Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Feeling discouraged today. Don't know why. Maybe its that I get discouraged at my job sometimes. The Christian School enviornment does not represent the Kingdom that I feel so passionately about. In fact, my view of the Kingdom is a threat to the whole system of things. They want control, discipline, simplistic theology and kids in dress code. Does it matter that 95% of the students find Christianity completely irrelevant or compartmentalize it into an emotional high from time to time? I feel alone sometimes, like its Halloween everyday. I put on my mask, pretend that I'm towing the company line but knowing that I long to be real/honest and that would be the end of my employment so better have a back-up plan.
Is it that unless I find another way to subsidize my teaching salary, I can't stay here past this year anyways? Our church planting support runs out this year and it helps us afford the monthly bills with my teaching job. So in the back of my mind is this timer that is ticking. "what are you going to do, Chris? Do you have a plan? shouldn't you be working that scenario now so you're ready? . . . worry, worry, worry . . ."
Is it that I'm not completely using my gifts? I have lots of leaders I would like to coach but can't take the time to coach them. I have lots of ideas/revelations that I would like to teach but I have no way for teaching them? I have lots of thoughts that I would like to formulate, study and write on, but not the time to sit down and do it?
Is it that I do not take the time for solitude and thus get my heart in order? I get up early enough to get to school to prepare for the day, come home to soccer practices, community meetings, workouts (ha) and family time, weekends are packed, so where is quiet? (Quiet is on vacation)
Is it that I look for life in things that are dead?
Is it that I'm a control freak who never settles?
Is it that I measure myself and success based on faulty goals and values?
Is it that I'm not sleeping enough each night?
Is it that I'm in the thick of battle, in a war each day I rise? Leading a revolution against an enemy who wants complete destruction of me and all the blessings God has given me.
Is it what C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, "this universe is at war"?
And war can be discouraging.

So which of these is the reason? Yes, on all accounts.

discouraged? yes
down today? yes
depression hovering? a bit

hopeful? always
defeated? never
quitting? kiss my arse, I'll never give up

Battle is upon me, to battle I go.
Christ in me, the hope of my salvation.


Thursday, September 25, 2003


check out this link of an article by Brian McLaren on "Emerging Values"

Did I mention that Brian is coming to the Nati to participate in the conversation of "Mayhem" Jan. 9-10?????
Hold on, I'm not supposed to talk about Mayhem yet. . . more on this later.

"Our present life and the next. When we hear the words eternal life , most of us tend to interpret that as a life that waits for us in eternity. But eternal means 'unending', not 'later'. The Scriptures use the term to mean we can never lose it. It's a life that can't be taken from us. The offer is life, and that life starts now." - Waking the Dead, John Eldredge

