Monday, June 23, 2008


(original posting 6.8.08)

When a teacher gives you and assignment, be it in grade school or graduate work, you know he or she will answer any questions you might have. When you get stuck on a math problem, you raise your hand, and Mrs. Expert walks you through the details. If you can't figure out how to dissect your frog, no worries, let Mr. Genius get you headed in the right direction. It just kinda goes with territory, if they tell you to do something, they will walk you through it, instruct you at the very least. 

Sometimes I wish God were more like that. I know I've followed the call of God. He's called me to pick up my family, move to another state and start a new contemporary church. "Um, check... check... and... I'm working on it." The thing is, I'm not sure how all the details are going to work out. We continue to meet people and have lunches and dinners with some really cool individuals, but I wish I could just raise my hand and say, "OK Mr. God, come show me the right answer. I need help with this one!"

I wonder if Abram felt the same way. This is a passage from Genesis 12, "The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation . . . So Abram left as the Lord told him; and Lot went with him.' "

It goes on to say that he took his wife, some of his family and all the people he'd acquired in Haran. He just packed them all up and left. I wonder what that process was like. I wonder if any of them ever said, "Are you sure this is your calling?" or at least once I'm sure someone commented, "Where exactly are we gong?" Abram handled all that pressure and did exactly what God had called him to do. Here's the point though, God leaves a lot of the details up to us. Granted there is some inner guidance, but much of the time we do what seems right. We're just doing the best we can with what we have.

And maybe there's a deeper lesson in that. There are tons of instances in the Bible when God gave people specific instructions, but there are just as many where some of those same people made their own choices. Abraham, for instance, (yah, same guy - God had just changed his name at this point) lied to the ruler of Egypt. He also took his wife Sarah's advice to have a kid with her maidservant - not the best of choices - even worse for the outcomes. So, did God simply not have an opinion on those calls? Or was it something else? Did Abraham just take matters into his own hands?

What if every new struggle came with all the answers? Would we grow much? What if each day's challenges arrived with a full-color, neatly bound instruction manual? Would we really NEED God? Would he get glory in our lives?

I'm confident in the outcome of Connections. I know God will continue to bless, and in the not-too-distant future we'll have a Godly community reaching the lost in Treasure Valley. Until then, while we figure out where we're going, I'll just keep raising my hand and asking God for a few more tips!

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). "Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' " (Isaiah 30:21.)

I have so much to learn!!!!!

(original post 5.31.08)

Preface . . . I grew up in the church, I have a degree in pastoral ministry, and have been doing some sort of church ministry since I started preaching at the age of 15. Now that you know all that, let me just say, I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN!!!

Last weekend I got to do my first baby/child dedication. Like many who "grew up in the church," I've seen this dozens of times, but have never been the one doing it. Luckily for me it was for an awesome family. I prayed for this beautiful, one-year-old angel, then had the dad pray for himself and his wife. It was so great to see and hear this father pray for his little girl. It was really cool to be a part of something like that.

It got me to thinking about Jesus growing up. Did he have moments when he thought, "I have so much to learn"? Did He get nervous the first time he spoke in front of large crowds? Did He ever walk off the mountain thinking, "I could have done better. If I'd only used that ONE parable"? Did he ever have to review the instructions for a special ceremony? Who knows, maybe he did everything right the first time, but the Bible does say he grew in wisdom, which means at one point he had room to grow.  Luke 2:52

This reminds me of the Rich Mullins song "Man Like You/Boy Like Me." You can read the lyrics here:  Man Like You lyrics

Whether Jesus had to learn as he went along or had it all figured out at the age of 12 in the temple, it feels good to know that someone has walked in these shoes. Whether Jesus as a pre-teen or other pastors out there who have survived the rigors of ministry. It's good to not be alone.

"God, grow our hearts to be like the one you put in your only Son! Help us to love like He did, sacrifice like He did and, probably toughest of all, forgive like He did. I know we all still have lots of learning to do but we're working on it, thanks for being patient."

Two Weeks in Meridian

(Original posting 5.17.08)

Now that we've unpacked most of our boxes and have internet working at the house I'm hoping to start blogging more. Here's an update of what's happened since we've been here:

Our real estate agent and Paul Hatfield, pastor of the Pursuit here in Boise, gathered over a dozen people to help us move in. When we arrived, about two weeks ago, it took us about 2 hours to move in. God is good!

During the unloading process, we experienced a 4-5 minute dust storm. The wind kicked up and everything beyond 10 feet away had an old school sepia tone to it. It stopped suddenly, cleared up, and then we had a couple of minutes of hall (that's frozen ice falling from the sky for those Californians reading this). It's noteworthy to add that it was probably in the 60's while this all happened. After that, it was back to the sunshine.

We've been meeting people and making connections since we got here. We've had dinner with one young couple, and have made plans for more encounters.

