Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bike Church

Last night at church, we did something a little different. Half-way through the service, everyone who had a bike took a quick ride around town. (We had asked people to ride bikes to church.) It is so easy for the Church to be come insulated from the rest of the town or the world. The bike groups went out agenda-free - just to ride and let the spirit lead. The groups reported out after returning to the church. I think a little girl shared probably the most important comment, "We said 'hi' to people." A few weeks ago, I just felt the need to go walking. It was dark outside. I passed a house and noticed an acquaintance from several years ago sitting at the door of his darkened garage. I said hi and started up the driveway. He jumped up and met me in the middle of the driveway. He extended his hand and I shook it. We started talking. I had to keep myself from gagging from the smell of alcohol. We just talked. No agenda. He said to stop by again. I imagine that there will probably be another time to just go walking.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bike Church

From this week's Horizon E-News...

What is “Bike Church?”

First, it’s not about motorcycles!

It’s about bicycles, or least human-powered transportation devices.

Second, it’s for everyone!

Here are some ways you can participate in “Bike Church” this Saturday.

1. Ride your bike to church.

2. Bring your bike to church and be ready to ride in town.

3. Come to church with no bike, but with your walking shoes on.

4. Come to church like you normally would and prepare yourself to enjoy some serious fun and learning together. No biking or walking.

In many ways, “Bike Church” is like any other “Saturdays @ 6” at Horizon.

But, there will be a time during the service where some people will either go for a short bike ride together or for a short walk together.

While they are doing that, those who aren’t biking or walking will be at the church, enjoying each other’s company and waiting for the reports to come in about what happened to people while they were out.

Spread the word about “Bike Church” and what it’s all about.

What is it all about?

It’s about learning who God is and what He’s doing in the community right around us.

When you get out “in the open,” it’s amazing the ways you will both meet God and have opportunities to “be Jesus” for other people.

“Bike Church”

This Saturday, June 28

“Saturdays @ 6”


You and …

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Conversation

Yesterday, I had an unexpected but interesting conversation with an acquaintance. It is kind of weird sometimes how conversations can transform from one topic to an entirely different topic. He wondered about what it would be like if Jesus would walk through the streets of Bremen. (Okay, I was definitely hooked at that point.) After pausing for a moment, he shared that Jesus could probably wander into any church in our town and go unnoticed. (Brace yourself for the rest.) So, he concluded that Jesus would probably head up to Hooples (the local bar). At the bar, people would notice Jesus be eager to hang out with him.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Other Side of the Story

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a boat. In one sense, it was sad to see this boat decaying in our little pond. However, there is more to the story. My buddy, Rusty, grabbed an oar (a branch) and hopped on the boat for a photo op. Although the boat still didn't move, this is one moment in the last few months when I felt closest to God. Why? Maybe, just maybe, God new that in twenty years, two dreamers would come across the boat again and want to set sail. We shared a couple laughs and ended up with a picture. But maybe, just maybe, this was a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder to dream, to imagine, to hope.

Here are some other pictures that I shared as part of the message on June 7. These have been other times in the last few months when I felt closest to God.

Keeping up with a postal employee in order to pick up food

Playing cornhole on the church lawn with a bunch of high schoolers who were making up snow day hours.

Enjoying a wonderful cup of espresso

Hanging out at the Easter Vigil campfire

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pro-Life Music Festival 2008

Hawk Nelson in concert

The happy campers

Drying out after the rains

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This week I've been reading Job and James. I didn't plan on reading either one of these and don't follow any particular reading plan. However, I remembered reading Job in college and was interested in checking it out again. In college, we talked primarily about the incredible suffering that Job experienced. Here's this good guy who experiences bad things. He loses his fortune, family, and even his own health. Of course, this naturally leads to the question, Why do bad things happen to good people? This question alone opens a big, stinky can of worms. However, as mentioned, I have also been reading James and a verse stood out:

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)

Quick to listen, slow to speak. Hmm. I can think of a conversation today at work where I definitely should have been much more quick to listen and slow to speak. Even when I intentionally try to listen, my mind sometimes goes off into a far off land or I fail to clear my thoughts of the seemingly pressing items that just continue to race around my mind.

