As some of you know on Monday I made a very quick last minute trip to GA to handle some Medicaid business for my dad.  His steady decline associated with dementia and cirrhosis meant he needs the end of life care only a nursing home can provide. The trip was about as exciting as it sounds- long meetings with nice people involving lots of mind-numbing paperwork.

Many of you know I grew up in a tight knit family and enjoyed an especially close relationship to my Dad. Much in our relationship changed during the past seventeen years as a wedge developed between me and him-the combined effect of affairs and alcoholism. Over this past decade I’ve watched the weight of regret and guilt slowly crush my dad.  Although I told my dad many times I love him and forgive him, a palpable tension continued between us. This wedge, the tension, and his spiraling spiritual, emotional, and physical decline has proven to be one of the greatest pains of my life.  I’ve seen firsthand you can choose to love someone, you can choose to forgive, but true reconciliation can never be forced.

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Blessing a brother

The name of our friend has purposely been changed and the name of his home country omitted for the safety of him and his family.

I met Pacifico five years ago while volunteering at the COTS Day Station, a warm place for people to come off the streets during Vermont’s frigid winters.  Kate, the peppiest of the COTS case managers, walked in the room and shouted, “Kevin you’re like a minister- right?” I quickly walked over and she continued,  “I have this guy who just arrived in my office.  He’s a pastor from Africa and doesn’t speak any English. Can you try to figure out his situation?”  And for the better part of an hour we used the modern miracle of Google translator to type between English and French.
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Equip Retreat 2016

vtcpequipretreatblank-01This weekend, January 29-30, we host our third annual Equip Retreat through Vermont Church Planting.   Forty church planters and potential church planters from across Vermont and the neighboring region are attending with Mike Breen from 3DM Movements leading our sessions.

This week I sensed God leading me to pray three specific things for this retreat.  Will you pray the following with me?

For God to remind us Jesus is worth the risks we’re taking and sacrifices we’re making.
For God to encourage us  as we share stories with other like minded guys.
For God to equip us with some practical tools for our ministry toolbox.

Thank you for your prayers and partnership.

Welcoming refugees: moving forward in faith

Since the Paris terrorist attacks I have not been surprised by the shift in American opinion over admitting Syrian refugees nor the corresponding political posturing that both feeds and responds to the fears of many.  What surprises me most is the response of many who identify as Bible believing Christians where believing we should welcome  Syrian refugees places you squarely in the minority.  Many of my brothers and sisters in Jesus agree  Christian churches are called to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of a messed up world and God desires Jesus-followers to live as ambassadors for Christ- representing His interests and not our own.   Many of us agree our lives have been redefined by who Jesus is, by His example and teaching,  and what He accomplished through His crucifixion and resurrection. We even agree following Jesus means taking His commands to heart- listening and responding to what Jesus taught. Unfortunately what Jesus clearly taught and modeled remains alarmingly absent from many of our conversations.praying-hands-on-scripture

One word that I’ve heard since I was a young child that defines how Christians should respond to Jesus and His commands is faithContinue reading

Welcoming refugees: moving beyond fear

The last few weeks have proven a trying time for our nation as we wrestle with how to best respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.  The discussion and debates have increasingly intensified since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.  Even within Christian churches we find a disparity of views on how best to respond with much of the discussion rooted in a fear being fed by both the media and politicians.   Most of us aren’t surprised by the idea that “fear sells” and our media (both conservative and liberal leaning) knows fear is good for business. Continue reading

Have an old sleeping bag you don’t use?

Many of Burlington’s homeless will spend Homeless-Online-1winter searching for shelter- their chronic addictions often prevent them from entering shelters.  This is one way we can help them stay warm in our sub-freezing temperatures.  At Burlington City Church’s Community Brunch on November 22 we’ll have a sleeping bag exchange where neighbors can drop off and pick up sleeping bags.

You can send sleeping bags to the following address: Burlington City Church, 406 North Ave., Burlington, VT 05401

Trust the process

Most church planters I know walk into church planting with clarity in four areas:

  1. They know how God has wired them- including their passions, talents, strengths, and giftedness.
  2. They sense a calling to a specific group of people- whether it’s a neighborhood, cultural group, city, etc.
  3. They have a clear vision of what the church could and should be- rooted in the intersection of scripture and cultural context.
  4. They have a process in mind of how this will work- which involves strategic steps in leading people individually and collectively forward in following Jesus.

Many times when circumstances appear tougher, people respond slower, and momentum takes longer than we anticipated, we prematurely abandon the process for something that appears to move us more quickly towards our desired destination.   Continue reading

Sabbatical Recap: Maine

20150806_094713If our week in Southern California was all about equipping and our week in Pennsylvania was all about unplugging, then our three weeks at a cottage in coastal  Maine was definitely about refueling and listening.  As many have asked what we did, the answer includes long strolls on the beach and through the woods, cycling the rolling hills of a coastal peninsula, hunting for hermit crabs with the kids, lots of time with the family at the pool and beach. What we did doesn’t really describe the significance of what happened: God truly used this time away to deepen my relationship with Him and with my family. Continue reading

Sabbatical recap: week in the Poconos

Thanks to our good friends Ken & Lynn Nipp, we were able to really begin our sabbatical in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.   Our goals for this sabbatical are simple: unplug, refuel, and listen to God.  Unplugging is not easy and requires discipline.  I’m understanding why Jesus made a habit of escaping to lonely places away from crowds to spend time with the Father.   He’d often cross the Sea of Galilee to get away.  In this modern era of technology this requires me staying off line (except for these posts) and putting my cell phone on a shelf.  Continue reading