Tuesday, March 04, 2008

All good things...

I apologize right off for the cheesy Star Trek reference.

I'm not going to stick with blogger any more and I am moving to the simpler and cleaner Wordpress. It's all the same content, but in a different place.

So, change your links and now go to the new Re0rienting

Thanks -

Friday, February 29, 2008

Loose Change

tonight we are going to have an ending party to the youth ministry's Loose change to Loosen Change campaign.

We're trying to raise 200 pounds of change to be able to send to International Justice Mission so they can use it to free more and more people from the bonds of slavery.

Should be a great night.

UPDATE: the kids brought in 136 pounds of change!! We haven't counted it yet, but it's a lot of money!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Since a lot of my master's program is next week and my weekend sickness has put me behind again I am going to extend grace to myself and take a break from some of the regular posting that I do here. I've finished Tony Jones' new book, The new Christians, also, and will talk about it here too.


Go do some homework, that's what I'm doing.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Simply Bizarre

This is simply bizarre. A church in Tampa, which calls itself Relevant Church (what, was Cool Church already taken?) has decided to put this challenge out to its members!

Here's my questions:
>> What about people who have past trauma involving sex, like rape or abuse? Is this going to minister to them?
>> What does this look like for the senior's ministry? Or the youth ministry?
>> Would you actually go to this church? How awkward would that be!

To me, this is clearly an attempt to spike web traffic. It's the same tricks youth ministry used 15 years ago, and now those youth ministers are "senior" pastors. It's classic bait and switch.


To quote Brent (Corner Gas): "There's a new low."

just when you thought

you were going to be able to catch up - the flu catches you.

This weekend I am praising God for the advent of modern plumbing technology.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Searches that land here

Words that people end up here from, with frequency.

1. watch 9
2. me 9
3. reorient 9
4. tim 4
5. albany 4
6. j. 4
7. pope 4
8. oregon 4
9. focus 3
10. fallen 3
11. keel 3
12. condition 3
13. blog 2
14. Carmichael 1
15. Keel 1
16. James 1
17. re-orient


I always try to keep this blog from becoming more important than living real life. so, that's why I got away from daily posts. If I were to pay and get typepad I could set it up to post when I am away, but that's a cost and I'm not gonna do that until this blog makes me enough money to do that.

So, I'm gonna try to catch up today.

Also - much props to commenters Darrell and Andrew. I love to make this more of a discussion, so always feel free to comment!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lent 10

Saturday's lent reading gives this quote, the author's prayer during a crises in vocation, education and calling,
"I cannot believe that you intend the best years of my life as a disciple of jesus Christ to be experienced between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one. I cannot accept that I have peaked in my experience of you and the church and that I am to spend the rest of my life going through the motions. I cannot accept this."

I really hate the way the worldly trait of youth worship has seeped into the church. High school is should only be the best years of your life if you are in high school. In the world, youth is worshipped as the thing we wish we all were. There are very few television shows with old heroes. I have heard people brag about high school sports endeavors ten years removed from high school - like they have been living memories for a decade. When does it stop?

In the church, we have also succumbed to this "memory living" as student ministries are living front edge of the gospel and many, many adults are content to ride their pew into eternity. As a leader, I really hope that we can figure out how to break through the numbness that so many churched adults live in and bring people back to that first love for Christ - that which they (at least 85% of them) first experienced as a teenager.

May we live more fully everyday.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lent 9

Today Tim Keel talks about his expereinces in growing frustrated with being in youth ministry in a time when games where the most important part of the agenda and churched kids were entertained as much as possible in order to distract them from the evil (and fun) ways of the world.

Tim does what most young frustrated leaders do - seminary. Yet at seminary he experiences much of the same frustrations, as the institutions are forced to demand requirments that support the institution or else we'll dive into a version of Christianity that has deregulated leadership (and we all know what happens when we don't standardize...taking tongue out of check...).

Anyways - seminary is frustrating for most young leaders as their living in a holding pattern that seems to never end. I understand that and I think today's application would have to be to encourage some young leaders to act on their frustrations and put their energy to work in the kingdom of God - rather than just staying up late and complaining.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Foo Fighters

I am listening to the Foo Fighters here on my office couch right now as I do some studying. They are just one of those bands who just sound so much better when their music is loud enough to fill the room.

I wonder how they do that? How do you make a record where the awesomeness is directly related to the volume? In order to find out, let's make a list of other records that hold to the same axiom. Then we can find some commonalities and postulate a thesis.

