Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why Young Adult Ministry is Just Like Pre-Teen Ministry

Young adult ministry is one of those things that takes a large stick, eyes in the back of your head, and enough Red Bull to fuel a small planet. Why? Because the only difference between young adult ministry and junior high ministry is that young adults generally keep their email address longer then 3-weeks. That, and young adults can drive (though that is debatable in most cases). Take a look at just three of the similarities:

1. Identity Exploration
Young adults, like most kids going into grade 6 or 7 facing a new school with a new set of friends and a new set of body parts, are likewise facing many new situations in life. Their identity, like their younger counter-parts, is being re-shaped by moving away from the major identity shapers of their past. Whereas junior high’s begin to explore an identity apart from their family-of-origin, young adults begin to explore their identity apart from their friends of influence. There seems to be a general struggle for identity shaping during the junior high years, quarter-life crises, mid-life crises, and retirement; the years between being the stable identity years. This, in my observation, is one of a number of reasons why many churched teenagers exit the church during the first few years following their graduation.

2. Instability
Yes…instability. For example; watch the emotional needs of a junior high girl and a twenty year old girl. Need another? Try to imagine a young adult sticking with one job, career aspiration, university program, or girlfriend/boyfriend. It’s tough isn’t it? It seems very much like the junior high kid who is trying out different sports, clothing, music, friend groups, sexual orientation, and any other mask or fit of choice. There seems to be an unparalleled sense of opportunity and hope that creates a need to try it all before settling for one or the other. Possibility, hope, and opportunity along with a new and yet unmatched access to information, education, travel, and finances creates endless paths to walk down, discover, and build vacation homes on. Opportunity, for all its virtues, has put young adult stability in a submission hold.

3. Feeling In Between
The obvious result off all this is of being in a place of neither here nor there. Limbo – and not the good kind of limbo that is found on a Mexican beach – is the confusing place of inbetweenness. The tween years. The adult-lescent years. This is the time of transition of being not really a youth but not really an adult; not really a kid but not really a youth, not a girl but not yet a woman. Just like every junior high kid needs a parent to sit them down and talk through really big questions of “Where do babies come from? Where do I come from? What’s happening to me? Why? What about girls and relationships?” so do young adults need people around them to direct them through the same really big questions. Additionally, just like anyone who has been ‘in between’ relationships, the inbetweenness that young adults feel are the formative feeling, thoughts, and actions that always paint the next picture. Obviously a significant time.

The list of similarities actually goes on and on but, I gave myself a half hour to write this and, my half hour is up. I’ve certainly not given this enough thought to actually post it online, however, given that I am also an instable twenty-something transient loving neo-hippie on a quest for personal identity, it would be totally appropriate that I do.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bookshelves and iPods

I'd like to pass on two bits of goodness to you:
1) an album, and
2) a book.

This week saw the release of the brand new Killers album which, in my opinion, is killa. It is a collection of mostly 'b-cuts' that never quite made it to other albums but that are still quite good. Thrown in for good measure are some re-mixes and live recordings that should keep any Killers fan happy. My favorite cuts so far are 'Tranquilize' and 'Where the White Boys Dance.' Go grab some finger gloves, tight pants, and your favorite Euro tabloid in order listen to this album for all its worth.

Second, and at a wee bit more intellectual expense, is the short book by N.T. Write called The Last Word published in 2005. The books thesis, as far as I could tell, is simply that the authority of Scripture rests in that Scripture is the word of God and so then becomes authoritative. Of particular importance for Write is the role of Scripture in dictating the now and future of the church as the continuing story of a much larger story which we honor and respect, but do not repeat and, in many cases, actually leave behind. This is a compelling and easy read that is directed at preachers, teachers, and church leaders in general. 4 stars out of 5.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Definition of: The Wrath of God

As we get into this important second section of Romans 1 we will deal with the very controversial topic of God’s anger and wrath against evil and those who do evil. There are multiple perspectives on the wrath of God including those who would tell you that God does not get angry and is only a God of love. These people point to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and Paul’s teaching on human anger to persuade some that anger and wrath are incongruent with an all-holy God. There are others who, in their attempt to make God like man, argue that God’s anger is no different then sinful human anger that is uncontrolled, malicious, and full of rage.

