My life as I follow Jesus Christ, and live life as a husband, father, friend, pastor, runner, coach, and sinner who found forgiveness and favor with God.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Official Goals for 2009

I'm working on my New Year Goals. The question of "what needs changed or attacked the most" fuels my focus. I've broken the targets into categories...I may add or subtract in the next 24 hours, but here's what I've got so far after a day of contemplation.


1. Read at least one book* a month. I read so many blogs and internet stuff, I need to actually set goals to deeply read books. My current list (in no particular order):
  1. Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
  2. In a Pit with A Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
  3. IT by Craig Groschel
  4. From Hope To Higher Ground by Mike Huckabee
  5. Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley
  6. The Fine Line: Re-envisioning the Gap between Christ and Culture by Cary Oberbrunner
  7. Tribes by Seth Godin
  8. Death By Love by Mark Driscoll
  9. A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years With Ronald Regan by Michael K. Deaver
  10. Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll
  11. Passion For Jesus by Mike Bickle
  12. Crazy Love by Francis Chan
2. Plan, record, and track weekly planning each week and keep logged in binder.


1. Run in the following races:
  • May 3rd: Bloomsday 12k (trying to break P.R. of 57:21 / 7:41pace)
  • June 13th: Helvetia Half Marathon (trying to break P.R. of 1:48:05 / 8:15 pace)
  • June 27th: Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon (running with newbie runners for fun)
  • October 4th: Portland Marathon (trying to break P.R. of 04:04:06 / 9:19 pace)
2. Weigh no more than 185 pounds from Feb 1 - Dec 31
3. Run 1200 miles (100 miles a month/25 miles a week) in 2009


1. Plan, experience, and record 52 dates with Jenn in 2009.* I'm hoping to take 52 pictures and write about 52 experiences. A quick coffee, or dinner in the Taco Bell drive-thru don't count! Even though she'll be giving birth to our first child, I'm going to work on creative ways to take her on one planned date each week.

2. Plan, experience, and record one date a week with my new baby girl Elliana.* Honestly, I'm not sure what this will look like, but I want to be able to identify something I took time to plan with my baby girl.

3. Hand-write one letter each week to people who matter to me. Email, text, facebook, and blogging are great - but I think there is something powerful in the hand-written letter.

1. Participate in the Global Bridegroom Fast the first Monday - Wednesday of each month, with intensity.
2. Read through the Bible.
3. Pray very specifically, on my knees, every day.
3. Give away more money than ever before.
4. Personally introduce someone to Jesus and the Salvation He offers (outside of church services).

*this does not include the bazillion books I'll probably be reading on FATHERHOOD!!!

**For the record, I plan on spending bazillion moments with both, but I want to take time to think and plan for each of them in a special way

***I don't really like a category like "spiritual" because a life following Christ involves the entire life and every decision - but this serves the purpose of specific targets to aim for in 2009.

New Year: Increase the Expectations of Your Potential

It's a New Year, and I've been reading about the 2008 accomplishments and experiences of some people that I admire - and their stories are amazing.

Sometimes when you hear other people's stories, it can cause you to shrink in confidence because your experiences aren't at the same level. But I was reminded by the Holy Spirit this morning as I was reading Proverbs 30. It says this:

24 Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings' palaces

Feel the size of an ant? So what!
Have the personality of a rock badger? So what!
Feel like a locust sometimes? So what!
Find yourself green like a lizard? So what!

We can be mighty through God's grace, regardless of our appearance or where we find ourselves in life. Take time in the next two days to increase the expectations of your potential and possibilities. Dream big this year!

1. Determine your Role (Husband, Father, Pastor, etc.)
2. Establish your Goal (Big, Crazy, & Wonderful)
3. Blend it into your weekly Schedule (Make time to accomplish it each week)

Happy New Year you stinkin' awesome ants, rock badgers, locusts, and lizards! The future is bright!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Consequences of Viewing "Marley and Me"

This was the scene at my house after I got back from watching "Marley and Me". They rarely get to be on the couch with us, so when I let them come up, Loomis took full advantage...and I loved every minute of it...of course, Gabby looks a little left out, but deep inside I think she was just happy Loomis wasn't terrorizing her.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow has us homebound...Services canceled...what's a pastor to do?

Here in Portland OR we view snow a bit differently than most, because it rarely falls over here over an inch. One inch will give us 24 hour news coverage...6 inches will give us weather identities such as "ARTIC BLAST 2008" (say that in a Monster Truck commercial you know what I mean)...and anything over a foot of snow will give us a State of Emergency address by the Mayor. Now that snow levels are reaching 14" the city has shut down...highways are being closed, and people are asked to stay in their homes.

This greatly affected area churches over the weekend including ours. Services were canceled, Christmas programs were put on hold, and ministries, outreaches, and operational costs that needed funding were left empty since no one could give.

Yikes! So here I am on a Monday morning, and I can't get out of my house. I live on a dead end street, which has acted more like a wind tunnel, funneling all the snow to the end...and since our house is the last one on the street we have been forced to welcome the drifts to park in our yard...and they're not even paying us rent!

So, I have a couple options...bust out the movie collection and sit on my blessed assurance all day, or be productive and connect with as many people as possible - pastoring from home. I'm going to choose the latter - although the accountability of posting it in a blog helps me get motivated!

One day of chillin' is cool...but we're going onwards of a week now. Gotta make my day count! Peace out everyone. Stay warm!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

God wants to rock your world(view). Jesus vs. Santa

You once believed in Santa right? I sure did. But then I grew up. I realized that Santa was just a fun, comforting, made-up character that fulfilled childish fun. He served his purpose (and still does), but it's not like I still believe...I'm smarter than that.

