Some things that strike me as worth sharing. Most of the time at least.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


“All hard work bring a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23
Last fall the opportunity presented itself to hang out with some of the wise folks at the home office of Chik fil A. Our entire leadership team was able to hang out for the day and glean a ton of great information. One of the pieces that isn’t necessarily original to them that has stuck with me was this basic process:
Simple formula or model of development process:
Read – 10%  Gather new concepts, new content, new thoughts.  Audio, seminars, reading.  This is necessary precursor to set up the discussion and actions for growth. 
Talk – 20%  Engage in conversations with others about it.  TWICE as powerful!  Mentors, peer partners, friends you process life with.  Managing time, dealing with conflict, etc.  Who can we connect them with? 
Do – 70%  Practical areas to try this out, projects to put this to use.  APPLYING is growth through practice.  Set it up, debrief it – spine of it is practicing it.  Faith without works is dead!  Help team to live it out.  Let students go on trips and EXPERIENCE it!
The application is pretty simple. We all love to talk. We meet to meet. We have meetings to discuss previous meetings. But sometimes we have to get stuff done. Proverbs even guarantees that hard work always brings results. Even if they aren’t the results you were shooting for you are better off than just talking. Talking has it’s place, we need to be wise and seek the counsel of others. But we also have to try it. Our parents taught us that. We teach that to our kids. So what have you been talking and talking and talking about that you need to shut up and acoomplish?

Monday, October 14, 2013


I think its time we redeem the word good.

I'm reminded daily has we've turned good into a dirty word, almost a failure.We create scales where satisfactory, good, passing seem weak. It's become the bare minimum but not something that we are ever satisfied by. The reality is whether its school work or whatever it really is that simple. It's pass or fail. Sure I can graduate as valedictorian or with a 2.0, but both graduate. And seriously, when's the last time someone asked you what your GPA was?

I still hate the statement "C's get degrees" but it is true.

My guess is this is a mankind issue.

Rather than keep things simple we've complicated the issue and done so in an effort to compete with one another. Good, better, best gets us out of bed in the morning. If we are all the same, where's the competition in that? So we scale everything from grades to event evaluations to our surveys on our favorite restaurant. Progress reports, job evaluations, mid-terms, personality reviews--all of it--we scale it to compare and contrast.

But God's scale seems to be different. It seems to be quite a bit simpler. His seems to break down to good and bad.

And what I'm coming to realize is using a scale different than God's causes me to compare myself with others rather than with Him.

If you dig through scripture it's almost shocking how often and where good shows up.
Think about creation. Every day the creator of the universe would step back from a day creating things like universes, animals, geography and things we've still yet to discover and said what about it? "It was good".

The Psalmist would pen beautifully profound and intimate words about his connection with the Father and would say things like. "You are good, and what you do is good."(Ps. 119) We are even encouraged to "taste and see that the Lord is good."

Then Jesus shows up and they physical manifestation of divinity and says what about himself? "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (Jn. 10:11)

Or think about the Gospel. It's other name? The good news.

Peter declares this truth while talking with Cornelius giving us this clear picture of the ministry of Jesus in Acts 10:38 when he says, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."

And somewhere in the back of our mind we sometimes return to the truth that, "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." (Rom. 8:28)

And when it is all said and done, aren't we all longing to stand in judgement and hear declared over us, "Well done, good and faithful servant."?

And so God's scale seems to be different. It seems to be quite a bit simpler. His seems to break down to good and bad.

And what I'm coming to realize is using a scale different from God's causes me to listen to the opinions of others about me rather than His.

So Jesus' call to us is pretty clear.
"Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." (Matt. 7:17)
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." (Matt. 12:35)

So what do I do about this? What am I to do about this word good? What led me on this path, what caused me to be convicted on my misuse of good has to do with my actions.

I have grown up embracing the truth of Ephesians 2, that I am saved by grace and not by works, at the expense of seeing just how important my own actions are and the truth of James 2. My actions demonstrate that grace is enough. My demonstration of good works demonstrates his good work in my life to a watching world.

Take this one step further and realize that all of this isn't really about me either. It's about him. Jesus was clear about that in Matthew 5.