Back to Job.

Job has these "friends" who visit him. Rather than simply listening to Job or taking the next step and entering into his suffering, they are quick to speak. They are quick to offer reasons for the suffering. They are quick to judge. They are quick to share conventional wisdom.

During a recent conversation, I jotted down two phrases that probably mean pretty much the same thing: listen with anticipation and purposefully listen to others. In order for me to have any chance at listening, really listening to others (including God), I have to constantly remind myself to purposefully listen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Yesterday, I read about joy in my devotional. The verse was Nehemiah 8:10.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength."

I'm going to be quite honest: I really struggle with joylessness. Somehow I put on act - at least for some people. In fact, at work people have actually said, "How can you smile so much?" The smile doesn't always equate to a sense of joy.

I try to find my strength in self-sufficiency - and you can guess how great that works out. I think that in some way I can manage my guilt, fears, and doubts on my own. Somehow I try to manage my fears of failure and rejection.

How do I try to manage all of this?

At work, I try to control people. If only people would do like I think it needs to be done, then we wouldn't have any problems. (Let me tell you, this works great. Not.) To try to find a sense of purpose, I keep taking classes with the hopes of finding something that "clicks."

I would like to find strength in the joy of the Lord. The other stuff wears a guy down.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesdays@2 Update

Today, I shared an update on the copper optimization efforts within our organization. The language people are most familiar with is the dollar. Yet, today, my colleague, Sue, shared with the group that it is not just about the dollars and cents. It is about using the resources that we have have as wisely as we can We only have a limited supply of copper available for use. We should make every effort to optimize its usage. The implications are huge and involve everything from the raw material itself to energy consumption, transportation, and processing time. Its a stewardship thing. Thanks, Sue, for your reflections and insights.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Last night at church, Pastor Bill asked us to share thoughts about our fathers. Of course, I think back to fishing at the cabin, playing T-ball with Dad as the coach, moving pigs at the farm, or learning how to drive a stick shift in the bean field. Dad has offered words of encouragement during the times when I have dealt with my blood problem. As one of the core originators of the Holy Walk, he has literally touched the lives of 1000s over the last quarter of a century. He has served his church in multiple capacities. Even today, Dad continues to help with township projects including the purchase of fire trucks, ambulance contracts, and getting a new fence around Little Egypt. He has done these things with extreme humbleness and faith. However, last night, I shared about how Dad has always been able to write letters and poems with extreme poignancy and love. Most recently, I think back to Christmas dinner when he wrote a stirring poem in honor of his Mom - who was physically missing, for the first time, from our holiday festivities. I'd like to share this thank you note that he wrote after Easter dinner this year.

Dad, I'm glad that you had a good time at the game!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's your passion?

When I was a freshman in college, my advisor posed this question. I ended up writing a paper about my passion. As I look back, I'm kind of in shock at the contrast between what I wrote about and where I am right now. (I don't know if this is good or bad, right or wrong. All I can say is that they are very different.) I have been reading some things that have left me fairly unsettled. In Irresistible Revolution, Claiborne writes:

"What an extraordinary thing it must have been to sit around a table with that eclectic mix of Zealot revolutionaries, Roman tax collectors, peasants, Samaritans, prostitutes, and fishermen, all conspiring to find a radical new way of life. In the early church, whenever converts sought baptism, their entire careers were reimagined. Just as baptism was a symbol people's dying to their old lives and rising to new ones, so there was the very real sense that the old ways of living were gone and something new was here."

I really like some of the words he uses, eclectic, conspiring, radical, reimagined.

I have been a in a rut this week. I hate it. It is a symptom of something much deeper.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ordinary Radicals

This week, I changed my IM profile at work to Ordinary Radical Want-to-Be. I came across this oxymoron of sorts in this great little book, The Irresistible Revolution.

