stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday:

A small town recently passed some measures banning gossip. This is still a plague that does more to hurt churches than anything else. I dare say some people might have nothing to say at all if gossip were banned. Then again, it has been since the New Testament was penned. People act like God never said anything about it.

How about those San Diego Padres with a winning record this far into the season (one month)! Hey, it’s a start. And, for those of you tired of hearing me talk about the Padres–tough.

At New Vintage Church, we are starting a new sermon series on relationships called: Timeless: Eternal Truths for Life at Home. Although, I will add most people don’t suffer from a lack of knowledge about what they should do. It is not doing what they know God tells them to do. See the above thought on gossip. It ain’t about knowledge, it’s about obedience.

The United States is disproportionately stressed out, according to a newly released Gallup Poll. For a long time, I’ve argued society’s chronic anxiety, based on our increasing focus on pathology rather than health (hat tip to Edwin Friedman) and constant consumption of media focused on the same keeps us in a constant state of anxiety. We have not generally awakened to new problems or poverty. The reason we wig out so easily here in the world’s most prosperous nation is because we have created a culture of anxiety that causes disproportionately large waves every time even the smallest pebble hits the water. We place between Sri Lanka and Uganda in stress. No other first-world nation is anywhere within sight of the top. It’s both interesting and embarrassing.

Speaking of the Padres, my buddy D.J. Iverson and I started a website that will be a storehouse for all things Padres, call Homeplate SD. In addition to hearing the soul-stirring (maybe…mildly stimulating?) writings of D.J., myself, and other local writers, it’ll aggregate a bunch of the best Padres sites, and bring some new features to the table. Pastors need a hobby or creative outlet. Sports is mine, particularly baseball. Check it out if you get the chance. You can follow on Twitter, or like it on Facebook, as well.

Pepperdine University’s Harbor: the Pepperdine Bible Lectures event is almost here. If you are in the area or can get there, let me encourage you to come. I’ll be teaching a session in the Surboard Room (a wonderfully eclectic room in the newly redone Library) on recognizing and seizing God-sized opportunities for your church. I hope you’ll walk away with a roadmap you’ll find helpful–and hear some inspiring stories of how God has worked in churches regardless of size and location.

Two equally off-track narratives: 1) Ministry is significantly harder than having a “real job,” in the “real world.” 2) Ministry is significantly easier than having a “real job,” in the “real world.”

You can sometimes tell where God wants to take your church by who he begins to gather around you.

Great preachers often have sound-bites that stick with you. Here are three I’m reflecting on this week:

  1. “Never speak against what God is blessing.” – Rick Warren.
  2. “God won’t give you a chair He doesn’t have a person for.” – T.D. Jakes.
  3. “There is nothing God orders He can’t pay for.” – T.D. Jakes.

This Spanish woman looks a lot like Donald Trump.


Doug Crozier, CEO of the Solomon Foundation, says when talking about the financial risk of lending to churches: “Our two largest financial risks have nothing to do with money. They are moral failure in the pulpit, and leadership meltdown.” I dare say he’s right. Churches spend too much time staring at the balance sheet and not enough time staring in the mirror.

Or on their knees praying.

Speaking of the Padres, the kid Fernando Tatis, Jr. What a player! He’ll be in the MVP discussion most of his career.

New Vintage Church celebrated its eighth birthday on April 17!!! I’ll write out a full length post later. But, whenever I’m asked what the biggest challenges of starting a new church are, I respond the same way: 1) Money 2) Unity 3) Avoiding the temptation to sell the vision at crucial moments for the sake of #1 and #2. Stay true to what God has called your church to do. Trust him. Way, way…..easier said than done.

I’m also glad that as we turn eight, we are still healthy and on the cusp of an extremely bright future. In fact, it’s never been brighter.

There was a time in my ministry where I bore some responsibility for the hiring, training and supervision of ministry interns. Eighteen a year. Since then (nearly 20 years), I’ve had interns in the church’s I’ve served in for the vast majority of those years. The leading practical indicators of a young person’s ability to excel in ministry over time are:

Intrinsic motivation--they are hungry for ministry. They don’t need to be told to be in the office at a particular time. Ministry is almost recreational for them. Spiritual root: Passion.

Teachability–they feel they could learn from anyone, and won’t miss a learning opportunity. Spiritual root: Humility.

Did I mention it is roughly the same two for Pastors?

What’s on your mind this Friday morning?