Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

BlessedLogo.pngBlessed week 3 in 19 tweets:

If you want to live a normal, ordinary, comfortable, safe life- you really should look for a different church – because here you are going to be challenged to not be normal.

Blessing isn’t what God GIVES us, it’s God WITH us

There is a huge difference between peace keeping and peace making

We cannot / must not settle for peace keeping. We must push to peace making

Peacemakers run toward conflict / peace keepers run away from it

There are all kinds of people living in isolation, we can’t be ok with that

Jesus is radically and totally opposed to exclusion in any form

Our inclusiveness needs to extend past our twitter feed

We must lift our eyes up from our islands of bias and privilege, look across the chasm of separation and see on the other side beloved children of God

When we see someone in need, let’s remember that we’re more like them than unlike them

We cannot follow Jesus and stay where we are

We must build bridges and shout – you don’t have to love us but you are going to know that we love you! And, more importantly that God loves you in real ways.

We are peace makers with our eyes when we choose to make eye contact with those we usually wouldn’t

We are peace makers with our ears when we choose to listen to people tell their stories

We are peace makers with our mouths when we choose to simply smile at strangers

We are peace makers with our voice when we speak value to others and give our voice to the voiceless

We are peace makers with our hearts when we choose to pray for God to help us FEEL what others FEEL

We are peace makers with our hands when we choose to reach out to serve

We are peace makers with our feet when we choose to go places we don’t normally go

We had an incredible weekend around here and I wanted to share some of the main thoughts: So here is Blessed week 2 in 21 tweets:

 From my intro:

  1. No matter who you voted for, we all have to realize the worlds view of what it means to be a Jesus follower is more muddy now than it was a week ago
  1. Let’s remove the words “they” or “them” from our vocabulary all together
  1. Our actions reveal what is important to us way more than our vote does. #itstartswithme

From the amazing teaching of Jessica Richie:

  1. Let’s live upside down with our feet rooted in heaven
  1. We love to give away Bibles around here. It’s the one budget line item we are happy to blow!
  1. God is actually inviting us to live right side up and it is really disorienting
  1. These blessings of Jesus aren’t a prayer or a wish.
  1. These blessings of Jesus aren’t a new set of rules.
  1. These blessings of Jesus are not conditional.
  1. These statements of blessing are God with us
  1. The table of God is open to all of us!
  1. Blessings aren’t what God GIVES us they are God WITH us
  1. You can choose to be a graceRECEIVER and a graceGIVER or a gateKEEPER
  1. God does not live in the oval office – the Kingdom isn’t released from the West Wing
  1. Our God was born in the Middle East of an unwed teenage mother
  1. Jesus was born to the least of these to bring His Kingdom to the least of these
  1. The Kingdom is released through you and me
  1. When we choose love over hate – we are unleashing His Kingdom
  1. When we choose to give a voice to the voiceless – we are unleashing His Kingdom
  1. When we choose to spend time with the least of these– we are unleashing His Kingdom
  1. When we choose to leave the comfort of our privilege – we are unleashing His Kingdom

 

BlessedLogo.pngCubs fans – be sure to make good on the promises you made God at the end of game 7

The things we call blessings lead us away from dependence on God and the things we avoid actually lead us toward dependence on God.

The word blessed is so misused and misunderstood that it is distorting who God really is

Misunderstanding blessing leads us to view God as a vending machine

Blessing isn’t what God gives us, it’s God WITH us

Instead of thinking the teaching of Jesus is upside down, we need to realize the way we’re living is upside down

Let’s confront “American Dream” Christianity and recognize how far it is from Biblical Christianity

[Modern Christianity] seems to have remarkably little to do with the things that Jesus actually taught. Wendall Berry

If we think we have no need for God than our vision for life and impact is sadly small

When we pretend we don’t need help, we cut ourselves off from experiencing the presence of God

There is beauty that can only be seen in the dark

Instead of praying for God to change our circumstances – what if we asked God to reveal Himself in them

The universal experience of pain is what makes us brothers and sisters. – Frederick Buechner

When the bible calls us to mourn with those who mourn God is inviting us to wade into the pain of this world and there to experience Him

God is a God who leverages His power for those who have none. The invitation to meekness is an invitation to live like that as well

When we stop playing the upward mobility game, we are recognize all we have is a gift from God

When we recognize everything is a gift from God, everything changes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are a beloved child of God and Jesus blesses you

 Blessed are those who mourn. You are a beloved child of God and Jesus blesses you

 Blessed are the meek. You are a beloved child of God and Jesus blesses you

I originally posted this in July of 2014 – it was powerful for me to read it again today. (Happy Fall)

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I have had the chance to read through the old testament a few times over the past couple of months and there is this amazing thing that God revealed to me as I read through Isaiah…

God constantly introducing Himself and re-introducing Himself to His people. Look at these phrases:

43:1 – This is what the Lord says- he who created you, O Jacob who formed you O Israel: Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

43:14 – This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel

44:2 – This is what the Lord says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb…

44:6 – This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty

I believe it is because then, as now, it is easy to forget the true nature of God…

We are inundated with this culture and “how things are” that we forget that God is constant – that He stands apart from culture and is completely different.

