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.
One word that I’ve heard since I was a young child that defines how Christians should respond to Jesus and His commands is faith. Continue reading
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
Friends- thank you so much for you continuing prayers and support with our ministry endeavors in Burlington. This is the online version of our fall update, so it’s longer than a typical post. You can also download a pdf version here: fall 2015 update. We appreciate your partnership in moving the message of Jesus forward. Continue reading
Many of Burlington’s homeless will spend winter 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
Most church planters I know walk into church planting with clarity in four areas:
- They know how God has wired them- including their passions, talents, strengths, and giftedness.
- They sense a calling to a specific group of people- whether it’s a neighborhood, cultural group, city, etc.
- They have a clear vision of what the church could and should be- rooted in the intersection of scripture and cultural context.
- 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
If 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
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
After returning to Burlington to pick up the kids, we made a detour through New Jersey on our way to Pennsylvania. We were in the New Brunswick area for only about 24 hours, but every block of that community has so many of memories connected to the six spent years we spent pouring ourselves out in helping start the Point Church. Even more important than seeing the place was briefly seeing people we know and love. Continue reading
We began our sabbatical on July 6 with Christin and I flying to southern California to attend a preaching/teaching conference at North Coast Church with 25 other couples involved in church planting. Larry Osborne and Chris Brown provided the best training I’ve personally experienced concerning preaching and teaching. None of this would have happened, though, without Brian Bloye and Kevin Dunlap of West Ridge Church providing this for church planters they’ve invested in over the years. These guys LOVE church planters and it shows.
As many of you know, me and my family are heading on a sabbatical from July 6 to August 7. Christin and I will begin with just the two of us attending a church-planting conference in Southern California, then head with the whole family for one week in the Poconos of Pennsylvania and three weeks on the coast of Maine. Thank you to all who contributed to making this possible.
We have three simple goals: unplug, refuel, and listen to God. Please pray with us Ephesians 1:16-20:
16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.
You can also download our summer update here: summer 2015 update