100 + You

100+youMy church has listed the 100+ ways that we are serving our community and some other areas on the globe. At last count we were supporting 95 missionary families and a slew of para-church organizations. From goats to bibles to shoes, there are SO MANY WAYS for our church family to plug in!

I’m so excited to see these initiatives grow. God is doing something remarkable at Calvary- continuing to bless longstanding efforts, and giving our leadership eyes to see new opportunities.

My hope is to have high school students plugged into a handful of these. We certainly don’t have the manpower to join each and every one of them, but we can certainly do some damage to a few of them!

Check out the list on the site! Can you guess which one I am the most excited about getting high schoolers involved with? If you guess it right I’ll buy ya lunch (even if you live in the UK).

forgive me for this post

I heard a sermon by Louie Giglio that has stuck with me called “Prayer: Remix“. It was about a handful of common prayers that people pray that are, well, pointless in his opinion. One of them was the prayer of Christians asking for forgiveness after they have already been forgiven.

I hear this all the time. It’s almost always 1 John 1:9 quoted. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

But if we are already forgiven, why do we need to ask for forgiveness?

Is there, perhaps, a better prayer than this one?

Why do you think people feel the need to keep asking for it?

the birds and the bees

I was five years old when I got “the talk“. Yep… five. My older brother Derek was there, I remember that much. He was nine.

My brother and I were about to move in with my dad, and my mom wanted to make sure that we got the story straight before we got there. She knew that my dad wasn’t going to talk to us about it (which was true, he never did).

I have a huge bucket of memories from those days, but I can’t remember one word my mom said to us. Not one word. I blacked out it all out. Maybe a counselor will find it some day…

Tomorrow night I’m beginning a teaching series with our highschool students called “Bow Chika Wow Wow“. It’s not really about sex though. More about our humanity… the temptations and urges that can jack up our lives if misused and abused.

So… when did YOU get “the talk”?

Parents… when do you plan on giving “the talk”?

And… shouldn’t it be more than one talk?

doubting ryan

Vodpod videos no longer available.

We played this video tonight at our high school group’s Wednesday night worship gathering. Melissa talked about her personal battles when it comes to doubt, and did some digging in Scripture to try and figure out what a healthy amount of doubt looks like. Because we all doubt sometimes, don’t we?

I know enough about God to know that he exists. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what He is doing, but I have a pretty good picture of who He is based on what I’ve learned from the bible, the world we live in, and my own story. I believe in his divine benevolence, but this article is about a guy who simply couldn’t believe in God’s divine benevolence. That article stirred up some doubts for me about the accuracy of the picture I have of God. I believe God is good, and that ultimately God can and will restore and heal this broken planet. But I’m human, and worms eating eyes stirs up doubt for me.

This guy is convinced that there isn’t a God. He says he knows there isn’t a god. I say I know there is. I used to doubt whether or not there was pretty before I became a Christian and even afterward for a couple years. But those doubts have decreased dramatically over the years.

It’s tricky because I trust God, but I buckle my seat belt. I trust God, but I lock my door at night. I trust God, but I save money for emergencies. I trust God, but I sometimes think my plan is better. I trust God, but I sure would like to see those hands of His.

I feel like I have pretty solid faith in God. I talk about my relationship with God, because that is what it is.

But sometimes I doubt, and I think that’s ok. Right?

Do you doubt? All the time or just occasionally? How does it affect you? If you attend a church, do you feel like it is a safe place to talk about your doubts?

going home again

Lindsay and I spent last week with some family in Arizona. (I’m writing this just a couple hours after returning home, so I haven’t really even had a chance to process all of the things bouncing around in my head. So I’ll just start typing and see what comes out.)

First: a little bit of context— I have had a ridiculous transformation take place in my life over the past eight years or so. Anyone who knows me has heard something about my colorful past, and knows that along the way everything changed for me. I am in no way the same person I was when I was 21, and I can safely say that it has very little to do with the natural effects of maturing as you get older (hold the jokes for a sec). It was Jesus.

That’s my story. I had my heart and soul ripped out and replaced by Jesus. No other explanation makes sense. THAT explanation doesn’t even make sense, but it’s the only one I’ve got.

My story, my life and specifically my job as a pastor has become (in my mind) a huge pink elephant in the room when my family gets together. Aside from one set of cousins and their kids, nobody is on board with Jesus in my family. Nobody is hostile or rude. Everybody is polite… but sometimes it is just weird in the room. And I don’t get it…

It’s so hard to live this life, this new life, in the context of my family. Even Jesus had a hard time in this context, so I’m in good company I guess. The weird thing is that everyone has seen the change, but I have no idea what any of them think about it because nobody talks about it.

What I’m struggling with is this: It is so much easier to be a pastor with friends, students, or even with complete strangers for that matter, than it is to be one with my aunts, uncles, or cousins who have known me my whole life.

People who have known me for 5 months know me better than most of my family who has known me for 30 years.

There’s a lot more to this, but is what I’m saying making sense to anyone out there?

culture making

I’ve just started reading “Culture Making” by Andy Crouch, and on page 12 he says this:

“I hope friends will read this book and begin to envision their friendships not just as the companionship of compatible individuals but as potentially transformative partnerships in the places where they live, study, work and play.”

Anybody wanna be my friend?

I need a reading buddy. I recommend books to people, but half the time I get the “Oh man, I’ve got sixty-four books to read first” line. When they do read the books I recommend, they are usually grateful! Pastors are the worst people to read with… they (we) are all too busy to actually read something that doesn’t plug into their next sermon or bible study. I need a stay-at-home dad with no kids to be my reading buddy.