crackedroundpeg.com archived posts

These are the former posts from Chris Kozacek and "crackedroundpeg.com". This blog drew people from around the world to interact on faith, life, and more. Chris' writing touched many of us with his authenticity and compassion. He had a desire to see God shown in a way that wasn't so angry, judgmental and distant. It took us awhile to convince him to put the posts on here (he struggled at the end of his writing time on "crp" with the way in which his posts were doing more damage than good to the body of Christ), but they are on here. Chris and Corrie are about to write again in a partnership with other bloggers and writers (more details to follow). We thought it was important though too include his former writings here. We hope that they encourage you, make you think, make you uncomfortable sometimes, but most of all see the God that Chris so passionately believes is there, and who loves and truly wants us all. Keep on with the journey, it is worth it!

In Him,
JS, KR, KW and BJ

* Our favorite of all of Chris' posts through the years - raw, real, honest and needed. Hope this helps you on the journey! *

Porn and Pancakes - (Rated “M” post)
Feb 6, '07, 3:47 PM

Beware: this post is hopefully an honest and heartfelt discussion of sex, porn and lust… thanks, chris


i had seen this story on my yahoo! page and had wanted to write about it. and then we saw it on "saturday night live" as part of the "weekend news" segment. the story was "Church Hosts 'Porn and Pancakes' Event". the event will take place at the Living Word Assembly of God Church in upstate New York. it will be led by "the XXXChurch". i love what these guys are doing at "the XXXChurch". i support them fully and have a link to their site on the side too. i have written them to see if there is anything i can do in the way of promoting them, being a safe/personal accountability partner to guys no matter the profession (including pastor) who are struggling with porn. i realize that the old church guard believes it's crossing the line even to talk about it, let alone struggle with it. for so long the masks have stayed in place, the walls go up, and men struggle in silence. churches/ministries are never the cause of the struggle, but in many ways they are not helping. by not making an atmosphere of safety and geniune concern, i believe we as a Global Body of Christ, not any particular church are actually sinning by not helping our brother or sister become accountable and grow. "don't share your struggle, don't admit your shortcummings, and last of all do not talk about sex, lust and porn. because if you do, Lord help us we will oustrisize you, kick you out, distance ourselves from you - so that most of us can go on pretending we aren't like you". i realize many people don't see anything wrong with porn and stuff. but for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus, God tells us there is a much better way to live and to stay away from that stuff. God bless those who truly have this area of their life in a good place. i want to see the Church as a safe and helpful place for this kind of stuff. not that we need to, or should, brodcast our struggles to anyone and everyone. but i do desire it to be a place of safety and growth, with confidentiality, help and support for all who share this struggle. this is my story… i have struggled with porn since i was 12. there was a time in my teens when you could say i was probably addicted. and to share that with most people back then, would have meant my reputation and job if i had it at most churches/ministries. and by not being able to share mostly, helped me continue to hide the struggle until it all blew up and people started finding out. i have counseled, listened, read and worked on this area of my life. it is not perfect, but it is coming along. and with the help of xxxchurch, mark lasser, setting captives free, pureonline, genesis counseling and others, it is becoming possible for guys (and girls) to share and open up about their own struggles with sex and porn. for me, i also have had many guys in which i could talk about this and who would ask me tough questions (paul, andrew, john, lou, josh, jed, brett, chuck, ken(s), dan, kevin, bryan, nic and more… thank you guys!). these were truly godly men who took an interest in my life and were more concerned with my lifetime walk than their reputation, legalistic stance, pastoral/job position, etc… when i first started dating corrie, i shared this struggle with her and she has been a support and help all along (no matter how difficult having to deal with my past was). i am not perfect still, it is still a struggle at times. i'm sure it it always will be in some way… but we have put some things in place to help me and keep me accountable. we use cyberpatrol as an internet filter. i continue to have guys in my life with whom i am accountable too and who in return are accountable to me. i realized a long time ago, that i was not the only one who struggled with this. the survey's of how many christians, pastors, men and women that struggle with porn is a huge number. that doesn't excuse it, it just gives some hope that we are starting to see some of the churches open up and be a healing and helpful place with this… it is my passion to see this happen in the global Church body. i want share life those who struggle like me. in case you might need a safe place to share and talk about stuff, here's a secure and confidential email address i use to talk to connect with guys about there struggles with porn, lust, lonliness, and more. if you want, click here if you ever feel like sharing your personal journey (if you are a woman needing to talk, i will pass your story on to my wife corrie) and you can write as much or as little as you want, share a story, remain anonymous, ask for no response, etc… i've been there… i mean, even as i write and post this, i still worry about some of the people who will be reading this, and how they will treat me or what they will say to others about me. and i have been honest about this for years and years with people. but it's still a risk whenever you write something… i am passionate about guys being able to share this struggle, especially in the christian community. i wanted to put myself out there - with a growing number of others who are opening up about it. it's a risk, but it's a good one and it's worth it. am i crazy for wanting to see some openess about this struggle? do you guys have a handle on this, or is it a problem in your life too? what kind of things (if any) do you do to avoid and help it? i want to hear from those of you who might be brave enough to write, if only just to know other guys struggle with this… thank you for taking this information with care and kindness. this is not an easy subject for any Christian man to talk about… but i believe it's one we so desperately need to open up about to one another. this is just my story and thoughts. i hope they came across ok!?**

the end of CRP…
chris
May 7, '07, 11:58 PM
for a few months now, corrie and i have been discussing the end of "cracked round peg". i think when CRP started it was such reaction to feeling outcast, squeezed out, un-important, not good enough, etc… for church (global body, not just a particular church). we love the "body of Christ" wholly, we just struggled with religion. i'm not sure i knew the way in which our posts and discussions would take over the last few years. verbal and written wars with other bloggers and churches became a standard practice. and as much as the battle bothered us, it was also a rush to stand up for what webelieved and take jabs at the opposition who we believed were wrong and who we per sieved to be hurting people. i thought after a few meetings with those we had offended or alienated by our discussions - all would be different. but over time, it returned to some of the same thing (especially on my end), just somewhat more civil and a little more guarded. in the last few posts, you've seen me probably fight against something we have known needs to happen - for the body, for established relationships, for our mental and spiritual health, and for the gospel - the time has come to end CRP. i have spent the last few weeks getting around to many friends who read this here to share why we have been thinking about a move in a new direction and stop public blogging here. i had a great time today talking to two friends, andrew and nic, on why we feel this. i told them honestly i don't think i can always write on here in a way that builds up the body correctly. too many times i get caught up in the disagreements or the attacks from either side - and choose to engage in a way that is unhelpful to our faith and shows nothing about Good News of the Gospel. I have been challanged by reading "Off-Road Disciplines" by Earl Creps. In there he talks a lot about humility and harmony among believers so that we represent well. and we just don't feel like that will happen on here. i regretfully get sucked in out of a lack of self-control and in a way that doesn't build up or disagree in a loving manner. and we really feel it needs to change - even if only for our own walk, but assuredly for others and God too. Disagreements and discussion are healthy and good i believe when walking in faith together. so corrie and i are searching for a better and more appropriate way in which to do this, a way in which love, grace, mutual respect, self-control, and peace are the core of discussion with those of faith in Christ. i know we have had many different faiths and walks who have read and commented on here, thanks for stopping by. this may all sound like hogwash to you, but i am a strong believer in which the way followers treat each other is of great importance to what we are preaching. and in our lives, ending public blogging is a good and important step in our own lives - a needed step that will bring peace to our own lives and journey with God. and hopefully bring much needed rest to unnecessary public feuding over faith and methods, at least from this blog.
"Jesus cast an entirely different light on the purpose of unifying his followers: 'May they be brought to complete unity,' he prayed, 'to let the world know that you (God) sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.' Jesus asks the Father to bring us together so that those in need of good news might believe it can be found among Christians. In one sense, then, the world around us stands as the end user of our relationships with each other. That's why unity is a core element of our mission." - Earl Creps, "Off Road Disciplines"
sorry for those of you who have logged in and experienced a negative view of God, Jesus, faith, etc… because of something that was said on here - or some ongoing blog battle with someone else that left a bad taste in your mouth. obviously, i am not the right person for everyone when it comes to helping them with their search for God. we pray that those of you who are searching, that God brings the right person along to share and help you on your journey. we also pray that somehow, somewhere God touches your heart with His love. someday i hope you all find what you might be looking for in Jesus… I do. and for those who who have already started on the path of faith in Christ, or have been there for years, i hope that together we can explore faith and learn how to hear each other despite our differences and show the world a different way. the way of Christ, and not just the way of "us". this post will probably stay up till the end of the week. corrie and i will then close things down, and CRP will go dark… and a chapter will end. thanks for joining us… God be with your hearts in love, grace, brokenness and peace. - Chris and Corrie

traveling mercy
chris
Apr 25, '07, 10:38 AM
honestly, i am just typing thoughts out randomly. it has bothered me that my last post was about Cho's plays and then silence. that whole thing has bothered me so much that i really have had no urge to write or anything else. lots of questions… not a whole lot of answers. not so much about God or faith - but more about people and how we really treat each other. or judge each other. or not care about each other. or say "whatever fells good do it". or why God/Jesus or Christianity is so unappealing to so many - with good reason. or why on here i am in one sense worried about what a few people think, but then turn around and want to jab them with words. or how my life resembles anything of what i believe - am i part of the turn off towards God? or why am i afraid to speak passionately about Jesus for fear of offending or having someone think i'm stupid for believing in and following Jesus. or why the point of Christianity in most circles is to keep people out instead of inviting people in, or more going to them. or why looks, prestige, who you know, money, how many hands, how many friends, how much you have… is so important to us. or why i am even typing any of this. or why this blog is of any importance in the true vastness of life. or why am i so afraid of what people think about me… so much. or what kind of message i send out to people - whatever walk of life… am i ashamed of God because of trying to relevant or not offend. or how stupid this post could seem. or do i live it or just talk it…. ugh…