But our good works are how we partner with the mission of God. Whatever we do is a chance to advance and declare the now and not yet kingdom.

Take a few minutes and journey through these familiar passages with me:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.                    – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.                   – Hebrews 13:16
Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:14
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.                     – Galatians 6:9
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work… – Titus 3:1
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:3-4
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live...   – Ecclesiastes 3:12
 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… – Hebrews 10:24
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. – James 2:8
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. – 1 Peter 3:13-17
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.                           – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
-2 Corinthians 9:8
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. – Isaiah 1:17
Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. – Psalm 37:27-29
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. – Titus 3:8
Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. – Psalm 37:27

So here's to redeeming good. Here's to keeping things simple. And here's to good works. Here's to seeing that everyday daily decisions are our way to declare what He has done. And here's to realizing it's not about adjectives to compare our actions with others but rather about actions than declare the good news in a blatantly simple and profound way. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


A friend had an opportunity this week to talk with young, impressionable college freshman and asked advice on what to share. It got me thinking, if I had the same opportunity, what would I say.

I think this particular group was preparing for ministry so the focus was a bit more specific and they were looking for what to share that would be a nugget of wisdom early on the journey.

What would you say to them?

If I look back at the best moments in my life, the best moments in ministry I find one common denominator.


I've had friends all my life. I've even called a few different people "best".

That one thing is to me the make or break factor for life and ministry.

It starts who with you watch walk down the aisle towards you or who you walk down the aisle to. If that ain't right, I'm not sure the other two matter. I speak from the joy and blessing that I am blessed beyond measure on this one. And if you are too you know the truth of this one. It doesn't need any explanation. If you have a true partner in life, life is good.

It continues with those you serve with. Where you serve, what you do, how many people are a part of what you do, that means very, very little if you want to enjoy longevity. It's all about the team you serve with. My deepest friendships are with the people who I've done life with in the trenches in the past and those that I serve with now. Who you serve with means the most.

It concludes with those who speak truth to you that aren't in the first two categories. Those who don't walk the hallways of your work but know you, love you and get to speak into the "rest" of who you are. They might be your sounding board, your confidant or the one who asks you the tough questions. Without these friends, the ones who call your crap, push your comfort zone or hold up the mirror and force you to face what you see, I just don't see how you keep going.

So where does God land in all this? Glad you asked, He's the first and the last. He's the one who's always there and never leaves or forsakes you. Never let's you down and sustains you as only He can. But we weren't meant to walk this life alone in the flesh either. And sure, each of the 3 categories sometimes provides a portion of what the other groups do. Sometimes my wife calls my crap. Okay, often she calls me on my crap. Sometimes my coworkers ask me the tough questions and sometimes my other friends share in the joy of ministry with me.

But without them, I just don't know where I'd be.

So here's to friends. Real friends. Not the ones from fourth grade that I was convinced I'd always know. It's the ones I have served with. Laughed with. Wept with. Share my deepest thoughts and concerns with. Here's to all of us being that for others as well.


I have found that I usually speak or teach on a topic that I feel confident representing. No sense standing in front of people and waxing eloquent over something you have no idea about. Sometimes there's been parts that I don't fully get but for the most part I'd like to think that once I open my mouth, I've spent an appropriate amount of time thinking, reflecting and listening on the topic.

Turns out that wasn't true back in May.

Each summer I get a chance to share a devo with all of the event staff that we hire to serve with our summer programs. It's an opportunity to share my heart and challenge them with some personal and professional development while exploring scripture. To be honest its one of my favorite opportunities I get each year.

This year I posed a somewhat impossible question, one that is certainly open to interpretation but was meant more than anything to set our compass towards true north. If you could only use one word to describe God, what would you pick?

What I told them, what I would still pick, is faithful. Of course you could make any word make sense but for me, if He isn't faithful, it all falls apart. If He isn't faithful, I can't move forward with boldness and confidence. If He isn't faithful, I'm wasting my time. If He isn't faithful it's all an elaborate, over thought bunch of crap.

