Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Marriage R&D

I am in the process of laying out a marriage-focused series in the new year. I am looking to you for your thoughts on the question below:

What are the biggest challenges facing marriages today?

Thanks for helping shape the series,

Sunday, December 16, 2007


As the end of 2007 comes rushing toward me, I am making a resolution to read more in 2008. I already have the books - I just need to finish them/start them/reread them.

Here is my starting list of books I'd like to get to.
I am sure some others will jump in and others will jump out...

Non Fiction:
> The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer
> Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Lencioni
> Simplicity by Rohr
> It's All in How You Tell It by Robinson
> Writing about your life by Zinser

> Black by Dekker
> Godric by Buechner

How about you? Any good books?

Reading Rainbow,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday Snow Storms

I don't like snow. Snow is bad enough by itself, but when it chooses to arrive Saturday late/Sunday early it makes my sleep patterns suffer. So now, I wonder how much snow we will get... I wonder other things like:
> Will this be a big storm or a lot of big news hype?
> Will the High School Parking lot be plowed before we gather?
> Will we be able to get both trailers to the high school?
> Is it too dangerous to travel - aka: do we cancel? Watch what other churches do.
> What time should I get up to find out the scoop?
> Why don't I like somewhere warm?

Anyways - I don't see too bad of a storm coming, but these Saturday night/Sunday storms are always a bit more anxiety producing than any other.

O the joys,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How long are your bootstraps?

What is the difference between the kids in these photos?

The three on the swing are my kids. They live with my wife and I and have all the food, clothing, shelter, running water, educational opportunities, family and friend support they need to live comfortable and healthy lives.

The four children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and live with their grand mother in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg. The don't have running water and lack many of the basic support systems we take for granted.

One of the most common values of the culture is the rugged individualism that honors the person who picked themselves up by their own bootstraps. We value the person who works with what they've been given and carves out a life of success and doesn't need others to prop them up.

We may feel like not getting involved in the needs of the poor because we worked hard with what we were given and they should do the same.

However, what if you weren't given much to work hard with? What if you were born into the situation of these children - in poverty - without parents - without the same opportunities we have been given? Did these kids ask for this? There is inequality and injustice.

My kids have a gigantic advantage over these kids.

We are not self made people - yes, we work hard with what we are given, but what we've been given is enormous!

So when we don't feel like getting involved because the poor and oppressed should just work harder and pick themselves up by their own bootstraps maybe we should look down first to make sure they are even wearing boots.

I need help with this.

Excuse me little guy what size do you wear?

Psalms 113:5-7
"Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high?
He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth.
He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back home

I am back from a ten day trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. As I stated in a previous blog post I went to partner with Vox United.

I don't have the energy or wisdom to lay out the many different experiences and corresponding threads of meaning at the moment, but I wanted to share one thing that God reminded me of. Every person is valuable and is to be loved.

Some of the experiences we had:
> Visits to multiple townships (shanty towns).
> Museums (Soweto and Apartied).
> Trip to a Hospice to visit those dying of HIV/AIDS and dealing with other issues.
> Sharing with local pastors and hearing their vision and challenges.
> Preaching with an interpreter at Soweto Vineyard Church.
> Learning about the injustice, oppression, poverty and disease from people.

Through the visits, the discussions, the sharing, and the walks through townships I began to see people more and more as God saw them... as His children - His beloved - the apple of His eye - those made in His image - each having value and cherished.

On my return I don't feel more guilty for eating what I eat or living where I live, but I find myself looking more people in the eye. Taking a little more time with the drive through woman at Arby's to smile and see the spark of the divine in her. All people are valuable and should be loved.

This supreme ethic of loving others as we love ourselves was embedded in me more on this trip and I hope it overcomes all of me.

Anyways - I may share more in the future, but for now I say hello again - you are beloved.

Blogging aint easy fo sheezie,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The seventeen year old kid shows up.

One of my all time favorite bands is "The Cult." I have followed them since late high school. On Friday (day after giving thanks) I went to see them perform in Grand Rapids at the Orbit Room with some buddies from high school days.

It was a great show and I even got to get shoved around a bit by an enormous drunk dude. I kept thinking..."blessed are the peacemakers" and so I tried to help bring some peace to a blossoming fight. So I helped a guy get out of an intimidating moment. I'm glad I didn't have to face the "turn the other cheek scenario." :)

Anyways it was a great show and they played a great mix of old and new. Recharging experience and good to catch up with old friends!

Owwwwww Yeah!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Africa bound.

My dad and I are traveling alongside Dr. Sherrie to South Africa. We will be hooking up with "Vox United" and looking into potential ways Watermark can continue Jesus' work in His way in Johannesburg.

I'll keep you posted... maybe. :)

I think black Friday is a stain on Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Friend!

Hey y'all - I hope each of you have an amazing Thanksgiving wherever you are in the world. I'm thankful for the interactions we have from time to time.

Tomorrow I join my family, some friends who are like family, and a bunch of folks without local family for a feast in the Central Wesleyan gym. It is a big event with lots of people and basketball. So I eat as much as I can and then burn it off immediately.

Anyways - hoping your day is special.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Am I an unbeliever?

Growing up I needed to "believe" all the right stuff about God, Jesus, the cross, etc... if I wanted to become a believer I needed to learn more about the right beliefs and defend them and get them straight. Learning the Apostle's Creed was helpful.

But, for much of my life I have been a "believer" in Jesus, but I didn't believe Him (or in other words - I didn't share His beliefs.)

So I was (in the words of my friend John): a radical unbeliever. I believed the "right stuff," but didn't share in the beliefs of Jesus and therefore, didn't do a lot of following... I had the beliefs, but the beliefs of Jesus did not have me.

I do believe it is important to believe in Jesus as God's Son and to embrace the Apostle's Creed as truth to believe in, but if we stop there - we are missing out on sharing Jesus' beliefs and seeing our lives become what we were made for. Instead we stink of hypocrisy and the average Christian (I suppose I should lump myself into this) doesn't look significantly different than anyone else.

So what does it mean to be a true believer and share Jesus' beliefs? As I read through Luke I read some of Jesus' beliefs and wonder if I believe them...
> Love your enemies.
> Do good to those who hate you.
> Bless those who curse you.
> Turn the other cheek.
> Give to everyone who asks you.
> Do to others as you would have them do to you.
> Lend without expectation of repayment.
> Don't judge and condemn, rather forgive.
> Not good to gain the world, but lose your self.
> The least among us is the greatest.
> More blessed to give than to receive.
> ETC... ETC... ETC...

Do we believe Jesus - not just in Him? I suppose for some of us that don't believe "in" Jesus - you may even find His beliefs compelling. And I suppose you would support that kind of belief from Jesus' followers. (Because we would actually be following.)

So I guess I admit that I tend to be a radical unbeliever much of the time and I want to be a believer that lives out the beliefs of Jesus here and now.

Becoming a follower,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Kingdom Invitation

What comes to mind when you see this image? The verse this man references is Mark 1:15 which is the words of Jesus we as a church are walking through at the moment in our "Kingdom" conversation.

