Thursday, November 27, 2008


Janet and I received an email today from a vendor from whom we ordered some supplies. This person who we have never met, talked about how she was always busy building her business, but in this past year had developed a different perspective about what was important. She was trying to find balance in her life. Her investment would be more in people than in the process of building a business.

This all took us back a bit. We sat for several moments and thought about what we would be leaving here on this earth if we left today. For what would we be known?

Recently, I have been through some trying times. I am sorting some things out theologically, relationally and missionally in my life. I am also thinking deeply about what I have left behind me over the past 50 years.

In the past, I have thought often about my track in life and where we will be going next. I must admit there has been some ambition that has not been good. Pride is a terrible thing. I have also seen my role, in recent years, as a change agent and one who wants to encourage others to be agents of change.

I am wondering a bit about my legacy these days. I have heard from some of "my kids" today. They have given me some nice words, but I wonder what impression and lasting effect I have had on them and others. I am not always sure that the ministry which Janet and I have had has been fruitful in bring about change agents. We have seen good people come out of our ministry, through the Holy Spirit's work in us. I am wondering if this has just been a pipe dream, a selfish ambition or a mandate for change.

I am convinced there needs to continue to be a prophetic voice in the Church and in our movement that will call us to emerge into what God continually calls us to be. I am not sure we are. I often wonder, if this is a lost cause, whether I am just cynical or whether we are going to turn the world upside down.

I have two great children, a wonderful daughter-in-law and loving, patient wife! They have long suffered through my desire to see people of the Church in contact with the culture and the people to be in touch with the times and not act as if it is sinful to understand them. The family is so patient! I pray for a church that will contextualize the Gospel. I am sorting through a great deal recently.

I am dealing with this idea of legacy. Today, I am thinking I need to focus more on legacy instead of processes.

If you have a comment, fine. Please share it. Today, I am with my thoughts and thinking how thankful I am for the many people with whom I have had the privilege to share in changing the world.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Retreat or retake?

There is no doubt we live in incredibly difficult times. Especially where I live, there are huge job losses, foreclosures and desperation. It is no less tough for our movement. Like other non-profits and faith-based organizations, we find ourselves in a bind.

It has been interesting to see the reaction to all of this financial malaise in the country and with our movement. Surely, we can live more simply. We do not need all of the things that we believe we need. We can become overly concerned about things.

I am concerned though, that we find ourselves in the spot of cutting out outreach ministries and the people who run them. There is a sense that if something is not effective it ought to go. God does not want things done just because they have always been done. I think what may rankle Him a bit is the idea of retreat. Cutting programs and ministries away, because we can't afford them.

I believe in a way that cutting programs away for purely financial reasons, may be anti-biblical. I wonder why it is we go into retreat mode in tough times.

What if David or Gideon or Samson had retreated in the face of overwhelming odds? What if the prophets had run when the faced hardness, pressure or death? I believe the biblical principle here is clear. When times get tough, we must advance and challenge God to be God. One of my mentors said to me all the time, "God powers His projects." The balancing acts is simply knowing what is God's will and our stubbornness or our utter lack of faith.

Sure, we can all live a bit leaner in this land of plenty. In many respects, we have become building and equipment rich and people poor.

I believe this is the time to retake what has been taken from us. More than at any time, we need to be aggressively, praying, ministering and raising money from the sources God sends our way.

Maybe you are facing the same thing in your ministry. Should we retreat or retake? Am I just too much of a dreamer? Where is the line between good stewardship and running scared?

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Correct Party?

I am typing after a full day already. I raked leaves, had a tooth pulled, voted and got my free Starbucks coffee. Not bad and it's only noon.

There seems to be quite a buzz around this election. The country is dissatisfied with business as usual, it seems. It also appears that there is a sense of urgency at polling places. We noticed a heighten sense of excitement today at our place to vote.

I have had a discussion with several friends over the last months as we seemed to be suffering through what seemed to be a never-ending election season. We talked about the issue of what really is the Christian perspective on the election. Some of my friends sent me a link to a web site, where a well-meaning brother, indicated that if Christians voted for Obama, they were not listening to God. Other Christian sites showered praise on the stance Obama took on the poor and the economy.

So what is the correct party? What is the correct stance? It would not be right for me to divulge my stance on the election. I will tell you I struggled as I voted today praying just before for divine guidance. I hope my heart listened.

While there are stark differences between the two parties on the scourge of abortion and the death penalty. There is just as wide a gap on service to the poor. So what is one to do? While I believe life is sacred at conception and am against the death penalty, I am very concerned about the poor.

I will tell you that I am I see good on both sides.

I think there is some good debate points here. Is there a correct party for Christians? How do we pick a leader? How should we determine how to vote as Christians. Are we liberal or conservative? Should we just abandon those labels?

What do you think? Whatever it is I hope you voted or will before the polls close.