested in them.  Could now be the time to invite them to join you at church.  Could this Sunday be the Sunday they sit next to you?

If you Invest and Invite watch and see what happens
  • Your friends will appreciate you inviting them (I doubt many of them will kick you to the curb.)
  • Your friends will not be completely weirded out by our church.
  • You will start to see your neighbors through a different lens.
  • You will start to see our church with renewed perspective--you'll wonder if our church is truly an inviting place for those who are unchurched.  You may even help us make improvements in this regard.
  • You will see the Spirit of God at work in your friend's life and your own.
Invest and Invite.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It doesn't matter what we Say...or does it

The more the words the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?" 
Ecclesiastes 6:11

We've been using words around our church for the past year or so like these; 

  • Think Orange
  • Foyer - Living Room - Kitchen
  • Small Groups
  • Environments
  • Discipleship Path

We use others too; mission, vision & core values.
I like the words we are using.  They are great words.  
As we have spoken them we have experienced motivation and excitement. We have experienced confusion too.  We have seen implementation of ministries from these words.  We have also seen ourselves struggle to engage with some of the words.
Too many of them and they lose their meaning.
Not enough of them and we will not realize all that we can be and do.

More on that in a moment.  For now, look at this guy's head...Tell me he's not a candidate to be my forehead twin!

His name is Seth Godin.  I read his blog.
I saw this entry from his blog over the weekend,
It's a lot easier for an organization to adopt new words than it is to 
actually change anything.  
Real change is uncomfortable.  If it's not feeling that way, you've probably 
just adopted new words.

Um, can anyone say "North Branch Wesleyan Church"?
If you are hanging around you know there is some change in the vocabulary.  But beyond the vocabulary we are using there are changes of implementation in our ministries.  And it feels funky!  It feels out of whack!  It even feels, can't we just do what we used to do.

It doesn't matter what we say.  At least not entirely.
Our actions must match our words.

Another quote.  It's not my quote but if you want to think I'm brilliant you can attribute it to me anyway.  The quote asks of churches, "Is what's written on the wall happening down the hall?" (Andy Stanley said that.)

Hear it?  Is what is written in our mission, vision and core values happening in the hallways, classrooms and homes of our church?

The Book of James says this about hearing the Word of God.  
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror and, after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget 
what they look like. 
James 1:22-24

God's word is not only to be heard but followed up with action.
As our church takes steps that are in accordance with God's word and purpose (ie, to seek and save the lost, and to baptize and disciple believers) it would seem that we too must hear the words of our church vocabulary and do them.

Perhaps it's good that we feel a little uncomfortable and uneasy.  Perhaps we should look at our vocabulary AND actions and see how they line up.  Perhaps I should stop now.  'Cuz like a wise man once said, too many words and what does that profit anyone?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Gathering

I'm in the Jacksonville airport this morning waiting to fly home after The Gathering, a conference for Wesleyan pastors and spouses. Jamie and I were debriefing last night after our last session and we asked, "What was the best part for you?" Normal question. At the time, I wasn't sure.

We laughed a lot, had great meals, caught up with people we know from Wisconsin and Indiana, met new friends, spent time with her parents, worshiped with Paul Baloche, and sat under the teaching of people like Gary McIntosh, Michael Smalley, Wayne Schmidt, Keith Loy, Brenda Sadler McNeal, and Mark Batterson. 

Last night, Mark Batterson said, "There are ways of doing church that no one has thought of before." He spoke about how as children, we use more of our right brain imagination, and as we grow older, we use more of our left brain logic and memory. Result: We start operating out of re-doing the past instead of imagining new ways of doing church for the future. He says it is crucial that we take the time to imagine a future where we accomplish the same goals (seeing lost people saved and the kingdom come) in new ways. 

I'm challenged by that. And I'm also encouraged. I believe we are using our imagination well at NBWC as we think orange. We're accomplishing the same goals (seeing children and teens saved, seeing families thrive under Jesus' lordship, seeing the community transformed as we partner with parents) in new ways. 

God's best is yet to come!