The verse says, "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

I am not into sign holding. First of all my arms get tired and secondly I don't believe it is effective. Someone may have statistics that show that after someone has seen a sign ten times they will join Jesus' movement, but I kinda doubt it.

So, this brings me to the verse and the word written on this poster: "Repent." This week Sunday we are going to be looking at that word. Many of you may have heard that to "repent" means to turn around, to change direction, or to return. But as I've studied the past few weeks about this verse and this call from Jesus I have come to some surprising challenges - and they were directed at me.

When we see the words on this picture and its message we often primarily think of morality (particularly sexuality) and that we should "repent" - turn away from personal sins and turn toward God's way of life laid out in Scripture. I believe that forgiveness of personal sins is an incredible gift and I thank God for it, but what if Jesus in Mark 1:15 wasn't primarily pushing that angle on the word "repent?" What if that was just a given in desiring to follow God. After all, (as NT Wright shares), wouldn't Jesus have been called a national hero (particularly to the Pharisees and religious conservatives in the day) rather than being threatened and opposed by them?

So, what and who is Jesus calling to "repent," believe and enter into His movement? Again, NT Wright, shares a twist that put me under the microscope. What if Jesus' call of repentance was not merely a timeless call to personally stop being naughty and start being good? What if His invitation to "repent" was not just for those naughty unclean outsiders who don't believe the right stuff and don't live the right way?

What if Jesus' call to "repent" was a summons for those who see themselves as "in?" It seems absolutely essential that "repentance" begins with those who call themselves followers of God. So what are we to "repent" from? As my friend John Blythe says, "everything that keeps us from entering into the Kingdom" (the present movement of God ruling and reigning and expanding among us.) We are "repent" of everything that prevents us from (as Jesus says) being a light to the world?

What do good upstanding, pay your taxes, church going folks have to "repent" from? How about trying to power up on others? Perhaps the focus of looking out for ourselves (#1) and our families first. Do we need to "repent" from being a glutton for food or stuff? What about the addiction to bigger and better - upscale, upsize, and upgrade? I have held Jesus out as the light of the world in the face of poverty, addictions, disease, and yet I still try to figure out how to get ahead, how to compile, how to protect what I "have," and put myself in positions of power and influence.

Jesus was speaking first to Israel as His people - calling on them to "repent" from their nationalistic violence movement and to be a blessing and the light of the world by different means than violence, powering up, and injustice. He called them to the Shema (To love God with all of their heart, mind, and strength.)

So - in these herky jerky thoughts I suggest that the first place the sign above must be lifted high (but I'm not really a "sign guy") is in my home and in the churches. As we live differently in the world around us (loving enemies, serving not powering up, turning the other cheek, radical generosity, loving welcome of all people, etc...) we will truly be a light to the world and we can put down the sign and we can become a sign that the Kingdom of God is present and here.

Addicted to the exile,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It is official.

I want my wife back.

Countdown has begun.
I better get working on the dishes,

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mr. Mum

Vicki is enjoying the warmth of Arizona while I am enjoying the warmth of my son's freshly wet diapers. Gross - sorry - I needed a picture.

I am home daddy slice with the three little amigos. I hope to find time to work on my study and message in the evenings... But tonight is "the office" and that is really important to see.

Vicki gave me a pack of Snickers before she left and I finished them in two days. Yikes! I drug myself with those suckers... The first step is to admit I have a problem... the second step is to get out there and buy another pack.

This week we are beginning a new conversation series entitled, "The Kingdom." I have wanted to focus on this for the past couple years and now it is here and I desire for the Spirit of God to change us and therefore bless our community. I feel the weight of sharing the stories... I so want to be more kingdom focused and leave behind the most basic worldview I am baptized into... stuff like, "Get more, get ahead, go bigger, upsize, upgrade, me first, power up, etc... - the kind of stuff that has made Christianity utterly powerless and irrelevant. What if we lived in the Kingdom of God?

Turn the cheek.
Go the second mile.
Love enemies.
Do not worry.
More blessed to give than receive.

Follow up stuff at at the conversation page.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Things that bothered me about the World Series

1. Johnny Papelbon's try hard stare.
2. Josh Beckett's under-chin hair patch.
3. The Colorado Rockies being in the series.
4. The Detroit Tigers not being in the series.
5. Sweeps make the series a yawn-fest.

I feel better after getting that off my chest.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Getting to know Joel Powers

I have a new friend named Joel Powers.
Here is my interview with him:

Joel, where did you grow up?
> Chicago, IL

What were some of your favorite bands growing up?
> The Cure, Pixies, Skinny Puppy, Beatles, Rush, and Elvis Costello

Best book you've read in the past year?
> Living Buddha, living Christ by Tich Naht Hahn

How tall are you?
> Five foot eight inches.

Favorite drink?
> Coffee

Current shoe?
> Dye ATC

Thing you want to say to those who read this?
> If you haven't been to Watermark you should and I'm not just saying that because you (Deurty) are typing this.

So - there you go. You got to know Joel a bit. I especially liked his taste in music!

How would the rest of you answer these questions?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Come on feel the noize!

Vicki and I had such a great time going to The Police concert earlier this year that it made me want to go to more concerts...

There are a lot of bands I would love to see come to Grand Rapids...
U2, The Killers, Duran Duran, etc...

So, how about you? What band would you like to come to the area so you can see them? (assuming you could afford the tickets)

Please no country,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Urban Amish

Am I scared of technology? I have an ipod nano, a laptop computer, a cell phone, and a van with more computing power than my old TRS Model 1 computer. Has technology made life better? Every time I am in a hospital or connect online with a long lost friend I say yes! They save time, they are used to save lives, and they make life comfortable. But, I get fatigued by the way I am connected to technology and how much I have come to depend on it... for relationships... for entertainment... for learning... and what that connection has led me to loose. (Often the very things I am hoping to gain.)

I secretly wish I could be an Urban Amish. Minus the clothes and beard that I could never grow. Yes, I know I am idealizing the simple life, but I think taking moments to reflect on if technology has made our lives better and in what ways is helpful.

What bit of technology can you not live without and how might your life change if you lost it?

I hate cell phones,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rehearsing isn't always helpful.

One thing that I've done for most of my life is think through various scenarios. I would have conversations with myself that I envisioned would take place with another person. I would get my facts straight, think through the issues, recall the why and the what, and just gear myself up for conversations that may take place.

The problem is... they rarely if ever took place.

But I felt more prepared anyway. It was a tool that I thought would bring peace when I was anxious and feeling defensive. However the reality is that it just created more anxiety and took up more time and head space. Rehearsing hasn't been helpful for me and I am trying to kill it.

I was driving the other day and feeling a bit anxious about how someone might respond to something and I launched into my rehearsal. This and that started coming out of mouth as I drove along and then I realized what I was doing. I just stopped the stream of justifications and said,"God, you love me and I'm your kid. Take this issue."

I think God does a better job as a defender than me. I just need to rest in the fact that He accepts and loves me regardless.

