The Harmony of God’s Image
Thankful for these two friends and worship leaders who are using their gifts in a beautiful expression of the image of God.

I am blessed to know the two ladies pictured above.  Each of them serve churches as worship leaders and are unique expressions of the image of God.  May God continue to use them to His glory. There have been few issues within the church that have been more divisive than determining what role gender plays in leadership and ministry.    Over the centuries the problem has not been that the Bible is silent on the gender issue but that Scripture has been used to silence a gender.  While it may be true that most who have sought to interpret this complex issue have been well intentioned Christians seeking to be faithful to the Scriptures, the overlying conclusions drawn by the majority have been oppressive. The question of gender and ministry in the church is not one that can simply be quantified by plucking a few Scriptures out of the Bible, placing them in an outlined list, and then using them to build a case.  As ridiculous as that sounds, I believe this is the approach many church leaders have taken on both this issue and many others.   On many of those issues poor exegesis and bad theology can be overcome by a healthy Christology.  When it comes to the debate over gender in the church however, the results of this approach result in much further reaching implications in which the very expression of God and his work in the world through the church can be distorted, limited, and oppressed.  It […]

I Choose To Participate
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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
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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 […]