Here are a few things God is reminding me about who He is…

I keep getting this picture of God as this loving father trying to teach me to ride a bike… I don’t always get it right, I don’t always remember exactly what He tells me, I don’t always trust Him – BUT instead of getting angry and disappointed, I think he is joyful.  Joyful that I made it one foot farther that I went last time!  And he swoops in like any loving father would to pick me up – pat me on the back and put me back on the bike!

When we paint God with the brush of this culture, He becomes this disappointed and angry father and nothing could be farther from the truth.

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I also have been getting this picture of a dangerous God that leads us into dangerous places… We have turned God into this comfort providing safety net. We have made for ourselves a God who is tame (and oh so small). What this world desperately needs, what YOUR WORLD DESPERATELY needs is adventure seeking followers of a HUGE and unsafe God. Let’s not play it safe with Him and ask Him not to play it safe with us!

love.

At the beginning…

Posted: 10/13/2016 in Uncategorized

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We are starting a new series at Westwoods this weekend called ELEMENTS.  We are taking a close look at what we desire to be as a church with the understanding that it will never be true for us as a church unless these things are true for us as individuals.

SO – I have been taking time reading through old journals and thought I would share this entry from April of 1999:

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When I think of [starting a church] my heart races…  To risk all for the Kingdom…

To think about a Kingdom venture with the greatest friends of my life really is unthinkable – to cultivate a greenhouse of community there Acts 2:42-47 was and is lived out really is awesome to consider.  A church on mission – what a novel thought.

Many issues w/ fear and uncertainty…

“History belongs to those who pray – to those who believe and pray the future into being!” Dad, I want you to create a church – a Kingdom building church – a church that does significant damage to the work of the enemy – a church where you are honored, where community, true community, exists among the leaders, where young leaders are drawn and nurtured and developed – where people feel ownership and empowered – where decisions are based on values – not on survival, comfort, ease or convenience. A place where even those who consider themselves outsiders are honored, loved and cared for – a place they can belong, a place where everyone can come together and change the world, putting hands in the middle to fulfill the mission that Jesus gave us as a church…

Man, has God come through…

There will be a time when the story of Gods work here is told and that story will start with this, “There once was a group of people who really believed they were loved by God and that love led them to Follow Jesus tenaciously, and to love people irrationally…”

I am so grateful for you all who are on this journey with me and so thankful for so many others that will join us soon!

love.

rick

 

 

 

Our theology must start with creation, not the fall, and end with restoration, not simply redemption.
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When our way of looking at God starts with us screwing up, it leads to a message that is based in shame and guilt and fear.

BUT, when our way of looking at God is that He made us in His image, it leads to a message of hope.

When our way of looking at God ends with redemption – Him paying for our our sins so we can go to heaven when we die – it leads to a defeatist message in which Christ followers just bear with the world until they die.

BUT, when our way of looking at God ends with restoration – Jesus making us and all things new – it casts a vision of a life we can have that is truly life.

Looking at the full scope of God’s plan from creation through restoration calls us back to our unique selfness; we reconnect with the very heart of our Creator, a call for us to be fully and truly our created selves.

Buechner writes this in the book Secrets in the Dark:

Because little by little we find out then that to be where He is, to go where He goes, to see through His eyes and work with hands like His is to feel like ourselves at last, is to become fully ourselves at last…

 

Our theology must start with creation and not the fall and end with restoration not simply redemption.

love.