We also had dinner with some of our neighbors. While we were teaching them Settlers of Catan, it came out that she was a church secretary for awhile. How cool is that! They are really neat people and Tam and I look forward to getting to know them better.

I've also decided to get a job. I had originally planned on doing this for financial reasons, but the Lord is faithfully meeting our needs and those of Connections, so being bi-vocational is not my motivation. The main reason is to meet people and be part of the community. It really feels like the right decision. The job I'm looking into required a two-week class during which God allowed me to make some great connections.

I've had conversations with people about their hearts and how they view God. I really believe those discussions were ordained.

Tammi just flew home from one final job in California, during which she too was able to open doors of communication with people from the area and spark some interest - in Connections, but even more so, in Christ. I think we've met enough people to start a Bible study. We're hoping to kick that off next week.

I want to say one more time that the field is so ripe here. Everyone we talk to is so friendly and open to spiritual things. The lady who rang up my groceries the other day asked why I moved to town and told her I was starting a new church. We were finishing up the transaction and she made me wait until she could find a pen to write down Connection's web address. Again, people are hungry.

I know this entry is just a potpourri of random things God is dong, but the point is, He is moving and we are still on the ride of our life! We can't wait til next month when two more families join us!

God is Still on His Throne

(Original Posting 4.10.08)

Lately God has been reminding me that He is still on His throne. He is not moved by our economy. Global warming does not shake Him, nor is He nervous about who our new president is going to be. He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. God himself says this a few different times in the O.T.

Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change."

1 Samuel 15:9 "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind."

God anchors our existence. he is a solid foundation. If a fickle God governed us, imagine the chaotic milieu (environment) we wold all live in! Is God interested in hearing from me? Is God listening today? Is He in a good mood? God does not change like a chameleon and He is not swayed by public opinion.

There's a great passage in Isaiah 6.
"1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.' 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."

Sounds like a God who has it under control, huh?

There's a story in the NT about the first guy to die for his faith in Christ. Most of us know the story of Stephen, but look again at this one verse...

Acts 7:56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

I think it's worth noting that Stephen sees Jesus standing, not God. God was still on his throne. He was not shaken or fearful. He wasn't the least bit concerned. His control never waned.

One of the great confusions in modern Christianity is the role that God plays in our lives. Because our churches have become so seeker sensitive (which I like BTW), we think God is too. The church caters to me, gives me donuts when I get there, sings the music I like and will help me when I'm in trouble. We begin to feel like the church is at our beckon call. Hear this . . . GOD IS NOT AT YOUR BECKON CALL! He is not a puppy in the next room waiting for you to be his friend, nor is He a waiter there to serve you when your glass is half empty. We have created a false God that exists for our pleasure! In fact, the exact opposite is true.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

We were made for Him. Not the other way around We are to be at His beckon call. We are the one's that should be waiting to hear the voice of God, eager to serve and do His will!

This has been on my heart for awhile now, so long that I wrote this song about it. Listen at our own risk! This is just me and a piano. No reverb, no fixes, no pitch correction (no talent?). God is still on his throne! No matter what you are going through, bankruptcy, cancer, divorce, pregnancy, getting a new job, losing an old job or planting a church, God has not moved. He is bigger than all that, and he is still in complete control!

The First

(original posting 3.19.08)

I chatted online with a dear friend yesterday. He's another one of those all-stars who wasn't afraid to step up to the plate and do something big for Jesus. He planted he church in October of '07 and they had over 2,000 people attend a recent outreach event. It's amazing to me that a year ago they had zero influence in an area and last weekend they touched over 2,000 lives! I'm so glad he was willing to go.

He talked about the early days when he, his wife and two other couples met in Bible studies. They were starting the church with just the 6 of them and their kids. After a few weeks of that, they had their first visitor join them. He put it this way, "We thought we were taking the city when she showed up..."

I can't wait to see our "first person" get connected. Maybe someone lonely in need of friends. I can't wait for the first addict to be a full week without substances because God is setting him/her free. And, when I think about the first person who will cross the line of faith, I almost cry.

That's what the battles are for! That's why we fight the spiritual warfare we do! For those of us on our prayer team, please pray that the Lord will bring the right people our direction. That He will open the right doors for us to connect with the right people!

God is in the Details

(Original posting 3.4.08)

God is in the details, the little, answered prayers that often forget.

This weekend the Taylor family traveled to Boise. This is my fourth trip and everyone else's sophomore adventure. I'm still in love with the people, the pace of life and the incredible view. I honestly didn't want to leave. There's a spiritual excitement when I'm there that I can hardly contain!

One of the reasons we went was to get our banking stuff set up for Connections. Because we don't have our non-profit status yet, this has been a bit of a hassle. But, on Friday, we met the right guy at a local bank. I don't know what he did, but I left with a Connections account and a handful of blank checks. I had wasted time worrying about it, but once I reached out and twisted the handle, the door was open! God is in the details. Contributions are beginning to come, and now we have a place for them!

