Everyone Has A Story…

Imagine that man walking the halls while proclaiming, “I exist! I exist!”

Isay claims that a microphone gives the journalist access to people and places where he or she would not normally be allowed.  How might the church share and show good news through the art of active listening and authentic storytelling?  Or what this TED Talk refers to as “bearing witness”.

Maybe hearing someone’s story reminds us that God is working… and we might just begin seeing people not for what they are but what they might become?

But then when do we speak?  When is “walking in love” not enough?  But, in the context of relationship (and high trust), we are able to share truth?  When do we point them to God’s Story (and the part that they play and are already playing)?


Everyone Has A Story…

The Lazarus Life…

After recently being given a copy from a trusted mentor, I would highly recommend Stephen W. Smith’s The Lazarus Life: Spiritual Transformation for Ordinary People.  Some of my favorite quotes can be captured on Instagram.

The author proposes, “But with thought, reflection, and prayer, we can identify what is holding us back and begin to unravel the grip of the graveclothes and move toward Jesus – the source of life” (139).  He then goes on to list a few examples…

  • Self-Rejection.  Until we accept our true identity as the beloved – the one in whom God is truly delighted – we can never be completely free from the grip of self-doubt, defeat, and inner confusion.
  • Fear. 
    • Health:  What if I get sick?
    • Relationships:  Does anybody really love me?
    • Money:  Do I have enough to make it?
    • Spirituality:  Is God really there?
      Wounds:  Do I have to limp through life with this wound in my soul?
    • Work:  Can I do the job?
  • Guilt.  God uses guilt so we can feel uneasy about our wrongdoings.  But wrongdoing is different from “wrong-being.”  Wrong being is feeling condemned by our own hearts or by the voice of others.  Wrong being results in a sense of worthlessness that undermines God’s forgiveness and our ability to trust that if God accepts us, then surely we can accept ourselves.
  • Shame and blame.  Blame says, “I’ve done wrong.”  Shame says, “I am wrong.”  We feel disqualified before we even begin the journey to Jesus.
  • Disappointment.  This can hinder our forward movement toward Jesus because we instead cling so tightly to our rights of being the “disappointed one” or “hurt one” and thus our expectations become a heavy load.
Where does your struggle lie?
The Lazarus Life…

Peter and the Starcatchers…


As many of you know by now, our family has been on a several year journey of reading together on a regular basis (most selections being Newbery Medal Award Winners).  
I have updated my rankings accordingly.  The following list does not include the works that did not happen to win the award (but that we still enjoyed together) such as the seven books included in The Chronicles of Narnia, Hatchet (an honor recipient), The Hobbit, or the current series that we just started (more on this later).  
Here is the list to date (along with my respective reviews): 
For our most recent novel (upon a recommendation that came from a trusted relative), we decided to read Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatcher (the first of five books that been published in the series thus far).
We really enjoyed the prequel to the traditional Peter Pan narrative.  My favorite quote when the author suggested, ““If Peter was nine, and a new boy came to St. Norbert’s Home for Wayward Boys who said he was ten, why, then, Peter would declare himself eleven. Also, he could spit the farthest. That made him the undisputed leader.” 
Have you ever wondered how Peter became Peter?  Or who Captain Hook was before his hook?  How did any of these characters stumble upon Neverland (or how the island became so magical in the first place)?  Then jump into this story – it does not disappoint! 


As far as our next selection, we will continue The Starcatcher Series with Peter and the Shadow Thieves.  Have you yet to read any of them?  If so, do you care to share your experience? 

Peter and the Starcatchers…

Turnaround Pastor…

I recently was given a book written by Don Ross (Team Leader of the Northwest Ministry Network and Coach from Turnaround Church) titled Turnaround Pastor (a truly compelling collection of his personal stories and proven strategies).  Some of my favorite quotes can be found on Instagram.

Honestly, I always thought that I would be a turnaround pastor – playing an instrumental part in reviving and redirecting a church back onto a Christ-centered mission.  Years ago, I actually set out on my continued educational journey with the intent of writing a thesis  centered on such subject matter.  It was not until I was two classes away from completion that Jesus grabbed my attention and affection for a church plant in the Tri-Cities instead.  That being said, our church holds the conviction that we are disciples who make disciples and a church that plants more churches.  I honestly would not be surprised in the least bit if at sometime (and somewhere) down the road that we take part in adopting a declining church and breath fresh air within that particular work.  I truly believe that the question is not if we multiply but how.  I am fairly certain that our future venues, sites, and plants will arise and flourish under very different means and methods.  I am excited as I think of the possibilities of truly going where the people are rather than expecting them to come to us! 

My favorite chapter (as it relates to the second part) was the “Turnaround Pastor Profile”.  Ross proposes several hard-hitting questions (such as):

  • Mission:  Do you use your mission statement as both a compass for direction and a filter to know what to say yes and no to (89)?. 
  • Vision:  Do you have a clear picture in your mind of your church’s preferred future?  If yes, could you list some of the critical features of that vision 92)?  
  • Leadership:  What situation in your church or life requires you to make a courageous decision (94)? 
  • Pain:  Where do you feel pain in your life and/or ministry (96)? 
  • Endurance:  What are the top three things that steal your ability to endure and persevere (98)?  
  • Money management:  Does your church have any financial conflicts in its past?  If so, how will you or how have you dealt with them (100)?  
  • Facilities:  Do your facilities enhance your church’s mission or impeded it?  Explain (102). 
  • Tenure:  How long are you willing to give to the church you serve?  Will you give three years, five years, ten years or more (104)?  
  • Peer support:  Do [trusted pastors] have permission to ask you the hard questions?  Do you have permission to ask them the hard questions (106)?  
  • God’s word:  It if is true that we reproduce after our own kind, then your church will feed on God’s word as you do.  How does that make you feel (108)? 
  • Spirit:  What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life?  Your church?  Your future (110)?  
  • Prayer:  How can I praise God my Father (113)?  

Turnaround Pastor…