Monday, May 31, 2004

Vicki has been sick for about 48 hours. I am holding down the fort while she can't even hardly move.
Please take a second and pray that she will receive healing from God. Thanks.

Today is Memorial Day. I am a partriotic person. I was brought up that way... Both of my grandfather's fought in WW2. I think we forget too quickly and easily the incredible sacrifice and cost of freedom. I know that I take it forgranted on almost a daily basis. Today we remember that freedom costs. Today we remember that men and women paid the price of their lives, time, health, future and agendas.

Thank you to all who served us to protect us and to secure freedom.

My grandfather, Howard Deur, was supposed to have received his bronze star following the war, but never did, along with many veterans. A few years ago Rep. Pete Hoekstra gave him the star and this article briefly tells about him. I'm proud of this little guy who had big courage in the face of bigger fear.
Article about Howard Deur

One thing he said was that there were times while in action that he sensed he was in the hand of God. Before going into battle he would remember and sing of that hymn that goes...
"Precious Lord take my hand,
lead me on, Let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night,
lead me on to the light.
Take my hand Precious Lord,
lead me home."


Have a great day,

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Let your hair down supa k! You are Samson - bring down the walls on us Philistines!

Got everything done today - finally can relax... wedding went well... got the interns in a place for a week... got to an open house and the kids to their friends.

Crazy day today!!!!!!!!!! Vicki working, I am running around doing a few things including a wedding and I still need time to put the finishing touches on my message!


Thursday, May 27, 2004

The next cultural worldview that we learned about in the NEW FORM conference was that of "LIQUIDITY" or in other words the sense of being on the move... Getting in and out quickly and easily in our culture is valued. This worldview is seen in job outsourcing, smaller families, rise in mobility and a sense of things and people in our lives coming and going.

This impacts the church by:
> Developing a focus on short term programming rather than a development of community and deeper growth.
> A loss in the sense of wholeness...people feeling fragmented and replaceable.
> Larger scaled undertakings and visions are prohibited by the effort required and the lack of long term involvement.

The Gospel alternative:
> Resist quick fixes
> Recapture the vision of us being connected together - rooted together - like the BODY or the VINE. We are connected!
> Our lives are not episodes, but rather part of a larger story.
> Finding and affirming the use of spiritual gifts.
> Learning to wait on God.

Implications for the form of the church:
> Helping people move into different layers of commitment.
> Helping people find their God given gifts.
> Learn from our elders.
> Celebrate anniversaries.
> Tell stories and how people are connected.
> Affirm flexibility and continuity.

Anyways - in our on the go, interchangeable worldview and values the church is in danger of doing a lot of sprinting and shallow ministry. We do face barriers in people coming and going and people not seeing how significant it is to be connected like we are. These thoughts did not capture me as much but I did think the challenge of short term commitments and a loss of deep belonging is something that is a concern for churches as we continue onward.

How can we help the Body of Christ recognize their deep connectedness and uniqueness in a world that we see ourselves as interchangeable parts. How can we focus on deeper longer termed growth in the lives of people when the pull is for quick short term experiences and a lack of patience.

I personally struggle with this myself... I am underestimating how connected we truly are and the kind of deep impact that can be made by long term work... This has not been an exciting post, but I wanted to write down some notes from the conference...


I want to highlight some thoughts from the NEW FORM conference we went to...
The first thing I want to do is to discuss the various worldviews and cultural values that we have in our country and that impact each of us and certainly the church.

The first one is what I'll call the MARKETPLACE where vendors and consumers interact.

This photo is an image of the average church attender in some ways.
1) Materialism is not seen as a harmful un-godly thing to speak out about.
2) We see ourselves with needs that must be met - we are defined by them. The purpose of life is fulfilling them.
3) The church attenders are passive and not participating. The leadership is exhausted trying to provide the goods and services.
4) We market everything and have to create needs to entice people to come for more.

