My Favorite YouTube Videos & A Porn Warning

Yesterday we had a little party with friends where we all shared our favorite YouTube videos as we watched together and laughed.  Laughter is great!  There should be loads more fun happening in Christian community than there currently is! When is the last time you just had an evening of laugher with fellow Jesus followers? It's good stuff. 


Anyway, last night I tweeted that I would share my faves with you on the blog.  Here goes.  After spending lots of time previewing lots of good YouTube videos, these are my list toppers in no particular order.  MOST of them are very clean.  A few could offend the easily offended.  I have chosen to share them anyway.  If you are easily offended, simply do not risk it.  Don't watch any. 

  • David after Dentist   
  • Montgomery Flea Market 
  • Ignatius the Youth Pastor 
  • Hide your kids, hide your wife  
  • Bed Intruder Song 
  • World's tallest man meets worlds smallest man  
  • I'm gonna kick his ask  
  • Kittens. Inspired by kittens    
  • I told my kids I ate their halloween candy 
  • Miss teen south carolina 
  • Funny Video Shower Prank 
  • Weather Graphics 
  • Preacher Beeper  
  • Unicorn After wisdom teeth 
  • Baby Bopping to Single Ladies  
  • Forgot the Blueberries  
  • Sophie Can Walk  (Language warning, but super funny.) 
  • Bizkit the sleep walking dog  
  • Demitri Martin Flip Chart  
  • Boom goes the dynamite    


And now for the part of the title that caught some of your attention...a PORN WARNING...

Yesterday, while I was spending intentional time searching out the best of the best YouTube videos, I noticed something....

YouTube can be a slippery slope into pornography.  The way it is designed seems to vacuum people into garbage.  You can type "Jesus love you" into the search box and get women half dressed and titles advertising body parts.  It's sad, really.  And as I noticed this (and successfully fought the temptation to click on these enticing titles), I really felt the desire to warn people. Be careful.  You can tell yourself "it's just YouTube" and end up several hours later in a place you do not need to be.  And weeks later, months later, years later in a LIFESTYLE you do not want to be living.

Most of you either look at Porn already or it impacts your life in some other rather direct way.  That can change.  There is help.  Take step 1....stop hiding. Yes, I think that is step 1.  Admit it.   

Past Time for a Reformation


A freind passed this on. I found it so insightful. What do you think? 


1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.

2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.

3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.

4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.

5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

6. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to ministers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.

7. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.

8. Expose the creeps. Churches should start doing background checks on traveling ministers. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.

9. Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our “help” to manifest Himself. That means we don’t sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God’s glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull chicken feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.

10. Let’s return to purity. We’ve had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit.

11. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride.

12. No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ, and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.

13. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let’s make sure we don’t treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.

14. Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And “prophets” who live immoral lives don’t deserve a public voice.

15. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue off-course, entertained by our charismatic sideshows, or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will focus on God’s priorities.


Wow!  See the full post HERE

Stop Posing. Secrets are Draining.


Living authentically is something I would guess most of us long for.  But the truth is that many people don't! The fact of the matter is that many people live with secrets. There is often a valley between who we portray ourselves to be and who we really are when no one else is looking. Sadly, sometimes it is more of a canyon than a valley


Speaking from experience, secrets are draining!  They zap the life out of you. They take the wind out of your sails. Maintaining a false image of the real you takes a lot of energy and focus...becuase you don't want to slip up and give a sneak peak of the real version of YOU. 


Look, I want to share something with you and I hope you hear the heart in it....


The more authentically you live, the more energy and life you will have inside your heart. I have found that the more I live out of the real core of who I am and not the fake me I want everyone to see, the following things happen: 

  1. Relationships stop consuming as much energy and start producing it.
  2. My conscience feels clean, so my eyes can look clearly ahead. 
  3. My sense of security goes up as I realize how much Jesus loves me...the real crap and all. 


Can I encourage you to look honestly at yourself.  Do you have multiple versions of yourself to keep up with?  The "you" you want others to see and the "real you"? Or are you living whole...with integrity? I really believe that the more you close the gap between the public and private YOU and the more you renounce secret and shameful ways, the more God will blow the roof off of your life and use you for the Kingdom. 


Keep real! Don't pose. 

Obedience to Jesus = Presence of Jesus


Obedience to Jesus is a theme that has been capturing my heart these days.  I wrote about it here


Obviously, John 14 and 15 take the cake when it comes to Jesus repaeting himself about this obedience thing. Watch this:


14:15- If you love me, keep my commands.

14:21- Whoever keeps my commands loves me.

14:23- Anyone who loves me will obey me.

14:24- Anyone who does not love me will not obey me.

14:31- I do exactly what the Father has commanded.

15:10- If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love.

15:14- You are my friends if you do what I command.

15:17- This is my command: Love each other. 


So, things are pretty obvious.  The print in my Bible for all these verses is in the color red.  Jesus was speaking.  And he was clear in his desire for our obedience.  This is how we actually love him...obey him.  


But, check this out.  I never noticed this until recently.  Not only does our obedience seem to communciate and prove our love for God, but it seems to me that our obedience also welcomes his presence and nearness.  Watch this:


14:1-4- Don't worry about anything or get afraid.  I am preparing a place where we will be together! Presence. 

