Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Reflection

The title of this entry may be a bit misleading. It is just to say that it's after Christmas and I've been reflecting on some things today.

There is a great article in the current issue of Christianity Today by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. The title well describes the point he is making: "Jesus is NOT a brand." The question that he is trying to answer for his readers is this: What is the difference between an evangelism within a consumeristic society that is truly Christ-centered vs one driven by individualistic market interests.

That's a good question.

It is interesting to note how many of us have allowed ourselves to be identified by what brands we prefer. Some men are Chevy men, others Ford. Some prefer Mac, others PC's. If you don't believe that, watch one of the current YouTube videos titled, "Mac vs. PC" and see which one you find yourself rooting for.

The implications for this in terms of how one receives the gospel, or perceives the demands of the gospel are not insignificant. The spiritual consumer will approach the church with the same narcissism they bring to other brands. Wigg-Stevenson postulates the spiritual consumers thought process as Christianity (the consumer version) is contemplated: "What am I expressing about myself if I buy Brand Jesus? How will Christianity fulfill my vision for me?" He continues, "The theological implication: I belong to myself. I am my own project, my own product to do with as I will. This is an enacted rejection of the honor due to God as Creator. On a psycho-spiritual level, too, this individualism sets up a sort of endless adolescence. The awkward talk of figuring out who we are--once restricted to teen years and midlife crises--becomes a lifelong endeavor."

That's why our evangelism can't be a presentation of the gospel that simply says, "Hey, look at all you get with Jesus...eternal life...peace...a sense of community with others like you...etc." Rather, it has to demand an ongoing and enacted recognition, beginning with repentance, that we belong truly to God.

We must bring into view the Lordship of Christ, the sufficiency of Christ and the Supremacy of Christ. After all, this is the only way that we remain true to the gospel that liberates, provides real self-identity, and allows us to see all other sorts of people as one of us in a unified gospel family, not one that is dissected according to sub-brand level distinctions such as those we often see in the church today where the gospel is being offered in a consumeristic fashion. In that environment people favor a church with donuts over one without, or a certain brand of music over and against another. These are brand identities that cloud the gospel indeed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Angie's Face

When I walked into my neighborhood Wal-Mart today I noticed a sign near the front door letting every customer know that they have only six more days to buy up before Christmas. I can't believe how quickly this month has flown by.

On another note, out back yard is a muddy mess. Because of the orientation of our home, and the yards in Vegas, no sun hits any dirt back there and we've received at least 1.5" of rain over the last week or so. Hopefully it will freeze tonight so that I can get out for a minute to clean up the dog's little (actually not so little) presents.

On yet another note, I have been reflecting on the joy that is called forth in the gospel accounts of Jesus' birth and wondering why it is that so many of us don't seem to exude a level of joy that is proportionate the that which is demanded by the good news of Christ's incarnation. Wow! Perhaps I'm only talking about myself. Maybe everybody else has the "joy, joy, joy, joy down in their heart, down in their..." and I'm the only one trying to rejoice in the ways that Zephaniah 3 calls for. It has taken several minutes of thought throughout the days to begin to see my heart's flame genuinely taken afresh with the wonder of Emmanuel, God with us.

This Sunday I will be preaching on the Angel's announcement to shepherds from Luke 2:1-20. I still haven't decided which text we will consider on Christmas Eve, but I have it narrowed down to a few.

Because our Christmas Eve service will be the first time we've met as a church for worship at night there will be several families joining us for the first time, it appears. Some of these folks have been our friends for months, but haven't been able to get a change in their work schedule that would accommodate them in order to be with us in the morning on Sundays. I hope that they will be richly encouraged by their participation with us. They will be an encouragement to us.

Tonight my youngest decided he wanted to help his mother with her make-up. The final product was nothing short of amazing. Angie looked like she had been camouflaged for a burglary, taken out to the street and smacked in the face with a 2 x 4, made to grow a unibrow during six months of solitary confinement with no access to a razor, and finally drug face down in the dirt for 1/4 mile before standing up to see what her boy had done. As he finished his work he could only say, "Look! You are America's next top model. You look fablious (direct quote)" I guess that would be true if the idea behind showing off fashion was to make the potential buyers wonder which model has most recently come from a filming of Lost.

Angie is so gracious!

Monday, December 15, 2008

To What are We Inviting People

Today I was reading Leadership magazine. It came as a preview with hopes that I will subscribe. As I paged through I found an interesting article titled, “Showtime! No More.” In it the pastor of a mega-church in Phoenix (one with which I’ve been familiar for years, and to which I have friends who are connected) told a bit about his journey from believing that “entertainment evangelism” was a legitimate way of reaching people to the position he is now embracing.

After suffering a heart attack in 2002 he began a lengthy recovery and the opportunity to visit other churches during his ensuing sabbatical. When he returned to his own congregation he was appalled to see what he had labored to build. It was a place built on the Sunday “show.” A pastor-friend visited their new site shortly thereafter and said to him, “You must die as a church [in your current state] and be born as a mission.”

Soon he asked himself this question: “Could it be that our acreage, buildings, and budgets were interfering with the mission instead of accomplishing it? Why weren’t we producing empowered disciples? What were we missing?"

After months of reflection he came to this:

"Instead of just counting the people and the offerings, now we [will] look for evidence that people are breaking out of their private, cocooned lives and are fully engaged with God and serving him. We want them to do more than grab a cup of coffee in the lobby or meet someone new during the worship gatherings. We want them to go deep with one another. To be 3:00 a.m. friends--the kind of people others could call if they had an emergency. We [will] encourage them to have a mentor and to be a mentor."

I have to say at this point, that this is exactly the conviction that has been driving me and Eric since day one when we landed in Vegas. We know that if this city, or any place, is going to be transformed by the gospel it is going to have to be filled with people who have repented from every false idol and who have become fully committed to serving and honoring the Redeemer and King of the universe in every area of their lives. Building a church of 20,000 in a city of 2,000,000 won't do anything if the extent of our impact would be that a certain 1% of the population disappeared from their neighborhood for 1 1/2 hours every Sunday morning.

Our calling as pastors is to equip God's people for the work of ministry as they become transforming agents in His world.

The pastor highlighted in the article said the same thing in his own words, words that I think are quite helpful:

"In the old days, we protected people's anonymity; today we thrust them into community, doing life together. We used to invite them to attend church; now we invite them to be the church. I used to ask, 'What can we do to get more people to attend our church?' Now I ask, 'How can [we] best equip and empower [God's] people to go be the church in the marketplace where God has called them to serve?'"

He's hit it on the head. What if we were inviting our non-believing friends to other opportunities where they would witness gospel impact in the world. Why wouldn't inviting them to dinner be just as wonderful an opportunity to expose them to God's rich grace as inviting them to a service of worship? Why wouldn't grabbing them to go hiking, or to volunteer at the food bank, or to help tutor at the local school be just as wonderful an opportunity to expose them to God's rich grace?

We want to invite people to see the richness of God's grace in and through his church. To what are we inviting them? Is it to an extra 1 1/2 hour commitment to feel like they are fulfilling their religious duty, or is it to experience and participate in what God is doing to bring light into all dark places? Those two invitations are a world apart. I am convinced that people won't feel like they have anything more to invite others into than a service of worship until they themselves know that they are a part of something much grander in scope and community impact. I wonder how this vibrant kind of Christianity will impact the way our services of worship may look.

One Year Already

This past Sunday marked one year since our first public service of worship. I can't believe it! When I stood up to welcome any guests that were with us I thought to ask who had been with us on that first Sunday, December 16, 2007. Besides my family and Eric's, 13 hands went into the air. God has added so many people to our number during this first year.

More encouraging than the number of people added is the growth in grace in individuals and as a community. I can't say enough about how encouraged I am to see people living more and more boldly in the gospel. This is leading to the actual transformation of homes, soccer teams, playgroups, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Smith's Cashier

Tonight I was able to be out with our daughter for a few minutes, just to grab a few groceries before dinner. That's always a great time.

As our food sped down the rubber conveyor the cashier asked me how I was doing? I gave her the customary answer, "Better than I deserve."

I asked her the same.

"You know...broke just a few days before Christmas and wont' be able to give my kids Christmas."

Then...silence as I wondered how best to respond. Nothing came. I didn't have an answer.

She handed me my receipt. "Merry Christmas," were her last words and it was on to the next soul behind me.

She is hurting. I hope to be able to see her soon. In the mean time we will pray.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Rawhide!

Last night I was able to get some time out with my youngest son. We were invited to use a couple of extra tickets to the National Finals Rodeo here in Vegas. The skill and athleticism of the competitors was pretty remarkable. My son loved it. Four nights ago he was watching the opening night of the Finals on ESPN2 and wishing he could go someday. Just three days later there he was. I didn't tell him where we were going until we were in my truck and headed toward the arena. The look on his face was priceless. "Are we going for real? Are we going to see real cowboys?"

That kind of treatment of the animals in the name of sport became questionable to me, though, as I watched it in person. I'm still trying to figure out how this sits within the framework of God's creational mandate to Adam and Eve, and then again to Noah, to image God in their treatment of the animals as they care for them in God's stead.

Things within the City-Wide Redeemer community are so much fun right now. Our discipleship groups are getting into full swing. We should be hitting on all cylinders on the men's side of the house after the holidays. We are still organizing the women's groups.

