“Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all other people on the face of the earth” (Ex. 33:15,16)?

We are to be people of the Presence. What does distinguish us from every other people on the face of the earth? It is the presence of a holy God. We need his presence. We need to long for his presence. Moses was not interested in moving anywhere without the presence of the living God.

So much of the time I am just moving. Everything has to keep going and it’s a long time before I stop and think, “Wait a minute…where’s God?” I’ve kept moving and haven’t looked for his presence to go with me.

We need to be people of the Presence. We are to long for him. Moses spoke with the Lord as a friend. God would reveal his WAYS to Moses, and his ACTS to the people of Israel (Ps. 103:7). Israel knew what God did, but Moses knew why God did it. Moses was intentional about meeting God. He was bold in meeting God. He wanted the weight of God’s glory around him. Moses was not shy. It had to be the presence of God or nothing.

Lord, help me not to just keep moving along! Help me to seek your face, your presence, your glory. Let me not go up from this place unless your very presence is leading me.

There are a handful of blogs I have been reading to help me evaluate the TNIV and ESV. After listening to an old debate on the TNIV, I wrote some more as a response on one site. Here are my thoughts:

I have been drawn to these blogs consistently because I am trying to decide as a pastor if I should shift to the ESV or the TNIV as a main text for our church. Before the TNIV, it would have been a no-brainer because I was not a fan of the NIV.

I had enough Biblical Greek in college to qualify for a minor, but I am not an expert in Greek. It was enough for me to love the NASB and really grit my teeth with the NIV.

Hearing Gordon Fee speak on translation drew me to examine the TNIV. He is a great Evangelical (and Pentecostal) biblical scholar and one of the finest text critics in North America. He also worked on the TNIV and spoke of the updates they made beyond the gender issue passages. Examining the TNIV after that, I found it was a bit more literal than before.

Listening to an old debate between Mark Strauss and Wayne Grudem has really swayed me to the TNIV. I realized the gender issue was important theologically. The ESV translators had the theological stance that women could not be in ministry. That became clear in the debate. I do not believe that from the biblical text. The other thing that became clear was the ESV was a committee of MALE translators. I know a few women who are amazing textual critics. Don’t they know any female text critics? Do they not trust women to be good translators?

Those things gave me a window into the theological bent of the ESV. Now, I LIKE the ESV because I like more formal translations. Yet, theologically, I am understanding more about the importance of the TNIV. I am committed to both translations for comparisons. But I am far more supportive of the TNIV than before, and will probably use it in my church.

I received this from my good friend Kevin Senapatiratne. We meet once a month with two other pastors and he recently wrote about the “spirituality” of meeting for burritos. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:


The Spirituality of a Burrito

Is there really any spirituality in a burrito? I would like to think so. I have been a pastor in MN for the last ten years. The last year and a half I have been traveling and speaking to churches on the importance of prayer. But once a month I participate in a spiritual discipline involving a burrito that has helped my walk with Jesus.

Once a month me and three other pastors travel from as far as 45 minutes away and converge on a Q-Doba in the Twin Cities. I risk getting in trouble using the name but it is the chance that I am willing to take to try and get a free burrito. For two years now Pete, Dan, Bill and I have met once a month for lunch at this fine establishment. I would change their names to protect the innocent, but that might imply something that may not be true. There is no agenda at these meetings other than to determine who is responsible for buying the community chips. Although there is no set discussion point much gets accomplished. Each meeting is different in the conversation but the value is still great. I just never know what I am going to get when I pull into the parking lot.

Last time we met the talk turned to our craziest wedding stories. Pete trumped us all by telling of a lady who caught her hair on fire after walking by a candle. Another meeting Dan waxed eloquent about the condition of the Royals baseball farm system. Bill has been know to share such stories as when he made beef jerky as a side gig with its various subplots. During summer months it is great there is seating outside where we can enjoy the breeze as we sit and talk for hours. The latest addition to our routine is to move our meeting after lunch to the ice cream shop a couple stores down. We discussed with the manager how she now has the great beginning to a joke about 4 preachers walking into an ice cream shop.