So, I may not seem as quick on the gun and I won't deliver a pristine rebuttal to a situation, but I'll sleep better.

Thinking out loud can by tiring,

PS - isn't that what blogging is?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ring the bell if you had great service!

I love Mongolian BBQ. I can stomach Arby's. In both of these places I have found bells that are supposed to be rung if you had good service. (And left a tip at Mongolian.)

I heard a couple ladies chatting today about churches, pastors, and services at the local coffee place. They talked way toooo loudly and were quite passionate in their concerns for the church. I overheard the discussion about the pastor who is trying to implement new ideas into an established church. I couldn't help hear about the way the church is creating problems with their different worship styles. I heard about a husband who gets frustrated regularly with the church.

In the midst of this I couldn't take it any more. I said in a talking voice, "Jesus bring unity." They didn't seem to slow down, but I felt better throwing my frustration with the chit chat at Jesus (perhaps the chit chat was done under the label of concern and seeking God). The chit chat seemed to treat the church as some eating establishment with bad food, poor service, and rats in the kitchen. I was getting angry that they could nicely run down the pastors with their talk of concerns and yet allow the husband to act out regularly in anger and bitterness and just say, "you know him..." as if that is okay and natural.

It made me think.

I realize that people have those conversations about me and about the church I call family. I have learned (but need to constantly remind myself of) that the church is not mine - it's God's. I've hoped, but not expected everyone to see themselves as the church and take ownership and choose to be a part of the solution and not continue the useless chit chat to people who can't do anything about the problems. I'll stop...

But, hearing that conversation made me again realize that for the majority of people I've met and interact with - the church is still primarily a vendor of religious goods and services. It is a Mongolian BBQ or an Arby's. When we have good service we ring the bell. "Amazing worship." "Awesome teaching - I have 4 pages of notes and I heard something I've never heard before!" "The service was only an hour!" etc... Ring the bell! I got great service!

But, if we find the pastor to be a poor manager, the music to be overcooked, and the environment distracting we tend to fill out the comment card and pass it on to our friends. (I do this when I have a bad experience at a place - I rarely let the establishment know, but I tell all my friends about the bad experience. I need to practice what I spew.) :)

So, I think I'm going to do a series sometime called, "Ring for great service!" I will have a bell like our local Arby's and talk about the church being a community for great services. Not like a worship service in which we look to have a good spiritual meal. But, more like a worship community in which we look to serve one another in love. It comes down to being a giver - a server - a deny yourselfer - a pick up your crosser.

I'll have to rework these thoughts in the future, but for know I leave you with this...

Jingle bells,

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Tomorrow we are launching our new Watermark family website: We are Marked. Check it out. Brad Zimmerman put it together and did a great job. Brad's company is: Vinmark Productions. I recommend him to you.

I also got an article up on one of my pet hobby projects for the year: It was an article for our newsletter, but I'll be putting up other stuff soon...

Anyways go Tigers!

Friday, September 07, 2007


I have a friend who is currently in jail and I have been able to visit him and check in. Anyways, a week or so ago, Harrison asked me where I was going and I explained that I was going to visit our friend who is in jail.

Harrison said, "Are you going to save him?"

I said, "What do you mean?"

He said, "Are you going to save him?"

I said, "Do you mean help him get out of jail?"

He said, "Yes."

This exchange made me think about a couple things...
1) I was shocked to hear my four year old son use a very churchy word like "save." I wondered if I had said it around him... I realized that he wasn't talking about the "save" that I was thinking about. When he asked me if I was going to "save" our friend he was not expecting me to share the good news and have him say yes in a prayer to see him spiritually saved... that was my assumption.

2) My son thinks I have what it takes to break into a jail and set the captives free. Think action hero baby!

3) I think my boy has a more biblical view of salvation than I have held most my life. I have looked at salvation primarily as a spiritual experience that is applied to you after you die. (Saved from our sins.) I do believe this with all my heart and desire to share it. However, when you look at God as deliverer and savior in Scripture we see a God who saves all of someone. Salvation is for this life... Salvation from the slave master of addiction, from the enemy of bitterness, from the pain of injustice, etc... My friend did need saving, but it is much more than just a spiritual issue (although this is an amazing and necessary place to begin.)* My friend needs saving help to get out of jail (the jail of things he struggles with that put him in this difficult situation.)

I like Harrison's approach to salvation and I appreciate his belief that I am an action hero.

The Tigers need saving from injuries, quiet bats, and sketchy pitching,

*I suppose you could say that someone needs to experience salvation from their situation before they are open to embrace or experience salvation on a spiritual level. Sure, that's cool, but I think that if someone is open and they receive the grace gift of Christ it gives a deep pool to draw from for salvation of all of them. Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Autumn, Falls, & 50 years

First of all tomorrow (August 30) is Autumn's 8th birthday! She is one awesome little lady and she is (as she says) "livin the life!" She is getting a kiddie MP3 player filled with Christian propaganda. What the?

Secondly, we are taking a trip to NY and on our way stopping by Niagra Falls. I went there a few times in my life, but my most vivid memory of it was from the movie Superman 2 when Lois and Clark shared the honeymoon sweet... unfortunately we will be at the Budget Inn with three kids in tow.

Finally, we are participating in the 50th anniversary of the Bohall (Vicki's side of family) reunion. We'll be at Lamoka Baptist Camp. It looks like they have a tether ball (Dynamite!) and a teeter totter (not yet banned by concerned parents). Should be fun!

Have a great rest on Labor Day. It is everyones alleged Sabbath. Although it seems like more and more people work on Labor Day.

Flow river flow,

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quick Hits

> Went to the Tiger game with Grandpa, dad, and bro-in law and the Tigers lived up to my last post. Fun time / Frustrating time.

> Thinking about our friends in South Africa. Missing the Takas family around here. I am in the process of getting my booty over there to look at how Watermark could be involved.

> Going back into the friendly confines of Grand Haven High School after our ten week adventure being outdoors for gatherings. 10 am for anyone interested.

> Brad, our incredible web desinger, is putting together a new site dedicated to helping those within Watermark find information, connect, get schedules, etc... it will be found at: we are marked It will go live in the next month (hopefully).

> This Sunday we are talking about church planting and helping send off those that are going to be a part of the plant.

> Doing a 24/7 prayer vigil again the first week of September. You can sign up and learn about it at: Shoreline prays.

> God, Bible, pray, Jesus (did I get all the right answers?)

Love ya'll

Monday, August 20, 2007

Meltdown- please God no!

Since the All-Star break the once mighty Detroit Tigers with their potent offense and effective pitching have looked horrible. Gone is the swagger. Gone is the confidence. Gone is the fun. It looks like they are pressing, pushing, and scared.

Therefore, I am miserable. I shouldn't let

The biggest culprit seems to be injuries to key players: Zumaya, Rogers, Rodney, Miller, and on and on...

The second biggest negative impact has been the awful bullpen.

I am not giving up hope, but the next week could decide the season.