14: 5-14- I am the way to the Father.  Relax.  If you are in me, you are in Him and have access to Him. Chill. Presence. 

14:15-21- As you obey me, I will send an advocate, the Holy Spirit who will always be with you.  As you obey, I will be with you-- I will never leave you as an orphan. Presence. 

14:23-27- I will make my home in your and give you major peace. Presence. 

John 15- Total connection...branch to the vine. Packed with presence and closeness. 


Then, listen to the famous great commision in Matthew 28: "Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize people and teach them to OBEY and I WILL BE WITH YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!"


Obedience = Presence. 


Seems to me that Jesus loves to BE where He is OBEYED! 


Your thoughts?

10 Second Rule


What does it actually mean to follow Jesus? Simply put, it means to believe Jesus' message and obey it. So, why is it we don't obey more often than we do?


Years ago I noticed that during the course of my day I'd have an impression from the Holy Spirit to do something I was reasonably certain Jesus wanted me to do. It would be an impression to either do something good for someone or refrain from doing something wrong. It might be to stop for a car broken down on the highway, speak to a co-worker about Jesus, or simply turn off my computer before I ended up at a site where no Christian should go.


Almost simultaneously I would sense another voice whispering to discourage me. "You don't have time to do that – helping that person could get messy – you can't afford to help them right now – stand up for your rights – you deserve it – it's okay, once more won't kill you.


If I listened to this other voice and thought about it long enough, the moment for obedience would pass, often to my relief. It finally dawned on me that by procrastinating on being obedient to Jesus, I was unintentionally teaching myself the habit of disobedience.


Why is that? Why did I hesitate? Because I knew that most decisions to obey would cost me something...time, money, embarrassment, inconvenience, or a momentary pleasure denied. By choosing not to obey Jesus, I avoided all of that! Without hardly thinking about it, I automatically counted the cost and the price seemed too high for me.


Then I learned a simple rule that could break that cycle: The 10 Second Rule. Just do the next thing you are reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do, and do it immediately before you change your mind!


Why did I hesitate? Because I knew that most decisions to obey would cost me something – time, money, embarrassment, inconvenience, or a momentary pleasure denied. By choosing not to obey Jesus, I avoided all of that! So the reason I wasn’t more obedient to God? Without hardly thinking about it, I automatically counted the cost and the price seemed too high for me.


Then, I learned a simple rule that could break that cycle: The 10 Second Rule: “Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do.” (and do it immediately before you change your mind!)


“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” -John 14:15


So, I intentionally committed myself to become more sensitive to the leading of God, and to practicing simple, spontaneous obedience. As I did, I began developing the habit of obedience. I actually began looking for ways to follow Jesus daily, even hourly. As a result, obedience became an adventure rather than a duty.


Christian experience over the centuries has proven that godly character is most powerfully shaped by the cumulative effect of thousands of small obedient decisions. And these small decisions prepare us to be even more faithful when major, crisis-of-faith challenges come our way.


Here is the true power behind The 10 Second Rule: Even though every Christian knows we can never obey Jesus perfectly all of the time, that’s no longer an excuse. We do know this: we can do the next thing we’re reasonably certain Jesus wants us to do. This is obedience you can do – obedience you’ll want to do!


This idea has been devloped by Clare De Graaf and also built into a book by the same title.  Link to it here. I have not actually read the book yet.  I plan on it. The very idea as shared above impacts me deeply in and of itself. 

If it weren't for Jesus!


I can say with confidence that I love Jesus Christ more today than I ever have in my life! I love his heart.  I love his dreams.  I love his character.  I love his compassion.  I love his grace.  I love his mercy. I love his presence. I love his mission.


Many time in my life, I have heard people say Jesus saved them out of a life of destruction and sin. I can't really say that Jesus saved me OUT of that, but I can say that he saved me FROM it!


I have been trying to get to know me.  And the more I get to know me, the more I realize who I am and what I would be capable of if it were not for Jesus.


  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be materialistic and greedy owning every new thing I could get my hands on showing no self control in getting it.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be run over top of a lot of people to get ahead.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be deeply insensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be sexually promiscuous with plenty of women, not the lover of one. 
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would have never scored the godly GEM of a bride that I did.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be addicted to alot more than just coffee, Apple products and reading. I would abuse tobacco, drugs and maybe alcohol. 
  • If it weren't for Jesus, my aspirations would be centered on money, pride and position...all things that pass away. I would have wasted my life on a bunch of meaningless junk.
  • If it weren't for Jesus, I would be leading a whole lot of people! But, as my Mom always told me, "Thank God that you are taking people to heaven with you.  If not, you sure would be taking a lot of people to hell with you!" I think if it weren't for Jesus, I would be leading and influencing alot of people down the wrond road!


But, because of is an entirley different story.  And today, I just have to tell you how thankful I am that he has saved me and how very much I love him!