There are some months that this is the only time that we see each other with one scheduled exception. Each year near the end of the summer we head to a local golf course that gives a free round of golf to pastors. To say that we then head out and play a round of golf would be way too generous. We would rather say that we spend our time looking in the woods for golf balls and then periodically take some shots. The first time we did this we began with breakfast and headed home in the dark.

How is it possible that I consider this a spiritual thing, or even that it helps my walk with Jesus? Yeah, we do sometimes share in a talk about the Bible and I hope that we are giving a positive impression of Jesus to the manager of the ice cream shop. But, it is much more than that. I have learned from this group in a fresh way about the spirituality of friendship. Even in those times when the deepest thing discussed was Dan’s comparison between the book and movie of Forest Gump, I drive away with a refreshed enthusiasm for God and the assignment He has given me.

Maybe when God told us to relate to one another in love it isn’t just when we are talking about the book of Leviticus that we are blessed in our soul. Maybe when Pete shares about the ski trip he is about to take or Bill his side job as a drafter I gain something just by being with them. As I travel around to churches one of the things I am learning and teaching about prayer is that God wants to be with us even when we have no agenda. What I am learning from this group is that God wants me to be with His people even when we have no agenda. So even though I may never find the verse in the Bible that speaks about burritos; the word of the Lord for me is, “Taste and see the burrito is good.”

I received this from my good friend Kevin Senapatiratne. We meet once a month with two other pastors and he recently wrote about the “spirituality” of meeting for burritos. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:


The Spirituality of a Burrito

Is there really any spirituality in a burrito? I would like to think so. I have been a pastor in MN for the last ten years. The last year and a half I have been traveling and speaking to churches on the importance of prayer. But once a month I participate in a spiritual discipline involving a burrito that has helped my walk with Jesus.

Once a month me and three other pastors travel from as far as 45 minutes away and converge on a Q-Doba in the Twin Cities. I risk getting in trouble using the name but it is the chance that I am willing to take to try and get a free burrito. For two years now Pete, Dan, Bill and I have met once a month for lunch at this fine establishment. I would change their names to protect the innocent, but that might imply something that may not be true. There is no agenda at these meetings other than to determine who is responsible for buying the community chips. Although there is no set discussion point much gets accomplished. Each meeting is different in the conversation but the value is still great. I just never know what I am going to get when I pull into the parking lot.

Last time we met the talk turned to our craziest wedding stories. Pete trumped us all by telling of a lady who caught her hair on fire after walking by a candle. Another meeting Dan waxed eloquent about the condition of the Royals baseball farm system. Bill has been know to share such stories as when he made beef jerky as a side gig with its various subplots. During summer months it is great there is seating outside where we can enjoy the breeze as we sit and talk for hours. The latest addition to our routine is to move our meeting after lunch to the ice cream shop a couple stores down. We discussed with the manager how she now has the great beginning to a joke about 4 preachers walking into an ice cream shop.

There are some months that this is the only time that we see each other with one scheduled exception. Each year near the end of the summer we head to a local golf course that gives a free round of golf to pastors. To say that we then head out and play a round of golf would be way too generous. We would rather say that we spend our time looking in the woods for golf balls and then periodically take some shots. The first time we did this we began with breakfast and headed home in the dark.

How is it possible that I consider this a spiritual thing, or even that it helps my walk with Jesus? Yeah, we do sometimes share in a talk about the Bible and I hope that we are giving a positive impression of Jesus to the manager of the ice cream shop. But, it is much more than that. I have learned from this group in a fresh way about the spirituality of friendship. Even in those times when the deepest thing discussed was Dan’s comparison between the book and movie of Forest Gump, I drive away with a refreshed enthusiasm for God and the assignment He has given me.

Maybe when God told us to relate to one another in love it isn’t just when we are talking about the book of Leviticus that we are blessed in our soul. Maybe when Pete shares about the ski trip he is about to take or Bill his side job as a drafter I gain something just by being with them. As I travel around to churches one of the things I am learning and teaching about prayer is that God wants to be with us even when we have no agenda. What I am learning from this group is that God wants me to be with His people even when we have no agenda. So even though I may never find the verse in the Bible that speaks about burritos; the word of the Lord for me is, “Taste and see the burrito is good.”



