Category Archives: Life

Halloween

kidstrickortreatOne word that drives me nuts, alternative. Something about the way I read the Bible leads me to believe I should be living life to the full and not living an alternative to life.

What brings this thought to the surface of my mind? Seems like every year we have conversations around the subject of what our church is going to do for an alternative. I tell people simply we are not about alternatives, but about being present with our community. We are about being present where life is happening and being a light right in the center of cultural norms.

That said…Halloween is not something to hide or develop a subcultural moment hidden away from our neighbors, but we should turn on the lights and Continue reading Halloween

Right Questions

I think the Lord is showing me something I have seen over and over, but missed for the last decade.  We are all in a group, but are we intentionally present?  Do we even realize we are in a group?  Do we understand our potential impact in the lives of those within the group?  How could we make an impact in the lives of those we do life with?

Here is what made me go over the edge and begin really pondering this thought path. Continue reading Right Questions

Blog Posts from Indonesia

Yay…I was finally able to log back into my blog.  It has been a bit moody with me trying to post from Indonesia.

That said, you can see visually what we have been doing by checking out the following:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facbook (I have been uploading many many photos and telling our story through visual elements.  It uploads way quicker for this internet that goes in and out.)

Today Dana is taking all the church staff spouses out to lunch and we are hitting up the Youth Service tonight.  Tomorrow we have the opportunity to have lunch with a new couple from the church, treating them like we would if they came through the doors at Open Life.  Should be a great cultural experience as they are from Latvia.

One of the things that has been bothering me since Sunday, I met more than one person at ICA that mentioned to me that they had studied for periods of up to 8 years in the States and never met a Christian the whole time they were there.  They met people who didn’t have faith, but nobody ever invited them to church even.  For those who are in church, don’t let that be the story of those you meet.  Discipleship begins with an introduction.  We are meeting people everyday who are seeking life, and we have the key to life in our understanding of Jesus.  Let’s not sleep on the job!

Anyway…we have great ministry happening and can’t wait to see what is yet to come after a quick break in Bali.  We are back in Surabaya and pastoring away!

#indo13

Update from Indonesia

Been a couple days…things have been crazy busy with ministry and fun.

Sunday was great sharing at ICA East.  I preached the first in a 4 week series called Mindful.  There were so many people who expressed their appreciation of the talk and how it was perfect timing.  Love seeing how God can speak a message to a communicator across the world and make it timely for those here in Indonesia.  AMAZING

After service we went out to another crazy good restaurant where Jaiden ate nearly a whole family sized serving plate of Kung Pao Chicken.  She is loving the spicy foods!  Taking after her daddy for sure.

Sunday night we invited the staff over for Homemade Apple Crisp at the house.  Was fun to watch the girls open up and the whole family get to know some great people.

Yesterday we spent the day at the zoo.  Long drive from the house (2 and 1/2 hours into the Volcanic mountains.  There was traffic all the way.  This zoo allowed you to get so close to the animals .  Dana placed some of the photos from the zoo on her Facebook HERE.

I continue to see crazy stuff from our driving around.  Here are a few moment in picture.

