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Monthly Archives: October 2006

Sometimes the world seems as though all is in order. The trees are green, the sky is blue, the kids are doing what they are told, and those we call heroes actually act like we would imagine a hero to act.

My kids are 3 and 7 and they adore and idolize certain people and characters. From Peter in the movie “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” to the three football players from UT that go to our church.

Allyson was watching the UT vs TX Tech game last weekend and just screaming at the TV, “Run Colt McCoy, Run Fast!” She just has this thing for sports and for Colt in particular…and she’s 3.

Anyway, we were watching an NFL game last night and she asked, “Where is Colt?” I told her he wasn’t playing. That he was at home getting ready for bed so he could go to school on Monday.

She paused…”Where does he live? Where does he go to school?” I answered.
She paused and sayed with all sincerity…”I love Colt McCoy.”

To that, I could only think to myself that I am grateful there are young men like him and Jordan and Derrick that I am confident to know that it is ok for my kids to have them as heroes.

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I stumbled on this sermon Rob Bell gave at Willowcreek back in 2002. In it he describes the role of the rabbi and how Jesus has called us to be his disciples within that context. This is the sermon version of the “Dust of the Rabbi” Nooma film. Here is the link

He refers to a friend of his that has studied with the Jewish and I think he’s referring to Ray VanderLaan who has a ministry That the World May Know

I become more and more fascinated with the first century world of Jesus and how it shapes and gives depth and context to Jesus the man and the Christ.

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I’m reading “Exiles…Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture” by Michael Frost and in the early part of the book he’s talking about Dangerous Songs and the ability of music to inspire revolution. He cites the civil rights movement, the French revolutionary songs, and the singers in China and how the songs they sing(or sung) invoked action.

He compares this with the current practices here in the western church of singing “insipid, cloying, and romantic…pop-style love songs to Jesus, confessing our undying love for him in the same way that pop idols sing to a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

He continues, “So many worshippers today sing, doe-eyed and sentimental, about their special love for Jesus (and his for them). Yet, in the past our brothers and sisters sang into reality a marvelous new world, a dangerous set of promises. Another exile, a revolutionary named Isaiah, writing in exilic times composed these words on behalf of God:”

For a long time I have kept silent
I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a womaan in childbirth,
I cry out, I gasp and pant. (Isaiah 42:14)

I’ve recently discovered such a singer who challenges, who is not afraid to question to convention, who loves God. Below is a link to get his latest CD free as a download. Check it out…


Free Derek Webb

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“train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22)

I heard a guy on the radio this morning from RoadTrip nation talking about how education in america doesn’t really hit kids where they want or need it. he procalimed an experiential education is much more valuable and that travel is one way to do this. Talking with people who are out in the real world is another way to discover their passions and help kids explore what they might be passionate about.

I agree with his premises and I keep coming back to the quote from above and how we’ve always interpreted that to mean that we must train up a child in the ways of christianity. I think it’s more holistic than that, the ancient jewish usage for this was that the child was to be immersed in what utilized his/her talents for the good of God. If the child is a gifted singer, give her every opportunity to use that gift to help her develop into the person she was made to be.

I think about these ideas and how they apply to my kids, specifically to Bailey as he moves closer to middle school age and the questions of what he’ll do with his life. I think we’re seeing who he is becoming and I want to push him in that direction. I am not so concerned about where he goes to school or what he studies because I know those habits, those disciplines are being formed so very well by his mother.

I’m more concerned that we channel his gifts into life experiences, and what he does with passion, and how he lives, and the people he surrounds himself that will push him to discover who he is. I want him to experience the reality that life is not perfect, is not easy, and is not always pleasant because…

I think he was made to do and be something that I can’t fathom but that God has formed his soul to express.

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My wife put together a folder for my 40th with a compilation of “best wishes” from friends and family and as I read them last night I was overwhelmed with the responses from a lifetime of relationships.

Some old…some new, but all cherished.

What strikes me now as I think back over the variety of content from funny to thoughtful…

is that I’m lucky to have meaningful friendships because many do not.

I live in a new neighborhood with an inordinate amount of transfers from out of state. I see the new plates from Wisconsin, Nevada, California, all over the country and I know these people have no connections here in Austin.

