Archives For Mike

Your Service of Worship…

Mike —  February 6, 2018 — Leave a comment

This last weekend, I got to take a van load of some of the best of the next generation to the Student Leadership Summit at Nebraska Christian College. It was great. I graduated from there 20 years ago (whoah!), and had a great college experience, so I always have high expectations when I have the chance to be on campus. Since my daughter will be enrolled there next year (whoah again!), there’s a new layer of processing that’s happening as I think about the college and what they’re doing for the Kingdom and the next generation of college students.

As one of many alumni and a supporter of the college, as a visiting youth pastor and a soon to be father of a freshman, I found myself observing, critiquing, and participating in the event from all kinds of angles.

We got all checked in, and after a fun opener that involved a drum line of trash cans, lids, buckets, stools, and about anything else that the drummers could bang on, the student band took the stage. During the first song, which was fast, loud, and a celebration of coming together in the presence of God, I had two thoughts in quick succession:

  1. This band of college kids is really, really good. The technical proficiency and production were great. The school is doing a great job teaching these aspects in the worship arts department that my daughter is heading into. That’s exciting because she’s got a gift that needs next level development – and I don’t doubt that’s going to happen.
  2. But, I hope they’re still doing as well at developing a spirituality deep enough to sustain young worship leaders in their discipleship walk as they confront the realities of being worship pastors and leaders off the stage day after day in local church settings. Performers are easy to come by… we need leaders of worship.

It’s one thing to be a good musician/performer who can capture and hold a crowd’s attention and garner their participation for a weekend. It’s a gift… and it can be a good gift when it’s used well. But it’s another thing to walk with Christ through a life of leading other people to live lives of sustained worship. And it requires a lot more, I think. Mostly, it requires a depth of relationship with God that strengthens us enough for the task.

Immediately after the first song, the band led a song that was all about NOT performing. I know they didn’t have me in mind when the set list was made… but this was the first part of an answer to my question. “We’ve learned to be good musicians, but we’re after a heart connection with our Maker, not applause.” A second piece to answer the question came at the end of the weekend:

Groups were loading up and heading home. Since Emily needed to do a quick interview to get set up for starting classes next year, we were moving a little slow, visiting with another former student who will graduate later this year. (You WILL finish, Shane, you WILL finish!) My wife, LuAnn made a quick visit to the restroom before we hit the road and found all the affirmation of where the heart of NCC still is. That sounds really weird so let me explain. She found Nina… who had done an awesome job leading from the stage all weekend… cleaning the restroom. After a weekend of a couple hundred kids in the building and all that that entails, the worship leader was cleaning the restroom.

And she was still engaged in worship.

No lights. No cameras. No applause.

Just something that needed done and a heart willing to take action to do it.

Well done.

Looking for Joshua(s)

Mike —  February 5, 2018 — Leave a comment

In Numbers 27, Moses is told by God that he is not going to be able to lead the people into the promised land. Moses accepts this as a consequence of his sin (with a little bit of passing the buck revealed in Deuteronomy), but is still concerned for the people. As he thought about the people of Israel moving on without him, he asked God to make it clear who the new leader would be, “that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.”

God drew Moses’ attention to Joshua (who had been an aid to Moses for decades) and told him to “invest him with some of your authority” so the people would follow. So Moses commissioned Joshua with clear direction from God.

For the last 20 years, I’ve been looking for Joshuas. Don’t worry, I haven’t received any directive from God to go wander out into the mountains to die or anything, but much of my student ministry has been geared toward helping students be the Joshuas in their own story – to find and lead ministries of their own. I love seeing potential (that God has placed within people) catalyzed and made kinetic. The last couple weekends have brought some great reminders for me of how that’s been fruitful.

A Roomful of Joshuas!

One of those moments came over a weekend ski trip – with two recently graduated students as part of the team leading our group. Additionally, a couple other former students were leading another group from a church nearby, and another former student was the speaker for the event. It’s incredibly humbling to see so literally how our influence outreaches us by miles!

 

“We are what they grow beyond… that is the true burden of all masters.”

-Yoda

I may or may not be qualified to argue with the diminutive green guru, but I think he’s only partially right. “We” are indeed what they grow beyond – the starting blocks that help them launch forward into lives of ministry and service. But the fact that our students grow beyond us is not only our burden… It is our hope. We hope they will do what we have only dreamed of. We hope they will accomplish what we have been afraid to try. We hope they will go where we can’t…

And in God’s grace, they will!