“But we live in a world that has lost its appreciation for small things. We live in a world that wants things bigger and bigger. We want to supersize our fries, sodas, and church buildings. But amid all the supersizing, many of us feel God doing something new, something small and subtle. This thing Jesus called the kingdom of God is emerging across the globe in the most unexpected places, a gentle whisper amid the chaos. Little people with big dreams are reimagining the world. Little movements of communities of ordinary radicals are committed to doing small things with great love.” (Claiborne, Shane. The Irresistible Revolution)

I am yearning for a different way of living. I am finding out more and more that other people are longing for a different way, too. Money, degrees, clothes, houses, jobs, status - the list goes on and on and on of "things" that provide a false sense of security and satisfaction.

To those of you out there who can relate, let's start reimagining!



Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This past weekend was quite a amazing. On Saturday, Holly and I went to the fellow's dinner at Saint Joseph's. This is an amazing organization - a grassroots organization - that recently finished raising money for a 1 million dollar endowment. This shows that when normal people work together, amazing things are possible. On Saturday night, I had the sincere privilege to share some things that have been on my heart with the church. I heard some great feedback. By Sunday afternoon, I was edging the neighbor's sidewalk. By Sunday evening, I started out walking and ended up listening to a friend in need.

This past weekend left me inspired... and frustrated.

I know that my frustration level has been high so far this week. My temperament has been a bit volatile - for this I am sorry. (I've tried to apologize on the go, but just in case I've missed anyone who might be reading this, I'm sorry.)

The strangest thing happened tonight. I left Holly's and went home. l was sitting on the couch just kind of feeling lost. I decided to go for a walk before hitting the hay.

As I started walking, a voice said, "Run."

By that time it was dark out (no one watching), so I ran.

Now bear in mind, I am not an athlete and running is probably one of the most dreadful things I can think of to do. Yet I ran the infamous mile block around the school. I got back to my house and I thought, there must be something wrong. That wasn't so bad at all. So I hopped in the car, changed the odometer to zero, and drove around the block. Sure enough, it was still approximately a mile. (I'm glad all those mile runs weren't a waste in high school.) Okay, so I grabbed my cell phone and went over to the track and ran another mile. This was nothing outstanding but it was a least a minute less than I ever ran in high school PE. (I am quite surprised and will have to make sure this is not a fluke - probably on Thursday.)

After walking it off a little bit, I rested on the damp football field and looked up at the stars.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I have lived in this house now for almost 4 1/2 years already. I can't hardly how fast the time has passed. However, that is beside the point. After all this time, I barely know my neighbors. This bothers me. For the longest time, I just told myself that I was too busy with work, graduate school, and other activities (note my intentional use of activities here b/c these, ironically, primarily include church-related activities) to find time to interact with my neighbors.

Mainly, I was scared.

I'm embarrassed now to recognize these excuses. Obviously, there is no presto-chango to rectify this situation. However, I have been trying to at least be alert to when the neighbors are out so that I can wave or say hi or offer a hot dog (if the fire pit is burning, of course).

Today, I edged a significant portion of one neighbor's sidewalk. I used this time to worship and think about interactions with others. It wasn't long until someone stopped to ask for directions to the soccer fields. (Coincidentally, when we were out making the bicycle video, someone stopped and asked for directions to the soccer fields, too.) There is a little bit more to the story, though. You see, the edger wasn't even mine. Trent let me use it to edge my own sidewalk and he graciously let me hold onto it for awhile longer until I could work on the neighbor's sidewalk.

I started wondering...

What would it look like to live in a neighborhood where neighbors lived in community with each other - open doors, cookouts, and no fences? What if people actually took down fences instead of putting up fences? What if we actually considered our porches as extensions of our homes - and spent quality time out there?

What would it look to actually strive to have less and share more? After all, people only need to edge their sidewalks once a year (or every two, three, or six years).