Let's go Tigers!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to watch the Detroit Tigers in action. However, they were horrible. In fact, the last couple weeks have been a complete meltdown. Injuries, a shaky bullpen, and inconsistent starting pitching have produced a team that seems to lack energy. But, I still love them and I had a great time regardless. Go Tigs!

Also - I got a MySpace page. I'm doing it to primarily keep in touch with some family members and I'm not spending a lot of time on it, but in case you wanted to see an old man on myspace: Deurty Space


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dibs Emerging

Here is a picture of my dad Dave Deur. He is reflecting and thinking of new photos to take for his emerging business. Some day you may find yourself encouraged by a Fireplug Card.

Take a trip over to his blog for more pics and shticks.
The Dave Deur Experience

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Quick shots

> Had an awesome vacation - pics may follow in the near future.
> Good time handing out water at parade. Even saw the Big Dog.
> May have to be indoors tomorrow because of rain - if so - YMCA at 10 am
> Check out the church we are planting in south Muskegon: The Deep.
> The Tigers are killing me!

Boom Chugga Lugga,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The week our family's year revolves around.

As a follower of Jesus my life should probably revolve around Holy Week.


Our family's year revolves around a week up north at a lake so small it has a couple of names: "Lake View" or "Shield Lake" or for our family: "Lake Pew."

I began going to this lake with my family when I was a very very young boy. My dad went to this lake when he was younger with his mom and dad. Now we go year after year and rent the same cottage I grew up going to.

As this week rapidly approaches we are all filled with excitement. The visit to the little local Wesleyan church, the hot dogs and smores, the time with extended family, my sisters and brother in laws, golf, walks around the lake, wooden swings, shuffle board, "shooting the tube," fishing, swimming, family biathlon (took last place last year), reading, playing with the kids, get the picture.

We go - we have a blast - one month later we begin to dream about the next year. We talk about that experience all year long.

So - the time is upon us to go to this little cottage with our extended family (Deur side) and I am ready to breath in the fresh air of life.

I fish with marshmallows,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Love it kid!"

My grandma Deur used to say the above quote when she really wanted to say she liked something. I am saying it looking at this upcoming forecast for the weekend! Sunday is looking dry and nice. (Or as they would say in Australia: "fine.")

So grab your lawn chair and blankie and come join us at 10 am at Mulligan's Hollow.

The Tigers are on a roll baby!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We have to shout above the din of our rice crispies.

Last night Vicki and I saw "The Police" is concert in Detroit. It was an awesome show and it transported me back twenty years. They sounded great and the concert was well done. "Fiction Plane" opened and I really enjoyed their sound. I loved it!

Is a humiliating kick in the crotch.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Tomorrow looks nice!
We are heading to Mulligan's Hollow tomorrow for an outdoor gathering. We are meeting at 10 am.

I wanted to do something with Fruit Stripe gum, but it is impossible to find a store that carries it - so hopefully there will be a miracle and I will be chewing that flavor bursting gum during the message.

See you tomorrow with wonderful weather!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I wanna be a drunken sailor.

Frederick Buechner, in his collection of sermons, writes:
"Be kind enough to yourselves not just to play it safe with your lives for your own sakes, but to spend at least part of your lives like drunken sailors - for God's sake, if you believe in God, for the world's sake, if you believe in the world - and thus to come alive truly."

I love that challenge to show kindness to yourself by shelving apprehension and going for the gusto. It is a challenge that I needed today.

The pirate's life for me,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Book life.

Robert Frost, the great American poet, once said, "I don't live in a library and I am not a terrible reader, but my life has been a book life." Another similar quote from him: "Libraries are in the same game I'm in. That's the game of surrounding people with books - getting people coated with books."

Over the past year I have not lived a "book life." I have read to study not to be studied. I feel the results.

So, I have decided to coat myself with books this summer.

The following books I have already read:
Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr This book was excellent.
Under the unpredictable plant by Eugene Peterson Fantastic book on "being" a pastor.
Sex God by Rob Bell This book we are going through as a life group. Very good.

Here are books I am currently reading:
Secrets in the Dark by Frederick-Buechner So far I have really enjoyed this life giving book.
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky I have just started this.
Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd. So far I have really enjoyed this book about the competing kingdoms.

That is where I currently am at. I still have books yet to start, but first I gotta get through these. What are you reading?

Coat it baby!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Get yo prayer on sucka.

Our high school group (Fugo) is serving in NYC for the week.
To learn more about their trip and to get updates go here: Fugo in NYC.

Also, leave an encouraging comment for them. :)

Loving the Tigers!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Shoreline people

I am appreciating words like "faithfulness" and "devotion" more and more. There is something about being steady, being there, showing up, and cultivating a long haul image that excites me.

I think that I have been someone who tends to look to be flashy. Flashy gets noticed, but I feel in my cells a pull toward greater faithfulness as the discipline of transformation.

I came across a great little poem by Robert Frost about devotion and it gives a picture of what I'm feeling...

"The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean -
Holding the curve of one's position,
Counting an endless repetition."

Holding & counting,

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tigers, Waterfront, and Podcast

The Tigers game on Thursday was great. I was able to take my family which was special. I especially cherished having my kids participate in something that always was precious to me as a kid. They won! We had amazing seats and I'll post some pics soon.

Tomorrow looks like it is going to be beautiful. We are at the Waterfront Stadium in downtown Grand Haven at 10 am. You are invited. Justin Schaap, our new worship leader, will be leading our band.

If you are interested in keeping up with the conversation over the summer you can visit: Watermark Podcast.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What happens when a Michigan family moves to South Africa?

The Takas family goes to Johannesburg and as soon as they arrive the city is hit with snow. The place of gold is covered in white stuff! This is the first time since 1981 according to reports. Welcome to winter in June! Pray that Mike and Carol won't be kicked out of the country for bringing Michigan weather with them.

To keep up with the Takas family you can visit their site at: Takas Fam

Reminds me of waking up in Israel to big snow! Ahhhh

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Local boy.

"It is in the nature of pastoral work to walk into an alien world, put our feet on the pavement, and embrace the locale. Pastoral work is geographical as much as it is theological. Pastors don't send memos, don't send generic messages, don't work from a distance: locale is part of it. It is the nature of pastoral work to be on site, working things out in the particular soil of a particular parish." - Eugene Peterson from Under the Unpredictable Plant.

Location, location, location.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Some old stuff.

I came across some old movies of fellow bloggers that I forgot were around and thought I'd share them with you for old times sake...

"I Am" annimation


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another beauty.

This Sunday looks like another amazing day to gather outdoors. Last weekend we had a great time seeing people on the lawn. It was a laid back atmosphere with a lot of connecting. This Sunday we are back at Mulligan's Hollow at 10 am. Come on out and join us for the fun.

If you want a calendar of where we are at you can visit our site: Watermark Web Site.

Today I get to spend some time with my Rabbi - Pete Yo. :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Get a move on people!

During my trip to NYC with my dad I had the opportunity to read a whole book in Central Park. Wow - a whole book. (Hooked on phonics worked for me.)

