According to You!


What’s your experience with Jesus?

Is it defined by church? By one hour a week in a clean, air-conditioned building? Is he someone you briefly acknowledge a couple of times a year – when the holidays come, school is out and the crowds verge on chaos?

Maybe he’s more than that for you. Maybe he is someone you have come to know. Someone you could talk about for hours; someone whose life you have studied and whose motives you have admired.

Possibly you find the question hard to answer. Could it be, you have multiple experiences that come together in a strange collage? Experiences with people who call themselves, “Christian.” Experiences in various worship gatherings we call, “Church.” And experiences with the “character” of Jesus, we find in the biblical text. I have to admit, reconciling these things has, at times, been difficult for me. The words, “Jesus, Christian,” & “Church” are not always appropriate synonyms.

In response, we can easily lose sight of the question. We can find ourselves struggling with things that honestly have nothing to do with Jesus. So, I ask the question again…

What’s your experience with Jesus?

Have you ever invited him to hang out with you on your day off? Have you ever sat with him in a local coffee shop? Or paddled down the river with him in a kayak? Have you ever shared with him your greatest dreams and fears over lunch?

Have you invited him into your home? Are you comfortable with him moving in? Is it OK if he wants to rearrange more than the furniture? Really…

What’s your experience with Jesus?

If you sat down with someone who had never heard his name, what would you say? What stories would you tell? Of his life? Of yours? How would you describe his heart and what he has done to yours?

At Journey, we have  started a new series entitled, “According to Mark.” It’s a look at the heart of Jesus through his life and mission as told by Mark. It’s not an abstract retelling of Jesus’ life. It is a life changing story written by someone whose life Jesus changed.

Take a look…pick up a Bible and spend an hour with the “Gospel of Mark.” As you read, ask:

1. What’s God’s heart in this story (as revealed by Jesus)?

2. How can I express his heart in the world around me?

No matter what your previous experience with Jesus has been – it will change. You will come to know him with new eyes. And his story just might begin to be told…

According to You!


Reckless Pursuit: Part 3 – How We Define Normal


Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love is in its final stages of production and will be made available early this Fall. As we move toward announcing its arrival, I will be posting regular teasers straight from the content of the book. Today’s snapshot look at Reckless Pursuit comes from Part 3: How We Define Normal.

Then, it was time. Time to begin moving. Time to cast vision and start building teams. Time to implement a new ministry structure. Time for change. This change was met with both anticipation and caution. Some couldn’t wait to jump in and partner with us. Others were openly afraid of where this would lead. And then it happened.

Resistance. Refusal. Rejection. Those who were previously hesitant became openly defiant. As a result, half of our ministry team became relationally distant. Within a couple of months, several families were disconnected from the ministry and a few had completely separated from the church.

For the next year and a half, struggle became a way of life. I fought to bring people together. I questioned my leadership ability and I battled with my emotions toward leaders who were pushing against our ministry. I was consumed with this conflict and fought to not allow it to overcome me emotionally. At times I felt myself check out, becoming distant and removed, even from Kristen. I felt persecuted and alone. I often felt sorry for myself, thinking “Here I am, giving my life to do the work of God, fighting for his glory and for the good of the people I am serving, while being met with nothing but pain and conflict. It’s not fair! This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go!”

Struggle! So much of our world is defined by it. So many of our plans, our dreams are changed by it. Does it have to be this way? Is this all there is?

Keep coming back for more from Reckless Pursuit.


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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Custom Order

How do you like yours?

For me, it’s not an easy answer. Sure, I have a default…black, drip coffee. The house blend will be just fine. But this is because it’s usually not all about the taste for me. It’s about the physical presence of the cup on the table. It gives me a reason for occupying the booth for a couple of hours. It gives me something to do as I process what I’m reading and it gives me that extra little kick in the afternoon when I tend to hit the wall. I guess you could say that coffee is my security blanket.

However, there are times when it is an extremely different experience. When I am craving that perfect cup of coffee. When I want to sit and take the moment in. When I stand in line imagining the taste of the latest promotion…salted caramel mocha, peppermint latte, or duppio con panna. And so I experiment. I jump in and try something new and make an intentional effort to remember my favorites.

Do you have a favorite? My wife hates coffee but I can get her to join me by offering her an Earl Grey tea – if I remember to get a cup of ice on the side. What’s your go to drink? Are you a Frappe’ person? Maybe the traditional Cappuccino? How about a Caramel Macchiato? Are you a Mocha fan? Or are you possibly a bold coffee lover and an Iced Americano is more your speed?

It’s amazing how individualized a simple order for coffee has become. There are endless options in front of us and we all seem to have our preferences. Some like it extra hot. Some prefer decaf. Some like dark roast. Some don’t want the taste of coffee in their drink at all. We have become a culture of highly sophisticated consumers and nothing seems to display this more than the local coffee shop.

Question: How does this hyper-consumer culture we live in impact our relationship with God?

Too often, this has become our approach to church. We shop them, looking for the right set of goods to be provided – which tragically misses the point. When we do this, we turn the light of the world, the family of God, into a commercialized provider of goods. But this mentality doesn’t stop with our relationship with church. We have become so deeply consumeristic that we apply this to God as well.

How often do we approach him, expecting to be provided a service? Expecting him to reproduce a previous experience we had with him? And are we frustrated if the cup he hands us is not as hot as it was last week?

How does this mentality impact our worship experiences? Our one-on-one times alone with him? Our moments of service? Have we really gone this far? Have we become consumers of God? Are we trying to walk into his store, order what we want and anticipate our request to be filled in the next five minutes?

What do we do when our experiences are not what we ordered? Do we threaten to leave his shop? Do we go in search for a provider that promises to fill our custom order?

Have we become a people who have turned our relationship with God into a business transaction? Is he just another thing we are trying to consume? If so, what are we really consuming?