It has been awesome to see many of our folks taking greater initiative in sharing the gospel with their families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Many of them are beginning to use a tool that we have borrowed from Perimeter Church in Atlanta, GA called Life Issues and another book called The Answer. But this isn't an "evangelism program." It is a case of men and women reshaping a resource to match their own style and personality in the great mission of making God's name known in Las Vegas. I expect that we will be able to see several more people responding to God's gracious forgiveness and acceptance through the Lord Jesus in the near future.

I can't explain what is happening, but we continue to come into contact with many people who are at a place in their lives where they want answers to their questions about God, the Bible, their own mortality, life after death, etc. It's like God is orchestrating the choreography of several lives to meet on the dance floors brokenness and crisis simultaneously, some with questions and others with hope to offer. God's Spirit is clearly at work here.

Sunday mornings are getting easier for me personally. When we launched out I had many things to take care of before we began our services of worship. I basically had to bring everything from nursery items to backdrops to music/sound items. Now we have the workings of a great set-up and tear-down crew that have made Sundays much more manageable for me. And the best part, everyone who pitches in does so with such joy. It's fun to see and experience.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Still Sick

I can't seem to kick this cold/upper respiratory thing. I've been sick since November 21. Just when I think I might be feeling better I struggle through the next day with minimal energy and sinus issues. Tonight is another tough night. I'm thinking a doctor's visit might finally be in my future.

Lot's of good things happening at City-Wide Redeemer these days. Several folks are continuing to take significant steps in the direction of their God-given purposes within His mission to redeem the world. I'll be sharing some specific stories soon.

My youngest son has a radio in his room now. It is my old alarm clock radio. The tuner is so bad that I was able to only get in four or five stations across the entire FM dial. He's thankful for it nonetheless. I told him he might enjoy listening to some Christmas music on the sleep timer for 20 minutes at bed time. He was thrilled.

When I went in to check on him ten minutes later I asked him how he was enjoying the radio. He said, "Dad, there was this news thing on just now and they said that some bad guys took a little girl's brother and that the police are trying to find the bad guys. Dad, I'm sad."

It struck me in that moment how emotionally stunted I am because of the sheer volume of bad news that crosses my path everyday through the different media outlets and personal contact with hurting people. It was hard for me to feel what he was feeling. His response was right. It is terribly sad, and once I sat for a moment with him I was able to enter into that appropriate sense of sorrow and need to ask our great God to do something wonderful for this young boy who is apparently missing.

I love learning practical theology from a four year-old. He's got lots to teach me!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Roadmap '09 Meeting

Today we had a rich time of worship. Our text was Revelation 21:1-8. What a salvation! I can't wait for the renewed earth.

In the mean time I guess we'll continue to proclaim the gospel, plant churches, and wait (and golf).

After our worship we had a church-wide meal. The head custodian and principal at Goynes Elementary are both tremendous men--so gracious to allow us to stay an extra hour. During our meal I shared our vision for the next year. We called the presentation Roadmap '09. Not very original, but you get the point.

From day one our vision has been focused on seeing the gospel transform the entire city and cities like it around the world (briefly stated). Today we honed the vision a bit further to say that we hope to plant an additional four churches in North Las Vegas, and two churches internationally over the next five years. Is it aggressive? Too aggressive? Maybe, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Jesus decides to do about building His church in North Las Vegas.

Initially each church plant will be identified as an additional site for worship in a neighboring community. Members of each new site will be involved in the same kinds of discipleship and leadership training we are already engaged in at City-Wide Redeemer. Eric and I will preach and lead worship for at least the second site which we hope to establish by February or March, but several details need to come together before we launch out.

Our whole family is sick tonight. Upper body respiratory stuff. Thank God for phenol!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Gospel is Tough to Believe

The more I speak with people the more I am realizing with greater awareness that folks just don't really understand the gospel. I'm not slamming people for being ignorant. I'm not calling people stupid. I'm not talking only about people who are outside of the visible church.

I'm seeing more and more in people that aspect of our fallen nature that believes we must contribute something to our salvation. For some it is just the moral piece of the puzzle that they want to straighten out. For others it is a return to some religious practice that they experienced growing up as a child. It seems to much to first believe that Jesus really did do everything required for our salvation.

Intuitively non-Christians understand that worshiping the one true God instead of themselves and all of their other life-long idols will result in a different agenda for their week. They will do some new things and abandon other activities and thought patters that used to take up space on their weekly schedule. In short, they will increasingly take on the God's character in all that they think, say, and do. But it seems as though that is where we want to go first. In the middle of a desperate search for peace we grasp for something we can do.

Maybe this will help make the point. Often in our search for peace with God we look like someone trying to learn how to line dance in the country-western bar. We see the moves that happy, peaceful people are making. We want to be happy; we want peace, so we begin trying to pick up their steps. We assume that their attitude and outlook must be related to their dancing. The only problem is that Christians who really get the gospel didn't start with the moves. Rather they first heard the music. Someone else played music that brought their dead and depressed bodies to life. Their dance steps are in response to music. Dancing doesn't make music come out of the speaker. Music makes us dance.

How I pray that people in our community will begin to hear the music of the gospel. I am trying with all my might to communicate that reality to people who see what we do as a Christian community. If they only see our moves, but never hear our music then we will never bring an ounce of real hope to Vegas. Rather, we will only push people back into their previous religious experiences where they will labor in despair and restlessness in a dead-end search for peace and an assurance that God is for them.

I'm off to play more music.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Doctor's Visit...Warning: Graphic in Content

I've been half-limping around for the past couple of weeks with a very sore right knee. Probably a Baker's cyst. I was excited today when I looked at my Outlook calendar and realized that today I was finally going to get into the Dr. When I called my assigned health care provider last week to say that I needed to see a Dr. quickly the receptionist said, "O yes. Here we go. We can get you right in on the 18th. How does that work?" Considering that I was calling on the 12th I wasn't sure what she meant by "right in."

The doc was great. X-rays will be read in the next couple of days to help determine exactly what is going on.

About half way through the exam she asked the question. "Mr. Glassmeyer, have you had any wight gain?"

"Yes, yes I have."

"Has it been pretty recent?"

"No, I've gained 220 lbs over he past 34 years or so."

[laughter... followed by an earnest gaze]

"I think that whatever is causing the painful condition in your knee, you will benefit from losing a few lbs."

"Yes. Thank you. I'm sure you're right"

As I stood in front of the mirror tonight I contemplated the decisions that I typically make regarding food each day. I'm often very busy, traveling from one appointment to the next and in need of a quick meal when he hunger pangs come calling. I usually don't have a plan (bad idea). I usually am making a decision about what to eat in the middle of four other activities. (also a bad idea). I need a plan. I need something around during the day that will help me remember why I need to be making better decisions about food. Maybe a string around my finger?

Then I had an epiphany of genius. As I looked with despair at my growing waist I realized that if I stopped wearing a shirt in public I would begin to make radical and rapid changes in my daily eating patterns. That is not an option, but I know it would be effective.

I'm sure that this falls under the (too much information) category, but as far as I'm concerned it's a part of being human. It's also an area of my life where I'm going to have to allow gospel freedom to be the motivating factor in how I do make changes in my diet and exercise patterns.

Nothing is easy, is it?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

She Got Fired!

I love dinner time at our home. You never know what any of our children might share. Here's a snippet from my conversation with our six year-old daughter tonight.

"What did you do today in school, sweetheart?" (She's in the first grade)

"I helped Alissa feel better."

"Oh no. What happened?"

"She got fired from her own club that she started."


"Yes. Some jerk girls came over to join her club and after a few minutes they decided to fire her from her own club that she started."

"She had a job in her club?"


"What was it?"

"Her job was to invite people into the club and to serve them their food."

"So let me get this straight. She started the club and gave herself the job of inviting other people into the club. Then some people she invited joined her club and promptly fired her from her club that she started. Is that right?"



On a more serious note...our friend, Glenn, is still trying to find work. This has been a great discouragement to him. He has come so far since we first met him in his wheelchair in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino downtown. His prosthesis is working very well. When he's wearing pants you can't even tell that he has it. He wants to work. Hopefully a breakthrough will come soon.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Time with the Kids

I'm not the father I want to be. I don't find often that I have the ability to manage the many different priorities that present themselves each day in such a way as to demonstrate to my kids that they matter to me.

This week I think I took a small step forward. Maybe it is better to say that I fell forward a bit. I was able to spend three hours of 1-on-1 time with each one of our children. Two of them opted for the air show at Nellis Air Force Base. Both yesterday and today some really gracious friends allowed me and one of my children to tag along. Without this kindness I would not have been able to pull off two trips to the Aviation Nation Show because of the hours it takes to park at the Las Vegas Raceway and to then shuttle over to the base.

My kids each loved it. They loved the big airplanes. They loved the fast airplanes. They loved the root beer floats.

I have never seen the F-22 demo before. It was incredible. At one point the plane was standing perfectly still in the sky. At another time it was slowly falling to the earth in a flat spin. There wasn't anything we could imagine that it couldn't do.

Just as the demo was finishing, and we were all noticing that our mouths had been hanging open in disbelief, my neighbor's wife said something really insightful. She said, "I can't believe that during that demo there were so many people just shuffling around with no interest in what was happening in the sky." I agreed. Then I pondered her point. How many of us are living in a world filled with God's general revelation as though we have no sense of what is going on around us, or what our context of reality points us to each minute of the day? The heavens declare the glory of God, and yet we rarely give it thought.

Worship today brought great refreshing. We enjoyed the company of more first-time guests and some other new friends who have just moved to town. God continues to grow City-Wide Redeemer in number. I don't pretend to know what He is doing.

