Monday, September 27, 2010

more in prep for the series on monsters, fear, and halloween

I sympathize with Garfield

...Mondays are always rough

Never trust your emotions on Monday
Never follow through with the impulses you have on a Monday
Never think too hard about what happened over the weekend on a Monday
Never do your finances on a Monday

Mondays are for rest and recovery
The pastor's saturday, 2 days late but welcome nonetheless
Mondays are for honey-do lists and morning cartoons with the one-remaining pre-schooler
Mondays are for t-shirts and dog-walking
Mondays are good days for drinking coffee on the porch and finding out what kind of a mess Lisbeth Salander has gotten herself into
Mondays are for TiVo'd episodes of MadMen and Boardwalk Empire

Real life can wait til tomorrow

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

tough sluggin'

one of my favorite lines ever written came during the afterward of George RR Martin's A Storm of Swords: this one was a bitch.

ever since reading those words, i've been tempted to steal them and use them in reference to pretty much every teaching atlas we've ever done.

apparently, i run the scriptural equivalent of a kennel - every single one is a you-know-what.

but none, i think, more so than this current project Monsters, which is too bad because i've been itching to write this one for a long time. thing is, between just getting back from sabbatical and writing Shadowing God, and having to travel to houston, dallas, seattle, bellingham, and vancouver i was forced to write the bulk of Monsters in hotel rooms on my ipad.

thankfully, i've got a great editor in Caleb Seeling, and he's been helping me refine and retool my thoughts so as to approximate something like cohesive prose.

but now i'm coming to the end of the writing - should wrap all that up tonight - and then i'll be laying this sucker out in a big and beautiful A4 hardcover with plenty of illustrations (think Dr. Suess, for adults).

and it'll be worth it.

i love monsters, just as I'm loving Monsters now that it's taken shape and am confident you will too.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

This week was bat-nuts

I am on a plane, my fourth this week, attempting to write a teaching atlas on my ipad.

I used to love my ipad, love it less now.

I miss my family, especially after sabbatical, and i miss my church. Its a good place, westwinds, and i have a wonderful home.

God has been showing me some tremendous and difficult truths this week, though, so i am grateful for the time away. Its just likehim to take us on a trip we don't want in order to speak something into us we wouldnt otherwise hear.

He's tricksy like that.

Two more days, three more flights, and then home to the two little monsters that matter and the beautiful woman who still turns a pastorly beast into a prince.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 11, 2010

free copy of "shadowing god" for anyone who wants to do a review

if you're interested in reviewing "shadowing god" on, I'll send you a free copy of the book. just email me at


a couple days with len sweet

thursday and friday Jvo and I were in manhattan with len sweet (author, futurist, and friend). len has had a significant impact on my life, and been my unofficial patron ever since i finished up at george fox university 4 years ago. he has fed me insights and intellectual tidbits, included me in his proposals and future plans, and - most astonishingly - always returned my phone calls.

we were meeting len to follow up on his visit to the winds this past spring. we wanted to hear him feedback on our unique strengths (as well as our weaknesses), and give him permission to speak critically about the church, our leadership style, our emphasis, and our spirit.

it was an incredible two days. len was fantastically affirming and - as always - very generous (both in his praise and through giving thoughtful gifts to Jvo and I).

of the many impressions he left me with, it was his generosity that impacted me the most. after a great morning, during which he treated us to a variety of life's finer things, i said to John: everytime i'm with len i'm reminded of how generous God is. it makes me want to do for others like len has done for us. i want to help others think through critical issues. i want to encourage others not to give up or change from the course they know to be "theirs." i want to give gifts that foster the imagination. i want to be like len being like Christ.

and i do.

thanks, len, for your investment in us and in the winds.

thanks, westwinds, for the freedom and permission to learn from one of the greats.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Time for another live stream solution

This past Sunday I noticed that our livestreaming app (, which we use to broadcast The Que (our weekend worship experience) over the internet has been selling ad space over top of our broadcast.

Not banner ads, mind you - full screen ads that completely obscure our video feed and give no opportunity for the viewer to close the ad.

At all.

You have to watch the ad, full screen, if you want to watch westwinds live.

Which wouldn't be so bad, except that the ads run about every 3-4 minutes (I saw the same ad 4 times this Sunday before I got up to teach).

