How You Lookin'?

A few weeks back on a Sunday morning prior to the start of our first morning worship gathering, I noticed a man and woman standing at the back door that I had not previously seen. The two were dressed to the inth degree, three piece suit and tie, with matching handkerchief, formal dress, with plenty of flashy jewelry to boot. They stood with a look of dismay on their faces. I went to greet them and introduce myself.

After the pleasantries were exchanged the gentleman informed me that they were first time guests and had decided not to join our worship gathering that morning. When asked why he proceeded to tell me that he was very put off by how informal we as a church dressed. He went as far as to state that we had let the world creep in and take hold of us. He made it clear that God would not be pleased with our worship because of the way we dressed. After a little more discussion the man and his wife left and I was left with a saddened heart. Saddened that this couple had reduced worship and the Church, down to a service in which we dress to impress.

If it is indeed true that God looks at the heart and not the outer appearance of man (1 Samuel 16:7), and that worship is much more than a weekly gathering (Romans 12:1) then it most likely is for the benefit of man that we feel compelled to dress up, and "look the part." Am I saying dressing in your "Sunday best" to attend a worship service is wrong? Not at all. What I am saying is we need to first search our hearts and see if we are truly following after Christ's heart and worshiping him daily in spirit and in truth with our very lives (John 4:24, Romans 12:1), and are living out the role of the church on a daily basis (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). If that is our heart then I believe how we dress is irrelevant.

How do you say a follower of Jesus should look, dress, and act?

On a less serious note: I love that the Christ follower is the "Mac user."

Beatin' The Bushes

This last Saturday 10 of us from our high school ministry went to battle. We took on approximately 400 square feet of blackberry bushes that had overtaken the backyard of an elderly couple in North Portland. We even found a car burried under all those thorns!

Recently we have made a paradigm shift in our approach to ministry. That is we feel that God would rather have us as a ministry engage in serving others as opposed to merely entertaining ourselves, like many of our past ministry events have done. I believe this is a much more efffective form of discipleship and serves to unite a group better than just about any other event. This last Saturday we joined forces with Project Linkage, an organization serving the elderly in Portland, to accomplish this, and had a great time.



Our stated purpose as a church is to Love God and Love Others To God. I believe this to be our greatest calling as followers of Jesus, and also serves as some of the most fun we can have as His followers. Saturday certainly proved that out!

See more pictures here.

A Heavy Heart

I have a heavy heart. I have been reminded so many times this past week that things are not always as they appear. It is so easy for people to appear one way in one setting and then an entirely different way in another.

As a pastor I desire so much for my students to love God more than anything else in their lives. To love Him to the point of forsaking the temptations to live contrary to what they know is right and honoring to their God.

It is so easy for students to live the life God wants of them to live, when around their youth group and church community, and yet when they leave that setting, live an entirely different way. Chap Clark references this kind of living as the "world beneath", and that most teenagers live in these two diffenent worlds. I want to say, it doesn't have to be that way.

God never intended for us to live two separate lives. As a pastor I want to see this change. It is my greatest concern and prayer for the students I shepherd. In reading this morning in Philippians I read how Paul shared a similiar concern. His desire for the church in Philippi is my prayer for my students.....

"...become blamesless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." Philippians 2:15-16

May we all live in such a manner that the world would praise our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Undignified Dynamite

What you get when you mix my favorite artist with my favorite movie.


For those of you who do not live in the is what you are missing right now.

I find myself singing the Crowder song...

You make everything glorious
make everything glorious
You make everything glorious


The story of Dick and Rick Hoyt...a beautiful picture of the love of the Father toward us His children, and an inspiration to fathers everywhere, especially this one.

Read more about Team Hoyt here.

A Sad Day

It's a sad day for the American family. Read the story here.

The Wonder of A Child

One of my favorite things in life is to see through the eyes of my children. To experience life, God and faith, in a fresh and new way. To watch my 21 month old son run around the yard or park with absolute wonder and amazement at what God has created for him is refreshing and beautiful.

We have some friends with a pond near their backyard. Yesterday we were at there house. Benny was filled with amazement as he watched the ducks swim around, and fly in and out. Why don't we look at something as simple as ducks with amazement and wonder?

On Friday we took Benny to a pumpkin patch. He was overwhelemed with all the fascinating things to see. I never realized that pumpkins were so amazing and intriguing. I do now. I had my camera with me. Check it out...

I love Jesus' approach to children.

"People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:15-17

May we all see and receive the kingdom of God like a child.

Middle School Retreat • The Movie

On the weekend of October 6-8, 31 of us from our middle school ministry loaded up the vans and headed down to Camp Tadmor for our 7th annual Fall Retreat. What a great time it was. For more on the retreat see this.

For the movie see this...

Good times!

Think On This

We think if we can disperse adequate information, people will be convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and turn to him. Those methods don't work any longer. I'm not sure they ever did. People aren't looking for information about God. They want to experience God, himself. Information leaves them bored, uninterested. Experience, especially the ultimate experience any human being can ever have, leaves them breathless. And that's exactly what we have to offer.
- Mark Tabb, Mission to Oz

Eight Years Ago

Eight years ago today I married my best friend. It has been the best and fastest eight years of my life.

Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." I have received much favor from the Lord. He has blessed me in so many ways over the years. His greatest wife.

I love you hon. Happy anniversary.

A Beautiful Sound

This last weekend was our annual Middle School Fall Retreat at Camp Tadmor. What an incredible weekend it was. A weekend in which the Spirit of God moved in the hearts of everyone.

To hear the sounds of middle schoolers having a great time and seeking God together in the process is a beautiful sound to hear.

Some of the sounds heard were the sounds of excitement as students let go of their fear and swang from the giant 60 foot rope swing, sounds of encouragement as students cheered their teams on as the compteted in different competitions through out the weekend, and sounds of laughter and discussion, and the many "a ha" moments when students discovered new things about their God, and themselves, as we listened to speaker Marshall Snider share how we were all created for greatness.

Perhaps the most beautiful sound of all was when they worshipped. I was moved to tears as I listened to students pouring out their hearts before God. The Spirit of God was moving and led our students to worship Him like I have never seen middle school students worship! Never let it be said that middle schoolers don't know how to worship. Check out the video below to see for yourself.

It was an amazing weekend and I pray that what God stirred in the hearts of all that were there, would continue to grow and develop into something even more beautiful.

See all the pictures of our weekend here.

Wake Up Call

It has been a long standing tradition for NASA to give their astronauts unique wake up calls in the morning, typically with music. On the July 4, 2006 luanch of the Space Shuttle Discovery this is what Mike Fossum's family requested as a wake up call for him.

I can't imagine a more incredible worship moment. Be sure to catch his comments at the end.

HT to Tony Myles

The Next 50 Years

Christianity Today has just released a very brief, yet good article on what evangelical leaders are saying are priorities for the next 50 years of youth ministry. Check it out here.

I especially appreciated Chap Clark's contribution, "The greatest challenge is developing 'a theology of intergenerational community' that helps a whole church to feel responsible for its youth. Otherwise, he said, churches follow mainstream culture's market-driven vision—and, like secular culture, abandon adolescents to raise themselves."

Mark Oestreicher, Youth Specialties president, is quoted as well, and has a good discussion on the article going on over at his blog.

I am encouraged by the discussion and continual re-thinking of how we pursue youth ministry. It is my hope and prayer that it doesnt take the church 50 years to get where we should be.