31 March 2005

John Donne...

He was the Word that spake it;
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that Word did make it
I do believe, and take it.
... John Donne (1573-1631)

How come no one speaks like that anymore?

30 March 2005

Creating a safe place to meet God...

I just got out of a meeting with a pastor, an elder, and a local businessman, no it is not the beginning of a joke. It was a great meeting of clarifying and defining, listening and forgiving, and as always, for me a lot of tears.

Listening to each other, trying to provide a safe place to meet God.

29 March 2005

From a friend...

In Sacred Companions, p. 81, “...that the ultimate test of a spiritual friendship is whether all parties are growing as a result of it. Intimate relationships can be either soul-destroying or soul-nurturing. Soul-nurturing friendships include increasing levels of: attunement to the Spirit, hunger for God and surrender to his will; love for others, self-understanding and attentiveness to the voices of my inner world; curiosity about God’s creation; enjoyment of life; discernment of my unique self-in-Christ; courage to follow my calling; depth of passion and compassion; sense of gratitude; overall experience of holiness and wholeness.”

25 March 2005

Terri Schiavo...

The institution follows rules that allow people to die. Mothers do everything in their power to assure their children will live. God decides when it is time for us to go home, not courts, doctors, governors or presidents.

23 March 2005

A note from Rich...

Brother Rich sent this to me last night and I thought it appropriate, with permission, to share with you...

I think what is going on in the hearts and minds of so many in the body right now is a response. We are unsettled in our current "church" (the cultural event

that happens on sunday) because something isn't sitting with us right.
I don't think most of us know what it really is. I think we've talked
alot about the secondary things that better reflect who we are,
elements we want to bring to our local body, but the why has been
shrouded, not easy to explain. The easiest way to explain it is "we
want to be different than you" but that doesn't really explain it

I think God gave me the answer.

The different way we are approaching both the secular and the
non-secular is a response to a unique situation. We have a generation
that has larger numbers than ever before growing up with unheard of
affluence. Those outside the church are running amok with it. Just turn
on MTV spring break this week. Even my parents never dreamed of such
affluence. In the 1930's such affluence existed in the Hamptons in a F.
Scott Fitzgerald novel. Now it exists in most suburbs in America, and
there aren't enough spring break spots to hold them all. That's the
world's response. What about the body of Christ's response? That is
what the yearnings of our hearts are about.

We are looking at a future that is ours to spend how we choose. The
basics of food and shelter are not that difficult for us to achieve,
not like they were for the generation raised in the great depression or
the war years of the forties. We are not looking for a retirement where
we golf and live a life of leisure as has been sold to so many as the
purpose of retirement. I am looking forward to a time where I can work
with abandon on the things God has called me to, with the freedom from
the need to earn a wage.

What is going on in the church is a response to a new reality that did
not exist for many of the older people in our church, did not exist for
at least our parents, and certainly not most of our grandparents. It is
a response to an incredible affluence, and using that for the things
God has called us to as believers, and it truly requires nothing short
of a total restructuring of the church. The model is what we saw in the
1940s as we geared up for the war. Everything was turned to the task at
hand. Ford stopped making cars and started making bombers by the
thousands. Everyone worked overtime, like there was no tomorrow to make
as much of what was needed to win the war. This all happened because
price was not an object....winning the war was. This made a lot of
conflict with old timers who were used to the ways it was done when
small numbers and small amounts of money were involved, but their
strategies couldn't fit the paradigm of huge amounts of money and huge
amounts of production.

I think this it what we face today. We are trying to gear up for the
"war" God has us for, the one he has made provision for, the one he
wants the body to be equiping us for. We need to radically grow and
reinvent the structures to support us in this war. I'm not talking so
much about literal growth as it applies to buildings and such, but a
body that is all on the same page and is structured to support this
generation that has been given this amazing gift of affluence and wants
to spend it lavishly on the Kingdom. This is why we see "church" so
different than people who are not of this movement, and why we are
seeking different things. The most important thing is to realize that
God is raising up a numerous generation for His work, and that we need
to structure the church so that they get what they need to do that
work, not so that we get what we need to be happy. If our job is to be
the body of Christ, our job is to support the other parts, and not try
to be the parts we're not. Christ is the head, and directs this
generation, this movement. If we are not going to go out and do the
work ourselves, our job is to get in line and support what He is doing.
The problem up till now was understanding what he is doing. I for one
have been convinced...I've seen it in so many of the people I meet,
from the Sloases to Jeremy and Diane Vaccaro to the Cosby's, to Tony
Biasell, to the numerous camp people...the list goes on and on. The
evidence is in front of us every day. The challenge is to get the body
to see it while they can still be of help, and before it divides itself
further over the thing that should be uniting us the most, and to not
let those who can't see what God has shown us obstruct us from doing it.