Faithful. At the end of the day it's what gave Gideon the confidence to go into battle undermanned. It's what gave Isaiah the faith to write words that sounded too good to be true. It's what made Joshua lead people around a city day after day. It's what made Abraham take a walk with his son. It's what well, fill in your own story I'm guessing.

Without boring you with the details it's what gave me the ability this summer to at times simply put one foot in front of the other. It's what humbled me, moved me, compelled me, sustained me and ultimately broke and restored me.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd still give the same devo. In fact I probably wouldn't change any of it. I'd say the same things but I'd better be able to share them from a place of confidence.

I was sharing this with a friend today who spoke the truth to me that now I could offer those words and believe them myself.

Perhaps one of the lessons I needed to learn this summer was that when I spoke those words a few months ago, what I thought I was speaking to provide an anchor for others was me actually casting out words I needed to walk through myself. Words that weren't as grounded for me as I had originally thought. Words I needed to sustain me.

So here's to our own discovery of His faithfulness. And here's to that truth of Him become more real in us. And here's to us resting in those words not just in moments when we are weak but even more so in moments we think we are strong.

Thursday, September 06, 2012


I stopped an intruder breaking into our home over the weekend. The good news is it all went down while the kids were gone.

For the past 4 days, we'd been dealing with a clogged toilet. Because I'm stubborn, proud and too lazy to call a plumber, I kept working on it myself. Plunger. Roto Rooter. Hot Water. Some stupid "green" solution using kitchen items. I had tried it all and nothing was working.

I finally broke down and borrowed my dad's plunger, which is better than mine. Yeah, I know, aren't all plungers created equally?

I also borrowed his snake. A disgusting and annoying tool of plumbers everywhere that's a lot like that weird thing they do in medical dramas when they jam the tube down somebody's throat. And let's also establish the truth that I don't like anything with the word snake in it. Except maybe Whitesnake. But other than that snake brings nothing redeeming or encouraging to my mind.

If I'm being honest and I'd like to think I am, snaking a toilet is just about as awful a task as I've had to do as a home owner. It's like playing the disgust-o lottery. You are gambling on what will turn up and the odds of getting a prize you actually want is pretty much slim. What could you possibly find deep in the pipes of your toilet that you want? And yet you hope every time you do it that something does turn up since your toilet is broken.

As a sidelight, if you ever find yourself snaking a toilet make sure its not rusty and sharp like my dads. Otherwise you will end up scraping the inside of your toilet like crazy leaving it unclogged but looking worse than ever. Not that it happened to me mind you. Not saying I'm now researching how to restore the ceramic finish on the inside of my toilet bowl. But I could be.

So off I go "snaking my toilet" or in other words, wasting a perfectly good Sunday night when my kids are gone. And much to my dismay I learn that doing this particular task is something that must require a class or an apprenticeship because I can't seem to make any progress.

I finally begin to succeed when I encounter a stopping point. According to my extensive online research this is good news and may be moment of breakthrough. I find this both encouraging and terrifying.

So off I go, cranking clockwise. It's kind of like fishing except instead of an amazing Salmon or Steelhead out of the Deschutes River in Eastern Oregon I'm trying to pull something out of my toilet. It's like River Monsters meets Dirty Jobs.

And then it happens.

The water changes color a bit. Turns out that's the rust off the snake. But I see something in the shallow, murky, cold water. But in this significant moment of breakthrough I reach right in.

Since I've had time to reflect I realize this was stupid. In this case it worked out but I feel as though any time I would do this for the rest of my life it will not work out as well.

And that's when I found the intruder. Trying to sneak his way into our home and swipe all the things we love. It's a plastic Swiper toy from Dora the Explorer.

And he has this annoying grin on his face.

The next day I asked the kids about our masked toilet clogger. Turns out they were well aware he was in there. For the sake of time I won't record the dialogue that happened after that. Let's just say it involved a number of questions from me met with blank stares and shoulder shrugging from the kids.

Based on my interrogation though it sounds as though Swiper was working alone.

I've since returned my dad's snake and his vastly superior but unnecessary plunger. And it seems as though things are once again working as they should. Now to fix all those scratches.