Holding to either view is incoherent with Scripture and nullifies the need for a savior. The first makes God out to be a tolerant all-accepting push-over who only loves; this God is a post-modern hippie in a dress who accepts all views, opinions, and lifestyles condemning none and taking the neutral position on everything. Many people like this God because they do not like authority, responsibility, judgment, or accountability. Additionally, Jesus is no longer the central message of the Bible or even needed at all because, from this perspective, God does not judge and therefore will not send anyone to Hell. We can not accept this view.

The second view turns God into nothing more then an angry old man who loses his temper, fights his friends, beats his wife, and uses all kinds of deceitful actions to get back at his kids for missing curfew. This view turns God’s ‘holy-indignation’ into unrighteous sinful human behavior corrupted by evil and selfish desires. We can not hold to such a view because it would mean that God, like man, needs a savior to save him from his own sinfulness. God is holy, perfect, and without sin meaning that He provides a savior, Jesus, and does not need one.

Following is a third view that I believe must not only be reclaimed, but also must be taught always if we are to accurately present the whole truth of the gospel.

What is the wrath of God?

The wrath of God comes directly out of His holy nature which is completely hostile towards evil. God’s wrath is His refusal to accept, come to terms with, or condone sin and sinful people; it is His unchanging reaction to all unrighteousness.

Against what is God’s wrath revealed?

Simply put, evil is the object of God’s wrath. There is nothing that awakens God’s wrath except evil…and evil always does it. This text gives a twofold description of what and who God’s anger is directed.

1) Godlessness – is a lack of reverence for God that places man against God in not only neglect, but in open rebellion leading to all types of sinful perversions. This is man’s attempt to get rid of God.

2) Wickedness – meaning injustice towards fellow man. Whereas ‘godlessness’ is open rebellion against God, ‘wickedness’ is open rebellion against other people resulting in all forms of anti-social behavior including but not limited to sexual immorality, homosexuality, lesbianism, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, rudeness, arrogance, boastfulness, ruthlessness, faithlessness, heartlessness, and disobedience against ones own parents. Man in his rebellion not only condones these things but openly celebrates them encouraging others to do likewise.

God’s righteous anger then is directed at sin and sinful people because both godlessness and wickedness are the outworking of godless and wicked people who are totally morally and ethically bankrupt. Further, and not surprisingly, when the truth of man’s wickedness is brought to light and the devastating consequence of his actions are known, he strangles the disturbing voice of truth, suppress’ it, and holds it down by his own wickedness.

How is God’s wrath revealed?

In three ways:

1) The Future Eschatological Tense - which is the cause of much debate by End-Times nuts who think Kurt Cameron is a star and the Left Behind series is the Bible. However, God’s wrath will be revealed in the future which Paul calls the ‘coming wrath’ and ‘Judgment Day, the day of God’s wrath’ which is eternal punishment for the unrepentant. We can only speculate what that day will hold.

2) The Present Judicial Tense – God’s wrath on sinful human behavior through the use of government law, police force, and justice in the court room. Paul deals with this subject specifically in Romans 13:4 and is not what he has in mind here.

3) The Present Abandonment Tense – In this, God reveals his wrath by simply handing sinners over to themselves. John Ziesler writes that God’s anger “operates not by God’s intervention but precisely by his NOT intervening, by letting men and women go their own way.” God, in his wrath, separates himself and abandons stubborn sinners to their own unruly selfishness. In the following chapter Paul gives two reasons why God abandons the unrighteous: one, to allow sin and its consequences to accelerate as part of His judgment on them, and two, to make them realize their need for salvation.

How is God’s wrath averted?

