I love books. I’m a little odd about it. I really like to read – I think it’s my dad’s fault! I remember as a kid sitting in stacks and boxes full of Louis L’Amour western paperbacks. I always liked sneaking my dad’s books into my room to read – I couldn’t let him know that I liked the same books, so I was sneaky (or maybe I just liked thinking I was being sneaky).

Just thought I’d post a list of some really good books I’ve read lately that might interest you.

Barbarian Way and An Unstoppable Force – both by Erwin McManus. Both of these books are really a challenge to the church to lay aside the conventional in order to take hold of whatever Christ is calling us toward. Awesome books.

Hurt by Chap Clark takes a look at the pain of youth culture – feelings of abondonment that pervade young people today. This book raises an issue that is really huge for me… the separation of old from young in the church. There is so much damage being done…

Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What from Donald Miller. Everyone talks about his edgy way of writing… I guess I can really appreciate his stripping off all the complications of “Christianity” and just splashing around in the simple truth that we are made to be loved by God.

The Relevent Church from Relevant Books has some really interesting stories of various faith communities. God is doing some awesome stuff through creative efforts of His people to follow Him.

The Radical Reformission from Mark Driscoll. I really liked how this book drives home the insanity of some of the church’s typical responses to the world and offers real hope for the future of the church. Some of the stories shared are just hilarious – until you realize the painful truth that he’s pointing out.

Hosea from the Bible. You do remember the prophet who married a whore to make a point don’t you. (I’ll just preach a sermon or post something in a blog, thanks!) This whole story of how God and Hosea love their unfaithful brides just makes me so grateful in so many ways. The faithfulness of my wife – and the undying love of God that is offered to the least worthy people…people like you and me.

Whatever Happened to Worship from A.W. Tozer. A really strong reminder of just what worship is all about, and an urging to pay close attention to avoid worshipping anything other than our creator (like our selves, our favorite kind of music or instruments, our comfortable orders of services…)

The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci … Hey, I told you I’m a little odd.

Umm… I just realized this post got pretty long, and there are no nice little pictures to distract you, so I think I better shut up! If you read this far, you apparently like to read, too, so check out these books – they’re good. If you don’t like to read, you probably haven’t made it this far, so you won’t mind when I say, “Expand you brain, already. Read something!”


I just got some awesome news from my best friend that I thought I’d share with you all…

Then I remembered… I can’t share it.



CAUTION: God at Work

Yesterday went really well. During the worship service, we had the students and adults who went on the CIY and mission trips a couple weeks ago talk about our experience. It was awesome to see and hear again descriptions of what God did in everyone’s lives. 2nd service we had a great time with the music and started off the service with Pam getting baptized… the look on Jeni and Joni’s faces was priceless! Pam’s on the left here with her new friend Emily… it was really an honor to be able to watch God working in her life and recreating her right in front of our eyes!

After services, LuAnn and I took the boys up to Omaha for lunch at Carlos O’Kelly’s and really hot afternoon outside. We went to the groundbreaking ceremony for Nebraska Christian College. It was great to see old friends from the college family…and tons of people in the family that I don’t know at all. I was really struck with the diversity within the group. People from so many places and generations, all pulling together because of this one educational body in God’s Kingdom. I’ll miss the visits to Norfolk, but I love NCC and can’t wait to see things really get going in the new location.

“a little boy that I don’t even know…”

“I feel a love for a little boy that I don’t even know.” That phrase from the letter I shared a few days ago keeps bouncing around in my head.

It’s just awesome to have God loving someone through you. I’m so glad to be able to watch Him do that in kids I also didn’t even know, but have grown to love.

His love keeps spreading…

No Excuses…

I just ran across this quote on the blog of a guy named Octavio that I thought is a great one for our situation here: “The Devil says: “keep on posing problems and you will escape the necessity of obedience” (Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship).”

How often Satan uses our questions and lack of trust to keep us from walking forward in faith! “We don’t have all the answers, so let’s just wait and see… How will we pay for that… Let’s get all our t’s crossed and i’s dotted, then we can… You’ll make someone mad… You’ll split the church… So-and-so will stop giving…”

What if we stopped being so concerned with HOW we will do something, and figure out WHAT God wants us to be and WHY He’s placed us right here, right now in the midst of the particular needs that surround us? What if we stopped listenning to the lie of Satan that tells us to keep bringing up problems that will let us off the hook? What would simple obedience really look like?


According to an article in Time Magazine back in March, over 20,000 people die every single day due to extreme poverty. With natural disasters and terrorist strikes and wars, we always have headlining accounts of the dozens or hundreds or thousands who’ve died in those tragedies. But can you imagine waking up to your morning news show or paper to this headline: “LACK OF BASIC NECESSITIES LEAVES TWENTY THOUSAND DEAD”? We could wake up to that every day…

As this reality was shared with our students at CIY a couple weeks ago, they were given the opportunity to respond by sponsoring a child through the ministry of Compassion. The ministry of Compassion is “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”

In the past, our students have sponsored children as a group, but that takes little real commitment and develops very little connection, so I told our kids if they wanted to do this, it was up to them individually. Instead of our group supporting one child, about half a dozen students each are now sacrificing $32 a month from their part-time jobs or allowances to sponsor children.

