Poopy Pastors, Prophets, and Preachers. Yes, I wrote “Poopy.”

Way back in the Bible days, God wanted to tell His people, “Hey people, your sin is incredibly repulsive to me.”

So how does God do it? He grabs Ezekiel and says, “Hey Zeke, go make some bread, but heat it by lighting human poop on fire.” Understandably, Ezekiel objected and said, “Are you kidding? I’m Jewish and that’s not kosher!”

God relented and said, “Fine then. Don’t heat your bread with human feces. Use cow crap instead.”

No joke. Open up your bible and read it for yourself – Ezekiel 4:9-17. (Disturbingly, this is also the scripture the ingredients for modern “Ezekiel Bread” comes from – available at your local grocery store).

Okay so here’s my application . . .

Who are the prophets we want to hear from today? I think we tend to gravitate towards fashionable, hip, funny, and inspiring pastors, prophets, and preachers. Like – Francis Chan. He’s fashionable, hip, funny, and inspiring. I’m not knocking on that. Francis Chan is AWESOME! But he’s not awesome because he’s the only blue-jean wearing bald Asian that I know – he’s awesome because he speaks whatever God is telling him and hits the nail on the head. THAT’S what makes him awesome (although I doubt that’s what sells his books and fills up his venues, by no fault of his own).

Whatever. This isn’t about Francis Chan. This is about you. And me.

If I was God, I would ONLY pick hip and cool people like Francis Chan to be my prophet. I think people would listen to him better. But that’s not what God did – he picked a stinky man to cook over a feces fire to speak to his people.

If God did that today – would you listen? Seriously – how would you feel if a dirty, stinky man came to your house cooking a cheeseburger over a hot fire of crap? –And then told you that God wanted you to know something? Would you want to tell him to shut up? You’d probably call the police.

The crappy fire thing is pretty extreme (so is sin, that was the point). But what I’m trying to share is that sometimes we have to seek out God’s voice. It’s to God’s glory to HIDE from us. It’s our glory to SEEK him. And sometimes that means listening in unlikely places or sources – like poopy pastors, prophets, and preachers.

I wrote more about God HIDING from us 5 years ago here).

I Like Big Buts!

I’ve got a big but.

In fact, I don’t mean to be nosey — but I’m pretty sure you’ve got a big but too. Several of them, maybe.

And I think we’ve gotten used to our buts being large. We like life with big buts, I think. We like fast paced life -and the busier we are, the bigger our buts get. We’re “but”-lovers, in a way.

Nothing is more important to me than my relationship with God – I really do believe that. I’m committed to my relationship to him. BUT I don’t always act like it.

Many times I go to pull out my Bible or have an urge to draw near to God in prayer or worship I’m really excited to do so, and then the big buts come into play…. “but” I need some sleep. …”but” I am busy with that project. …”but” I promised so and so I would do this other thing. The “buts” just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Really stupid, if you think about it. God is far more important, and as real as any other human. But for some reason I give other people priority over God. More often than that, I give my own moods priority over God. My big “but” pushes God right out of the way so I can do what I feel like.

May you be larger than my “but.” Help me further prioritize the details of life to let you truly be my Lord.

You’re a Christian? Prove it.

I believe that being a Christian requires faith and actions. That’s not to say we’re not saved by faith alone — we are. But faith that saves us is never alone. Faith without actions is dead, and isn’t going to save anybody. With that said . . . .

A few weeks ago as I went to bed it occurred to me that there was absolutely nothing about my life that day – other than my job – that would have been Christ-like. I didn’t consider God at all in my day. I didn’t help anyone. I didn’t pray for anybody. It was a pretty selfish, Godless day. There was NOTHING about my life that day that was different than someone else who wasn’t a Christian. (I also believe that true Christianity should revolutionize your life; so this really bugged me).

I began asking myself almost every day, “Did you do anything today that would demonstrate Christ’s love in action?” or “Did you do anything today that any other ‘good person’ wouldn’t have?”

This has been a good check for me – and has caused me to seek God more than before. It’s also causing me to live more like I’m on a mission. Christians are — you know — on a mission. I’ll write more about this soon.

Tonight my pastor posed the question: If you were accused in court of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Ponder that. How is Christ changing your life?

Exactly What DOES Jesus Look Like?

I am reading a book right now called “Untamed” by Alan and Debra Hirsch. In the first section, they make a case for “Untaming” (our perception of) Jesus. I thought this was very interesting. (For the record: I think Mark Driscoll is the man! But I also agree with this excerpt).

A recent example of reimaging Jesus was supplied by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll. He has become somewhat infamous for his portrayal of Jesus as some sort of ultimate fighter. But in attempting to “butch up” [our perception of] Jesus and make him appeal to “real men,” has Driscoll come close to creating Jesus in his own image? Consider this from one of his sermons:

“Latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers do not represent biblical masculinity, because real men — like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist — are dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes. In other words, because Jesus is not a limp-wristed, dress-wearing hippie, the men created in his image are not sissified church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.”

Now we don’t believe Mark’s original intention was bad. What he was trying to do is rescue Jesus from the overly feminized ways in which Jesus has been portrayed. We would agree and also want to rescue the image of Jesus from this. … But the problem with Driscoll’s ultimate-fighting Jesus is that Jesus has been freed from one distortion only to be captured by another.