Many, like the drunk who won’t admit to having a problem, will do their best to suppress the truth of God’s wrath. Others will do their best to try and appease God’s wrath through their own methods. Often times these methods take on the convenient disguise of playing church complete with playing pieces, a board, and an instructions booklet that lists all of the rules and regulations that will help them win the game. Unfortunately, pressed slacks and all of the other trappings of legalistic religion do nothing in appeasing God’s anger; in fact, it very well heightens it.

Divine wrath means that there must also be a divine solution. This solution is found in the salvation work of Jesus Christ to endure God’s wrath in our place thus freeing us from the guilt and sin that God is so angry about. The way of escape is provided by God through repentance of sin and faith in His son Jesus Christ. Jesus, instead of man, has stood in the place of God’s wrath accepting the punishment and paying the ransom that was owed. To this end, we love and serve and obey God giving Him all honor and glory and praise because in Jesus, by faith, we have been saved from ourselves, from God’s eternal wrath, and have been made a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come!

Friday, November 02, 2007

In Definition of: Reclamation

This is a restorative process which, like any first year plumber knows, is dirty business. It involves wading knee deep into the grime and filth of overuse, abuse, misuse, and disuse. Much of what we know and believe has been tarnished and polluted again and again by well meaning liars who, in their best effort to make a word and its idea relevant, have softened, corrupted, and/or thrown a thick soupy haze over its rich meaning. In this process of reclamation we will reclaim those words, ideas, and doctrines from their weak and useless conditions. People so readily exchange the truth of God for a lie and, in so doing, downward spiral into all forms and methods of contamination. It is to this issue that the Church must engage in a Reclamation reclaiming truth, sound doctrine, and correct theology through prayerful Biblical study and in humble submission to our eternal God and King, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Lost My Music

Following is a short article appearing in the Abbotsford News sometime next week. Here is the unedited sneak preview. Enjoy.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, musicians are an odd and eccentric assortment. If you took an honest look at every single musician you will be able to see that they fit into one of two categories: 1) emotional, or 2) overly emotional. This, in all likelihood, is a good thing because great music and peculiar interviews start with honest emotions. So, if you are an emotional musician, grab a box of Kleenex and brace yourself for what I am about to say.

Music is not something you create or make…ever.

Music is something you find. No matter how much of a creative genius you think you are when it comes to writing music – you aren’t; you may be a creative genius, true, but you are not writing the music. You may write the words, but you only ever find the music.

Music is something you discover.

For example, everything that has ever been played on the guitar and ever will be played on the guitar is already right there in the guitar hidden away in the strings and frets. This came as incredible insight for me because suddenly I didn’t have to worry about playing what was written down, taught, or conventional. Simply, I could find the music that was already there. Perhaps someday I’ll play like Jimmy Page or Van Halen because I have done the hard work of discovery and not gone the cheap, easy, and lazy route of buying music.

Discovery is far more interesting then photocopy. Imagination is far more interesting then reproduction because imagination, coupled with its soul mate, creativity, is the foundation of discovery. And discovery is so exciting; it brings us to new unexplored and sometimes scary places of which some even contradict each other.

Contradiction, while defying logic, does not defy science. Quantum mechanic scientist Niels Bohr explains, “Get creative: combine opposites, mix and match what doesn’t work, find differences and exploit it! Enjoy that reality, even at a physical atomic level, can harbor mutually exclusive ideas that can both be right.” Fascinating! Especially if you are looking for something that cannot really be explained adequately. It’s like looking for a God who loves you but allows famine and AIDS orphans in a world He created.

I cannot explain that.

But music might be able to.

Music is a process of discovery that helps us to remember our history and acts as the soundtrack for all of the moments that come together to make up life. Music sets the mood for how we feel and helps us to understand what is actually happening right now. It gets into our very soul.

I am not sure that I could actually put a definition of music into writing for fear of limiting its power over people and culture. However, if I had to write a definition of music I would probably suggest something like this: music is what already lives, finds its way into our emotions, and expresses itself in how we live. It is the harmony and rhythm of how we live life and, if you listen hard enough, you will find music everywhere.