It’s that time of year where New Year’s ambition is fading, where resolve has dissolved into a puddle of learned helplessness that leaves you feeling like “This year’s just going to end up like all the others, so why bother trying to make it any different?” Right?

Ok, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but in the next 10 days, most people will abandon their New Year’s Resolutions (again). One recent study showed only 8% of the people making New Year’s Resolutions would keep them! But you’re not going to be one of those people this year. I have a tool for you today that will help you stick with one of those resolutions that may be the most important one you’ll ever make. This isn’t going to help you lose weight or trim any inches off your waist, but it will help you in a lot of other ways.

It’s going to help you renew the filter in your mind through which every other life experience passes. It’s going help you upgrade the filter that sorts through everything else that comes at you every day to decide what’s good and what hurts, what to keep and what to throw out. It’s going to help you track your progress as you break 1 HUGE, life shaping goal (that you feel like you’ll never finish) into 1189 little goals that you can handle (that will be just as life shaping)!

It’s going to help you learn to recognize the Voice of God as He speaks to you and the work of God as He prepares it for you.

It’s going to help you read the Bible this year.

The whole thing.

All 1189 chapters of all 66 books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Before you give up, give this a shot. Maybe you’ve already given up… Start over. Reading just 3 or 4 chapters a day, you’ll read through the whole Bible this year. If you read 11 or 12 chapters, you can read through the Bible every 100 days or so! Click on the image below for a free pdf download of the Filter Bible Reading Chapter Checklist and get started today. Transformation awaits.

What Do You Want?

Mike —  December 21, 2017 — Leave a comment

In Matthew 20, Jesus is about to pass by a couple blind men when they call out to Him. Despite the huge crowd trying to get them to shut up (I wonder why they wanted them to be quiet, anyway…), they shouted out for mercy. And amid the clamor, Jesus heard.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Moved by compassion at their plea for mercy, Jesus offers what they want. He gives them what they ask for. He awakens their long dormant eyes… and the blind men see. Jesus was on the move from Jericho toward Jerusalem, and immediately they followed Him.

Do you know that Jesus is still on the move? He is still working to restore all things into right relationship with His Father. As He is going about His business, He still hears those who call out for His mercy. And He still delivers.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Don’t miss His question. Your answer builds your future. He won’t do for you what you should be doing for yourself, but He will do for you what only He can do – and that is immeasurably more than you can imagine! So what do you want? What are you asking Him to do in your life? Before you take off into 2018 with great intentions… Before you watch your best year ever melt into yet another spring puddle of those great intentions, take some time to ponder. What do I really want Jesus to do for me? (And what does He want to do for me?)

What will you do when He does it?

42 Scattered Thoughts

Mike —  November 28, 2017 — Leave a comment

A few years ago, I posted 37 Scattered Thoughts for my birthday & thought I’d do something similar this year (after the actual day, but… whatever). As I offer this peak into the random things that bounce around my little gray cells, some may make you laugh, some may make you a little concerned, some may even make you mad. All in all, though, I hope they serve to tap something inside you that will open you up to the possibilities of charging forward in an unstoppable kingdom. To keep it short bearable, I won’t offer a lot of context or explanation, so if you need some clarification, let me know in the comments…

