stream of consciousness

Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning:

  • It’s good to be blogging again after a brief unplug. Thanks for your patience and readership. I don’t take it for granted.
  • I went as Willie Robertson for Halloween. I was sure everyone would mistake me for Jase since I’m so “slender.” Well, people pegged me for Willie from far away and up close. No one thought I was Jase. I guess it’s time to get to the gym 🙂
  • I turned 38 recently. Shortly thereafter, I spent some time with the leadership team at a church in the Bay Area for a couple of days and engaged in an abbreviated study retreat.
  • This retreat was different than others because I did it around my birthday—and I’m getting older (sssssssshhhhhh). So, I spent a disproportionate amount of time on the reflection aspect of the retreat this year.
  • I still got December through next summer’s preaching schedule outlined. But, the most valuable part was getting some perspective.
  • One of my big takeaways was that I’ve changed significantly over the last 5-10 years as a person, and thus, also as a minister. That led me to the question: has my ministry philosophy, method, and implementation grown with me…or am I still doing ministry in the same way?
  • I used to be focused on particular things. I still am, but what I’m focused on has changed. It used to be primarily vocational. Today, it’s more on my own well-being, the health of our marriage, the spiritual growth of our kids.
  • Last week, we started a message series on Job at NVC. It’s a series where I’m sure delivering the sermon will take more energy than the preparation of them—which ain’t that easy either.
  • I remain convinced Job is not fundamentally about the questions of why bad things happen to good people or the problem of suffering at all. It’s fundamentally about 1:9, the question, “Does Job fear God for no reason?”
  • Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, passed away recently. If you live in the Bible belt, you may be less familiar with him—but his spiritual footprint on the West Coast, particularly, is enormous.
  • Nearly all Calvary Chapel churches excel at preaching, worship, and reaching younger people—especially surfers, college and singles—before it was cool. There are worse things to be known for as a church.
  • I loved this year’s World Series—though I really didn’t care who won. It was just great baseball, with freak show endings. Fox’s camera work was ridiculous, as well.
  • I don’t understand why so many hate Tim McCarver as an analyst. Hey, if Chris Collinsworth made the jump to MLB, it could be far worse.
  • So far, I am LOVING the new Tim Keller book: Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. It’s major contribution thus far has been a thoughtful dismantling of secular frameworks and responses to suffering. He does it in such a way one need not be a scholar to understand and enjoy. I’m about 2/3 of the way through. I’ll probably work up a review when I’m finished. It’s well worth your time to read.
  • It’s amazing how many times setting a concrete ending time for a meeting makes it more productive.
  • The three main reasons churches fail at getting involved in ministry are 1) they have no system for involvement because they don’t want the work that comes with building and maintaining such a system, 2) a low view of the abilities and gifts of the Body, and 3) They have few compelling places for involvement–so they can’t even beg the church to fill those roles.
  • For look at how your website can make your church look bad…log on to
  • The TV shows, “Hostages” and “The Blacklist” have helped fill the Jack-Bauer-shaped hole I have inside since the end of 24. They are about half as good, which is still better than most of the shows on television.
  • Yes, David Ortiz is probably juicing.
  • 150 days left until Opening Day, 2014.

What’s on your mind this Friday morning?