This conference talked about removing the church as "shopping mall" mentality and replacing it with (you may want to sit down) a picture of the Kingdom of God! So, we must help people see themselves as participants and not people who are soakers. We must help followers of Jesus recognize that we are on a mission - we all are ministers. We need to live differently - with generosity and commitment. Finally we must see ourselves as the Body of Christ - an organic - interdependant Body.

Anyways - I was challenged and reminded to not become a vendor of spiritual goods and to not slide into becoming a consumer looking to get and absorb God things to meet my needs.

HOW HUMAN CENTERED IS THAT! But, one of the biggest things people hear on why someone is leaving a church is that, "their needs are not being met."

What do you think?

Also, I am thinking of writing a brief article entitled, "Emerging Arrogance: the rise of the new know it all's and I told you so's." I think it will deal with the new church movement and the danger of becoming proud and judgemental while in this movement. I'll keep you posted.

OH MAN! I gotta get up in five hours - what am I doing up! AHHHHHHH!



Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Spent the day at a conference called: "New Form" put on by Journey at Western Theological Seminary and Allelon. Some great reminders, neat insights and interesting ideas. I'll write more about the take aways later. I have been very encouraged by where Watermark is heading in light of what was shared.

Had some good time with my family tonight. I have been really enjoying my time with my kids lately. I read a little booklet based on 'Wild at Heart' by John Eldridge. He suggests that fathers are the ones to answer vital questions our kids are asking...

For boys: Do I have what it takes?
For girls: Am I lovely?

The father must answer yes a thousand times in a thousand different ways. Our role as fathers is more important than we realize.

Hank Burbridge,a family friend of Vicki's and a man we know from college, recently found out that he has inoperable cancer with no treatment options. Time is shortening. He is one of the winningest baseball coaches around for colleges. A top guy who needs our prayers. He was retiring this year after many years of teaching and coaching. Please take a second and pray for God's grace, comfort, peace and touch from God. Thanks.

Being the Church. Making Disciples.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

It seems that the bloggers around me are tired of the rain. I have to admit that it drives me bonkers! But, I love it at night... A breeze coming in my windom... My ceiling fan pushing the air around... The smell of spring and the rain wooing me to sleep. Ahhhh...

Today there was some good and bad:
> Gathering went well and the kids did a bang up job!
> Great family time with my grand parents, parents and other extended family.
> Good time with Autumn tucking her in for bed... reading and chatting.
> My friend and past student, Chris, came and chatted with us.

> I was dead tired today and could barely keep my eyes open driving.
> The Tigers lost.
> Harrison has a high temp. and chucked a few times!

Now little "H" is in a 'pack-n-play' in our room. God heal my boy!

Well - I am sure I will have a lot of big ole things to share on Thursday following a little conference/conversation we are attending called: New Form - through Allelon. (link to left)

On throw up duty, ;)

Saturday, May 22, 2004

We are doing the garage sale as we speak and I was sent away to work on my message and get out of my honey's hair. Anyways I am waiting for lighting to strike and God to use his finger to write out the message, but it aint gonna happen. So I be gots to get writing! :)

People are streaming into our garage for all our junk! I love garage sales!

Saw Troy last night. I love movies, I love historical or period pieces, I love action and adventure, but TROY was not all that I had anticipated. Brad Pitt didn't seem to fit into the movie, but Eric Bana (star of the Castle and an Aussie TV favorite when we were there) was epic in playing Hektor. I give it a thumb up and a thumb down.

Time to crunch this out! I hate it when it feels that way!


Friday, May 21, 2004

Working today on the garage sale for tomorrow. Tonight Vic and I are heading to Outback Steakhouse to use some gift certificates from Christmas! I can't believe it took so long to use them! HELP! :)

Played golf last night and played poorly. It was my first time out and I was rusty, but I also kept thinking my bad knee would bust open during my swing...

I still need to find time to finish my message... It has been a long week of trying to put it together. The well is a bit dry...