    1. I turned 42 yesterday and it didn’t hurt a lot.
    2. Birthdays are a quirky phenomena. Some numbers seem to mean more than others, but on every birthday, you really only got one day older anyway.
    3. This is what my first church has looked like this year:I can think of no responsibility greater than discipling them. If you see me failing to disciple them because I’ve gotten to busy discipling someone else’s kids, feel free to grab me by the face and tell me I’ve lost the plot. Thanks.
    4. I published a book this year! It’s a self-published devotional type of journal that you write along with me. It’s helped me pray and teach students to pray and can help you move forward in your prayer life, too.
    5. The sales of the book have not been overwhelming – though better than what I understand is average for a first time, self-published work.
    6. The responses of people who are reading it has been awesome and affirming! I love seeing it make a difference for people.
    7. It’s not the last book I will write.
    8. I have not written near as much this past year as I had intended. Fear, perfectionism, distraction… each of these has played a role in my self-editing. I feel like they’ve too often choked the words out before they were fully given life on a page (or screen). I’ve also been busy adjusting to lots of new realities that has left me feeling unsure of what to share.
    9. I just edited out several thoughts that started to flesh themselves out into the world of words. Phew… that was close!
    10. I was the oldest player at an alumni soccer game earlier this year. Hopefully that won’t continue to be the case. Come on guys… get in shape this summer so you can make it.
    11. I’m not in shape, either.
    12. I’m 42, so maybe I am. Is 42 a shape?
    13. My oldest daughter is 18 and graduating HS this year. Her plan since Jr. High has been to go to NCC and become a worship pastor. She’s sticking with that plan, and I can’t wait to see what God will do through her and who He’ll inspire through her.
    14. When I was 18, I had plans, too. Big, scary ones that forced me to rely on God to see them through. Looking back, they weren’t really “my” plans. They were His plans that He let me in on – and I didn’t know enough to be as scared as I should have been. His plans are awesome.
    15. I need to forget some things so He can let me in on those types of plans again.
    16. One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford: “I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.” Ford needed people who would not be limited by what they already knew, so that they could accomplish what no one else ever had. (Forget What Can’t Be Done is a post I wrote about it a while back.)
    17. The church needs those kind of guys too, and I want to be one again. I used to be better at not knowing limits… so I exceeded a lot of them.
    18. I got straight A’s in school – and underperformed. I hope my straight A kids don’t fall into that trap, too.
    19. Sometimes, I still have underperformed.
    20. I’m full of contradictions like that. Vanity wants to tell me that makes me interesting and mysterious, but probably it just makes people around me confused and frustrated. Sorry.
    21. The conductor of the Boston Philharmonic once said, “It is my job to awaken possibilities in others.” That’s my job, too, but I work with different instruments and the sound is a whole lot more chaotic! Maybe I need a baton… Maybe not.
    22. I was dead until Jesus breathed new life into me. Not just sick or hurting… Not just broken or bruised… Not just prone to wander or outright lost… Dead.
    23. I’m not dead anymore. My life is full of immeasurably more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed because His Spirit is breathing in me; His breath fills my lungs.
    24. I’m not sure what happened, but the last few months, my passion for soccer has re-engaged. Not that it ever disappeared but… I can’t get enough. I found myself watching a game feed that was broadcast in Portuguese the other day.
    25. I do not speak Portuguese. At all. Some German. A little bit of Spanish. Zero Portuguese.
    26. It’s odd how passions can drift or be stifled by other things in life. Maybe that’s natural, maybe not…
    27. I serve on the board for a mission called 3:18 Ministries that is sharing Christ’s love in really practical ways on the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona. It was awesome to finally be able to take some students from here down to help this last summer.
    28. Students need to get out of their usual setting from time to time to meet new people, do new things, and connect with God in new ways.
    29. I am not a fan of the creepy, crawly things we met there in Globe, AZ (snakes, scorpions, tarantulas…), but I am a huge fan of seeing my students get to know my friend Tory, whose heart is so full of Christ’s love that it leaks when it breaks for the Apache kids he works with. I hope they’ll have hearts like his.
    30. I think the world would be a much better place if every kid I work with would find that thing that breaks God’s heart that breaks theirs, too. So I try to help them find it, even though sometimes I fear their parents would rather they didn’t. It’s hard watching your kids hurt, but there is good hurt.
    31. My kids are His. That’s even more important than them being ‘mine’. That’s not an excuse to shirk my responsibility to disciple them and just leave it up to God or some youth pastor. Just a reminder that He’s got even more invested in them than I do – and He’s WAY better at working things out for their good than I am. Even the things that hurt.
    32. My favorite books read this year were An Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus & Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson. The imaginations of these men and their ability to craft great visuals for the church with their words are inspiring to me.
    33. I have 16 books from those two authors. They are among the few books I ever read more than once.
    34. I also read 1984 by George Orwell and The Autobiography of Malcom X as told to Alex Haley this year. 1984 was a little hard to finish and frustrating when I did. Malcolm X was a fascinating mixture of frustration and wonder for me. He was a criminal filled with hate… then he wasn’t. He was a man in transition seeking a peace (sometimes violently) that he could not find. I wondered what would have been next for him had he not been killed. I wondered what he would have been if he’d met the real Jesus instead of the fake, whitewashed version shown to him as a kid. I wouldn’t like that Jesus either.
    35. There is no political solution to the problems facing our nation right now. No party, policy, or legislation can fix what is broken inside us or break down the walls that divide us. But the King of another Kingdom (one that is unshakable) holds the key to binding us together and healing our wounds. In Him there is no black or white – no difference large enough to divide us. I still hold to His hope.
    36. It’s been really hard to be a Broncos fan this year. Hope has been hard to come by, there.
    37. I am a little bit sorry for that abrupt turn. But, hey… I’m 42.
    38. I have had little patience for the fans around me lately. Whether it’s the Husker fans who know just who to blame for all the losing or the Broncos fans calling for various QB’s to sit and others to start or US Soccer fans thinking they know just where to place the blame for the men’s failure to qualify for the World Cup… It’s easy to be a fan from a distance and diagnose simple solutions to problems so complex that, up close, you actually have no idea where to start. Does the world really need that kind of fan? If you really can fix it, get in the game and fix it. If you know how to lead others to fix it, grab a clipboard, Coach, and get to work!
    39. We take sports way too seriously, but that World Cup qualifying failure really hurt. I’m hopeful it will spark a leap in the development of younger players, though. I try not to be the fan with all the uninformed answers, but… we can do better, and I think it starts with coaches and kids. Sometimes, that means mom and dad get a little more training before being turned loose with a bunch of U10’s.
    40. 42 random things make for a long blog post. Sorry. If I’d turned 22, it might not have been any better because I knew everything back then, right?
    41. My 4 kids and wife amaze me every day. I am so fortunate to have been graced with the gift of marrying my best friend early enough that we could set course together and lay the foundations of our adulthood together. It’s enabling us to launch our kids into their own adulthoods from a stable base, from which I know, led by God, they will accomplish great things that other people have told them are impossible. Silly people… Don’t tell my kids that. The launch sequence has begun and as big and scary as that is… We’ll just keep relying on God to do what only He can do.
    42. If you buy my book here (just click on the cover image), He just might spark some thoughts in you through it that will start something much greater than this post. (That’s not because the book is so great, but because He is, and a lot of my words are simply pointing you to His!)