"If faith is not beautiful in its practice, the it can easily devolve into an argument and a polemic… True confessional Christianity is not a propositional faith, but expressional faith. To know something, to communicate something, you have to become something. You have to establish`provenance. The best things in life must be known firsthand, or not at all."

- Leonard Sweet, The Gospel According to Starbucks

------------------—-John 13:34-35 (The Message)
34-35"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other." The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


easter - He is risen
chris
Apr 9, '07, 3:02 PM
what a cool day, the backbone of our faith. that Jesus not only died on the cross, but also raised from the dead, is really an amazing and incomprehensible thought. there is a line from one of my (corrie) favorite michael card songs that says, "why did they nail His feet and hands, when His love would have held Him there?" such a profound thought.

Apr 9, '07, 11:26 AM
challanged by leonard sweet
i have been challenged greatly by Leonard Sweet's new book "The Three Hardest Words In the World To Get Right". there are a ton of thoughts and quotes i want to pull out of it and write about. but there is one in particular that has hit me at the moment ."… when you read what both the emerging and the inherited church are blogging about, you learn far more about the writer's own life and state of mind than you do about God or Christian community. And even when Christians are writing about community, the subject has no center other than themselves. It is self, not God, that is at the core of contemporary spirituality." i have spent a lot of my life trying to promote myself (i guess including right now, but this is a confession) - either because i think so low of myself and need others to say i'm great, or i'm proud of something i've done, or even spilling everything to beat others to the punch. whatever the reason, leonard sweet is right. i spend a ton of time promoting myself/us. and as i look around i don't spend a whole lot of time speaking about God's story in the world or others' stories enough. their needs to be much more of a balance.it has prompted me to think about changing CRP. i thought of shutting it down all together because i am so bothered and challenged by his thought. corrie and i are trying to figure out a better format and way to interact on here that isn't all a "promotion of the i". and i look around at some other blogs by christians who are doing this well and it shows me all the more how they are doing this and how me focused i have let things become. i'm sorry this has become so much about me/us and not a more global story and thought place. i need to interact better with all the things going on in life, not just in my tiny world. we have had so much go on in the world even this week - school shootings, nuclear bomb testings, gov. scandals, terrorists (on-going), etc… i'm humbled by this whole thing. even our readership is down. things need to change. CRP has become irrelevant, me-centered, and uninteresting i am afraid. please help us with this. we need your thoughts… you can do this by commenting in our(no registration needed) message board. or email us. or comment here. whatever… please just interact with us on this and share your thoughts and stories with us. maybe that's the struggle, it's usually just our thoughts on here without hearing others' stories too… message board
10/3/2006 11:52:21 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it | thoughts

nothing new in the job front… and semi-meltdown nothing new to report on the job front, even though we have had like a bunch of meetings. it's getting kind of frustrating. i had a semi-meltdown over the weekend. it went something like this - "God doesn't care about anything we do in life. my friend's right, God could care less about location, vocation, or mate. God's not involved in people's lives, He doesn't really care. It doens't matter what we do, who cares. Money is the only thing that matters. Money rules. It is the end all… there is nothing else important. Who cares about this frickin life? I thought we were walking the right way, but there is no way… there's just life, and money. Just make the most you can, and support your family and forget about what i'm passionate about. i can't do it anyway. we can't make enough money, i'm not gifted for it, and i can't seem to break in anywhere. but, who the hell cares anyway… it all just doesn't matter. God doesn't care… screw it all". and all this after watching God provide earlier in the week. sad i know… we're just frustrated with which direction we should be walking and how it can all work out. when we meet with others, we just end up with more questions. so instead of starting to work on stuff we end up falling further behind it seems. navs, samaritan well, part-time job… all still floating in the air like the tornado of our life just won't go back up in the clouds and let us start to sort out the mess. can't figure out the navs, can't seem to land a part-time job in the area of an admin. asst. despite numerous resumes sent - conversations - interviews, and can't seem to gather anyone together for starting even a small group with samaritan well. all three have lots of interest from people, but no feet to the talk yet. it's no ones fault or anything like that, just isn't coming together yet… we need prayer - especially since we aren't doing much of it. yet somewhere we still believe and trust God… i don't know. "move along" by the all american rejects - Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking When you fall everyone sins Another day and you've had your fill of sinking With the life held in your Hands are shaking cold These hands are meant to hold Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong Move along, move along like I know you do And even when your hope is gone Move along, move along just to make it through Move along Move along So a day when you've lost yourself completely Could be a night when your life ends Such a heart that will lead you to deceiving All the pain held in your Hands are shaking cold Your hands are mine to hold Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong Move along, move along like I know you do And even when your hope is gone Move along, move along just to make it through Move along (Go on, go on, go on, go on) When everything is wrong we move along (Go on, go on, go on, go on) When everything is wrong, we move along Along, along, along When all you got to keep is strong Move along, move along like I know you do And even when your hope is gone Move along, move along just to make it through [x3] (Move along) (Go on, go on, go on, go on) Right back what is wrong We move along
10/3/2006 10:39:46 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it | life

murdock, tilton, munsey, stewart

while i am on the "commenting on things i don't usually comment on" kick, i think i'll throw one more out there. last year i wrote a post on our other blog about guys like Dr. Mike Murdock, Robert Tilton, Steve Munsey, Don Stewart, etc… i watch these guys on TV who continue to pump poor and desperate people for money, even taking their food and rent money, while they live the high life. Murdock and Munsey frequent Daystar Television during their pledge-a-thon and "preach" some sermon that is designed to get the viewer to give a faith pledge and in return God will bless them greatly or heal them. Last night Murdock was offering some "lifetime blessing that might never come around again". BS!!! these guys STEAL money from so many people. i know some have been healed and blessed financially after "sowing" into these guys' ministry. as i said before in my last post about this, my issue isn't with the giver - it's with these guys who give false hope and take money from people through promises and persuasion. it's wrong… and i hurt for the people who do give all they have and wind up losing what little they had before because these guys promised them great riches and rewards. to use people and God that way for personal/ministry gain is so wrong… so wrong…!! and it still drives me crazy. below is last year's post:
9.26.2005 judgemental and critical… i am on this post, i know * Due to the disparaging comments made in this post… Viewer discretion is advised :)*i admit it… I am about to be critical and judgmental, I know. But year after year I have kept quiet about this – and finally I can’t hold it in anymore.I have watched Daystar do their fund raising marathons for years now. And that is a whole different side thought that I don’t want to write about because I am not sure how I really feel about it – I see good and bad things about fundraising that way for ministries. No, my thing is about two people they bring in to do it, and about another person who fits into this category. I have never named them before – just be anonymous about it. But, Steve Munsey, Mike Murdock, and Robert Tilton - I think are off their rockers. There, I said it. Munsey and Murdock participate in the pledge-a-thon at Daystar and their ministries are televised on Daystar. Tilton I believe is the biggest crook (although I just spelled crock and it works too) of them all. Straight to the heart – I believe these guys participate in a big scam by using God and the Bible to get money. Although I believe Munsey does care about souls following God, unlike maybe the other two. They each have catch phrases and here is the one I remember about each of them. *Munsey – “Double-portion”, everything is double portion this and that. *Murdock – “Delayed obedience…(with a long pause and stare into the camera) is disobedience”. Before you really think about it, or pray about – act on emotions and give us your money. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in spontaneous giving to God, but I am talking about him playing on it – not the givers. *Tilton – “Decree a thing” and “Let your request be made known to God”. Honestly, he’s no profit, pastor, or teacher and I deeply desire for him to change how he is taking advantage of people, and very much the less fortunate. He steals money, he even tells people to give him their meal money so that God will bless them. My point is more to talk about some guys who I think are taking advantage of people. As for the people who give, I whole heartedly believe that when you give to God with a joyful and humble heart – that that is so pleasing to God and it is the heart God is looking for. This is not about those who donate and give to God, or Daystar, or anything else… this is a personal struggle with certain things that these men are doing to get money. I believe in a God that does supply all our needs. and those who have more can help those who are struggling at the time. It’s a matter of the heart to me… And I admit here that there are many things in my own life that I do wrongly and need to correct. So this isn’t a “I’m so great and have it all together and they don’t” thing. It’s a sadness towards a few men I’ve seen who are distorting some stuff to gain a financial advantage for their ministries and at least Tilton I believe for his own life purposes. I write this because I feel like they are taking advantage of the emotions and desperate nature of some of the individuals they are speaking too… and I don’t think it’s right to take advantage in God’s name of the struggle and the poor. Or on anyone. Just my opinion – and humbly so… posted by chris @ 9/26/2005 10:49:00 PM 2 comments 2 Comments:At 6:55 PM, BruceD said… I think we have the same mind.Great post! At 9:28 AM, Linda said… I am so glad to see someone speak out about this. For years I have questioned this "prosperity preaching" and my spirit just tells me not to listen to it. I think God decides who he is going to bless and it's not from giving to preachers who get richer taking money from a lot of people who are really struggling and filling them with false hope.
9/19/2006 10:10:37 AM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it