You once believed in Jesus right? Maybe. Maybe not. I sure did. But then I grew up...And I still believe...even though I have grown up. Even though it's no longer popular...I'm smarter than that. It's easier in our culture to have a popular humanistic worldview that promotes a view of , "to each his own", "what's right for me may or may not be right for you".

So...what's more believe in Jesus and hold steadfast to faith in the Bible and God's plans for our lives, or to do whatever you want to do because you don't want anyone telling you what to do with your life. Hmmm...

I know that "religion" has screwed up a lot and distorted the reality of Jesus - but regardless of what others have done, you get to choose who and what you follow. And I choose Jesus, not because I "feel" like it. But because He is the Son of God. He is truth. Truth is not truth because I believe it. (I can "believe" that a million dollars is in my wallet, but that doesn't mean it's truth - it's just what I believe). Truth is truth because it's truth - and it's my responsibility to follow truth regardless of my preferences, because in the end Truth prevails.

Let God rock your world(view) this Christmas season. Because Jesus isn't like Santa.

Don't you owe it to your (responsible, mature) self to investigate the answer? Wouldn't it be a thoughtful and reasonable act to figure out if your life is on the right path? Here are a couple non-invasive books that I'd recommend anyone to read - especially mature, reasonable, adults - that don't believe in santa. I really like this one, and this one.

Merry Christmas,

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well the weather outside is frightful...

Ahhh...nothing like snow in Portland! It rarely snows here, but we've got a blanket of snow and it's not going anywhere! A couple inches today, and then sub 30 degree days all week and snow showers in the forecast means we get to enjoy a winter wonderland here for the whole week! The fingers are crossed for a white Christmas, but for now we'll enjoy what we have! Loomis (my boxer) got his first taste of snow today and had some fun.

...Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Wonderful Weight of Responsibility: For Christians

How easy it is for Christians to hold to a belief system, yet neglect the responsibility to pray and expect miraculous signs and wonders to take place in their lives and churches. I'm certainly guilty of that and not following the pattern of prayer and expectancy we find in the book of Acts:

"And now, O Lord...give your servants great boldness in their preaching. Send your healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Acts 4:30

These people were absolutely passionate about God showing up and doing incredible things in the lives of people. They didn't pray out of duty or routine, but because they held the responsibility to seek God and turn their world upside down. Look at the results:

"After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And they preached God's message with boldness. " Acts 4:31

I'm being revived by this Scripture. It's been too long...Lives must be changed. I can't handle nice services and people that don't really experience the true power of God. I must accept this responsibility.

How can we as Christians explain away that kind of passion and expectancy? What if we admitted that our services were doing nice and good things, but not truly powerful things!?! As for me, I want to purpose in my heart to expect nothing less than the truly transformational and miraculous power of God to be displayed each and every time we gather, and each and every time I preach God's message with boldness.

We have a responsibility to not just believe in the power of God, but to pursue it and expect it to be displayed in the lives of people. What a wonderful responsibility that need not be avoided!

Any thoughts on this today?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Wonderful Weight of Responsibility

Today I begin a series of posts on RESPONSIBILITY

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30 (ESV)

"One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?" Luke 16:10-11 (ESV)

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6 (NIV)

Here is a thought that is just rocking me right now. Life can only be embraced and enjoyed when embracing the responsibility that has been given to you.

No one likes a dead-beat dad, who ditches his family and then won't even pay child support.
No one likes a co-worker who is a slacker - always cutting corners.

No one is happy and excited about life when they aren't fulfilling their responsibility. I don't need to be rich, I don't need notoriety, and I certainly don't need a new life. I simply need to clarify the responsibilities that God has given me with my life involving my family, relationships, job, city, and world, and then live to fulfill my responsibility.

In ministry people often think of success in terms of numbers and who you know, but God is simply asking me to fulfill the responsibilities He has given me whether or not promotion comes in terms of people's viewpoint is up to God.

What is God asking you to do with your life?
What do you need to do each day to fulfill your responsibility?
Why run from certain responsibilities when fulfilling them will truly give you energy and excitement?

Don't run from the wonderful weight of responsibility...It's where life, purpose and a sense of accomplishment can be found.

peace out

Fatbusters Update: Week Three

Well, this week was certainly better than Thanksgiving week that is for sure! I didn't run at all except for 8 miles last Monday - but I was non-stop busy with house projects with all of my free time and that probably burned some calories. I put trim in the babies room, helped paint the baby's room, rearranged the family room, installed a new cable box from the attic in the family room, filled in the trenches of our sprinkler system in the front yard, got a wild Christmas tree up on Mt. Hood, a u-cut tree from Marten's Tree Farm, put Christmas lights on the house and have the first 500 lights on the mountain tree in the living room. Whew!

Bottom Line: Weigh in on Monday morning: 190 pounds. I lost a few pounds this week...pretty good...I'll take it - but I've got to keep pushing it a bit, since I wanted to be at 188 this week.

I ran four miles this morning, and plan on running again tonight - and hopefully will get 25-30 miles in this week.

Lessons learned (again)...
  • be accountable to yourself by tracking what you eat
  • learn what foods do the most damage so you can avoid them
  • talk to people about it (like blogging) or like the conversation I had with Bob Bennett this week (Hey bob!). Talking about it always keeps you motivated and on track!
  • avoid diets if you can like Atkins, South Beach, you really think you'll do that for the rest of your life....nope. Just change your lifestyle and let the weight come off slowly but healthily!

Peace out

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fatbusters Update: The Curse of Thanksgiving

"You can fool yourself, but you can't fool the scale."

Those were my thoughts as I stood on the scale today after a week of eating just about anything and everything at my parent's house last week for Thanksgiving vacation. My mom loves to cook, and I love to eat - a pretty bad combination when you want to lose 10 by Christmas!

The results? I gained 1.5 pounds from last Monday, putting me at -0.5 after two weeks.