4 Days Dead

Mike —  November 15, 2017 — Leave a comment

Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life.

~ Paul to the church in First Century Rome

A few weeks ago, I found myself standing on a stage with a mic strapped to my face, speaking for chapel at NCC. As a soon to graduate NCC student 20 years earlier, this was barely an event that would have crossed my mind. As a high school kid a few years before that, it would have been a terrifying prospect had that eventuality sparked in the synapses of the younger me. I was petrified of speaking in public and it was the last thing I ever wanted to do. (Speeches in class were the bane of my high school existence – even at the hands of my favorite teacher.) It just would not have occurred to me that I would willingly place myself in front of a room full of people and try to communicate a message to them, let alone one as important as expounding on an Apostle’s message delivered on behalf of Christ to some of His first followers.

Incidentally, my oldest daughter was also in the room. She can see herself on the stage. She’s probably got a piano in front of her, but she can already see herself leading God’s people in musical prayer and celebration of His greatness. It’s all she really wants to do – which is why she’s on the path to enrolling there next year in the worship arts program! A former student who just graduated from that same program was there, too, leading the body to express our admiration and praise to the God who has incredibly blessed us all. It was quite a mix of nostalgia and anticipation as my past (both recent and distant), present, and future all swirled in my mind and heart like an echoing bell reverberating over and over through the landscape of my life.

Whoah. That was a little overdramatic. Sorry.

I can get carried away when it comes to the transformation that has happened in my life over the past 25 years or so. I am not who I once was because I have done as Paul instructed and God has built something different out of the pieces I returned to Him. That’s what I talked about in chapel. I have a suspicion that at least some of the students are a little uncertain as they still cling to bits and pieces of self. I suspect, like me, that they have their hearts set in the right direction and genuinely want to do whatever work God has planned for them… but they’re not quite sure they can handle it. Maybe you’re there, too. If that’s the case, let me reassure you – you’re right. You can’t handle it.

That’s why He calls us to offer ourselves (with all our inefficiencies and brokenness) to Him “as those who have been brought from death to life.” We offer ourselves to the Creator Craftsman who knows just what we’re here for and exactly how to re-shape us so that His life giving image can once again be seen in us. So just how do “those who’ve been brought from death to life” offer themselves to God?

  • With Confidence – There is no longer any fear of death. He’s been there and knocked death’s teeth out. “Where O Death is your victory?”
  • With Consistency – We have a constant reminder of who “orders our steps.” We are free to choose whatever steps we want to take, but only some of those steps will keep us on the path He’s intended and prepared for us. So we give ourselves to Him consistently with every choice we make.
  • With Clarity – We know the stakes are high. We are not made for only here and now – we are made for something more. So we give ourselves to Him knowing this moment will give way to eternity.

