Saturday, August 30, 2008

11 wonderful years

Today is my wedding anniversary! I don't know how the time has past so quickly, but I thank God for eleven wonderful years of marriage. It seems like just yesterday that Lisa and I were spending the week together to celebrate ten years.

God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, friend, support, and compliment. Most don't know how much Lisa does to support me in the things that God allows me to be a part of. I have tried to do the same for her as she pursues the dreams that God has given her. What a wonderful gift marriage is.

I look forward to the many years ahead and to my beautiful bride I say "I love you forever".

Friday, August 29, 2008

CT article on Brian McClaren

I received my Christianity Today magazine in the mail today. I am always interested to find out what will be inside. This magazines, if nothing else, tells what is being talked about in American Christianity. This issue contains an article written by popular writer and blogger Scot McKnight about often controversial Brian McClaren.

McKnight begins with some context of how he views McClaren and all things emergent and then asks a few of the critical questions that many are asking.

Questions like: What about clarity? Why does McClaren enjoy stirring up controversial thoughts without explaining what he means? What about the cross? McKnight asks some other questions that I would have about McClaren's understanding of the purpose and significance of the cross. McKnight quotes McClaren's descriptions of the purpose of the cross as a movement of peace and liberation. Nothing about total depravity. Nothing about man's desperate need of a savior. Lastly, McKnight poses some questions about the failure to mention the role of the church in the "kingdom" agenda. He points out that the message is always about the kingdom, but never mentions the church.

McKnight states "according to the New Testament, the kingdom vision of Jesus is, is seems, only implemented through the church". So he questions why the church is rarely if ever mentioned in McClaren's writings.

Overall, I felt that Scot McKnight asked some of the critical questions that need to be addressed. I would have asked more, but it was only a magazine article and not a book so I understand.

McClaren has made a habit of making outlandish statements in the name of Christianity. He also seems to enjoy interpreting God's will from his own personal perceptions of the world how he feels about what the Bible says. He really has a problem with people who simply read the Bible and believe that it means what it says.

I have long been concerned for the many Christians who believe that McClaren's opinions are from the Bible so I am thankful for some healthy critique of his teaching in a very respectful way. I would encourage you to read the article for yourself if you have interests in the emergent movement or any forms of post modern Christianity.

If you read the article, what did you think of it?

What are your thoughts on McClaren and his many writings and teachings?

Knowing God

"The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word".

A.W. Tozer

Are you accomplishing something?

“Merely because we are busy, or even skilled, doing something does not necessarily mean that we are getting anything accomplished”.

Robert Coleman

Convicting? I know it is for me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


"The goal of prayer is not to gratify our selfish desires, but to align our wills with God's purpose".

John MacArthur

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It is a challenge asking people for money. I started PURSUE to support Christian young people who wanted to go to college. I wanted to see those who wanted to stand behind urban young people have a pathway to do that. I have found that people believe in this goal. The difficult thing for me is asking people to give.
I have never liked fundraising. I do it because I want to see networks built. I want those who can help to connect with those who need that support. I like seeing the church work like it was designed to.
I am trying to match a grant by the end of this month to help fund our scholarships. It has been challenging, but every time someone commits to giving I am encouraged.
I thank God for the generousity of His people.
Does anyone have some good advice on fundraising?

REBEL drops September 30th

Lecrae's newest project will be released on September 30th. You can pre-order today at Reach Records.

If it is anything like the rest of his music, I'm sure that it will be hot. What blesses me is the authentic lifestyle of faith in this brother. Lecrae was in Chicago last week for our Legacy
and I was able to talk to him, observe him, etc. a lot. He even spent the night at my house a couple of nights. I appreciate him more as a man of God than I do his music. Glory to God.

Are you planning to purchase this new album?

Update on Lawrice

On Thursday, I posted about a young man named Lawrice who is pursuing his dreams. The story was about a woman named Keri Wyatt Kent who I am connected to. Network. Lawrice had contacted her looking for support in his endeavors. Keri met with Lawrice and his grandmother yesterday and shares her story here.
I get excited about people using their network to support others. I am encouraged when young people who lack a good network receive support from the greater Christian community. This story is a great example of what we are trying to do with PURSUE.
Contact Keri through her blog if you would like to help support Lawrice as well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

People need people

One of the reason's that I started PURSUE is to offer a network to young people. Many ambitious Christian young people in the city desire to pursue dreams, but they lack the network of support that can help them succeed. I have seen this first hand.

Keri Wyatt Kent, who I have never met, is a Christian author. We have many mutual friends including Arloa Sutter, the executive director of Breakthrough Urban Ministries where my wife works. Keri was indirectly a part of my network. Arloa suggested she contact me this week regarding a young person she knew who need assistance getting to college to pursue his dreams.