Lesson learned (again): Despite the fact that I ran 7 miles Tuesday, 8 miles, and 6 miles on Friday (about 2100 calories burned), it just doesn't come close for making up for the food I ate here and there and the multiple dinner rolls, or the cheese and cracker tray during the Hawks loss to the Cowboys, or the pumpkin pie and cheesecake, and pecan pies, or the big breakfasts every morning, or the 5 pieces of pizza Saturday night....(you get the point).

In other words - your aerobic activity MUST be accompanied by healthy eating or you are fooling yourself into thinking you are losing weight from all that running!

Ok...back at it this week. I'm not too bummed about last week - it was a great time with the family, and it was Thanksgiving for pete's sake!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fatbusters Week One Results

Week One - Mission Accomplished. Lost two pounds. Down to 192. Hoping to be down 10 pounds by Christmas.

Mon - Thurs were super easy, very disciplined. Ran 18 miles and tracked all my food.
Fri - Sun were super hard, very undisciplined. Didn't run at all, and didn't track any food.

For this to work, there has to be SUPER intentional tracking of food. If you run a lot you can get away with it, but I got lucky with my two pounds lost. I'll have to try harder to make this work.

To really lose weight (my way) live by this rule: You bite it - you write it.

As long as you track what you eat, you can eat whatever you want - as long as you stay in the goal range. I use to track everything.

Gonna run at least 6 miles today. Peace out from Walla Walla.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Part 5: "Simple Church" Book Review and App

I'm continuing the review and application from the book Simple Church. So far I've covered the "CLARITY" portion of the book, and now we're on part 2 of "MOVEMENT"

Simple Church
A simple church is a congregation designed around a straight-forward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
Clarity ⇒ Movement ⇒ Alignment ⇒ Focus

Movement.clear next step

Unfortunately, many churches treat new believers like neglected orphan children. There is little attention and nurture. New believers are tossed aside. There is typically no follow-up. The person is unsure what to do next. This situation is tragic. Just as children need nurture and attention during their formative years, so do new believers.
i. There must be a clear next step for them
ii. They must be moved into the life of the church.
iii. They must be nurtured toward spiritual growth.

We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “After someone becomes a believer, the next step for them in the spiritual transformation process is clear."

New Christians who immediately became active in a small group are five times more likely to remain in the church five years later than those who were active in worship services alone.” members class

We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “We have a class or group to move new people into the life of the church.”
i. Teach the simple process
ii. Ask for commitment to the process

Fatbusters Update (Day 4)

Over the years I've lost about 110 pounds...I gained a few back this fall, so I'm trying to knock off 10 before Christmas to get back in shape....

I ran 6 miles yesterday giving me 18 miles in three days, now that the rain is back I hope I don't wuss out today and tomorrow. My goal is to run five days a week.

Eating wise, I was on the high end yesterday, but my targets for calories, carbs, fat, and protein don't take into consideration the fact that I'm burning about 100 calories per if you take off 600 calories, I did fine.

For all you dieters out there - notice that I'm not dieting...I'm drinking latte's, eating bagels, etc. - I'm just tracking what I eat, and making wise decisions. It's so much better that way!

Here is yesterday's report:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fatbusters Update (Day 3)

background...I've gained some weight since running my marathon, so I'm kicking my body back in gear...gonna go for 10 pounds by Christmas.

Well, yesterday was pretty good. I ran FOUR miles which gives me 12 in two days. I went a bit over in carbs and calories, but since I'm burning about 100 calories per mile (sidenote: don't believe the treadmills and's about 100-120 calories per mile) I was ok. By the end of our youth service last night I was weak and soooo hungry, so I devoured some cereal and a big bowl of popcorn before bed last night. Here are the results:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Part 4: "Simple Church" Book Review and App

I'm continuing the review and application from the book Simple Church. So far I've covered the "CLARITY" portion of the book, and now we move to "MOVEMENT"

Simple Church
A simple church is a congregation designed around a straight-forward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
Clarity ⇒ Movement ⇒ Alignment ⇒ Focus

Movement.strategic programming

The whole idea of movement in Simple Church is the sequential steps in the process that causes people to move to greater areas of commitment. In other words, there must be movement from "loving God" to "loving people" in terms of the discipleship process...rather than stagnation of people just "loving God" and just coming to Sunday morning services.

We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “We have placed our programs along our strategic process.”

Begin with your clearly defined process. You must begin with the process, not the programs.
ii. Choose one program for each phase of your process iii. Design each program for a specific aspect of the process iv. Place the programs in sequential order
Followers of Christ: Sunday morning services (starting point: Sunday)

Connected to people: Small groups (weekly)
Rooted in truth: online community of deeper Bible study (monthly)

Immersed in culture: ministry teams/outreaches (monthly)

Movement.sequential programming
We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “Our programs are sequential, based on our process”
By placing the programs in sequence along the process, the programs truly become tools to facilitate the process of transformation. Congestion in conquered
i. Designate a clear entry point to your process
ii. Identify the next levels of programming

Movement.intentional movement
In so many churches people remain in the same place spiritually for years. And sometimes they remain in the same groups. They are kept in some type of spiritual holding tank. They rarely move to greater levels of commitment.

We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “We are intentional about moving people from one program to another.”

Remember, simple church leaders are designers. They design opportunities for people to be transformed. Complex church leaders are programmers. Programmers focus on one program at a time. Designers focus on the movement between the programs.
How to create intentional movement

1. Create short-term steps.
The steps should NOT be new programs. They should be short-term opportunities that expose people to an aspect of the process that they have not yet experienced.
2. Capitalize on Relationships
People DO NOT progress through the simple process because they hear it from the pulpit. People do not move through the process because they see a purpose statement on the wall. As helpful as these things can be, people move because someone else brings them through the process. Relationships bridge the process.
3. Consider the “Now What”
Do not let the present program be the end. Seek to move people farther along.
4. Connect People to Groups
The picture is clear: people stick to a church when they get involved in a small group.

