Showing posts from October, 2012

Iola House Closing!

Today we sold and closed on our home in Iola.  We moved to Hesston four years ago and have been trying to sell that house since then.  I have posted often about this journey, but I thought I would share some numbers this time.
49 months on the market3 renters 41 months of rent to cover mortgage paymentsNumber of people who gave money anonymously or paid rent for us = 4Number of times our bills went unpaid = 0Numbers of prayers that were prayed on our behalf = ThousandsNumber of encouraging emails, cards, or words = Hundreds
Thank you God that your are Faithful & Jehovah Jireh (God who provides)!

Ready for some basketball?

I don't know about you, but I am ready for some basketball.  My son began middle school practice this week.  I thoroughly enjoy watching and playing the game.  I am also ready to watch KU basketball.  On the other hand, I enjoy playing noon ball with several guys a few days a week.  It is great exercise and some days I even feel good about how I played.

Basketball, like many team sports, requires a group of guys or gals to learn to trust and work together.  Each individual must do their part for the team to be successful.  Without your team, you won't win too many games.  As we play at noon hour, we have to rely and depend on other's skills not just our own.  I am not tall enough to post up well and I am not a consistent three point shooter, but I do think I pass and rebound well. We need each other.

The same is true in the church.  There are several images used for the church in the Bible such as the body and a family.  But I like to think of church as a team. I have been…

Who do you know?

As men, we often find it hard to have another man in our lives who knows us well.  And I mean knows all about us--the good and the bad.  This is one area that I have not invested a lot of time in over the years.  Obviously, I share with my wife, fellow pastors, and others within leadership.  But what about someone else. As a pastor, it is nice to have someone outside of my church to share with openly and challenge me.

I don't like to use the word accountability because it tends to focus on trying harder or relying on self rather than being empowered by the Holy Spirit.  A great book on this topic is Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson. He has a great section about what he calls "fight clubs." You can view posts about the book here & here.

I have been meeting for several weeks now with a guy who is helping me in this area.  I share openly about how I am doing spiritually, specifics about marriage & parenting, what is going on in the church, the joys &…

Why I Won't Be Going to Judgment House

It is that time of year when the spooky takes over.  We, as Americans, must like to be scared based on the number of haunted houses around.  Or notice the number of movies or TV shows out now that seek to freak us out or get us to scream.  Churches have responded to this phenomenon by offering alternatives such as Trunk or Treat, Harvest Festivals, and the ever popular Judgment House.

This post is not a critique of you if you decide to attend Judgment House.  I would, however, like to share some thoughts.  Let me begin by stating that I attended a Judgment House while we lived in Colorado.  They are scripted well, have talented actors and actresses, and elaborate sets.  However, over the years, I have become more critical of them.

Here are my thoughts:
Fear should not be a motivation for salvation.  Has the fear of hell forced a decision? Proponents of Judgment House will say look at all of these people who made decisions for Christ who would never set foot inside the church otherwise…

Red Letter Christians

I have begun reading a book called Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne & Tony Campolo.  I will be writing a review once I complete the book so I don't want to say much at this time.  While I don't agree with them on a few things, their dialogue has forced me to better understand what I believe and why.  Here are a few quotes that I have appreciated:

"Over the past few decades our Christianity has become obsessed with what Christians believe rather than how Christians live. We talk a lot about doctrines but little about practice." "We choose the American dream instead of the gospel dream." "it is pretentious to think we can be Christian without the church." "We need to be part of repairing what's broken rather than jumping ship." "For me, I did not choose Jesus because I was scared to death of hell. Nor did I choose Jesus because I wanted mansions in heaven and streets of gold. I chose Jesus because he's wonderful, a…

Abortion and the Death Penalty

I know this post will probably ruffle a few feathers.  This is J.L.'s thinking out loud and is not associated with or the position of my church.  However, it is not intended to anger people, but instead think biblically & critically about the issues of our day.  I am pro-life as are many evangelicals.  But I have never understood how someone can be pro-life on the issue of abortion yet support the death penalty.  If we are pro-life, should we also not be against the death penalty because it takes life?  I don't claim to be highly intelligent or a scholar, so I want to hear your thoughts.  Here are my questions:

How can we quote certain Bible verses regarding abortion, but then not also apply to the death penalty? I know you will quote "an eye for an eye", but what about Jesus' teaching about grace, forgiveness, and mercy? Am I the only person who is confused by this position?

fuzion serving at Harvey County Homeless Shelter

Last night, I had the privilege of taking 30 5th & 6th graders to serve at the Harvey County Homeless Shelter.  fuzion (name for this ministry at our church) participates in several service projects throughout the year.  They have already made MCC Kits and will do a couple more after the first of the year.  Whoever is concerned about the younger generations has not spent much time with these kids.  Not only did they work hard, but they also had some great questions and observations.  See a few pictures below. Praising God for their service and for their futures!