The book I read was, "Under the Unpredictable Plant" by Eugene Peterson. I chose this book because it is one of his books that deals with 'being' a pastor. The book revolves around the story of Jonah. He does a masterful job teasing the story and bringing out gems.

Anyways, I wanted to submit a quote from the book for your consideration.

"We cannot nurture the life of the Spirit in a parishioner while holding a stopwatch. We cannot apply time management techniques to the development of souls." (p.164)

I find that I am an impatient person. When it comes to working with people I tend to think about sprints instead of marathons. I like to see change and I like to see it fast. If someone isn't getting with the program (my program) I wonder what the problem is. (Maybe it's me or maybe life and spirituality is more complex than getting with a program.) But, to be a pastor is to live with people through life and to shepherd and to garden. Pastoring is not about stripping the land and throwing up spiritual strip malls that create fast cash and success. Then you are left with Jenison.

Over my fourteen years of pastoring in different ways and places I have desired to see transformation, life, and healing. Most of those fourteen years was spent wondering how to ramp something new up to get people moving toward these things. Peterson challenges me to look at being a pastor that enters the garden of people's souls and to tend to it. It can't be microwaved. It can't be forced.

Praying for a green thumb,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Check this out...

This past spring break I stopped in at the Watermark Church in Tampa. I really enjoyed worshipping there. One guy that was very welcoming was the worship leader. His name, I believe, was Tommy. Anyways, he writes his own worship music and Watermark uses it to express their heart to God at their gatherings.

I noticed they made a music video around a song he played on the morning I was there. I really enjoy it and recommend it to you. So, because he gave me hospitality and he is a brother in Yeshua :) I'll throw this your way for a watch and a listen.

See you on the lawn tomorrow at 10 am!
Happy Father's Day,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The weather is looking good!

This weekend we are gathering at Mulligan's Hollow at 10 am. My biggest fear is that rain will hit and that we'll have to scramble to find the best "plan b" location. (We may do the YMCA or the High School in case of rain in case you are wondering.) But, looking at this forecast gives me some peace. If it rains I pray it will quit by 7 am Sunday morning.

It looks like it is going to be hot and sunny so bring your sun tan lotion and a lawn chair. See you there in the sun - Lord and Craig James willing. :)

"The lawn is where I meet God." - Thomas Zoily

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How sweet it is.

Congrats to Justin Verlander for throwing a no-no last night against the Brew crew. Epic!
He was throwing serious gas into the ninth inning! I gots da Tiger fever (like I always have, but at least now I don't get sick.)

Way to go JV.

Now if we could take that performance on to the softball field,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Time to Seize the Summer.

This Sunday, June 17th, we are moving from Grand Haven High School to Mulligan's Hollow behind the Tri-Cities YMCA in Grand Haven. We are gathering at 10 am. You are all welcome to come and join us. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair. The kids can play on the Imagination Station for part of the time.

Soak it up baby,

For more details or directions of this summer's locations click here:Watermark Church.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sitting on God's shoulders.

Isaiah 63:9
"In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old. "

Deuteronomy 1:30-31
"The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place."

In Scripture, God is described as the Creator of the world. He is called the "Father" of Israel and later by followers of Jesus. (Following redemptive moves by God: for example: the Exodus from Egypt and the work of Jesus on the Cross.) The image of God as Father is an amazing picture. (Unless your own father was a scoundral and that idea is a hard pill to swallow.) God is called the Father of the fatherless. In Isaiah you hear God calling Israel to trust in Him as the loving, rescuing, and sustaining Father. Jesus teaches us to pray by starting with, "Our Father..."

God as Father.

Did your dad ever carry you? I remember the joy I experienced riding on my father's shoulders. Feeling like you can touch the sky. Feeling secure in his grasp. Feeling favored and loved. My son Harrison asks me to pick him up and put him on my shoulders and it takes me back to my "little guy" days.

In Scripture, God describes Himself as a Father who carries His kids.

I love that picture of closeness, of joy, of security, of fun, and of love.

Not the other way around.

Pick me up,

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back in the Pocket

I am back in the pocket. I have returned from my time in jam packed NYC. Many highlights, but the best was spending time with my dad. I got to see the Yankees lose, eat breakfast outdoors every morning, take in Times Square lights, eat NY cheesecake, take a nap, read a couple books, ponder in Central Park, try Japanese candy, etc... It was a refreshing time. I am sure my dad will post some pics and I'll rip him off and add to his reflections or photos. Go there:Dibs Maturing

My dad and I did see this dude (Richard Belzer from Law and Order) eating with friends.

Of course I saw him and promptly ignored him.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Big Deurty in the City

211.3 New York City - Broadway - USA

I am getting out of Dodge and heading to NYC for five nights with Dibs (aka: Deurty Old Man, aka: Dibs Maturing, aka: my dad.) I am looking forward to this trip and it is coming at a really good time.

I hope and pray that it will be refreshing and a good infusion of creativity and vision. Going to a big city always seems to stir my heart. I'll be reading, journaling, visiting sites, planning some leadership things, and having fun. We are going to a Yankee game and I'll be quietly rooting against them. (Sorry Nate Sean) We will be visiting a couple churches while we are there. The ones I am sure about are linked below:

Redeemer Pres.
Brooklyn Tab.

We'll do the prayer meeting on Tuesday night at the Brooklyn Tab.

Anyways I'd appreciate your prayers for my family as I am away and for my own soul's renewal. Also that my dad will be okay with me walking into him. :)

Thompson is 36 today,

PS: One of my all time favorite posts by my dad is from July 2003 and it was a rant about lawn ornaments. (This fits nicely with the season we are in.) Enjoy!

"...Steve and I went to Menards to pickup a part for his monster lawn mower and while we were there, I noticed a few of those "lawn ornaments". Maybe you've seen them. Maybe some of you even have one in your front yard. What's up with those things?! They look like a shiny glass bowling ball on a pedestal. The sign advertising these for sale - as if they expect people to actually buy this trash - said that these lawn decorations are for "gazing". Give me one good reason to gaze at a glass ball that's sitting in your yard on top of a pedestal. I don't get it. I believe these glass balls are equipped with hidden antennas that allow extraterrestials to eavesdrop on us. Don't fall for this ploy. If you need to put one of these gazing balls in your yard, at least protect all of us by enclosing it in a lead sleeve. Thanks!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What would really stand out around here?

This week we are talking about being an alternative transformational community. This is a mouthful, but a great image.

In the book of Acts (in the Bible) it describes the earliest followers of Jesus as a community that stood out in the surrounding culture. They were promiscuous with their money and stingy(chaste) with their bodies. This stood out.

I may have commented on this before and so forgive me if I have, but it appears that, as followers of Jesus, our primary concern in being an alternative to the surrounding culture is to just listen to Christian music (which I like some), avoid swearing (we all have different levels of what swearing is), don't drink booze (for some denominations), don't smoke (at least don't inhale), don't ride a motorcycle (unless it is a Harley for most pastors trying to keep their mojo), etc...