Likewise, I’m not sure I could put a definition of God into writing for fear of limiting who He is. I would have to be greater then God and have a larger perspective then His perspective in order to do something like that. That is why I can’t tell you who God is. At very most I can try my best to give you some examples of what I believe God is like and, at this particular moment, I think God is a lot like music.

Jeremy Postal is a twentysomething who left Facebook to rejoin reality. He pastors at Christian Life Community Church in Abbotsford. You can interact with this column @

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Album

New Foo Fighters dropping tomorrow...
That's right; tomorrow will be far better then today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Blogging is so Passe.

Hello. Or more like, "Hello?"

And "Goodbye."

To all the readers here, past and present (present being a liberal use of the word), thank-you. I have appreciated your comment, the dialogue we've shared, the learning from among friends, and new conversations with new friends. This summer I even had the privilege of meeting a few of the faceless names - which was really cool.

Anyhow, in the coming year I am dedicating my time to a few different writing projects
which require my ongoing attention. I am working on a short commentary on Romans which should be complete by summer 08, a book about Jesus that will be for sale at your local punk show merch table, and hopefully some newspaper columns that will be more exciting then Billy-Fundamentalist in the Religion column.

As a result, I'll be too busy for this blog.

Not to mention that I am praying for an Indian summer to extend the climbing season and praying that I will log a pile of first tracks this winter on my snowboard. Other then that, I'll be dating my wife, studying, preaching, and putting into practice my party theology.*

What I am trying to say is, "I'll be too busy for this blog."

Thanks guys.

*Party Theology is one of my top three favorite doctrines of all time; the other two being 'Propitiation' and 'Two Shall Become One.' But that is another story.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tolerance: Part 2.1

Canadian culture has, since Trudeau in the 1960's, officially embraced a form* of tolerance that has given Canada its clear multi-cultural distinction from our great neighbors to the south. The question I have in mind as I think of the example of holiday tree's in public places (instead of Christmas trees) is this: At what point must you intolerate your own culture to tolerate another culture? I wonder how far this question reaches into the fabric of Canadian culture and, to be more specific, Canadian church culture. Something to think about anyways.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tolerance: Part 2

The last place that I lost my keys was in a snowy parkinglot near Gravity Hill in Abbotsford, BC. The parkinglot, which was actually more icy then snowy, was at the base of a small snowy hill near the end of a mountain plateau with hundreds of rows of small green trees. These, in all of their natural glory, were about to become firewood, woodchips, and memories. Sadly, this was to be the fate of the u-cut holiday tree.

If you live in a condo, were ever termed as a metrosexual some years ago, have a closet full of shoes, enjoy poetry without rap music, enjoy rap music, think that a trip to the country involves two bus fares, or are an over-sensitive vegetarian then you will no doubt have never encountered a real holiday tree.

The holiday trees that you are used to come in a box, are stored in a larger box, and are far more environmentally harmful then cutting down the real thing. Plus they smell like coat hangers which, unless you have some weird holiday fetish, shouldn't get you in the mood at all.

But still, it is a holiday tree. A fake, yes, but nonetheless real.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tolerance: Part 1.

Some years ago I wrote a paper on the topic of tolerance for a professor of philosophy with a couple of intents: a. to entertain him, b. to directly challenge him, and c. to finish as quickly as possible so I could go snowboarding. I succeeded on all three fronts, received a near perfect score, enjoyed some witty email banter back and forth, and was credited with introducing a new word to the discipline of philosophy.

That word was 'neo-tolerance.'

Now, normally I wouldn't brag about some academic accomplishment because really, when it comes right down to it, I haven't really had any academic accomplishment to speak of. I'm still over ten classes away from actually finishing Bible school, I quit swimming lessons, loathed piano lessons, and skipped out on my last hour of snowboard-instructor school to go shred the pow. However, I do think that it is very important that you know about the word 'neo-tolerance' and its inventor for the simple reason that over the last few weeks I have grown a beard. Yes, a beard.