"Al-Qaeda warns pope that Islam will prevail" (USA Today) Quote from "Al-Qaeda warns pope that Islam will prevail" (USA Today)Al-Qaeda in Iraq and its allies said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross," saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. … We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the 'jizya' tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (being killed by) the sword.""You infidels and despots, we will continue our jihad (holy war) and never stop until God avails us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism, when God's rule is established governing all people and nations," said the statement by the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups in Iraq.
i don't usually venture in and comment on stuff like this (maybe i should, but i have tried to stay away from other religions and politics on this blog), but after reading this last night, quite honestly it disturbed and scared me a little. chopping necks and dying by a sword - yikes. i realize in christianities history there is stuff like "the crusades" which is sad and reprehensible. i believe in and want to practice Jesus' words of love, life and forgiveness to everyone, friends and enemies alike (i don't do it great all the time, but i am trying). so yes, words spoken of killing people who don't conform is a little disturbing and scary. just being honest… we have Islamic friends that i think are awesome, and i think we both desire to live in respect and peace with one another. i believe in living with that equality, both of us can choose our way without hating each other. 9/19/2006 9:36:26 AM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it | News and politics

time with josh
josh and i had a few hours today to just chat and throw out many different thoughts and questions. i always learn from josh. there was a time, maybe, when it was student/teacher. now he's just smarter than me, and half the time i can't keep up with my philosophy major friend. i obviously can't capture the converation on here, but there were a few thoughts/questions that came out, and i am still thinking about it. is God working among us or has He pulled back and just let's things happen? the reason it came up is because when it comes to Chrisitanity, there seems to be a ton of different thoughts on how to live it and so many people with differing or even opposite thoughts claiming that God is leading them to do someting. everyone is searching for doing what's "right" or having the "truth". but what happens when all these voices are polar opposites of each other? even under the christian banner, one pastor will say "this is the way", while another will say "no this is the only right way". and with all these competing voices claiming to know God's will, or emphatically standing on the belief that god is behind what they are doing… what the hell are we supposed to believe?? i am so frickin' tired of everyone (both sides) claiming the other is wrong and "we are the only ones who are right", as if God only spoke to them. to be honest, the whole modern-conservative/postmodern-emergent battle is as usual claiming many casualties. we as christians love our "friendly-fire", where instead of working together with our differences, we want to wound and destroy anyone who is not on our side. i am just as guilty, but i want to learn how to stop. when we could be spending time on loving people, working together on destroying poverty or helping with AIDS, or feeding the homeless, or teaching children to read who are stuggling… no, we are more interested in arrogantly running around calling each other names and telling other people "we have the truth, they're nuts". we are a bunch of stupid sheep. no wonder God called us that. so the blood shed continues… lives are broken. bodies lay everywhere. but all anyone cares about is "who's right". and all the while, love is missing, which means, so is God. God is love. and we shut Him out without love. I believe there is truth out there, and that God cares, but i am not sure anyone can claim to have harnessed it to the point where the can arrogantly say "we have it and you don't". i don't have a problem with respectful and caring dialogue when we disagree, but right now, we have no love for those on on the other side of thinking. i believe that as followers of Christ, there are truths and non-negotiables in our faith that we can't deny. and if we have chosen to follow Christ with our life, we have to be willing to take on and live what the Bible says the best we can. we need to be accountable to one another. we need to listen to one another. but we need to love one another too… true love for one another. the kind that would take a bullet for each other, and also the kind that is willing to risk and share with one another, where both mutually listen and share. quite honestly, i think our love for one another sounds a lot like that anoying and painful sound that speakers make when you turn them up too high. and people everywhere are hearing that sound and putting ear plugs in cause they can't handle it. "but we are absolutly right"… everyone points says. it's all talk, and little living it out. true love is missing (God is love)… the good news, is not good at all. and then our message is so lost. 8/22/2006 11:52:55 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it | friends

reconciliation
it has been on my heart to try and reconcile with a few people i believe i have fallen out of relationship with - no matter the response . one of those people, brian. we worked together in ministry for awhile and i developed the thought that he thought i was worthless. i wrote brian and from the start he was so open and humble about everything. he was honest and wanted to do all it took to unpack things and restore the relationship. brian explained things he felt and thought throughout our relationship, and admitted fault where he felt there was fault on his part. i shared and apologized for anything on my side too. he prayed for me at the end and told me he loved me as a brother in Christ. but he said something in the midst of out conversation that i couldn't forget. brian said that reconciliation is always the goal in the lives of followers of Christ. to be reconciled with one another is what we should strive for. it struck something deep in me… i know there are people who i am probably not reconciled with and i want to be. even if it only comes from my end, God has asked me to try and reconcile with people, and not just Christians. i didn't say it was easy or that it will happen over night, but i am going to work on that. i can't hide or pretend i don't want to serve God… this may sound to churchy or whatever, but i still want to be faithful to Jesus in the best way i can, knowing i fall short and screw up a bunch. but i believe in reconciliation, and want to work on that with people in my life. i was shown the power of reconciliation by the way brain responded to me, with humility and honesty… oh yeah, and he's a pastor too. through his openness, God did cool things between us - and i believe reconciliation happened. which i agree with him, that is the goal with people. that probably goes along with the whole "love your neighbor" thing… maybe!? 8/22/2006 11:00:49 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it |

realgrace community church, now…
realgrace community church began almost 6 years ago. my heart has always been with the marginalized, the forgotten, the not-good-enoughs, the screw-ups, those in need of grace and love, real grace and love. probably because i fit all of that. realgrace was a passion to reach out to people not accepted by the church; or people who wanted to seek God, but couldn't walk in to the church and see God for whatever reason. those who, like me, have jacked up there life, but are searching for the God that stills loves them. who picks them up and heals them while healing their wounds. the God who runs out to them when they are still far away and throws a celebration, or leaves the other 99 to search for them. the one that tells the religious that their outsides (appearance, moral checklist) are clean, but their insides (hearts) are black and far from Him. the God who sits a talks to a woman, a samaritan, an adulterer, an outcast and offers her life giving water - Himself. the fact she was a woman and a samaritan made it so much more for a jew to approach her and talk to her. it just wasn't done. that's ok, that's what Jesus did/does. not to mention she had been married and divorced (numerous times) and was living with a man at that time who was not her husband. the disciples were freaked out by Jesus sitting there talking to this woman. and despite all this, the woman ran back to her people and invited them to come see the man who knows everything she has ever done. she felt love from the messiah (John 4). when's the last time when faced with our stuff, we have felt love and grace, and wanted to bring people back to see the mesiah who knows all our stuff? when's the last time you felt like Jesus reached down through someone to give you this love and grace? i hope sooner than i expect. sorry. anyway… realgrace community church no longer exists. last month, we closed it down for good with the IRS. not that that is what makes a church, the IRS stuff. but the operations under realgrace community church have ended. a chapter in my life has closed. it was close to my heart. i made many mistakes and didn't seek God enough with it. i grieve, while knowing it was time to close the book on it. and samaritanwell begins. many times when something dies, something new begins in it's place. samaritan well ministries begins as a new chapter. realgrace was mine, sadly. i didn't really give it away, not the way i should have. not to the other faithful people who were serving with me, or to the board of directors who were discipling me and teaching me. and many times not to God. so many good things happened in that time, so please don't hear anything different. it was so good. but samaritanwell is a new direction we are following God on. at this point there is not much more than that. i won't assume that we just start moving with it and ask God to bless it. we are going to find where God is blessing and follow Him there. but this is the direction we feel He is leading, and so we are walking by faith, so not by sight. please pray for us if you are willing as we cast a vision God has placed in us to people we hope to join with on this journey. samaritanwell will be molded by those who God brings along. it's not mine. it's not ours. we are a part. no superpastor here with all the ideas. we will play our part in the body, and let others play their part and use their gifts. please pray for the board of directors of samaritanwell, as they search to lead and direct in the right way, not just rubber stamp our stuff. this is not corrie's and my ministry. that's hard for me. i guess i like to control things a little more than i think. but we need to give it away to everyone and just play our part. so we ask for you prayer, thoughts, accountability, love, and grace as we move forward with this venture. we need God, period… honestly, we really do. thank you for standing with us, and some even joining us. our heart is to enhance, not take away. this ministry is about what we are for - Jesus. not anything we might be against. to gather together with the focal point being what you are against is wrong when your life is about following Christ. we are for Jesus, and His global body called the church. we are for learning to follow Him with our whole life. we are for loving our neighbor as Jesus would. we are for laying down our life, and giving it to Christ. we know we will stumble and fall, so we are for helping pick each other up when we do. we are for living out our faith in love and respect with fellow followers of Jesus, and those who aren't - loving both equally and serving both in love and grace. we are for the social gospel part of things too - like feeing the hungry and helping out the poor, reaching out to the hurting, being involved in the community. we are for seeking out truth, and living out what God shares with us in His Word (the Bible) knowing that God truly wants the best for us, not just a checklist or a list of rules to follow with no life to them. we are for giving our all to God, with authenticity and honesty about our failures and struggles, but wanting out faith to effect our lives all the time, not just at church. we are for the all encompassing salvation God gives us in Jesus, not just to get us to heaven, but to change us now and mold us in to followers of Christ daily. i could probably keep going… but it's time to stop and say - we appreciate you guys and are grateful for your prayers and support. samaritanwell will exist or not as God sees fit. we release it and see where it goes… 8/6/2006 12:25:55 AM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (2) | Blog it | church/community