Fatbusters Update

Well, day one went ok. I ran EIGHT miles, which is cool (so I probably burned around 800 calories) - but I had an unplanned meeting at Wild Buffalo Wings and tried to be good...ate a side salad but snacked on some fries and chips...on my tracker I just put whatever I could find that may be similar. Here are the results:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Uh-Oh call Fatbusters - I gotta lose a few!

Ok, so it's been over a month since my marathon, and I haven't ran much and today I got on the scale and it blew my brain a bit...the reading: 194! Ouch! My normal weight is around 185 - preferably closer to 183. So...unless I want to go back to my old self of 293.5 I better get back in the game! So, for accountability sake, I'm going to post every day about what I did the previous day in terms of health. So check back for a slimmer, trimmer, me!

Ten pounds by Christmas? Yeah, I'll bust that out no prob....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Part 3: "Simple Church" Book Review & App

I'm continuing the review and application from the book Simple Church. For a few days we'll be in the "CLARITY" portion. So far we talked about Clarity it terms of defining, illustrating and measuring the process.

Simple Church
A simple church is a congregation designed around a straight-forward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
Clarity ⇒ Movement ⇒ Alignment ⇒ Focus

For the simple process to become woven into the identity of the church, it must be discussed. Frequently. Not just during the launch. Clarity is not realized without consistency. It is not enough to unveil a vision for the how and then bury it among other things. It is insufficient to preach a series on the discipleship process and then file the messages. Consistent discussion is a must.

The discussion must begin with the leadership of the church. The simple process must become part of their vocabulary. It must roll off their tongues with ease.

We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “We frequently discuss our process as a leadership team.”

CLARITY: increase understanding
We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “Our church members have a clear understanding of our process.”

Understanding does not come easily. It does not occur with a one-time magical act of communication. Increasing understanding is hard work, and it must be continually monitored.

When people understand the process, they are also able to bring others though it. People are always the church’s greatest resource. And when someone really gets it, the person becomes a missionary and an advocate. So, as a leader, you must increase the level of process understanding in your church.

To do so, you must do three things. While all three are critical, they are in reverse order of importance.
1. Articulate the process corporately.
2. Share the process interpersonally. The process must not only be heard through monologue. Dialogue gives people a chance to interact. And this dialogue has a tendency to spread. When people see that it is not just a “sermon thing”, it means more.
3. Live the process personally. Be a tour guide not a travel agent.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Part 2: "Simple Church" Book Review & App

I'm continuing the review and application from the book Simple Church. For a few days we'll be in the "CLARITY" portion. Last time we talked about defining the process. Today is all about illustrating and measuring the process.

Simple Church
A simple church is a congregation designed around a straight-forward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
Clarity ⇒ Movement ⇒ Alignment ⇒ Focus

a. Get Visual
i. The simple process is more likely to resonate with each person if it is visual. Recollection increases movement. Vision is always visual.
ii. Get some wise and creative people around a table and come up with one. Be sure your visual illustration has the following components:
1. The illustration should be reflective of your process
2. The illustration should show progression.
3. The illustration should help simplify.
a. If you have to explain a lot of symbols and hidden meanings in your illustration, it is too complicated.

a. For people to take your ministry process seriously, it has to be measured. For people to internalize the simple how in your church, you have to evaluate it. The cliché is true: what gets evaluated, gets done.
b. We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “We have a system to measure how people progress through the process.”
c. Process must be measured. If there is no measurement, the people within the organization will not internalize the severity and urgency of it.
d. Churches that measure their process prove its value.
e. To measure your process effectively, you must think differently in two critical ways:
i. Learn to view your members horizontally and not vertically.
In this realm we need to see what percentage of people are in each stage. For instance it's a bad sign if 80% are in small groups, but only 5% are in ministry teams, even if your Sunday worship attendance is strong and even growing - because there is a blockage in the discipleship process.
ii. Measure attendance at each level/stage in your process.
In this realm we are taking regular attendance at all stages of the process, not just Sunday mornings. We want to know how all the programs are doing that represent a step in the discipleship process.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Simple Church" Book Review & App (Part 1)

Today I begin reviewing the book Simple Church and applying the process to my life and ministry. You should know ahead of time that this book absolutely rocked me to the core, and I can't wait to apply it.

Simple Church
A simple church is a congregation designed around a straight-forward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth.
Clarity ⇒ Movement ⇒ Alignment ⇒ Focus

We must be able to “strongly agree” with the following statement: “We have a clearly defined process for moving a person from salvation to spiritual maturity to significant ministry.”

How is your how? Do you have a process that is clearly defined? Following are three concepts to wrestle with as you begin to define a ministry process:

1. Determine what kind of disciple you wish to produce in your church. What do you want the people to be.
I'm starting NON-SIMPLE on purpose, so I can narrow it down, but here are words and phrases that I associate with disciples: lovers of God, committed, courageous, filled with Holy Spirit power, filled with compassion and love for people, deep rooted in truth, active in ministry, wise and creative in reaching and serving the world.

2. Describe your purpose as a process. After you conclude what you desire people in your church or ministry to be, describe this in process terms. In other words, describe your purpose in sequential order. about: Followers of Christ, Connected to People, Rooted in Truth, Immersed in Culture
The greatest two commandments are to
love God and love people. I added "rooted in truth" because we live in a humanistic/hedonistic culture that believes you can do those two things any way you like - there must be deep rooted truth associated with HOW we love God and love people. "Immersed in Culture" is an expression of movement and involvement with those around us...with an end goal of making disciples. Maybe it goes without saying that if you truly love someone you are active in their lives, but I think too many people say they love people, but refuse get close to them, serve them, and actually get involved with them. And then there are people who "serve the world", but never share Jesus or make disciples, so verbally communicating this seems difficult for me in one phrase.