Garage Sale boy,

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

New movie. "Falcon"
A family that is a part of Watermark is in great need. The daughter, Elizabeth, is having twins and they are in danger of losing their lives unless she has a very expensive operation on the double. Anyways - as a church we are calling our people to help in any way they can. They need to walk in the hospital door on Thursday (found out Monday) with $20,000 to have the procedure done. Medicaid doesn't cover it and the doctor told them they need this or the twins will both die. Wow. Daunting. Enormous. It would take a MIRACLE to get money like that! It would take a MIRACLE for everything to work out! SO - we pray to the MIRACLE MAKER and ask Him to make it happen.

If you would like to get involved let me know:
But, either way - take a moment right now and pray for Elizabeth, the babies and the provision of finances. Thanks!

(Are you done praying?) :)

I look forward to seeing how God will move. Vicki and I don't have extra income, but we planned a big garage sale for this Saturday and decided to donate all the proceeds to this cause. I might put out a sign or flyer with info as well... Maybe people will donate. I really haven't done something like this and want us to really BE THE CHURCH...

I thought I'd switch up the top photo as well (all from a book club group - many are funny to look at)

24 tonight!
Then movie group at Smith's.

Expecting a miracle,

Monday, May 17, 2004

Tonight I had the unique honor of speaking to our Kiwi staff member: Mr., Rev., Attorney Brett Jones - aka the flying kiwi. It was great connecting with him and hearing all about the exciting work he and Kristin are doing. I really miss them and look forward to seeing them in a month.

I watched Colonial House with my honey. That is a cool show. I really got into the show a few years back when they did "frontier house." Colonial House, like frontier house, follows a group of modern day people trying to make a go of it in the new country of America. I have always wanted to live at those times, because of the sheer exploration factor. There is something inside me that wants to be a pioneer. To travel in uncharted territory. To see places and experience things that haven't been seen or felt. To establish something that wasn't there. So I get to sit back on my davenport (old school word for couch) and take it all in.

Let me transition this desire to starting a church. Church planting is a pioneer venture. Uncharted territory. Finding your way along the way. Establishing something from little. But, I think in watching this show on PBS I see other truths that match up well. For example: the people who signed up for this Colonial House experience probably did not realize the price they would have to pay to survive. In planting - before you start - it can be easy to get "drunk on the dream" and when it actually hits you experience the cost, the toll, the hardwork and the need to push forward. Also, in Colonial House, people had to focus on getting the little things done every day and everyone knowing and fulfilling their role. In planting this is also huge! I always want to see the next big event or see God use a message in a powerful way, but the "little things" - the follow up - the smiles - the prayers - the genuine care and systems needed that may not seem glamorous - make everything possible and set the culture.

Well - I'll stop. Let me link to that program in case you are interested: Colonial House

Time to go to sleep. By the way - speaking of being a pioneer... One of my goals is to be the first chaplain on Mars. I'd like to live there. But my wife made it clear I would be going alone... so, I guess I'll have to wait for a show for that too... :)


Saturday, May 15, 2004

I want to mention a friend of mine who entered the blog world... Brandon Bruce and his wife Jennifer are going to be planting a church in D.C. - go to the "Bruce Blog" for a low down on their life.

Also - a new "Morgan" video is linked to the left for your pleasure. The music played is actual Mike Morgan original music. I am sure Mike would be happy to sell you a CD for only $10... Good stuff.

Had a great meeting today regarding some wider church issues - very cool. :) We have a great team of people a part of Watermark. Thanks to God!


Friday, May 14, 2004

I came acrossmkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkjjjjjmnhjjnnnnnnnnnnn-9oooooo0ijjiIJuuiuiJuj.

[Sorry I had to get up to answer my phone and my son was apparently hitting the keyboard. He is a blogger.]

I came across some posts today on different Christian web sites recently and a theme I keep hearing is how "the church" is ineffective, "the church" is out of touch, "the church" is self serving, etc... It basically was a rip the church to shreds experience. I want to throw my nickel in...

I think ripping on "the church" is probably warranted at times, however I do think that many people do it from a position of spiritual arrogance. Call me a person totally lacking discernment, but it seems like the posts I've read seem to come from an angle of, "I know best" and "you will never get it."