We are just two weeks away from our Roadmap '09 meeting for CWR. There Eric and I hope to express some sense of the directions God seems to be presenting for us as a church over the next year. The opportunities are very exciting. We are holding our plans loosely, though, because if we had held tightly to the plans for 2008 we wouldn't have been able to experience half of what we saw God accomplish through our meager efforts this year.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Back Yard

When we moved into our home in January we knew that the Home Owners Association had a requirement that the back yard be landscaped within the first year of occupancy. With the year winding down I'm trying to get to that when I have an extra thirty minutes here or there. I actually enjoy landscaping and gardening, as many of you know, but there is a major challenge with the piece of real estate. The dirt is as hard as limestone rock. My joints have joints that hurt from digging a trench for the drip irrigation. I'll be glad when this is finished and I can just sit on the porch in a chair.

Conversations with many who don't yet follow Christ continue to increase in frequency and depth. More and more I enjoy sharing our faith and great hope. And of course, we aren't loving people for the sake of getting to "convert" them. Rather we are sharing the gospel of grace with them because we love them. I have said that for years, but just now feel as though their is congruity between that statement and my heart.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Beautiful Simplicity

Tonight I was tucking our youngest into bed. He'll be five on New Year's Eve. I asked him why it is that he wanted to participate in the Lord's Supper the past Sunday.

"Because I like God so much."

"Do you know what the bread points us to?"

"Jesus' broken bones."

"What about the cup?"

"His blood."

"Why did Jesus die?"

"To save our lives."

"What are we saying by our participation in the Lord's Supper?"


"What does it mean that we join the others in the supper?"

[more silence]

"Do you want to participate because you believe that Jesus died for your sins and because you want everyone else to know that too?"

"Dad, you know I believe Jesus."

[silent pause]

"Why are you asking me all of these complicated questions? Did you think I forgot or something?"

I smiled and reassured him that I didn't think he forgot. I just like to hear about his heart. He smiled. When he prayed he thanked God for ladybugs (and something else equally as precious that is not coming to my mind right now). I love his simple trust. I love his thankful heart. "Who needs to learn from who?" I thought to myself as I headed down the hallway.

The second and third groups in our Equipping the Church series are both winding down. Those gatherings are incredibly encouraging to Eric and me as we watch people grow in their understanding of God's purpose in their lives. Their sense of His love for them is growing. Their sense of His love for others is growing. Their sense of meaningful involvement in the mission is growing. I'm so thankful for that.

At the last gathering one of our current ETC participants noted that City-Wide Redeemer is not a church where 80% of the people sit back while the other 20% work themselves into disenfranchised gospel frustrations. He's right. As I do a quick mental survey of the people who now make up CWR it must be over 80% who are actively using their gifts for the sake of His kingdom, both in their vocation and when the church gathers for worship. People are active in local tutoring programs and with the local food bank. Others are using their hospitality gifts to welcome their neighbors. What a joy. God gets the credit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Guilt Goblin Strikes Again

It happened again during our Tuesday evening community group. The first time was two weeks ago. We were in the the middle of our time together when the doorbell rang. I opened the door this week. Two weeks ago one of our friends took the honor. Nobody was there, last time or this time. Only a plate of cookies with instructions on how to pull the same friendly hoax on two more of our neighbors.

The instructions say that you are to post the sign on your door so that the "Phantom" will know not to attack your home yet again. You then are to "attack" two other homes and pretty soon the whole neighborhood will show evidence of the "Phantom's" work.

But since we didn't do that the first time we are now responsible to plan and execute four "Phantom" attacks on other neighbors. Angie said, "Now I feel too much pressure. These gifts (the cookies that the Phantom delivers) are just creating guilt!"

Is it the 31st yet?

Just for fun I think that we are going to make four meat loafs and drop those off with our Phantom attacks tomorrow. Then we will take down our sign again and see if we can get a free prime rib out of the deal.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kid's on the Lord's Supper

A few first-time guests joined us in worship today. I love the way CWR folks welcome guests. Good stuff.

Angie has been working on CWR's first picture directory. It looks great. Should be out in a week or so. That should make things easy for new members who are trying to get to know what is already beginning to feel like an overwhelming amount of people for newcomers.

Our daughter told me tonight, while I was cooking dinner, that she enjoyed participating in the Lord's Supper today during worship.

"Why did you enjoy it?" I asked her.

"I like remembering what Jesus did for us"

"Why did he die for us?"

"Because He didn't want us to have to He died for us instead and God forgave us for our sins."

That about says it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Look at That Boy!

Tonight during our community group Angie was with our two youngest children at our daughter's school's open house. Students and their families took an informative tour of their main classroom, art room, music and PE rooms, and the library (I think). Our youngest was not behaving. I nearly rolled on the floor when Angie told me about her experience in the art room. Angie was trying to talk with the teacher when she put our youngest son on the ground. Mind you, he's going to be 5 yrs in two months. After about 30 seconds of conversation Angie heard a voice in the room say, "Look at that boy." She knew it must be our son. She turned to see. It was. He had shoved his face in front of a water fountain in the room and was allowing the water to splash all over this hair, clothes, and the surrounding art projects. At this point all you can do is laugh. Since it was the art room Angie decided to glue and staple him onto the cork board next to the fountain so he could dry off without getting into anything else. We'll get him in the morning when I drop our daughter off for school.

The weather has become perfect around here. I was able to play golf on Monday in a tournament put on to raise money for the building of churches in African nations. What a cool ministry ICM is! I needed the break and chance to be outside too. The views of the deep green grass up against the red and brown mountains was an all-morning bowl of eye candy.

We continue to see new guests at worship every weekend. It is so much fun getting to meet new people and make new friends. I struggle, though, with the reality that I can no longer enjoy the same kind of engagement with people because of the numbers. I want to know everybody well, but that is becoming more and more of an impossibility. More and more I am accepting the fact that I won't even be able to greet each person on a Sunday morning during worship. I am deeply encouraged, though, to see that several CWR folks make great efforts to welcome newcomers and to include them in the weekly activities and gatherings of the church. Once again proof of the fact that God builds His church and that He doesn't need us!

I had lunch today with another pastor who serves one of the largest churches in LV. His primary role is related to outreach, including marketplace ministries. That is why I wanted to spend time with him. We are still trying to determine where/how God would use our efforts to reach into the downtown business communities with the gospel. Some good ideas surfaced in my conversation today. We will continue to pray. God will lead, I'm sure of that.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cardinals 4-2

I can't miss this opportunity to point you all to the AZ Cardinal's record of 4-2 after yesterday's great win over the Dallas Cowboys. As a Cardinal fan I've hardly ever had hope for the season after six games. Maybe this year is going to be different. It is great fun to see K Warner at the helm again. He makes me feel young!


One of the most difficult things for me to learn as a disciple of Jesus/husband/father/church planter has been finding healthy pace. So much goes into finding the right rhythm of life. One must continually prioritize, redetermine motives, rediscover security, etc.

I spent this past weekend in Arizona. A trip that had first been planned for one thing turned out to serve another. I spent Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, a dear group of friends that financially contributes to our work in Las Vegas every month. We are so thankful for their generous spirit. Saturday turned out to be a rest and retreat day. I played golf in the morning and spent the afternoon in prayer and reflection. I can't remember the last time I took half a day for the express purpose of sitting before God for the purpose of personal worship and seeking clarity about the things of life. It was good for me. I really needed that.

Part of the time was used in the reading of Andi Ashworth's book Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring. She says many things that are helpful. In her summary paragraphs of a chapter entitled "Against the Flow" she says the following:
"In a world that so often values speed, efficiency, and change over continuity
and relationship, we are challenged on a daily basis to consider what matters
most. God invites us to resist the tangled webs of busyness that imprison us and
make it impossible to respond in love to the people around us. If we want our
lives to reflect the truth that people matter, we must live intentionally toward
that end. If we really believe that people are important and that caring for
each other is at the heart of our call to follow Jesus, we must thoughtfully and
intentionally offer people something more."

What she says is true for me on a personal level, but I noted that it is also true for the church at large. As a church we can become so "busy" with programmed ministry activities and gatherings that we may end up not having time to reflect the truth that the people in our city matter. I haven't thought about this subject in this way before, but more reflection is due the issue as we think about ministry design at City-Wide Redeemer going forward.

By the way, I heartily recommend Ashworth's book to all. It's a game changer!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Cool Stuff

The TV recording went well, I guess. I was prepared to do several takes, but I did one and they said we were done. That was cool.

Apparently the spot that they recorded will be part of a larger national special on TLN airing the night before the election. The assigned focus was on the need for Christians to pray. That's easy. Really. Paul told Timothy (2:1ff) that we should first pray for all people, for kings and other rulers in authority over us. The purpose for prayer is that God's people might be able to live quiet and peaceful lives, godly and dignified in every way. But there is a greater purpose that I discovered yesterday in my preparation. Paul goes on to say that this pleased God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Big picture: Christian activism begins with prayer for those in authority over us so that we can live out our lives according to our calling in Christ Jesus, so that the agenda of the King of Kings might be advanced in the earth. That is cool.

When I find out more about when this thing is airing I'll post it.

I was able to take the afternoon off today. I needed that. Angie escaped from the house to read at the park while the kids and I ate pizza on the back porch and did some yard work. I can't help but jump at even the small chances to work with my hands. Manual labor is so invigorating.