Never trust a man with a beard.

At least this has been the motto swirling around in the back of my head for many years. And so, in a rather weak attempt to validate myself to you, I must tell you that, in fact, it was D.A. Carson who suggested the word 'neo-tolerance' and not a pressed for time snowboarder. This confession, I believe, should alleviate any mis-trust you may be harbouring as I grow my beard, eat granolla, and live in a van.

I do, however, completely understand if this is intolerable.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Young Adults Camp

Hello again.
Blogging has certainly become a thing of the past hasn't it? If you're still blogging - what the heck are you doing? Just kidding. Really, I'm kidding.

Anyhow, Candace and I are now back in the great frozen nation of Canada and, though we are not freezing, we are being drowned and depressed by the rain and gloomy skies. The one perk of the constant rain is that all of the climbing is wet and unclimbable which, while normally being a bad thing, has freed up some time to do some sermon writing. If you are somewhere in southwestern BC, twenty-something, and have a higher then average pain tolerance I should recommend that you register and attend the Nanoose Bay Young Adults Camp June 29 - July 1. The high pain tolerance most likely has to do with the fact that I am speaking and may have some allusion to camp food.* At any rate, it should be a fun few days as young adults from around the region gather together to worship Jesus, study the Bible, and created some shared memories.

If you want to get to the camp the directions are easy: register, get three friends to register so your car is full, stop at the gas station, fuel up, get a bag of Doritos, drive, share some food and laughter, make a wrong turn and a mental note to bring a map next time, take some pictures, bring a sleeping bag, and then edit your pics so that everyone thinks it was the time of your life. See you there!

*In actual fact, camp food is usually pretty good and Nanoose may be no different...but there is always that off chance that it will be off. If you are twenty-something, however, the quality of food simply doesn't matter - what really matters is that it is food three times a day that you didn't cook or have to clean up after. That, and it's not noodle packages mixed with tuna.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On the Road Again...

I meant to post some photo's of our trip here today for our family and friends...but...for some reason I haven't been able to upload the images today. Sorry. Stay posted and I'll see what I can do...
We miss you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pastoring Too Hard

There is something very sad about pastoring too hard. Life can fall apart.

Candace and I are constantly broken by the friends and partners in ministry that we know who come flying down a steep hill of pastoring too hard and, when they go to negotiate the corner at the bottom of the hill, the brake pads blow right off the car and they plunge over the cliff into a burning wreck. It wrecks them. It wrecks us. It wrecks Jesus’ church.

Earlier today as I was doing some study and listening to one of my currently favorite bands, The Arcade Fire, I was absolutely broken by a song about the life of pastors. I do not know the spiritual state of the band but I am pretty sure you are not going to find it at your local Christian book store. They do, however, have some very moving songs. Here are some lyrics from the song “Intervention”:

“Working for the church while your families dies…

…Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home…

…Who is going to re-set the bone when you’re walking with you’re heart in a sling…

…Working for the church while my family dies…

…Your little sister is going to lose her mind…

…Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home…

…Working for the church while your life falls apart…

…Singing Hallelujah when you’re failing at home…

…Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home…”

What a strong call to the pastor! As I have been praying for our pastors in BC today I couldn’t help but to really feel the title of this song: Intervention. The opening line of this song simply states: The King has taken back the thrown. To my friends and colleagues who pastor – please remember that Jesus said that it is his church that he is building – it is Jesus’ church. I feel a great burden for each of us today as I pray and think of you.

Grace and Peace,

-Jeremy and Candace.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Boulders

Candace warming up at the Happy Boulders in Bishop, CA. Where is your happy place?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It Snowed Last Night

Candace and I are now one week into our sabbatical and living in a gravel pit in northern California at 4500 feet. Literally - a gravel pit. It is a strange and dusty little place with plenty of rocks, squatters, and a cat the keeps relieving itself near our tent. It is perfect.
It helps me feel God everytime I leave.