We visited a young church out there called The Pursuit. They kicked off a few years ago and it is going like crazy. If you live in Boise and are reading this blog, GO CHECK OUT THEIR CHURCH!!! It's incredible. Krispy Kreme donuts were available in the atrium, the music was inspired and professional (a balance that's very rare), and Paul had a great message from Acts about holy discontent. I hope we can partner with them on some insane ministry ventures when we get off the ground.

Tam and I had lunch with Paul and Angela, the founders of The Pursuit. They told us about their first conversion, their first hire, some of the challenges they've had along the way, and how much God has blessed them. As we listened to their stories, I could hardly sit still (which is a challenge for me anyway). I'm ready to get started!

I also met a really nice guy at the mall and told him we were moving up to plant a church. He seemed receptive and open. I just didn't have a church to invite him to! It won't be long! Hopefully he'll still be there in a couple of months!

Tick off the Right Ones...

(Original posting 2.27.08)

Everyone told me planting a church would be hard. No one told me that planning to plant a church would be just as difficult. Lately it seems like we've been under attack. We found out that one of the families going with us has opted out. That's a bit frustrating. My wife and I have been having similar dreams about bad things happening to our children. That's not normal. And, as I've been spending more and more time in prayer, it seems past hurts and doubts have been sneaking into my head now and then.

People ask if I think we're being attacked. Sure feels that way. I'm no expert on demons and spiritual warfare, but if it's true that they're attacking me, I'm pretty stoked about it. I'd rather be ticking off satan than God. Have you heard about the wrath of God?

Look at this verse from 1 Corinthians 10.   21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

I don't have time to go into the context of this passage, but I like the way Paul ends this section... "Are we stronger than He?" Of course we're not! We're not even in the ballpark! So, be on God's side! As soon as you know what that is, get there and stay there! Seems easy enough.

I prayed today, with all that's going on, "Lord I need another nudge. Something that says you're looking down on me and proud that I'm following Your ways." He used some old friends to answer that prayer. We got our first financial support check in the mail today. RIGHT... ON... TIME.

Tam and I are in Boise this weekend. We're hoping to find a house to live in. Pray that everything works out to His glory. We get to be there on a Sunday, so we hope to attend a couple of church services too. It always encourages me to see what other churches are doing! Pray the Lord leads us to the right neighborhood so we can meet the right people to help Connections have the kingdom impact He desires!

If you're in Boise and you want to touch base with us while we're there, email me We'd love to meet you.

God's Agenda

(Original posting 2.6.08)

God has an agenda. It's not a political agenda, He's not making deals behind your back. It's not a hidden agenda, He's not keeping secrets from you. But He does have an agenda. he has a plan for your life that will help Him accomplish this massive agenda. What is it you ask? What's this all-consuming, over-arcing agenda?

I think Timothy sums it up well, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:3-4). There it is in plain sight; God wants all men to be saved. To save the world!

For me, that plan is to move to Meridian, ID and start telling people about Jesus. To start an artistic community of creatives, using their God given gifts to connect with and worship the Creative. I believe we will see hundreds of people come to know Jesus Christ in a personal and life-changing way. I'm also convinced that we'll see countless marriages saved and addicts freed. We'll see relationships restored and forgiveness found. That's a lot of stuff. That's a God-sized goal. A goal we can only attain with the help of God Almighty! Lucky for us, it fits perfectly with His agenda!


(Original posting 1.31.08)

Whenever you do something great or successful for God, there is temptation. Temptation to think somehow it's about you or your gifts and skills. "Hmmm... they really like your idea! Did you hear those accolades?" "Look at all the people who are following you. Look what you did!" It's tempting, when we've worked hard, and used our gifts faithfully, to take just a pinch of the credit. The greatest gift God can give us, sometimes, is to accomplish things completely outside our gift or skill set. This is the blessing He's giving us in Connections.

It's less than a month after going public and God has called 5 families, including our own, to this mission - 5 families, 8 children, dozens of reasons it can only be God.

1. We would never have considered Boise on our own - where's Idaho? Who lives there? Had it not been for some good friends planting the seed in our hearts, we might not have seen it.
2. The people we thought might go, don't feel called - Isn't it just like God to disappoint our tiny expectations, then blow our minds?
3. The people going don't make logical sense - these are families who are grounded where they are, born and raised, many in the same neighborhood where they now live, own businesses or are leaving behind great situations - extended family etc.
4. The stories are UNDENIABLE. Doors that should have been shut are open. Places where fear would normally be, there is only peace

We stand COMPLETELY aware that this is out of our hands, beyond our skills or gifts. This is God. And He has us exactly where he wants us.

"I am the Lord, that is my name. I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things that have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you" Isaiah 42:8-9.

It feels good to be standing on the edge of this adventure and know beyond all question that this is UNDENIABLY God.