3. Decide how each weekly program is part of the process. The programs must specifically be defined how they will be used to move people through the process of spiritual transformation.
Followers of Christ: Sunday Worship Experience
Connected to People: Small Groups
Rooted in Truth: An online Community of Deeper Bible Study
Immersed in Culture: Ministry Teams

that's it for today...this is all very rough draft-ish, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remember "DO-OVERs" Back In The Day

The setting was usually middle school P.E. class, and we were forced to play sports like volleyball (for a short, fat boy with no vertical...yes it was forced). Instead of playing by the rules, some of the girls got to serve the ball five feet in front of the service line, and if it didn't go over the net, the P.E. teacher would yell out "DO OVER!"

Don't you wish you could pull the "Do Over" card at will? There are a lot of things I'd like to "Do Over".

Fortunately, we can in some ways. As a youth pastor I have been challenged by a recent talk given by Andy Stanley at the Catalyst Conference where he commented on the quote:

“If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he do? Why shouldn’t we walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves?” – Only the Paranoid Survive, Andy Grove

  • The first thing an outsider might say about your organization is “Why in the world are you doing that?” We fall in love with the way we do things and forget to constantly reevaluate. The fact of life is that usually without pain, there is no pain. And usually that pain is financial.
  • Where are we manufacturing energy? These are the programs that we do because we do. We aren’t all that excited about them, but it is what we do. We just manufacture energy. Get rid of them.
  • It is painful to change. Yes, your context makes it difficult to get rid of this program, or that. It is difficult everywhere. It always hurts.

So, this week I'm firing and re-hiring myself. I'm throwing everything out and calling a "DO-OVER". I can't erase the past, but I can enhance the future.

Holy Spirit, be my guide. Jesus, I want to follow your voice. Give me wisdom I pray, to lead how you would lead. Thank you for your favor and forgiveness.


Monday, November 10, 2008

My Wife is Now a Chic Blogger!

Yay! My wife is entering the wonderful world of blogging! Subscribe to her blog if you want to take a few steps forward on the pathway to coolness!

Weekend Rewind

Wow, what an amazing week and weekend. It's so hard to fathom that our baby was so close to being born (four months early) this week. The neo-natologist gave our baby a 45% chance of surviving and even if she did survive he said she had a 75% of having moderate to extreme neurological damage, which basically means everything from deaf, blind, unable to breathe on her own, etc. And would have had to stay in the hospital for four more months before coming home.

And then, 48 hours after all that - Jenn and I are at home watching a movie practically like nothing ever happened. God is so good, and we are so thankful. Of course God is so good regardless of our circumstances, but we feel so blessed for everything to have gone so well with Jenn's surgery.

Here are some other great things that happened this weekend:

  • a bunch of girls came over and cleaned our house....TWICE, so that we wouldn't have to.
  • three families brought us dinner Fri-Sun nights....mmmm.....
  • a friend came over and primered the door jams in our house so that the trim project could finally be finished.
  • I found a great new cafe called Delirium in Gresham, and studied there (and blogged) for 3 hours on Saturday
  • Preached my third straight Sunday...this time as a guest speaker at Family Bible Church. They were very loving and accepting. We all believe it's time to get Dangerous!
  • Hung out at friends' house to watch football after the service and let Jenn rest.
  • Went back to Camas to cast some vision for the youth of Family Bible Church. Had a great time with them.
  • Got home at 9:30pm - making it a 13 hour day. Whew!
  • Went straight to bed!
I was able to apply every verse of Matt Redman's song "Blessed Be Your Name" this past week. Am so thankful that our baby is safe!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Post, post, post, post marathon run

Hey everyone,

What a crazy month it was in October. Some of it is top-secret, but most of you know that...
  1. I ran the Portland marathon the first Sunday in October, finished around 4:04 (PR by 5 min)
  2. I started helping out a church in Camas WA make some leadership transitions and will do so for the next six months
  3. My father-in-law's dad died after a long bout with kidney failure - we were gone last weekend
  4. Besides our youth services, I'm preaching three straight Sunday mornings and led a couple Wednesday night prayer services, to fill in for Pastor Steve
  5. Jennifer went into emergency surgery this week to prevent pre-term birth of our baby girl who should be born in late Feb.
So...that means that I didn't run in...three times in the last month! After averaging about 30-50 miles a week, I ran 17 miles total in the last 30 days! The problem is that I've been eating like a marathon runner, so let's just say it's been baggy jean month as well...ugh!

Well, I got out today and ran 6.5 miles in the rain with Dusty and it was great (except for the side ache, and the running part). Anyways, I'm excited to get back into the healthy groove BEFORE the holidays get here! I'm not going back to the 293.5 pound guy I used to be 8 years ago, that's for sure!!!

Health is a huge thing - and a biblical thing as well. God designed you to be healthy - it affects your confidence, your energy, your ability, and your stability in life. If you need a boost, go check out and start living healthy again. You'll never regret it!

P.S. Have you seen the videoshoot I did with Brooks Running Co. yet? Hopefully this isn't my 15 minutes of fame, but it was fun. You can check it here!

Peace and love

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Favorite Blogs: Without Wax by Pete Wilson

Hey everyone, I'm going to start highlighting some of my favorite blogs that I read daily. I have about 30 or so blogs that I use in Google Reader, but there are about 5 that I make sure to read everyday. Here is Pete Wilson who has a great family and great church, and he blogs regularly about both. You gotta start reading his stuff!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Going Home Today!

