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 die...so 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 in...you 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.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010