Are you experiencing Kingdom life now? I mean "right now". I really believe that I am. So much convergence has been happening in my life over the past few years. The Spirit of Christ is living in me, I feel it in my bones. It makes me behave the way I do. It helps me say/write the things I say/write. His nature and my nature are communing. Of course I still war with sin and fall to temptation, but its grip is loosening. Not sure how to explain it, but I am seeing and experiencing more and more this Kingdom kind of life now. The majority of these experiences or glimpses of the Kingdom come from you guys, my community. I have the best friends, you guys empower me and spur me on towards love and good works. I thank God for you. I want to be the kind of influencer in our community that helps lead you guys to a Kingdom life now and not just later. Love and peace to all of you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Home sick yesterday and today with "pink eye" and a severe sore throat and congested head. So I bought my anti-biotics, rented some movies and am chilling at home. Just finished watching "Bowling for Columbine" and have mixed feelings. Its a good thought provoker on our culture and its fascination with fear and violence. I'm just not sure that our best hope is emailing our legislature Michael Moore suggests. One fact I didn't know is that the NRA was formed the same year as the KKK. Heston was interviewed and said one of the reasons that we are so violent as a nation is because of "mixed ethnicity". So a good white world would be perfect and no need for guns. This is the same Heston who is the spokesperson for videos of the Holy Land to walk where Jesus walked and of course his famous role as "Moses". Moore backed him into a corner during the interview and Heston spewed bigotry, corporate tag lines and a worldview of fear and reaction. Sounds like the corporate church I grew up in. The "religious right" is in bed with the NRA and needless to say, they don't represent me. I'm not a gun freak. I've never touched one. Its not a personal issue to me. I also say that its not the reason Columbine or other school shootings happen. They happen because of isolation and lack of community. Sub-cultures and alternative worldviews arise out of a void for meta-narrative or grand story. Kids who have been neglected, abused, warped and left alone gravitate towards the only meta-narrative that they can make sense of, chaos. No meaning, nothing has significance, everything is random, darkness rules the day. There is no story, no sense of belonging, no sense of purpose, no sense of hopeful reality, no meta-narrative. Guns and bullets are tools of chaos, they are not the cause. The root of chaos is isolation, lack of community. It is a complete disconnect with our created purpose. A Trinitarian God who created humanity with the need of belonging to the story of one another. Take this away and we have only darkness. Heston and the evangelical church have the idea of reaction in fear to this dark world. Heston will stockpile cash and bullets, 2nd amendment buttons for his lapel and spin doctors for his rhetoric. Evangelicals will amass campaigns of hate towards the secular culture. Down with Hollywood (unless of course they promote our apocalyptic cinematic crap), down with that "rock" music (unless its CCM), down with MTV (not TBN), down with pre-marital sex - as it might lead to dancing :) (yes I'm for abstinence outside of marriage so don't go there) "Down with this dark world - it scares us, oh please Jesus, come back soon, we can't handle it. Our story isn't big enough. We've reduced your gospel deal to getting the unsaved, saved. We have no idea what the hell that means, but we can sure rally around the idea of telling those damned people they're wrong and we're right. Isn't that what our story is about? Having the right information system? Mental ascent to the correct set of beliefs? That's what will keep those kids from shooting each other up with those darn guns, get 'em saved from hell. Hold a rally, get them to throw their stick in the fire, make it big, make it dramatic, get 'em all emotional then bring in the closer and get 'em all saved from hell, then it'll be ok.
Our evangelical story sucks. It is not a big enough idea. It has no room for the actual gospel, which is Kingdom transformation, Kingdom communities, Kingdom people who think missional, Incarnational living in the real world, love for orphans/widows, creative arts & culture, people who serve before being served, communities that live love, communities that offer belonging and are missional about that offer, people who embody hope in neighborhoods, who are good news to their neighbor. Our weapons against the emerging darkness are not bullets or fear, they are love and hope. We are not to lock the door and hold a loaded gun. We are not to cast a stone and frantically pray for the rapture. We, as children of light, run into the darkness. There is no hope because we are not there. I reject the evangelical gospel, its not a big enough story. I make another decision today to embrace the larger Kingdom reality. Sorry Mr. Moore, instead of emailing my congressman today, I'm gonna be-friend the lonely. Real community is the Kingdom Now. It is my hope. It is my story, the one I belong to.


Friday, September 19, 2003

Kind of reflective today. Just read through all my blogging buddies, about 20 in all and I'm just amazed at how I resonate with these pilgrims. The exchange of blessings/challenges through comments is just astounding. It is an invisible world of real community and I believe a breeding ground for Kingdom warriors to nurse their wounds and get their marching orders confirmed.

Bob and Kelly Bowen, one of our community planters with Ordinary Community just reported in from vacation at the Gulf shores. It turns out that during some of their pool conversation they ran across another family who home schools and also does "home church". They have been meeting in a house church for the past 5 years but were not aware of the growing network here in the midwest as they live in Georgetown, KY. So Bob and Kelly gave them Creech's info. as they are more local to him and invited them to our next All-Group in October and they are planning to come. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? God is moving. the virus is spreading, an epidemic is on the horizon. Kingdom unite, Kingdom arise. Its a good day to live.

"Thank you for responding to me; you've truly become my salvation! The stone the masons discarded as flawed is now the capstone! This is God's work. We rub our eyes - we can hardly believe it! This is the very day God acted - let's celebrate and be festive! Salvation now, God. Salvation now! Oh yes, God - a free and full life!"
- excerpt from Psalm 118 (The Message)

Stop and celebrate the Kingdom today.