Are these really the distinctive marks of a life following Jesus? These are so easy. What about character issues? What about not seeking revenge when we are hurt and forgiving the person who harmed us? What about living simply and not using or getting more than we need? What about being ridiculously generous?

So my question to you: How could a follower of Jesus really stand out in our community?

I wanna pop,


Monday, May 07, 2007

Taking credit goes both ways.

Have you ever noticed that when someone tells a parent that their baby is adorable the parent says, "thank you." Maybe they are speaking for the baby who is unable to say, "thank you." But it seems as if the parents are taking credit for the baby being cute. I am sure that good looking people have a better chance of producing a child that is so cute that you could just "eat his little face." But what about babies that are not nice to look at? Should we have parent's apologize for their baby's looks? If we take credit for the cute we should probably take credit for the not cute. (code for ugly)

So, I want to say thanks for my kids and I want to apologize on behalf of my parents for me. :)

Out on the streets - out where we meet...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


It's over. I am out. We raised, $460.00 thanks to some really generous people. Thanks again to those who contributed. Thanks also for sticking with me as I took time to talk about this. I hung out with Maryanne Gregory (from Watermark and also in jail) at Snug Harbor and got to eat some donated grub from Arbys while I made some phone calls. (Including you Wade Breeden!)

Why did I do this?
First of all, I was asked. Oh the power of "the ask." I forget about the power of being asked. It forces you to make a decision.

Secondly, I wanted to participate in a community oriented event. As a pastor it can be easy to get focused on only the local church and this was another way to help the wider community and assist in a cause that wasn't my normal environment. (I believe the local church has to be my focused environment, but sometimes it is easy to become limited in my focus.)

Third, it was a stretch that I wanted to do. My word for the year was, "courage." This pushed me out of my comfort zone to serve in a different capacity.

Finally, I got to have a swell picture- which I'll throw up here soon. :)

Ah, freedom!

Tonight is the first softball game of the year. Prepare to be mercied.

Lock up time

Today at 1 pm I will get arrested "for good." My goal was to raise $1,000 and so far we have raised $390. If you have been considering giving but haven't yet you can visit my MDA website and donate online. Thanks again - this should be interesting. :)

Deur MDA Lock up

Slammer jammer,

I'll give you an update.

Monday, April 30, 2007


This week is a week of firsts for me.

First time doing a community charity event. The MDA lockup is on Wednesday. I get picked up at 1 pm at the HUB and have to bring the donations that have come in. We've raised $275.00 of the $1,000.00 goal so far. I am hoping to still see some money come in for Jerry's kids. Maybe I should do my own telethon for a good cause and call it, "Deurty's kids." That may not be good.

First softball game this year on Thursday. The goal is to win at least three games this year and to not get smoked every week!

First time I had to call an animal control person to remove a sick Raccoon from our yard. He was sitting under our tree all day and so we had to pay someone to remove it. There is nothing better than paying money to get one of nature's beasts out of our hair.

First time I made brats for the year.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

20% there.

I am currently at 20% of my goal to raise $1,000.00 for MDA and to get bailed out on Wednesday, May 2nd.

Enjoying sitting outside today and playing baseball with my kids.

I have pinned too much of my soul satisfaction on whether or not the Detroit Tigers win. Help! :)

giddy up,

Friday, April 27, 2007

10% to goal.

Well I am now (at least through online giving) at 10% of the $1,000.00 goal for MDA. If you are interested in helping me get bailed out please visit my page at: Get Steve out of Jail!

A special thanks to those who have emailed and told me that they didn't think I would last in the slammer. Thanks for the confidence! But, thank God, I'll be at Snug Harbor on May 2nd.


Prison break,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I need your help.

Blogger friends... Please help me! I am being locked up "for good" for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. (Jerry's Kids.) Wednesday, May 2nd, I will be locked up and I must make my $1,000 bond to be released.

Your gift is 100% deductible and will help continue research into the cause and the possible cure of the various neuromuscular diseases. It will also provide wheelchairs, clinic visits, summer camp, and other medical needs for those impacted by Muscular Dystrophy.

If you are interested in helping you can link to my MDA page and donate or mail a check (payable to MDA) for your donation to me. (1114 Washington Ave. Grand Haven, MI 49417). Email me and let me know if you are interested and thanks for making a difference. Email: Donations needed by May 2nd.

Thanks for taking the time to check it out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring clean up

Today we are going to clean up, clean out, pick up, store, and get the house ready for summer. Another winter gone. Thank you God!

I planted tulips along the front of my home and they are starting to come up. Since I grew up in Holland, I have always appreciated tulips.

Tomorrow we discuss evil - oh the joys!

Silence makes one look smart,

I must look stupid. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who is the Dungeons and Dragons dork?

That would be me.
As a middle school/high school student I enjoyed playing D&D. My favorite part was creating characters and seeing how the characters I created come to life in an adventure. I thought it was cool. In fact I played D&D with some of the more "popular" kids in our school.

However, I have found out that D&D is for dorks. On the most recent Alltell commercial they poke fun at D&D through the various dweeby representations of the cell phone companies. Watching "I love the 80's" on VH1 has a 'D&D was for geeks' spot within the show. So - I guess I was and probably still am a geek.

BUT, I want to suggest that a whole new group of people (over five million) are now involved in a game very similar to D&D, but with less dependence on picturing things in the imagination. The new D&D for this generation is, "Second Life." Learn about it at: Second Life.

There are some differences, but some of the same reasons I enjoyed D&D are found in Second Life.

So perhaps in twenty years we'll hear people talking about the dorks that did Second Life. I still think I would dig it, but I find myself too busy with my "first life." :)

Roll the twenty sided dice!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"You gotta learn."

My dad, David P. Deur, repeats to my children the instructive sentence: "You gotta learn." I think it is a good saying and one that I would like to live by. Being a continued learner is vital to living and growing.

For me, I have been recently learning and growing from absorbing good teaching from Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. Tim is well read, well spoken, and challenging. I love his teaching and find it helpful as a follower of Jesus and as a pastor.

If you are interested in listening to some of his talks go to this unofficial list:Tim Keller Resources.

You gotta learn.

I gotta learn to play golf.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What's the deal with evil?

This Sunday we will be seeking some insight and some traction regarding the question: "If God is there and He is good - why is there evil and suffering?" Today a horrible tragedy took place that begs that question. Check out the story:Tragic Killing at Virginia Tech.

This will be front and center on everyone's mind as we seek guidance to this very timely question.

Let there be Shalom,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

if it were spring I would...

Here is the question today.
What do you look forward to most when spring actually arrives?
What are you chomping at the bit to do, but the weather has been putting you off?

Let's take a moment and think about the fun things and big dreams we have planned when global warming actually touches West Michigan.

For me - I look forward to sitting around the fire pit in my backyard and eating hot dogs and baked beans with the kids. I look forward to sitting on the front porch area reading in the evening while it is still light out. I look forward to walks downtown and along the boardwalk. I look forward to ice cream in a cone and not ice on my yard.

My dream is to have a small garden. Yeah right.