i haven't been…
i haven't been completely honest on here… as to why i haven't been writing.it doesn't have nearly as much to do with busyness, as it does a struggle inside of me with how to be honest and authentic when i don't feel like i always can. i realize that with blogging comes a good side and bad. the good side is to be able to express thoughts and feelings with people - the down side is you open it up for anyone to post thoughts about your thoughts, agree or disagree.i have not been one to shy away from differing opinions. i think it's healthy, i think it's good when we interact with one another and help each other grow.so how authentic to you get on these things? what is right as a follower of Christ? i don't want to be afraid to write here, to express what's going, to share about the ups and downs, to write my heart down about what's happening, etc… but i have been… and i don't want to be like that. that's not who i am. i have expressed the desire to write this post for a month, but many told me it wasn't worth it. but it is…the eminem post, and the corresponding drama surrounding has bothered me for the last month. many of you have asked about it all. it wasn't what was said against it, or really who said it. it was about how impactful that night was, not only for the kids who shared stuff with me, but for how i saw Jesus that night. i poured my heart out to God in front of and with the students. what was in my head before hand, and what God spoke when i got up there was… was so God. the scripture that God used was so impactful, Jesus spoke through His Word (yes, the Bible) as He promises He always will. the videos told a story about listening to others around us, engaging with people where they are at. eminem was used as a story about a man that has some music i'm not as fond of, but in the middle of all of his songs there is this one about him screwing up his life, not living the way he wishes he would, not loving his daughter well enough, being a hypocrite, etc… and as i heard it i thought, as christians, can't we embrace this glimmer of hope in any one with this story. let's put our arms around people and help them. let's embrace even this small amount of light. let's actually be part of the good news Jesus offers, instead of just talking about it, or doing the opposite. ("If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2, TNIV). sometimes i wonder, where is the true love for people. we spend so much on being right, and getting things right, and proving ourselves right… but we spend very little time on how do we love, right. i have never wavered on the fact that i truly believe i followed Jesus that night, i do. i am at peace with that. but i didn't handle the criticism very well from the opposing view. and i am sorry for the way it has kept me from here. it made me stumble, and i didn't want to get up. i wanted to hide. so i did.that night with the students was so great. one of the greatest nights in ministry that i've been a part of, not because of me, but because of the interaction with students/parents and watching what God stirred in people's hearts. and this continued to happen throughout the next few weeks. so, i'm sorry i let anything steer me away from what i saw God do. i believe in Jesus. i am passionate about serving Him. i strive to love Him with all i am. i strive to love my neighbor as myself. i know i fall a ton, but i want to keep getting up. i need both correction and encouragement in this journey. and God has placed many people in my life who do this for me, because we have a relationship and we are invested in each others lives. and i am grateful to those people, God has truly blessed both corrie and i by the people He has put, and continues to put in our life…. we want our life to be about not only following Jesus in truth, but in love. love seems to be the key component to this following Jesus thing. which can make things real messy in life… kind of like a God who allows people to choose Him or not. who allows people to make their own choices. who handed His name over to flawed imperfect people to tell about Him. who has risked it all, just for the opportunity to love and be loved by His creation. why not make us all puppets? some think we are. i don't agree… there is no love in being a puppet. true love cannot exsist without an opportunity to turn away and reject it. and that's what makes following God so appealing to me. He loves me so much, He'd let me leave if i really wanted to. but He'll also let me stay. God is love. and i am giving my life to it… "The real message of Jesus leaps from the pages of the Gospels. Jesus demonstrates love and redemption as he embraces the untouchable, feeds the hungry, eats with the socially and religiously unacceptable, forgives the unforgivable, heals the sick and welcomes the marginalized to be his closest companions" - from "The Lost Message of Jesus" by Steve Chalke 7/31/2006 11:17:44 PM | Add a comment | Read comments (2) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | thoughts

qt
- cory bragg invited me to teach the sr. high last wednesday night. i was so nervous, i hadn't really taught in front of a large group for a good while. cory asked me to talk about engaging culture, instead of running away from it with the youth. we are called as followers of Christ to be in, not of the world. i was so excited about it. well… it went so good (please don't read that as i did good, God laid some things on my heart and somehow they came out. the night was good, not me). the kids engaged with it all, sharing real and heartfelt thoughts. i shared 3 different music videos. two of them were just select clips, and the third was the whole one. i shared about listening to the stories around you of people, whether they act, believe, think like you. and the videos worked great because with the first two, the video told a different story than you might have thought if you just heard the song on the radio. and the third one was the video from eminem i have had listed here for a few months. it is just a great video. and i love how he even dogs on himself for not living what he preaches, and how he wants to change. who knows where eminems life will end up, or mine for that matter - but his story is worth listening to i think. the stories around us deserve our attention, if for no other reason than because God loves all people, no matter who they are or what they do.

  • just in case, here are the 3 videos i used in order of use

1. - sum 41, "pieces"
2. - rascal flatts, "what hurts the most"
3. - eminem, "when i'm gone"
6/26/2006 11:13:44 PM | Add a comment | Read comments (2) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | thoughts

DaVinci code movie, liberating women, taking care of the poor, loving the Lord and our neighbor
if Jesus in the gospels did so much to liberate women and caring for the poor and outcast, how have we (the evangelical church) done so much to set it back the other way? i realize that the catholic church plays a big role in that too. but I can only speak for the evangelical church at the moment. what have we done with the Apostle Paul’s writings that has so changed what we see Jesus doing in the Gospels. for that alone, i understand the appeal of the DaVinci Code from that angle. we saw it tonight and honestly the part that really hit me was when the "teacher" was screaming to liberate and shine a light on how the catholic church has oppressed women, been racist, and neglected the poor. i think the evangelical church fits this point too. and there is appeal in that. and there is always intrigue in cover ups. i personally do not buy into Dan Brown’s book as fact (not that he ever claims the book is fact), i don’t believe Jesus was married and has some royal bloodline; i don’t believe DaVinci painting proves anything; i don’t believe Mary Magdalen is the Holy Grail, whatever the Holy Grail is. i do believe Jesus was God and man; i do believe He sacrificed himself for us; i do believe He is the Christ, the Savior; i do strive to follow Him and live by His two commandments to us (love the Lord with everything you are and do, and love everyone (your neighbor) around you as you love yourself. but I understand the appeal of the DaVinci Code, and in just those couple of parts I have taken out of the book - if we walked closer to what Jesus showed us and asked us to do by loving the Lord and loving our neighbor, would women feel so oppressed and the poor/the less fortunate be so forgotten? maybe every once-and-a-while we as Christians (no doubt including myself here), we could spend a little more time on loving the Lord and loving our neighbor, and a little less time on politics, doctrinal infighting, kingdom monitoring, moral policing, money making for things we don’t need, trying to change culture so we are comfortable, etc… know that this hits me too, and that engaging in politics, conversing about faith and God, discussing the bible and trying to live by it faithfully and how Jesus wants us too, etc… is important too in it's own right context.i just wonder what difference it might make in our message to people if we loved (in speaking truth and in deed) people more than we hated their ideas or actions. what would it be like if people were attracted to us as Christians, like they were attracted to Jesus. Jesus spoke truth, and corrected wrong thinking and actions; but it seemed like it was the outcasts and the sinners who were drawn far more to Jesus than the religious. so how have we reverted back to the religious being drawn to the church, and the outcast and sinners being repelled by it? it seems backwards again. so enough slamming, enough fighting, enough hashing over petty issues and doctrines, enough casting out and shunning, enough being angry with one another - it’s time to love. and if we really understood the love Jesus was talking about in loving the Lord your God, and loving your neighbor - we wouldn’t be fighting about how truth and love go together, it would be how we live. it’s time to live, cause I have felt dead for too long. do people know us by our love for one another? really, do they? Jesus gives us life, not death. so let’s live… please… for the love of God, and all people… John 13:34-35 - "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."(The Message)The Message (MSG) - John 13:34-35 as translated in the New Living Translation - John 13:34-35 as translated in the New International Version 6/10/2006 11:16:00 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it

