O Come, Emmanuel

We enter into the Advent Season and my heart is burdened for prayer.

More than ever we need the Church, the Body of Christ, to be the prophetic voice in this world… in this culture… and instead we have a lot of pathetic voices and actions.

My prayer in this season:

Lord, forgive us! We have been a Church bent more toward fear than faith. We have been far too reactionary and too little responsive. We have lost our prophetic voice and instead offer up shrill pathetic whinings.

Lord, we need You. We need your presence among us. In the “days of old” the conservative American Church would have cried out, “Come! Lord Jesus! Get us out of this place!”

May our prayers now be, “Come, Lord Jesus! Empower us in this place!”

Let us live like Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Esther in Persia. Let us live with our hearts anchored in you and our lives ready to bless our culture. Let us bless to be truly, radically, for life. All of it. Not just the definition of “life” that fits our particular categories (politically left or right) but Kingdom goodness.

Empower us to love our enemies, bless those who ridicule us, and watch out for those on the margins. Let us live to truly bring light into the darkness and not just be a clanging cymbal in a world already full of noise.

Lord, please, come down! Oh, Emmanuel… come! Empower us FOR these days.

Move us from the pathetic to the prophetic. For your Kingdom, your glory, your great honor.



Advent and the Church’s New Year

Our church is immersed in the MULTIPLY discipleship process. Add to that our temporary worship space as we prepare the next stage of the building, and we’re constrained by space to be able to utilize symbols fully.

But we cannot forget a key cycle of the Church. This Sunday begins Advent.

For more information on Advent, which is still a bit of a challenge for all of us Pentecostals, GO HERE.

We have quite a bit of reading for our Multiply discipleship, but in this season, we can also take up ADVENT READING.

The Church calendar is a great reminder that, as believers, we SHOULD be just a bit “off” from the world’s calendar.




With Thanks

I try to read Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. This year seems even more appropriate. Lincoln make a Thanksgiving proclamation in the middle of the Civil War.

The Union had the victory at Gettysburg and the tide had turned, but the war was still raging. The outcome may have been hopeful, but there was a long way to go. And in the midst of that turmoil, he had the nation pause to give thanks.

These words bear meaning even today:

And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

While giving thanks, let us remain humble. We, too, find ourselves in perilous times. While war doesn’t rage on our shores, we are not a nation at ease. We fight battles within over race, poverty, justice, immigration, and more. We fight battles in other places, placing thousands of soldiers in harm’s way. We face an enemy in ISIS that wants to tear us down.

And in the midst of this time we give thanks. We humbly give thanks.

I jotted some things in my journal reflecting on this past year. Our church has gone through a tremendous transformation. My own family has gone through many blessings as we have added family, and a new grandbaby on the way before the end of the year. Through many trials we find the grace and peace of God. We find his provision. We find his strength.

The Lord is good to us, even if we don’t want to acknowledge it. His rain comes on the righteous and the unrighteous, so even if there are those who will not acknowledge, we draw breath by his grace and that is worthy of giving thanks.

We don’t know what is ahead as a nation, necessarily. We will continue in struggle over so many issues. But on this day, we give thanks.

If a nation in civil war can pause and give thanks, our nation on this day can pause to do the same.

The creation story humbles me

I have been trying to immerse myself in the creation story for my message next Sunday.

I am grateful for amazing scholars like Walter Brueggemann and John Walton who take me away from the petty “Science vs. Faith” arguments and draw me once again to the story.

As I work through these verses again I am so humbled. How GREAT is our God! And how GREAT is the work to which HE has called US.

Humanity is SO SIGNIFICANT in God’s story. Who you are matters. 

God has this great story started. And I belong in that story.

As I consider it all, I truly fall to my knees in worship. I can’t wait to get this message finished and try to give it out!



Whatever you do, DO NOT pray this prayer!

The Church of England was trying to get a 60 second ad on the front of movie trailers in theaters this winter. It was a subversive ad that wasn’t going to get past the very open minded film companies. The ad’s words were using JUST the words of the Lord’s Prayer. How devastating!

The story and some thoughts from a bishop are HERE.

Be sure to read his thoughts on the Prayer. It gets to the heart of just how dangerous this prayer really is in the life of a believer. Here are a few of his thoughts:

First, this prayer gives to those who pray it an identity and a place in the world and a countercultural community. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”.  It opposes the myth that we are random specks of matter floating through space and time.  It opposes the myth that our lives do not matter.  It opposes the myth of fragmented humanity…

Second this prayer gives us the courage to live in an imperfect world.  “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. 

The world is not as it was meant to be.  It is distorted from its true purpose.  But God is at work to redeem and transform this world, to establish his kingdom.  The Lord’s Prayer invites us not to retreat from the world in fear and pain, to anaesthetise or indulge ourselves.  The Lord’s Prayer invites us to join the struggle to see justice and peace prevail…

“Give us this day our daily bread”.  This is not a prayer for more.  This is a prayer only for what we need.  Every other advert in the cinema is there to encourage us to spend money in pursuit of happiness.  This one restrains our greed…

So, whatever you do… Do NOT pray this prayer!