finding God on the way or in the way?

•January 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

…Instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:

Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion
a stone you can’t around.
but the stone is me! If you’re looking for me,
you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.

Romans 9:30-33 (The Message)


reflections of God’s imagination

•January 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

i don’t really know how i stumbled across this album in my playdate with google this this morning. but i’m not complaining. it’s free, it’s good, and it’s written by a bunch of artists in a church—that’s a tough combo to achieve, so thanks The Anchor Fellowship for achieving it. they describe this project as a “reflection of God’s imagination.” you gotta love that. here’s to more “reflections” like this one coming out of churches today.

“Make Up There Come Down Here”

•January 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes people pray a version of the Star Trek prayer to Scottie: “Beam me up.” Many people think our job is to get my afterlife destination taken care of, then tread water till we all get ejected and God comes back and torches this place. But Jesus never told anybody — neither his disciples nor us — to pray, “Get me out of here so I can go up there.” His prayer was, “Make up there come down here.” Make things down here run the way they do up there.

Jesus told us to pray, “Bring heaven down here.” We begin with our body, our mind, our appetites. Then it spreads to the office, our family, our neighborhood, our church, our country.

God doesn’t reveal himself to us just to make us happy or to deliver us from loneliness. He also comes to us so that we can in turn be conduits of his presence to other people. He invites us to join him in making things down here the way they are up there.

Excerpt from God Is Closer Than You Think – John Ortberg

it just got me thinking.

•January 18, 2010 • 5 Comments

I drive past 5 different churches on the way to my own church just a few miles from my house. And my own church meets at ten different times and places in our city for worship services. So when I read this description of the growth of the Christian church in the second century, it made me think:

A consequence of the growth of congregations was that it soon became impossible for all Christians in a particular city to gather together for worship. The unity of the body of Christ was so important that they felt like something was lost when in a single city there were several congregations. In order to preserve and symbolize the bond of unity, the custom arose in some places to send a piece of bread from the communion service in the bishop’s church to be added to the bread to be used in other churches in the same city.

The Story of Christianity, Justo Gonzalez, p 95.

Of course, we are in a new era. Lots of history has happened since that time.  We’ve got 3rd Baptists and 2nd Presbyterians and Redeemer Lutherans and multi-site and it’s all great. Plus, passing a loaf of bread might be a little weird. I hear all that.

But still…

“The unity of the body of Christ was so important that they felt like something was lost when in a single city there were several congregations.”

They knew they were losing something as they grew, so they did something about it. They knew they couldn’t cram everyone in one place, so they passed a chunk of bread between churches to remind them of one another. And then they prayed for the other churches in their city.

Prayer. What a crazy, crazy thought…It just got me thinking. Back to my reading now.


•January 15, 2010 • 4 Comments

we’re a little late for new years resolutions, but what about un-resolutions?

every year for 4 years i devoted 24 hours of my life spread over 20 monday evenings or so to watching kiefer sutherland save the world on 24. at the end of every season i always thought to myself, “was that really worth it? all that time, all that emotional tension, all that frustration during seasons with poorly developing plots or senselessly killing off endearing characters?” so last year allison and i booted 24 from our lives. and we’ve never thought twice about it.

it was an un-resolution: a resolution to take something out of my life so that i could use that time/energy/money in a better way. i have a hard time with resolutions because they usually involve starting something or adding something (read more, work out more, give more, spend more time with X). usually i fail at them because i haven’t created the space in my life for that something. that’s where un-resolutions come in.

so this year, especially as the spring tv season ramps up, i’ve vowed to cut my tv addictions by another series. no more biggest loser…… i’ve replaced it with 30 Rock (you probably thought i was going to say that i replaced it with prayer or something like that, didn’t you??!). i actually think the best un-resolutions don’t get replaced with anything—they just help us slow down and simplify our overdriven and overloaded lives. i’m sure there’s more things i can take out of my life, not just on tv, but in other areas of my life. what technology could i really do without? what monthly budget item isn’t necessary? what social media tool isn’t worth it anymore? what else can i take out of my life to help me experience more joy, focus and meaning?

what are some of your un-resolutions?

mooooshy picture time

•January 11, 2010 • 2 Comments

here’s a  picture just to remind the world that i’m married to the hottiest hottie in all of hottieville. (and she’s pretty nice too.)

december/christmas/2009…is over

•January 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

december of 2009 was a whirlwind for me and the entire wagon wheel household. the usual chaos of christmas at church was bigger this year, and on top of that i was finishing out a crazy fall semester. so in november i said goodbye to my family until christmas morning. the past ten days since then haven’t exactly been quiet, but they have been good. here’s what’s been going on:

  • i spent a couple days with my daughter in the hospital. sure, hospitals are not where i ever want to be, but there are much worse things than being stuck in a room with my little girl. we shared some pretty amazing moments together during those long days and nights. i love her more than ever.
  • we came up to st. louis—where snow is more than a legend and car heaters get taken to a new level. i often would walk outside in the sub-zero windchills in short sleeves just so i could come back inside to be rewarded by the fire in the living room. of course, when i’m up in minnesota for a couple weeks next month, my “love” of cold temps may be much different.
  • i opened up gifts with lots and lots of extended family. christmas presents always make me think about how much i approach life with a sense of entitlement and expectation, not surprise and gratitude. i hope 2010 is the year of gratitude.
  • i ate junk. seriously, lots and lots of junk. my insides are one big chocolate peanut butter ball. time to put that jump rope that i got for christmas to use.
  • i went to church. i went to a service that i had no part in planning and was led by a team of people who worked hard ahead of time so that people like me could leave with certain thoughts about God lingering in our minds.
  • i saw sherlock holmes and played a round of virtual golf with the boys. all sorts of fun.
  • i spent many hours in a car with my wife on the interstate. i love talking to her.
  • i trimmed up my awkward hair myself and now look more awkward than ever. it’s like dead poets society meets good will hunting meets the seinfeld episode about no shower pressure. awkward. oh spirit of ethan hawke’s hairdo, how did you ever leave this dreadful place?

january, here we come.