Friday, February 27, 2009

So close

It was early morning one day this week. The sun was barely peaking over the eastern mountains when our group teed up on the 5th hole at Durango (a local municipal golf course for the average Joe). No wind, 167 yards to the flag, and a six iron in my hands. The ball leapt off the club face and headed for the cloudless sky. "That's headed right at it," remarked a friend. "That's got a chance," followed another. One bounce in front of the flag and right into the cup...and out again only to rest 24" from the cup.

When I got on the green I noticed that the flag had not been replaced properly by the group in front of us, leaning slightly back and left. Would it have made a difference? I'll never know.

So close.

At least I had three hours outside with good friends in the beauty of the desert.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Glenn's Got a Place

Yesterday was an incredible day for me personally, and for the whole of City-Wide Redeemer. Many people know Glenn's story. We met Glenn on the street about six months ago. He was without one leg, in a wheelchair, and homeless. God provided what was needed to pay a doctor in town to build a prosthesis for his leg. Once he began walking again, Glenn began his search for work. His search continues, and he has spent most nights in a shelter downtown.

The biggest challenge with the shelter has been that Glenn never gets any rest. Sleeping in a place where thieves are always on the lookout for their next target means that the sleep Glenn has been getting for the past few years has not been refreshing.

Last night that all changed. We were informed that a friend of someone in the congregation has a condo in town that is not being used. He offered it to us to use in any way we saw fit. The decision was easy. A quick announcement during our worship yesterday morning led to nearly a dozen deliveries of consumables and perishables for Glenn's new place.

When we picked up Glenn yesterday afternoon we turned his attention to the back of Eric's van. "That's all for your new place, Glenn." He could not hold back the tears, and neither could I.

This morning Glenn called me. He sounded so refreshed. Tomorrow he will resume his job search, with clean clothes, no backpack to drag around with the sum of his possessions, and a refreshed appearance in his eyes. After we spoke for a few minutes he said something I'll never forget. He said, "This means more to me than you can imagine. I can't believe this is happening to me. God is real and I know he loves me. All the glory to God! I know you guys did this, but I just want to give him the glory!"

Me too, Glenn. Me too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ready the Troops

Bob Roberts, the pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in Texas, has written a trilogy of books (my description, not his) on being the missional church. I've just finished reading Transformation, in which his basic biblical premise is this: Church planting happens through discipleship as Christians experience life transformation and move out into their communities and into the world as kingdom participants. The focus is very much centered on discipleship, so he often has to remind his readers of the need for God's people to focus on being the church as opposed to going to church. True, true.

So it's easy to ready people with whom you already agree, granted, but he provides some fresh language for concepts with which I've been wrestling for some time. I highly recommend the read to anyone interested in the topic.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book came as he writes under the heading, "What Is the Church and Who Is the Pastor?" Here's part of what he says:

If the church were a base [for the spiritual operation of advancing into
global evangelization], then the pastor would look less like a chaplain or
preacher and more like a soldier mobilizing the troops for massive advances. I
didn't realize my new role until a few years after we got into that mode of
operation. If fact, when I once asked a panel of my advisers, "Do you think of
me more as a preacher or as a pastor? the response was intriguing

One of the men quickly said, "Neither." That concerned me, since we were
evaluating my role and the church. fortunately, he swiftly followed that
statement with another: "Bob, you're a soldier, and you're turning this church
into an army!"

He was right, I had evolved into a new paradigm for the role of senior
pastor. In [this] model, the role of he pastor undergoes specific shifts--from
chaplain/preacher to soldier/diplomat. From a stateside motivator to the
in-the-field model of how it's to be done.

This is the kind of discipleship model that we pursuing at City-Wide Redeemer. It seems to most parallel that pattern of Jesus. It requires a leadership that is teaching and modeling the truth in the context of going down the road, so to speak. It's life-on-life, not information-on-life. It's the player-coach model versus trying to organize and orchestrate things from the offensive coordinator's box high above the playing field. And to be honest, it's a great privilege to be on the front line getting such an up close perspective on the action as God does His work in and through His people.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Misc Items from the Past Week

It's Monday morning and another week is already upon me. My family is well. I began a weekly Bible study breakfast with my oldest last Friday. We are working through the book of Proverbs together first. So far we've just made it through the introduction.

I've got yet another difficult passage to preach next Sunday, Luke 12:49-59. Sure isn't rainbows and unicorns, that's for sure. It's been helpful for me to remember that the One who said the things He did in Luke 12 was on His way to be killed for the sake of us rebels. Even His warnings are gracious.

I am really enjoying the time I have each week with a Journey group that I'm leading. Being able to learn from the other men as we discuss, apply, and pray through different aspect of faithfulness as disciples has been deeply encouraging to me.

We have several new families beginning to join us on Sundays for worship at CWR. I am thankful to see how new people are greeted with genuine kindness by the others.

A couple members of CWR have begun an outreach bible study to teenage girls. They are giving away six bibles tomorrow to girls who have never owned one. I can't wait to see where this goes.

Our community group is going to meet a man whose wife died suddenly in the shower about six months ago. He is left with three children. He has also gone blind over the past couple of years, so cooking for his children is impossible. I hope that we can be an encouragement to this family. I am amazed at the ways God brings these people into our path so that we can have the privilege of knowing and serving them, and growing as a result their relationship.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Work Continues

I was speaking with a teen this afternoon who said to me, "I hate who I've become...I can't stand to see myself in the mirror. I feel sorry for the ways that I've fought with my parents, the language I've been using, [etc.]"

That was a great opportunity to share with this young man that repentance is still an open door forward. I told him that God is calling us to a willingness to change. There is a sorrow that leads to a willingness to change, and to be changed, but there is a sorrow that leads unto death--the one that is without repentance and only leads to further self contempt and rebellion.

As our conversation continued I invited him to read from 2 Corinthians 7. He cried through the reading. He knows the gospel, but today I believe it became more real to him as he looked again to Jesus.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


That hurt. At least we were able to watch the game with 50 great friends from City-Wide Redeemer at Eric's place. Thanks, Eric.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010