How Should I “Peg” You?


…this is a continuation of an idea.
…there are exceptions.
…this isn’t anything more than my observation.

Okay… enough of the caveats…

So I’ve been reading up on APEST structures, missional ideas, and church history over the past few years. I’ve immersed myself in the conversations, seen some shifting, and have experienced some “bucking” as I start to ask questions.

I’ve noticed a paradigm that exists in many of the different approaches (whether it be the missional, attractional, the mega-macro, or the mini-micro). There are all kinds of ideas that permeate and dominate the blogs, books, and conferences. Honestly, you could make a career of confusing churches if you are savvy enough. That’s why we have consultants, right?

So there are the “oikos” to “temple” continuums.
…and the pioneers to settlers continuum.
…and the attractional/extractional to missional continuums.
…and the apostles/prophets to evangelist to shepherd/pastor/teacher continuums.
…and the conservative evangelical to emerging post-modern continuums.
…the Arminianism to Calvinism continuum
…the “women have equal authority” to “they need to be quiet” continuum
…the “saved” to “lost” continuum
…and on and on they go.

We accept a lot of them. We ask people what they believe, then “peg” them somewhere on the respective scale. We access and then subsequently decide who is for us and who is against us. I’ve rarely met anyone that doesn’t do this. We do it in the church. I heard it this summer at seminary. I’ve seen it in the world… we might just call it something different like the republican-democrat or yankee-red sox continuum.

We can’t remove ourselves from operating this way. We can, sometimes with success, suspend this thinking. (see “Thinking in New Boxes”) But it’s instinctive is many ways and taught in a lot of ways.

We are people of boxes and categories. We are taught that boundaries save us. You know the “you can do this” and “you can’t believe that” philosophy.


Let’s say that we are bound to this type of thinking and processing. Let’s assume that you and I can only operate with this mentality: “You’re with me on this, so you’re a good guy…and the rest are bad guys”. Maybe we are designed to operate this way. Maybe we are programmed to be in “triiibes” and we have to attack/fear the “others” for surviving and thriving.

Let’s just say, from looking around at 99.99% of human activity, that this is the norm.

What are the continuums (or boundaries) that glorify God?
…does the Bible suggest politics?
…does the Word say theology?
…does God place them on what’s just?
…does It say the line is whether you are going or coming?
…do we draw them based on whether you read Rob Bell or not?
…or Mark Driscoll?
…or Joel Osteen?

Warning: the Bible isn’t specific on these holistically.

We could play this game forever. I get caught up in this game often, and usually come out the other side pissed off that I got caught up in it. I don’t care if I’m discussing healthcare, eschatology, or who is the greatest running back of all-time.* I end up leaving the conversation mad because I’ve pegged someone or even angrier that someone has pegged me. Why am I angry?… because I doubt that anyone can be summed up that easily.

So what do I do?

I’m trying to operate on a new continuum because I realize that my brain won’t allow me to remove this type of thinking. So instead of perpetuating old continuums, I’m trying to operate on a different one.

One that has words on one end like…
…one who has questions

And on the the other end…
…one who has answers

You see, Scriptures that stand out to me are those
…of a tax collector beating his chest.
…of a man walking away from Jesus because he won’t sell his stuff
…of a unbaptized criminal beside Jesus on the cross
…of Peter getting exposed that he was, in fact, scared and denied Jesus
…of Philip and an Ethiopian eunuch
…of Paul writing to Timothy saying “God saved me to show us how bad you can be and still receive grace”
…of Job, Elijah, Moses, and Ruth
…and on and on and on…

Maybe I can sum up this thought with one statement…

I can trust an atheist who knows he is an atheist and lives like one more than I trust a “Christian” who knows he is an atheist and lives like one.

…just trying to move myself to the exposed side of the continuum



***FYI the greatest RB of all-time is Barry Sanders.  Although this is a known fact, I used this as an illustration.***

Time Away….


It’s been a month since I’ve blogged.  I’ve been writing some other stuff and reading a lot.


I think time removed is educational.  I think that space (especially dealing with calendars and clocks) is healthy, needed, and should be intentional.


We are moving back to Houston after being away for 5 months.  I see some parallels in many ways.  I’ve learned a lot.  Seen a lot.  Reflected on a lot.  It’s been good.


As we plan on moving back, we (the bride and I) have talked about how things are going to be different….because we are different.  God has transformed our priorities in this season.  God has transformed our posture.  And God has transformed our hearts.  Some will be excited that we are back, some will not. Some will expect things to go back to the way they were, some will not.


The Truth is we should always see where we’ve been changing and we should expect  it….

….things will be different simply because they always are.

Can You Name 5 Things…

5 3-22-13

…That you hope to be doing in 20 years?

*Besides life functional things (ie sleeping, breathing, eating, etc…).

Now the flip-side to this question… Can you name 5 things that you don’t plan on doing 20 years from now?

I don’t think 35-65 year old’s that are frustrated with life (minus horrible/tragic events) got that way overnight.   I think that at one time they tried to focus on the important things but distraction got the best of them.

But there is always hope.  Today is the day to put down the remote, “unfollow” those that make you angry and/or stuck, or turn down the propaganda media.   Today you can pick up that instrument, pick up that book, pick up those weights, or maybe just dust off the imagination that has been gathering dust.

2 Types of Builders















Home and Road.

Home Builders are trying to construct a place where people want to come.

…They want to gather people and ideas.

…A home builder thinks of aesthetics and of accents.

…They dream of the meal (or the Eucharist).

…They are party planners, calendar checkers, or fantasy football league commissioners.


