Saturday, June 10, 2006


Long time since my last post. It's been a rather busy time here. I went to Germany for a few weeks and as soon as I came back they announced the base closure. Since then I've been hugely busy shutting down the squadron and packing it up as well as working my assignment back to Vegas. Moving has made me think of how transient some of us are...

My dad worked at the same job in the same place for thirty years. My in-laws have lived in the same house for about that same length of time. So, my first thought was all this change is not normal. That it's only a small group of us who are so transient. However, if you look at our history, uprooting from one place and transplanting ourselves to another is a big part of the American experience. The earliest settlers were transplants from Europe who moved on to find a better life. Once here, they had a passion to expand this nation and moved west into the Ohio River Valley. I was born there.

In the 1930s farmers from middle-America got "dusted out" and left everything to pursue survival on the west coast. As farming became more and more difficult to make a living from, Americans moved to the cities for factory work by the thousands. In the 40s, a similar thing happened to coal in Kentucky and West Virginia. That's how I came to be born in the Ohio Valley.

I chose a life of constant change and upheaval. I moved from Ohio to Montana in 1992. After several more moves I ended up in Las Vegas. We went to church in a high school cafeteria one Sunday morning and the name of the pastor in the bulletin looked familiar. We sat in the back and could barely see the preacher, but I knew exactly who he was when I heard his lame joke about cars in the bible. He was also a transplant. We had met in Ohio years before. Later, I met a young lady in the church (Debbie). She was from Indiana and happened to know a friend I had met in MT. Oh, and her husband (Joe) was in the same youth group as a friend of mine from college. To top it all off, that youth group was led by the pastor with the lame car joke (Kevin). The connections continue and continue and demonstrate that transience is a large part of who we Americans are.

But it goes deeper than that. It's not just Americans who are transient. God transplanted Adam and Eve after they sinned. Abram was transplanted when he followed God's call to go. The nation of Israel which seems so tied to the land, have been transplanted again and again. Babylon, Egypt, etc. Even Jesus was transient. My lovely wife likes to say, "The joy is in the journey." and,"Life is a journey not a destination." I think she's on to something. What if the Kingdom of God is not a destination we're traveling towards, but a journey we're on together. I know a lot of you get that. Some of you may not understand life in the body that way, but I think it's just so. In fact, I think it's both. It's a journey with our brothers and sisters AND a destination that we strive towards. It's the destination part that I don't completely understand, but I think it's got gold-paved streets and such.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

About Time

It's been quite a while since my last blog because I've been incredibly busy. Even now, I don't have too many things to share. Just a couple of thoughts that have run through my brain lately.

Would we have a concept of time if we didn't live on the second hand of the largest clock in the universe?

Of the different theories of the beginning of the world, they all fail at a certain point. They all reach back to an unanswerable question. For the creationist, that question is, "Where did God come from?" For others, it may be, "What caused the big bang or where did that ball of matter or cloud of gasses come from?" Why do any of the so-called scientific theorists think their ideas are any more or less plausible than the creationist?

Those of us who believe God made all of this should admit that our ideas work back to an unanswerable question just like theirs. For debate, that puts us all on even ground. The difference is that they choose to put faith in the hope that there is no God and we choose to place faith in God the creator.

Faith in God requires us to choose certain things. It requires personal change. Scientists sometimes fear personal choices.

On a different less rambling topic, I heard a sermon recently that used John chapter 2 as a spring board for "encouraging" folks to get involved in support of the church's programs. He completely lost me. How do you take the story of Jesus' first miracle, a wedding feast, and wine drinking and turn it into a guilt trip trying to get people to overcommit to programs that nobody cares about (or else they wouldn't have to beg for help) and few benefit from?

Oh well, see you next time.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Espresso and Family

I'm makin' espresso in my kitchen! Bought an espresso machine on ebay and really dig it. I'm making mochas and cappuccinos in my kitchen that beat Starbucks hands down! Check out this article, speakin' of the bean:

Weird, but I feel the absence of Amy and the kids. Even when I'm at work, something feels out of place. I can't wait to see them and the rest of you in Las Vegas soon.

church thoughts

George Barna, author of Revolution thinks that the number of committed Christians who do not affiliate with a local congregation in the traditional sense will grow from 30% now to 70% in the next several years.

I think that's bunk. Although I consider myself one of that current 30%, I don't think that the traditional or institutional church is on the way out. A couple of reasons define my argument. First, some people thrive on structure and organization. I am not one of those which is why I fit into the home-grown church so well. I think people who thrive on structure and live for the next project will keep the institutions in business, so to speak. Secondly, as the number of congregational drop-outs increase and the reasons for said drop-out rate becomes more widely understood, the institutional churches will adapt and re-make themselves into a more free, less guilt-driven, performance-based expression of his body. At least I hope so.