Side Note: The Arizona (football) Cardinals are 3-2. That is cool!

The opportunities for mercy ministry in our town keep falling in our laps. In addition to participating in the well-known "Operation Christmas Child" ministry through Samaritan's Purse, we are hoping to get some shoe boxes or backpacks together for the homeless poor in our city this January. Glenn, who was in his second year of homelessness when we met him, will play a major role in coordinating our efforts as a church.

We are looking at beginning another worship site for City-Wide Redeemer in the same area where we already meet on Sunday mornings. The tremendous amount of people working shift schedules demands that we invite people to worship at non-traditional times. We are considering Friday or Sunday evenings. I think that by mid-November we should be able to begin a least a Bible study with a new gathering of people. Church planting is such a joy. We will need much prayer as we venture forward with this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It Finally Rained

On Saturday night we were awakened to a sound that we haven't heard for more than 8 months at our home. It was rain. It rained for almost 20 minutes, which is the high desert equivalent of a three day gray-skied soaker in the Midwest.

I will be leaving in a few minutes to visit a local TV. The station manager asked me to come in for a quick interview/segment regarding the Christian's role in our political process. At this point I don't even know who I'm going to vote for. Much less do I feel prepared to help Christians think about their engagement in the process. This should be interesting. I'll write more about it on the other side of the morning.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


"The world I live need to feel safe." When Glenn spoke those words to me on Tuesday they were so real that I almost broke into tears. I was on the edge of crying like a man because yet another window into the world of the homeless was opened so that we could peek in to a world that remains foreign, but not because it's mysterious. It is foreign because we just aren't pausing long enough to reflect on the harsh realities that would be obvious once contemplated.

Glenn was telling me how safe he felt at one of the Equipping the Church (ETC) series of discussions he attended on Monday night with other new members to City-Wide Redeemer. "I've been wanting to be a part of something for years, but haven't found it until now." I can't express how humbling it is to know that a few people in North Las Vegas are having such an impact on one image bearer.

I've said it before. I'll say it again now. We tend to think that people like Glenn really need us. True. But I'm more convinced that we really need people like Glenn. His presence has brought a freshness to our mission in this town.

Here's an example. One young lady has recently voiced a sincere desire to locate a home in NLV where she can care for four to five teenage girls who are at risk of jumping into Las Vegas's ever hungry sex-for-sale industry.

On the flip side, Glenn will help focus our outreach to people of the city. He is already letting us know what is actually helpful in terms of assisting the homeless as we approach the cold nights of winter.

In mid-November we will be meeting with the CWR church family to discuss our hopes for kingdom outreach in the year to come. There are a few big ideas. We will hold them loosely until God confirms that our intentions are His.

Our community groups are beginning to really grow again. Hopefully by January we will be able to establish two more homes where groups can be hosted.

I'm still finishing my prep for tomorrow morning. Back to my notes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getting our Breath

It's been too many days since my last post. Sorry. We are doing well, just amazingly busy.

I'll be posting in the next day or so with stories and details.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Day of Closure

This morning the City-Wide Redeemer church family gathered together to mourn as a community over the loss of Tom Phillips. No, we don't grieve as those who have no hope, but we do grieve.

It must have been a sweet thing for Eric's mother to have her son lead and preach at his father's funeral. Eric spoke with such compassion. Eric shared the gospel with such loving urgency. The pundant was right. It is better to go to a house of mourning than a house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart (Ecc. 7:2).

We had another CWR family suffer the sorrow of a miscarriage last week too. I hope that the promises found in the gospel today were an encouragement to their heart too.

I have been especially encouraged to see how others at CWR have loved those who mourn so well. The gospel is alive and well in North Las Vegas.

Logistical Note: It was quite an orchestration to prepare for two services of worship in the school building. We have 4 hours from the time they open the doors until they close them. Set up and set up again went very smoothly thanks to so many CWR families who love to help. God continues to gather a group of people with gifts that He's given that I trust will be used to show Christ to many more people in this city.

We are in the middle of planning many new ministries for our city. I'll have more details in the days ahead.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I was able to hang out with Glenn for a bit yesterday. I'm still learning more and more about what it is like to be homeless. The local Salvation Army shelter provides a cot for $8/night. While this is not a place where he can settle in with safekeeping for his belongings, it is at least a relatively safe and dry place. The other evening someone stole some of his things while he slept. That stunk.

When Glenn was first fitted with his new leg there was pain that developed almost immediately. He walked, but with the help of his wheelchair, and only in small increments at that. Ten days ago he went in for a follow-up. The doctor was able to make a minor adjustment that made all the difference. Glenn is now 6 or 7 days without his wheelchair and he looks great. He said that the pain is gone.

Yesterday he spent time at a job fair. Hopefully something will open up for him soon. He needs to work. He wants to work. We are trusting God for some work.

Glenn was able to get permission from the shelter for a late entry on Tuesdays. Usually he would have to be checked in by 8:00 p.m. This will allow him to join us for the community group that we host at our home. His contributions to the group will not be small.

I'm exhausted. The week has been full of sorrows. Some dear friends lost their baby this morning. She was 11 or so weeks pregnant. That brings back painful memories for us.

Eric's father was taken off of life support this afternoon. He is still breathing, but his recovery is not expected. Death sucks. The empty grave of Jesus becomes much more real in weeks like this.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

That's My Boy

I am thankful for the kind of environment that is being shaped in our services of worship. Parents are feeling more and more comfortable with having their children seated with them. No one is shocked or jolted from their concentration when one of them inadvertently makes a loud noise. I like that. I think that it rightly communicates to our children, "Hey, we want you." I hope that it communicates the same to our guests.

Because of the learning needs that 3-6 yr old children have we are providing a children's lesson for them during the time I am preaching. They love the crafts. They cover the same text we do, and are hopefully prepared to talk about what they learned with their parents via our family discussion guide posted each week on the web site.

Today, about half way through my sermon, a little blond haired four yr old came prancing through the seats on his way to the bathroom. He thought that his mother was with him. She wasn't. She was teaching the children's lesson. He noticed that he was alone. He blurted out, "Mom! Where are you?" I wanted to say, "She is teaching the children's lesson. Where else would she be? Why aren't you there?" Instead I had to say, "That's my son. Could someone please help him?" Thankfully, three mothers stood up immediately to help.

When reflecting on that moment I thought about the kinds of interruptions and oddities that must have occurred on days when Jesus was teaching by the Sea of Galilee. I'm sure he saw it all.

I've been tired. I'm hoping to take all of Tuesday and Wednesday off for some R & R with my bride and children.

Eric's father is still in critical condition at the hospital. That is very sad. Today Eric said that there was some response, however, but very little. Tomorrow Eric and his mom will have to make some difficult decisions with the doctor. We continue to pray for them.

This event has rightly distracted Eric from his final ordination studies. I'm so glad to see him loving his folks and delaying his ordination. That says much about a man who is called to care for people under the Great Shepherd. This has not been a typical ordination exam, but this trial has proven much about his calling.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our City

Even as a young church plant we talk much about planting other churches, both here in Las Vegas as well as in other parts of the world as we might have the opportunity.

I spoke with a fellow pastor this afternoon who is about to move to Puerto Rico to begin a church plant outside of San Juan. I hope to travel there to visit the area and to get a feel for the work that they are trying to do. Maybe CWR be able to have some kind of partnership with their work in the future.

This morning I drove the extreme eastern edge of the city. Las Vegas is bound up by mountains on all four sides. The view from the rise on the eastern edge was dramatic. I drove about an 8 mile stretch weaving through a 5 square mile area and did not find a single church building. There are many apartments and there is new development around a middle school and highschool that are both under construction. The area is predominately hispanic. I am hoping to begin making more contacts in the neighborhood so that we can begin to think through the logistics of beginning some outreach efforts there with the gospel in word and deed. For now we will being to pray.

I have been learning much this year about what it means to be homeless. Because of my interactions with Glenn I am down on "homeless row" at least once each week, sometimes three times. Yesterday I counted 25 tents or so that line the expressway coming north out of the downtown area. Just 50 feet away along the railroad tracks is another smattering of makeshift shelters.

From this mecca of hopelessness a long line of people filtered and trudged down the hill away from the expressway toward the Salvation Army shelter. I noticed that several women coming into the shelter had children with them. (There are more than 200 homeless students in Las Vegas public schools, according to the local food bank.) I noticed that several other women were without undergarments. Only thin white T-shirts afforded them minimal modesty. How uncomfortable that must be in this heat! When I was actually at the shelter I encountered three or four souls who are mentally disturbed/ill. Glenn has told me that many of the homeless are mentally ill. I don't know what to think about the number of families that have abandonded these weak ones to scrape out an existence on the streets.

One mentally disturbed man asked me for a ride. He hadn't showered in days, it appeared. He knew where he wanted me to take him. The bus stop. He was going to get a ride to visit his sister's house. "Am I missing something here?" I thought. Apparently she keeps his money for him and gives him a little bit at a time as he needs it.

He wanted to pay me for the five-minute drive. He opened his wallet and drew out a $20. He thought it was $2. I urged him to keep it with him, but came away from that brief interaction with a new sense for the vulnerability of these people. Who would have thought that a homeless man could be taken advantage of for a quick $20?

The needs and opportunities to share the hope of Christ Jesus are without end.

I'm preached on the following last weekend and continue to reflect: "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."

Monday, September 1, 2008


This morning brought some cool breezes across the Vegas desert floor for the first time in months. It was nice to be out for a bit this morning. I might even take a bike ride today.