Another day on the roads of Surabaya
Another day on the roads of Surabaya
Largest Mosque in Surabaya.  This place is huge.
Largest Mosque in Surabaya. This place is huge.
The white lines mean nothing in Surabaya, and obviously the shoulder is just another potential lane!
The white lines mean nothing in Surabaya, and obviously the shoulder is just another potential lane!
They are constantly burning their trash here, so smoke is a constant.  The Volcanos are constantly releasing ash into the atmosphere as well, so you are driving along and suddenly you see a mountain that has been there the whole time, you can just finally see it.
They are constantly burning their trash here, so smoke is a constant. The Volcanos are constantly releasing ash into the atmosphere as well, so you are driving along and suddenly you see a mountain that has been there the whole time, you can just finally see it.
Taking picks of kids on bikes never gets old.
Taking picks of kids on bikes never gets old.
When you have an oversized load a Uturn can break your axel.  Just another day on the road.
When you have an oversized load a Uturn can break your axel. Just another day on the road.
you see it all on the road
you see it all on the road
Every light another opportunity for business.  At least these were adults and not the 4 year olds at most other lights.
Every light another opportunity for business. At least these were adults and not the 4 year olds at most other lights.
Because they can I guess!
Because they can I guess!
Who wants to work on this scaffolding?
Who wants to work on this scaffolding?
Let's put a bunch of sticks together and climb to the top.  WOW
Let’s put a bunch of sticks together and climb to the top. WOW
Look at the reality of this image.  They are trying to keep the demolition from falling on those going into a restaurant below.  What I don't think the guy with the hammer realizes, is the way this is going to fall when he hits it.
Look at the reality of this image. They are trying to keep the demolition from falling on those going into a restaurant below. What I don’t think the guy with the hammer realizes, is the way this is going to fall when he hits it.
Look the white man is taking my picture mom.
Look the white man is taking my picture mom.
Let's just say Jenna was afraid that the animals we could reach through and touch might eat her little brother.
Let’s just say Jenna was afraid that the animals we could reach through and touch might eat her little brother.
Never have I been this close to something so beautiful and huge.  I could literally feel and smell it's breath from the two feet away where I was.  Good thing the sign warned me not to stick my fingers in.  I would have totally not known to keep my hands out.  LOL
Never have I been this close to something so beautiful and huge. I could literally feel and smell it’s breath from the two feet away where I was. Good thing the sign warned me not to stick my fingers in. I would have totally not known to keep my hands out. LOL
Don't look now but there is an animal right behind you! "really?"
Don’t look now but there is an animal right behind you! “really?”
Just us with some crazy characters
Just us with some crazy characters
They thought being close to the animals was fun when they were small enough to be on the other side of the cage we were riding in.
They thought being close to the animals was fun when they were small enough to be on the other side of the cage we were riding in.
As the animals got bigger...everyone on board became a bit scared.  Especially this lady who chose to hide in Dana's lap.
As the animals got bigger…everyone on board became a bit scared. Especially this lady who chose to hide in Dana’s lap.
Don't look now, but I think it's time for another skirt Chief!
Don’t look now, but I think it’s time for another skirt Chief!
Don't look now, but I think we are about to get eaten!  Nice little kitty kitty.  Kids get in the car...LOL
Don’t look now, but I think we are about to get eaten! Nice little kitty kitty. Kids get in the car…LOL

#indo13

Starting Day 3

It is not easy making time to send these updates.  While we have not been that busy with ministry yet (that begins tonight for us), we have been busy meeting people and sharing life in Indonesia.

The jet lag is a brute.  It certainly can get the best of you.  We barely were able to keep our eyes open till 7 on Wednesday night and then last night we didn’t even go out to dinner until 7:30…needless to say the table made a good pillow for the girls to sleep on (see pic here)!

Some highlights from the second half of day one and all of day two.

  • The kids love the food! (see pic here), they have been saying that every meal is their favorite so far.  Think that is a good thing!
  • The roads take a bit of getting used to…certainly at night.  The motorcycles fly by you with little kids on with two adults.  It is dizzying to look at and you constantly feel like someone is going to die in front of you.
  • We have been inspired by the vision of ICA Surabaya.  From the 100 photo frames on the walls representing the churches they are planting to their heart for young people and raising support for them to further their education after reaching them for Jesus.
  • Jenna discovered “Lizzy”.  That is what we named the lizard that hangs out near the kitchen AC unit.  Needless to say she had a bit of a meltdown due to that.  I will try and post the vid later, but you can pray for her embrace of the 4 legged creatures that visit.
  • The US dollar goes far here…about 11,000 to 1.  So yesterday I spent $35,000 on a quad Americano.  That Add Shot was $5,000.  Painful, but fun.
  • A member of ICA invited us to use her pool at an Apartment complex.  The kids were refreshed as was I.  It was interesting as the pool had steps going down, three steps, but when you got to step 4 it was a 6 ft. drop.  Caught the girls by surprise a bit for sure.

Today we are making some gifts for everyone here that we brought with us, called Ole Ole, prepping for a youth leadership talk to some outreach teens, and finishing prep for Sunday’s talk.  Tomorrow we go to the graveyard ministry outreach and are excited to begin being busy reaching out to people!

#indo13

We made it

Nothing like traveling for 3 days of your life.  That pretty much sums up our experience thus far.  We left our home just after 10pm on Sunday and arrived at the Taylor’s beautiful home in Surabaya at 12:30am on Wednesday.  We only traveled for 36 hours of that.  Confusing huh?  Well that is what our bodies think as well.IMG_9892

You can track some of our photos on my Instagram as we have wifi I will post the iphone versions of what is happening.