Road Builders are trying to construct a path to help people go.

…They love to send people and ideas.

…A road builder thinks of routes and of where the paths are congested.

…They dream of the movement (or the mission).

…They are visitors, visionaries, and quarterbacks.


The key is to understand what you are, and find the opposite to build with.

Can you Quit?….please.


So I start a lot of things.  It’s both a gift and a disease.  I’m constantly coming up with the “new” or a revamped version of the “was”.  People close to me are probably in a constant flux of thinking “yeah right”.


My wife, especially, has to hear all my quirky theories and ideas.


I mean I write a new book idea (on average) every month.  I have pictures of filled whiteboards, Evernote tags and moleskin pages with “book idea” on them, and I’m constantly tangenting something off of those ideas.


Don’t mistake what I about to say next, because I understand that I need to work on surviving “the Dip” and seeing some of my thoughts to fruition.




There is something good in Quitting.  There is something beautiful about letting something go that isn’t worth holding on to.


I will be the first to stand up for discipline and the “art of sticking with it”, but just as being “flaky” can be detrimental to you, so can holding on.


There are 2 things that you have to always have a pulse or feel for:

1. Knowing how to stick it out.

2. Knowing how to let go.


Most might argue that our culture is too “wishy-washy” or shifty, and I do see this at times (and subsequently the consequences of being that way).  What I also see in our culture is Idolatry.  We also tend to be invested in things that don’t really impact us, others, and world.


….and we just can’t let go.


So quit.


Quit ____________. (fill it in with whatever is robbing you of joy…not happiness)

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You Get an Extra Hour, Now What?


Today is a gift.  It’s a 25 hour day.

For those of us that are too busy to get stuff done, think of it as a little extra margin.  Grant it, you’re going to have to give 100% of it back in about 5 months, but why not invest it today.

Here’s a few ideas

- start something new

- create something new

- call someone you’ve been too busy to talk to

- read something that is completely out of your comfort zone (mastery zone)

- bake something to give to someone

- plant something


Go out (or in) today, set the clock for an hour, and blow it on living a free hour that you’ll remember and that will enrich your life.  You won’t regret it tomorrow.

You Can Find Your Own Answers


If you choose to…

I, like many others, reject answers I don’t like.  If I ask a question, I could just be making a statement in the process. (see Socrates or Jesus)

There is something about this I find both deceiving and exciting.

You can see how this can work against me, right?

If I don’t want to hear the answers that I get, I can simply choose to ignore the responses I get.  Plus, there is the internet  (the democratic source of  information that once convinced us that eating a lot of bacon while following the Atkins diet was good for us).  I can prove my fictitious data (or opinion) with a Google search….if I have enough time.

But there is an upside to this as well.  I can start to discover that there is a lot of Truth in me already, and looking outside usually reveals something on the inside.  There have been many times I possessed the right answers to my questions… I just had to be disciplined enough to continually ask.

The question is, “Does this answer I’m looking for serve me more than others (or at their expense)?”

*** I think how you answer that question will determine how you choose to answer the rest.***

Stop Feeding Light to Black Holes


There are some things that are insatiable vacuums.  They are the things that will never be full or will never have enough.

….they are Black Holes.

There are three black holes that are temptations in all of us, and they are subsequently exponentiated when we get in groups.  We can be tempted more by them in an organization because of their compounding “nature”.

But alas…. as we pursue these 3 things, we will never ….


….have enough

…..or be able to focus on the important.

These black holes are simple, universal, and pervasive.

1.  Approval (celebrity) – the idea that my (or our) identity comes from others

2. Ambition (competition)  - the idea that I (or we) have to be better than them….or a previous version of our self

3. Appetite (consumerism) – see HERE… it’s the “I need more” syndrome

Good luck trying to find examples of people/organizations that haven’t bought into these 3.  Our governments, celebrities, school boards and churches attempt to fight them at times, but they believe that they are necessary evils.

Whether they are “evils” or not could be argued, but they are “black holes”

Your district’s test scores are never “good enough” (they always need improvement)

Your government never has enough money  (and no amount will ever get them there).

Your favorite celebrity never has enough attention (or twitter followers).

Your church is never going to have enough people.

May you resist the temptation to give in to these things.  May you look to those who choose to resist, and have found disciplines to resist.  They are the ones that are “running down joy” and not pursuing “happyness.”

A Powerful Phrase….



It’s powerful because it’s powerful.

….That phrase can shackle the imagination.

….That phrase is rooted in a lot quantitative/qualitative/statistical evidence.

…..That phrase  resolves Occam’s razor.

…..The phrase will get your parent’s approval and help you control your children.


The problem is there is another side to this phrase.


Change, Revolution, Reformation, and Recognizing the “errors of our ways” have always been as well.


You can use the phrase to control (usually by getting them to shut up) or you can use it to get people to step up (and subsequently speak out).

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I’m Raising Adults

babies-cryI’m not raising children.

This gets me in trouble with people at times because they think I too hard on my kids.  My view is that there will be a day that they need to be adults and I want to raise them into that….not the world.  I don’t want the world to be the influencer (discipler) of my offspring’s adulthood.

(This is an “art” and I haven’t “arrived” yet.)

There is something about loving people where they currently are and helping them grow into what they will be, this takes skill and practice.  I have to love my 8, 4, and 2 year old as such, while simultaneously teaching them how to be 9, 5, and 3.  If I don’t, they will be 9, 5, and 3 years old but still act like 8, 4, and 2.

The long term “flip side” to this… if you just surround yourself with people that just “love you the way you are”….expect to remain “childish” in many ways.


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