Archives For Pastoring

Our dog is an idiot.

If it isn’t bad enough that this 6 pound Yorkshire Terrier wears pants to keep him from hiking his leg on anything bigger than he is (which is basically everything), last night he decided to hold a 20 minute licking session with his back right foot on the blanket where I sleep. Here I am, still recovering from my DST hangover, and this stupid canine decides to create a puddle of slobber for me to lay in.

I lost my mind.

As the dog scurried to hide himself on my wife’s (dry) side of the bed, she got a good late-night laugh at my expense.

Why do we let animals live in our homes? (Alas, that question is for another post).

The truth is, I had some unresolved angst living inside of me last night that had nothing to do with the dog – some stress from work and the weight of a few heavy circumstances that were poking at the broken places and insecurities inside of me. Add fatigue to the potion, and the dog gets blasted for a silly and unintentional offense.

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The problem was inside of me, but I needed somewhere else to lay the blame. Something outside of myself. Dogs are good for that.

As silly as it may sound, this story is a microcosm of our human condition. Our fallen instincts scream at us to look outside of ourselves for the source of our issues.

Poor leaders.

Oppressive culture.

Intolerance.

Family of origin issues.

“If ‘they’ were just better, I would be better!”

And those same instincts challenge us to search inside of ourselves for the solution.

More courage!

The pursuit of happiness.

Self-love.

Self-expression.

“I will make my own way in this world!”

And while all of these things may have some merit, this worldview helps us dodge the root problem that is at play. As usual, the Gospel turns our human assumptions on their head. 

The primary source of my issues resides inside of me:

Sin.

Sin is a virus that infects every aspect of our lives with self-absorption, self-obsession, and self-worship. It puts me at the center and everything and everyone else (including God) in my orbit. It’s the root of everything ugly and broken, and I am incapable of remedying it on my own.

The only Solution is outside of me:

The Gospel offers us wholeness as a gift. It’s given from the outside, not conjured up from the inside. The finished work of Jesus Christ clothes us in redemption. All I have to do is give up. Stop blaming. Stop striving. Stop trying to be my own savior. Stop pointing at everyone and everything else.

This is Good News, but it takes humility to truly hear it.

The brokenness is inside. The Answer is outside.

Maybe it’s time to stop blaming the dog.

My friends at The Point Church in Seymour, Indiana invited me to teach a 4-week series on the intersection of our faith and the work we do in the “secular” world each day. What God’s Word has to say about this subject might surprise you.

When we work, we “image” God, we cultivate His creation, and we love our neighbor. I hope this encourages you as your alarm clock goes off tomorrow.

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Re-Learning the Art of Prayer

admin —  July 1, 2015 — 1 Comment

This week, I was honored to share with my friends at The Point Church in Seymour, Indiana. This century-old church has continued to be a force for the Gospel under the leadership of senior pastor, Steve Greene. I love every chance I get to be with these beautiful people.

Steve left the topic to me, so I talked about an issue that has been messing with me in recent months: HOW TO PRAY BETTER PRAYERS.

Prayer is this ethereal, out-there thing we know we’re supposed to do, but we don’t always know what to say or how to really embrace it. Let’s be honest, prayer kinda weirds us out – talking to the air, asking things of an unseen God, grappling for words to say – and then we read verses like “pray without ceasing” and think, “man, I got a good 3 or 4 minutes in me max. Are you crazy?”

And guilt ensues.

Perhaps the reason we struggle to pray is less about technique and more about re-learning what prayer is actually all about in the first place. Here’s a few thoughts from me (and more importantly, from Jesus):

I had the honor of putting my “preacher” hat back on this week, filling in for my friend Steve Greene at The Point Church in Seymour, Indiana. I got to share a little about our missions-based nonprofit, Community Reinvestment Foundation, and dig a bit deeper into my favorite topic: The Gospel of Jesus Christ…

The Law crushes.

The Gospel raises up.

The Spirit empowers.

…all within the context of The Point’s most recent message series: Love Does.

If you live in or around Seymour, or are ever driving through southern Indiana on a Sunday morning, I can’t encourage you enough to stop and visit this great church. Steve, Joel, and the entire team have led this century old church to be a continued expression of hope in this beautiful community.

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Last night I was helping my 4th grade son study for a big science test. There were moments I became frustrated with him, partially because he just wasn’t grasping some of the concepts, and partially because I was afraid of what his teacher would think of my parenting skills if he struggled on another test.

Yesterday morning, I sat across the table from two bankers our company has done business with in the past. I found myself striving to engage them in intelligent conversation, partially because I’m genuinely curious about the commercial real estate market here in Indianapolis, and partially because I wanted to prove to them I wasn’t ignorant in my new position here at CRF.

Today, I sit at my computer screen writing this post, partially because I believe I have something of value to share with you, and partially because I long for clicks, likes, and shares to validate my perspectives and fragile ego as a writer.

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The message of the Gospel is clear: everything I truly need in Jesus I already have. Yet every single day, multiple times and in multiple ways, I revert back to my old identity-shaping faux pas. I try to earn my way. I try to prove my worth. I strive to do, instead of resting in what’s already been done.

I try to be my own savior.

And instead of doing things from love, I do things for love.

This is our constant battle, and the greatest challenge of the Christian life. Our identity and value are not goals out there yet to be achieved. They’re a gift that is given. Do you want to live a more powerful, meaningful, loving, selfless, fulfilling life? Take the gift.

As believers, “It is finished” is our starting line.