I know there is a deep loneliness, a “crowded loneliness” as Frazee puts it in “Making Room for Life” and yet I don’t know what to do about it.

Let me restate that…

I know what to do about it, but have a hard time dedicating the time to making it happen.

I am also complicit in “random busyness” with work, kids activities, current family and friends, and of course church obligations.

In addition, I drive to most of these relationships. Almost an hour to work, 20 minutes just to get kids to YMCA, no family or friends in my immediate neighborhood, and church is at least 30 minutes away.

So, we’re thinking and praying about this situation because we know that something eventually has to give, we cannot keep this pace and expect to develop any genuine relationships in our neighborhood. We strongly believe that it is important for us to develop relationships with those we share life with and that life lived without those relationships breaks God’s heart.

My hope is that you too will begin to think about life lived as we’ve decided to do it in suburban America.

Send me any thoughts, ideas, etc on the subject.

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I’ve got it stuck in my head that people of my generation will live on average to about 80 (give or take 5 years). That being said, I turned 40 yesterday and the reality of life on this earth is something I can comprehend. I am now on the backside of the mountain. For me this is a challenging concept.

As I look back down the mountain I see many missteps, wrong paths, bruises and cuts from the jagged rocks. I also see many beautiful moments when I could see the valley below and the beauty of creation laid out before me.

I hope that I have learned something from both the good and bad moments in the trek and, that as I start the descent I begin to see the journey in a new light.

I hope that I’ll see some of those mistakes from the past and take a better route.

I hope that I’ll learn to stop and pause for a moment longer when I reach those wondrous lookout points.

I am thankful for my wife who has been with me for much of this journey. I pray that we together may grow in grace as we walk through the rest of our days.

I am thankful for God and thankful for Christ who has been my sherpa leading me to this point. He is weathered in the grace of God as only a truly experienced guide could. The ruts, the lines, the tired body that knows the trails that lead to reaching the summit.

Most important, a good sherpa knows the way back home. A good sherpa knows the dangers of the descent and uses the experiences of the ascent to lead his expeditionaries home.

I pray that I will take my experiences of the ascent and combine them with an unwavering commitment to follow my guide so that all those who have joined in the journey may return safely home.

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McManus from Mosaic had an incredible message this week on Faith and how it is nonsense…

God would not reveal his face to Moses because it would have been too much for Moses and he would have been

 CONSUMED.

McManus made the analogy to how light allows us to see what is not there, but if that light is pointed directly into our eyes …

 we are blinded!

God is light, he says so. (look it up)

We have no idea what light is, ask anybody that knows anything about physics. We really have no clue what light is, its mystery is more than we can understand. 

We can see the effects of light…BUT, we don’t know what it is.

McManus says that faith is nonsense because we can’t use our 5 senses to prove that God exists, so it is non-sensical, but those who believe know that it is real.

So…

if we claim Christ as our God, our savior, our redeemer we must be able to make what is invisible visible.

We are disciples who follow, who believe, who must live so that His light becomes visible in us.

 Therefore…

Those who see the invisible are blessed because they were witness to the Holy Spirit that lives in us! 

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I am called to create something that I can’t create…I am called to follow God where only He can lead.

Not because of who I am, but because I trust that He can use what little I have to offer for His glory.

And, because I believe Jesus when he said that those who follow him have been granted all authority in heaven and on earth.

We had the pleasure of traveling to Willow Creek last week to attend a small groups conference. I heard 3 of my heroes in the faith, Randy Frazee, Donald Miller, and Erwin McManus as well as worshiping with 2,500 others. It was a glorious time. But, to me the best part of the trip was spending lots of time and eating lots of good food with my wife and my dear friends who went with us on the trip. It was in those meals together that the Spirit of God was most present.

Last night we were back in Austin and we went to visit our friends Rachel and Kester who are planting the Immanuel church here in downtown Austin. It was truly beautiful to encounter the Spirit in that room of maybe 10-15 people who were seeking to worship our God.

It is true that where two or more are gathered in God’s name, His spirit will be with us. I rest in that assurance…