I crashed into bed last night exhausted. It was a long day, and a long week. It seemed appropriate that I was keenly aware of my need to experience God's strength on a week when I was preaching about his ability to "make all grace abound to us, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work."

About 1/3 of the City-Wide Redeemer church family was out of town yesterday, taking advantage of summer's last three-day weekend. It will be nice to worship together with them next weekend.

I've been getting to know some other pastors in town. Some of those meetings have been more encouraging than others. A few of those guys seem to want no sense of fellowship with me. They believe the gospel. I believe the gospel. They are indwelt (as far as I can tell) by God's Spirit. I'm indwelt by God's Spirit. I don't know what I'm missing. I'll wait on God to work.

Our oldest is preparing for school tomorrow. He doesn't want to go. I'm praying that God will carry him through this semester.

God has added another community group to City-Wide Redeemer. Very cool.

My piano playing is coming along. Slow, but sure. It continues to be a great relief from the stresses of the day.

Eric's dad, still hospitalized from his stroke last Tuesday morning, is responding a bit more today. He is still in the ICU. We continue to pray.

The following quote is from an AP story on hurricane Gustav. It is from an interview early this morning while the hurricane was coming ashore. I find it to be classic.

"We wanted to be part of a historic event," said Benton Love, 30, stood outside Johnny White's Sports Bar with a whiskey and Diet Coke. "We knew Johnny White's would be the place to be. We'll probably switch to water about 10 o'clock, sober up, and see if we can help out."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

God Draws Near

My dear friend and church planting partner is having a tough week. Eric began the week with a hefty study and review schedule planned ahead of his written ordination exams set to be taken early next week.

On Tuesday morning his phone rang. It was his mother telling him that his father was lying on their bedroom floor unresponsive. Eric called the paramedics immediately. It was a massive stroke. Tom, Eric's father, is still in an ICU here in a Las Vegas hospital. Today, three days later, he is sedated and breathing with the aid of a machine.

Yesterday he became alert for a short time. His bride was at his side and able to enjoy the tender movement of her husband's thumb across the palm of her faithful hands.

Eric's ordination exam study is on hold for this week, but his learning hasn't slowed down. In the midst of this sad week he told me that he is living out the Psalmist's words in a new way. "God draws near to the broken-hearted." My dear brother is experiencing a new level of broken-heartedness, and hence a new sense of the nearness of our loving Lord.

We pray. We wait. He is faithful.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today was a special day at City-Wide Redeemer's worship. Glenn walked into the sanctuary. I can't believe I just said, "Glenn walked into the sanctuary." It has been so much fun to witness Jesus' kindness to this man, and to see his grateful response in turn. Glenn was received into membership and baptized as well. What a joy! I've said it more than once, so it won't hurt to say it again: As much as Glenn needs friends at City-Wide Redeemer, we need Glenn.

A video of Glenn's baptism should be up on You Tube in the next couple of days. The title will be "Glenn's Baptism at City-Wide Redeemer" for those who want to look it up with a search.

On a much less important note...our kids are enjoying their new dog. His name is Driscoll. He is a border collie mix. We found him at the pound. I think that he was abused because he is pretty tentative when we approach him with something in our hands, but he is getting along with the kids wonderfully. He is potty trained. He sleeps in his kennel well at night. He doesn't chew on things. He is a manly dog. He doesn't bark at other dogs. He walks well on the leash. What else can you ask for?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Glenn's Walking

It was an amazing feeling to walk beside our new friend, Glenn, as he walked out of the Advanced Prosthetics and Orthotics office in North Las Vegas. What a picture of the kingdom. "Let Your kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."

We are just observers of God's grace here.

On Sunday evening Glenn was going to his rented room from the bus. Four men came up to him, flashed a handgun, and promptly took all of his cash and his cell phone. To add further insult they slapped him on the head and called, "Punk!" to him as they walked off with his few possessions. I hope for their repentance. I am also comforted by the reality that if they choose not to turn away from their evil practices they will one day face the judgment of God who sees all things, even those things that happen on not-so-well lit streets in North Las Vegas.

We are still waiting on God for the $3700 that remains to be paid for Glenn's new prosthesis.
Glenn is going to begin looking for work this week. I hope that the process is quick for him.

Glenn will be baptized this Sunday. I'm looking forward to that. He told me today that he intends to start reading God's word more often. "Why?" I asked. I wanted to ensure that he wasn't simply falling onto some spiritual disciplines as a means of pleasing God, or trying to gain God's favor. It was none of that. "Because of what he has done for me...I want to know as much about him as I can." What an answer!

We'll be receiving a few other families into membership this Sunday at City-Wide Redeemer. This week we've been spending some time with these new folks and have been deeply encouraged at their stories of God's grace in their lives. These people really get the gospel!

Our friend, Laura, is in town from St. Louis. She studied at Covenant Theological Seminary for the three years that I was there, and one more after we left. She is trying to determine if God might be calling her to live and work in Las Vegas. If so, she would get work, get settled, and begin to share her gifts with City-Wide Redeemer. She has so very much to offer and we are hopeful that she will make the move here.

Our oldest is going back to public school next week. He'll be in the eighth grade. He's almost as tall as me--only 3 1/2 inches to go before he catches me.

I've been learning to play the piano in an effort to keep some balance in my life. It has been great fun and very relaxing. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kingdom Evidence

Our new friend Glenn, who was living homeless, and in a wheel chair, on the streets of Las Vegas for more than two years is only five days away from receiving his new leg. A doctor in town has agreed to make the prosthesis for only 75% of normal cost and has also been willing to take payments. I can't wait to see Glenn up and around. Lord willing, he will walk to the front of the sanctuary for his baptism 9 days from now. That is going to be a wonderful moment for the people of City-Wide Redeemer to witness.

God also provided a room where Glenn is able to stay. Being homeless without a safe place to sleep or any secure place to store your limited possessions or a place to wash your clothes makes escape from the despair nearly impossible.

We are still waiting to see where the rest of the cash will come from to pay for his leg. That might be the other miracle in this story. I'm looking forward to finding out.

I'll be posting a video of Glenn's baptism if all of the technology stuff works for us.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Upon Further Thought

I think that from time to time I'll share with you some of of the fruit that comes from my musings, as long as you like fruit that is pretty bruised. It's Saturday evening. My normal Saturday evening ritual is to plead with God to do something in worship tomorrow. I am hopeful that he will meet with his people, that he will encourage the downcast, bring life to the spiritually dead, challenge the prideful, etc. This evening, as is often the case, my thoughts in prayer drifted to my desire to be able to preach well--that others might think well of my ministry efforts. This is crazy talk. I don't know why it is that my thoughts can go this directions, except that I have forgotten the focus of preaching.

I'm sure that no doctor walks into the operating room with hopes that his heart surgery patient likes the way he does his job. He simply shows up and does his work, work that he hopes will be used for the good of the patient. His focus is on the one he comes to serve. That is good thinking. I already have many promises from God's word concerning its proclamation. It will never return without accomplishing its intended purpose. It is living, sharper than any two edge sword. It is life-giving, the fuel for faith. It is authoritative because of its Author. It is true. O, Lord, please work through your Word for the blessing and salvation of your people.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cheeseheads and Bananas

Today at lunch I looked at another photo on the front page of ESPN from Green Bay. There are thousands of people outside Packer Stadium walking around with Brett Farve signs. I like Brett Farve, and look forward to seeing what kind of season he can throw together (pun intended), but as I looked at this photo I had to ask myself this question: Do people in Green Bay work? How is it that on a Monday thousands of grown men and women can put on their Packer jerseys and head out to Lambo field for a makeshift rally in support of their returning hero? I'm thinking that employers must offer sick days, vacation days, and emergency rally days. Crazy!

This morning I was contemplating the wonder of the banana. Besides the great taste and wonderful nutritional value, you have to worship the Creator for doing such a great job of packaging bananas. Imagine if the banana peel was like an orange peel. By the time you got the peel off you'd have baby food in the palm of your hand. Instead, the very protective, thick, peel just rips straight off incrementally, allowing you to enjoy the banana in its original shape while still having a progressively repositioned handle that keeps your hands clean. Bananas are pretty cool.

Yesterday's worship was a great encouragement to my heart. With travel last week I missed celebrating the Lord's Supper. That God-ordained meal is such nourishment to my heart. I'm thankful that Jesus gave that to his followers.

We welcomed several guests again for worship too. I met some really neat folks. I'm looking forward to getting to know them over the next month or two.

Our weekly set up and tear down at the new location is finally going very smoothly. John Cherne does a great job spearheading that effort. The guy can cook and set up like no other. He is a great friend to many of us too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

White as Snow

Yesterday I was driving in another state and listening to the radio. I came across a station that was broadcasting the Wheel of Fortune--on the radio. I couldn't stop laughing.

I'm reading a book called, "White as Snow," by Paul Tripp. It is a series of reflections on sin and grace, based mostly on portions of Psalm 51. I highly recommend it. I'm reading and re-reading sections because of how it reaches the innermost parts of my own heart.

It is fun to keep on the lookout to see how it will be that God provides the finances that will be necessary for supporting our families in August. He is faithful.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back in the Saddle

It has been more than a week since my last post. Sorry. I just finished traveling after a trip to Cleveland, MS in the part of the country affectionately called the Delta. I'll write more about my experience in the next day or so. I'll also try to get up a video of the mosquito spray/smoke trucks by the end of the week. If you've never seen one of those you won't want to miss that.