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

5 Gifts...which one are you?


I have been reflecting on Ephesians 4 lately. In verses 11-13 we see Paul explain that GOD gives out gifts to people for the building up of the body of Christ.  I love this passage. There are whole books written on it.  I blogged about it HERE. Let me tell you what I am seeing in it now.  Something simple. 


I think we all have one of these gifts.  In fact, I tend to think that most of us have a primary operating gift and a secondary or supporting one. (And Apostles tend to know how turn any one of them on in spurts, but are excellent at none.)


My description/understanding of each:

  • Apostle: Visionary leader. Pioneer willing to move ahead and take risks. Often the first one to speak up and the first one to stand up.  They are usually the radical type. They will be the first one into the island and the first one out. They are kinda like the engine---or the front bumper of the car. May get themsleves in trouble easier than others. Many Apostles are Pioneers.  Some run over top of people.  But they inspire us!  They call us ahead.  They see the mountain and are ready to take it on! Usually very engaging and captures the attention of the room he/she is in. 
  • Prophet: Sees God. Hears God. Speaks up for God. Tuned in to the spirit more than most of us. Sensitive to God's voice.  And then shares what they sense.  Often see pictures, visions, and dreams.  Maybe these folk are a tad like the instrument panel in the car and tell you what's up, what's ahead--often stuff you did not see at all. May scare people at times by being too whack. But they carry a deep spirituality that we all love and are inspired by.
  • Evangelist: Madly in love with Jesus, won't stay quiet about it and must tell everyone they can.  Carries heavy burden for lost people. Mouthpeice.  Like the horn of the car, perhaps. Tend to get carried away too quick and leave with too much undone. Need to care about discipling too, though they forget it sometimes. Fired up for Jesus. Usually have a story to tell about how much they love the Lord. Stand out and speak up. Usually emotionally charged--and it's good--it's refreshing!
  • Teacher: Love to correctly talk.  They want to share, but it needs to be accurate stuff. They are not a fan of some of the other loud mouth gifts that have no idea what they are saying.  These poeple love when they can help people "get it"!  They long for truth and want to share it.  They can tend to be cautious and thinkers. Maybe like the GPS in your car. Play a guiding role. Offer a voice of wisdom that is deeply needed.  Keep other gifts out of trouble if the other gifts will listen.
  • Pastor: Lover of people.  Oozing compassion.  Tuned into YOU and the details of your life. Good memory. Deep lover.  Shepherd.  Can care too much and become entangled. They are really into the relationships being formed inside the car. Side note: Most of the Pastors you have met are not Pastors according to this definition. My heart breaks for them as they are forced to be someone they are not for a paycheck. 

We need all of these gifts in the church.  For some crazy reason, we do not encourage these ministries to be actively and evenly carried out in the church. Please reread the last sentence. I know what I am...I think.  Who are you?  Do you see yourself here?  What do you think of this stuff?  Teach me something.  Comment or email me. Interested in what you know. 

African Creed

Today, my friend Brandon shared with me a section in a book he is reading.  It WOW'd me!! The book: Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan. The section was entitled: "The African Creed." It was a Masai version of the Nicene creed written by African Missionaries. Check this out:

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the bible, that he would save the world and all the nations and tribes. 

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord. 

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Update from Swaziland


I have terrible internet, so while I've got a (weak) signal let me update you. I'll just give some short statement highlights.

Our final days in Mozambique were relationally and spiritually significant.

John's Dad was begging us to please leave this God at his house. He said he'd never seen a God like this. We prayed Luke 10:6 over him as we departed. As he received Christ's peace, it remained there.

We had a total of three run-ins with the corrupt Mozambican police. We almost lost our vehicle once to them. The final time just short of the border we had quite an incident where I stood up for what I believed was right. God rescued us. Period! Bottom line: they are highly corrupt and want to rob foreigners blind.

We received a warm welcome in Manzini, Swaziland. Swaziland only contains one million people. Over 30% of the country is HIV positive-- highest of anywhere on the planet. Though, the country is 99% Christian. Go figure that one out. I've got one hint for you: under-discipled perhaps?!

Today, we traveled to a very poor and rural area to encourage a fairly new church in the faith. This church was started last year as a result of Darrel Hostetter's Luke 10 journey. Darrel is a gracious and pastoral EMM staff member whose family spent 12 years ministering here in Swaziland. He's the reason we are here today. He asked me to visit while we were ministering in Southern Africa.

This morning, I taught and John and Ernest testified of God's saving power in their lives. These guys are waking in passion and anointing. They make me want that new believer passion again.

Tomorrow we are leading 2- three hour seminars/gatherings on simple church planting--Discipling values and Biblical church values. The rest of the guys will assist with some of the teaching. Excited about what lies ahead tomorrow.

We are 24 hours drive from Cape Town now. We plan to depart early Tuesday morning, sleep on the road Tuesday night and be back with our families Wednesday.

Please pray for me. I really, really miss Tricia and Davis!!! And pray for them too. I think they miss me as well.

Pray for the rest of our journey--ministry, conversations, safety. Pray as the Holy Spirit leads you.

Much love!!

A Story on Forgiveness


Yesterday, while traveling in Mozambique from Chibuto to Chokwe, we passed something strange. Along the side of the road there were four boys gathered around a fifth boy. As we passed, one of the guys noticed what was happening. One of the boys being punished and humiliated. He was being forced to squat rapidly and continuously.