Also, let's call the axiom: Grohl's First Axiom. Of course, if we logically deduce further applications we will change this to Grohl's First Theorem.

Lent 8

Perhaps the hardest discipline in reading through Intuitive Leadership by Tim Keel is not taking off with it and reading ahead. I have set small chunks for me to read each day. This is hard, because his dominant theme is to embrace narrative, metaphor and chaos. In this, he determines that the medium will be the message. His message is found in story form and he is just getting into the parts that are attractive. At the same time, Lent is a time of discipline, which is something I love to be able to have the Lord develop in me.

I am having conversations with high school students as they go through lent right now and it is so awesome to see them struggle through and be dedicated to letting God develop discipline in them. Just last night they even had a whole (loud) discussion on what fits the category of fast food. What they don't realize is that they are really trying to figure out how to deal with the temptaion of legalism that invades people who are seeking discipline.

Anyways...what I really want to remark from my lent reading today is that I love watching college students who are really living life for Jesus. Not in a cultish kind of way, but in a way that gives life and shows how desperate they are to follow Jesus and live the gospel all around them.

If I could only hang out with three kinds of people for the rest of my life it would be:
1. New converts who are amazed at the love of Jesus
2. College students who don't even realize what they are doing as they live out the gospel so fully.
3. People who sleep at my house. That means my family. They are easily awesome.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lent 7

In today's section of Keel, he writes of the difficulties of growth. Specifically he talks about the difficulty of growing something else.

Not much said in these 5 pages. Maybe I should take bigger chunks each day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lent 6

On page 43 Keel writes, "We no longer live in the world of modernity...We are indebted to it and wary of it, and well we should be."

I love this quote because I find a lot of postmodern-loving people who are really just modernism haters. When, in reality, modernity haas given us so much. Through categorization we have been able to find and learn and discover all sorts of exciting things about ourselves and our world. The problem occurs when we substitute the worship of God with the worship of the modern understanding of God. Keel deals with this very well. It seems that, over time, modernity no longer worshipped God but worshippped their understanding of God.

It's a tricky little nuance, which makes it hard to detect. So you don't even know you've got a problem until its too late.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lent 5

On page 36 Tim Keel writes about the ways that we try to hide our stories by aplogizing, domesticating and neutering them. By 'our stories' I mean the stories found in the Bible. This is something that frustrates me to no end. I wonder how we can do this better. The problem seems to be that we tell children the stories of the bible, but not adults (which Keel agrees with). When children are young, we cannot tell them about David's adultery, Noah's drunkenness or Judas' messy suicide without getting interesting questions (at best) or giving them scary dreams (at worst). For this reason, we must revisit stories when people are teens, young adults and fully into adulthood so that the stories can be better understood. Consider the story of Abraham and Isaac, specifically, when God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. For a child, the story makes sense from Isaac's perspective. However, when a father hears this story, the empathy for Abraham's pain is clearly seen. I would even say that godly parenthood exposes God's love for us in the love found for one's children.

So here's a prayer for those who try to expose the truth of God at it's rawest and those who refuse to let God's story be apologized, domesticated and neutered.

Lent 4

When I was in high school my family was involved in starting a Saturday night service at our church. We were not following any models or had any idea what was going on other than we were full on Sunday mornings and Saturday night services were culturally acceptable because of the dominant Catholic influence in northern Ontario. My dad told stories. To the children officially, but anyone who has been in church with a decent story teller knows that the adults are all listening in, very interested.

Then our church spilt. It was so ugly it was funny. One of those 'God told us so you can't argue' deals.

In less than a year my dad went from storyteller to chair of the elder board. It was so beautiful it was funny. One of those 'what just happened?' deals.

After reading Intuitive Leadership tonight I thought of that history of mine and remarked to my invisible sidekick (a la Craig Ferguson) that, perhaps, it is genius to have great storytellers in leadership positions in a church. Mysteriously, storytellers have this quality of Jesus that many regular people do not have. The ability to transform communities through the telling of stories.

I wonder what would happen if, when considering people for leadership positions in the church, we considered their storytelling skills. What would happen if the key leaders were all storytellers?

To bring life with words.

Just like God.

Thank God for storytelling leaders.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Free Time


Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lent 3

Today I read the introduction of Tim Keel's Intuitive Leadership. I think one of the hardest part of this lent journal will be not reading ahead. It's a real discipline to refrain from reading books that I am interested in. Instead I need to spen my time reading my books for PESM, which I will be posting a bunch of my reading on here someday.

