Saturday, August 28, 2004


It's interesting really. I looked at the defendant on Monday during jury selection and thought "he looks guilty as sin." I saw only his mother and presumably his sister sitting behind him on the "supportive side" of the courtroom. Occasionally they would shed tears, but it didn't change my assumtion about the guy. "He's guilty" I thought. As the trial began on Thursday, I took another look at the defendant. Still guilty. Then, over the course of the trial an amazing thing happened. While I wasn't convinced of his innocence, I became less convinced of his guilt. The state simply didn't have a case. After the closing arguments, I was sort of riding the fence, thoroughly unconvinced, that is until the judge spoke up. He explained (what I sort of knew but had forgotten) about how our legal system works. The defendant is presumed innocent. He is not required to prove his innocence. The burden of proof is on the state/prosecution. When we went into deliberations, it didn't take long. The other jurors related the same initial impressions I had, but all were led to the same conclusion. If we were assuming his innocence, it had not been proven otherwise. In about 15 minutes we decared him "not guilty."
I guess that's kind of how grace works. God assumes our innocence and the accuser no longer has a case.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Monday I reported to the Bay County Courthouse in response to a Jury Summons. I was pretty sure I was going to get booted b/c I am a minister who has a psychology degree, has done graduate work in marriage and family therapy, has a mother who is a social worker, and has a father who is a minister, a counselor, and a police chaplain. Typically, lawyers don't want these things in a jury.

When I got to the courthouse, I reported with over 70 other potential jurors. We were informed that there were only 3 trials in Bay County this week so most of us would be going home. About 45 minutes after that we were informed that there were only 2 trials this week and they sent the last 30 potential jurors home. Unfortunately I was #9, so I had to stay. Next they took us over to the courtroom for jury selection, where we were informed that one of the cases had been resolved and there would only be 1 trial in Bay County this week and only 14 of us would be on a jury. Would you believe that out of over 70 potential jurors both me and another guy who is a lawyer got selected to be on the 14 member jury for the only trial in the county this week. Go figure.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


I guess this is a dangerous post to write. I suppose its like showing your cards in a hand of poker. Nevertheless, I've been thinking about it lately, so I'll get it out here. Besides, not that many people read this stuff, right?

Anyway, here it is: I was reading a book last night that was pointing out (as most books I read these days) how the church has become very self centered and obsessed with maintanence. This particular book went on to say that it didn't hold out much hope for most institutional churches to change and become more missional. Admittedly, there are days that I'm inclined to agree with them, however, the majority of the time I don't agree that this is an impossibility, so here I am in Youth Ministry. I honestly don't hold out much hope of adults in this generation magically getting it. I think most of them are too steeped in self-centered-salvation based Christianity. On the other hand, I am teaching their kids something much bigger. I'm teaching them the Gospel. Its a Gospel that is about BOTH salvation AND redemption. It's a Gospel that teaches that Grace has a purpose. It's a Gospel that teaches that the purpose of the church isn't just maintaining it's own existence, but rather the revolution of the world into the dream of God. It's a Gospel that understands that while morality for a believer is a given, it isn't the point. It's a Gospel that isn't just information, but is something that is embodied by the Body of Christ.
And...they are "getting" it. In ways I never dreamed, it is coming out of their mouths and out in their lives. There is such great hope, because these children are becoming adults. It won't change overnight. It won't change fast enough for my liking. But, if we all bail out and start from scratch, it may not change at all.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Click on the link below and then scroll down to where it says "General Session Parodies (MP3 files). Click on those links and enjoy. If you keep up at all with the whole emergent/postmodern thing, you'll laugh your tail off.

  • Emergent Convention Downloads
  • Monday, August 16, 2004

    Kenny Payne's Blog

    We're Going Forward...

    My good friend and mentor, Kenny Payne, has started his own blog. Kenny is a missionary to Gorlovka, Ukraine for about half of the year, and is on staff with me at Palo Alto for the other half. He was also the preacher at a church I interned at for about 9 months. Kenny has the mind of a theologian and the heart of a servant. I really think you'll enjoy his insights. Check it out and leave him some feedback.


    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    The Church On The Other Side

    The Church on the Other Side

    I just finished reading "The Church On Othr Side" by Brian McLaren. I know that some of you automatically roll your eyes when you see his name because I am such an unashamed fan of his, but you should take note of this book anyway. This is one of the most important books I have read in a long time. Any serious church leader should at least read and consider the ideas that McLaren proposes. I think it would be a great idea for entire church staffs and leadership teams read through this together. Has anyone else read this?

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004


    Is it possible that we talk about Heaven and Hell too much? I know that most of you are thinking "NO! We don't talk about them enough." Hear me out though. When we talk about becoming a Christian, our language seems to focus exclusively on our salvation from Hell into Heaven at the end of this life. While Heaven, Hell, and the opportunity for salvation are all facts, I think maybe we are missing the point here. Shouldn't we be talking more about our redemption for the purposes and dream of God? Shouldn't we recruit people for the mission of the kingdom of God? Shouldn't we be bringing people into the way of Jesus? You see, salvation is a fact, but it isn't the only fact of Christianity. I believe that our exclusive focus on this aspect of Christianity has worked to our detriment. We've would up selling salvation to consumers who seem to retain the idea that their lives, their churches, and the world are all about them. Maybe instead of scaring people out of Hell and into Christianity, we should cast the vision of being used with others to fulfil something bigger than ourselves in community with other believers...the very dream of God.

    Saturday, August 07, 2004


    I just wanted to let you all know that I made it through surgery just fine. I am at home in bed watching movies and recovering. I go to the doctor next Friday, and he'll tell me how much longer I'll be down. Thanks for all the prayer and phone calls.

    I also got a summons for jury duty for the end of the month today. I am a minister who has a degree in psychology (with minors in journalism and human services) and I have done graduate work in marriage and family therapy, so I'll probably get booted.


    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Recapping My Weekend

    This past weekend was incredibly busy for us. First of all Dana and Emma traveled to a family reunion in Illinois. The main purpose of the trip was for Dana to see her Grandmother who has Alsheimers Disease and introduce her to Emma. That all went well, but both are very tired and ready to be home. They are on their way as I type this. I have missed them greatly and am looking forward to hugs and kisses from my girls.

    At the same time Dana and Emma were making thier trip, I took a group of teens to Teen Leadership Univeristy, which is hosted by the RiverChase Church in Birmingham. Kip Long led worship, and my good friend David Fraze was the Keynote Speaker. Our teens are incredible. They soaked the information up like a sponge and were excited about getting back home and leading our group in the way of Jesus. It was also great to get to spend some time with David. We joked around with each other and also talked about how much we missed our wives and kids. I taught a class at TLU (3x) and was also given an opportunity to preach at CrossBridge on Sunday. Man, I had a blast doing both. CrossBridge is just such a neat church to me, plus I had the opportunity to hang out with my good friends Johnny and Jinny Brown, and had a chance to re-connect with my old Camp Wiregrass buddy Scott Knox. All this being said, all of the activity from speaking so many times did not agree with my hernia too well, and I was hurting a little when it was all over. I'm feeling better now, but I will remind you that I am having surgery to have that corrected on Thursday. I know it's not that big of a deal, but please remember us in your prayers