At their demand, I stopped the car rather quickly and driving into the dirt, made a u-turn returning to the scene of the incident. John, Ernest and I got out of the truck and asked what was going on. Indeed, the boy was being punished. The cause: he let the cows eat too much feed. Since they were gonna get punished too, he was gonna get double. Here's the sad part. The boy was weeping as he squatted. The desperate kind of cry.

John immediately began advocating for mercy for the boy. "Think of the times you've been forgiven. It's clear that he gets the point now. Please forgive him and let him go." The ring leader stormed off into the field rather upset at our intervention. Then, within 30 seconds something happened in him. We think the Holy Spirit spoke to him. He turned around, came back and forgave the boy.

The pastoral love and care in John's eyes and heart as he fought for the boy to receive grace was moving. He held this boy like a loving Father and stood up for his release. One of the most powerful things I've seen in a long time.

I'm beginning to believe that there is almost nothing on earth more beautiful than making disciples who faithfully follow the Holy Spirit...and getting to watch them do it.

This moment was like a Luke 10 journey meets the story of the Good Samaritan. We could have just kept driving...but God spoke others plans and these brothers listened.

(Look closely at this picture- it's worth a thousand words.)

Update from Mozambique

We've been here in Mozambique for two days now. I wanted to quickly share a few updates. (Posting this blog from my phone which is the only internet I can access at this please pardon errors.)

It's been a precious time so far. Staying with locals in their home is a far, far different experience than meeting with them in the day and heading back to your hotel at night. Far different and far more meaningful and impacting. The food and welcome have been rich. The concrete floor has felt perfect thanks to the little mat I brought. The outdoor bathing has actually been very refreshing and freeing! Never been naked outside before. ;) I'm just thankful there's a wall to stand behind or these people would've been scarred for life. Selecting and killing two chickens last night was fun. 2 hours later we were eating them. (See pic of Mr. Machavo about to slice the poor thing.)

Yesterday, we held an unannounced DBS in the yard of John's Dad. 20 people attended. Mostly young men 18-30 years old curious about why we were here. It ended up being very special as John, Ernest and Shawn shared with their childhood friends how Jesus had captured their hearts in the last six months.

After this, we attended a local church in this village. It was a traditional African experience. They asked us to share greeting. I did. Then, John, who was interpreting for me followed after me. He stood there in front of hundreds of people that watched him grow up and boldly proclaimed his love for Jesus and the church. Then it happened. John spoke too boldly. With passion, he told the church that Jesus does not require that people come to him with money and certain behaviors or clothing. Rather, he accepts people and loves them as they are and then uses the Holy Spirit to grow them. He declared that the church needs to do the same. At that moment, the Pastor walks up and whispers in his ear. John concludes his sharing within 15 seconds. I was so proud of him and the courage he had. He didn't mean to offend and has had a sweet heart about the incident. We've encouraged him and given it to the Lord. Our job is to be sure that we never begin to think we are better and have it all figured out.

Tomorrow, we pack up and travel another 300km north in to Mozambique to visit more family and friends of Shawn and Ernest. Pray we would be a blessing. Pray especially for wisdom for Shawn as he approaches his Muslim family to share about his new and radical love for Jesus Christ.

I smell the fresh fish on the fire even as I type this. So, I better tune back in so I don't miss out. Thank you for your partnership and prayer for our journey.

Love you,


Off to Mozambique & Swaziland


Hello friends!   In 5 short hours (yes, I need to go to bed) me and 4 other brothers (one from Germany and 3 from Masi that we just baptized) head out for a pilgrimage to Mozambique (for a week) and Swaziland (for 3 days).  We are driving in a Toyota truck and are looking forward to an amazing journey.  It is about 24 hours one way. 


The purpose: to meet the family and friends of our Mozambican brothers, to show them the change in their lives and to share with them about Jesus and his saving grace.  We plan to also gather people and teach them about God's heart for church. Then, in Swaziland, I will be teaching for a few days on church planting with an organiztion called Acts of Faith (Mennonite work in Swazi).


This is a discipleship trip/missionary journey for these young followers of Jesus.  


They are pumped!  I am pumped!


Will you pray with us?  The dirve is long, the mosqitos will be bad, the weather will be hot, the money is tight, the borders can be a massive challenge, but our GOD is able and in control!


(You can look back through this blog for many stories about these guys- John, Ernest, Shawn.)

Is Pastoral Resignation the New Fad?


I tweeted this earlier today: "So many Pastors are resigning! I have lots of feelings about this. In a tweet, I think the reason is the office, not the church. Blog later."  Now, allow me to share my thoughts. 


(These are not my comprehensive thoughts on this topic.  I have way more to say, especially from my personal experience, but that still needs time.)


I am starting to wonder if Pastoral resignations are becoming the new fad? When I resigned to follow God in a new direction, I knew of NO other Pastor by name that was leaving for the same reason. Then came Francis Chan.  Man, did I feel validated.  Even though I made my move before him. ;-) Then came a few others. Then Rob Bell a few weeks ago.  Yesterday, I read about Shaun King.  Each of us having stepped out of the Pastorate to pursue something more biblical, natural, discipling, smaller, whatever, whatever.


