An Unconditional Love for You

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So often we feel alone and unworthy. So often we push away from the idea that we might be accepted because we can’t accept ourselves.
Here is a great reminder for you of God’s loving pursuit for us.

So thankful to my friends at Explore God for producing such fantastic resources like this video. Check them out at http://www.exploregod.com

The Problem with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Seattle (Unintentionally building a environment of dependancy)

When I was a teenager I was a big rough  kid… I boxed since I was four and as someone who excelled in athletics, I was tougher than the average bear.  I remember going down to the local park, or beach where we’d all drink way to much and get into trouble. One of the things that would inevitably happen was “strolling for trouble”. Here’s how that works, you’ve probably seen it or maybe even been a part of it. Generally a couple little guys (with big chips on there shoulders) would lead the group walking off ahead of myself and generally another big guy or two… They would inevitably cause some sort of trouble and a confrontation would arise. Thats when we would show up. Things rarely came to blows, but it was always a exercise in might makes right & bigger is better. I don’t know why we did it, I guess it made the big guys feel valued and needed while the little guys felt empowered and respected, maybe part of something bigger than themselves, with a sense of being tough by association. The worldly problem with this is, they never actually learned to fight, their strength was by association alone. Their only skill was to rely on someone else’s ability…

I’m beginning to wonder if there are too many Christians strutting around waiting for Mark Driscoll to come to the rescue. Here is what I mean. I currently  work as a college pastor in the greater Seattle area, and despite the cultural disdain for Christianity and living in Mars Hill territory, I am in the midst of developing a thriving college ministry… I will be honest though, I belong a very small minority of churches  that even try to do college ministry in this town.

You would think churches in the area would look at Mars Hill and think Wow! look at the difference they are making, I’m jumping in with both feet and we are going to join the battle (To their credit their a number of churches pursuing the younger generation, Quest ChurchCity ChurchEastlake, and Overlake). However even the churches that are pursuing this generation have almost all succumbed to the Big show, attractional model, and have all but abandoned having any sort of missional campus presence.

I have to admit, I think one the biggest reasons why is because we all live in the shadow of Mars Hill… Mark Driscoll has become the Q-tip, the Jello, the name brand association of what a pastor should look and sound like in the puget sound…He created the model, not a model for ministry. Now I will be the first to admit Mark has done way, way more good than bad. As a matter of fact one of the most influential sermons I have ever heard was taught by Mark, It was at a regional conference that Mark put on where he taught through through Nehemiah, I still use that outline for all my ministry development. That being said, when I’m on campus, everyone just wants to bring the big show to campus, most of the college kids I interact with on a daily basis are like why share Jesus, we just need Mark.

Those of us that are out there in ministry need to be willing to break out of this reliance  on Mark Driscoll to come in a clean up the City and our Colleges, He can’t do it alone… and he shouldn’t have to, we need to learn to fight on our own. We may not have the stature or the size but we serve the same God. To the college students out there, you are ambassadors or Christ, be strong and courageous, start living on mission you don’t need a large elaborate ministry with an amazing speaker to change your world, you just need to be a willing vessel.

And before you all dog me out for putting down Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll, I’m not. Mark is the first person to tell you pastors to find your own voice, to do your own cultural exegesis, to not try to be a Mark Driscoll or an Andy Stanley or whoever else. And Mark is the first to kick his own congregation in the gut to get them to move, unfortunately there are still way to many people out there that just want to watch the effects of the gospel, as opposed to being part of the gospel story.

To Covet Community (Does the Church owe the LGBTQ Community an apology) a follow up

First thing I would like to say is that I am incredibly grateful to all the people that came out and brought such incredible value to The Forum. You are all incredible. Id also like to thank everyone who commented or emailed me in regards to the last blog.

Today I want to share what I would say has to be my biggest takeaway of the day. I think one of the biggest apologies that we need to make not only to the Gay & Lesbian Community, but to ourselves, and to the world is that we have not maintain a true community. That is one of the things that hit me the hardest as I stood up and took questions. The LGBTQ community is immediately and openly welcoming of people that share in their lifestyle. Their community sees, beyond color, economics, gender and education. We seem to be constantly divided,  why would people want to be involved in with us.  I heard this over and over in the large group as well as in the smaller discussion after the Forum. Why would we expose our hearts when inevitably we will be rejected. We get all the love all the support all the family and fellowship that you could want. Why would we come to the church where even of some might look past our sexual gender surely we will be rejected, its just a matter of time.

As someone that has run in the Criminal community, there is a greater understanding of a general acceptance than in Christianity. Now certainly I am generalizing, and I have people that I have incredible community with some in the Faith. But I think we need to really examine what is the state of our community. How does it look to the outsider? And shouldn’t the Body of Christ bring from the world because of the love we demonstrate to one another?  It was the Commandment that Christ gave us that if we obeyed the world would recognize us without a banner of a building.

Later on Tuesday the group of guys (the Barbarians) that I meet with took a long hard look at Psalm 133

Psalm 133: 1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Do we realize that our fellowship, our unity is not only just holy, and good, and right before the Lord. But that it is beautiful, and life giving, and it is a demonstration of grace and hope?

Consider this, do  your relationships  say more to the world than your religion.

I hope to have a audio and video link uo in the next week for The Forum

Blessings