you have to ask…(from corrie):
…how can something like this happen? i have been following the developing story of the van accident oftaylor university students and staff at the end of april. as a taylor alum, a flood of emails came my way telling me about what happened and asking for prayer. one of my good college friends wrote in her grief saying that she had babysat the cerak girls years ago… and now whitney was gone… but then a few weeks later it turns out she isn't. as you probably have heard already, her identity was confused with that of another student and it turns out that the girl everyone thought was alive, laura, is really home with her King, and the girl everyone thought was gone, whitney, is in a michigan hospital. how does that happen? how are positive identifications not made? i can't imagine the pain both of these families are experiencing, the questions they are facing. yes, God is faithful, but it all seems so unfair, all of this extra unnecessary struggle from a mixed up i.d. this story has broken my heart - not only for the family who thought their daughter had been spared only to learn that she hadn't, but also for whitney who came out of a coma to see a group of people she didn't know and probably felt deep loneliness as she tried to figure out why her family wasn't there. please, please, please remember in your prayers the vanryn family who in the end lost their daughter, the cerak family who feel as though their daughter was resurrected, for whitney as she continues to recover, the other survivors of the crash who are recovering, the driver of the tractor trailer that hit the van, and of course the other taylor families who lost their loved ones. taylor u article about all of the victims blog on whitney's progress laura's blog (shutting down soon) 6/7/2006 9:03:55 PM | Add a comment | Read comments (2) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | life

walking why does this all have to be so difficult? does God really, really care what i do with my life? money or heart? or both? or neither? pleasing people, or pleasing God? or myself? pray or not? why? doesn't God already know? but don't i feel disconected without it? don't worry about tomorrow? or worry because it is not taken care of yet? just keep walking…"but what if i miss something or run into a tree, or…? "keep walking He says… "ok." 6/5/2006 10:34:32 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | life

uncle kenny
we went to ken webb’s graduation today from denver seminary. ken has been an important part of our lives, and has been incredibly important to me as i transition into a new phase of life. there have been so many who have been helpful to me in moving on - but this story is about ken today. near the end of the ceremony, there is a time when they hand out awards to people who the staff feel exhibit a little extra recognition for their work and accomplishments at the seminary and in life. awards like "who's who" and "outstanding merit in counseling, or in preaching, or in student ministry" and so on. so there was also an award for "excellence and potential in the field of chaplaincy". ken is a chaplain for RFC (racers for Christ). he spends many weekends at different quarter-mile tracks during the summer. he's the regional director, but spends a lot of his time at Bandimere Speedway. so as your guessing, he won that award. recipients do not know ahead of time who wins, so it's a surprise to all. and i'm not usually a big fan of all these awards - but today, the "little guy" won an award. usually it's the smartest, or the best grades, or the most popular who clean up the awards. and even in christian circles, awards from schools are usually based on strictly academic standards alone. well of course, it's a school. but today, a man's heart was recognized over many deserving people. you see, if you'd seen ken over the last nine months, he wouldn't stand out as this powerful, up and comer in the christian world of chaplaincy. until a few weeks ago (before he lives by faith totally for his finances during the summer months while working at the race tracks), ken was the carpet cleaner at fbc. we worked together in facilities. and every monday, wednesday, and friday ken would come in and clean carpets, dump trash, help us set-up and move things. and like with everything, he did it with humility, grace, and love. ken did more than that though, he pastored and cared for the facilities department while he was there too - and for so many others who were around him. i have learned more from him about loving and caring for people, than most "titled" pastors i've been around. the people he ministers to with his life are many. so when they call his name out for this award, something broke inside of me. a mix of joy and sadness. joyfully, because this award was given to a man because of his heart, not his head. the faculty at denver seminary recognized a true servant, and see ken for his amazing heart. he is a real pastor, synonymous with servant. a man i consistently see Jesus in and living through. i want to follow him because i see him following Jesus. it's like the apostle paul saying to follow him as he follows Jesus. i don't want to put ken on a pedestal - quite the opposite. in a christian culture where the majority of pastors are served and catered too, here is a man who is a servant and pastors without the title. i am proud to know ken, and grateful to be cared for and mentored by him. he has been long overlooked by the CEO model pastors that are around and leading churches, but for today, the seminary recognized his heart and his walk. he would tell you he is nothing special, and mean it. but that's what makes him special - he's just a guy, living passionately and with his heart… you see Jesus living in ken's heart and life, and it makes you love Jesus all the more… 5/13/2006 9:40:22 PM | Add a comment | Read comments (1) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | friends

connecting group, velvet elvis
we are about to finish our discussion of velvet elvis in our connecting group. by the way, i have loved our connecting group this year. the discussion has been great - but the care of one another has been so cool. i am most excited about the relationships and trust that has been built over the year. you never know what will happen when you put some people together who don't know each other to begin with. but there has been many times of honest sharing and caring and i think it's been cool. the book provided some growth, some disagreements, some "he/she is on crack", some "good point", some tears, some joys, some "i'm not dealing with that"… i'm glad we got to build relationships with our group… it's almost like God created us to be in relationship with people (many people) - people we don't know, people we disagree with, people we love, people who are different from us… God. it's cool how He did that. i appricate it more and more each day. 5/1/2006 10:42:15 PM | Add a comment | Read comments (2) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it |connecting group

walk by sight, not faith…?
got to admit - i am having an awful time of walking by faith… i want to see what's ahead, but i can't. and i hate it. i have no idea what to do. i am miserable at fbc. i struggle with so much that is going on there. yet in a way it is safe there. nothing is expected of me - i am the chair and table mover, nothing else. and there is a steady paycheck. but in so many ways, i have lost hope and vision of doing anything else. ministry is for other people, shut off your heart and just make money - that is what my thoughts are consumed with. not that providing for your family is wrong - it is certainly not. but my heart is to do something more than just earn a paycheck. but i am struggling to see how that works. i need to move on in my journey, but i can't seem to break away. how can you be tied to something that is so different from what you want to do, but you can't see doing and being anything else? fear… i am afraid and discouraged. i need to walk, but i have put chains on my feet and stuck the key in my pocket - and then tell everyone i don't know where the key is. i lie… because i am afraid. i know where the key is, but it's easy to be bound sometimes in a place your are familiar with, than to be free to walk on… who says be comfortable and secure is the place to be? i do… way to much. when will i have faith to follow God out? walk by faith huh…? i guess i like sight better. God help us… me. it might take more faith than i've got to move. i don't see where to go. the cycle continues… i need you. and you might need to bring a crane to move me. i just put the wet cement of doubt around my feet. it's not dry yet - but i find myself blowing on it so it will dry faster. please help… 4/24/2006 11:37:27 PM | Add a comment | Read comments (5) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | thoughts