That's my prophesy and I'm sticking to it!


It is an amazing thing, war. When reduced to a military action because of consumeristic tendancies of a people, it is wrong. But when it is expanded to include human rights it is a justifiable action. Then the problem rises when the response is then what about Rwanda, the Sudan,... why aren't we fighting there? When it is a defensive action it is justifiable when WMD are found but if not it is paranoia. It is easily justifiable when you see the movies of a dictator 40 years later, the evil had to be stopped, but when you are in the midst and he is living next door and you meet him when you both go out to get your mail, it seems odd that there could be anyone evil in your midst and let him be.

I used the two quotes from Sojourner Magazine to try to see if anyone would bring up doing the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing is letting two brothers fight for a little bit to get it out of their system. Sometimes you gotta stop it when one is too big. Sometimes you punish, instruct, withhold, remove, arrest.

We have become a nation who do not discipline children in the path they should go and correct them when they travel off the road. To spend the time to properly correct a child would keep us from taking them to gymnastics, ballet, softball, basketball, art classes, SAT prep seminars, soccer, youth group, core group, leadership group, Mexico, choir, work projects, etc...
Many would never consider spanking because it is too harsh. We would rather count to ten (but I have yet heard a parent reach 9), give time out so they can think about their behavior, we put them in front of televisions, preschool, nannies, afterschool programs, and all the other behavior modification programs instead of doing the right thing. Train up.

Now why would I tie the two together. Because we have become selfish people raising selfish children. Raising children, running countries, getting along, taking responsibility, sacrifice, taking risks, looking out for someone else, dying to self, means that we have to take time, loose our agendas and itineraries to do the right thing. We have become like the gang on Jerry Seinfeld during their last television show and make fun (distance ourselves) of those under attack instead of doing something other than videoing it.

It is an amazing thing, growing up.

21 March 2005

Open Door, Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church...

Originally uploaded by progdir.
An amazing night with Mark Stover and Jer Swigart and the Holy Spirit showed up in a sweet time of worship. Ellie Line, Melot, and Katie G were there for support and I was definately touched by their fellowship. I learned a lot about an emergent service. Then we went out to eat at PF Changs. Does it get any better than that?

19 March 2005

My friend Randy Brothers...

My heart and prayers are with Randy Brothers and his family during this time of mourning the loss of his father...

God is in the process...

There are many things taking place right now in my life. The believers' community, Calvin Crest, my family, my body and its ailments, my theology, my theorelationship, my, my my...

I was getting a bit put out by things taking longer, not working, people letting me down, miscommunications, sore back, glasses misprescribed, etc. Then just this morning, Saturday, I hear a voice that told me, "you have to go through the process." It is in the process that God has an incredible affect on me. It is not the sermon, but the preparation. It is not the outcome, it was the thinking through and watching who showed up. It isn't the decisions but it is in the information.

I am frustrated over some things that I thought I would have been given the green light or red light by now but they want to pray about it. I am having to process other people's time table and faith into my process. Just because I want to do something in a timely manner doesn't mean that it was time yet. I am not ready until we are ready.

It isn't patience that I desire, I desire the Spirit of Christ to move, which will manifest the patience. I am amazed that when the Spirit is processing the outcome is bigger and deeper and I am a bit more like Christ than if I had it my way and my timetable.

It is well with my soul...

17 March 2005

The seeds of war...

"O, that we who declare war against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding onto money! May we look upon our estates, our treasures, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these, our possessions."

- John Woolman, Quaker abolitionist

Another quote from Sojourners

16 March 2005

My daughter the swimmer...

Originally uploaded by progdir.
It is a great thing to watch my daughter, Hillary swim. Always a smile when she gets out of the water. She has a couple of 2nds and a couple of 3rds. I am proud.

In case the other family is reading... I am proud of them too!

The Hymns...

On the post Words, Cos and Bill E started talking about Hymns. I gave my list and was wondering if you could comment on yours... What is your favorite Hymns? (More than one is exceptable...)

Schedule of events...

Yesterday was a lot of meetings, errands, medical appointments, and a swim meet. I had a full Pocket PC and went to bed tired but encouraged.