I'm looking forward to meeting some of the guests to worship from this past weekend with City-Wide Redeemer. There were several first-timers. I can't wait to hear some of their stories.

I can't remember what I've said about Glenn thus far. He is a homeless man with whom we've become good friends over the past three weeks. He has so incredibly much to offer. On top of living on the streets, Glenn is also an amputee. Last week someone from City-Wide Redeemer was able to take him to the doctor for a consultation for a new prosthesis. The appointment went well. The doctor should be calling him this week to talk about beginning the process. Within three weeks we should have the joy of seeing Glenn walking again. Tell me that isn't a picture of the kingdom. I'm amazed at how close God allows us to sit to the stage of his incredible redemptive works.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today we celebrated our first two baptisms at City-Wide Redeemer. What a day! I was most taken by the courage that it took for a man nearly 60 to come forward for his baptism. He is certainly committed to following Jesus in the years of his life that remain.

We also accepted new members today, three of whom joined upon profession of faith, as opposed to a transfer from another congregation. This is an encouraging signal.

We continue to settle into our new digs at Goynes Elementary. (Side note: the school staff there has been absolutely phenomenal. We could not have found a better group of people with whom to have this kind of relationship for facility rental.) We just about have all of the sound kinks worked out. The spacing for seating is great.

We had several guests today, along with some return guest from last week. That is fun to see. Neat people!

The skies are threatening rain today. Well, maybe threatening is too strong. It is. I'll say that the skies are teasing rain today instead. We still haven't had any rain at our house this year. I'm praying for rain like never before in my life.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I left the house this morning at 5:00 to play a round of golf with some guys who have become great friends. I nearly broke 80 for the first time on a par 72 course. Maybe next time. The morning, though, was perfect. There was no wind, only green grass that gave way to the brown and gray mountains that surround this valley. Hardly a noise invaded our tranquility. I could have shot 120 and had a great time.

Yesterday's worship was the second week in our new facility. We are continuing to work out a few kinks with respect to sound. The trouble comes in the fact that we are using some of the equipment from the school--a great provision--along with some of our things. Getting everything set up isn't yet efficient because we aren't sure how the school's system will be left for us, but our sound man should have things smoothed out by next week. We didn't experience any glitches during worship.

Several guests joined us for the first time yesterday. It seems like we are about to experience another surge of growth. Eric and I were talking today about what that will mean in terms of discipleship. Following Jesus in this is fun.

We looked at our finances for the remainder of the year. We have got huge holes in our budget for the months of August, November and December. I can't wait to see how God provides so that we can continue the work here without major interruption.

Our oldest son is in AZ with his grandparents. He's been there for more than two weeks. I miss him. I think he is enjoying the time absent from two little siblings that often require much patience for him.

We are going to try and paint our front room tonight. I love painting. No I hate painting. I love the results. I was going to rent a spray gun but that would mean multiple trips to Home Depot. I'll just try and cut in things by hand and see what we get. Tape is good.

I'll be going to Cleveland, MS next month. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to share the vision for our work here with a church there. Hopefully God will place provision in their hands and a desire on their hearts to partner with us. I continue to be amazed at what God has already done here. My faith factor is up 1238 points since we arrived in Las Vegas.

Our regular server at Chili's told us today that she might be miscarrying her first child. This is very sad. We'll pray for God to be gracious to her and their child, and for Him to produce an increase of faith in her life through this difficult time. Death sucks.

I'm looking forward to the renewed earth more and more.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clouds and Rejection of Christ

It has been over six months since clouds covered most of the sky over Las Vegas. It is a nice change. Don't get me wrong. I love the clear skies here. I enjoy not ever thinking about alternatives when planning an event in case of rain. Golf never gets rained out.

We are supposed to get some showers later today and tomorrow. I would love to see the dust cleaned off of our street in front of the house.

Today I'm preparing to preach on Luke's account of a "sinful woman" who came to anoint Jesus' feet when he was a guest at Simon the Pharisee's house. What an incredible Savior we have!

I've been thinking this week about what people hear when we invite them into contexts of worship or discussion about God's Word. Last week I heard someone from City-Wide Redeemer asking a friend if she would like to join them for the women's study on Tuesday mornings. The answer was quick: "No. I'm not religious."

Well neither are we--at least in the sense that she means.

We are a people who are being transformed into new creatures, true image bearers of the living God. We are a people who have come to a profound sense of being spiritually dead and separated from our Creator. We have met Jesus. We have found forgiveness and adoption because this Jesus took the penalty/punishment for our sins and gave us his record of perfection in exchange so that we can stand blameless and totally accepted before our Holy God. This is the history that has captured and changed us. We want to introduce people to Jesus.

When engaging others with our faith it is critical that we don't simply offer them access into our "religious program." We must ensure that they are not rejecting our schedule of fellowship, but rather that they know they are rejecting Jesus Christ, God's Anointed Savior of the world. This will look differently in almost every conversation and relationship with non-Christians. Hopefully we can begin to help people feel the weight of saying, "No."

I think that this helps us as Christians who are trying to live out the message of God's gospel. This releases us from taking any rejection personally. We had nothing to offer them in the first place. It is only Christ who has salvation and new life to offer. It is only Christ that they reject. I'm not finished thinking about the matter. These are just my rambling thoughts today. Leave a comment if you have another take.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More New Life

This week has brought a few more things to do related to our transition into Goynes Elementary. Last Sunday's worship was a joy to our hearts, and we trust by His Spirit, pleasing to God. It was a luxury to be in such an open space with air conditioning that works. The children's ministry rooms worked well too.

Eric preached on Luke 7:11-17. He highlighted several things that were helpful. He challenged us again to see people the way that God has seen us--as people. Eric said that often for him the person at McDonald's taking his order is just an order-taker, not a person. He fails to see that this person has hopes, dreams, family, fears, and disappointment just like we do. I felt this in my own life yesterday when I was on the phone with the representative from Dell Computers. Jesus looked at the widow and had compassion on her. It was a bit more difficult to look at the man in India through the phone, but I gave it a shot. My heart was changed in an instant and the frustration with his inability to understand what I was asking about faded quickly.

Our set-up crew on Sunday did an incredible job. I'm thankful for the way so many people in this community of Christians love to serve others with smiling hearts. We'll have a few more items to set up this next weekend, but I don't expect any problems. (Actually I always expect problems, but none that God won't work out in his way and his time.)

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing another one of our new friends here in Vegas come to living faith in Jesus. It was so evident to her husband that God was at work last Sunday in our service of worship and into the week. Last night she told us that for the first time in her life she is now not afraid of dying. I cried coming home from their house at 12:45 this morning. I'm so incredibly humbled at the work of Christ in this city.

Tomorrow I'll be rising with the sun in order to get a quick round of golf in before a morning of study for this weekend. I'm going to be with a friend I haven't seen in two months and I'm really looking forward to the time with him. Hitting golf balls will be great too. I'm glad that the doctor told me to get out on the golf course once or twice a week for a couple of hours in order to fight off the stress that was causing the pain in my head. That's homeopathic medicine at its best.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Feet

It just occurred to me, as I looked at the new picture that has been added to the blog today, that people might think those are my feet and not Angie's. If you were misled, please take this as a gentle correction. This may be an overreaction, but I couldn't go to bed thinking that someone might wonder why I'm using up valuable time on the mission field painting my nails--if that were the case--which it is not. Enough said.

And, yes, I love my wife's feet.


Whenever we talk to people outside of this geographical region we sometimes alert them to the stats that give further shape to the brokenness that dwells in this city. Because of what "happens in Vegas" Nevada ranks number 1 nationally in suicide, high school drop outs, divorce, and homicide against women. Nevada is also in the top five for categories like rape and teen pregnancy. Sometimes these are only numbers to us.

Today I received a call from a man I've never met. We spoke for a few minutes before he abruptly told me that he was going to kill himself as he hung up on me. Thankfully I was able to reach him by phone (caller ID) shortly thereafter and we spoke three more times throughout the day. The pain in this man's life, both present and past, is evident. I'm hopeful that in time I will be able to see the gospel flourish within him. For now, I hope to be able to refer him to someone who can specifically help him in other areas of his total health. We are planning on speaking again tomorrow.

The numbers are staggering. The realities are even more heart-wrenching. The gospel rolls on.

Monday, June 30, 2008


We had a great weekend. Last night my mother-in-law took our oldest son with her for a three week visit to Arizona. They rode the bus together. I'm sure he'll remember this special time for the rest of his life. It was such a blessing to have Angie's mom here for two weeks. I'm thankful that my father-in-law was so gracious about her being away for that long.

Sunday I was preaching from Luke again (Luke 7:1-10). Eric will be picking up where I left off next weekend.

There is much to oversee as we make our transition into Goynes Elementary School next Sunday. Today we visited the campus and checked out the sound system that we'll be using. Everything worked well. I still can't believe how helpful the school staff has been for us as we get settled in. What a great thing!

I met a man today named Steve. He doesn't have an ID because his wallet was stolen from him in Georgia. He is waiting on family in California to send a copy of his birth certificate this week so that he can get a new ID. He says that he has much experience in the construction trades, primarily as a boilermaker. I hope that I can get him connected to someone in the city soon who can help him get some work and a place to stay. I asked him if he had been staying at one of the shelters downtown. He told me that he prefers the sidewalk because at the shelter he doesn't feel safe. What a sorrowful thing--certainly no fault of those manning the shelter. This is the second man I've met in his condition in four days. I wonder if there is a way to provide short term housing for smaller numbers of men in various locations. I need to give that some more thought.