I find this all more than a little unsettling.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Vacation Day

I'm playing hooky today. Well, not really b/c I did put in for a vacation day. Nonetheless, it feels like I'm playing hooky - so that makes it kind of entertaining and almost exciting. I might even go as far as saying that I'm almost pretending to play hooky.

I was talking with Trent last evening. It was a great conversation. We talked about sensing that there is something else to this world... to living. He made a comment that people say that their lives are boring. Well, my vacation day turned into hooky day. Now that's exciting!

Time to go bike riding!

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2, The Message)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hair Cut

I broke down and got a hair cut this week. (I'm serious. I really did - Tuesday at noon. I didn't say anything about combing it.) I'm not sure how it ended up in this completely disheveled state. It might have to do with working on the message for Saturday night. Ironically, the title is Wow, It's Windy Out There! Or maybe it was riding bike tonight at 11:00 to drop off my notes at the church for the copier. A word of caution: watch out when turning the wrong way onto one-way streets when a police officer is driving right at you. Or maybe it arrived at this state because of stressing over copper. I've been told that my hair gets messy when I'm studying and pondering. Or maybe the humid weather is contributing to the disarray. Wow, it was hot out today.

Anyway, I decided to write about my hair tonight while snacking on crackers, cheese, and pineapple. Why, you might ask? Well, for some reason my hair tends to be a topic of discussion or at least commentary. You see, there are two camps. One camp prefers the longer hair. Another camp wants the hair short. I'm serious. Some of my coworkers actually bring this up in discussion. It has also been a topic of conversation among other circles of family and friends.

My question is - why does it matter?

Who decides what the right hair length is anyway?

Are people with short hair any happier than people with long hair (or vice versa)?

Does God care about hair length?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

stare decisis III

I was talking with Jim about stare decisis on Saturday. He talked about the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus came to fulfill the law not to demolish it (Matthew 5:17). However, he shook things up. He really shook things up. Check out some of these verses:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44, my italics).

That is a pretty radical concept. How many people do you know who love their enemies? In good times, it is easy to thank Jesus, but, wow, it is a pretty radical idea to pray for those who persecute during the bad times.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Christian Radio

I was on my way up to class tonight and had the radio tuned into PulseFM - a local Christian radio station. They were discussing the most recent kindergarten teacher scandal (this is the one where the parents put a tape recorder in the kid's pocket). Actually, discussing is not the right word. The dude on the radio asked listeners to call in and share what should happen to the teacher. Of course, there were some rather angry comments and the word pathetic was shared by several listeners. I don't drive very often because most place that I need to get to are within bike-riding distance. The last time I drove anywhere, it was the same dude asking about the previous scandal (when the teacher had all the other students tell the kid what they didn't like about him) with similar responses.

Okay, so I'm not condoning the behavior of the teachers. However, I'm really not sure that it is the place of Christian radio to try these cases on the radio waves. I'm not sure it is the place of Christian listeners to call in and stand as judges over others

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Strange Times

Actually, after some further contemplation, there is a third entry for stare decisis. It will come in a day or two or three.

Anyway, this weekend has been a strange time. My youngest brother graduated from high school. We are ten years apart in age. I am so happy for him and he chose to attend my alma mater in the fall. Actually, he was on his way to Purdue and, out of the blue, changed his mind to St. Joseph's. He is a fine young man and I look forward to seeing him grow at St. Joe. I'm kind of in shock, though. Being several years older than him, I took care of him so much when we were younger. It is hard to believe that he is "grown up." I'm sure this is also kind of goofy for Mom and Dad. So this is a happy time...

Except it is not.

One year ago, Grandma died. I attended the family's home church today. It was kind of surreal to be a part of service that included honoring graduates (including my brother) and a prayer that included a remembrance of Grandma. I can't believe how much the pain stings right now. It just kind of came out of no where and hit like a train. However, you know what, even in this strange time, I am different. Even as I am sitting here weeping right now, as hard as it is, I am thankful. For out of grief has come new feelings, new thoughts, new dreams.