Meanwhile, many rebels exist! Maybe some of the guys I mentioned, maybe not.  But they are out there.  The traditional church hating, organized church opposing, book and blog writing, vocal opposers of church as it's done in most of the west. In my opionion, many of them are rebellious, hurt and acting immaturely, but they also have a deep and storng heart for Chirst and his Mission.


That said, I think that in light of the increasing Pastoral resignations, people will begin to think that these guys (myself included) are mad at the church building or the people in it.  But I do not believe this is totally the case.


Though they may not have the mind to name it or the courage to admit it, I believe that the pain and frutration is not with the function of the church as much as the brokennes of the office.  The role of the Pastor (as most of us in western organized church approach it) can be:

  • Unfair to the poor guy or gal in charge of everything.  What a weight to carry! It can be so exhausting!! Trust me. Unless attendance and offering are high, then all is well that week. 
  • Unfair to the rest of the people in the church who have their Bilical status unintentionally downgraded by a system many years old.  Ministry that was supposed to be ours becomes his and theirs.
  • Unfair to Jesus.  He wanted to lead.  He wanted to have main stage.  He wanted to be the man!  So much for that idea. 
  • Unbiblical. Other than Ephesians 4, find me one place in the Bible you find the word Pastor. And I do NOT believe that what we are doing is what Ephesians 4 meant. 
  • Expensive!  Expensive for the church. Yet, if it is threatened or changed, the Pastor now has to freak out at the thought of losing his job! Let me leave it there for now.  
  • Confusing.  After what we see and read in the New Testament about preisthood of all believers, the zillion one-anothers and the mutual edification and sharing, it leaves people confused..."am I supposed to do all this stuff in the Bible or let Pastor handle it?" (after all, it's why we pay him)
  • Out of style! It may have worked in Christendom, but I am telling you now that this model/office is not gonna sustain like it has in this post-Christendom era!
  • Counter-Kingdom. The church must always be opposite and distinct from the systems of this world.  If businesses have CEOs and Governements have Preidents, the church must find the opposite essence of the Kingdom from which to function.  It must not look like anything else we see around us.  
  • And then, you have chuches like our home church who we love deeply.  Becuase of the nature of the office, and the extreme importance placed on it, an entire commuity of faith gets tossed and turned several times in a row because 1 or 2 or 3 Pastors (people) leave the equation.  Becaue they were "Pastors" it carries big pain and big implication.  Are you telling me that this is what God has in mind for His church....that they should be so centered around one man that the whole thing goes whacko when he leaves? And are you telling me that a community of believers cannot discern together and experience Christ together without "the man" in the house?  Really?  


Final thought: What I am trying to say is that I think that more blame is placed on the church than it deserves.  I think that the OFFICE of PASTOR as we hold it is the far more broken piece of the equation. And I am not saying any of this is the Pastor's fault!  Or the church's fault! Fault belongs years and years back...if anywehere. 


Final claims:

1. I know this post is going to ruffle some feathers. Send me your thoughts in the spirit of respectful dialogue and let's learn from each other. 

2. I am not saying I am totally right here or even that I am set in this thinking.  I disagree with myself about somthing every day.

3. I have been out of the Pastorate for almost a year and in that time have attempted to be very respectful of the office and sensitive to the people we lead. But it is time for me to open my heart and journey up more.

4. I do believe strongly in leadership!  I am one.  I also believe that the church needs the role of Pastor (maybe I will blog later about what I think a Pastor ACTUALLY is), Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Apostle...all functioning and all edifiying the body!  It is a beautiful design.  Just wished we lived into it.  God had a great idea!

Leadership; Persuasive or Hierarchical?

A friend recently shared this post with me about how leadership compares to parenting...particularly the differences between parenting small children and adult children.  The more I have reflected on it, the more I like it.  So, I wanted to share it with you here.  This is an excerpt from the blog of Jamal Jivanjee.  Credit is his!  Read this. I think you will be challenged. 


Parenting Young Children Was Easier For Me Because It Was A Picture Of The Law When I think back to the days when my daughter was a little child, parenting was much simpler and more defined. The relationship between my daughter and my wife & I back then was certainly more hierarchical to say the least. We told her when to eat, how much she had to eat before leaving the table, when to take a nap, when to go to bed, how to respond to people, and how she should respond to us as parents. There was no persuasion involved in her obeying the commands we gave her. We said it, she had to do it. If she did not obey what we told her to do, there were consequences. She learned quickly that we were in control, not her. The relationship was most definitely hierarchical.


I could never understand parents of little children who felt like they had to negotiate simple commands with their children. Children don’t have the capacity to think in complex ways and therefore need their parents to set boundaries for them and make decisions for them. When our daughter was little, we literally were in charge of most aspects of her young life. It seemed simple and easy. As our daughter grew older, we knew that would entail more freedom. That was never easy as mistakes, (both on her end as a young person and on our end as parents), were made with this new freedom. Freedom brought more choices and more potential for mistakes. Every time these things occurred, I longed for the simpler days of the past when my daughter was younger and there was simply less choices and more rules.


