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.