I know I could be accused and convicted of spending energy convincing people that "the church" has mismanaged our vision and calling at times. I know I have been critical of "the way things are going." BUT, I am concerned that there is a tone of arrogance, mixed with eliteism, with a dash of ignorance and a drop of anger that makes the things I've read less about caring for the church and being the church and more about saying, "I told you so" and "you're past it." I also am concerned that many of the posters seem to be talking as "outsiders" and not as those within trying to make positive changes. I fear I have lost some of you - probably because I am losing myself. :)

Is the local church perfect? To answer that in the context of you and I being the church - ask "am I perfect?"
Why do we have grace for ourselves and not for others?
Why do we hold on to our sacred cows and want to make burgers out of others?
Why do we have to always be "Right?"

I want to stand up for the local church today. Because at it's essence it is the Body of Jesus Christ. We are in this together. Sure, we goof up; sure I have been critical of the lack of action; sure, we could do better and "be" better, but in the end - Jesus comes and marries the church.

Here comes the bride,

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Evil exists. If you have seen photos or saw the story of Nick Berg, a civilian contractor, that was beheaded by Islamic Militants then you may feel like me. Evil exists. How can anyone in the name of "god" kill an innocent man and think paradise awaits them as reward. There is no amount of negotiating with people like this. What stops such evil? As a follower of Jesus - how do we as the church battle evil so that the gates of hell will not overcome us in the power of Jesus?

I am sickened by the story. But hopeful in Jesus. One thing that I realized is that if these people could get their hands on my children - they would kill them. That changes the whole war on terrorism thing for me. It takes on new urgency. I guess I'm angry and outraged.

God help us - bring peace - defeat evil and use us to do it.


Monday, May 10, 2004

This Sunday - join us at the gathering to explore Life Together and how to get connected.

[Graphic by ONPO!NT]

Yesterday was a great day at our gathering and overall. Of course it was Mother's Day and I was able to again be reminded of how awesome my wife is! We had a five families dedicate their children which was way cool. Jay Z shared as did Jeff Jeremiah Johnson. (I don't know why I called him that, but maybe it is because he is part prophet or that it sound like the name of a BIG man.)

We hung out in the afternoon with my folks in their FABULOUS new digs. They just moved in and had a great interior designer help them out... could it be my honey? :)

I have three things to work for this week:
1) I have a special leadership meeting on Saturday to talk through some various future items of Watermark.
2) I get to prepare a message for this Sunday on Life Together
3) I need to get organized for CORE FOCUS on Sunday evening.

It will be a busy weekend. BUT, I just got hit with my values... I don't want to live my work life (dare I say ministry) gearing up for the weekend. I want to make every moment a moment of surrender and looking for God and how I can join Him. These three things are important, but what Kingdom movements will happen in my life and through my life if I see every moment of everyday as a sacred ministry moment? Would that be tiring to "be?"

Keeping my eyes open,


Saturday, May 08, 2004

You can hear little web talks I do at Winning at Home. If you care. Anyways - here is the link for the most recent one.
"Making it count"

Going to visit my moving parents tonight. We braved the rain and drove out of our way to get Elephant ears and a carmel apple. Now our budget is trashed. :) But it was worth it.... mmmmmm elephant ear.

Just a quick shout out to Wade if he's reading! Keep plugging away at Ionia you big silver back you!


Friday, May 07, 2004

I have also realized that I must find a new hat style to wear. I have worn the same hat style since 1990. It is time for a change. Any suggestions? I was thinking a Detroit Tigers cap. (I wore this style growing up and also in 1995 while in Australia until it shrunk.)