I believe the numbers may get close to 50-50 by about 2025, but I think that Christians all over the globe will realize we're on the same team. Those who enjoy big structures and programs will have their place and be able to use their gifts in a more relaxed manner than in the mega-church of today. They will understand freedom in Christ and exercise it daily. Those who like to hang out in their PJs in some one's living room and call that church will be able to do so without fear of losing their friends down at the warehouse building church. God is moving today and he's calling his children to unity. The "Revolution", as Barna puts it, is fueling a larger movement of the Father. He wants us to be one. He wants us to be free of our human systems be they mega-churches or house-churches. Some day I hope my friends can feel free to gather anywhere at anytime to enjoy the reality of being his body.

As far as Apex is concerned, I posted this on Hubbard's blog: I think one day we'll look back and see that our purpose wasn't to be but to send. My mind is full of memories of wonderful people who became part of us and moved on. The largest ministry of Apex has been what others have been able to glean from our table and take with them to wherever they settle. I have believed for a couple of years that God's purpose for us was/is to subtly take part in the change He's making to the church in North America through these people who come and go.

As far as the title of this blog goes, I need to move on. I need to have more thoughts on God and sin and redemption than on "church".

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Talk about your catchy pop Christianity, asking WWJD is seriously in some folks' habit pattern when faced with a decision. Not that it's a bad question, it's just that so many people (most of us, like me) make assumptions as to what he'd do that are just silly. Trying to guess at the mind of God is folly. We will only know what he chooses to reveal to us. He offers us examples from the scripture. Would Jesus go to or host a party with alcoholic drinks? At the wedding in Cana, he brought the booze. Would Jesus pay taxes to a government that condoned, even funded the killing of innocent babies? He said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God's." He also reveals his character to us through his holy spirit. Prayer is a two-way conversation.

WWJD? Certainly, he'd come as a conquering king and deliver them from Roman oppression. Wouldn't he? Surely he'd be a political activist to try and overrule the injustices of our land and stomp out all the immorality? Wouldn't he? I bet he'd be a Republican. Wouldn't he?

Rather than asking WWJD and "taking a stand for Christ", these days I'm more apt to ask what's more important, my agenda or the people it affects? Are people drawn to activists or neighbors? Did Jesus take issue with Roman law or did he eat dinner with the short tax-collecting guy? Did he protest houses of ill repute or did he forgive the sinful woman? Making The Almighty God fit into our political viewpoint is exactly how the Jews missed their Messiah. It's dangerous to start thinking Jesus would like our ways more than someone else's. It's risky to believe we are right. The truth is that when Jesus comes back (and even he didn't know when that would be), it may look very different than what we expect. "I can see it now--at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here." Mat 7:22,23 The Message

Monday, October 03, 2005


Quote of the week:

"Church ain't shucks to a circus."

-Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Weird to think...

I'm from Ohio.
I was baptized in a swimming pool surrounded by fifth-graders. I was in college.
I've been with the same girl since I was 15. (That's 20 years.)
We're raising five kids!
I've lived in Montana.
I live in Iceland.
I've seen smoke rising from Basra, Iraq.
I've been sailing on the Black Sea.
I've flown at 100' above the floor of the Grand Canyon.
I'm the father of a teenager.
Two teens as of Jan '06.
I'm a landlord.
I was in an "undisclosed location" on 9-11.
I'm an uncle.
Las Vegas seems normal to me. I call it home.
I have saved people's lives.
I've seen a wolf in the wild.
I've eaten whale meat.
I've been to Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, France, Germany, England, Denmark, and the Czech Republic - In the last six months!
Peace for me is chopping wood.
Peace for me is also collecting boulders with Gregg.
I miss a pick-up truck. (*sniff**)
I'm not musical but wish I was.
I feel physically older than I am.
I feel emotionally much younger.
My daily driver is 40 years old.
I baptized my oldest two kids.
My cousin calls me, "Daddy".
I landed a helicopter on a glacier.
Once, I started a forest fire.
Many years later, I put one out.
I like plaid wool shirts.

All of these things seem surreal to me.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Church?

Whenever people ask my where I went to church in Las Vegas, I start telling the whole story. I watch them as I talk and think they look like I must when I ask some one how they are and they start talking about their entire life. It kind of makes me feel bad for them but I keep talking anyway. Hey, they asked.

On the other hand, when I talk about my friends in Las Vegas and all the great things they're doing, I tend to say they're from my church. Never mind that they attend Canyon Ridge, or The Crossing, or wherever, I believe that if they are my friends and they follow the same Christ I do, then they are from my church. Lately, I find myself correcting my...self. I don't call it My church any more but I say, "Look at what The church in Las Vegas is doing."

I read something by Watchman Nee a few years ago about the New Testament example of the church being the local congregation. That is, there was no recognized body above or below the church at Corinth, or Boston, or where ever. As I look back at our time in Nevada, I see the church not as all of our little groups that meet all over town, but as The Church at Las Vegas. I like that.

Page 2.

I just got back from a whirlwind tour of Bulgaria and Romania. It was a big pain in the butt. But, I enjoyed seeing the different places and people. Bulgaria is awesome. Great food, beautiful scenery and nice people. To all you business folks out there, if you haven't invested in Eastern Europe, it's almost too late. Once these little countries get on the Euro, things won't be cheap anymore. If you ever find cheap air fare to Sophia, Prague, Budapest, or Bucharest, take it.