Cholesterol Beans

As much as I know my wife would love to see it, this is not a post about nutrition, green vegetables or the unwanted fatty little lipids that flow through our veins. Rather this is a post about how what is heard is not always what is said.

Yesterday morning in our middle school class we were doing a study on the book of Jude. Amy, one of our middle school leaders, was dong a great job leading the class, and helping them work their way through the small 25 verse long book. In verses 3 to 14 Jude writes about the sin and eventual doom of the ungodly. Where it got fun is when we hit verse 8. It reads,

"In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings."

Amy then had the for sight to ask the students if they understood what "celestial beings" were. Since most were unsure, she shared with them that they are angels. No sooner had she explained that, one of our 8th grade girls boldly declared,

"Oh! I thought you said, Cholesterol Beans!"

I love middle schoolers! I love their honesty, and that they have no fear of sharing what is on their mind.

After we all got a really good laugh, I was reminded of how important of a job I have. It is easy to think that our students already know and understand much of what we do, yet they don't. I am reminded of the awesome responsibility we as teachers have, and why James tells us not many of us should presume to be teachers (James 3:1).

Oh, and I'm pretty sure beans do not have cholesterol!

The Church Connected

I have a growing and nagging concern for the Church. I love the Church. I believe in the Church. It is the bride of Christ and I have given my life to her, yet I feel there is something important missing.

We have done a great job of pulling off great programs and ministries. We know how to preach persuasive and compelling sermons, and we know how to produce great worship experiences. Yet as much as I enjoy all these things, I am left with the feeling that there is something missing. The element missing ... community. Vital to the health of the Church is a deep sense of Biblical community. We meet together on Sunday's and various other times, but I wonder, do we really know how to experience the depth of community that Paul describes in Acts 2:44-45? The kind of community that says, I am here for you, really. It's the kind of community that strips away pretense and calls us into a life of openenes, acceptance, and vulnerability. The kind of community that says, I want to do life with you.

While most churches, mine included, have encouraged and fostered small group ministries, I am still left with the thought that there is more to it. I love the small group that my wife and I are a part of. We are learning more and more what it means to connect with others on a more meaningful level. We have enjoyed the journey and look forward to much more, yet the more I experience this kind of community, and consider how God desires the Church to be lived out, the more I am left to believe that living in such a manner, is what the Church should be all about. It's not the programs, sermons, and music, but rather the community. What would it look like if small group community was where the Church placed it's emphasis and not on the Sunday experience? What if community was the big deal?

There are many books, seminars, and conferences espousing how to do Church. There is a plethora of plug and play, "church in a box" programs that are available, all promising a healthy growing church if implemented. If only it were that easy. Community is not. It takes time. It takes work, commitment, sacrifice, and is at times messy.

On his blog, Mark Oestreicher has posted his thoughts on a new book he is working on under the working title "Youth Ministry 3.0". He recently posted a portion of chapter 6 dealing with community. He uses the word communion.

• Communion is small. Communion rarely, if ever, occurs in a large setting.

• Communion is slow. It’s not rushed. It’s doesn’t happen overnight – in fact, it’s annoyingly patient. Communion doesn’t happen on our timetables at all, and will internally resist all forms of quantification.

• Communion is simple. Not simple to “create”, but simple in it’s DNA. It’s not flashy. It doesn’t flourish with booster shots of technology .

• Communion is fluid. It won’t be boxed and sold as a resource or presented as a 40-day plan. It shies away from being defined. It beautifully morphs into variant vibes, seasons and shapes.

• Communion is present. It demands face time. It hungers for listening. It salivates for shared experience. It lives in the hear-and-now.

• Communion is Jesus-y. It places high value on the expectation of God showing up. It notices Christ in our midst. It seeks to live out a shared experience of joining up with the redemptive work of Christ.

Larry Crabb in the forward of Randy Frazee's book, "The Connecting Church" says,

"The future of the church depends on whether it develops true community. We can get by for a while on size, skilled communication and programs to meet every need, but unless we sense that we belong to each other, with masks off, the vibrant church of today will become the powerless church of tomorrow Stale, irrelevant, a place of pretense where sufferers suffer alone, where pressure generates conformity rather than the Spirit creating life - that's where the church is headed unless it focuses on community."

What are your thoughts on community? What might the Church look like if we lived in such a manner? Join me in my journey of discovery. I welcome your thoughts and would love to delve deeper with you, in this conversation.