It cannot be but a distortion. Is Jesus really some “punch-you-in-the-nose-type dude”? And is that really the model and type of Christlike masculinity to which every man should aspire? We think not.

I’m in full agreement. I prefer not to sweat when I work. I’ve never been in a fight. And I like lattes.

Was Jesus a manly man’s man? – You bet. But he was also kind and gentle. What if an effeminate man (with or without same-sex attraction) wanted to find salvation through Jesus? Does this demonstrate that our Jesus isn’t okay with him?

Jesus came to identify with all of mankind. Let’s be careful never to tame that.

John Mayer Once Said, “I just keep . . .”


Although waiting can be one of the more difficult aspects of the Christian life, it is not wasted time. During periods of active waiting, the Lord may give us instruction or change our circumstances. He keeps us in step with Himself and prepares us for His answers. He uses delays to sift our motives and strengthen our faith. And when we choose to wait, God rewards us with blessings both large and unexpected.

-Unknown (to me) source

I don’t have much commentary on this one – I just thought it was great, never wanted to forget it, and thought you might enjoy it, too.

The Sabbath and Emmy Rossum!

Mondays are my day off. It’s my sabbath. It’s my time to recharge, detach, become renewed, and appreciate God. Most of us have this on Sundays – but for a pastor, Sunday is no sabbath.

So I came into Starbucks this afternoon for a few minutes – mostly just to do some online bill pay stuff and have a drink. It’s enjoyable here, you know. 😀

When I walked in I saw my friend David Foster. He’s one of the pastors at Dayspring Community Church here in Auburn. We spoke briefly, and then continued about our personal business. About four minutes later I saw an email from David Foster, sent three minutes earlier. It simply read, “Sup dawg?”

I looked at him and said, “Did you JUST email me?”

He smiled and said, “Yep.”

Naturally, I laughed.

But then he continued, “The real question is why are you checking your work email on a Monday? Come on man, detach.”


Thanks David.

Remember the Sabbath isn’t just about not working – its about what happens to us when we stop.

Resource(s) of the Day:
This is a spectacular book about the Sabbath. It really helped me.
This is a pretty cool song about the Sabbath… well, kind of. (Emmy Rossum, “Slow Me Down”).

Everyone Who Considers Themself A Church Attender Should Check This Out.

I subscribe to Sanctuary Church‘s podcast, where I spent a summer as an intern back in 2006. Ed Gungor is the pastor there, and a few weeks ago his brother Mark preached the message. It was powerful and moving to me, and I wanted to share a small portion with you. If you consider yourself a church attender, you really need to listen to the audio file. Mark says some great stuff about our need to BELONG to our church – it’s not about a club, presentation, or activist group — it’s about our family.

I edited it down to just over 3 minutes, adding an audio “boop” every time I took something out. Listen to it here.

After you listen to that, consider this: Mark’s thought’s couldn’t be more true to me. Once, at the prompting of several worship-leading mentors in my life, I tried something a LITTLE stylistically different in my church’s worship service to help us be connected to God rather than a style. The next week a woman in my church asked me about it and why we did it. I explained it to her, but then she politely told me, “Okay well if you decide to do that again, please let me know because I’d rather stay home.” I should have said, “SERIOUSLY? You’d let THAT rip THIS apart?”

The full sermon is available here.

secretly do we think the bible is boring?

“The bible is not boring-we are boring. We have been deluded into believing that true pleasure and fascination come in the form of loud, stimulating, immediately gratifying entertainment that we don’t even really take part in. We just sit there and passively watch or listen. Its over as soon as we turn off the TV, walk out of the theater, switch off the stereo, win the video game, or shut down the computer. This kind of entertainment doesn’t engage our spirits or make us more alive.

“the bible is divine entertainment- real entertainment. It contains the life of God, the creator of heaven and earth. And I guarantee that it will blow the mind of anyone who is willing to enter in. We must see the word of God for what it really is: a place of delight and pleasure.”

Quoted from “Pursuit of the Holy” by Corey Russell.

That first paragraph got me thinking. Maybe those loud stimulating forms of entertainment like TV cloud up our creative thoughts and desensitizes our spiritual receptors. How would we expect to receive a vision or hear Gods voice when we are in that state?

a massive promise.

“let’s stop reading the Bible just so we can feel good about having done our daily reading. Let’s begin to actually stop and meet with God during our quiet times. Let’s ask God to encounter is. God promises [in Psalm 1:1-3] that whoever meditates on His Word will bear much fruit and prosper in everything. That’s a massive promise — a promise that I believe will be fundamental to awakening the Church in this hour.”

– Corey Russell in “Pursuit of the Holy.”

embrace the growl!

Okay so in the last post I talked about how the prayer furnace at new hope was doing a corporate 40 day fast. we are fasting from different things as the Lord directed.

In fasting the idea is to replace food with God. When your stomach growls, take it as a reminder to worship.

I’m doing the Daniel Fast which is only fruits vegetables and water. I occasionally have cravings for all the other stuff. That’s my “growl.” Some of us have given up other non food things … But the urge to do whatever can still be your “growl.” We must embrace the growl and let it remind us what we are doing.

But why don’t we?

Maybe its just me, but I’m tending to find other ways to occupy my time besides spend it with God. I even went as far as unplugging my TV for these 40 days to ensure I have more time set apart for God. But somehow I find other ways to fill that time. How silly. This is just a diet without embracing more time with God.

I’m gonna embrace the growl more.