How about you?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


This Sunday we are beginning a new conversation entitled, "questionmark." We are going to be searching for the answers and wrestling with the ideas surrounding questions that people submitted. This will be an incredibly difficult series because I am not the brightest lighthouse on the shore and these questions don't have nice little complete answers. The search for answers is the fun part. Taking people on that journey is a clarity challenge. If you want to heckle me and our team - you can show up on Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 am. (I would prefer it if you heckled me after you heard my responses in a more private location.) :)

Some of the questions we've gotten:
  • Why did God create Satan when He knew he was going to be evil?
  • How can bad things happen when God is good?
  • How do we decide which Old Testament laws to follow and which ones to ignore?
  • Is Jesus the only way? What about other religions?
  • How does Watermark feel about... drinking alcohol, capital punishment, end times..?
  • Why do Christians think they are better than everyone else?
You get a bit of the flavor in those questions. This Sunday we will be focusing on the Bible the most...

Time to wrestle,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Gentle Heidi"

The summer of 1976.
I was almost five years old and afraid of dogs. My parents wisely purchased a dog to help me face my fears. We added a yellow labrador retriever into our family. She was named, "Gentle Heidi." She lived up to her name. She was always patient, always loving, always gentle, and always there.

I've thought about her a bit this week as I've prepared for the Easter message tomorrow. I am discussing fear and things we fear. So, I reflected on my life and my fears and recalled my fear of dogs. Out of that fear came this wonderful dog into our lives.

Here is a pic of me and Heidi after we got her as a pup in the summer of 1976. I remember that summer.

See many of you tomorrow at the performing arts center in Grand Haven High School.
Watermark's Site for more info.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Read a book and pop in on Easter.

My friend Kory VanDyke, who is a part of Watermark, recently wrote a book entitled, "Never Letting Go." I just bought it from and started reading it. Congrats to Kory for your hard work and seeing your story get published!

This Sunday we are meeting at the performing arts center in Grand Haven High School. Should be a nice change of pace and the environment should facilitate a meaningful experience. Join us at 9:15 and 11:00 am. Hope to see you!

I love Cadbury Eggs,

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bless you boys

Today is the first day of summer.
The Tigers are back and I am pumped.


Monday, March 26, 2007

the other white meat

I stopped in at "Watermark Church" here in Tampa. I came across them a year ago online. If you are interested in checking them out go to: Watermark, Tampa

A couple of weeks ago I taught on Ephesians and mentioned that "Walls come down "in" Christ." I had a sense of that truth coming to life. Here I am located twenty driving hours south of home and I can join brothers and sisters in Jesus to worship God. That was a special moment.

Their worship pastor was very friendly and he writes original music and worship songs for each week and/or series. You can listen to these online.

The Body of Jesus Christ is a WE thang. :)

We are having a great time and enjoying ourselves at the pool for hours on end. Looking forward to listening to Steve Thompson - formally known as "The Gooch" - on the way home to Michigan and his 'Gladiator' feeling message.

Had burgers and hot dogs last night on the grill... mmmm summer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

mmmmm florida

We are getting closer to that magic moment when we climb into our mini-van and head south to Tampa, Florida.

I love the drive down as much as I love the time in Florida. Looking over the country side. Stopping in quirky truck stops selling things I would never expect. Living on a steady diet of Maccas. (as my aussie friends call it) Going up and over the mountains. Drinking caffeine laced drinks to stay alert. (is that drug use?) Putting my sandals on, stopping at a Florida welcome area to buy oranges, and enjoying the smell of our van after a day and a half of driving...

It is coming and I am hoping and praying that we'll have a safe, relaxing, refreshing, patience filled, joyful and story filled experience.

Clark Griswald is my hero,

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I am going on a men's retreat tomorrow and Saturday.
I don't know if we are going to dance around a fire or beat drums, but that would be kinda cool. The ultimate men's retreat would have a showing of Gladiator and Braveheart. It would also let us shoot guns and make our own beer. This isn't going to be one of those kind of men's retreat, but I'm looking forward to hanging out with the fellas.

I did hear that there will be a dodge ball tourney.

A shot to the face in dodge ball rocks!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


no words necessary.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The only thing we have to fear is...

Quick poll -
What are you afraid of?

I am studying "fear" and I'd love to get your thoughts... Thanks for sharing your fears.

Here is my biggest fear: heights

How about you - scaredy cat?

Fear itself!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Best Podcasts Post

I enjoy listening to various podcasts.

I would like to get your take on the best podcasts in different categories.

For example:
You probably might say that the "Marked Podcast" - Watermark's weekly podcast is your favorite local church podcast... (I chose that so you didn't have to mention it again.) :)

So - how about you? If you are subscribed to any podcasts let us know what ones are good and what category would you put it under...

As my dad says, "You gotta learn."

Friday, March 02, 2007

Pastor = Walking Guilt Trip

I've joked about this before, but it is interesting to find that you're a walking guilt trip.

I've walked through the store a number of times and have seen people who are a part of our church community or used to be. I am excited to see them. I really love seeing people at the store and catching up. For me - these moments outside of the Sunday morning experiences are what it is all about. I ask them a question. I make eye contact. I lean forward and show interest. But, they seem paralyzed to discuss their plans and answer my questions because they are weighed down by a confession they have to make. "We haven't been to church in a while. We've been sick.. We've had family over... We're worn out from work... The weather has been bad..." It is as if my genuine interest and desire to connect with them has been set aside and I move from being a person, a friend, a faith family member, a human being - to becoming a walking guilt trip. I am no longer a real person - I am a symbol - a thing - that evokes excuses, guilty feelings, and nervousness.

Now, don't get me wrong - I really desire for Watermarkers and others, not connected to a faith community, to regularly participate in our gatherings and life groups. (In fact you are invited and would be thrilled to see you and get to know you.) I love being with everyone as we munch on Panera Bread, worship together, and share life together. Therefore, I do miss people when I don't see them and I do believe that each person has a unique flavor that they bring to the wider church community. In fact the book of Romans declares that as followers of Jesus - we belong to eachother. That is a pretty radical statement in our individualistic focused culture.

So, although I miss people who aren't present at gatherings. Although I desire people to regularly participate and even feel like something is missing when they are not there. (Just like Thanksgiving without a loved one. Or a poker game without that regular who you love having there.) I don't want it to be about "showing up" - I want it to be about "building each other up."

Therefore, I do care, but I care about the person and not merely attendance. I can easily fall into the trap of treating people as an "end to the means," but I strive and pray that people would be loved simply because they're people made in the image of God.

So when I'm in the store - I don't care if you have beer in your cart. I don't have judgemental feelings and want to put you under the thumb. I am not interested in how you've known that you've missed a lot and promise to be back. Be free! I do care about you. I do want to know what is going on in your life. I do want to hear your stories. I do want to laugh with you, pray with you, care for you, spot God's work among you, encourage you, celebrate with you, hurt with you, serve you, work alongside you, partner with you, and live life together with you... And all this, I desire, requires being in a relationship with you - being "with" you. With this motivation - getting together is not just about counting heads and putting in time at the local church event - it is living and acting in something that is alive and changing and dynamic. The Bible calls it the body of Jesus Christ.