In January, 2007 my parents, Charles and Ruth Thompson celebrated 50 years of marriage. I included a picture of all their grandkids. They have been godly examples in every aspect of life and we are so thankful for their love. Happy Anniversary! (Sorry it took so long to post these pictures!)



In January, 2007 my parents, Charles and Ruth Thompson celebrated 50 years of marriage. I included a picture of all their grandkids. They have been godly examples in every aspect of life and we are so thankful for their love. Happy Anniversary! (Sorry it took so long to post these pictures!)


God saw Israel and he knew.

The verse says this: “God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (Ex. 2:25, ESV).

The Israelites had spent hundreds of years in captivity and the slavery was wearing them down. Their groaning reached the ears of God. He heard them.

That verse in the ESV struck me: He saw and he knew. (It is smoothed out in the TNIV by saying, “he was concerned about them.”)

God saw. God knew.

He is the One who hears the cries of his people. Our cries do not fall on deaf ears. God may not respond in our good time, but we can know he does indeed see where we are and he knows.

God’s response to Israel was powerful. It may have seemed far too long for Israel to be in slavery, but when God responded it was HUGE. God sees. God knows.

Sometimes that may not be so comforting. He sees and he knows, and we really don’t appreciate it in that moment! We may be doing something we wished he didn’t see.

The words are piercing as well as comforting. He knows me. He knows my situation. Who is like our God? He is the One who sees, who knows, and who responds. There is no one like our God.


God saw Israel and he knew.

The verse says this: “God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (Ex. 2:25, ESV).

The Israelites had spent hundreds of years in captivity and the slavery was wearing them down. Their groaning reached the ears of God. He heard them.

That verse in the ESV struck me: He saw and he knew. (It is smoothed out in the TNIV by saying, “he was concerned about them.”)

God saw. God knew.

He is the One who hears the cries of his people. Our cries do not fall on deaf ears. God may not respond in our good time, but we can know he does indeed see where we are and he knows.

God’s response to Israel was powerful. It may have seemed far too long for Israel to be in slavery, but when God responded it was HUGE. God sees. God knows.

Sometimes that may not be so comforting. He sees and he knows, and we really don’t appreciate it in that moment! We may be doing something we wished he didn’t see.

The words are piercing as well as comforting. He knows me. He knows my situation. Who is like our God? He is the One who sees, who knows, and who responds. There is no one like our God.

The blessings of God surprise me from time to time. I am grateful, but somehow surprised. He always comes through. It’s my lack of faith that keeps on shocking me.

I have wanted to take a trip to Brooklyn Tabernacle to be a part of their Tuesday night prayer meeting. A group from our district is partnering with a church in the Twin Cities to make the trip later this month.

The cost is not that great because we are chartering a plane and will make the trip in one day. I still needed the money.

The seminary I am currently attending had a grant available for such trips, so I applied. Today I received word they granted my request so they will fund my trip for me! God is SO GOOD.

I am very grateful to the Lord for providing this gift. Luther Seminary, where I attend currently, has the funds through Thrivent Leadership Grant. I am grateful for their consideration.

Thoughts on HCSB

Somewhere in this mix of possible Bible translations comes the Holman Christian Study Bible. As far as I can tell, it’s more readable than ESV, but in many ways more accurate than the TNIV. One interesting point is it if the first brand new translation in decades. The ESV is building off of the Revised Standard Version. The TNIV, of course, is building off the NIV.

One reviewer who likes readability gives the HCSB very high marks.

Another reviewer who likes literal translations is not so kind.

All three are so very similar, I am leaning toward readability. TNIV and HCSB are more readable in many ways. The TNIV is moving forward in acceptance, but it hasn’t been easy. It recently dropped out of the top ten in Bible translation sales. The headaches of being accused of being liberal because it is gender inclusive are really bogging things down. The HCSB is only published by Holman, and while it’s not a Southern Baptist translation, Holman is a Southern Baptist publisher. Take it for what it’s worth. Being tied to one publisher makes it tough to know if it will gain enough popularity to stay marketable and usable.