The Church United

Just got the pictures from The Burn, our Tigard area youth worship event last week. It was so great to see nearly 200 students from around our community come together to worship their Lord.

Yesterday we as youth pastors met together to discuss and dream about how we can continue to join together as a united community of people. We plan to continue to host these worship events at each others churches, and we are also dreaming about a large scale outreach event. Together it is our desire to be used of God to make sure that every student in our community has the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Christ.

If you are viewing this post via an RSS reader you will need to go directly to my blog to view the pictures.


It's no secret, I enjoy a good cup of coffee every now and then; ok maybe many cups of good coffee! It truly is one of life's greatest pleasures.

After taking the Caffeine Test, I'm thinking perhaps I have been enjoying the java a bit too much!

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

How about you? How is your caffeine level?

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

Every now and then a movie comes along that is touted as the one movie that is going to bring about great change. It is the movie that will bring revival in the Church, and/or draw many to Christ. Rarely do they deliver in such a manner. Soon to be released is a movie that if it receives a wide enough distribution, just might have some of the aforementioned affects.

Lord Save Us From Your Followers is a provocative, yet highly entertaining documentary that follows in the tradition of movies like Super Size Me, Sicko, and others. It's a movie that both calls the Church to love and live like Christ, as well as one that makes an apologetic statement to society for the way we as the Church have done a better job at being divisive, as opposed to unifying, in the way we have portrayed the gospel. See a more complete synopsis here.

It's also very cool to see my friend Marshall Snider sharing what God is doing through Bridgetown Ministries right here in Portland.

See a sampler of the movie here.

The movie is slated to hit theaters this summer but if you can't wait that long, the full movie is available for download for only 7 bucks.

The Burn

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night. Our student ministry along with five other youth groups will be coming together for a night of worship and fellowship. We are calling it The Burn. I am excited about it because it is the very thing the Church should be more engaged in, that being coming together as one Church to worship our Father.

Aaron and our 180 Worship Team will be leading our time and I will have the opportunity to speak. I will be sharing from Ezekiel 1:26-28. The imagery that Ezekiel uses to describe his encounter with God is incredible ...“glowing metal”, “full of fire”, “brilliant light”, “rainbow”, “radiance”. It is our desire to see God in a like manner, to see Him for all His glory and to do as Ezekiel ... "When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking." [vs. 28]

It's my prayer that God uses the night to draw hearts together to seek the heart of God, and to be a picture to the community at large of unity among God's people.

Incarnational Living

We as the Church are called to live as Christ; that is to live an incarnational life. By definition incarnational is a person or thing regarded as embodying or exhibiting some quality, idea, or the like. [] We are to embody and exhibit Christ to the world around us; both those we deem as deserving, as well as those we may not.

I was so moved when I learned of Kinetic Church, a mobile, theater church in North Carolina, who had 75% of all they owned stolen. It wasn't the fact that they had nearly all their equipment stolen that moved me, but rather their response to the one who stole from them.


It is stuff like this that the world needs to see from us, the Church. May we all learn what it means to truly live an incarnational life.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12


For many, change is not always easy. For the most part I am one who enjoys it and welcomes it. I tend to grow tired of routine and like a change of pace and scenery every now and then.

As culture changes so must the Church to effectively reach it. I feel especially blessed to be a part of a church family that realizes that, and embraces needed change. This last year we underwent a major one, that being the name of our church. We went from Tigard First Baptist Church to Grace Point Community Church with very little incident. I have seen churches split over smaller, less significant matters. Read more here.

Seems there is a church in Illinois that is really struggling right now with a change.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Members at Avalon Baptist church were angered to discover that the soap used for years in the church restrooms was replaced by a new, economical foaming soap.

"You get this bubbly mound that disappears once you rub it in your hands," one man complained as he exited the restroom. "It’s all show, this new soap."

Others agree.

"What happened to the thick, slimy stuff?" one man asked. "That really worked."

Last Sunday was supposed to be the kick-off of the church’s annual Missions Week. But the buzz in the foyer was about the soap change. Some suggested taking a special offering to restore the original liquid soap.

"You have to wonder about the leadership’s judgment, if they’re willing to make a poor decision like this," says one woman. "It signals weakness at the top."

The pastor and custodian released a joint statement on Monday saying they believe people will get used to "the new foaming action soap, and appreciate its many benefits for our church going forward."

Oh by the way....

April Fools!

Thanks Lark News for the great story!