Last night Bryan Cosby and I met with the session (elders) of the church to share with them my vision for our Sunday night service. One of the first thing was to not call it a service, so there is no considering it part of the morning two services. The elders were open, some quiet, most receptive to the idea and asked some questions of concern. I don't know what I was expecting, bad dreams, conversations, and such made me very apprehensive.

Now what?!...

This Sunday night, I am speaking at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church's Open Door for my friends Mark Stover and Jer Swigart as part of their Voices series.

15 March 2005


Genesis 1: 1 -3
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty.
Darkness was on the surface of the deep.
God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.
God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

God said Let there be... and there was...

I have been listening to people for sometime now and I hear words with old meanings but no present definitions. The don't hold the power that they had when they were first spoken. Gospel, resurrection, repent, forgiven, freedom, praise, saints, Jesus, worship...

Christian words, even the word christian is empty. It use to have great significance as to one who was following Christ, it meant that there was a price on your head for mentioning His name, reading His story, bowing down in remembering His act of love. Now it is a marketing term, a demographic, a militia, a membership, a lobbying group, etc. Something can be christian but have nothing to do with Christ.

I am not trying to make this an issue but rather to point out something. In our conversations, in our witness of the truth of Jesus as we have experienced it, in our speaking back to Jesus our words of love and confession of who He is, and other times in small groups and Bible studies, let us use word that are not clichés but words with power and understanding.

Words that brings the desired results when spoken...

13 March 2005

What if 2...

A few weeks ago I had a "what if" post and now I want to try to flush out and clarify the idea...

The goal is not to deconstruct the service of worship but to reconstruct. It is easy to deconstruct anything; my daughter did it as she drove the car into the garage door when she first got her license. It is easy to deconstruct something if you had nothing to do with the original construction of it. It is easy to deconstruct something if you have no power or control in it. Reconstructing is taking it back to the essence of what it was in the beginning and trying to remove the patina and augmentation that has covered over the intent and purpose of it. It takes time and patience to uncover the original without damaging the beauty of that which it has righteously produced. It takes responsibility of oneself to it.

I do not want to turn my back on the good theology of the movement but to regain the theorelationalism that seems to have been lost as of late. (I made up that term - at least I think I did...) I think about my dad and my relationship with him grows as I spend time talking to him and listening to him. It grows when I look at his paintings and try to understand him and his heart and mind with each stroke of the brush and selection of color. I don't try to over analyze him but to let him become bigger and more complex in seeing him for who he is rather than just what I have heard about him. It is the same with God; I want to reread the stories as if a dear friend is sending me his eyewitness account of the activities of Jesus. As my friend Louis Evans would say, to marinate in them a while so that I can soak in the flavors and fragrances.

If we go with past theologians, "not that there is anything wrong with that," we get the aromas that they experienced rather than our own. We need to experience the text, let the text speak to us, be responsible for the Word in our lives, react righteously, and live a life of faith because of it.

We don't live lives of faith because we don't allow the stories of the Kingdom to have their place in our lives. When we experience the story first hand we become a virtual eyewitness to the event and it has an impact that causes our lives to make room for the story in the fabric of our life. When events take place, such as… the loss of a loved one, the meeting of a friend, the success of hard work, the failure of a project, the making of a gift, or the participation of a swim meet, we make memories, neurological publications, out of which we form opinions and beliefs about life. With these beliefs, we have a perception of reality that affects our behavior and with this behavior we tend to walk in a manner that we put our full weight on... and that is faith.

I do not believe that theologians are the problems, "not that there is anything wrong with them," but that we lack our theology that comes from our theorelationalisms. When we don't know Him, we tend to base our faith on those who do, this is not good theology. What we know from the Stories is that we can know Him, that He has given us His Spirit. We need to spend more time considering as Paul writes to Timothy... Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 2 Timothy 2:7) We need to listen to the stories and allow the Spirit to give us understanding. Invest our time, minds, spirits, and lives in the stories so that we would know Him and walk in a manner worthy of the calling. We want the mind of the Spirit (Romans 8:6), we want to walk with minds renewed so we may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Ephesians 4:17, Romans 12:2)

This isn't about doing away with anything, rather beginning to reaffirm the Pentecost of promise.

10 March 2005

An interesting quote...