Anyways, we are alive and only slightly malnourished.
Go Canucks!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Social Intelligence

Best-selling author Daniel Goleman's newest book Social Intelligence has, so far, been absolutely brilliant! I started reading this book this morning and have only just picked my way through the prologue and first couple of chapters. I may be jumping the gun a wee bit, however, I already would like to recommend this book to every leader, pastor, or person whose job it is to relate well with other people.
The premise of this book is simple: We are wired to connect. From this thesis Goleman goes on to open up the science of relationships (social neuroscience) with convincing research, interesting stories, and easy to understand writing to show us how relational intelligence impacts every area of life. You may be very surprised by some of the findings!
Daniel Goleman has also authored the best-selling Emotional Intelligence and recommended Primal Leadership.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Something Starts an Explosion

Supposedly our brain works with surprising efficiency. Not that I ever would have believed that in high school math, but that’s not the point – nobody likes math – it’s too predictable. The electricity firing in the space between our ears is neatly sorting and filing every experience just waiting for the chance to be re-opened. When we face challenges that are similar to past experience our brain already has a tried and tested solution just waiting to bulldoze the competition. We are so predictable.

Like math.

One of the greatest challenges of creative thinking is to not think from our default setting. While defaults are useful for getting the job done they don’t make the job very fun. We do because we have done.

And what gets done is nothing new, creative, or in many cases, very fulfilling.

I have found that getting stuck in default thinking causes me great anxiety and a trigger happy finger just itching to shoot the boredom. In these times I have realized that I need thought igniters to help spark ideas and creativity. Here are a few igniters that get things going for me:

- provocative reading outside my field

- great music

- connecting randomness/free association of words and idea’s (freestyle rappers are among the best in the world at this)

- looking for loopholes in systems

- metaphors about pretty much anything

- bouldering and rest days

- a great story

I believe that pastors and church leaders should be among the most creative bunch of people in the world simply because we have the most predictable job in the world. Our job hasn’t changed in 2000 years…we point people to Jesus. Maybe if we had a few more thought igniters in our lives we wouldn’t have to resort to math.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Time for Sabbatical

Often the soul simply needs some rest, a glass of water, and a massage.

As some of you have already heard, Candace and I will be living in a van for 4-months while we travel and climb through the western half of the United States. Our goal of the trip is to spend some restful time together climbing, reading, writing, and studying Scripture. We will be caravanning through high alpine desert, old growth forest, and surfside towns with names like Las Lagoon or something equally un-Canadian.

Our church, Christian Life Community Church, has given us the time away in what is often referred to as a ‘sabbatical’. A Sabbath, which is where we get the word sabbatical from, may describe a certain day of our week where we produce nothing, where the machine stops and our only job is to enjoy life. This may describe the day of our week where we stop to consider that the planet will still wobble around its axis, the sun will still flicker, possums will still never quite reach the other side of the road, rabbits will still look cute, and life will go on. A weekly Sabbath is a day of our week where we remember God for who God is; a day where we remember that when God finished creating he looked at life and said that it was very good.

While a Sabbath speaks of a day, a sabbatical speaks of a time. A sabbatical describes a time, like in ancient Israel, where crops were not put in the ground for a season for two reasons: (a) to give the land a period of rest so that it would regenerate itself, and (b) to restore the people’s dependency on God. This is a time where life, which God proclaimed as very good, pauses among the clutter of culture to be regenerated and restored to a better place…a place of dependency on the ‘very-good-life-giving-God.’ This is a significant time where livelihoods slow considerably, not in negligence, but to allow for once fertile soil, such as the soul, to rest.

Candace and I are looking forward to our time of rest and regeneration as we travel. In addition to climbing and finding music on my guitar, I am in process of working on a pretty big writing project that requires some extra time devoted specifically to it. We do covet your prayer and thoughts as we travel and study. We will be away April, May, June, and July.

If you do have any questions, thoughts, or encouragement please use the comment section below.
Grace and Peace,
-Jeremy and Candace.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reality and Memory

The truest statement I have read all day.
"Life is rarely about what happened; it's mostly about what we think happened."
-Chuck Klosterman

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Worship is Empty?