Here are some comments from one of the girls, who now sponsors a little boy in Bangladesh (she wrote this for our gruop devotions one of the nights of our trip in AZ)…

…my spiritually moving story is about the boy I decided to sponsor. Out of the few I scanned on the table, he was the only one I felt I needed to sponsor. I felt a connection with him, as in a special bond. I feel I need to support him. I feel a love for a little boy that I don’t even know.

I don’t want this boy to grow up in poverty and without food. I can’t give him everything. I can only give him what he needs and tell him about God.

We can’t be tempted into thinking we can do it all. God will show us what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done. God wants us to follow Him.

That is why I do what I do. Students loving outside of themselves becuase the love of God compels them to do so… The “love for a little boy that I don’t even know”… The desire to do something, anything, to help someone else…

She’s right. We can’t do everything. My sponsorship of a child or two is not going to end world hunger. But it’ll make a difference to a few.

Go make a difference.
(the link to Compassion might be a good place for you to start)

Back from the Desert…

Well, we have been back from Arizona for a few days, and I’ve almost unpiled everything to be caught up on. The trip went very well. The week of CIY was awesome and the week of work with ARM topped it off!

God really worked in our hearts and is definitely moving in his body. This is one of my favorite pictures so far that Tory took. These kids are so hungry to be cared for. It was awesome to see our students reaching out to them with a love that can only be motivated by God.

Working Hard

We had our first experience yesterday with the bus ministry here at ARM. We went to one of the neighborhoods with the bus and Kirby. We got to see some of the Apache kids and get a better feel for the ministry of ARM. It was great to see our kids interacting with the Apache kids and just trying to show the love of Jesus to them.

This morning, we went to a worksite and did what you do at work sites…we worked. ARM is building a house for a Apache minister and his family who pretty much turned his own house into a church building. His story is amazing, but the short version is that He came to follow God in prison, went home after his sentence and became a pastor to his people, with a willingness to sacrifice anything in service. Dustin headed up a crew that put up walls, which will soon be two stories of Sunday school classes. Dave and Emily’s crew hauled out enough brush and debri from the area behind the house to fill several truckloads…big truckloads. And they did it one wheelbarrow at a time. Several of the girls were working inside the house, spraying texture and sanding. Tomorrow, we’ll paint.

They all stink and they’re back at the hotel cleaning up a bit… and Suzie’s trying really hard to make me take a ride in her Mustang, so I better go.

Keep praying for the Apache people.

I AM…here.

Lazarus was dead and Mary and Martha wanted to know where Jesus had been. “Why didn’t you stop this from happening? Where were you?” In the midst of their anguish, they wondered why He didn’t do something to ease their pain.

But Jesus knew that life is not about comfort. He knew His Father had something better in mind. So he wept with them, then called their brother back from the dead!

CIY today is about His presence – even in our struggles. His work, through even the most painful experiences, to strengthen our faith and increase our capacity to bring glory to Him with our lives. I can’t help but thinking of Steve as we’ve discussed this today. His story of his son Max… Check out the link to his blog (Breath Fire) for a picture of finding God’s presence in the midst of struggle.

Whatever may be falling apart in our lives, God would say to us, “I am here.”


Last night’s main session went great. Dusty Frizzell talked about how life gets messy, and we fail, and God pours out His grace. He made a comment about Jesus messing up the way we think our lives should be and then we just don’t know what to do. Like he did with the disciples. Just when they think he’s gained enough attention to take over town, he goes and gets himself crucified! “Now what, Peter!?”

“I don’t know, you guys wanna go fishin’?”

Check out John 21 to see how Jesus led them beyond normal because of his grace (especially Peter).

I AM…love…I AM grace…

Finally got to a point of time and availability where I can send out an update (i.e. I’m not currently piloting a 15 passenger silver bullet).

I’m in Durango this week with the CIY group. The drive out was pretty long, but we’re here. We stopped yesterday at Royal Gorge – the world’s highest suspension bridge. It was awesome. The river below is, well…. it’s WAY below. Shaun and Dan and Cady and I all did the Skycoaster. 1200 feet above the canyon floor suspended in a harness on a cable, “swooping” by at about 50 mph! It was quite a swing… After that, the drive over the pass and through the canyon was incredible. I love being back in the mountains.


The theme for the week of conference is “This is me” – God revealing Himself to us. Today we’ve gazed into the depth of His grace. He truly is grace and love, which was the focus of last night’s first session.

I’ve really been hit with how I strive for perfection in so many things. I don’t want to show any holes, I don’t want to not know something that I should, I don’t want to need… Often that ambition for perfection is a pathetic attempt to earn God’s love – or at least to make myself worth loving. What a stupid way to live. He has already made me worth loving and nothing I do can change that.