Too Small To Ignore
We have now both finished reading Wess Stafford's book, Too Small To Ignore. This book affected and impacted both of us in a lot of ways. We were a little hesitant to read it at first because everyone else is reading it… but we were both drawn to Wess' passion for children. Although we are now finding opportunities to minister to our age group, we have both been involved in ministry to children and youth and Wess deeply stresses the importance of loving on kids whenever and whatever you do. What he went through growing up as a missionary kid was horrible and reminds us of the importance of changing the way that we deal with children so that they know they are valued and grow up loving God and wanting to be in His family. For Wess to still want to follow God, while many of his classmates who were also abused don't, is amazing. His story is powerful, and we also feel so deeply for those others who experienced the pain and abuse and have walked away. How sad. The book showed the importance of gathering together as a body and having accountability for how we treat each other… it reminded us of the importance of listening to the little ones, too. It raised some good questions - considering the immense value and importance of little ones to Jesus, what should the role of children be in the church? In life? How should we honor children in our culture? How do you see them honored around the world? We'd love your thoughts! (this is corrie's first post here with me - so cool to do this together, and she writes so much quicker !!) 4/16/2006 10:14:02 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | Books

growth sometimes, no matter what you're intentions are - you just get it wrong. i am reminded often of my flaws and sinfulness. and it is my desire that when i do screw up, that my heart will still be soft enough to ask for forgivness and try to do things better the next time. and in those times, i realize just how grascious God is to me. i am grateful that God not only corrects me through others, but that He cares for me throughout the process and His love is more than i know. 4/11/2006 8:58:27 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | life

tsottc
just finished "the shaping of things to come". loved it! one of my favorite books i've read. it continued to awaken my heart towards loving people and serving God. we've spent a lot of time talking about it (ken, kevin, corrie and myself. - i earlier made it sound like this is all we do at church and never work, but that is no where near the case. the church reference was only about the fact that we all work there, not that we spend all day chatting and not working).anyway, it has got us thinking about things and has changed even how some of us look for new jobs, and how others work within their ministry. highly recommend. it certainly is not anything"new" perse, as nothing is new under the sun, but i believe the authors truly desire for all people to be loved on and for followers of Christ to be seen as people of love, as opposed to being mean and irrelavant. 4/4/2006 8:31:31 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it

missional church/community
the more i spend thinking. talking, seeking, reading, etc… about doing things differently in church and in life - the more excited i get about it. i used to practically give up every time i heard a pastor or teacher smash on reaching postmodern people with new methods. and i used to think i was messed up and God was angry at me cause i think like that anyway. but as you have seen below, i believe in my generation and all of us postmodern thinkers (i know that is incorrect english). i believe that Jesus, (not the tame, suit only wearing, hymm only singing, CEO model pastor, church as a country club, mean-spirited, homosexual/people who have had an abortion - hating, money woshiping, hand raising for the purpose of counting numbers, etc…) has so much to say and to be in our culture. i believe that the love and grace of Jesus - that if we get anywhere close to letting Him live, love, and care for everyone around us, through us, that a lot of people will be so intrigued and feel so loved that God might be something they run to, instead of what they run from. i'm sold out to following Jesus - who we see in the Bible as passionate, loving, graceful, caring, confrontational, compassionate, emotional, had righteous anger towards injustice, relational, broken but whole, a God who came/comes to us instead of one who is distant… i realize i don't always follow Him the way i should, and i don't live the way i always should, but i can't begin to describe my desire to follow and to lead as He asks me too. and i believe that despite the claims of many - Jesus can and will speak to this next generation/postmodern mindset. and i believe he will keep speaking to each generation to come. 3/26/2006 10:35:31 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | church/community

the struggle…
these thoughts are so uneditted (i am an internal processer), so if it doesn't make sense i apologize. as i read and peruse books, blogs, websites, conversations, sermons, etc… all about the "postmodern/emergent/missional" debate, i find myself wondering about it all. i am one who doesn't want to be doing something that is completely against God, or what Jesus wanted. but i believe in many things that missional/emegent theology/thoughts/philosophy is trying to do with a new generation that has completely given up on God and the church. and what is offererd right now by the mainstream evangelical churches is not reaching many of these people. and unlike in the past, when the most important goal was to conform to be accepted, this group will just go somewhere else and not think twice about it. but so many against this missional/emegent way of doing things is so adamant that it is wrong, it is sinful, it is of Satan, it is the opposite of following God. and when i read this stuff (and i admit i am not a academic, theologian or scholar in the evangelical church way), it causes me pain and anguish because i truly, truly with all my heart do not want to be grieving God or doing the opposite of what Jesus wants me to do. i truly want to follow Jesus. and i truly want to help, care for, love, show grace and compassion to, counsel, dicsiple and be discipled, learn from, be accountable to - many people. i want to share what God has done in my life, i want to share what He means to me. but i also want to just hang out with people - whether they believe in God or not. and i want to love on and help people, whether they believe the "right" things or not. i want to be good to my neighbors, i want to care about those not accepted by most churches. but i feel like with all the battling over who's "right and wrong", that we all become wrong. while we spend our time bickering and battling over what God thinks we should do, we lose so much time with people. i agree that we should speak up as followers of Christ if we believe somthing is wrong with the message we are speaking or living. i believe in being biblical. i believe in "taking up my cross and following Jesus", even if i don't always know what that means or do it the way i should. i'm trying… i'm trying to follow Jesus the best i can. i want to follow Jesus the way He wants me too. i have spent many years in churches who do not think i can do much, who believe in the "pastor as CEO" model, who believe that only the "professional" ministers can do it. for so long i wanted to fit in, i wanted the pastor to believe in me and disciple me. i wanted to do it the "right" way. i wanted to be good enough… but it just didn't happen. i say all this not to bash these churches, it's not about them, and i love so many people in them. and it is true many people from the church have and do care about me, and believe God has something for me. the missional/emergent church though i think does have a place for me - it has a place for so many. it welcomes the small, the broken, the forgotten, the not-good-enough, the sinner, the journeyer, the hurt, the curious, the questioner; as well as the other. and i would love to pastor, to share my heart with others. i don't want to become what i have seen from a few pastors i have been around - distant, reclusive, uninvolved with people, deceptive, manipulative… i certainly have a list of my own faults and it would not take very much to fall into that trap. i am a sinner, that is no doubt… and it's not hard to know if you have been around me very much. but i am trying… and i truly want to follow Christ with love, grace, brokenness, and compassion. so the point of this is… if the emegent/missional thought is so far off of what God wants - i don't know where to go. and where do so many others who have found life in God through it go? if God is really against it… if we who are energized by the life that God is bringing through this are wrong, and it's really not of God… i'm sunk. cause i don't fit in and honestly have not really been welcomed into the modern evangelical church model. and if that is the only place that God is, i struggle with wanting to follow or be there anyway - as horrible as that sounds. i did not find life in it. God is everywhere, but He felt so constrained and lifeless there. but what if i/we are wrong? what if? this is a true heartfelt question for anyone reading… am i just on the wrong path? does God really hate the emergent/missional thought? i don't know… ***Here is the link to the post (and the article he links to is in that post) that started this post… thoughts? http://milehighrev.typepad.com/mile_high_rev/2006/03/revrant_126_a_c.html --------------——+++++ added 3/14/06 +++++++++ i decided to coment on the blog above about the article (unfortunately they have not been added to MileHighRev's blog at this time, but I let you know if they ever are) - anyway, here are those comments: I have spent a few days trying to figure out the perfect thing to write about this post (and article)… but in the end, I just want to share my heart for minute. I understand the concern for this different way of doing things, of reaching people, of thinking, of connecting, of ministry. I have spent many days/nights seeking and praying about it all. Asking God if as so many, “modern, conservative, evangelical, old-school, professional” whatever you want to call it, are right about the emergent/missional/postmodern (EMP) movement being “of Satan” or unbiblical. I have cried, hurt, questioned, wrestled with the issue. I do not want to be wrong, I do not want to grieve God. The reason for doing this all is to follow God, not to take away from Him. But I believe in the opportunities the “EMG” presents. I am not married to the movement itself, because I want to be able to minister and speak to those of any mindset, or “cultural language”. But I believe in the opportunities to share Jesus in a fresh and different way. I believe the postmodern generation is hungry for grace, connection, love, authenticity, social justice and help for the poor, etc… I believe a lot of them want to know who God is, but are put off by the lethargic and country club mainstream churches. Our generation is no longer persuaded by big “theological words” and proofs of God. But please don’t be convinced they are not hungry for God and cannot find Him outside of the conservative/evangelical church way. I disagree with Mr. Johnson’s assertion that we have watered down the Gospel and don’t use words. I would challenge that we have used too many words, or have repeated the same words over and over so that it goes over people’s heads. The church today has many answers to questions no one is asking or wondering about. EMP want a faith that is alive – one that changes your life, not just one you commit to, check off your spiritual disciplines each week, and go to church. I don’t know when heaven became the goal of salvation and not a changed life starting here and now. But the opportunities are endless with this generation. And I hope to be ready to let Jesus speak His mission and vision through me, into the lives of others no matter the “cultural language”. And I hope to be engaged enough with people that I realize how to speak a language in which they understand. Much like the Apostle Paul did when he used different ways to speak to the Jews and the Greeks. And Jesus told stories that those listening to Him would understand, and it went over the heads of many of the religious leaders of the time. So I disagree with many of the conclusions Mr. Johnson came up with. And I have spent much time reading and talking with the same people he has – and I do naturally think like postmoderns. Not everything is right with it, but I believe it's got a lot of good and is being used by God to reach out to people with His love. I can get into specifics about the pitfalls and the good things about the “EMP” we see later, as this has gone too long. P .S. as for Brian McLaren, I don’t believe for a minute he is a false prophet or trying to divide for no reason. I have been grateful for the way Brian has spoke into my life and watched out for me during my church planting days, far more than most people at FBC, including the pastors/leadership (not slamming, just true). He asked me how things were going, and challenged me to walk deeper with Christ. He in no way wanted tried to turn our eyes away from Christ. His books have been helpful and full of life, towards following Jesus, not away from Him. He may not get everything right (which I appreciate since I am wrong sometimes, hmmm… I think we call that human), but I truly believe his heart is sold out to Christ. And I have personally seen the fruit of this in his life. He’s just a man, a sinner like all of us, but he has been used by God in my life and many others. 3/8/2006 8:21:21 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it