"To those who have called me a coward I say that they are wrong, and that without knowing it, they are also right. They are wrong when they think that I left the war for fear of being killed. I admit that fear was there, but there was also the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of putting myself in a position where to survive means to kill, there was the fear of losing my soul in the process of saving my body, the fear of losing myself to my daughter, to the people who love me, to the man I used to be, the man I wanted to be. I was afraid of waking up one morning to realize my humanity had abandoned me."

- Sgt. Camilo Mejia, who served one year in prison for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. He was released from prison Feb. 15, 2005.

I got this from Sojourner's Magazine

09 March 2005

A list of staff...

Geoff White
Jonathan Camery-Hoggat
Joy Kerr
Kari Maddox
Kendra Vaughn
Liz Heim
Matt Benton
Melissa Cooley
Rachel Schwan
Ryan Johnson
Steven Manning

Assistants In Mission
Claire Thames
Kyle Martin
Shalene Middaugh

Shannon Roark
Christina Des Vaux
Christina McCord
Jeni Shurman
Jonathan Knapp
Michael Delpont
Sally Kappen

Hunter Teets
Andrea Pierson
Tyler Davis
Sarah Fry
Carrie Halloran
Cassady Lillstrom
Steven Mason
Tammi O’Rourke
Kara Haffner
Andrew Zellman
Alec Grassel

Rachel Graff
Alex Dakin
Bethany Lowe
Christina Conrad
Craig Chelf
Jenifer Tracy
Jessica Gawryn
Kate Moran
Katie Bolton
Kelsey Owens
Kim Anderson
Alicia Heim
Ryan Manning
Sarah Chandler
Sheila Hallstrom
Tom Bennett

Cory Piña
Brent Melot
Ellie Line
Matt Spence

Ben Fife
Chris Buckhalter
Jessica Chapman
John Quaresma
Katie Bonesteel
Kendalyn Frost
Lamar Owens
Trish Savapolis

Sarah Lowe
Christy Harrison
Amanda Collins
Carole Buckner
Laura Keast

Lily Nichols
Annie Falk
Greg Spore
Matt Tucker
Tyson Witcher

Craig Shigyo
Jenn McCarty
Jenn LaMar
Scott Allen
Josh Kerr
Jess Black
Janice Line
Tori Hope

08 March 2005

Listening in the midst of ...

I am brain dead, back sore, lung crudded, forehead spotted but spiritually excited. I have a feeling things are changing, don't know what that is. More than a worship service, a deep work in my spirit that I am not able but He is Able. (That is my favorite view of God - He is ABLE)

I am looking forward to the summer but even more I am looking forward to the time before that to spend some time with the coords as they put together their programs. I like these people...

05 March 2005

The selection process is over...

Well, we spent three days processing the names of people that applied to Calvin Crest for a position to be on staff.

Very tough.

I was very impressed with the heart of the coordinators, Rachel Graff, Geoff White, Claire Thames, Shannon Roark, Sarah Lowe, Lily Nichols, Ben Fife, Craig Shigyo, Cory Pina, and Hunter Teets (who was out of the country in Central America). I was extremely impressed by them seeking His heart and will as they put together their teams, waking early to pray and seek Him trusting that He had someone when a position was yet to be filled.

I was extremely blessed to have Lyndsay Pina as a assistant who kept me up to the minute on what was going on and organizing all the apps.

I am very fortunate to be serving with wonderful people. I am saddened by those who will not be serving Christ at Calvin Crest but I am confident, as I have been doing this long enough to know, that He has a plan for each of these people if they will continue to seek and trust Him this summer.

I know some people are hurt and questioning why they were not selected. I cannot over emphasize that the coords sought out Him to put together their teams and trust Him for each person involved. That doesn't satisfy the disappointment and for that I wish there was something else to be done.

03 March 2005

We start the process...

Today, all the coordinators are coming up to camp to put together their teams. We are starting two weeks later than normal, we lost a half a day because of school schedules and travel, don't have a coordinator, who is out of the country on a mission trip, and I am 51 years old. This will be different.

Many people anxiously awaiting phone calls on Saturday to see if they have a job. I prefer to think that God is going to do something through them and the questions is... will Calvin Crest facilitate their ministry or some other place?

Talk to you on Saturday...

02 March 2005

I have returned...

I went back to Mac!

Thanks to Scott Falk, Cory, Melot, and mostly to Jordan Gravette and the Pasadena Apple Store. I used Macs since 1984 when they first came out, stopped for the past 6 years because everyone else at Calvin Crest was using PCs and I couldn't get on the network with a Mac. But now...