 

 

So turns out – Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom – A LOT.  At the core of His message was this idea of the availability of a new kind of life in the Kingdom of God.  Since that is true – it may be valuable for us to press in to some truth about His Kingdom – so here goes…

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  1. The kingdom of God is not just the promise of life in heaven when we die – it’s an invitation. An invitation into Gods plan to populate the earth with the reality of heaven – starting right here right now…
  2. When Jesus says, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” it wasn’t a threat – but an offer of life.  He’s saying that the road we are on will not lead to the life we want – but the Good News is that real (capitol L – LIFE is salable and found in Him!
  3. Kingdom is the range of our effective will – where what we WANT to happen HAPPENS.  God is the creator and the whole world belongs to Him – yet He has granted us dominion over our lives.  Kingdom life is found as we open our lives to His rule and reign.
  4. The Kingdom of God is more concerned with inside than outside.  When we focus on outside, we become more religious, but when we focus on inside we become more righteous (righteous = rightly related with God).  When we focus on outside, the Bible is seen as a window to look at others, and when we focus on inside, the Bible becomes a mirror for us to look at ourselves.
  5. The Kingdom of God isn’t based on principles – but on the person of Jesus.  It isn’t a one size fits all set of rules, policies and procedures. It is the invitation to an actual, real relationship with Jesus.
  6. Living in the Kingdom is a journey and we make choices in each moment to live under our own rule and reign or God’s.
  7. His is better.  The beautiful thing about God’s economy is this – it’s best for everyone.  His will is always best for me, best for those around me, and best for Him!

Have a great week – press into each moment and ask, “What does it look like in this moment to invite God to have full rule and reign?”

Love.

 

I had someone ask me recently if having “stuff” was bad.

Does God want me to have stuff or is it better for me to have nothing so I have to depend on Him?

As they asked – I got this picture in my mind of a fancy hammer mounted on a wall.

Thanks to the internet – I found this picture:

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Here’s the deal – God gives us our stuff.

It’s like God gives us a hammer because He has this plan for us to use it to build something unique and beautiful.  He plans for us to use it to bring something to life in this world to bless the world in ways that only we can do…

BUT

We take the hammer and we begin to LOVE the hammer.  We don’t want to mess up the hammer – we want to show off the hammer. The hammer makes us feel safe and secure, valuable and important. So instead of using it to build this beautiful unique gift to the world, we polish our hammer.  We frame our hammer. We hang our hammer up on a wall for others to admire.

AND

When we do we lose.

When we do the world loses.

MAYBE

It’s time to take our hammers down from the walls and use them in the way they were designed to be used – to bring beauty and uniqueness and truth and live to life.

Just some thoughts –

Never forget we were blessed to be a blessing

Never forget we are Beloved to Be Love

love ya – rick

 

Fall forward.

Posted: 09/08/2016 in Uncategorized

I know I know – SPRING forward, FALL back is the old saying but I don’t like going back.

I want to encourage you to resist with tenacity the pull to fall back.

This time of year as school is starting, summer is ending, and Broncos season is kicking off,  feel this pull to normalcy.

I feel this pull to fall back into routine – fall back into old habits, fall back into complacency and, if I’m not careful I have a really good chance to find myself sleepwalking through another season.

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So, let’s choose to fall forward.

This Fall don’t settle.

This Fall take a new risk.

This Fall challenge a long-held bias.

This Fall choose to reconcile a broken relationship.

This Fall decide to be recklessly generous with your love as well as your stuff.

This Fall open up a new chapter.

AND – maybe this Fall, chose to investigate what it really looks like to be a follower of Jesus. (It’s probably WAY different than you think.) If you’re in the Denver area, it’s what we are exploring together at our church (Westwoods Community) and I would love to have you join us!  If you’re not ready to actually go to church or not the area – you can watch online Sundays at 9 and 10:45!

Love you all – you are a beloved child of God (whether you believe that or not).

 

 

 

 

We started a new series called The Art of Neighboring last weekend. (Thanks Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak for the Title and for the amazing book – buy it here)

The bottom line is this: when Jesus said it all really comes down to loving God and loving our neighbor, he was on to something.

The problems of the world are not going to be changed as the result of an election.

The problems of the world are not going to be changed as the result of a new technology.

The problems of the world are not going to be changed as the result of a radical shift in economic theory.

BUT

We can kick a real dent in the problems of this world by loving our neighbors.

We can make a change in the world by taking ownership of our blocks and saying:

There will not be hunger on this block because I am here!

There will not be loneliness on this block because I am here!

There will not be hopelessness on this block because I am here!

There will not be vulnerability  on this block because I am here!

We can kick a real dent in the problems of this world by simply loving our neighbor.

Is it hard? Yes. Does it take time? Yes. Does it cost a lot? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely yes.

Here are a few thoughts I shared this weekend-

We can only do a few things really well – let’s make sure that they are the things that Jesus said matter most.

Your present context is a significant dwelling place of divine purpose and importance.

A good neighbor always trumps a good program.

You can’t really love someone well if you don’t know their name.

 

Jesus was right; being a neighbor who loves their neighbors is a pretty big deal.