And, it wouldn't be soooo bad if the ads weren't (a) a budweiser beer commercial, complete with girls in bikinis and mardi gras beads drinking, dancing, sweating, and touching; and (b) some ad for a sports coupe featuring a "well-endowed" woman with bleached blond hair who is being vigorously shaken by her driver (do I need to point out what kind of video footage is produced when a camera is aimed at such a woman's chest?) as he quickly jerks the car side to side, causing her to bounce jubilantly.

So bad.

So, this week, we're looking for a new video service. Any suggestions?

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A tricky time turning off...

I've been back from sabbatical for about 3weeks so far, and I'm noticing a significang difference in my work: I can't stop.

Normally, I do a really good job of turning off my "work brain" when I walk in the front door of our home. I turn off my cell phone, ignore my twitter and facebook feeds, and only check my voicemails and emails at 7pm and 9pm just in case there are any emergencies. This way, I prioritize my family and ensure that I rest and am right with God for the next day.

But, since coming back from sabbatical, none of my normal "unplugging" rituals are working very well. I can't stop thinking about all there is to do at the winds - I'm concerned about our metrics, about our staff, about our plans for the future, about being faithful to God, etc.

Hopefully i'll snap out of it soon. I like the unplugged version of myself better.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Wisdom from Callie Roos

I met Callie in South Africa a few years ago. he was my guide on a safari into the veldt (african bush) and i learned a lot from him about how not to get eaten (Callie is a master survivalist). i have referred to him, from time to time, in some of my sermon illustrations at westwinds and there is a section of the forthcoming "shadowing god" book devoted to adapting his tracking principles to spiritual formation.

i asked Callie to describe his principles for me so i could include his teaching directly in the atlas, but he caught the flu and was unable to get the stuff to me in time. it's great stuff, though, so i thought i'd post it here:

I guess as part of the introduction one wants to ‘play’ with the tension between a complete system (mechanistically) and the intuitive gut as the tracker will always operate within this tension. This is what trackers do: they bring two worlds into one – on the one hand the micro world of detail analytical logic steps but then also the integration of all senses related to listening, awareness, interpretation, reading the signs, picking up the vibe / energy and trust your instinct into one. I guess as humans we should also be good at this. We embrace uncertainty as much as we embrace certainty in our faith. We are more spiritual than anything else and this awareness is also true of the tracker trying to find his rhythm in the journey of following a trail.

5 OnTrack Principles

1. Stand Square on the track

This principle reminds me of die intelligence of possibility. It challenges me to ask if it was at all possible for us to ‘be on track’ with life’s journey. It challenges my past programming and asks the question but what if I was loaded up the wrong software up to now. In other words things related to my self-concept, my understanding of this planet and God’s will for us, my role in allowing God to express him through me etc. This principle helps me to think of myself as special (Col 1-3) – a new identity – a kingdom player that goes way beyond what the church is busy with most of the time. It is about relevance and it is all possible (Rom 12:1-2)

2. Look up!

This principle is the momentum one. We need momentum. The slogan of my business ‘advance to significance’ is embedded in here. It is here that I would also try and introduce the importance of purpose and where to look for it. For me it is to be found in the ‘other’ whatever this would mean to anyone. I would also argue that our purpose is not to glorify God but that God will only be glorified if I acknowledge the uniqueness of my own journey and understand that I have a unique design of that person that I was meant to be and when this happens God will be glorified.

3. Don’t let your eyes wander

It is all about energy. You have so much of it? In the wilds people die because they are not thinking. However, two things will take up all your energy in the wilds: guilt (how did I get into this mess, loose the ‘spoor / track’) and fear. It is about focus then – how to stay on track with your vision and not get derailed as this will happen with most people most of the time.

4. Follow the obvious route

What does it mean to allow the spirit to guide you with the ‘how’ of life? Well I guess that life will teach you all these wonderful lessons – so when will we start learning. Again it is the intuitive gut and trust. A daring culture where we challenge our own comfort zone. Guess we were created for this.

5. Stop & reflect

Life’s no 1 lesson. We don’t do this. We are always too busy. Too much pressure. Too much noise in the system. Just not brave enough to call time. We need to lead the rest of the world when it comes to calmness and our ability to reflect on reality. I guess this is what this principle is all about. Point is that we can come back with new strategies for life and we ought to be good at this (the entrepreneurial spirit). We lead the rest – but do we?

Hope this helps to get you going on some of it.

Thanks, Callie - you're a dude. Check out Shadowing God through or, available September 12/2010.