The last show of the two-year-43-country-tour of rockers from another era came to a close in Vancouver’s BC Place only weeks before the roof blew off. The Rolling Stones played an amazing show complete with songs from their newest album along with re-makes of all of the old classics. The show, while absolutely amazing and heightened by a weird and colorful acid trip, raised some pretty serious questions about God and church worship music. Like, for example, why is it that worship music seems to be so similar to every other kind of music but its words are so empty? Or, why is it that when we find ourselves at a show the expectation is that we are moved with our emotions to some sort of response while at church we are told to be wary of emotive response to music?

That is, at least, what my tripped out friend on acid asked me the other day.

Friday, March 02, 2007

French Love Songs

Last night I found myself sitting in an old English pub in downtown Abbotsford waiting for a friend of mine who is helping me with a writing project that I am working on. I showed myself in and found a table near the back of the pub where I sat down, pulled out my skinny Mexican pen, my journal, and a book I am reading. I was alone.


In fact, it was an eerie alone feeling that you get when you are all by yourself but instinctively know that someone or something is watching you. My instincts, though not surprising in any way, were completely bang on. A skinny bohemian looking guy walks onto the small stage in front of the smaller dance floor and turns on a karaoke machine to which he begins to wiggle his hips, tap his toes, sing, and play lead guitar solo’s to 80’s pop music. All of this wasn’t weird at all except for one small thing which I think is important for you the reader to know, bohemian-karaoke-lead-guitar guy was singing love songs. And for the record, it’s pretty hard to concentrate on anything at all when a skinny bohemian is singing love songs to you.

Thankfully, later on in the evening my world began to make sense again…I found out that he was French and it explained everything.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Long Live Church Programs

A quick post just to remind people that I do still exist in the blog world. Something cool hip and trendy that has found its way into the DNA of the cool hip and trendy pastors starting cool hip and trendy churches that look like cool hip and trendy cults is the mantra that says, "People don't connect with programs." Programs are not organic church, emerging church, authentic church, relevant church, relational church, church 2.0, or whatever the heck church....programs are to be distrusted, scrutinized, and reek of institutionalization.......or so the cool hip trendy non-conformists would tell you.

But...Is a program anything more or anything less then intentional relationships? Programs are intentional relationship - are they not? Anyhow, end rant.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Leadership, Submission, Church Authority

Part of the sermonizing process in our young adult community involves many people in helping shape the teaching time. This week's discussion has been based around church leadership, submission, and authority. Many who read this blog are pastors and church leaders...your thoughts would be appreciated on this topic.
Merry Thursday.

Oh, one other thing...check this out: People are finding Jesus on myspace. There's got to be a sermon illustration in here somewhere....!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Collectively Dubm...I mena dumb,

One of my favorite things about this emerging cultures appetite for ‘power given to the masses’ is that it allows for the masses to control popular thought and opinion. Wikipedia is a great example of the collaborative muscle of our culture working together to create something that is far greater then itself. We love the idea of having control and access to information that has traditionally been behind closed doors, in files marked ‘confidential’, and held by higher ups who can wield and manipulate it to suit their needs and wants. It’s a great idea. The cheese-eating-cigarette-smoking and topless French peasants thought it was a great idea too…that is until they had control and decided that they, like their predecessors, did not want to share. Not too terribly surprising.

At present, our intellectual elite are progressively becoming only side notes in history as psychologically and intellectually we are becoming more and more Marxist-like in our thirst for information. Anyone with a computer and a wifi connection has access to the same information jamming us all into an information and technological middle class. But really, who cares.

Anyhow, my point is this: ‘nobody is smarter then everybody’ is a bit of an ideal way to live and teach. We are deceived by this cute little collection of words because it plays to the thing that we very much want – anti-authority, or, more precisely, our own authority. That said, there are some great times where using this statement and viewpoint in life is very helpful; i.e. in the realm of ideaing, brainstorming problems, collaborative learning, and creativity the more perspectives applied to said problem the better. However, the ‘nobody is smarter then everyone’ cliché breaks down the moment it comes to applying specific skills to specific tasks.