Wednesday, September 17, 2003

This is the start-up week to my new committment to physical workouts. Monday, I ran and I'm still feeling it. Tuesday, I lifted and I'm still feeling it. Today, after work, its time to run again. In the meantime, I'm fighting some sinus infection/cold that keeps me drained and achey. But I have to keep momentum going forward, can't afford to take a day off yet. Push forward, take some more ground, its a battle. I know I have to push through this week to get through the pain of just beginning. Taking it slow but pushing ahead. How did I allow myself to get this out of shape???? Everyday is a new battle. Today its me vs. the pavement in my neighborhood. Who will win? She is an intimidating foe.


Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Ok, been meaning to do this for a long time, but I greatly expanded the "fellow bloggers" section to the left. These are all people who are in this journey of planting missional communities around the world. They are also people who challenge my daily thinking and spiritual formation. Good peeps, all of them. Enjoy.

"The Glory of God is man fully alive." -Saint Irenaeus

Really? seriously? But I have work to do, lesson plans to prepare, things to get to, tv to watch, messages to call back, emails to return, future to plan, finances to secure, basement to finish, office to clean, wife to support, friends to care for, kids to raise, paperwork to complete, wokout plan to execute, car to wash, closet to clean, tommorrow to worry about, events to plan, house church to prepare, grandmother to visit, fantasy football to obsess over, people to please, self to feel important, ego to satisfy, hunger to curve, void to fill etc. etc. etc.

Is the Kingdom really about today and I'm just flat missing it? Fully alive. Sounds like a dream, and dreams do come true, sometimes.

"I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

Look for the goodness of the Lord today and let it outnumber your to-do list.


Monday, September 15, 2003

"Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
before earth and heaven were conceived,
from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
you say to them “go back, children of men”.
A thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday, that has passed;
like a short watch in the night."

This battle that we find ourselves is not a new one. Its not about modern vs. postmodern, traditional vs. progressive, organization vs. organic, mega vs. micro, excellence vs. simple or establishment vs. grassroots. It is an age-old battle of good vs. evil, flesh vs. spirit, Kingdom vs. destruction. If we are to fight this war well, we need perspective. We are not the first ones to lift our swords. We're not the first ones to suffer casualties. But nonetheless, we are here. And our King has seen it all. Nothing takes him by surprise. He is calm, he experiences no anxiety. He is determined to be patient for his Bride to awaken from her slumber and take on his nature. I feel humbled this morning before my God who has always been. You are the great "I am" and I submitt my will and my sword to you this day. Teach me your ways, your nature and I will lead your people to the great battles of your Kingdom in this age. I place my trust in you, you oh God are our reguge and strength. Amen.


Friday, September 12, 2003

Its FRIDAY, i think I've said this a dozen times already today but it still remains true. Its interesting in our culture how we dread through our work week to get to each weekend as sacred time. Its like religion. Know the orthodox protocol: Monday = recover from the weekend, ease into the week, Tuesday-Wednesday = put your head down and just work through the hump, Thursday = hope is seen at the end of the tunnel so cram a bunch in to free yourself for the weekend, Friday= begin to relax, wrap up loose ends, put off anything you can til Monday, then comes 5:00 on Friday and whistles go off, bells ring, happy hour begins. I have nothing but family time tonight and I can't wait. Even though my kids at times don't get along (pastor's kids) I am so relaxed around them. They are my primary community. So what's on for tonight? Go buy a wedding gift for Joe Long (can't believe my boy is getting married), movie night? out to dinner? games at home? who cares? Its family night and probably will involve ice cream at some point :) Hope your weekend is great. Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Letter to Kevin,

Yesterday tested our friendship, tested our character, tested our sense of brotherhood. I hope in the next 100 years of our lives, we don't experience that kind of raw emotion, but I'm probably wrong about that. But we survived. Not only did we survive, we learned a lot about the good and the bad within us and we're still standing. Remember the line from Fight Club, "What can you really know about a man until you've seen him in a fight?" Well, what you learn is the depravity and the beauty. We have a mix of both, but when push comes to shove, we call out the beauty (the Kingdom stuff) in one another. So, we're still standing. No, check that. We're running to the front of the battle line . . .