The older she becomes, the less that hierarchy is a part of our relationship. As my daughter approaches adult life, she is making more and more decisions on her own. A few years from now, the dynamic will change even further, especially if she gets married. As a result of this, I have realized that the way I lead my daughter must and should radically change from the way that I led her when she was a child. If the way I led her at 5, 15, and 25 stayed the same, that would be just plain weird.


If we look in the Old Testament, we can see the same thing. God’s people literally had to be told what to do in almost every aspect of life through the Law. This was to show them the character and nature of God’s holiness, and it was also meant to protect them as well. When my daughter was young, she needed a lot of external guidance to help her make the right choices. Now that she is older, she must rely on an internal guidance to guide her decision making process. Does my adult daughter still need leadership in her life? Absolutely. I still believe that I need to have a leadership role in her adult life, but this role will be more as a persuasive leader than a hierarchical one.


This brings me to my second point: Parenting Adults Is Harder For The Same Reason That Church Leadership Is Non-Hierarchical


Most parents with adult children that I have talked to have found out (the easy way or the hard way) that it takes more than an appeal to hierarchy to lead them. Don’t believe me? Try telling your 25 year old son or daughter that he or she cannot get up from the dinner table until they eat all of their lima beans. If they try to defy your command, tell them you are their parent, and the Bible says children are supposed to obey their parents. (That is an appeal to hierarchy) Let me know how that works out for you.


Obviously, that is a ridiculous example, but you get the point. At this point in their lives, you want them to be governed by something internal. This is a picture of life in the kingdom. Before Pentecost, the people of God were not grafted into His Son. They had to be governed by an external law. After God’s people were grafted into the Son at Pentecost, they were now governed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. According to Galatians 5:18, those who operate by this indwelling Spirit cannot operate under the law. When we are governed by the Spirit of Christ and of life, we no longer need to be governed by the law of sin and death.


As I mentioned, this greatly affects leadership in the kingdom of God. We can see this radical shift from Law based leadership to kingdom based leadership in Jesus’ own statement about kingdom leadership: But do not be called Rabbi; for one is your teacher, and you are all brothers…Do not be called leaders, for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Matthew 23:8, 10)


This was a profoundly radical teaching on leadership in Jesus’ day, and it is still radical. This goes against the world’s system of leadership, and that includes the world’s religious system of leadership as well. Notice the reason behind the new understanding of leadership. It is because ‘ALL’ are brothers, and there is only one leader who stands as head over them. That is Christ. This removes the possibility of human hierarchy. (I told you it was a radical teaching by Jesus)


Although Jesus’ teaching about kingdom leadership should be the grid and filter through which we understand all the other passages in the New Testament regarding church leadership, this has unfortunately not been the case. I speak from experience as a Bible college graduate and as a former institutional Pastor. What I was taught completely ignored & contradicted the heart and spirit behind Jesus’ teaching on kingdom leadership in Matthew 23:8-12. Instead, I was taught to emphasize passages of scripture that seemed to suggest hierarchical church leadership in the absence of the framework that Jesus laid down in Matthew 23:8-12.


While I could give you numerous examples of this, for the sake of brevity, let me just focus on one verse that is regularly taken out of context in order to promote a false view of hierarchical church leadership. As an institutional Pastor, I regularly used this verse incorrectly to appeal back to hierarchy. The verse is Hebrews 13:17: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.


When taken as a stand alone verse, this verse does seem to imply a hierarchical form of church leadership. If we keep in mind what Jesus taught in Matthew 23, however, there has to be another explanation. If we’ll look at this passage from Hebrews closer, we’ll see that this verse is not hierarchical at all. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite! Let me explain.


There are a couple of Greek words that can be translated as ‘obey’ in the New Testament. The most common Greek word for ‘obey’ is the word (‘Hupakouo’) and signifies a hierarchical and authoritative understanding of obedience. That, however, is NOT the Greek word that is used in Hebrews 13:17 for ‘obey’! Are you surprised? The Greek word that is used for ‘obey’ is actually the word (‘Peitho’) which literally means ‘to persuade’ or ‘to win over’. The Greek word for ‘submit’ is the word (‘Hupeiko) which means to ‘yield’. Greek scholar W.E. Vine says this about Hebrews 13:17: The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion.


That changes things a bit doesn’t it? Can you imagine a military commander trying to ‘persuade’ the troops under his command? Can you imagine a parent trying to ‘persuade’ their child not to run out into heavy traffic? It wouldn’t work very well.


Persuasive leadership, however, is exactly the kind of leadership that is suitable for my adult daughter now, and is the kind of leadership that only works within the church. I would like to say that just because we are governed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ, this does not mean that we do not need to receive leadership. For example, my adult daughter still needs leadership in her life. It simply means that this leadership is persuasive in nature, and ultimately she is in control of her choices. I cannot mandate her obedience based on hierarchy anymore. Trust me, that would be much simpler, but ultimately this would not be good for her. This is also true in church life as well.


