Monday, July 19, 2010


Well, it's that time of year for Sara and I to head out for a little vacation. I travel a lot so some of you may think I vacation a lot, but most of my travels involve me in ministry roles one way or another (even if it's in a cool location). But starting this Thursday, I'm on vacation and I'm going to try like everything not to check e-mails, blog (don't bother looking the next two mondays), worry about my job, etc... This is really a spiritual discipline for me that I try to practice. Over the next couple of weeks I want to simply be Mike, child of God. This is the heart of the Sabbath rest that God originally created. I want to forget schedules, long-term plans, and alarm clocks long enough to be completely aware of God's presence in the smallest bits of every day. Often you have to completely disengage from all your stuff to make this happen. So, I'm taking my wife (the most important relationship in my life next to God) and some books and I'm going to be out. I hope you miss me. I know I'll miss you, but I hope I don't think about you too much. I want to spend the next two weeks staring at the endless Sea, watching birds in flight, napping in the afternoon shade, eating some great food, laughing with my best friend, having some great impromptu conversations with my God and hearing his voice in the Word. So I'll be out. I'll let you know how it went when I get back.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

the last part of what I sent

A third message imprinted on my soul right now is the desire to make disciples. I have witnessed thousands of conversions and baptisms. I have personally baptized hundreds and, of course, I am deeply moved every time, but I see the need both in me and the people that have been enstrusted to me for true discipleship. The meaning of this word dictates constant learning and the practice of this word demands continued following. Being a Christian has been redefined for me (this is not to say a new definition of Christianity, but reiterating again what it really means). One speaker this week said, "the 21st century heresy is that you can call yourself a Christian without being a disciple." No more heresy for me and my people.

Finally, I am going to continue to surround myself with people of like-minded singular focus. I want to be with people who are deeply spiritual while at the same time openly and vulnerably imperfect. I am going to associate mostly with whom I can laugh until I cry and cry until I laugh. I'm going to insist on a true incarnational, life-together, family-oriented approach to leadership in my ministry. This is my heart's desire and I believe the desire of an electronic, superficial, relationally-challenged culture that is filled with social networking yet void of any meaningful relationships.

Friday, July 16, 2010

something I sent, part deux

The second Holy Spirit impression I have is that my vision is too small. One sermon I heard this week was from Isaiah 49:6. READ IT. God told me (and I realize how uncomfortable that phrase makes most people - it makes me uncomfortable too) that the vision I've had for my life and ministry is too small! Of course, it's up to God, but have I limited God with my limited faith in what he can do? My heart is pounding within me - "Expand your vision!" So I'm dreaming. God is able to do more than what I imagine you know? Is all the God has graciously done in my life, my preaching, my ministry, and my church all that God can do, or can he do more? MORE!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Something I sent my staff and elders part 1

The following is the first part of a paper called "my heart right now in one page" that I sent to the staff and elders this week. I will divide it into three installments over the next several's part one:

Over the last nine days, I have had the opportunity to hear nine sermons, three devotions, two intensive leadership presentations, and two days of vision casting conversation with the elder team. These have been accompanied with some great meal conversations, daily quiet times and at least four occasions of corporate musical worship. My heart is full. There is no way to describe the spiritual place I'm in right now in complete detail; but I can tell you that there are some major themes that the Spirit has laid on my heart with one or all of the experiences listed above.

First, I'll begin by saying that I want to be a dangerous pastor leading a dangerous church. Not dangerous in a stay-away kind of way (as you would a lion in the wild), but dangerous in a power-greater-than-me awareness (like someone handling explosives). I'm sure this scares some who think I'm already wild-eyed in my approach to ministry, but I want to have the kind of ridiculous faith that only a true disciple of Jesus could have. I want to preach dangerous sermons that deeply offend while they simultaneously attract. Honestly, I want to be a martyr and I don't even know what that truly means or how that is played out. I just want to have one eternal conversation with an apostle that ends with "me too". I want to give a crazy amount of stuff away and learn not to love it any more. I want to be a catalyst for a revolution of extraordinary giving, serving, and evangelizing. And I want to boldly challenge thousands of people to do the same. I'm short of this by far I fear...but this is what my heart feels. The passage from Acts 5:11-16 describes in a biblical way the kind of church I want to lead.

More to come...

Monday, July 5, 2010

stars and stripes forever

STARS - The American flag started with 13 in a circle representing all the colonies and now holds fifty white stars on a blue field. The stars look pretty cool on all the flags from the fourth, but there are better ones.

On the third day Jesus was there with the Spirit and the Father created the world and flung these amazing night time features into space. He created the glimmer and galaxies shooting ones and falling ones. The words say that he can call every star by name. He told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as them and in revelation He talks about the stars of the churches. On a clear night you can gaze into the dark sky for ever and see just how big the universe is and wonder how big a God is who could make it all.

STRIPES - The American flag has red and white stripes on it (the red symbolizing the blood of those who paid the ultimate price for our country).

the prophet says that by his stripes we are healed. He's talking about the bleeding gashes that were left from the Roman whips when Jesus was on trial in Pilate's court. How many stripes were there? Don't know for sure - more than the thirteen on our flag. Probably too many to count, but they too symbolized blood - not blood that paid the price for our country's freedom, but blood that paid for the freedom of all mankind spiritually.

FOREVER - As great as America is, it won't last forever - nothing in this world can promise that. Still I hope it's around for a good long time, I love this place and I'm proud that I'm an American (not better than other countries, it's just my heritage) - and I'm grateful that for some reason God had me born here. But I'm much more grateful for the eternity that I'll have with him. I'm much more thankful for my citizenship in heaven. I'm eternally blessed that the one who holds the stars and healed me with His stripes will be my forever!