As a pastor, one of the things I get to do is perf…

As a pastor, one of the things I get to do is perform a funeral. At first, funerals really bothered me. However, now, I feel more comfortable. I am glad that I can serve in the capacity to help someone or a family through a time of grief. After all, death isn’t the end, but rather a transition.

Anyway, there are times when I am asked to do a funeral of someone I don’t know, or don’t know very well. Those are hard. After all, I want to leave the family with words of comfort and words of grace. I want to be able to lead a celebration of life. However, there are times, when the person really didn’t live a life of grace and peace. That saddens me. It saddens me that I can’t honestly share that the person was loved by all that knew him. It saddens me that someone didn’t live their life in a way that touched the lives of others.

One of the things that is sometimes said about sports figures is that they were able to make those playing with them better. I guess, that is the type of life I want to live. A life that allows those who know me and interact with me to be better people. I realize that I’m not there. However, some things are coming into better focus the older I get.

I no longer am driven to ‘succeed’ any longer. In fact, I’m not even sure what that is. The American Dream isn’t really a dream after all…for what good does it do to gain the whole world when you forfeit your soul?

At the end of my life, I want others to be able to celebrate a life well lived. I want others to say, “He made us better people.” Of course, the only way that I can do that is to continue to point people to the One who can really change lives.


Pastor as Spiritual Director

I started thinking today about the pastor as spiritual director. I’ve seen many books that try to teach me how to be a CEO or something like that. I also get many invitations to conferences on church managment, growing large churches, etc. However, I’ve started to question the whole “grow the church large” mentality. I’ve also started to question how I pastor others.

One thing I’ve noticed is, when I don’t care about the bottom line (as far as the conference is concerned), I tend to do things differently. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to make people upset at all. However, in the past, I would care so much what people would think (because, if you made people made, they would leave and your year end reports would look bad) I would not always do what I thought was best.

For example, some pastors are reluctant to talk about money. However, money is one of the top topics in the Bible. I believe that the whole area of giving is a spiritual one. Basically, giving is a way to acknowlege (to yourself at least) that your trust is in God. What I long to want for my life is to be generous. Not with my excess, but with my very life. The only way I can do this is if my trust in God is so strong, I’m able to open my hands and let go.

Back to Pastor as Spiritual Director….I’m starting to feel that the stress on the church growing bigger, has hurt us growing deeper in our faith. What I would hope is, as we grow deeper, Christ is formed within us. We are able to become what He was. It isn’t that we are self-righteous, but rather from the core of our being the Love of God flows forth. I believe, when that happens, the church will grow and more importantly, people will be changed.

Enough for now….


As I take time to process the last 6 years of my l…

As I take time to process the last 6 years of my life (try that some time), I’m discovering that I’ve learned many things. Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned is about people. I’ve also learned something about money and power. It seem like those three things go together (but not real well).

I understand people wanting “a better life.” Hey…I want a better life. But when I see what this desire can do, I understand Paul telling us that the love of money is the root of all evil. Well, that is kind of harsh. I mean, we don’t really _love_ money do we? We just want a better life for our kids. So, we work hard, save, etc.

Of course, we might purchase the bigger house, build a pool, buy a DVD player…after all, we work hard. God understands all that right? I mean, if we are giving our 10% shouldn’t we feel good about what we are able to purchase and shouldn’t we be able to live guilt free?

I’m writing this post on my brand new HP Laptop. So..don’t think I’m trying to lay a guilt trip on any one other than myself. I admit, I am in the consumer mindset just like many other americans. I don’t always see it in myself. It is much easier seeing it in other people.

There will always be people who have more money than I do…a bigger house…a nicer car…a better laptop. God calls us not to envy..remember. However, there will always be people with less money that I have…a smaller house..a broken down laptop. So, what am I suppose to do???

To be honest, I don’t know. What I feel like is that God wants me to realize the position I am in…be greatful for what I have and also be graceously generous with what I have (actually what he has given me).

Yes, it is easier when you see others…in power positions…not using the power to bless or benefit others, but rather benefiting themselves first..others second. What makes a company a “christian company” anyway? Is it tha a company is made up of christians, or that those in power wield their power in such a way that the company is a blessing to the employees, the community, the world?

I have no answers…only questions I guess. But one thing I have learned in 6 years, is that people, money and power, don’t always mix real well. Perhaps that is why Jesus knelt down in front of the disciples and washed their feet. Of course, we don’t understand the full impact of that act. Perhaps it is like the CEO o a large muti-million dollar company washing the employees cars…or taking out their trash.

Either way, Jesus did it. He did it as a lesson, because it is easier to say things, than to do things. Jesus did it. He calls me, no matter where I line up in the economy of “things” to do the same.

– Dave.

Emergent Village – WWJ…Be? I never really got…

Emergent Village – WWJ…Be?

I never really got into the whole “WWJD” craze. Deep down, I felt that something was missing. I believe Javad Shadzi hits the mark. I remember in seminary being introduced to “being vs doing.” I was squarly in the doing camp.

It is so easy, to forget that God wants to change us from the inside out. Jesus’ message to the religious leaders is the same as to us, “You clean the outside of the cup….but the inside of the cup is filthy.”

It isn’t that I think that WWJD is bad…I don’t. We should always be trying to do the work that Jesus did and respond the way he did. However, there is a much bigger issue. If we are to truly do what Jesus did…we must allow him to change us from the inside out.

Mr Shadzi was right on when he points out that Jesus did what he did not because he was “trying” to do things a certain way. Rather, he did what he did because it was who he was. If my goal is to do what Jesus did, I’m missing the power and transformation of the Gospel. If my Goal is to _be_ like Jesus, the what I do flows from who I am.

The difference between doing and being is vast. There is an ocean of difference. When I try to “do” what Jesus did, sometimes I hit the mark, sometimes I don’t. However (and here is the danger) sometimes when I do hit the mark (by doing what Jesus did) I, in reality, miss the mark (because it was only a facade anyway).

When I try to _be_ like Jesus (or ask myself, what (or who) would Jesus Be?), then my actions flow from my being. My actions are determined by my being. When that happens, I am freed…freed from the prison of forcing myself to do things that really aren’t part of my being.

The wonderful thing about God is he longs to touch us in such a way that we are transformed into the image of his Son. When we allow God to do such a transformation within us, we are finally, truly able to do what Jesus did.

– Dave.