Hug the Tree

BeTheTree logo 2.10

“Be the Tree” is so much more than a cool logo. For the youth ministry at Journey, it is their mission! Our Youth Pastor, Jeff Bradburn, uses the image of the inverted tree, along with this phrase to constantly remind the students of the opportunity in front of them. You remember the story of Zacchaeus and the childhood song that so many of us grew up singing, don’t you? Sing along with me:

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man

And a wee little man was he.

He climbed up in a sycamore tree

For the Lord he wanted to see…”

And what happened? Because he climbed the tree, he encountered Jesus, received the love of the Lord and his life was forever changed. And so we come to the battle cry for The Passage Youth Ministry, “Be The Tree!” What if every student in this ministry became the tree for those around them? How many Zacchaeuses would the Father bring home? What if every follower of Jesus lived for this? To became the tree…a tool that God uses for people to see and encounter Jesus!

In an effort for our youth ministry to continue growing in their mission, we are heading toward the final stages of completing a youth facility to house them. It’s been a tremendous thrill to see this building go up, knowing how it will be used by our students and made available to the community around us. This building will definitely help our students continue to “Be The Tree!”

Well, early this morning, I headed up to this new facility so I could get a check to one of the sub-contractors that is completing a project today. It’s my day off, so Brycen (my 4-year-old little boy) and I had just started our “Daddy Day.” I pulled up to the parking lot, got Brycen out of the car, went inside, signed a check and then headed over to The Passage building. As we walked in, Brycen stopped to take a long look at The Passage logo that is stamped into the stained floor. I paid the contractor, then Brycen and I headed back to the car. As I was getting him settled in the car, he looked at me and said, “Daddy…does The Passage sign say, ‘Hug the Tree’?”

HUG the Tree? Really?

Well…guess I still have some work to do to get my little man on mission with us!

be the tree

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Help, Help!

Elvis.FollowThatDream

I love “family night!”

It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but we’re pretty good about scheduling it at least a couple of times a month. When the day comes (usually a Friday) we intentionally say, “No,” to everything else that is pressing around us so we can simply enjoy each other. It’s a night when we turn off the world (including our cell phones) and tune into each other. It’s a night of enjoying family and making memories. We talk, laugh, eat together, and most often, all 5 of us end up on the couch – with popcorn bowl in hand – to finish the evening with a movie.

One family night recently, we watched a 1962 Elvis movie entitled, “Follow That Dream.” In it, Elvis plays this over the top naive character named Toby and he plays it amazingly well. I have to admit, I wasn’t real thrilled about spending an evening with Elvis but I was definitely won over. All 5 of us laughed and laughed at the ridiculously simple way Toby saw the world. By the end of the movie, I began to wonder what it would be like to live that free, that pure. It made me think about the call for us to live free of the garbage of the world around us. To live fully in the Kingdom. And it made me think about the conversations we have on this blog about being fully sold out Jesus followers.

In one scene from the movie, Elvis’ character is being given a word association test in order to complete a psychological evaluation. In it, he is given a word and asked to say the first word that comes to mind. A series of words are given and each of his responses are more and more unusual. One of the words given was, “Help.” His response…”Help, Help!” Because no one ever just says help, it’s always followed with more cries for help. Naive but true!

So, in the spirit of Elvis’ “Follow That Dream” – I am coming to you with a great big, “Help, Help!”

I am currently in the final stages of completing a book that depicts the relentless love God has for us. I started this project about this time last year but pushed the pause button for several reasons. Now, however, I am ready to follow that dream but I need your help. I am looking for a handful of readers/partners to commit to read the manuscript over the next few weeks (between April 1-22, 2013) and offer me your feedback. The goal of this is for me to fine tune the book based off your thoughts and to gather a handful of helpful reviews.

If you are interested in this, please click on the link below. It will take you to the “Contact Us” page at Journey’s website. At the top of the page, click on “Lead Pastor e-mail” and send me a message telling me you’d like to help. I’ll get back to you quickly. We’ll discuss what I’m looking for in more detail and make all the arrangements needed. Thank you for walking with me in this and for following Jesus into the greatest life available!

Here’s the link to my email: “Yes, I’d like to help!”

Reblog: Eyes of Christ

It’s incredible the impact we can have by simply living in a way that reflects Jesus. It’s what authentic Christian community promotes and reproduces. It’s what “church” is all about! Live well today. Live with the eyes of Christ. Live in love!

Morning Story and Dilbert

He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes
in it, jeans, and no shoes.  This was literally his
wardrobe for his entire four years of college.

He is brilliant.  Kind of profound and very, very bright.
He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed,
very conservative church.  They want to develop a ministry
to the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Tim decides to go there.  He walks in
with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.

The service has already started, and so Tim
starts down the aisle looking for a seat.

The church is completely packed and he can’t
find a seat.  By now, people are really looking
a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

Tim gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit,
and when he realizes there are…

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Monday Morning Smile

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Monday morning. It’s the start of our work week. The dreaded day when life has to return to normal after the weekend. It’s the move back to reality after our weekly mini-vacation. For many, it is truly the repetitive journey from freedom to slavery. It’s when we leave the life we love, the life that we script – full of the activities we enjoy and the people that we want to be around – and move into a world that we would rather not be in. A world that is scripted for us, full of expectations and obligations. And so Monday marches on, another beginning to a life that is half-lived.

I know what Mondays are and I admit, sometimes it’s hard to crawl out of bed. However, I don’t dread them. In fact, I revel in Mondays.

Mondays are when my family, a messy bunch of Jesus followers, begins to live in their identity. It’s when they go into the world to infect it with the heart of our God. It’s when they become Jesus more than ever. It’s when the celebration we had the day before gets applied. It’s when people who have been given an incredible gift offer it to others freely and recklessly.

When Monday morning comes, I often go to the office to grab a notebook and my computer and then head back out the door to one of my favorite coffee shops. It’s my day to study, reflect, pray and it’s my day to be in the community. Sometimes, before I leave, I’ll poke my head into the sanctuary and see a quiet, empty room that was buzzing with people less than 24 hours earlier…and I smile. I know that it’s already beginning. Our small band of Kingdom Warriors are already taking their places. They have been reminded of who they are and who they serve and they are ready. They scatter throughout the city with a greater purpose than to make it through their week just to get to another weekend. No, they long for the week of opportunity in front of them. Opportunity to leave Jesus’ thumbprint in their world. Opportunity to prioritize people. Opportunity to offer what people are dying for and what so many don’t even know they need. Hope. Freedom. Transformation. Forgiveness. And Love.

So, today we are sent out once again. And I’ve got that Monday morning smile!