Jesus’ friend Lazarus is a great picture for us. Literally brought back from death, he answered Jesus and came out of the grave! He was 4 days dead when Jesus told him to come back. I think a lot of us are “4 days dead” – not really engaged in the vibrant life of someone fully living with the Breath of God within us. Lacking clarity, consistency, and confidence, we pad along through lives that are scarcely more than grave-tending. Just waiting… Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s just me…

But if you’ve been 4 days dead for far too long, it’s time to take off the grave clothes, take a shower, and deliver life to the dying around us.

How do those who’ve been brought from death to life offer themselves to God? COMPLETELY

The Vanishing American Adult

Mike —  November 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

I don’t usually dig into political debate, and I don’t intend to here, but I recently read The Vanishing American Adult from Senator Ben Sasse. It’s telling that I felt it necessary to preface this post with a bit of a disclaimer, isn’t it? We really need to do a better job of hearing the dissenting voices around us rather than just snapping on the noise canceling headphones and climbing into the echo chambers that repeat to us exactly what we want to hear. That’s not to say that Sasse is, for me, a voice of dissent or an echo chamber, but rather that many will fail to grasp what he says simply because he is a Senator, a conservative, or a Republican. They’ll think he must be writing from a particular viewpoint that they already know they are against, and so, will not hear clearly through the muck of pre-formed opinions based on what particular label they assign to him.

One of the things I appreciated about the book was Sasse’s ability to seek and to share genuine understanding of opposing positions. It’s a refreshingly adult way to approach differences, which gets to the heart of what the book is about in the first place: raising adults. How can we better prepare the next generation to face the rigors of life? We have not been doing a great job at this and Sasse offers hopeful paths toward a better way for parents, teachers, coaches… for American society to equip the next generation of citizens to be more than self-absorbed consumers.

We are going to need America’s children to rise to their best in the years to come, because a nation of adult-children cannot be a nation of self-governing people…

A republic is the only form of government, the only social arrangement, that seeks to make individuals preeminent in their own self-control, their own self-possession. A republic is thus at once liberating and scary. For it both requires and assumes adults, not subjects. And this is a rare state of affairs in political history.

– Ben Sasse, The Vanishing American Adult

Having worked with youth for the last 20 years, I see so many lights of hope in the next generation. But we need to do a better job of helping our young people toughen up enough to hold on to their hope when life gets difficult. Self-reliance doesn’t just happen by accident. It happens when we walk with our kids through a process of teaching, mentoring, and coaching them to set aside the drive for instant gratification and remain determined to progress in a certain direction. Sasse offers some helpful guidance about how we can do this via real education, travel, meaningful work, and a host of other life long learning practices.

If you have a stake in the success of the future generations of Americans (we all do), you’ll find much to appreciate in this book.

College Group Potential Material

Mike —  September 22, 2017 — Leave a comment

A recently graduated student who has been asked to lead a group of peers through some study at his new church has asked me for a list of stuff that he could potentially take the group through. I thought it might be helpful to share it here as well and let you guys add to the list. I know some of you are heavily involved in college ministries and your input would be greatly appreciated. Before I get to the list, though…

Hats off to Jim for not standing on the sidelines and for jumping into service at a new church as soon as you got to college! And thanks to the church for investing in young people and making space for them to learn to lead.

Ok. So.. in no particular order, here are some resources I’ve used and seen solid outcomes with young adults & college students. Not knowing particulars about the group itself or much about the context, this will be a general list, but can be a great place to start I hope:

BASIC video series from Francis Chan: This is a really good discussion starting video series in two sections: Who Is God? and We Are Church. There are 7 videos, with discussion guides and participant material for everyone to go through together. Could be a great baseline to build on for a new group of students from varied church backgrounds.

Catalyst GroupZines: I have not used these for a few years, but they’re a unique resource. Basically, a series of thick magazines full of articles exploring leadership from a lot of different angles and a myriad of leaders/writers. They are a companion/follow up to the content I saw at several Catalyst Conferences that I attended, but stand alone as well if you’ve got a group that is particularly leadership minded. (I’d also recommend the conferences themselves! Highly.)

Not A Fan from Kyle Idleman: This is a great little book about becoming completely committed to the cause of Christ. There are a lot of peripheral resources like journals and videos and discussion guides that can help a new group leader get comfortable challenging the group to a deeper discipleship than they may be used to. Also check out several other books Idleman has produced for small group use.

Eats With Sinners from Aaron Chambers: I may have a bias toward authors who’ve bought me good Chinese food, but this would be a great book for just about any group of Christians (college or otherwise) to walk through together. It’s a challenge to not just see people the way Jesus sees them, but to actually love them and treat them the way He treats them us.

