Make…

This morning I received an email from Catalyst – the leadership conference I attended last October. It was an awesome two days of ‘drinking from the firehose’ as different church and business leaders poured their wisdom into 6000 gathered church leaders. So it is perhaps no surprise that I smile every time I see a Catalyst email in my inbox.

This one came with a video promo for this year’s Catalyst even in Atlanta in October. I purchased my ticket within days of arriving back home last year.

I have watched the video at least four times today. Each time I have been reminded of the lessons learned and the experiences had at last year’s event. I am so excited to get to go again this year.  Check out the video, and I’m sure you will understand my excitement. By the way – the band whose song is featured in the vid is called Seryn and they opened last year’s event. You can see them in this clip – look for the dude with the long red beard and the chick with blond dreads playing the violin!

 

 

The waiting…

I haven’t felt much like writing this past week. As a church, St. A’s is about to enter an exciting new phase. But the problem with that is that we are ABOUT to enter that new phase. Right now, it’s kind of a lot of ‘hurry up and wait.’

I have a friend going through that on a much more personal level as she waits for test results which will determine the course of her life over the next several months.

It occurs to me that waiting is the worst. Really. I say all the time: I can deal with anything once it’s on the table. But I will just about lose my mind waiting for it to be PUT ON the table.

A friend reminded me today of the promise found in 1 Peter 5:7:

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

It’s wonderful advice, and I’d stake my life on the truth of this Scripture. But man, it is hard for me to actually DO. I know better. I KNOW better than to spend my time in worry. I know God’s got my back. He’s proved it to me over and over. And yet…

And yet, I find myself worrying and trying to solve problems that haven’t even fully arisen yet. In a strange way – I am thankful for that. Because it reminds me how desperately I need a Savior. And the wonderful, overwhelming, beautiful, transformational truth is that God has already provided one.

Light for the Lost Boy…

My favorite singer/songewriter is a fellow preacher’s-kid by the name of Andrew Peterson. His songs about faith with their insightful lyrics, soft acoustic style and passion for Jesus, have informed my faith for the past decade.

I have never met the man, but I think of him as a friend. One who has chided and goaded and lead me to a deeper understanding of my faith and of the human condition in general. He has made me laugh, brought a tear to my eye, and sung what I wanted to say better than I could say it.

So I am excitedly looking forward to the release of his new studio album, Light for the Lost Boy, at the end of August. I was delighted to sign into FaceBook this morning and find that his record company has allowed him to share the cover art for the new album.

The art is by Katie Moore who has done album artwork for Ingrid Michaelson and Starfield, among others. I find the art for Andrew’s new album haunting and beautiful:

 

I want to go on that walk with that lost boy and his lantern. I want to breathe deep and take in the woods that surround us, feeling secure by the light of the lantern.

Most of all, I want to hear the songs that inspired this cover. August 28th cannot come fast enough.

 

 

To show it what it can be…

In my last post I mentioned that I would be leading OMEGA contemporary worship at my church on Sunday. I did that. And in my sermon I used a Joss Whedon quote from an episode of the TV show, Angel.

Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be.  It’s harsh and cruel.
That’s why there’s us. Champions.
It doesn’t matter where we come from, what we’ve done or suffered,
or even if we make a difference.
We live as though the world were as it should be,
to show it what it can be.
–Angel, “Deep Down” Season 4, Episode 1

Now I hate to quote my own sermons (feels a little too much like tooting my own horn, or patting myself on the back or something), but I have to admit, I’ve been wandering around for the past few days muttering to myself: “to show it what it can be…”

I am fascinated by the idea that, as Christians, we are called to live differently. To live as if the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be. This is, I believe, why my church’s foodbank doesn’t put any restrictions on its clients. If you show up, we will give you food. We don’t ask how many foodbanks you’ve been to in the month, when you were last here, how much of an income you have or how many mouths you have to feed. We just give away what we’ve got. Because the world SHOULD be a place where only those who are honestly in need, show up for a hand out. We live as though the world is as it should be. We do this because we believe that world CAN be a place where people are honest.

I think this idea has power. That perhaps a whole bunch of people who live as if the world were as it should be, can actually move it towards what it can be. That somehow, by the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us, just by living the way Jesus calls us to live, we can have an impact on the world we live in.

I believe that. I believe that strongly enough that I have given my life to doing all I can to live that way and to inspire others to live that way.

Give it a try this week. May you find ways to live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.

A different kind of preaching…

Tomorrow I am preaching at our monthly contemporary service. It’s a small and informal service, and I kind of love that about it. Usually preachers stand in a pulpit or on a platform and preach TO or AT an audience. There’s not a lot of give-and-take in your average sermon… Although, most preachers will tell you have the conversations they have after the service/during the week with congregants; and the best preachers will allow those conversations to come out in future sermons and to influence the direction of what they are preaching.

But in our OMEGA contemporary service, after I finish preaching, I sit down and I look at those who have gathered and I say to them: “So, what do you think?” And then we just chat, for whatever amount of time it takes.

Its’ a pretty cool and unusual experience for a preacher to get to have a conversation about what they are preaching. And I have to say that there is a richness to it. It is a beautiful thing to sit with the people of God and listen as we struggle to express our faith together. That happens sometimes in small groups, in Bible Studies and in workshops. But it doesn’t often happen in corporate worship…at least, not in the church where I serve.

I like to think of this as more akin to what Jesus did – having conversations with the 12 disciples and with individuals from the larger community who crossed his path. I love the relation-ality of what Jesus did in ministry. So often he is having a conversation at the dinner table with friends. Sometimes he’s teaching as he and his friends move (read: walk) from one ministry point to another. In the life of Jesus, conversation is a way of teaching, a way of preaching and it happens naturally.

So I am excited to get to preach the OMEGA service tomorrow. And if you have a moment and prayer to spare, pray that God uses me and my words to touch the hearts of those who have gathered.