We are commanded to be a people that allows our leaders to persuade us, and as leaders, we would do well to appeal to persuasion rather than hierarchy. If you study the cults, they usually have leaders that demand obedience based on position or rank, certainly not persuasion. Honestly, this sounds a lot like how the world’s religious system operates as well.


As a dad, In some ways, I am finding it harder to parent my daughter now that she is older. There are things I desperately want to show her, and ways that I want to direct her that have to do with her well being. She has to desire that guidance, however. It cannot be forced. I have found that it is only when people recognize that they have issues, that they begin to look for help with those issues.


It is only when people, or church communities, are willing to recognize that they have issues and need help with those issues that they are willing to be persuaded by leadership. Until then, it can be a painful waiting game. Sometimes people and groups become more open to being persuaded by leadership when they get desperate. Many times it is hardship, failure, and brokenness that eventually lead to desperation and openness to being led. As a parent, or as one who loves the church, that can be painful to watch.


There are many more passages in the New Testament (like Hebrews 13:17) that need to be re-examined from outside of an institutional hierarchical filter. A great resource that throughly examines biblical passages about church leadership, as well as many other related issues, is a book called ‘Reimagining Church’ by Frank Viola. I highly recommend it. If you’d like to look into these things a bit further, please purchase a copy of that book. Click here to purchase a copy of this book online. This bring me to my third and final point:


Most ‘Institutional’ Church Leadership Is Designed To Control The Masses, But True Biblical Leadership Is Designed To Persuade The Few ‘More is better’ in the world’s way of looking at things.


If you look at the way Jesus did things, however, the opposite seems to be true. As soon as Jesus obtained a large following, He seemed to say or do something that drove the masses away. For example, when someone came to Him telling Him they would follow Him anywhere, He seemed to not make it easy by telling them that He was homeless. Jesus was always weeding out people.


Jesus did not lead the masses, and the masses were fickle. They turned on Him pretty quickly. Jesus seemed to focus on the hungry few however. He shepherded those in the community that served and followed Him. Jesus was the ultimate shepherd (pastor). Do you know what the basis of this pastor / sheep relationship was? It was an intimate knowing of one another. In John 10:14, Jesus says: I Am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me This is beautiful. This was not just a theoretical quote by Jesus. He really did know the sheep He was shepherding. The ‘knowing’ of one another is key. Shepherding is a component of the life of Christ that is demonstrated in the body of Christ, and it will come about because of a relational knowledge of one another.


I am always amazed when I talk to people at large Mega Church institutions that refer to the man who preaches to them behind the pulpit weekly as their ‘Pastor’. Sometimes I ask them if they know the person personally. Nine times out of ten, the answer is “No, not really”. Most institutional ‘Pastors’ are busy people. Most have never shared a meal with their ‘Pastor’. Most have not spent a significant amount of time with them. There is simply no personal relationship there. It is all formal. When I ask them: “On what basis is that guy who stands behind the pulpit week in and week out your pastor?” I usually get a response that goes back to title, not relationship like Jesus demonstrated and taught in John 10:14.


I could say much more about all of that, but you get the point. If you want to control a large group of people, you simply teach people to submit to titles, offices, and positions. This is what governments do, this is what employers do, and this is what the institutional church system does as well. In the kingdom, however, it is much different.


Jesus appeals to His relational knowledge of us, and us of Him. In the church that Jesus envisioned, and in the case of my soon to be 18 year old daughter, true leadership will have to depend on something much more profound than title or hierarchy, however. Just some food for thought.

Free Coaching


For many of us, it is hard to be confronted.  It is hard for someone to tell you where you messed up, missed the mark or dropped the ball. It does not feel good to realize you were wrong. But the truth is that we all have things worng with our character.  And sometimes, people care enough about us to risk telling us.  Then, when they do, you have some important choices to make.


How will you react to the correction?  How defensive will you become?  Will you really listen? Will you really change anything?


Often, we get defensive and reactive.  Well, today, a friend of mine (who wishes to get his credit in heaven and not on my blog), shared something with me that I thought was profound.  He said:


When someone points out a flaw in your character, you should look at it like free coaching.  People pay lots of money for coaches, consultants and counselors that tell them what is wrong with them and how to fix it.  How much more valuable is the FREE gift of coaching from people who actually know you!  What a great gift!  Maybe if we would view correction into our lives as a GIFT of free coaching, we would become less reactive and more thankful and humble.


Just a thought...

Mozambique Trip Threatened


Let me cut to the chase with the short version:


There is a very special trip coming up next week with local guys we work with...the trip is being threatened because of finance and could be saved if I can find a few people who can give a few hundred bucks!


Full Version: 


If you have been following our ministry here in ZA, you are aware that I have been working with a new church plant for about 6 months, made up of men from Mozambique. You can find a number of posts and videos about them on my blog.  A few weeks ago, we baptized 6 of the guys!  Read about that here. 


For the last few months we have been planning an expidition back to their home country of Mozambique for a missionary journey/ discipleship trip. Never done anything like this, but we really believe it was led of the Lord to go.  It is a response to their faith, early in their faith journey. The guys want to go back to their families and friends and tell them all about what Jesus has done in their lives. I belive that we will see some impacted lives and salvations on this trip!  We also hope to gather people in groups and may end up doing some teaching about simple church planting....with the guys as real life examples of what it produces. 