We'll see if I can really bring myself to change something that has defined me since I was 18 years old. (I wore the backwards ASU hat before it was cool to wear it backwards, while it was cool and now that it is uncool.)


ps - you should smell them.
We are gearing up for a garage sale in a week or so. Our whole street is piling on and we are going to become little individual Wallmarts. It is dangerous for me to go through our "stuff." Our "stuff" is not made up of cool toys, expensive products and such. Our "stuff" is old notebooks full of ideas and articles. It is old clothes from my early twenties and college that I wore almost everyday and therefore it has become a part of me. It is baseball cards and books. Our "stuff" is all about MEMORIES! I am the sentimental maniac. Today I chose to to throw out some items that were almost sacred to me, but also almost forgotten. It is clean sweep time! The twenties are over. Those days in my twenties are just memories packed in boxes and never to be brought out again - in fact they are heading toward a dump somewhere, which brings me to my next thoughts...

I have recently been feeling moved to impact the poor in the world. I am overwhelmed by how little people in the world have and how much they need. I toss stained shirts and they have nothing to wear. I complain over having to buy a no name brand food item and they have nothing to eat. The church of Jesus Christ has got to be the solution to these situations. (PS - I am the church and accept resposibility.) How do we meet needs? How do we help people get back on their feet in a dignified and equipping manner? How can we as Watermark impact the world for Christ by impacting the poor? Anyways - I am trying to figure this out. I am also just trying to live generously.

"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..."


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Spent the day on a road trip with the staff fellas and Dontrell Willis to Spring Arbor University. He registered for classes and we spent time working on some stuff and making some connections. We chatted with the leader of the youth ministry department to connect on future internship opportunities. We really want to be a church that invests in the next generation of leaders and invests in the kingdom.

Anyways - it was good to visit the college that I attended, my wife attended, the gooch and his wife attended and Carter attended. It felt good to be there and remember my four years there. I had so many dreams... so many concerns... so many hopes... I have to say God has blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you God!

Last night we had a "thirsty" gathering. This is a time of prayer, worship and sharing. It has a very loose schedule and is more open to hearing from God's Spirit and following. It was a great time of deeper connection to God. We are going to have these every month. My hope and prayer is that these "thirsty" gatherings will become a time of miracles, lives changed and God's work being moved forward.

One quick thought. As a leader - you can not move people to pray. You can not create momentum. You can not do so many things, but you can BE the right person. You can pray. You can allow God to speak and follow and get into the current of God's movement. I think that is something I'm trying to catch on to. I have to lead - not by what we need to be doing - but by being who God wants me and us to be. I need to be who I am asking others to be. I need to live it - breath it - experience it... regardless if anyone else follows. And then, I can, call people to join me with a a great degree of passion and authenticity.

Well it was a great day at the Arbor - remembering...

God has been good,

Go Cougars,

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Following our gathering we had a time of connecting with new people to Watermark. It was a great group of people and I am excited to see them plugging in. I also look forward to sharing Christ with another couple in the upcoming week... Pray for that encounter.

Anyways - I heard Cession had an awesome night! Very cool.

Tomorrow night we have "Thirsty" - a worship and prayer night that is more interactive and experiencial. It will be at the community center at 7:30 pm for any one who wants to connect in this way. I am looking forward to it...

" the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - Jesus


Saturday, May 01, 2004

One of my favorite memories as a kid is Saturdays. Cartoons like the Justice League and Laugh-Olympics and old school toons like Bugs and Daffy... As I got older I became a sci-fi geek. I love star wars, star trek, battlestar galactica, and any thing future / time travel related. One of my favorite series I would see on TV was "The planet of the apes."

Now my Saturdays are part work day / part family day. The rhythm of my schedule has me taking Fridays off and Saturdays being a solid half day of work and finishing up on stuff. Oh to be a kid again.

My son is chucking his bowl full of mac and cheese around at this moment! Just a second...

I am back - after putting him to bed. My dog is cleaning up after him. She is a dirty mongrel. Just kidding - I love her, I just don't like my dog.

Watched "Master and Commander" - awesome movie about leadership, team building, facing challenges, etc... I wonder if I can just enjoy a movie without trying to learn from it?

Sorry I have nothing of value to share today. Tomorrow Thompson (aka THE GOOCH) is bringing the thunder and I am leading the gathering in a liturgical responsive reading thingy.

Remembering the ape days...