Storyline from Donald Miller: This resource is a little different speed and may be tough to go through with a group that isn’t comfortable with each other. It’s more of an introspective study of how God has been shaping you throughout the events of your life. If your group can muster the trust to be transparent with each other, though, it could provide some great moments of clarity about just what God is up to in your lives. (If there’s a good counselor in your church that would be willing to help lead the group through this book, I could see that leading to a whole new level of benefit.)

Complete Guide to Money from Dave Ramsey: What college kid doesn’t need some help with money, right? I’d say go through the Financial Peace University, but unless your church will sponsor a class, most college students aren’t going to cough up the cash to get the whole kit, but this book goes through the bulk of the content anyway. Good principles that can help you avoid some big money mistakes that you may not have had a chance to make yet.

Sacred Marriage from Gary Thomas: Since we’re on the subject of more adult topics, how about marriage!? While many of the current crop of college students aren’t thinking about marriage, many are, and this is a good book digging in to God’s intention for marriage. Again, this may be one of those resources that can help you avoid some future mistakes (and also offers hope for the the redemption of past mistakes). This is also one of those resources that won’t hit home for some groups quite yet. Know your group, first.

PRAY by me: (Thank you for pretending like you didn’t see that coming, but if I don’t plug it, who will, right?) While this resource has not been offered from a huge platform and sold far fewer copies than the rest of this list, I really do see it doing a lot of good with groups and individuals that have gone through this guided journal. The ongoing conversation we are having with God is the fuel for His movement. Growing healthy in how we talk to God and listen to Him can enhance what we get out of any other resource/study. (I can get a special price for you depending on group size if you let me know you need a bunch of copies!)

Ok, college ministry friends… What are you using that’s working great for discipling college students? Would love to hear how things are going in your groups!

Is Your Church Designed to Lead?

Mike —  September 21, 2017 — Leave a comment

The Christian faith has continued to advance because the Lord has continually raised up new leaders to disciple others. The Kingdom of God has continually advanced because God’s people have been developed and deployed to make disciples. The spreading of the faith is going to continue until people from every tribe, tongue, and nation are His. By His grace, He has invited us to join Him.

– Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, Designed to Lead

In Designed to Lead, Geiger and Peck make a strong case for the church being the place God intends for leaders to be developed. Not just church leaders, but leaders in every culture and industry and strata of life, should be able to find development in and through the church. The quote above sums up just why this is so critical.

God is on a mission. He is renewing all things ~ and we have been invited to join Him in what He is accomplishing, but it doesn’t just happen on accident. He works through His people as we continue to put ourselves in environments where He stretches and transforms us. He works as His people continue to walk people through processes that turn guests into friends, friends into family, and family into partners. He works as we each take seriously his charge to make disciples.

What’s your next step in the process? What can you be doing to engage someone close to you in our mission to proclaim Christ as Lord? How are you being developed AND deployed on His mission to make disciples?


If you’re a church leader, I’d invite you to check the book out for yourself and begin to put a plan into place to develop leaders consistently and intentionally.

Hope Tested

Mike —  September 7, 2017 — Leave a comment

So… yesterday I wrote this post about hope and responding to the darkness we encounter in life’s circumstances. Sometimes, it’s funny how life pushes back when you make a statement. Sometimes… it just hurts.

I went home and discovered that my basement was striving for swimming pool status once again. As I was writing words about hope in the darkness, brand new carpet was taking on water in the basement. In the very room that we’d done so much work to mitigate the possibility of flooding. In the very room that my 17 year old was so looking forward to having her own space for the first time in 15 years. In the very room in which we’d put down carpet THREE DAYS AGO! So now, the carpet is piled up with fans furiously attempting to push the moisture out into the air where it belongs (or at least SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN MY BASEMENT!).

And now I’m in a position to either live with the hope I claim to have that “God works everything out for the good of those that love Him” and reveal Him to be Lord, or light a match and reveal myself to be the fraud that I sometimes suspect I am.

I’m all out of matches, so here are a few observations:

  • There is a tiny fraction of humanity throughout history that would even have the chance to be upset by wet carpet. It’s an incredible time/place to be alive.
  • We have been so ridiculously blessed that it’s easy to forget that the best is yet to come. I have another place being prepared for me by the Maker of everything. You can bet its basement won’t flood!
  • My basement doesn’t really matter. The room can sit empty. My daughters can keep sharing a room upstairs until we can figure something else out. They’ll be fine. We still have everything we really need. Maybe this is just a reminder of what that really is.