Fun notes from day one included:

  • The first 12hour flight was a piece of cake.  We were worried about that one the most, but it actually went quick.  (The landing was another story as we came down into a very powerful lightning storm.  You could see it out of the windows IMG_9902and when we landed it was loud booms and crackles.  That got the girls a bit scared and nervous)
  • The lay over in Taipei took more out of us than we thought.  We didn’t know where to look for food, so we found ourselves eating some muffins and hydrating a bit. We were tired, so we found some seats and crashed.  After that we found the more restful space on the 4th floor of the airport and enjoyed ourselves a bit more as Preston and Jaiden were a big hit with the locals.  IMG_9945Their waving, dancing and interactions were photo material for those passing by. We moved around every couple hours of the 13 we were there to help pass time and the play areas in the mall portions of the airport were perfect.
  • The storm was so severe that many flights were being delayed and cancelled so we were almost positive our trip was going to become a lot longer than we desired, but somehow by the grace of God our flight was the first one on time out of the hour or two preceding it.
  • We made is safely into Surabaya, Indonesia on time, but Dana and I had slept so deeply on the flight that we didn’t even have our immigration forms completed.  The culture showed itself as the plane came to a stop.  All of those on board shoved their way to the front of the exit of the plane.  It’s a cultural thing to shove and cut in line we were told, so we were supposed to just shove back and say “permisi”.  Well, we didn’t do that…we kindly let those go before us that were in such a hurry and exited the plane last.  But they thought everyone had gone by the time we reached the exit door and found ourselves locked in a hallway for a bit.  IMG_9961The Indonesian authorities figured out how to get us out of there and on our way but it was kind of funny.
  • When exiting they didn’t give us a bad time at all about why we were here or what was in our luggage.  Sometimes they do for westerners, but we had much grace there.  We made our way outside to a mob of people from Surabaya.  It looked like a crazy crowd waiting for Justin Beiber to exit the plane, so they must have been bummed to see us!  LOL
  • The car ride from our very hospitable hosts was quick and easy.  We were tired and crashed without even taking the time to figure out the wifi to tell people we made it.
  • We slept good and woke up ready to get the day started with sermon planning team meeting and Dana headed out to do some shopping for food.  We saw the church and had some really good food.  The girls said we need to eat there often because they love noodles.
  • In the church we saw a wall where they have 100 photo frames and the first 28 have pictures of their completed churches.  I posted an image of #29 on my Instagram…we will be building this one in 3 weeks.  And have a place on the wall of vision.

Well…going to hang with the family today and get an early night to bed before hitting the ministry roles tomorrow.

#indo13

The Impossible

Seems like every week I hear an impossible story of someone finding their way to God.  Last night I snagged a Red Box movie to watch with Dana and it was an emotional one for sure.  The Impossible is a true story, I cannot fathom the depth of loss and pain those suffered who were a part of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, but this movie grasps some of that pain.

I could not help but ponder while trying to go to sleep knowing that the unexpected is just seconds from any of our lives.   Continue reading The Impossible

Belief before Behavior

Many people avoid the church because they know a Christian! If that stings…keep church helpreading.

I often offer to do coffee with those who have yet to experience faith in Jesus due to Christian’s impact within their life. There is something beautiful about the tension they experienced and the redemptive potential of their life.

More often than not the issue that chased them away from the church is they were prescribed behavioral changes before they experienced belief changes.

Someone intending to keep the church holy Continue reading Belief before Behavior

Until there are stories

I found myself saying this while teaching at a bootcamp for church planters called Starting Point this past week, “until there are stories, we won’t truly know if people are on the mission with us”.  Focussing our churches on leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus through whatever expression of that they see best fit for their context, city, etc; we really never know if it is working until we have stories.

  • Stories of life change
  • Stories of behavioral impact
  • Stories of influence
  • Stories of love in action

I feel blessed to have stories in my life, but have a greater passion every day to capture the stories of those we are leading.  In fact, I get greater pleasure out of hearing the stories of those active on the mission, than sharing those of my being active on the mission.

So…here it goes.  What are your stories?  Stories of connecting, serving and sharing your life and the gospel.