Good news all around! Jenn's surgery went great yesterday - she hasn't had any bad reactions, and the baby seems to be staying put! All the vitals are great on both her and the baby, so the doctor will be here in an hour or so, give us the low-down and get us out of here! Thank you Jesus!

We're not sure how much bed rest Jenn will be on for the final four months of the pregnancy, but let's just say I better get used to doing some extra chores! After waiting 8 years to have a baby, I'm game for whatever it takes!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jenn being transported to St. Vincent Hospital

Hey everyone,

We found out some good and bad news...I don't have time to get into it, but Kaiser decided to transport Jenn to St. Vincent Hospital where they are specialists in pre-term delivery. Hopefully it won't come to that, but please pray for supernatural intervention from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

No "Go Vote" Post today - my wife needs prayer

Hey everyone,

Almost all the blogs will be dealing with the Presidential Campaign today, and unfortunately I won't be one of them.

Yesterday my wife went in for a routine ultrasound for our baby that is 26 weeks along, and they found out Jenn's cervix may be opening which means the baby could possibly be trying to come out way too soon. The good news is that Jenn has no bleeding or pain - she feels absolutely normal which is important because it means she's not in pre-term labor.

They have admitted her to the hospital for three days so they can simply monitor everything. If all goes well, they will send her home and put her on bed rest - where she'll only be allowed to get out of bed to take a shower.

We've been trying to have a baby for 8 years, and have never been even close to this far along in a pregnancy. Please pray for Gods supernatural power to do what we cannot do, and to heal her body and keep it safe.

Thank a bunch (now go vote!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A new adventure in Camas

Well, I've added another adventure to our lives! For the next six months Jenn and I are going to work with a church in Camas on Sunday nights to stabilize and build their youth ministry. Their youth pastor did some really stupid horrible stuff, and because we have a relationship with that church, Jenn and I agreed to come in and work with them. So tonight I took some pics with the guys and it was a great time. So for six months I'll have three jobs - full time at PHC, working in High Schools with the Student Leaders & Mentors Program, and Interim Youth Pastor in Camas. I sure am glad I love my calling!!! Here are some pics using the Mac's Photobooth program.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Church Website Update: Thanks "Simple Church"

So here's the deal. Unfortunately, I am the only one in our church with any web design (if you call it that) capability, and because I have a Mac and because I have iWeb, I'm in charge of our website. It's not professional, and I wish we could outsource it, and I wish I had the time/ability to learn how to do it better, but in the meantime, I do what I can. here is our new, updated, simple look.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween = Jimmy Swaggart Mini Me

What you are about to hear is true.

Growing up as a Christian kid in a Christian Elementary School, Halloween always meant "Harvest Party", which is pretty funny (and horrible) because we did everything everyone else did on Halloween, except that it was basically for Christians only.

At our harvest party, we were only allowed to dress up as either 1) a Farmer, 2) a Bible character, or 3) a Christian role model. Well, preaching must have run in my veins, and somehow I caught wind of Jimmy Swaggart on the boob tube, and decided I wanted to be him for Party, and so my mom put me in my little three piece suit and clip on tie, slicked my hair over, opened up my Bible to John 3:16, placed in my hand, and Wah-La! Jimmy goes to school!

Well, I did that for two years straight - loved every minute of it, and saw no reason to not do it a third year in a row, when my parents approached me and let me know that I should be someone different that year. I just couldn't figure out why! And the rest is history.

Happy Halloween everyone - if you have kids - use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself to your neighbors and begin relationships with them...after all when else is it "normal" these days to knock on a door, and be greeted with a smile!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hey Beth Moore: Get INTO That Pit!

ok, ok we're talking about different "Pits", so go ahead and keep getting OUT of the "pits" that Beth Moore speaks of in her book such as the pits mentioned here:

Job 33:28 “He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.’

Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit (pit of despair), out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

But this Sunday, I'll be preaching for the second week on getting INTO certain pits such as the one mentioned here:

2 Samuel 23: "Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion."

My user-friendly definition of these pits: The pit is where the action is, and if you embrace it – your life won’t be boring and lame like so many religious people.

The pits must not be avoided, but rather seeked out. Benaiah didn't find himself in a pit, he saw a pit, altered the course of his journey so he could jump in and make something happen. As Christians there are "pits of destiny" we must pursue with faith, courage and risk, and there are "everyday pits" waiting to be encountered to bring the light and love of God to those who are in the dark and wounded.

It's time to get INTO that pit!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When God Says "Nevermind, Just Kidding"

Due to the fact that this blog is public, I don't have the liberty to go into details, but let's just say that in the past month I truly, honestly, and passionately felt God speaking to me as if I had been standing in a dark room, and BAM the lights were turned on and I could see everything so clearly...

and now - due to a strange and unexpected turn of events - all that passion, vision, understanding, and clarity seem to be for not. It's as if God is saying, "Hey Brian - you know all that stuff I downloaded in your spirit with passion and fire...nevermind, I was just kidding."

Of course, I'm mature enough to know that God has everything planned out, and that I will look back some day and understand the reasoning behind everything, but in the meantime it sure seems weird.

In this time of wondering, I'm reminded that things like "vision, passion, dreams, movement, Kingdom advancement, and other cool stuff are not to be the things pursued. Ever. The pursuit must be Christ and Him alone. To be closer to Him, to understand Him, to die to self that I might more like Him. God doesn't promise cool stuff - he promises Himself...and if we think that's not good enough, then we don't understand the power and fullness of his suffering, death, and resurrection.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
- Lamentations 3:24


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Got My Sunday Preach On: Get INTO That Pit!

I'm up to bat for two straight Sundays, so I'm continuing a series I started this Summer called "Lord, Make Us Dangerous" (with props to the peeps that did the "ONE PRAYER" series...I believe Perry Noble preached with that theme, and I turned it into a five week series).

