Ash Wednesday 2014: 5 Quick Thoughts on Lent

Some quick thoughts for this new Lenten season:

1. Lent is about preparing our hearts for the journey of Easter.
It includes themes like brokeness, redemption, self-denial, forgiveness, death and life and many more. I have found that if focus on only one of these themes and neglect others that I miss out on part of the goodness Lent can offer. A Lenten journey that covers a lot of ground is the way to go.

2. Whatever you do, don’t become a legalist.
What to give up, what to add, which devotional, how much do I say or not say to my right [Read more...]

Reflecting on the Justice Conference Boston Simulcast – Post 1

Well, it’s been a busy week since our Justice Conference Simulcast (Feb. 21 & 22) and I’ve finally got a chance to sit down and process a bit.

My first thought was that it was a great and worthwhile thing to do. I find myself thankful to my church leadership for allowing us the opportunity to host the event. These things can be taxing on staff, facilities, budget and I’m grateful that during a time when we are already stretched, that we found the conversation of justice worth doing.

My second thought is that I am still reeling from all the positive responses from those that came. Frankly, I am just not used to the justice conversation getting so much positive feedback. Rather, I am used to mostly sincere people [Read more...]

5 Reasons Why You Should Come to the Justice Conference Simulcast

If you have ever had the experience of trying to convince someone to enjoy an amazing and worthwhile time then you know how I am feeling right now. The Justice Conference is taking place next weekend and I’m so grateful that our church Grace Chapel has agreed to be a simulcast partner site and I hope you can be part of it.

To those of you who already know you are coming, we’d be grateful if you spread the word, share this post and our other links and make a diligent effort in inviting others. The more justice-seekers gathered next weekend, the better. Not for the sake of attendance but for the good that can come out of this.

I know some are trying to figure out if this gathering is for you and so here are my 5 reasons of why you should come.

1. To get deeper in the conversation
You may be new to the idea of social justice or a veteran of it but regardless of the length of time you’ve spent in the [Read more...]

Thugs, Racists and Forgiveness – What Richard Sherman & Coca Cola Reminded Me This Week

When Richard Sherman gave his now epic post-game interview with Erin Andrews, I thought his words lacked class. He had a similar rant moments later with Ed Werner then again in his press-confernce  interview. It was a shame, because I liked him until then.

“Typical athlete” and I posted this on my Facebook timeline:

I love/hate sports. I admire and am easily annoyed by them too. Many are coddled, spoiled and enabled. Think Alex Rodriguez. Many are dedicated, humble and classy. Think Derek Jeter.

Later that night Sherman wrote this piece explaining his actions and asking not to be judged by that excitement and adrenaline of the moment. My first thought was “Wow, he has an awesome agent willing to write that up for him.” But after reading, I was not only convinced he was the author but appreciated his heart. Also really appreciated his words regarding the fans who threw food at the injured Navorro Bowman. For me, Richard Sherman was ok again.

Then later I actually started feeling bad for him. Because in the minds of many, he was not going to be able to recover as easily. Then this word kept appearing …

Thug.

Woah, come on people, there’s a difference between lacking class and being a thug. And though I never used that [Read more...]

Reflecting on the the Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Truths and Myths

I’ve spent a good chunk of this weekend reading posts about the Super Bowl Sex Trafficking myths. For those who don’t know here’s a brief recap:
Various posts stating that the Super Bowl attracts hundreds of thousands of men to town leading to greater numbers of forced prostitution.
In response, fact-checkers offer that some of these statistics are unsubstantiated and much of the rhetoric is tired exaggeration offered before every major sporting/cultural event like the Olympics and the World Cup.

My first thought was that I felt a bit betrayed by the exaggerations from anti-traffickers. My wife and I support anti-trafficking organizations and efforts by giving, learning, sharing, creating awareness, and prayer. Have we been conned?

[Read more...]

What Does God Think of the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl Week – which is really two weeks of hype, created controversy, Richard Sherman bashing, Richard Sherman supporting, “What-if?” questions, projected legacies, weather analysis and a time intended to create as much buy-in for people to want to watch the big game. As football fans, we find so much of this unnecessary as we are already invested into the season and want to see who wins. Non-football fans, I just feel pity for them.

But with every big event, we often like to wonder where God’s interests are. One reason is because we presume that God only watches the station “America” on His heavenly flat screen. I’ll move past our “American God complex” and [Read more...]

5 Favorite Things About the Christianity 21 Conference #c21Denver

Two weeks ago I attended  Christianity21 – still loving on it. I’ll admit, some of it is the “high” gleaned from a great experience. Another part of it though is I keep thinking about the stuff I heard and the people I met. Those things  outlast any high and  in looking back here were my 5 Favorite things.

<strong>1. The vibe of the gathering.</strong>My first impression was how relaxed it felt. Not relaxed in the disorganized sense, relaxed in the friendly sense.  Second “the room” felt very friendly and gracious. As the time went on, I sense it was  an “us” place as opposed to “we are the experts, you are mere peons” sort of thing. I didn’t sense any pretension and if there was, umm, sorry about that, didn’t mean to be that guy.

Seriously, it was one of the least pretentious rooms of informed, “coolish” people I’ve been in. There’s a lot of [Read more...]

Why the Christianity21 Conversation Was So Important to Me #C21Denver

Earlier this week, I returned from “Christianity21″ which took place in Denver. After that I got to spend a  few days in Phoenix visiting my sister and her family so I am still catching up at home, in my ministry and processing a few of my notes.  I have a few drafts on actual content (so much goodness articulated there) and I am excited to post them soon.

If you have heard me tell my story, you know I say that among the things God used to help me find my love for the Church again was the emerging church conversation.

I remember reading Tony Jones’ Postmodern Youth Ministry and thinking, “Hey, I’m not crazy.” I remember reading A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren and thinking, “Thank you, I’m not crazy.” And I remember reading Doug Pagitt’s Church Re-Imagined and thinking “Thank God, I’m not that crazy.”

Many great minds and many books later and add all the blog reading, the goodness of social media, countless [Read more...]

A Brief Post on What I Hope to Gain From #C21Denver

I was sitting on the plane thinking about what I hope to gain from the Christianity 21 conference. I jotted a few things down in my notebook, some of it typical and possibly cliched but another part fairly personal.

If you know me, you know I like to get to a few conferences a year. If you read this blog, you know that I acknowledge this quite regularly. What can I say, [Read more...]

What I’m Up to: OPEN Boston for Youthworkers, The Justice Conference for Everyone But First Christianity21 (#C21Denver)

It’s going to be a fun couple of months as I get to be a part of some amazing events and I wanted to share with you a little about them.

I swear this post is not out of pride but in hopes that some of you will either be able to attend or share with others who can take part in some way. I offer that disclaimer because I’m somewhat involved in each of these and ever since I saw the #humblebrag hashtag, I have no idea what’s permissible to share anymore. It’s almost as if everything is a #humblebrag.

Anyway, if you are a youthworker come to OPEN Boston (Gordon College campus)  organized by the Youth Cartel. Seriously, sign up right now – it’s a well-spent $25.

Here’s what it is from their manifesto:
“There aren’t many places in the church where all ideas have the same opportunity to be presented. Everything is editorialized, shaped, and packaged. Every idea is filtered through a lens.
We think something is wrong with that. Deep in our souls we know the solutions to the problems we face [Read more...]