So my heart's desire is for me to no longer be a walking guilt trip that reminds anyone of a poor attendance record (like I'm a chart revealing too few stars). I want to invite us to living life together - a sense that we are in something bigger together - that we need each other - that we belong to each other. That we are free from religion and can embrace relationship with God and one another.

Imagine what that kind of connection might look like.

A side note: Some of us may see this post and jump all over those who are concerned with religion and trying to "earn" our way to God or gain acceptance from others by performing and acting the right way. I suspect that religious folk aren't the only ones that desire to be accepted and liked. I think that all people are looking for some sort of acceptance, respect, and approval. We may say we don't, but I think that many of us try to find our value and identity in even that statement. We can fall into the trap of feeling like we are respected for being the type of person who doesn't need anyone. Therefore we find acceptance and approval from no one, but ourselves. Even in this way we are hungering for that approval and looking for ourselves to prove it.

I guess I'm pleading for humility and I recognize how I live out of guilt in so many other ways. I am not above all this, but I desire to live in freedom and invite others to join in the journey of experiencing that redemptive freedom. Thanks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The adventures of childhood

I remember when night time would bring with it amazing games in our neighborhood.

"Kick the can" was my favorite. Under the glow of street lights I would make a dash from the side of my house to the front of my house to "kick the can." (Usually a sand bucket for the beach or some sort of small plastic container.) The thrill of running out into the darkness without knowing if the person looking for you was near was exhilarating.

"Flashlight Tag" was a lot of fun as well. We would run and hide and then the person 'it' would search for us sporting a flashlight. If they shined us - we were out.

These are just a few of games we played. The interesting thing is that I felt larger than life - almost more alive - playing these games. The hiding, the running, the heavy breathing, the competition, the on the spot rule making, the friendships, the laughing, the anger, the cheating - all of it sending the sensation of life.

I mourn the loss of games gone by. I miss the ease at which we could gather together. I hope for my children to experience this. But, the world has changed. Oh man - I need to stop this sentimental stuff and just ask you...


Tag - you're it,

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


They should change the name of "Podcasting" to "Sodcasting." As a kid my family put in some sod for our lawn. We rolled it line after line like laying carpet. Our lawn had a nice rich green look. So my idea of calling the podcasts - sodcasts comes from this idea of growth, life, roots and maturity, rolling out line by line of thoughts... It won't catch on, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

I guess growth in our lives depends on our own desire to grow more than anything. No matter how good material or truth may be expounded upon - the receiver must receive, interpret, welcome, chew on it, make changes, etc... humility, I think, is at the center of any growth. Do we have something to learn from everyone? Even people we disagree with? Even people we despise? I find it easier to learn from people that have big reputations or that I agree with - rather than someone younger or someone I have never heard of...

Anyways - if you want to hear long-winded teaching that hopefully would be a "sodcast" let me encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. :) Go to itunes - click on podcasts - search for "Marked Podcast." Or go to our website: and under the "what's new" link you can click on the podcast. Sorry for the self promotion. I'll work on self-centeredness next time. I humbly request your interest. :)

Other podcasts that I am subscribed to:
Tony Campolo "Across the pond" - Commentary on current events from Campolo.
Catalyst Podcast - Interviews with church leaders.
Desiring God (video short teachings) - Being the church in the culture and different questions.
Get This - great afternoon show in Sydney, Australia.

You find any good ones? SODCASTING.... mmmm green.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Half full or half empty

I was wondering if I am someone who sees the glass "half-full" or "half-empty." These of course are the images that speak of being an optimist or a pessimist. I have always thought of myself as an optimist, but I think it might be situational. (In other words - it depends on the glass.)

I think that with BIG picture issues (long range - dreams - hopes) I tend to be half-full. Filled with courage and passion. While with immediate issues I can tend to be half-empty. Filled with fear and anxiety. I guess that is my leaning and I think I do that to protect myself from disappointment. Can you relate? You know - saying you are not good at something (but secretly feeling like you are pretty good at it) so that if it doesn't go well the ego is protected somewhat...

Would you say you are a half full or half empty kind of person?
Whose opinion counts most in determining this question? My wife has one idea and others may think differently...

What if you took the half used/filled water and put it in a shot glass - perspective changes... WHAT?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Nyquil hang over

I have a hangover from my nyquil. I'm stuffed up. So, I hit the Nyquil cups hard last night and slept like a baby with a horrible after taste in my mouth. I don't know how pastor's preach every week (some of them twice a Sunday). I have been doing every Sunday since the end of November and I'm whipped. I have more low key roles over the next two weeks so that should be helpful in recovering.

I am planning on a new website that I hope to launch in the future:
I would appreciate any input on what you'd like to see on that site if anything.

Stay gold,

Friday, January 12, 2007

Get in the prayer stream.

Beginning February 4th at midnight we are going to participate in a non-stop prayer vigil until March 4th. This is not associated with one church or denomination. It is simply a time to connect with God for an hour or more and to seek Him and His movements.

If you like to pray or want to have a great spiritual experience I want to encourage you to sign up for an hour slot.

Check out the link I have on the right or check out the "Shoreline Prayer Room" at:
  • Shoreline Prays Website

  • You can learn more at the site and sign up under the calendar link. If you are in the area... have a go.

    Also - this week we are beginning our vision (who we are becoming) series. For three weeks we will be identifying how we are "Marked" and how we want to be a blessing to the world around us.

    Anyways - snow is coming and I am dreading it. I never did get into snow sports - except for watching movies. :)

    Countdown to 24!

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Thumpin and bumpin.

    Right now I am listening to the rhythmic sounds of women working out on the other side of the wall next to my desk. I hear the machines pumping. The floor is vibrating. The sound of muffled music is present. An occasional laugh is heard. I work next to a "CURVES." Here I sit adding weight and there they go, on the other side of the thinnest wall, shedding pounds in an all women work out environment. I thought about pounding on the wall sometime just to see what they would do. Then I would act like they were crazy when they come next door to find out what is wrong. But, that would be wrong. Or better yet, I could just walk in with a sweatsuit and start working out - acting like I have every right to be there. Maybe I should dress up like a woman (Tootsie) to get access. Or maybe I have taken too much time out of my day to think about these things with you. :)

    24 is back in action Sunday night and I am very excited. I haven't been this excited since holding an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons player handbook! :)

    Elf wizard with 68 hit points,

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Two Thousand and Seven

    My word for this year is: "COURAGE."

    God told Joshua: "This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

    Courage to do the right thing.
    Courage to speak the truth.
    Courage to forgive.
    Courage to follow wherever God leads.
    Courage to put self aside.
    Courage to seek justice for the down-trodden.
    Courage to lead.
    Courage to be.

    Andy Stanley observes, "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the willingness to strap on your fear and move ahead."

    So 2007 is the year of COURAGE.

    Welcome to the jungle,