The Kingdom and Your Patch of Grass

I should say patch of sand given I live near the desert…

Maybe it is time for us to see the Kingdom of God as the thing of importance rather than our little patch of it. Instead of our own brand we could build partnerships and gospel unity for the fame of Christ in our cities.

I promise this is where the good stuff is. Outposts of Jesus’ new reality working in unison not to draw a crowd but to see the Kingdom go forth for the glory of God.

Let’s do it.

The Hit of a Finished Task List

A month ago I started using a new planner. It promised increased productivity and goal setting. I suppose it has been helpful. The first day I used its system of planning and executing I felt super efficient and accomplished. The high has worn off by now but I still love a finished task list.

The feeling of finishing what the day required. The burden of responsibilities lifted as they are handled ahead of schedule. The freedom on the other side of the lists action items.

Funny thing is that I set the list. I generate the tasks so how hard I work, or the amount of “productivity” is determined at my whim. Some days are easier to feel accomplished!

But when the list comes to an end there is a hit of success. Sure there is some chemical reason, maybe dopamine or something. The sense of relief of coming to the end. It feels good.

I wonder if this is why we are so list oriented when it comes to things best lived without a list. Like relationships and faith. In both we think we need to accomplish a set of items to earn love or approval. And I suppose that makes sense to an extent. But who wants to live a “love” relationship where everything is tit for tat? Transactional relationships miss the good stuff, the unconditional stuff.

Same thing in relationship to Jesus. i am convinced he will love me more if I finish this list of discipleship tasks, or if my church is bigger (my struggle), or if I share the gospel with at least three people a day… you know your list. And it gives us a hit of self righteous accomplishment but it misses the good stuff.

I want to dwell in the unconditional more because that is what I see when I encounter Christ in Scripture. Redemption received not because we finish a list, but because he loves. It’s true for you too.

So set your task list for the day, and maybe make one item to “enjoy the grace of Jesus today” knowing that he accomplished the list required for eternity, for life with God.

Worthwhile: August 2, 2019

I just did a double take when typing August… This summer has flown by and I hope you have carved out time for adventure with other people, the reading of good books, and extra naps in the afternoon heat.

If not, take this as permission to catch up this weekend. Go for a hike, invite someone(s) over for a good meal, and sleep in (on Saturday, wake up and go to church on Sunday!).

A few items this week that will hopefully be worthwhile. The unfornuate, the wise, and the call to something better.


Starting off is an interview with a filmmaker from two years ago in a Canadian magazine. The film was a documentary on the effects of pornography. In 2016 it was a political conversation for our Northern neighbor. But the issues raised still stand.

Porn is one of those things that has waves of resistance and then a baseline attitude of acceptance, as if it is a normal part of life and it’s best to not talk about it. Even with data proving the devastating effects it is pervasive still.

Well why not review the effects and determine to forge a new way forward. Get support of those that will remind you of what is better and healthier.

Read the interview here.


Next up, the wise. Tim Keller.

I often listen to Keller sermons while out on a run. In this talk he gave to seminary students he gave some wisdom on the dangers for anyone in ministry. It is a doable 30 minutes.

There is something for all of us in it. Avoiding false identity and those things that ruin us in the pursuit of success. Instead finding our justification and bearing in Christ we are more able to survive.

This might also give you insight into the battle pastors are in the midst of. My friend Elder Bill shared it this week and I trust he was being helpful not accusing me of error!

Listen here.


Lastly in our brief worthwhile list this week is an invitation from Seth Godin to living in surplus.

To spend a bit less than you make, so you’re never worried about paying the rent.

To drive with the flow of (metaphorical) traffic, because not only is it safer, it frees you up to dream.

And to measure yourself against no one but yourself. Raise your standards as often as you can, but not because someone else you chose out of the lineup of success is somehow ahead of you.

It is a better life and I am on my way! Check it.


There you have it. Enjoy life this weekend. Know you are never alone. Go for a walk, say hi to strangers and find a place that will tell you the truth of Jesus and his love for you.

Worthwhile: July 26, 2019

It has been hot here in San Diego County… and much of the country. So as you find some AC to stay cool why not punch up these worthwhile bits of the internet to get you through?!

Three huge gospel influences in today’s pile. What it means to be a pastor, equipping disciples and why we should follow Jesus. Get some.


Jared Wilson’s post this week on pastoral ministry as a job has been getting a lot of attention and it should, it is a good piece. I know firsthand how well-intentioned people can still be confuse as to the actions (other than preaching) and responsibilities of a pastor, and in turn wonder if they are worth the expense.

Wilson points out some key differences that are worth noting and thinking more about.

But the truth is that good pastors are not able to take the pastor hat off at the end of the day or leave their heart for their flocks in the office when they clock out. It’s just not something you can turn off.

For all these reasons and more, it is fine and proper for us “regular” church members to acknowledge that our pastors are special. They aren’t better Christians because of their ministry. They aren’t more justified. They don’t have a special connection to God that we don’t have. And yet their office is unique and brings with it challenges and burdens that most of us do not share.

Jared Wilson

Read it on The Gospel Coalition.


Still in the realm of pastoral ministry is the biblical requirement of equipping the church for ministry. All of the saints.

Jeff Vanderstelt lists five ways to equip in his post on Saturate. If you are in ministry and thinking about how you are to be equipping, Vanderstelt provides a good starting point.

Give it a read and act on it.


Finally, let this truth from Ray Ortland wash over you. Why should you love Jesus?


That’s it. Have a great weekend and remember who loves you. Jesus and me!