Thursday, July 7, 2011


moving is never fun but i'm going to take a trip anyways. if any of you are interested in continuing to follow my thoughts and ramblings i'll be moving over to micro blogging super site tumblr. the address is  thanks for playing along!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Hey guys, sorry it's been a while since I've posted, just haven't been keeping up. Hope you all are doing well out there in the world. i have a few posts coming up, but in the mean time here's my sermon from this past weekend. Let me know what you think.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

All we need to know

A blog I like to read regularly is  It's the blog of worship pastor Carlos Whittacker. He's funny, down to earth, seems to have a sound theology, and he approaches religion and faith matters from a very practical viewpoint. I dig that because I try to do the same. Los doesn't shy away from the world, he seems to realize that we're all a part of it and we have to figure out how to balance the world and our faith.

There have been two instances lately on his blog that have really got me thinking. Two statements made in comments on his posts have stirred up in me realization of things I don't like about the church. Now I'm not talking about the entire body of Christ, rather the people who profess faith and two things I hear regularly that really get under my skin.

The first one was a response to a comment I left under the post "I really hate when people say..." I said I had issue when people refer to a "personal relationship with Jesus" because it takes community out of church and without broad relationships then religion and faith were weak. Another commenter disagreed and we had a brief exchange about the nature of relationship. I'll write more about that later.

The second one, which occurred today, was in response to a post about Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins." Now, I've already talked a little bit about the book and if you're interested there are great reviews from all sides to read. This post isn't about Rob Bell. One of the comments made the following statement:

"The Bible holds all we need to know about God."

Read that again. I'm not sure I disagree but it seems like quite a bold statement. I automatically started questioning whether or not I believed the basis of that statement. I began to question my own understanding of the Bible.

In small group last night, one of our members made a point to say that no matter what style or delivery of worship a church chose, if they weren't grounded in the Bible then it would go awry. I agree with that statement. The Bible is a fantastic foundation for conversation, learning, faith development, and understanding of the Christian story. That being said, I wonder if we haven't fetishized the Bible a little too much. I don't have a literalistic understanding of Scripture, and I don't believe the Bible is infallible. I do believe that it is authoritative to understanding the nature of God and Christ, but the more I dig in the less I believe it is the only way we can come to understand God.

I have had countless experiences in this life that didn't include the Bible that showed me the nature of God. I have come to understand God's love through the love my family and friends have shown me. I have come to understand God's love as a father when I look at my son smiling at me. I understand God's life-changing Spirit by listening to others preach and share the gospel with me. Thats a very short list of the infinite ways I've experienced God. Yes, I've experienced God in Scripture. I think it's an invaluable resource to the church, but if all the Bibles in the world were to disappear, I can't imagine I'd stop believing what I believe or stop experiencing God active in the world.

Thats where I'm at. Where are you? Does the Bible hold all we need to know about God? Do you experience God elsewhere? I think this is a good conversation to have.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why I'm barefoot today

You know Toms. They're the uber cool minimalist shoes that everybody that all the cool hipster kids are wearing nowadays. I have some, not because i'm a cool hipster kid, but because I'm jealous of the cool hipster kids. The reason I bought my first pair of Toms is because for every pair they sell, they send a free pair to a kid who wouldn't otherwise have shoes. Pretty cool. But enough of my Tom's commercial.

Today they are hosting One Day Without Shoes. All day long they are encouraging people to take off their shoes and go about their daily life. I'm taking part for the first time and there are already some amazing things I'm noticing. First off is how cold my feet have gotten. It's a mild day here in Houston so the usual blazing cement I would be walking on is nowhere to be found. The second is that there's a lot of crap on the ground to step on. I have already wiped or picked countless pointy objects off of my feet. This is, I believe, at the heart of the matter.

We don't take time, those of us with general access to shoes, to notice how much of a vital role they play in our day to day lives. Now I don't have all the statistics, but take a moment today and check out They have all the vitals and the resources if you feel so inclined to help out.

There's another organization that does work in this area so if you have a second moment check out and see the amazing work they're doing. Thanks for listening, I think its our job as the church to not only spread the good news, but to spread the love. Happy Barefooting


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Holy Holy Holy Week

So Holy Week is coming up, it's like Super Bowl week for Jesus Followers. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then the big one, Easter.

Traditionally these services are laid out and the orders of worship and rituals are pre-set. If I were in a traditional  church setting I'd be gearing up with palms, robes, incense, candles, etc. Now, this isn't to say that I'm not going to use palms and candles, but the way we use them and the orders of our worships won't be necessarily familiar to someone who grew up in the church.

