The Refugee

Many stories about refugees have been emerging over the past few days. You may have heard this one but it’s worth sharing again. An evil leader in a small middle eastern town caused local terror by doing the unthinkable – killing infants. One of the families there was able to miraculously escape by crossing the border with their infant. They fled to a nearby country that they hoped beyond hope would take them in as refugees. The irony was that this country had once enslaved their ancestors, creating a tension that made everyone extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully, because this receiving country apparently had reasonable policies in place despite this historic tension, they took them in. And the family found life-saving refuge. Some have debated the claim. But let’s be clear. Jesus was a refugee. And the implications mean something for today. Make no mistake. Mary and Joseph fled from terror with an infant Jesus. Egypt had every reason to refuse them because of extreme past tension. They did not. Perhaps they actually had reasonable policies in place. Either way, could they have ever known that as they allowed them entry, they were opening their doors to the Savior of the world?  Oh the irony. This same nation whose leader had once killed Hebrew babies now took in a Hebrew baby whose own leader was killing…Hebrew babies. “But that was another time, different circumstances, and THAT infant was the actual Messiah,” we might all too quickly object. And then we remember.  We remember that refugee […]

Lasso The Moon

I wrote and delivered the following as a 9 minute talk at Q Commons in Nashville hosted at Lipscomb University, February 26, 2015. I once convinced my children that I lassoed the moon. Oh, the beautiful power of imagination. It was the perfect night to pull off such a caper. Windy, partly cloudy, and the illusion of a full moon racing across the sky. Inspired by my favorite movie character, George Bailey, I stooped down, picked up an invisible “magic” lasso and said, “Hey kids, watch this!” as I flung it skyward, capturing not only the moon, but the imaginations of two wide-eyed children who dared to imagine with me. And though it defied all logic, they dared to believe. A few short years ago I dared to imagine how love could be embodied as business. Not just business on a mission or for a mission or even with a mission. But business as mission. Business as a vehicle for the advancing kingdom of God. Business that invited the consumer to be consumed in a bigger story. But I had no business starting a business. I didn’t have the training, the education, or the experience in business. My limited business experience came from selling golf balls as a kid growing up near a golf course. (That story is here.) Even so, I dared to imagine. And that imagination turned into creation as I co-founded The Well Coffeehouse as a way to participate in the kingdom of God. The Well was designed as an […]

Golf Balls & Lemonade: How I Learned To Be An Entrepreneur

Golf Balls & Lemonade: How I Learned To Be An Entrepreneur Maybe I was born to be an entrepreneur.  I spent several years of my childhood growing up in a middle class, suburban neighborhood surrounded by a country club. It wasn’t a fancy golf course in any sense of the word.  If it had been, this story may have never been told.  All I knew was it felt like one big, amazing playground.  As one of our countless adventures, my friends and I would sneak our bikes onto the golf cart paths for some pretty amazing joy rides that required dodging flying golf balls and oncoming golf carts.  Thank goodness my little sister never flew off my handlebars where she liked to ride. A couple of times a week we’d venture over to the golf course clubhouse to buy a coke and a snack from the vending machine with the four quarters we saved up for the purchase. Don’t tell but sometimes they’d even let us into the bar area and let us buy a coke from the fountain.  I listened as golfers boasted outrageous tales of their prowess on the course, laying claim to 400 yard shots off the tee into the wind and onto the green.  They’d describe hitting the flag out of the sand trap and sinking 30 foot putts in the rain…with their eyes closed.  But I knew better.  Because I watched.  From the woods. My friends and I spent much of our time looking for lost golf balls in those […]

The Harmony of God’s Image

Because of the interest in this article and because of its length I have also made  it available as a pdf for more convenient reading.  This also contains a summary/review of almost 30 different resources on the roles of gender in the church. Download:  The Harmony of God’s Image “The longer I look at ‘the patriarch’, the clearer it becomes to me that Rembrandt has done something quite different from letting God pose as the wise old head of a family. It all began with the hands. The two are quite different. The father’s left hand touching the son’s shoulder is strong and muscular. The fingers are spread out and cover a large part of the prodigal son’s shoulder and back. I can see a certain pressure, especially in the thumb. That hand seems not only to touch, but, with its strength, also to hold. Even though there is a gentleness in the way the father’s left hand touches his son, it is not without a firm grip. “How different is the father’s right hand! This hand does not hold or grasp. It is refined, soft, and very tender. The fingers are close to each other and they have an elegant quality. It lies gently upon the son’s shoulder. It wants to caress, to stroke, and to offer consolation and comfort.” – Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (in reflection on the Rembrandt painting above) There are few issues within the church more divisive than determining what role gender plays in leadership, in […]

I Choose To Participate

In the book, Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank, a question is raised regarding instrumental worship:  “The instrumental music issue may or may not be a big deal in a person’s mind and heart. Ultimately, it boils down to a simple question.  Am I willing to do what God said to do?” I was raised in this tradition so I know this argument.  And my answer to the question posed by Shank is a clear and resounding, “YES.”   I am more than willing. But probably not in the way Shank is suggesting.  And so, as one who has recently planted a church that worships God in many ways, including with the musical instrument,  I present the question back to Shank. The church tradition from which Shank argues his perspective is the same one in which I grew up and have served in a full time ministry career.  Some within this tradition have strongly argued that worshipping God with an instrument is sinfully wrong.  It is a bold and condemning claim.  The argument is based upon two passages in the New Testament.  Ephesians 5:19 and Col. 3:16. Eph. 5:19 Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Col. 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one […]

It’s Not YOUR Fault…Anymore

Like everyone I am stunned by the loss of one of my favorite actors. Robin Williams felt like a friend. Sunday night I was sitting with a friend who was sharing a deep struggle stemming from a tragedy long ago for which she blames herself. I immediately thought of one of my favorite all time movie scenes from the film, Good Will Hunting. Robin Williams delivers the powerful line repeatedly, “It’s not your fault” to a deeply troubled young man played by Matt Damon. These powerful words of release lead to deep healing in the film. Late Sunday night I told my friend, “If I have to bring Robin Williams here to say those words himself in order for you to believe them, I’ll do it.” 24 hours later, Robin Williams was gone. I pray that my friend will hear these words even more powerfully now than Sunday night. Because I believe Jesus speaks in unexpected ways, through surprising voices, and in unlikely places. May all who are hurting, who are blaming themselves, who are on the verge of giving up…find healing and life as you hear Jesus take your faults and shortcomings and brokenness upon Himself. “It’s not your fault.” Whether you are truly to blame or are an innocent victim, Jesus is there in the midst of it all, offering to take your guilt and your shame so that you can be free. “It’s not your fault.” Because only Jesus knows what you’ve been through and how that has […]