We will be receiving new members again at City-Wide Redeemer in two weekends. That means that Eric and I are visiting with those people and hearing more of their story and their faith. Today we met with a man who encouraged me so greatly. I walk in a privileged position to have these windows of sight into the lives of people so precious to God.

Our new neighbors are moving in next door. They seem like a delightful family. I'm looking forward to getting to know them soon. Our youngest took over some cookies tonight. I love watching the children show kindness in their own ways. I'm also thankful that he took over the ones he hadn't already bitten.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Place

All over town there is an odd thing happening. People are erecting these fully enclosed, wooden shacks on top of the blazing asphalt in grocery story parking lots and filling them up with fireworks--explosives--to sell. I won't be parking near any of those.

Our dear friends, Russel and Jennifer Jung spent the night with us last night. They are on their way through to California where Russell will begin serving at a church this Tuesday. It is so good to see how well they both are, and to see how God has prepared them for his service in this new place. Our children have had a blast running through the house with theirs.

We were able to get confirmation on our new place of worship Wednesday. We will be at a local elementary school. The new location has more space for worship and for children's ministries. We'll begin meeting there July 6th. This Monday I'll get a full tour of the facility. God's hand has been so evident through this process.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Debrief

It's about 45 minutes until I fall face first into my pillow. I hope not to move from that position until 6:00 A.M. tomorrow morning. Our kids should be crashing soon too. We spent the afternoon at the home of some great friends from City-Wide Redeemer. Don and Martha threw a great pool party and about half the families from the church showed up. John Cherne cooked. That is always a bonus.

I preached the final of four sermons on the book of Jonah this morning. What a book! I am in awe at the steady path God has taken since the call of Abraham to bless all the nations, and to make His name known throughout the earth (Yes, I know He's been on the move to work out our salvation since before the dawn of time). So often we are drawn to learn from the main character in a given narrative, such as Jonah. And there are many things that are exposed in our hearts as we engage in his story. But I'm a Ninevite and I call God my Father. That is amazing grace.

Our great pumkin is still getting greater. I still need to get a photo and post it.

The search for our new worship facility has not ended, but we might have turned corner number 4 to head down toward the finish line. The location that we've landed on would be very accesible for all already involved in City-Wide Redeemer, and for many of the new friends that we've been inviting to join us. Only the principal of the elementary school needs to sign off on our request, and that will hopefully happen this Saturday. Our capacity for worship will increase from 110 to 275 at this new facility, with pretty much the same amount of rent costs. Rooms for children's ministry will also be better. I'll post a facility update on Thursday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


"Huh?" That is my favorite thing to say lately. There are things happening all around for which I have no explanation. Most of them I can't share on this blog because of their sensitive nature. Actually, I can't think of anything that I can share right this minute in this category. About now you are saying, "Huh?" Sorry.

Tonight my youngest had a difficult time. This time of the year is my favorite for its long daylight hours. But this morning it meant that my little guy arose from bed after only 7 hours of sleep. This afternoon and evening were not pretty. He wants a Doc Oc costume to be dressed like the character from Spiderman. In his pleas for me to do something on the order of making one appear out of thin air I realized in a moment that he is growing up on a different generation than mine. Just before bed he groaned, "Dad, tomorrow can you go on your camputer (not a misspelling, just the way he says it) and look up to find the outfit?" This was on the heels of asking me to go to Funny. In compassion I had to hold back my smile.

Our pumpkin that is growing in the garden is huge. I can't wait until we get some pie out of that gourd. We should be able to harvest it in two or three weeks. I'll be sure to put up a picture when it's orange.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day Two

Our day of meetings and meals here in Dallas with several folks from around the country is winding down. My feet are killing me. It feels as though somebody tied my ankles together, laid me down, and smacked my heels with a 2 x 4 for a couple of hours. That's probably not fair to say since I haven't actually experienced it. I'll just stick with saying that my feet are killing me.

Today we saw a few pastors who represent church bodies that are supporting our work from Florida and Arizona. It was great to connect with these guys. They were encouraged to hear about what God has been up to in Las Vegas. I could not imagine what it would be like to do this work without the sense of their support at many different levels. This is true of the many individuals from around the country who also support us.

I just looked out my hotel window. We are staying in downtown Dallas. The lights are on in 40% of the offices in the skyscrapers to our east.

I have enjoyed the way that the wind blows through the city streets. It is so refreshing as one walks along.

Yesterday I saw the x that is painted on the road where JFK was shot in the back of the head. I took a moment and tried to imagine what that day must have been like. It must have been a horrible mess for so many who were there along the streets.

We'll be starting a new bible study on the topic of marriage this Friday. It will be hosted by some new friends of ours in North Las Vegas. I'm looking forward to the new relationships that will form as well as the work that God's word will do in hearts. I'll write with an update next week.


It is exactly midnight here in Dallas. No, my computer is showing Nevada time. It is exactly 2:00 a.m. here in Dallas. Looks like tonight will be my fourth night running with less than 4 hours sleep. No. I think I'm going to skip breakfast and get a few more minutes of sleep.

Today I was able to catch up with many friends, most of whom I have not seen in over a year.

Eric and I had to grab a cab tonight to get back to our hotel. As we pulled in I noticed what looked like a Koran on the floor of the cab. I asked our driver about it. He also had a Bible in the passenger seat. He is a Muslim. He has been reading the Bible for about one month. His familiarity with the Biblical texts is astounding. He struggles to believe that the Bible is God's word for a variety of reasons. First, if there is anything mentioned that would be contrary to the Koran he will go with the Koran. Secondly, he struggles to understand how God could allow sin to take place while not doing anything about it (in his opinion the cross is not a display of God's active engagement in justice for evil). To make his point he mentioned Lot's daughters who got their dad drunk in order to have sex with him. Thirdly, he can't believe that the Bible is God's word because of the explicit command to kill men, women, and children in certain countries when God's people were settling the land. These are difficult issues. He wants to have more conversation in the months ahead. We had 35 minutes of dialog in his cab in front of our hotel tonight.

The irony is that the last time I was in a cab--late April in southern Florida--Eric and I had a conversation with our Muslim cab driver. He was a very dear man, and was very open to understanding the Bible.

These conversations have served to sharpen my own faith and have also been a help to make me a better listener to the faith statements of others.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


This past Sunday afternoon Eric took the baton again as we work with the first two sets of members at City-Wide Redeemer to talk about God's work in the world and our individual roles to play. At Sunday afternoon's session Eric led everyone through a typical spiritual gift inventory. After some great discussion everyone revealed what they perceive to be their top three or four gifts. As we went around the room there was one gift that kept showing up over and over again. It is the gift of faith--being able to trust God with an unusual sense of confidence in Him. Of course! Why wouldn't God put together such an abnormally faith-filled group except that hardly anything else is more needed during the early days of a church plant such as this one. I was, and remain, very encouraged to see yet another way that God's hand is in this work.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Good News on my Head

I was able to see the doctor on Friday. He told me that all of my problems were in my head. "Thanks, Dr." The conversation was actually quite funny in retrospect. He asked me to tell him why I was there. I explained as best I could the nature of the aches and pains in my head. He asked a few diagnostic questions such as, "Have you hit your head on anything lately?"

Then he asked me what I do for a living. I told him that I serve as a pastor. He paused.

"Oh, OK. I know what the problem is."


"Yes, you have muscles that extend from your neck almost to the top of your head. When you carry stress in these muscle groups you will feel the kinds of discomfort that you are experiencing. See? It is all in your head."

I left with a relief that brain cancer does not appear to be in the immediate future. (I'm praying for Sen. Kennedy's surgery today.) I also left with a prescription to play at least nine holes of golf each week and to take two or three walks along with a moderate bike ride.

Sunday morning didn't help with my stress relief. I'm typically the first person at the school before set-up begins. When I got there the custodian wasn't there. It was already 1/2 hours past the time he would normally arrive. I started to think of all the alternatives. We could meet for worship at the park down the street. We could get a PA system and have worship in our cars like at the drive through. We could go to Eric's house. Finally at 9:26 the custodian called me back.

"Rob, I have been calling to let you know that the custodian you assigned to be here this morning didn't make it yet."

"Philip, that was supposed to be me. Well, actually it wasn't. They told me that church was over."

"Interesting," I thought, "Church is over and nobody thought to tell the church."

"But the school took our money for June. What does that mean?"

"Philip, I can be there in 20 minutes."

I love this guy. He has always been so helpful for us. His wife is a dear person too.

So there we all were--about 60 of us yesterday--standing out in front of the theatre, ready to barge through the doors like a high school football team runs through the paper banner after half-time.

I need to go take a walk.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Prospect of Bad News

This morning I finally called and made an appointment with our primary care physician. I've had a dull ache in the back of my head (left side) for weeks now. It comes and goes, but lately it has been staying longer and longer each time. It feels like something is in there causing pressure. I can't trace the pain/ache to anything that I'm doing externally, but who knows?

Ever since I was a small child the thing that I feared most was brain cancer and or surgery that involved cutting into the skull. Last night I woke up to the pain at around 3:00 am and stayed up for more than an hour fighting off the thoughts of how difficult it would be to say goodbye for now to my children and bride. Those can be lonely moments between the sheets in the quiet darkness.

This morning I read Psalm 111-112. These lines from 112:6-7 are precious to me today:

"For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord."