In teh introduction fo Keel's book he expressed the need in the postmodern world to go "beyond pragmatism." I think this is such a wonderful little package to express the massive shift happening in many churches. At Toccoa Falls, Doug White used to teach us that 'pragmatism is not the panacea.' This means that just becuase something works, does not mean it should be done. For a long time churches, especially evangelical churches have used pragmatism to justify practices that are harmful to the gospel. This is recognizable when people say, "Whatever it takes to get them in the door, right?" My answer is no. It's not alright to do whatever it takes to get them in the door. It's not.

That, I believe it one of the fundamental struggles for people engaging in ministry in a postmodern world. It's not about models and programs that work for me. Instead I would like to see what the real live gospel looks like lived in the context that I find myself in.

RCA Church Conference

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lent 2

Today I will post on the acknowledgements. Like I said, these are small bites. The thing that I noticed right away in the introduction is that the leadership of the church is comprised of men and women, including husband and wife sets. There seems to be an influx of emerging church wives who possess the spiritual gift of leadership and want to exercise it. In the past it has been assumed, by and large, that the pastor's wife would take a supportive role, like playing in the band or leading the hcildren's ministry - and these have been productive models of church leadership. It is at least interesting to note that many young men who are becoming pastors are attracted to women who possess leadership gifts and want to partner with them in overall leadership of ministry.

I know that's true for me :)

Lent 1

Tim Keel's book, Intuitive Leaderhip is subtitled, Embracing a paradigm of narrative, metaphor and chaos. This subtitle is why I picked up the book. One of the things my Strentgh Finder test (which our staff did) talked about was my intuitive skill at knowing what the right things to do are. For some reason I am often able to discern what the right actions are, but I struggle at explaining my reasoning to others because it is almost an intuitive knowledge to me. It's like trying to explain to someone why they should jump when there is a loud noise. there's no reason, it's just the right thing to do!

To that end, today I will simply provide some quotes that resonate with the past journey I have been on. I figure I am a couple years into this thing and don't share some of the same frustrations as very young leaders, but I recognize it from my own journey. Also, Alan Roxburgh wrote the introduction, so it's quite inspirational for people who love Jesus' girlfriend the way I do (Jesus marries the church at the end of everything...that means we are his girlfriend right now...wrap your head around that...)

>p.10 "He has a strong sense of vocation...called into leadership...but feels stuck and frustrated. His sense is that something is not right...but he doesn't have the language to give words to his experience...He wants to discover friends and mentors with whom he can partner in this confusing time of transition."

>p.11 "There is little permission given to leaders to attend to the narratives going on inside themselves."

p.14 "Let's see how these narratives and metaphors shaping your life might provide all kinds of clues for the risky ways in which God is calling you to embrace the chaos of our time with hope and expectation."

Lent Blog

This year I am going to blog through my growth of lent. In our high school community called Driven (even though Marko says don't be Driven anymore...lol) we begin lent every year with an observation of Ash Wednesday. The students remark to me that they really like doing things that are tactile (not in those words) because it really helps them understand and experience truth, instead of just being taught about it. Each year on Ash Wednesday the seniors apply the ashes to all the other students and leaders while saying a blessing over them. It is such a powerful thing to see ninth grade students kneeling before a senior while they are receive the ashes. Perhaps even moreso when watching the adult leaders submit themselves to the seniors. For me, it's a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God, where no one is better than anyone else, we simply play the parts of God's story that he lets us.

So this year for lent I am going to be reading through a new book I bought with a Christmas gift card, Intuitive Leadership by Tim Keel. Tim is the founding pastor of Jacob's Well, an emerging church in Kansas City. Each day I am going to blog an interaction with what I read, or some other thoughts that are inspired by the little pieces (5-6) pages that I read.

Happy Lenting.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Leadership Tip

From Sam Chand on a Leadership Network podcast.

Your vision statement should be able to fit on a tee shirt. It should also be designed so that others can understand it.

And - about 10% of the church is there to bring you grief, pain and increase your prayer life. They are joy suckers. A key leadersh ip question is 'how many of these people can you handle?' (If you can handle 2,000 of them, then you can lead a 20,000 person church.)

Pastors are in constant pain. We play with pain, like a football player. There is a high cost to be where we are at and to do what we do. This is often overlooked for people looking from the outside. This is why healthy pastoring is so important.

Also - these are really important questions, but it doesn't matter to joe visitor to your church on a Sunday. Which makes them hard to spend time on.

