Monday, October 26, 2009


Here's something to chew on this October Monday: vision is so much clearer when you see it! That may seem like a big "duh?!" to you, but when you can go to some cool place and say, "Look over there" and someone can actually experience it with their eyes, then that's pretty clear.

What's tougher is to see something that does not yet exist or has not happened. And yet, this is a part of the expectation most people have of me as the Sr. Pastor of a church (whether stated or unstated - most people think that I should know where the heck we are going). Below are random and not necessarily useful thoughts about vision.

1. Because church work is God planned, Spirit powered and has eternal implications humans are incredibly limited in seeing it.

2. I wish God would appear to me in dreams more when I ask him where he wants Eastview to go. It's not that I don't believe God can, has and maybe will appear in's just that he's not done that with me yet.

3. My real vision for Eastview is that more and more people do more and more of the Bible stuff we are already doing (prayer, preaching, serving, sharing the gospel at home and internationally, and giving).

4. When I lay out a ten year vision (like i did yesterday) you should hope it's inspired, but realize that even though I'm leading, I'm straining to see the clear picture just like everyone else.

5. I get energized by vision. Because it has such possibilities...such cool stuff that God might do with us and through us. I am one of those weirdos who love change and so a day of talking about changes for the next ten years is exciting!

6. Even though I've not gotten any visions, I do have confidence that God has his hands on what I shared yesterday. I've prayed about it, thought about it, talked about, prayed some more, sought wise counsel, prayed and planned with the elder team, etc... for about 7 months now. So I believe that we're going in the general direction. And that is exciting.

7. Looking back on other visions I and others have had throughout the years...they usually turn out much better than I at first envisioned (strange how God always does immeasurably more than I ask or imagine.

Well, that's all if you need to see the vision you can go to our website at and check out the sermon podcast.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It never gets old

Sara and I completed the half marathon together in Indy on Saturday. In spite of an injury to her left calf around 11 1/2 miles, she toughed it out. Crossing the finish line at the end of a long race never gets old.

First service yesterday three friends baptized another into Christ. One told her story, the other took her confession, the third baptized her (they fumbled through how they should hold their hands to do it, but it still counts :-). Watching friends baptize friends through tears never gets old.

Been studying the surprising book of Zechariah for about three weeks now....reading and re-reading passages and studying the prophetic parts. Lots of Jesus prophecies in this book written about 500 years before Jesus was born - like being sold for 30 pieces of silver, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and people looking on the one they had pierced. Obscure book - great stuff in the Word of God. The Bible never gets old.

Along those same lines, we're getting ready to dive into a year long study of the book of Luke November 1. We did Deuteronomy for a year and now we are going to see Jesus through the eyes of Luke for another. Again, the Bible never gets old.

Second service several respond to the invitation including a young man named Jake. He said to me, "I'm ready to take up my cross - I want to be baptized". After taking his confession and praying for him, I asked him if he wanted to talk about his baptism for a later date or do it right now. without hesitation he said, "Let's do it now". So we sang another verse while he got ready and as his girlfriend cried tears of joy, I was privileged to baptize him. That never gets old.

This coming Sunday is vision Sunday and it will be my privilege to recount how has sustained us throughout the years and what he will do through us if we are faithful with all he has entrusted to us. Talking about God and recounting the miracles that are happening among us never gets old.

Today some seriously planning for Christmas Eve and reading a Christmas book for some quotes. The story of God coming into the world never gets old.

Monday, October 12, 2009

truck loads of Jesus' love

We had some great old-school moments yesterday in worship. since we were talking about unity, Matt sang "bless be the tie" (an great favorite hymn of mine) before the sermon. And then we sang the hippie chorus from the sixties "we are one in the spirit" as the entire congregation held hands across the aisles. I know it must have been weird for someone who was visiting to hold hands and read unity scriptures and then sing an old song - but we don't do it all the time - and besides, if you could see what I see (stage view) you would have seen an awesome picture of a bunch of not-alike people physically unified by holding hands. Very cool. No you won't get that H1N1 virus (not calling it the swine flu anymore, probably offended some pigs or something) doing something so spiritual.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (or atrium) volunteers were collecting truckloads of food for our food pantry. Our previous record was 15 pick-up truck loads, but yesterday God moved through us to give 22 pick-up loads of food for under-resourced people (back in the day we called ourselves poor). This is huge. This means that through the people of Eastview over 1,000 people in our community will have beans, spaghetti, soup, corn, and yes even hominy (someone brought an entire bag of this stuff I always make fun of, but actually like) for their meals. The hope is that instead of seeing the food, they'll see the loving hearts behind the food that comes from us knowing Jesus. 22 truck loads of Jesus' love - that's how I see it.

Well, we're heading to Indy this weekend for a half-marathon. I've been helping Sara train for the past three months and this week we're ready. We're running with Lynne Sugai (who is taking some pics for our high school senior - Caleb - the day before) and Jessica Hari, Lora Jorgensen and I think Melinda Johnson. All are excited/nervous about it. Me, I'm just along for the run (and encouragement).

Sunday wraps up our series on "the call". It has been an awesome journey and I am receiving daily e-mails from people whose lives are being changed by this study of Jesus. We've only just begun. On November 1, we'll start a year long series through the book of Luke! That's after vision sunday on October 25.

One more thing (o.k. two) - I've been thinking about snow lately and though I'm not praying for it (yet); I am o.k. with the idea that it will soon be here AND how bout them cowboys!

Monday, October 5, 2009

way up and way down

This weekend was the epitome of the emotional ups and downs that come with ministry. The up was that we celebrated the retirement of Bob Knapp with our congregation after 18 years on staff as our pastor of international minstries. He has been an awesome example to all of us concerning prayer and passion for the lost. We had a special banquet for him on Thursday evening to say thanks and have many from his past (missionaries, etc.) tell he and his wife (Sandi) how much their ministry has met. That was up!

Unfortunately, we received news Thursday afternoon that a great lady and servant in our church (particularly children's ministry) had been tragically killed in a car accident. Only moments before her death she was at church washing toys in the little kidsview nursery. She was only 41. So we gathered in the conference room for prayer. Her small group surrounded her husband and kids. It has been incredibly sad to say good-bye to Beckie Lade.

Yesterday we again honored Bob in front of the congregation (Sandi was mad at me for making her come on stage with him and said I owed her a latte' from Starbucks - which I got her this morning) to say thanks. They received a standing ovation in each service...awesome. We gave them some cool gifts.

This morning i was on the same stage in front of the family and friends of Beckie weeping and saddened by her loss. I focused on the hope that we have, that Beckie had, and how that separates us from all others who face death (we all do, the mortality rate is 100% !).

there were tears and emotions with both the ups and downs of this is emotionally draining for a pastor. Oh yeah, I also preached yesterday. So I'm tired, but content in Jesus. Now I'll heal like all good pastors do...fried chicken and potato salad prepared by our funeral meals ministry. It's a start!