It is interesting to me that the psalmist doesn't address sorrow, just fear. It is true that I don't have much fear today as I rest in God's goodness and look with fresh eyes at the promises given because of Jesus' resurrection. It is also true that I have some sorrow at the prospect of a life not lived beyond the adulthood of my children.

This post isn't meant to alarm, it is just a window into the quiet reflections of a heart that is still learning to trust the Lord in all things.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Prince Caspian

Tonight Eric and I each took out two oldest children, respectively, to the movies to see Prince Caspian which is based on C.S. Lewis' series, The Chronicles of Narnia. From the perspective of film quality, the movie was well done. The music, camera angles, and use of lighting were all well employed by the director.

The impact of a film like this is different for different people. For me, as one called into the vocational service of the Word, it brought two reactions. First, because the story conjures up so many details of the Story (God's gracious work of redeeming His fallen world and man made in His image), I am moved all the more to an urgent and faithful proclamation of God's salvation in Christ Jesus. I think we (the Church) are too quick to forget that we are a part of something real and wonderful. Secondly, the character of Lucy shows how little faith I really have. She sees what is unseen by her family, but what is there nonetheless. She stirred up my own eyes of faith as I encounter the preserved Word of God again this evening and as I now look with greater certainty to the return of the Lord Jesus. My prayer life won't be hurt either by this reminder of God's delight to work on behalf of those who trust him.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Wife, and a Few other Notes

I'm thankful for Angie today in new ways. That God would bless me with such a dear, caring, beautiful woman is beyond the math that I can do in my head. It just doesn't add up. I hope that I can be for her all that she is to me. She understands the depth of God's love for her in Christ Jesus. In response she loves Jesus. Out of that love relationship she loves me.

We are thinking about hosting a four week discussion on marriage at a local coffee shop named Saxby's. I think that they will be very open to the idea. We are going to approach them some time this week or next.

I have encountered many hurting people in the last few days. I can't wait to see how God resurrects their lives in the months ahead--at least that is what I'm praying for.

It's date night with Angie. I'm off to prepare a candle-lit strawberry, grapes, and cheese get-away at our kitchen table. You see, the official definition of a date does not necessitate leaving the house, it just requires the absence of children. You can imagine the joy of my 13 year-old when I ask him to go to his room at 8:00 p.m.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I just came in from giving our daughter her first golf lesson. I cut down an old golf club and re- taped the old grip onto the new end. She acted as though I had just handed her a new ping iron. Off to the park we went. I had to help her with a golf grip; she only knows her baseball bat grip to this point. She was hitting the ball well. It was going straight, about 20-25 yards each time she struck it. She asked me to hit a ball so that she could watch how I swing and how I lift the ball into the sky. It was awkward hitting with a club that had just been shortened by 12", but I gave it a shot. It went high all right. It bounced across the road, up onto a house roof, against the second floor wall, back onto the roof of their car in the driveway, and back into the street. Perfect shot! The good news is this: we have new friends now, Elmer and Maria. They were incredibly gracious and said that this golf lesson won't cost us any extra money. From now on we'll be heading to the driving range.

I knocked the glass out of a neighbor's window when I was 11. You'd think I would have learned! At least Hannah will have a funny memory of her dad whacking the golf ball against our neighbor's wall.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Yesterday I took off an ear of corn from one of our sweet corn stalks. I have no idea how you tell when corn is ready to be harvested. I should have looked up something in a book, but that would have taken all the adventure out of my afternoon stroll through the garden. The corn was ready, but not fully developed. Only about 10% of the kernels had ballooned to their full size. The rest remained small and clung to the cob. I took a bite. Amazing! Sweet and juicy! Somehow the 90% that didn't grow to maturity didn't matter as I enjoyed a kernel here and one there. What a treat! I planted, Angie and I watered, and God gave an increase. Tomorrow I'll be harvesting some more carrots.

I lost my best strawberry plant earlier in the week. There must have been 8 berries on it when I discovered that the soil all around it was being overtaken by some kind of fungus. It was milky, within the soil, and sponged out onto the surface of the dirt. I have know idea what it was, but the smell was terrible. Rather than risk the spread of this "goo" I took my shovel and excavated the entire area, including the strawberry plant.

Our one pumpkin plant has taken over the entire trellis that we staked in behind it. There have been several flowers, but no pumpkins yet. I think that we needed another pumpkin to provide some pollination. That was unexpected since so many varieties of veggies are self-pollinating.

There are many lessons about life within the borders of our garden. I'm still learning.

Other exciting things related to our gospel work in Las Vegas are just around the corner. I'll fill in some details over the next week or so, Lord willing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Special Image Bearers

Today several folks from City-Wide Redeemer volunteered to help at the Special Olympics event for southern Nevada. We saw long jumps that measured 3'9". We saw a sprinter run the 100 meter in 12.01 seconds. We saw a man walk the 50 meters in 41 seconds. We saw a seventh grader hurl the shotput more than 5 meters.

We saw people who are marginalized by society compete in track and field events. We saw athletes who actually did a better job of imaging their creator than most "normal" folks. The way that the athletes encouraged each other, while striving with all of their energies to do their best was incredibly refreshing.

One example: During the 4 x 100 meter relay two teams were paired up against each other. Ronald was in lane two. Christina was in lane one. They were each running the second leg for their respective teams. Christina was nervous about the exchange. As her teammate was approaching she began to take off. Ronald could see that his competitor would default if she left that early. He calmly said, "Not yet Christy." He then ensured that she waited until the right time to begin running through the exchange zone. He loved his neighbor as himself. I wish that I could always love my neighbors the way that he does.

I'm thankful that Sam Richardson got us involved this year. I'm hoping to coach an athlete next season. This Saturday I'll attend a practice and see what coaching would be all about. Should be fun. I hope to learn more about being a faithful image bearer of our great God.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Playing Catch-up

I can't believe that it is already the ninth day of May. Where does the time go? It's strange that over the last six days or so I have observed different events, said, "I need to get that on the blog," and now I can't remember a blasted thing! I am getting old(er) and struggling to remember.

There are many things happening right now. Tomorrow several of us from City-Wide Redeemer will join other volunteers at this year's Las Vegas Special Olympics for school children. I can't wait to get there in the morning. I think that our daughter is going to join me for the event. I hope that I can keep her from joining in the races. She makes a race out of everything these days. At this point if we can keep her from racing through her bath and brushing her teeth we consider it a victory. And after all, is it really such a bad thing if she wants to race her brother to see who gets to sleep the fastest? That is our favorite race as parents!

A few new families have begun to join us for worship on Sundays, or have begun to attend our community groups or women's study. They are all dear people. I'm looking forward to getting to know them more personally. That, though, becomes increasingly difficult as we grow in size. It has been very gratifying to see how well the people of CWR take initiative to welcome and get to know newcomers. Everybody has a story and they seem to recognize how important it is to hear that story even as we seek to share the good news of the gospel with our lives and our words.

I've been thinking much lately about the importance of making disciples. I don't know how it is that we have reduced the work of the church to filling up more chairs on Sunday mornings. Every time I ask another church planter how things are going it seems like that is the measure of data that most explains their progress. It seems like that is what people want to hear when they ask me the same question. It seems like that is all outsiders to the church know to ask about too. They hear that we are part of a church and the first question is, "Where do you meet?"

That is an important question. And maybe it makes the most sense to ask that question. But do they observe any other fabric that holds together Christ's church? Do they observe transformation taking place in the homes of their neighbors to such an extent that "Where do you meet?" becomes a secondary question. I am convinced more and more that the Sunday service of worship should be seen as something that is flowing out of what is happening in our lives throughout the week. It should be a continuation of worship that happened Monday through Saturday. What does all of this mean? It means that I have to grow in my own view of worship. It points me back again to the importance of making disciples too. If I go any further it will just take us all to needless rambling. I'll write more once I have more crystallized thoughts on the matter.

We have had three new neighbors move in on our street this week too. Very cool! In the midst of this current housing slump I didn't expect to see any new neighbors for a while. But, people are still moving into Las Vegas by the thousands each month. Thousands are leaving too. A mortgage broker told me that February saw 8,000 move in and 5,200 move out for a net gain of 2,800. That is still a lot of people. That is a 1% population increase each month.

The pizza I just ordered is here. Angie is reposing with a killer migraine. That meant that I had to "cook."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Back in Town

It was so good to walk in the door late last night and see four people who couldn't wait to put their arms around me. The feeling was mutual. I had a great flight home from Boca Raton. It was very bumpy going over the Rocky Mountains, but any flight that lands is a good flight in my book. As we were leaving Ft. Lauderdale to my connecting flight in Nashville the Southwest Airlines flight attendant was singing her own version or "Rolling, rolling, rolling down the river..." As she sung, though, there was a man who sung the echo during the refrain. It was Steve McNair, newly retired NFL quarterback. I'm glad that he knows how to have fun. He was very gracious as folks meandered over to him for autographs and pictures in the airport terminal.

The last day of our conference in Boca was incredible. We closed out the evening with a service of worship and the Lord's Supper. Most of the song lyrics were in the native Haitian, Mexican, and Portuguese tongues of the many pastors who were there. I now am looking forward, all the more, to the day when we stand in the presence of our Savior and hear his praises in the voices of all nations--fulfilling God's promise made to a nomad named Abraham more than 4400 years ago today.

I'm swamped today playing catch-up ahead of this weekend. There are lots of things to report, but you'll have to check in on Monday for further updates.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010