Monday, March 26, 2007

Mexico 2007

i'm always consumed with our spring break mexico trip for a couple of weeks. here's a few thoughts from this year's trip...
  • after all these years, i still love to hear singing around the campfire
  • work trips bring out the best...and sometimes the people
  • i love the people of mexico
  • i am always reminded that mexico is a "work in progress". unlike our country, where people have to have things right now, the people there are content to build with what they have and are willing to wait until they have a little more to continue. the patience and contentment blows me away!
  • there's a lot of nothing between dallas and el paso
  • bucket showers get easier with age
  • leaving wanda for a week at a time does not get easier with age
  • i wish i were in a place that required me to learn to speak spanish
  • there is something really empowering about serving
  • it was awesome to see our college young people step up into leadership on this trip
  • there is much that the rich can learn from the poor
  • it's fun to listen to middle school kids pray out loud for meals
  • road markers are much easier to drive by than street signs
  • there was more dust than ever
  • it is an incredible experience to build an entire house by hand
  • everybody should have the experience
  • deep life change for young people begins on trips like these
  • it's always good to get home!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


who decides what the ground rules are for church? in the old testament, god says for his people to remember the sabbath and keep it holy. ultimately, this is a command about resting and trusting and acknowledging that god is in total control. at a minimum, though, this command defined the day that god's people set aside for special worship...for thousands of years.

after jesus was raised from the dead, it appears (from both historical records and the tradition of the church) that the special day of worship for the church shifted from saturdays to sundays. i grew up believing that sundays were "the lord's day", and that sunday mornings were the most important time of the week for god's people.

not only were sunday mornings sacred, but so were the times. my family would be at the church building at 9:00 for "opening exercises" before sunday school...a time where we would sing a couple of choruses to get our minds and hearts prepared for study and then we would be dismissed to our classes. at 10:20, we would finish our classes and then begin moving back over to the sanctuary to prepare for our worship service at 10:45. on good days (when the preacher wouldn't preach too long), we would conclude with a rousing chorus of "blest be the tie that binds"...not one of my all-time favorites...and we would all be pulling out of the church parking lot by 12:15.

that was 40 years ago. and i still go to a church that keeps the same schedule!

i know it's ok for the church to gather for worship on friday nights or saturday afternoons or sunday mornings or whenever. there is no rule that says we must meet at a particular time. i know this...and so do all of you!

in three weeks, we are going to change our sunday morning schedule. we are doing away with the 9:00 hour...mainly because we are a church family that functions a little better a little later. we are going to have a 10:00 service and an 11:15 service. and even though i am totally convinced this is an awesome decision for all the right reasons and...there is absolutely nothing wrong, bad, unlawful, illegal, immoral, unscriptural, or unspiritual about the decision...i am still a little uneasy about how people are going to respond.

but not uneasy enough to change the decision. i mean, come on...who wouldn't want an extra hour of sleep on sunday morning?

Friday, March 09, 2007


i was talking with a friend of mine recently and he was telling me about the death of a friendship that he had experienced in his world. somebody that he thought was a true friend and valued coworker turned out to be the exact opposite. i was incredibly impressed by my friend's determination to work out the difficulties, see things from the other guy's point of view, take responsibility for mistakes that he had made, and, more than anything else, the value my friend placed on relationship, teamwork, and kingdom priorities. he really wanted to work things out, but the other guy had already made up his mind and had walked away...with no reconciliation.

in return for his effort, my friend received rejection, slander, and the severing of communication. it makes me think about the relationships that all of us experience. i gotta tell you, good relationships are hard. they seem to be harder in the church than anywhere else in all of society.

i have seen this story again and again: someone makes a mistake, says a thoughtless word, or breaks a promise and another person is left to interpret. rather than going right to the person and asking for clarification, they just shrug their shoulders and breathe out a hearty "whatever" and they move on.

the problem is whenever this kind of pattern begins, it becomes easier and easier to avoid talking about it and then grow comfortable with assumptions. over time, relationships erode, fake smiles replace genuine friendship, gossip begins and the search for people who will validate the assumptions takes over. and pretty soon, people just walk away...without ever giving us a chance to work out the problem.

let me give you this advice: if you get your feelings hurt or if someone is doing something you think is wrong, go talk to them!!! give them the opportunity to listen and change. give the holy spirit the opportunity to do what you can't. for crying out loud (which i want to do sometimes), don't walk away from this church family, from a friendship, from a work relationship...without giving people a realistic chance to make things right.

the power of reconciliation is so much greater, so much better, so much more life-changing than the temporary pursuit of the personal comfort we gain by running away.

if you've got relationships that have grown stale or empty or fake or purposeless, go back and try again. ask the holy spirit to prepare the way and give you wisdom and depth. the world needs to see us act differently. they already see enough running away.

for the record, i am deeply grateful to be surrounded by some tremendous people who don't run away from conflict. i need more of them. so do you.

Friday, March 02, 2007

You gotta check this out!

my friend bill passed on a story to me tonight that i think is amazing and needs to be shared with as many as possible.

his daughter has a close friend who has a cousin who lives in australia (did you get all of that?) his name is nick and he has no arms and no legs. it is a truly amazing story and he tells some of it at a televised church service in southern california. here's the link to the broadcast:

his name is nick vujicic and you need to scroll down to where his name appears as a special guest.

you need to set aside a few minutes to listen to his story and be inspired. all i'll say right now is that it's time to stop whining and get busy serving the god of wonders...