This young man, Lawrice, has worked hard, prepared himself, and is on his way. He lacked a network and reached out to Keri. Read her story about this here.

Take time to read her story and if God is leading you, I would ask you to consider helping Lawrice as well and contact Keri about how you can do that. My hope is that Keri's network and my network can become a network of support to Lawrice.

How have you seen knowing people and having relationships help you to succeed?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Still unequal

A group of Chicago ministers are seeking to bring the inequalities in school funding to light. Their method is to ask students to boycott the first day of school to bring attention to this issue.

Many of these ministers are men that I have met and have a great deal of respect for. But I have serious questions about this method of bringing the issue to the forefront.

I do agree with them that education is still quite separate and unequal in this country. I do agree that children in our neighborhood are served with substandard schools while other communities have a shopping mall of learning opportunities in their schools.

My concern is more to do with why ask children to not go to school to highlight the importance of school. Especially since funding is largely based on attendance. These schools will receive less in funding because of these students not showing up. Some of these same pastors led campaigns last year going door to door to ask parents to have their children at school on the first day in order to help increase funding. The messages seem mixed to me.

Do you agree that education is still unequal in our country?
Do you think having kids protest school is a good way to make a statement about this issue?
What can be done to help bring equality in this area?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cullen Jones

Cullen Jones swims for the US Olympic team. He also is working hard to promote swimming among African-Americans. He doesn't just think it is fun, he believes it can be a matter of life and death. In fact, Cullen almost drowned at age 6 at a waterpark. The lifeguards saved his life by doing CPR.

Statistics show that 60% of African-Americans can't swim. Also, African-American children ages 5-14 are three times as likely to drowned as white children in the same category.
I always appreciate those who use their gifts to benefit others and society. I take special interest in those who seek the well being of African-Americans.
Has anyone else been encouraged by the story of an Olympian?

Back to school

Justin, Marcus, & Lamar
Touring the campus
Climbing a mountain
I get excited about young people going to college. I am especially encouraged by young people who have faced many obstacles and lack many educational opportunities, but still pursue a college education. That is a big part of why I started PURSUE.
I just got back from taking on of the students from our church back to Liberty University to start his sophomore year. His commitment to his education is an encouragement to me. Two of our teenagers rode with me for the long ride (12 hours each way). It was a great time to fellowship and also to talk with them about their academic future.
I thank God for the young people who are a part of our church family. They encourage and inspire me. They remind me that the church has a great future.
Does anyone else see reason to hope in the future of the church?

Thursday, August 7, 2008


One week from today, the Legacy Disciplemaking Conference begins here in Chicago. This conference is one of a kind. Not only is it very urban in its style and approach, but the collection of ministers who come to serve and teach is exciting. Lecrae & the whole 116 Clique, Da Truth, Flame, Shai Linne, Paul Washer, etc.

It is exciting to be a part of bringing this event to our young urban leaders. Please be in prayer that God will use this event to spur on another generation of disciplemakers.

Will you be at the Legacy?

Monday, August 4, 2008


"How many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud- just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend- woven around church (mostly). This is the life for millions of people. Wasted life. We were created for more, far more".
John Piper - "Don't Waste Your Life"

I don't want to waste my life!

How about you?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

AC Green

AC Green speaking with our group
The kids watching him
AC giving my son Joshua an autograph

3BA action
I got to meet AC Green today. I had long admired him as an outspoken person about his faith. His book "Victory" was encouraging to me as a young man as well. Today he took time to tour Breakthrough Urban Ministries and our neighborhood. He showed up at my kids t-ball game and met the kids.
In the short time that I saw him there and at the game tonight, I was impressed with his genuine interest in people. I noticed him remembering and using peoples names. He was meeting loooooots of people and then calling them all by name when he would move on. He also was in no hurry. It is as if he knows that his fame can be used as a platform of influence for good and so he takes seriously his responsibility to do that. If leadership is influence, then AC is a great leader.
Thank you AC for showing the love of Jesus to our community today.
Has anyone ever met someone who had great influence and used it well to promote the kingdom?

Friday, August 1, 2008


Anyone else hear about the 3BA? It is a new league forming. This summer they are touring in several cities. Tomorrow night, they are at the UIC Pavilion here in Chicago. Our family is going free through Breakthrough Urban Ministries. A.C. Green who is coaching the team from Portland donated tickets to Breakthrough. Check it out here. 3 on 3. Full court. 18 second shot clock. The whole concept is quite different. It can be hard to create a new sport or a marketable variation of a sport. Remember the XFL?

What do you think about this idea of innovating the game of basketball?