I'm learning now that we are making some other kingdom nervous. The enemy is showing its ugly face and delivering some blows and they are painful. But here's the deal, we're getting back up. Do you hear that, you slimy piece of crap? Nobody is down, nobody is out, nobody is alone. The fellowship is strong and battle makes us stronger. Do you really want a fight out in the open where the light reveals the absurdity of your lies and the irrationality of your accusations? Are you sure you want a piece of a Kingdom Community that seeks to serve first before being served? Are you sure that you want to awaken the people of the Ressurrection? Because we hear you loud and clear and sorry that we don't cower into a corner, its just not our nature. We take after our King and He seems rather confident. His orders are clear. No retreat, no surrender, no fear, no hestitancy. You want a fight? You got one big boy. Though we walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for He is with us. Sound the alarm, its on and we're showing up. Kingdom of God, unite, war is upon us.


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Ok, I've been complaining about a lack of connection with the ultimate reality, no intimacy time with God, no time to connect with my heart. Well, tonight after reading a book with my daughters, praying with them and putting them to bed, Ali starts to tell me how thankful she is for God. Something like, "I'm so thankful for God. He's given us everything. This house, food, our money, all the people I love, everything. I'm so glad we have God, he's so good to us." (all while climbing up to the top bunk and getting in bed). All my whining seems so insignificant. Ali gets it. A small time of reflection. A moment of gratitude for a God worthy of worship. Solitude in the midst of routine gaining perspective for a peaceful night of rest.

"Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's Kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." -Luke 18 (The Message)

Thank you for teaching me tonight, Ali. I'm thankful to our God for you tonight.

Finding it nearly impossible to get some time for quiet. I feel like I'm really hungry and thirsty for some solitude, but where? I only need to be at school from 7:30-3:30 but am finding that to fulfill what needs to be done, I'm here from 6:30-5:00. Its even more stressful when the amount of hours required still don't provide a salary that I can support my family on. When I get home I'm exhausted, don't want to do anything but hang with the family and attend community gatherings. I'm a big picture thinker and not taking the time to gain perspective in solitude stresses me out. I feel like I'm only paying attention to the immediate with no connection with the transcendent. Everyday gets a little better, I'm getting a grasp on it but I want to dig myself out. I need time for personal worship/solitude with God and I need time for exercise, for physcially I'm always tired. Is the answer to get up earlier than 5:00 a.m.? Is the answer to dedicate a couple whole days a month for solitude but not much daily? I know I don't like this feeling and I know that I can't maintain it very long. God of peace, I want more than a quick fix, I want a doable plan. Show me the way of discipline. Show me the place for rest in your arms. I miss you.


Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Where else can I turn? You have the very words of life. Why am I consumed by so many other things? Why does my heart stray from the source of life? Why do I seek life out of things that are dead? How utterly depraved my flesh must be. Broken before you I come, Jesus. With not much to offer, I come. My heart is thirsty, I want to drink from your well and be filled. Where else can I turn? You have the words of life.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

i feel crushed today. physically, emotionally, mentally, the whole deal. A full month of travel followed by my wife's traditional family camp on labor day weekend which I went to straight off my flight back from Boise. Sleeping in cabins, more athletic activity than the present state of my body can handle, our annual fantasy football draft on Monday night and then back to school here on tuesday morning. I'm not adjusting well. I feel behind the 8 ball and trying to dig my way out. I hate being away from home so much, i hate not being in my bed, not being with my family and feeling disconnected from my community. I learned a lot on this trip though, mostly thru listening to the Holy Spirit. I have much to report but not yet. The first big piece of news is that I'm going to drop myself from the DMIN program that I went to Portland to begin. I'll explain later, but have had real peace as a result. Hopefully this week i will have the time to bear my soul a bit and articulate what's happening inside my heart. Its good to be home.