This week the sub-title was "GET INTO THAT PIT", using the story from 2 Samuel 23:20:
"Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion."

Benaiah not only lived dangerously, he altered his path in order to find danger. We must follow his example and be dangerous people who live to bring light to darkness in very intentional ways.

You can here the message here. Next week I'm going to talk about the types of pits we should get into: Destiny Pits and Everyday Pits, and communicate the missional lifestyle. Can't wait!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm a bachelor tonight...what a LIFE

So...the wife's out of town, so I got crazy...and am going to bed at 10pm. My day without the wife consisted of...

1. reading
2. eating
3. planning
4. eating
5. working on the trim in our house (only 8 months overdue)
6. eating
7. digging in the yard for our sprinkler system (only 18 months overdue)
8. eating
9. planning
10. in bed

Yeah, I'm a wild and crazy guy without my wife...I ate everything in our house...not good...but I gotta go LIFE is on!

Crisis Control: Will you please shut up?

What is your first reaction to overwhelming news? What do you do when something happens that could be disastrous? After reading 2 Chronicles 20 I'm reminded that I need to shut up and follow this guide, rather than my own. This has an amazing story describing how God wants us to respond when we are hit with terrible news.

First Reaction:
"Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought the Lord for guidance." (v.3a)

How many times is my first reaction to bad news to grab my cell phone, or shut down and just think, or scream "are you freaking kidding me?". The first thing that Jeho did was seek the Lord for guidance.

Second Reaction:
"He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast." (v. 3b)

I think when things go bad I do the, eat, eat...which could also be described as...escape, escape, escape... Jeho grabbed godly people and said, we're going to attack this thing head on in the spiritual realm first, and fast before God.

Third Reaction:
"He prayed, 'O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven...You are powerful and mighty; no once can stand against you!'" (v. 6)

His prayer began with exaltation and magnification of who God truly is: ALL POWERFUL. He didn't cry out some "woah is me" prayer - he declared the greatness of God.

Fourth Reaction:
"And now see what the [enemy armies] are doing...Now see how...they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us an inheritance...O our God, won't you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help." (v.10-12)

How often have I tried to figure out how to fix the problem using my giftings, personality, and strategies, when God is looking to show HIMSELF strong by acting on our behalf, rather than me looking to show MYSELF strong, as if I have the ability on my own to control a crisis.

The results:
read it for's amazing.

The results of doing it with your strategy instead:
read it for's horrible.

so, how will I respond next time a crisis occurs? It's up to me to follow the pattern of God.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Newsflash: We're not on a mission for Jesus

"We are not on a mission for Jesus, we are on a mission with Jesus." I heard that quote today listening to the Lead Conference online which is for church planters.

We are not on a mission FOR Jesus... In other words - if we live our lives doing stuff, and working on strategy, and outreaches, and counseling, etc. with the perspective that "we've got a job to do" we're going to live in disconnect from the very source of purpose and power - Jesus Christ.

We are on a mission WITH Jesus... If you miss having a personal, devoted time to simply be with Jesus do you apologize to God and say sorry for missing that important component to your mission, or do you apologize to God and say sorry for hurting your relationship with Him?

We're supposed to be connected and partnered with Christ. We must not rob ourselves of the purpose and closeness of being in relationship WHILE we're on a mission for Him!

For more on getting our priorities straight you can read Vince Antonucci's blog which is just tearing me up right now! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Defeating a Million Man March with Prayer

Did you know there was a million man march in the Bible? One of the greatest stories of victory in the face of overwhelming odds is found in 2 Chronicles 14:

"9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried to the Lord his God, O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you. 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah carried away very much spoil."

Wow. A million man march was defeated by the prayer of a godly man. There's a bit of background in chapter 14, that needs to be understood that went into this prayer:

1. He ditched, burned, and destroyed all forms of ungodliness in his life and in his areas of responsibility (v.3)
2. He encouraged everyone to seek the Lord. (v.4)
3. Instead of being lazy, he utilized the time he had to do what he could (vv. 6,7)
4. When the attacks came he relied on God, not his own wisdom, power, or strategy.

So when he lifted his voice, God was attentive to his prayer.

You may be in a crisis. You may not be. But we must all live our lives holy and unto the Lord if we want to see our miraculous God act on our behalf when crisis comes.

What does this mean for me?

Well, my life is about as uncertain as it's been in a decade. I need wisdom, provision, and guidance. So I will lift my voice with faith that my God cares about me and is anxious to come to my rescue...not because I deserve it, but because God's grace (his favor) is on me thanks to Jesus who died on the cross to get me that favor with my Creator. I love you Jesus.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baptisms on the Beach

Wow, yesterday we had a blast down off of Marine Drive as we baptized some students in the Columbia River! It was cold, but a great fall day as Kevin, Sam, and Chelsea proclaimed their faith in Jesus and got dunked! You can check out the slideshow here!

Miracles Shmiracles...

Ok, so this is not a normal thought for me because I fully believe in the supernatural power of God. I believe in miracles. I believe we should lay hands on people and pray for their healing. I believe if God can supernaturally save your soul from an eternity in hell, he certainly can give you a supernatural spiritual prayer language. God is invisible - it's not hard for me to hold fast a theology of live, current, active miracles on both the inside and outside of our lives.

That said, I think sometimes we put the cart before the horse. One of our favorite verses about the miraculous is found in John 14:12-14:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"

Many times I have found myself preaching this verse as a faith builder..."God wants to do greater things in you than Jesus did!" Kind of a Carpe Diem message. Yet when I look at the context, I find that this conversation was found in the upper room, where Jesus had just washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus begins talking while at the feet of Peter, and continues the conversation quite possibly while he was still on his knees looking up at the disciples.