books just read…
i just finished reading a few books that i wanted to talk about here for a moment…
Stumbling Toward Faith : My Longing to Heal from the Evil That God Allowed – i've gotten the opportunity to email with the author (renee), and the story of her abuse is immense (her father raped her while reciting the Lord's prayer and singing hymns), and she honestly depicts it. as i wrote her, i love her authenticity and honesty. in no way does the book end with "victory and everything being super and dandy" as is the case with so many christian books/songs. she talks about still struggling and sometimes not being sure if she can trust God. but she also shares her longing to be with God and be loved by him. it's a heartbreaking book, one that you can't walk away from without it changing you somehow - but a book i recommend to anyone who can read it. on the left side of this blog is the link to her blog - "iauna". she's a good person who is finding her way through the pain, longing to rest in the love of God!
Toxic Churches – i thought the authors did a great job of explaining spiritual abuse, how many churches and pastors have fallen into the trap of spiritually abusing people in their congregation - and vice versa too. they talk a lot about doing things out of love and showing ways that Christ served with love and grace. they ended the book with a chapter on how to forgive and how bashing the church/pastor was not the best option. that didn't mean not confronting the people in leadership or asking questions or not backing down and getting run over, but how to do it in love and respect. unfortunately i have listened to people who are experiencing this right now, and i see it for myself too.
The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and Church – the author of this book did a great job of giving the background to what has gone on with women and children throughout time. she talked about how women and children were just property and men could do almost whatever they wanted. like the problem wasn't that a man raped a woman, it's that he ruined someone else’s property and defiled them. so sad… and she gave a balanced view of things like homosexuality, sexual addiction, what popes and Caesars decreed in terms of sex, etc… she shows both sides of the issue, although also sharing her own views of each issue. she ends with her own journey of faith and how she was sexually abused and how it has affected her in different ways. good balance! 3/4/2006 9:49:20 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | Books

meeting missionaries!
we got an opportunity last week to meet a couple of missionaries FBC supports. as you may know, corrie works as the missionary care coordinator at FBC, and was a missionary herself. so she also gets to care for the missionaries when they come into town. now i have never been much of the missions type (probably because i didn't understand it that much, and have always wanted to help people here who are struggling with church and God), but i had no idea how impactful it would be to meet keith and terri. what very cool people, who were so encouraging and helpful. i got a chance to hear keith and terri's heart for unreached people groups, but also to interact about emerging church, and the postmodern thinking. keith shared what the rest of the world really thinks of american christianity (materialistic, hypocritical, and not authentic were a few words). but he wasn't coming from a rip on the church or everything sucks side against the church or westernized christianity - but instead, a heart towards sharing our journey with Christ with others (especially those who have never heard of Jesus) and doing it with our generation. he talked about how the rest of the world skipped the "postmodernity" step and is already caring about relationships and authenticity (i'm sure i didn't capture all he said correctly in it's entirety here, as it was so much - but the heart of the rashers and their passion was so cool). it was just cool for me to hear a different side as i struggle to find my place here and feeling like a round peg in a square hole. i was just so encouraged by them as they talked with us. as i wrote in the post before about struggling with where to go - the rascher's made me feel like i wasn't so useless to God. they shared with me how the rest of the world doesn't necessarily do education, church/ministry the same way we do in the U.S. - that just because i haven't done things the traditional amercian way, doesn't mean i am useless. and he was so excited about using and working with the next generation and beyond. their hearts are for Jesus and caring for people, and not in the "right" way of doing things - the american christian box! i am so grateful for our time with them and we pray for them in their missions and journey!! 2/22/2006 4:49:27 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | connecting

"Dear God, Brandon here. Please have mercy on us for this “Christian-wear”: great post about different "slogans" some christian companies have come up with for T-shirts and bumper stickers. found on the blog - a badchristian blog: the musings of a quasi-badass son of a preacher man to the post to the site he found this stuff on 1/24/2006 4:01:31 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it

a friend's post
while surfing a friend of corrie's blog, we came across a post of her's we thought was very interesting - and right. it's about her as a single woman and not fitting in to the male dominated modern evangelical church. well put and on the mark! "The longer I remain single, the less I know where I fit within the Evangelical church. Granted, some of this may well be the fact that I'm entering in a very male dominated field — both Academia and more specifically Biblical Studies (for example at the conference I was just at in Phili, more often than not I was the only woman in the room) — so this may not actually be a true "single women" issue, so I'd be very interested in hearing from some of you whether you feel this way sometimes. Anyway, the idea here is that of entering an ambiguous “in-between” zone where we are not really seen or don't really function as women, but still obviously feel and experience the world as women. Anyway, what I notice is that I don't always fit with the women around my age anymore, as many of them are starting to have children and so, rightly, their focus and interests are changing. But I can't necessarily relate to that, so I often feel alienated in a room of women in a church. Meanwhile, being the sole breadwinner in my individual household, I have to work. And in entering the workplace, my generation is now entering a world where years of battling about the role of women within the workforce has created…" (to Mariam's full post) that's just a portion of it. really good post, if you have time please read it! 1/23/2006 9:38:45 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it | thoughts

realgrace - a look back and a look forward? (9.28.2005)
it's been five years since realgrace spiritual community (or realgrace community church as it's formal name was know to the state and IRS) was presented to a small group of friends and family.i had no idea what i was doing - not sure if i'd know any better now. i had such a passion (still do) to see those like myself have a place where they could search for God, ask questions about God, see a different side of church and followers of Christ who were not mean or judgmental or unforgiving or lacked grace for those who didn't live "perfectly". i have never felt like i belonged at church (which i want to write/blog about another time), for one reason or another i just wasn't good enough, didn't know enough, didn't have enough, etc… and it was my passion to see people who also felt like this, to have a home where they felt and were accepted as they were. i wanted people to see a God who didn't want to shot lightning bolts at them all the time if they screwed up or shunned them if the didn't measure up or spent time with "non-church" people. it may sound simple and cheesy but i truly wanted people to feel and see "real grace" instead of yes, fake grace that a lot of churches put out. oh yes they'll extend grace until you "raise your hand, and pray the prayer" but after that the faucet of grace shuts off. once your "in" you better not screw it up or you'll be "out" just as quick. that wasn't grace to me. that wasn't the grace of God that i had experienced. that wasn't the grace a pastor and friend of mine showed me after all my screw-ups. grace was never a license to sin for me - as is the fear of so many christians and pastors that if you extend too much, people will abuse it. if you really understand grace, the grace and complete love of Jesus, you could never use it that way. you probably will still sin - but you could never say "oh well, that's what grace is for". my desire was for people to experience in community the eyes of a God that see straight through you and that makes you feel more peace than anything else you have ever felt in your life; a heart that is so tender, yet so strong with love for you, a God that wants you, truly right as you are right now. i wanted a community of followers who lived this out with all humans - whether they believed in God or not. a community who loved their neighbor's just because. who helped out and spent time with those in need. a community that spent time together, could disagree with each other, could help each other grow, could pick one another up, could experience pain, hurt, failure, joy, success, fun, etc… with each other. but one that was also relevant to the culture and helpful to the world. i was young and immature. i didn't have a clue what i was doing. i had some great people around me and part of the church plant. God gave me some wise mentors to help me along the way. but honestly i don't think i worked hard enough or put enough time and effort into it - the way it deserved and the way people who were coming needed it to be. it's hard for me to look back at realgrace community church and see that it didn't survive. i feel bad about all the time and energy people put into it and that i don't feel like i gave it everything. i was scarred and unsure of how to do anything and how to halp it grow. i am not sure even to this day if i went into it because God called me to, or if it was just my idea and i wanted to do it on my own. but eventually realgrace community was shut down - and i walked away in silence. i had a true crisis of faith that kind of brought me to the place of walking away - and it's kind of what started my online blogging. back then it was an online journal called "brokensoul". i write all this for two reasons. one because the anniversary of our first meeting passed this week. and two because this blog is called realgrace writings… and i am not sure i have really ever written down much about the start of the word "realgrace" or the dream and community in where it was born and made. the church does not meet, but the vision will always be in my heart, because i still desire to see all those things wherever we are. i put real and grace together as one word because i wanted it to mean real and grace which i was seeing very little of in most churches, but i wanted to have a new word, a word not in the dictionary, made up by our community that had it's own definition. so what does "realgrace" mean? it's kind of fluid to me and encompasses things like grace, love, authenticity, faith, Jesus, neighbor, humility, sin, restoration, confession, humanity, community, journey, and more. somewhere in there may be a definition, but for me the word has much life in it and it's why it is the name of these writings… 1/4/2006 10:25:05 PM | Add a comment | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Blog it Read more…