On Friday, I was reading Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler. The chapter was focused on creation. Chandler does a great job explaining his view on creation. Here are some quotes to think about:
"Science has severe limitations that the God who created all observational data does not." "The place to begin is . . . not in Genesis; rather, it is the opening of the Gospel of John." "God is more interested in declaring than in explaining. . . the Bible is more interested in telling us what happened and why than it is how." "there is no way to turn the worship switch in our hearts off." "All of creation has been given to us so that we behold the awesome God who made it all and made it all good." "because God's design is for us to be responsible for each other, to live not for ourselves but for God and others." "The miracles of healing, deliverance, provision and resurrection all reveal that God, through Jesus, is making al…

October Family Night

Tonight was our first family night at Hesston MB. Our theme was "Outback Adventure". Here are some pictures from our night together:

Next Steps after #d62012

I have had some time to think, pray and process after returning from the D6 Conference in Dallas this past week.  This great conference put on by Randall House is on my schedule every year.  I shared a few of the themes that emerged for me this year here as well as some favorite quotes here

I don't know about you, but after a conference my head is filled with tons of ideas. In a similar way, my heart is sifting through the ideas to decide how it will impact future ministry.  As I have prayed and processed, here are a few practical ways that the D6 Conference will impact ministry at Hesston MB Church.
EQUIP PARENTS-This theme emerges every year and I continually am seeking ways to do this at Hesston MB.  This year, I felt strongly about the importance of equipping parents with practical skills to help pass on faith at home (blessing, prayer, devotions, etc).  I keep thinking about doing this, but it's time to do it now. This will include "Equip Me" classes based on T…

I finished Family Shepherds today

Today, I finished reading Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham.  Baucham does a great job sharing from Scripture what God's Word says to fathers.  He unapologetically calls men to lead their homes spiritually. 

Several chapters were of great value to me.  They were:
A Three-Pronged Approach to Biblical DiscipleshipHeralding the Gospel at HomeMale Headship in the HomeCorrective Discipline  Here are a few quotes from the last few chapters of the book:

"Thus the family shepherd must view the Bible as more authoritative than the cultural trend." "Church membership is the most important aspect of lifestyle evaluation." "A healthy church will expose us to the regular teaching, preaching, reading, and singing of the Word of God that will shape the way we think about all other aspects of life." "Mature men and women in the church will gently call us out when we go off the deep end." "Rare indeed is the man who looks honestly at his use of time i…

Emerging Themes from #d62012

I promised I would share some emerging themes from D6 Conference 2012.  There were a few thoughts that were repeated often or connected in my mind.  As I continue to reflect on what God wants from me moving forward, I feel strongly these themes will be central.

ABIDE-Yes I know it was the theme of the conference and everything, but it was an important theme for anyone in ministry whether volunteer or paid.  Pete Wilson started us here and it continued to come up often.  Thanks Randall House for choosing this theme and for the great job key note speakers did keeping it central.  It's not what I do, but who I am.  Am I connected to the vine?  Staying connected to God is essential for my calling. I will continue to meditate on John 15 for the weeks ahead.EQUIP PARENTS-This is a major part of my job description at church.  Every conference I attend I am looking for ways to do this better.  The need for equipping was brought up during workshops on damaging parenting styles & raising…

Favorite Quotes from #d62012

I again thoroughly enjoyed my time at the D6 Conference in Dallas.  There were many great speakers and workshops.  For detailed notes from these speakers, check out the most recent posts of this blog. I hope to share a few take-aways in the next few days as well as some themes that emerged for me.

But for today, here are some of my favorite quotes:
"Discipleship is spending time with people and letting your Christ-likeness rub off."                (Jim Wideman)  "The Gospel is not you do. It's Jesus did." (Ed Stetzer) "Constant contact with our Creator is essential to fulfill our calling." (Pete Wilson) "Could you be an expert at God's service and a novice at being God's friend?"               (Richard Ross)   "You were signed by God." (Mike Glen) "Students are over-exposed to information far earlier than they are ready. Students are under-exposed to real life experiences far later than they are ready." (Tim Elmo…