That brings me to the point of this particular post, the hardest part of serving at an innovative church is continually pushing the creative edge. Anyone can be creative. Everyone has the capability to think outside of the box, but to balance that with staying in line with the Lutheran tradition becomes tricky.

We had a meeting today with a pastor who serves in amazing ways at a very traditional church. It got me thinking. Can postmodernism and Lutheranism coexist? Can we use these two seemingly different trains of thought on the same track? I'm not exactly sure how our Holy Week worships are going to turn out, but I do know if you don't try to push yourself then you'll never progress. This year will be an exercise in pushing Celebration beyond what we traditionally think of when we ponder Holy Week.

Here goes nothing!

Cheers, Mike.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grace and Love

So it's been a while since i've been updating. Insane couple of weeks. We cruised through February like it was sitting still then got into March and haven't stopped running since. We baptized my son the first week in Lent and it was amazing to have all the friends and family come to visit. Now they're gone and things are starting to settle back down to normal.

A couple weeks ago at our small group discussion we had a conversation that is as old as Lutheranism. We were discussing Matthew 6, and Jesus' comments on divorce, murder and adultery when the conversation turned to salvation. I can't say I was surprised, but it did happen at a very interesting time.

As you may or may not know Rob Bell has recently published a book called "Love Wins" that caused quite a controversy before it was even released. It was suggested that Bell had dismissed hell and become a universalist. Now, I haven't read the book yet, so I can't comment on what awesome level of heresy he's on, but if his prior writings are any indication, I will love it.

I'm not pre-loving this book because it is controversial, I'm pre-loving it because Rob Bell (along with many other missional evangelicals) are swinging towards the side of grace. From a tradition steeped in hellfire and brimstone comes a message as old as Christianity itself, and every time another pastor/preacher/author/heretic declares grace and love as the most important, I get excited.

I've been obsessing about Jay Bakker lately. His book "Fall to Grace" and his weekly sermon podcast from Revolution NYC have been keeping me coming back for more. It is another awesome example of the power of love and grace taking hold in the world. Everybody knows Jay's parents story. Jim and Tammy Faye were quite the scandal. But amidst all the turmoil Jay has emerged a champion of grace. Spreading the message of love and acceptance to an audience who might not otherwise listen.

Aside from the fact that I think they should come out as Lutherans, Bell and Bakker and others like them are inspiring me. As a Lutheran I've had a rich heritage of grace that I've celebrated. Eph. 2:8 was my confirmation verse and has shaped my own theology for all of my adult life. But there are disconnects. We don't always remember that Grace wins out. We get caught up in the message of Jesus telling us not to sin and forget that he tells us these things not that we might be saved, but in order that we might live a more Christ-like life. God's commandments aren't about heaven or hell. God's commandments are about earth. God's grace is what brings us eternal life and salvation, and thank God its not up to us.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

moving forward

What are you doing to move forward?

This being a new dad thing has got me thinking. I wish I would have listened to my dad more. I hope my son listens to me more than I ever listened. I'm moving forward in my life and want to continue.

My wife and I had a conversation about our goals the other night and it occurred to me that I have a real struggle defining just exactly what it is I want to do. Everything I consider a goal comes with some pretty significant roadblocks. I reckon thats just the way of the world, but it makes things a little bit more difficult when it comes to discernment.

What are your goals? How do you want to move forward? What is in the way and how do you look past or take on those obstacles in order to achieve your goals?

food for thought on a cold day.

Cheers, Mike.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hi There

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy new Year to all out in the blogosphere. It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me. I'm proud and excited to announce that my son, Michael was born on December 26. He was a happy and healthy 7lb 2oz baby boy and continues to grow and amaze me every day. Mom and baby are both home and healthy, and I really couldn't ask for anything more. I hope your holidays were just as amazing!

My thoughts today revolve around spiritual and religious expression. How do you express your faith? I've never been one to wear my faith on my sleeve but I get the impression that people still know i"m a faithful person. Any time I mention that I work at a church when hanging out at any more secular establishment (read: the Pub) it's nearly inevitable that a religious type conversation strikes up.

I don't have a problem with that, but it has occurred to me that I've done more church at a bar than I have at church. This brings me to my brainstorming about expressing our faith. Some people find it very personal, but i believe that being in community with other believers is how we grow and how our  faith is informed. So what is your way? Can you find real church and real expressions of faith in completely secular settings? Let me know friends. How do you express yourself as faithful people grounded in the real world?

Cheers, Mike!