Reflecting On Last Week – Tornadoes, John Piper, Untimely Passings & Last Week’s Sermon

I haven’t blogged in a while as last week was very emotionally charged for me personally – maybe it was for you as well.
Between giving the weeks’ sermon, the events of the week, some wonderful family things and some obligations, I was running short on bandwidth. But here’s a bit of what I was going through my mind and likely will for a good while.

Time Magazine’s The Me, Me, Me” article on the Millennial Generation by Joel Stein.
Unfortunately, you can’t read the article online for free (unless you are a subscriber or pay one of their content packages.) I identify myself as a Gen Xer (those born between 1968-1979) but I have a great deal of affinity and affection for the Millennials. The piece was well-written, the title and intro was a bit sensational (that’s how you try to sell magazines right?) but I did appreciate that he identifies his own narcism and his speculation of the Millennials  actually being the ones to change the world and do the greatest amount of social good of any recent American generation has seen/done. Not exactly sure how that is measured though.

Just like I’m not sure how narcism is really measured. I get that Stein cited this generation has the highest clinical cases of narcism but can he really compare the countless untreated people throughout the generations with the Millennials, especially since they are the largest, the youngest and fortunately, the ones whose Boomer parents have been able to send them to therapy/counseling?

Is there really more narcism today? Or is impossible it is more evident/verifiable because of social media? Did it really not [Read more…]

Reflecting on the Boston Marathon Bombing 1 Month Later

It made a huge difference that suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended by the end of the week. Clearly the fear went from hidden and lurking to a white-hot anger focused on making an example out of anyone who would attack innocent people. Still terrorism did its job.

I still hear of people saying they are rethinking their summer plans. Some are choosing not to fly. Some second-guessing their [Read more…]

On Visiting West Coast Churches Post 2 – My Time at RealityLA

When I was in LA a few weeks ago I had the privilege of worshiping at few churches: The previous post was on Saddleback Church and this is about my time at RealityLA.Obviously the first thing that gets your attention is the name of the church. Can’t say it made me a fan from the first impression but I’m a fan of the friend who told me about it which is another vote for word of mouth over branding. I’m guessing it means something towards [Read more…]

On Visiting West Coast Churches Post 1 – My Time at Saddleback

When I was visiting LA a few weeks ago I had the privilege of worshiping and visiting a few churches: Saddleback Church, RealityLA and Mariners Church (I intended on attending Mosaic as well but ran out of time). In the weeks since, I’ve been thinking the nature of large church environments, West Coast culture and the Northeast, what I liked and what’s thrown me off.

Now, sometimes I think it’s a good idea for a pastor to not be in church on a Sunday. This was tempting, not when I woke up that Sunday morning but back in March when I was planning out the trip. I was also tempted by the thought, “Everyone knows the West [Read more…]

“So How Was QLA 2013?”

Q LA was a few weeks ago and every so often someone asks me about it.  I was pretty excited heading into and  loved my time there. I’m still processing but here’s a sarcastic and somewhat serious summary until I can post something legitimate.

If you don’t know, Q is a gathering of Christian leaders (and some non-Christian) from different sectors of culture focusing on four themes Culture, Future, Faith and Gospel. The 7 that Q identified are: Media, Business, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Government, Social Sector and the Church. You can read more about Q here.

Upon entering the very cool Nokia Theater in downtown LA, my first question was where was Andy Crouch? [Read more…]

Book Review of God Is On the Cross: Meditations for Lent and Easter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Note: I was sent this book from the publisher and as always I am not required to give a positive review but an honest one. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

As mentioned in a previous post regarding devotionals, I’m not big on them but I do look for them come Lent and Advent. I have to say, I was pretty excited when I saw God Is On the Cross: Meditations for Lent and Easter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and here’s the summary according to the publisher Westminster John Knox Press:

“These forty stirring devotions will guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Lent and Easter, encountering themes of prayerful reflection, self-denial, temptation, suffering, and the meaning of the cross. Passages from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters and sermons provide special encouragement as readers prepare themselves spiritually for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Supplemented by an informative introduction to Bonhoeffer’s life and a Scripture passage for each day of the season, these daily devotions are moving reminders of the true gift of Christ on the cross.”

Having read it through this Lent, I have to say it’s good work. Of course the material is great and one cannot [Read more…]

Reflecting on Our Oldest Turning 5

This past weekend we celebrated our oldest’s 5th birthday. It was a wonderful and a bit of an emotional weekend – the good kind though.  My parents, my brother, my in-laws, dear friends, his friends from church and preschool were all around.  Wow, hard to believe Nathan was born 5 years ago – feels so much longer and so much shorter. Time feels funny these days.

Susan and I are so proud of our son – he’s sharp, he’s funny, we really do think he is intellectually gifted and we’re excited for him. If you don’t know our story, we are one of those couples who went through years of infertility, decided to adopt, then had two more biological kids, Dylan and Janelle, within a few years.

[Read more…]