the waters around you have grown


Dylan’s, “The Times they are a Changing” is easily the most relevant song I’ve ever heard. It was relevant when it was written as it was when I heard it for the first time in 1999 as it is today in 2012.  It is the non-anthem and yet anthem for things from political campaigns to restaurants being under new management. It has been covered by anyone who is anybody in the music business.  I love that over the years I’ve never really heard Dylan play it the same way twice.

It is a song that is just as relevant in social movements, business models, churches, families and friends.  It is a verbal recognition of you know to be true deep down inside.  You’re being surrounded by change and if you don’t prepare for it you will drown by the rising waters of change. Dylan wrote, “Come gather round people where ever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown.”   Sometimes just admitting that things are changing is painful.  We’ve all experienced this in one-way or another.  Life looks different than it did before and every now and then we look out our windows and don’t recognize what we see.

As a new Lead Pastor I’ve never been as sensitive to change as I am now.  I know when I am changing something and I recognize it everywhere.  Some even want me to change things more but change has to be for a purpose and for the sake of health and not simply to change. There are so many little shifts that need to happen that it seems like they all add up to a lot.  I am not changing things to dishonor or disrespect the past. I love the past, I was a major part of the past and some of the irony is that the things I am changing are decisions that I helped make for this church years ago.  I am intentionally changing some things so I can lead the way that God has wired me.  I want to be the most effective pastor that I can be for Neighborhood, so in order to do that I need to create an atmosphere where I can thrive along with my team.  If you moved into my house today, you’d probably bring your own furniture.

The beautiful part of my church is that people get it.  They know and understand this and I haven’t had to say much about it.  All this change has begun to make me question a few things.  First, I’ve noticed that we as a people are more timid of making changes in our families than we are in our work places.  Part of it is that things might be unstable at work so we desire stability at home, but as Dylan says, “your old road is rapidly aging.”  That has never been more true than today, the world moves faster.  New things become old the day you bring them home.  So what if we intentionally made changes in our families that allowed for each member to thrive?

The second thing is that everyone says that want change but very few people actually do it.  We even make big claims like, “that really needs to change!”  But out of fear of rocking the boat, we rarely act on it.  We sacrifice health for comfort.  Stephen Covey asked a question in one of his books that has rocked me so hard that I think about it every day. “Is there one thing that we are not doing, that if we were, would drastically change the outcome of our organization?”  Asking this question about your church, your business and your family is about the scariest and healthiest thing that you can do.

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big life changes…coming right up

On September 15th at 12:45am my friend and mentor Pastor Gordon Coulter went to be with the Lord.  He said that God had been so good to him to give him 15 more years of life after his initial battle with cancer.  I am glad that I fit in to one of those 15 years. Many of you did too. 

Since the passing of Pastor Gordon our Local Board of Administration at the church has turned into a search committee.  Their function has been to discern God’s will for our church and to interview, check references and most of all pray.  On Monday the 7th the LBA offered me the position.  I am continually blown away by what God is doing.

On the 20th of November our church will hold a vote.  If the church confirms the recommendation of the LBA then I have agreed to start full-time on January 1, 2012.  Thank you all for your continued support and prayer during this time.  It has meant a lot to my family and I.

Neighborhood Christian Fellowship is so much more than just me.  Over the years here I have seen people get called to ministry.  I have seen people make first time decisions to submit their lives to Jesus and I have been fortunate enough to marry, baptize and even bury some wonderful friends.  Neighborhood is a place that makes the gospel come alive in the way its members live their lives.  It is a little community that continues to be a beacon of light to a larger world.

I am so excited to begin this journey and I hope you will walk this road with me.  Thank you for your prayers and please, don’t stop.

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staying connected

I think that sometimes it is difficult to have an understanding of God at work on a daily basis. I know for me that can be one of the toughest things. I get paid to reveal knowledge of the Holy to others. It’s more than knowledge; it’s leading others to lead themselves inconnecting with their creator. This is difficult sometimes because although this is my vocation and passion I still have days where I don’t feel connected to God. There are times when I read the Bible and am bored. There are times when I don’t feel connected to God at all. But one of the things that I was reading today reminded me of the way that God moves and works. In the book of John, Jesus is getting criticized for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus’ response was simply to say, “my father is always at his work, to this very day.” What Jesus did was to reframe the conversation, the authorities were upset that Jesus was working but they couldn’t stop God from working.  He reminded his accusers that God is always working, whether we acknowledge it or not.

This little exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees brings a realization that God is present and at work, even in the times where life is rough or it’s tough to hear God.

When you look at your spiritual journey, how do you stay connected? Knowledge increases my faith, so just knowing this account and internalizing it helps me. What about you? How do you keep understand that the Almighty God is present and always at work?

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change the world

On August 5, 2008 I was at surf camp.  I woke up earlier than all of the other students and I noticed a missed call on my phone.   There was no message just a missed call from my dad.  My grandpa had been in the hospital for a number of weeks.   I have a great relationship with my dad, but we are guys and therefore we don’t call just to shoot the breeze.  I knew something was up.  As I type the emotions are coming back.  He said, your grandfather went to be with the Lord early this morning.

I remember not crying or getting too emotional.  I had over 40 other students to worry about, I had just kicked a kid out of camp, the parents were mad at me…I had a lot on my plate.

Every time I saw my grandfather, from when I was a little kid to an adult he used to passionately tell me to change the world.  I used to think, “Okay Grandpa…whatever, I’m five.” I wasn’t super motivated to do anything.  He never said how or when.  He just told me to do it.  That sticks with me.

Sometimes I think that my job is to read, write and talk, how can I change the world?  I was reading the Bible this morning and I couldn’t get past two words that were in Matthew 28.  It’s a spot called, “The Great Commission.” The two words that Jesus says are, “all authority.”

All of it.

He says that it has been given to him and that he is using it to send us…

All authority stared a little group of people worshiping God…All authority gave permission for those people to communicate God’s story.

All authority for those people to start movements.

All authority for those people to become you and I.

All authority to change the world.

So if a person who contained all authority above heaven and earth told you to change the world, what would you do?

Maybe it’s time to take this a little more seriously…

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re-purposed

I had a cool experience today.  I went to a warehouse where a bunch of workers repurpose electronic equipment and anything else they get their hands on.  They fix it then they sell it.  And they do pretty well financially.  So I started thinking about what it means to re-purpose something.

Re-purposing something means to take something and change its reason for being.   Think about what your purpose is.  What if someone walked up to you and told you that you needed to be re-purposed…That you were not living life according to your purpose.

Every now and then I need this.  I need to look at life and ask if I am really living up to my God ordained purpose.  If I’m not then life needs to change.

What in your life needs to be re-purposed?

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