My Brain Feels Mushy

Last weekend I got a really bad cold from my son, Judah.  I was thrown for a loop.  And I don’t know what it is but my brain still feels mushy.  I think it’s a combination of things, being really busy over the past few months with working from home, watching Judah and not really having a break.

So I am really looking forward to a week from today when I will be in Disneyland with my wonderful wife Kathy, and two of our friends, Scott and Alyssa.  No kids, no work, no real agenda of any sort.  Just a time to rest and recharge.

As a church we have been going through some really stressful times, and we are about to engage in another season of battle against the enemy who wants to shut us down.  But we need to just keep on going.  We have a lot of things that we are rocking and rolling.  We are starting a mid-week program for the whole church.  We are looking at the holidays and starting to plan what we are going to do there.  And my prayer is that Jesus will be made big in our Church, and that we would not get discouraged or frustrated by our circumstances.

So this vacation falls right in the beginning of all of this and I know that it’s going to be a great season of ministry, and I am really looking forward to see what God does.  I am praying that this time away will help Kathy and I fall more and more in love and I hope that I can recharge my batteries so that I can give everything in me to the mission that God has called me to.

When I return from Disneyland we are going to be talking about authenticity at our >>beyond>> gatherings.  So I’m really looking forward to that.  I am praying that Jesus will really start to do a work on our hearts and help us to be real with him and with each other.


Surfing the Edge of Chaos – Quote

Surfing the Edge of Chaos is my latest discovery from the library. I’ve only read two chapters but so far I am really loving this book. The second chapter title is worth the price of admission – “Equilibrium is Death.” This book looks at evolution theory and applies it to organizations. Now I am a pastor and I am in no way consenting to darwinian teachings for the origins of life. That being said, the applications that the authors have made based on those teachings are fascinating.

Particularly the concept that Equilibrium is Death. Wow, how many times have I heard in church that we should strive for equilibrium? A lot. I’ve seen it on the cover of programs, sermon titles, all over the place. And the thought that the church is trying to communicate is that Balance is important. So true. But when an organism or organiztion reaches perfect equilibrium it’s dead.

The authors of this book are trying to get the readers to see that Organizations need to be constantly exploring risky ventures. They need to be trying new things, going after new ideas and taking risks or else they will die. How many churches refuse to change because, “We’ve never done it that way before”?

Our church has gone through quite an emotional and painful journey over the past 15 or so years. I haven’t been there for all of them but I wonder if the level of pain was not high enough to try to change? I wonder what would have happened if we had sold our building sooner? What would have happened if we would have developed our current model of ministry sooner? What would have happened if we had developed an internet presence sooner? All of these are speculative, but they all require change and risk and I think we were pretty risk averse, because we were trying to maintain equilibrium. We were just trying to hold on.

Jesus didn’t call us to just hold on. Jesus told us to charge the gates of hell. And if we are going to charge the gates of hell then we are going to have to be willing to let go of the things that are anchoring us to the present and run towards the future that God has in store for us. Wow I think I’m ready to testify!

Anyway, I came across this quite in Surfing the Edge of Chaos and I thought I would share it because I think it’s where our church is at:

Leaders are to a social system what a properly shaped lens is to light. They focus intention and do so for better or for worse. If Adaptive intention is required, the social system must be disturbed in a profound and prolonged fashion. Magnifying a threat or utilizing organizational devices to propagate “genetic diversity” then becomes important. Adaptive leaders don’t move on an issue too quickly or reach for a quick fix. Rather (taking actions quite to opposite of social engineering), they emphasize mobilizing followers deep within the ranks to help find the way forward. This is achieved by (1)communicate in the urgency of the adaptive challenge (i.e. the threat of death), (2) Establishing a broad understanding of the circumstances creating the problem, to clarify why traditional solutions won’t work (i.e. sustaining disequilibrium), and (3) holding the stress in play until guerrilla leaders come forward with solutions (i.e. making room for genetic diversity).

We are seeing the rise of Genetic Diversity and Guerilla Leaders coming forward in several areas. Particularly with the launch Ethos.

My prayer is that we can continue to see leaders rise up to the challenge and bring new fresh ideas on how we can be a thriving, innovative church.

(i think this may be my longest post ever)

Planning ahead for October.

I just started prepping the first sermon for our series in October.  the series is called masks.  The whole point is to try to take off our masks and live authentic Christ honoring lives.

As I was writing my heart broke as I was listing out some reasons that people wear masks.  I think the ultimate reason that we are not authentic is because of pain.  Past pain, present pain, future pain.  We don’t want to deal with the pain in our lives so we cover it up.

There is so much hurt in the world, and Jesus’ heart breaks with that pain.  And whenever I feel just a fraction of that hurt, it totally messes me up and reminds me that I’m in ministry to help heal.  To bring life to the dead places in the world.  And it’s such a big task.  Only with the partnership of Jesus can we really bring any life into this dead world.

I haven’t touched my myspace in a while.  It’s such a huge time waster that I have to really monitor myself.  But today I had a few friend requests that I checked on and then I decided to send some messages and comments while I was there.  But every time I get on myspace it just reminds me of the pains and struggles of high school and middle school.  And I want so badly to help students deal with these things.  I am really hoping and praying that our series in October will be a source of encouragement.

I know what I’m going to be praying about!


So my last post mentions

I had never heard of them before reading about them, but I checked them out and they are really cool.

 This one is about using RSS to subscribe to feeds.  What did I just say?  Well watch the video and you can see for yourself.  This is a great time saver, instead of going to to see if he has any cool church-tech stuff posted, I can wait for him to send it to me.  Pretty cool.

Plugs or Cables

I Saw this post from the 37Signals blog and it got me thinking.

Showing the plug, not the cable

By Matt

Why do so many companies selling cables show you this bird’s eye view…

buy cables


…when what you really want is this view of the ends:


It’s not the cable that people care about. It’s the plug. The real question that needs to be answered: “Will this fit where I need it to fit?”

Makes you wonder how often web apps miss the point and show people the cable instead of the plug: Showing a list of features when people want benefits. Telling facts when people want stories. Showing screenshots when people want explanations.

Related: We were recently discussing Common Craft’s neat video tutorials that explain complicated concepts in “plain English.” Lots of sites try (and fail) to clearly explain social bookmarking or RSS. But Common Craft nails it.

The videos aren’t fancy. They’re not techy. They don’t show off interface widgets. But they succeed where it counts: They show how these tools fit into people’s lives. They show the plug, not the cable.

I thought this was a great point about keeping information practical.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to or whatever and asked the question, is that the plug that I actually need?

In our churches and ministries, are we giving a birds eye-view of what we are about, or are we getting into the actual practicality of  the gospel.