Angry Politics

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about this election season is anger. People do nutty things when they are angry. I would like CNN to keep track of Americans' anger and see how it relates to their support of different candidates.

Also, does the anger come from hope, love or fear?

These are the questions that matter, much more than who wins or loses.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008



Sorry friends...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Giants Win

What a great day - good Sunday School, good church (great volunteers), really awesome party. And the super bowl was super entertaining - the half time show even didn't suck as much as i thought it would.

We had about 10 high schoolers over to watch the game. Coolest thing - absolutely no clicks - second coolest thing - no programs, no agenda - just a bunch of kids who wouldn't normally be able to hang out together chillin - enjoying pretty much everything (only 2 of us actually watched the whole game - lol) and having a great time.

Church Architecture

Since I can't spell the title word I know I'm going to get a bunch of hits from people who can't spell either. So, welcome. I just thought I'd post this picture.

You can see more at Cool Hunter.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Chickified Church Dudes


it's quarter after one in the morning and khobi and i are up. She's mad cuz i won't play wiggles from youtube on the computer and i'm mad because she isn't asleep.

so, this one's for khobi....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Holy Rule 9 - How Many Psalms are to be said at the Night Office

This rule is a detailed list of how the night office is to happen. It is wildly detailed and gives a structured routine to the monks' lives before they go to sleep. It's kind of like how we give our kids a routine before bed. Except for our kids it's a lot of cuddling, for monks it's psalms, hymns and lessons.

And in case your wondering...the answer is 14.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

jonny depp

LJ saw the commercial for the Pirates of the Caribean online game and so we downloaded it, created our own pirate and played it.

IT IS THE WORST GAME EVER. totally stupid.

This confirms my previous evaluation of the POTC franchise.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I love youth ministry simply for the conversations. On any given week I get to have a whole bunch of conversations with all sorts of young people where the topics range from families to christianity to calling to sports to music to friends to youtube to whatever. In college our definition of youth ministry happens when an adult enters the world of a teen an applies the gospel to their young life. It is an awesome priviledge to be allowed to apply some gospel to today's generation of youth who are so open to whatever Jesus has for them. They are stunningly remarkable.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Judgmentalism Rehab

My name is james and i am a recovering judgmentalist. It is interesting to me to see myself recovering from being judgemental. I hug more. I lke old people more. I am more patient of things. Yet at the same time I am more sure of myself and have grown significntly through this. A couple observations follow. First, it is interesting when God lets u suffer and how we react to it. If u can manage to get past the hurt and grow healthily then ur in the good. If u alow the initial hurt to continue and let it ruin u it will. U have to remember that the devil hates u but that doesnt mean u have to hate urself. Secondly, when recoverng from judgmentalism one must be careful not to become judgmental of others who are judgmental. One must remember that I was once them and just because I am no longer, does not mean I have the right to judge. In the past tis was called secondary separationism - if u gogle that u will see how ugly that is. Finally, growing totally sucks. It is dirty, messy, difficult and hard. Anyone who wants an easy no-hurt version of Christianity is going to have a boring life. If you want examples of this go to any church - its pandemic. Thats truth.
with apologies for the syntax because i wrote this on my Q.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Old but Sweet

Back in October I attended a long lecture with Leonard Sweet up at George Fox Seminary. He covered a few topics and it was, at least in part, in promotion of his book, the Gospel According to Starbucks. His book does not mention the gospel being overpriced, but does make some other comparisons. I have blogged through this book, you can read about it by clicking on the link in the topics section. Meanwhile, I'm gonna file away my notes and I wanted to put them here for organizationality sake. Reminder: Theres are my notes on what Len Sweet discussed, not necessairly what he said!