Do we let everyone with a seat on WestJet flight 178 from Abbotsford to Saskatoon to visit the in-laws give advice, suggest flight patterns, and take a crack at flying the jet…or, do we leave it in the hands of the pilots who, after many many hours of skill and knowledge development, fly the jet? We trust the pilot.

Do we let everyone with a seat in a church take a crack at teaching and preaching…or…do we trust the teacher who has spent many hours in study, prayer, and preparation? We very much want to trust a pilot; why not a teacher?

Collectively we can come up with some amazing ideas; collaborations and innovations that come only as a result of people getting together co-creating and co-developing something magnificent. However, collectively we can also become dumb and ignorant in our quest for anti-authority.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posting lately; I've been doing piles of research work lately logging major hours in study filling up coil ring notebooks and piecing together some thoughts on the early church. That, and I've been sick, we've started a new blog, and their has been 100% growth at our young adults in the last three weeks. Anyhow, that is my excuse for not writing here.

My excuse for writing here is a coincidence. In the last couple of months I have had two different books given to me by two unrelated and non-connected people who told me that I really need to read the particular book they were giving me. So, without knowing the content or themes of each of these books, I cracked them open and read them.

The first book was about death.

The second book was...wait for it...about death.

I've never really experienced death before too closely; my grandpa died when I was six years old and I had some friends die when I was in high school. Reading these books I began to realize that I have no feelings that I can remember that are directly related to death...and I suppose this is good. I don't want to experience death in any close proximity but at the same time I guess I need to realize that there is no life without death. And that's scary. It's scary to think of what life would be like without someone you love, its scary to think of how I might respond, its scary to consider how they might respond if it were me. I don't think that death, when it comes, will in itself be scary - I more afraid of pain and spiders, but what about the people around me? I hope these two books were only a coincidence.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Entry in the BlogRace

New clcc young adults blog that you can feel free to add to your bloglines and check regularly. It is also a space for sermonizing which, if you don't know, is part of our collaborative sermon building process. Would love to have your thoughts and ideas as we teach about Jesus.
Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Jesse posts a great post here. If you are somehow involved with ministry to young adults or transient type of people it is definitely worth the read and time given to thinking through its implications for your ministry context. Great stuff Jesse!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Death of Sermons?

Communication, as we in the church know it, is under attack.

As a communicator I am constantly trying to learn how to become more effective in preparation, truth telling, story telling, persuasion, stimulating thought, conversation, and delivering compelling anti-conclusions. I genuinely enjoy studying and looking for seemingly unrelated bits and pieces of truth to link together to shape worldviews, beliefs, and lifestyles and I love the challenge of trying to find the language that speaks most relevantly to the people I am communicating to.

One of the aspects of church liturgy that the emergent church has called into question is how we, as communicators, most effectively communicate this life altering story of Jesus Christ to the emerging generation. On one extreme, there has been an almost violent reaction against the didactic “pastor as authority” teaching that has been so prevalent in churches for centuries in favor of conversation, dialogue, and narrative/experiential learning. On the other extreme, we find young pastors deciding against the 20 minute seeker-friendly sermons in favor of much longer and indepth teaching that moves the listener from theology to doxology to biography.

My personal response to this has been to take a little bit of the good from each of these to create a method of three part preaching that I don’t actually do very well. The upside is that I have the space and time to be constantly experimenting with how it actually could work. I have begun writing my definitions and ideas for these three parts but, before I post it here, I’d love to read your thoughts on this. Following are three numbers, six pieces of punctuation, and six words that make up the calcium malnourished skeleton of this teaching idea.

1) The Prologue.

2) The Dialogue.

3) The Epilogue.

If I had to get an idea across and these three are the variables of how I accomplish this; how should I do this?