ordination
chris
Apr 4, '07, 12:29 PM
ordination is something i said i would never pursue. i had gotten a bad taste of it and what it "entitles" pastors to be like while in some baptists churches. i had also struggled with the whole "Rev." thing as a title because again, i have seen it used so wrongly by people who live under the unspoken principle of "how dare you question or speak ill of a man of God!". i have always wanted to just be one of the guys. just chris. so you can see where this is going… i have been licensed for the last 4 years (which is a way for the organization to watch me, see my heart for people and Jesus, keep accountability with others, and so on). after 3 years i was eligible to apply for Ordination through the ECA. i put it off for another year - feeling like i still didn't want any part of Ordination. there were many reasons for that. see, Ordination to me is such an honor and a calling - that i just didn't feel like i was the right guy to do that. it's not just a title of "Rev." that you get, or some prestige that is given to you because you are so awesome. it should be such a humbling thing - the title should more be like "Ser." (meaning servant) instead of revered . all of those who are followers of Christ are ministers in one way or another. a piece of paper or a title doesn't matter. but the Bible also talks about God giving different people different gifts to serve in the church - like some pastors, some teachers, some… and Ordination being a way for some people in the Body of Christ to send you out as they see your "calling" and heart. anyway (i could ramble on)…friday, march 30, 2007 i was ordained by the ECA. one of the coolest things was my friend and mentor, ken webb, was not only there but served on the ordination board for me. ken has the "Rev." thing too, but ken has taught me and modeled what it truly means to be a pastor, synonymous with servant. ken is just a man, but he has shown me, by living it, what it truly means to be a pastor. ken is real shepherd, not just a pulpit presence. in fact he has no pulpit - he's a chaplain at Bandamere Speedway. we are so grateful for ken and his family. we had a little ceremony after the the interview and ken prayed for me with passion and emotion - it was so cool. he poured out his heart to God on my behalf. it meant the world to me. i hope i can serve with such a strong, but soft heart. thanks ken for that awesome time. a few days later, my mom and grandpa showed up at YFC. my grandpa is another man who showed me what it really means to minister and love God. my grandpa sat here and shared with me what an important thing to our family and family history it was that i was ordained. i had no idea. there are many pastors in our family tree, but there has not been one since my grandpa's grandfather and great-uncle. and this meant so much to him. he and mom prayed for me - and it was so cool. this all may seem so churchy/christianise, but instead it has been so special and cool. kevin asked me a while back why iwould i want to apply for ordination with a big organization. aren't i against titles and all that fanfare. yes i am. but as it has turned out, this had nothing to do with titles, organizations or anything like that. instead it was/is about so much more - and so much less at the same time. no entitlement. just chris… a servant of Christ and my neighbor.

anna nicole, tornados, storms…
chris
Feb 24, '07, 2:58 AM
i feel like i missed so much to write about over the last few weeks. things like the massive storm on the east coast that dumped like 10 feet on those poor people. i hope everyone is starting to dig out and stuff. or the tornado that ripped through the tailer park community. i mean, weird, really weird and freaky weather this whole winter across the country. i also missed writting about the sad and tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith (and i wanted to write about it). you know, i told corrie as soon as it happened that i bet her heart just gave out from all the drama that was her life. that battle for her late husband estate, her son's death, her new baby, her horrible relationship with mom; not to mention all the other stuff that was her life through the years. i read on CNN no long after her death that she was extremely depressed. not really a shock to hear that… i know that she was foder among many evangelicals for her lifestyle and ways. my hope is that for the many who publically or privately sat in judgement above her from afar, that there were some christians in her life who prayed for her, shared with her, and loved her to the end. i hope she was able to get a glimpse of the real Jesus from up close… i think it's easy to just see a person by their choices and how they live (and whether we agree or disagree with them), but sometimes it's harder to see someone as a human just like us - a human God loves and wants.

Super Bowl XLI
chris
Feb 5, '07, 1:46 PM
hope you enjoyed the game (and a few commercials), i know we did. yes we were cheering for the Colts and so that made it better. and i thought Prince did a good job, especially in that rain! and my favorite commercial was the Blockbuster one where the bunny was using the mouse as a computer mouse… hilarious! there was one thing that bothered me during the trophy ceremony. i am all for athletes/coaches/actors (both men and women) thanking God and being grateful for all He has done in their lives. i mean i love the way Tony and the Colts go about their business. they are a class orginization and do football the right way! but it bothers me when people get up and say (especially in a sporting event) that God made/helped them win over someone else. this was especially hard when you hear about Lovie Smith's faith in God. so did Tony and Peyton have a better quiet time that day than Lovie? did they play God's favorite hymn in the Colts locker room before the game? thanking God for all he's done in your life, that's fine. but God helping you win over another person or follower, i'm not so sure about that. what do ya'll think? do you think God made the Colts win? does that stuff bother you or do you like it? still, it was an entertaining night for us. how about you? were you cheering for the Colts or Bears? did you have a commercial you liked? Read more…

the blasphemy challange
chris
Jan 17, '07, 6:21 AM
while reading Ben's blog (brother of Joel Newton, Corrie goes way back with the Newton family), he has a post about "the blasphemy challenge". i agree with him, it is painfully disturbing. God gives everyone a choice, so that is not what's hard for me. it's more because Jesus is so important to us and we try to live our lives for Him with all we do. and so when people just dislike Him and don't believe i feel a twinge of rejection too because God so important in our lives. so what are the stories of those who are making these short videos denying God. what have they experienced and why do they not want anything to do with God. i actually would love to hear why from them, just to listen. even when Jesus was here, people walked away and chose not to believe - it's going to happen. even now, i can't prove God 100%. we could be wrong. but Corrie and i have decided that we do believe and we are giving our lives to Him. we are putting all our eggs in that basket and living for God accordingly. i'm afraid many christians who see the blasphemy website or You Tube videos proclaiming their denial of God, will just get mad and strike back. isn't time we showed love for those who agree and disagree - no matter the response. my heart is the we show love in return, not more anger, attacking and hatred… i think people have had enough of that. Jesus was no "everything is all good" guy, but He was Love. I hope we can be too… but it's still tough to read some of the stuff they say. it still hurts. additional websites: - "the Blasphamy Challenge" homepage - "the God Who Wasn't There" hompage (this is the video you get for denying the Holy Spirit/God) - "the rational response squad" hompage Read more…

practitioners, luke 7:36-50
chris
Dec 22, '06, 7:22 AM
i started reading a book called "practitioners". it a collection of stories by different people involved in emergent/postmodern ministry. the first chapter includes a piece on Luke 7:36-44. the writer of the chapter highlights Jesus' question - "Do you see this woman?". it seems like a pointless and odd question, even now. but as i sat there, i saw her… what an amazing display of brokenness and faith displayed by her to walk up to this Messiah (the Messiah i believe) and to lay her entire self out to Jesus. kissing his feet, weeping over Him, pouring expensive perfume on His feet, laying herself at the feet of God begging for forgiveness and restoration… the religious want to run her out and are disgusted and embarrassed that she is there, appalled that this Jesus is tolerating her and her acts. she's the scum of society, doesn't Jesus know who this is? Â why does she feel she can go to Jesus? after the way she has been treated by the religious, why does she think she can lay at Jesus' feet and bare her soul there? what makes Jesus so different? Jesus claims He's God, the Pharisees claim to speak for God - who's right? why doesn't she feel she can go to the religious Pharisees? why crash the party where you are not wanted and pretty much despised? what made Jesus safe, and why don't a lot of Christians permeate this safeness today for people?
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." - (Luke 7:44-47)
do you see this woman? i see her… isn't she beautiful. laying there broken, defeated, an outcast, a sinner, condemned by the religious - with only her soul to give. Jesus takes it… her sins forgiven, as her great love has shown. restoration happens, love is recipricated. a life is truly changed. and the religious are left there wondering how this could happen and who Jesus thinks He is… grace… Love.
"To inhale the scent of brokenness is free to all, for all carry deep within a jar waiting to be broken. This jar, entitled spiritual or human performance, seals up the perfume of honesty, transparency, vulnerability and forgivness, preventing it from filling the rooms of churches and city streets. I long and live for a societal shift of transformative reconciliation under Grace, which unifies people to love and share without pretense or fear of our common humanness, no matter how complex. I see the Christ practitioner as this Grace, led not by dogma but by doxology of love that is heard throughout the earth; led by an emerging sound of selflessness sung down the boulevard of broken dreams, capturing the murmuring heartbeats of humanity and inviting them to join in the song that everyone can sing - you can hear it now - at the feet of Jesus" - by Matt Gillespie, "Practitioners", pg. 36

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