>> Power is moving from center to sides (margins) (well curve) (Jesus ->)
>> Wireless - boundaryless - electricity - wireless video projection
>> Genetic Engineering
>> Robotic Engineering - 50 million robots by 2025. Current leader in applications of new technologies is the posrn industry. Implications...
>> Information Techology Egineering
>> Nano Engineering
>> Future - 1. size does matter. do little large. 2. Well cure replaces the bell curve. 3. Epic Rules = Missional/Incarnational/RElational vs. Attractional/Propositional/Colonial. These can be metaphored at operating systems.
>>1st communal, here's the progression - eat freely [sin] kosher [jesus] freedom
>> Church service name: feedback
>> Masters of media have the hardest time changing. The church is the master of print publications. Implications...
>> eternatech - invent a chip to give memories after death.
>> organizing learning and our checkpoints
>>for my book, Dirty Holiness = wesley and women; with X I can do all things, with X I can do no thing. I wrote to myself that I should email this to Len Sweet
>> "daniel Pink" on well curves and bell curves; "general" motors is over
>> Opposite things are not contradictory
>> Slow Life with "lee Gyu" - no desire to speed so no brakes are needed.
>> Well curve fits a phenomenal explanation of the trinity
>> weak is the new strong; we should have spiritual weakness inventories; moses
>> "balance" in life is stupid
>> Challenge of Islam - new communism in the sense of the attraction element to the disenfranchised
>> Size does matter. Laws of simplicity; minimalism and reductionism; tall building in Dubai
>> Why hasn't Wal-Mart built churches? They do everything else.
>> "wild wild east" - globalization - tribalism (except not with domination in mind)
>> Languages of the future = english, spanish, mandarin
>> life goal: developing a walkable lifestyle in an urban context
>> the 2 car family has become the 2 home family.
>> Asthetics is replacing apologetics.
>> Question: Where did shepherds go/stand/walk in relation to the herd?
>> Ugly America - a lament for a dying culture
>> 3 most hated nations = Iran, Israel, U.S.
>> So the county's dying...who cares? The gospel will continue just fine. Why can't the USA see their effective improvement fo the whole world. This is a capatalistic/boomer effect. Communists would see this better.
>> beauty, truth, goodness (a holiness that permeates everything) - 3 transidentals fo being
>> grey goo

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I've added a new widget down on the side column. It's kinda like an airport terminal except it reports who comes here and where they go. It's fun for everybody!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bennett, Intentional Disciplemaking

So, I was required to read Bennett's Intentioal Disciplemaking for this year's mentoring course at PESM. It was okay, kind of a holiness adaptation of Coleman's Master Plan, which I suggest you memorize.

I'm not going to give any quotes except this one:

"Spiritual generations are God's strategy for reaching the world. Any plan that ignores the natural process of parenting through successive generations is doomed to fail because it cirumvents God's design for maturity. Furthermore, failure to pass on the truths of the faith to another generation is a mark of immaturity in the church." (29)

As a pastor to young people I could not agree more. If the church is not willing to pass the faith on to younger generations it anathematizes itself. This, I believe, will be the mark of the boomer generation on the western church. Boomers are the first generation of Christians who have thought it was their right to have the kind of church that they desired. For me, this isn't a blame issue as much as it is a heart issue. The boomers, who usually don't listen to those younger than themselves, need to hear the prophetic calling of the young. The young people in America today are desperately searching for God - and can't find enough Christian adults to help them find Him.

Mike King has also blogged on this, after a recent research study showed
"that most Christian adults strongly agree that their own faith development was shaped by adults in their lives during their youth. And yet, less than half of this same group believes that they have a responsibility to nurture the emerging generation of Christian young people."
How can this be? How can the current adult generation allow themselves to fade into history letting themselves be known as the generation who thought passing on the faith was important - BUT DIDN'T DO IT!

Right next to my door I have a two-page article called "That Sucking Sound you Hear" by Tim Elmore. I frequently use materials from Tim's organization, Growing Leaders, to train young people. I reccommend you read it in order to understand why we are in the hole that we are in, and Tim's suggested ways out. I keep the article next to my door so that every time I leave my office I remember the current task of church leaders and I remember to fight to stop the sucking.

The emerging generation is rocking about 4% adhereance to evangelical Christianity. I don't blame them for even a second. Instead I get them excited about the opportunity to ignite a revival among their generation - the generation that isn't getting this whole faith just handed to them. God loves to use generations to fulfill his mission; thankfully, He doesn't depend on them.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Organic Leadership

Over the last two weeks there has been no music at Kainos. A couple that is involved with our band were away as one of them was "enjoying" some surgery - so we thought it would be a good time to not sing. An organic congregation, I believe, behaves in this way. Instead of going out and getting some other people to fill holes, we decided the holes can stay empty if no one wants to fill them. We also went a few weeks with no childcare. It's seriously great.

Also, last week I was away for schooling and Jason preached. I'm really thankful for that. And the kids particpated in sharing and one of the 1st (2nd?) graders lead a prayer time.

To me, this is what orgainc is. I love the Kainos folks for their willingness to explore. I can't wait to see what's around the corner.

Adequacy Delusion

I'm thinking of using this name for the youth missions team to San Francisco this year.

Adequacy Delusion

What do you think?