We were scheduled to leave on Friday September 30th. The plan is for 5 of us to drive there (Noah, Viktor, Shawn, Ernest and John). It will take two days to get there.  All of the guys have come up with money--as much as they can, but they are short.  We need more money to cover the expenses of the trip (food and transport).  We met tonight, discerned together and decided to look to the Lord for provision and make the decision in a few days as to whether we wil still go or cancel the trip.


If I can find 3-5 people that could give a couple hundred bucks, we can go!  To these guys, that seems impossible.  They make about $15 a day. To someone reading this now, it may be extremely possible.  


If you can help, just shoot me an email or let me know however you'd like.  I'm easy to reach.


I you cannot help, would you just pray that we'd somehow get the money to go? 

Meserete Kristos Church. Only God.


As you may know, Tricia and I are sent through Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) in PA, USA to serve with All Nations in Cape Town, South Africa. EMM has rich missions history dating back to the early 1900s. We came to All Nations with the hope of linking the to organizations together into richer Kingdom collaboration--relational and organizational networking leading to partnership in mission. This is the first such opportunity. (There is an initiative that I am partnering into called Project Engage.  I will be telling you more about Project Engage soon.  But, know that this trip is conencted to this as well.)


There is a very large Mennonite Church in Ethiopia called Meserete Kristos Church (MKC). EMM planted it 60 years ago (and turned it over to local leadership 10 years later). I have heard about the church and met some of the leaders over the last years. This is a massive and impressive church with a story that only God could have authored.


Brief MKC History: Planted 60 years ago by Mennonite Missionaries, Meserete Kristos Church (meaning "Church founded on Christ" in Amharic) is a church that has experienced major growth under major persecution. In 1971, a Marxist/Communist government forcefully came into power Ethiopia ("Derg"). The corrupt government tool all money and property from MKC and arrested many of their leaders. As a result, MKC went underground with about 5,000 members and 12 churches. At this point the congregations divided into cell groups/ Home churches. They were underground for almost 10 years. In that 10 years, God multiplied 10 fold and when they came above ground in 80s they were 50,000 people!! Due to cell life, real disciples emerged and people started knowing God personally and obeying him radically.


Today, this church has:

  • 401,100 members
  • 636 churches
  • 856 church planting centers
  • 27 Regional Lead teams
  • They are sending people out (Ethiopians) in mission like a machine (nationally and internationally).
  • And they are the largest Mennonite church in the world making up about a quarter of Mennonites worldwide (if I am reading the book accurately). 


What is further fascinating is that it is 100% Ethiopian led! No white leader works in the office or makes the decisions. This is a fairly unusual situation for Africa.


When I arrived the other day and met with the head leader of MKC, he gave me a gift-- a book tracing the history of the church. I hung on each word of the 280 pages and completed it an hour ago. Great story!! (Picture above.) There is nothing like reading this book ON THIS SOIL!! Where it all happened. Awesome!




Would you pray with us?


On this trip, I have met with their leaders about UUPG possibilities and gathered info that they are aware of. They are not only ready to assist in engagement of 2 people groups but, but have also helped me to see the massive potential on Ethiopia for reaching North Africa and the Middle East. Ethiopia has been defined as a Christian island in a Muslim Ocean (though there are still 34 of the 82 ethnic groups in Ethiopia unreached)!


Some exciting things are stirring for the future.  My heart is full. Pray for EMM, All Nations and MKC as we discern possible kingdom collaboration and synergistic undertakings led of the Lord. We need wisdom, ears attuned to the Spirit and the courage to obey.

I Finally Believe!

Here are some realities that I really hope you read and read again while listening to God:

  • Almost 7 billion people are on earth today.
  • Almost 3 billion do not know about Jesus yet!
  • There are 6,890 unreached people groups (less the 2% Christian) on earth today.
  • There are 1,015 unengaged people groups (no gospel presence and no one working there) on earth today.

(Interested in knowing more about this stuff, visit and Note that some of their data is wrong in both directions, but it is close.)

Today I visited one of the unreached people groups (Silte) and discussed serious possibilities for (All Nations) adoption and engagement with an unengaged one (Argobba).

MKC Mission Director, Yemiru Tilahun (amazing Brother) personally drove me 3 hours outside of Addis Ababa to this unreached people group (Silte)! And something clicked in me. I have heard the stats above! I've read the books.  I just did not really believe them. I mean, I did, but I needed to see one and touch one--it is just how I am wired. Today it happened. I have waited years for this.

I finally believe! 

There is a lot going on in my heart tonight as I try to make sense of it all. I have more questions than I do answers, but I am sure of one thing...I want to give my life for this!!  

Paul says something that makes my heart leap in Romans 15:20-21. Look at this:

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.


Do you realize that YOU could be a part of this? YOU reading this right now can help engage and reach one of these groups. There are a number of ways ranging from a prayer to packing it all up and moving here. Yes, you! Wanna give your life to something that changes earth and eternity?