So, picture Him on his knees looking up at his disciples, with a dirty, smelly towel in his hands, his knees are red from the grimy pressure of being on the floor...and he says
"anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, even greater..."

I believe in miracles. But maybe, just maybe we should focus on washing the feet of those around us - and "even greater" serving than that...THEN we can ask for anything in Jesus' name - and as he sees us following his example of "embracing the towel" he freely gives to us whatever we ask.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Vitals Are In

Most of you know that after 8 years of infertility issues, Jennifer and I are finally having our first baby...a baby girl! So, life is changing around the Becker household as is our budget, as we prepare for our princess to join us in February. One thing that we realized was the need for Life Insurance, so today Portamedic came to take our vitals and fill out some forms.

My Blood Pressure: 112/64 (pretty darn good)
My Resting Heart Rate: 48 beats per minute (really darn good)

It sure beats the old me that weighed 295 pounds, and couldn't run a mile! Now that I've lost 110 pounds and just ran my fourth marathon (26.2 miles), I'm seeing the "fruit of my labor".

When it comes to ministry, what are the vital signs of health...
  • Attendance?
  • Posture of people during corporate worship?
  • Number of Water Baptisms this month?
I'd love to hear some thoughts on how you know that you've got some great vital signs as a ministry.

P.S. For those who haven't seen the "old Brian"...enjoy the pic below!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

"Only a fool despises a parent's discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise."
"Whoever abandons the right path will be severely punished; whoever hates correction will die."
"If you listen to constructive criticism you will be at home among the wise."
"If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding."

- Proverbs 15:5,10,31,32

A couple things here...first of all we need to be hungry for correction and teaching. I certainly hate the idea of spending time doing the wrong things and wasting my life.

Correction is not always going to come from your best friend - it's going to come from people that make you squirm - like family, bosses, and spouses - because they actually know you.

Don't just be an encourager to someone that is under you - tell them the truth - what they're missing. I've had way too many people pat me on the back and say "great job bro, keep it up!" when I really needed their wisdom to fix some long standing issues that were keeping me from some victory.

And finally, let God bring his grace and mercy into your life by getting serious with him about your life. The last thing you need is a token Bible reading and wussy prayer time...make it count...let God form you with his hands and transform you by changing the way you think. Correction could never be so good!

What correction has saved you?
What do you wish people would tell you?
What are some wrong ways to correct?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Daily Disciplines

What did I do today to build the Kingdom:
  1. Prayed a bit
  2. Met with Pastor Steve about Youth Ministry Models for the future (3 small groups, and 1 large meeting a month)
  3. Contacted by phone: Jeff, Jmac
  4. Contacted by myspace to set up meetings: Chelsea, Aly, (to get the inside scoop on their lives and plug them into Switch ideas) Leah, (to encourage and talk about worship team) Sarah M., (to finally set a meeting to meet) Jessica, (to encourage and set up a meeting with her and Jenn with a couple of her friends to talk about Switch stuff) John (to rescue)
  5. Contacted by myspace to encourage: Austin, Melissa, Amy, Dennis, and a bunch more about Tatango
  6. Complied list of attendance to send to youth staff with action steps of
  • Pursue those who need to be pursued...
  • let be those who need to be...
  • Pray for influencers...
  • Pray Ephesians 4:13-21 over your students with the same passion that Paul prayed with.
  • I'd like to meet with each of you before next Tuesday...give me a call and let's set it up!
  • I'm going to talk to Leah and Sam A about being on the worship crazy is that!?!!
7. Looked at some info on a website app that will connect the students together as seen on

Saturday, August 23, 2008

God will say "well done" not "well thought"

Well, today was a relaxing day. After spending all week at our Summer Camp (btw...waiting to update that when I get more pics), I drove straight to Madison High School from Camp and did a three hour Leadership Training Session for our Ignite Program.

Today I got up early and ran 20 miles at Forest Park as a Pace Leader for the Portland Marathon Clinic and then came home and relaxed all afternoon and just got done watching the Olympic Marathon Race featuring the US runners Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Brian Sell. I was really hoping that Hall would get a medal but he ended up finishing 10th overall.

Despite missing the medals, as he finished he had a huge smile on his face and put his finger in the air pointing to the sky. Hall is a big-time Christ follower and is very public about his faith. His reaction to his 10th place finish is a great lesson for the rest of us - that as long as we give our very best, and live to please God - we should be very happy about our lives and the results we get. Life isn't fair, and things rarely go the way we want them to, but the key is to give everything we have, so that one day we'll hear "well done" from God. that leaves the questions

1. are you giving your very best to God?
2. are you content with the results or over-stressing about things out of your control?
3. are you full of great ideas or great action?

God's looking for movement!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Camp 08: CHANGE (Monday Night)

Hey everyone,

We just wrapped up the first night of camp which was amazing. Banning Liebscher spoke about receiving the love of God. Too often we know in our heads that God loves us, but it's not until we regularly experience God's love in a overwhelmingly clear way that we can truly be passionate for Him. Here are a few notes I wrote down:

There is a passion being released that overrides personality

Steve Erwin (Crocodile Hunter)...we could care less about the crocs and snakes - it's his passion that made us want to watch.

To have a sustained & increasing passion for God requires us to stay in a place of fresh revelation of the love of God

We must make a decision to not be distracted from the millions of options we have in this culture and stop and say "God come love on me" otherwise our passion will dwindle.

There is something powerful about choosing God in the midst of many options.

Our life should be lived by saying a HUGE "YES" for Jesus...not CONSTANT "NO's" to the devil.
When I have a Huge "Yes" in my heart for my wife, I don't have to go around screaming "NO" to every woman that passes by because my YES has settled the controversy.


Can't wait for tomorrow...I'm speaking to the college age students, and then we're going to have a blast in the afternoon and more Banning tomorrow night!