Worthwhile January 3, 2020

For all the celebration and time off we have arrived here. 2020. Of the opportunities. Of the anxiety of it all! Whatever comes, let’s determine to run to Jesus and trust in him.

To kick off the year four bits worth reading as we shape what we will look like as the calendar unfolds.


First up, prayer. John Starke, a pastor in NYC, wrote a piece for The Washington Post on adding the daily routine of prayer for all of us looking for self-worth and satisfaction. His words are a good invitation to what we should take up.

Here is his conclusion: “There is much to learn about prayer, but it’s easy to get started. Begin by reading Psalms in the Bible and see how believers have prayed and what they’ve prayed for. Read a book on prayer. Find a community of faith and see how they pray and what they seek.”

“Christians often come to prayer not knowing what to say, whether because of suffering, weariness or feeling distant from God. That’s okay. God, who is our help, invites us just to be present. He tells us not to expect to be received for our many words but because we are loved.”

Read the whole thing here.


Following that, there is an older piece from Mike Brooks on For The Church on “A Revolutionary Prayer Life.” It is actually more simple than we think.

A problem many of us face in the moment we’re praying is that, if we were to pay close attention, we’d likely catch ourselves mentally processing our joys and frustrations, rather than remaining present in prayer and sharing these things with God, praising him for his faithfulness and asking him to reveal the ways in which we aren’t trusting him as we ought.

Give it a read here and let’s start using the “Dear God” more often!


Now we move into how we can work differently. Oriented toward redemptive things versus the normative increase of money or accolades.

Molly Worthen penned an essay in The New York Times early in December to process thoughts on justice and inequality finding fruitfulness in the faith and work movement afoot. It is worth looking in on and pondering how we live and work.

“Today, a different cast of evangelicals — who are more likely to be pastors, academics and small-scale entrepreneurs than titans of the business establishment — are leading the faith and work movement in new directions, because they take more seriously all the ways the Bible challenges the exploitations of our new Gilded Age. They have built a network of businesses, ministries, media organizations, conference programs, websites and more than a dozen research centers in every region of the country that focus on how Christians can turn the workplace into “a sign and foretaste of God’s coming kingdom…”

Check out Worthen’s thorough look at the faith and work movement here.


To close out the week then is a great example of this type of work. 1951 Coffee is a roaster and coffeehouse that employs refugees giving them work experience and skills as they learn life in the U.S..

“1951 Coffee Company, founded in 2015, is a non-profit specialty coffee organization that promotes the well-being of the refugee community in the United States by providing job training and employment to refugees, asylees, and special immigrant visa holders while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues.”

It seems to be a great model and rumor has it we will soon see one in San Diego. Check them out online.


Whether you are still struggling with resolutions or just living free, may 2020 be a grand experience of the grace of Christ. Onward!

Worthwhile: June 7, 2019

Did you know that today is national donut day? Go get one!

Travel last week and summer in swing this week. There are still a few worthwhile bits of the internet for you to check out.

Post-Christian cities, praying for your food and graduating with gratitude.


Barna has released its look at the most “post-Christian” cities in the U.S. As Barna says:

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria (listed below), which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week. 

What is surprising is not that there are post-Christian cities ranking with 45% or higher, but where they are. San Diego is ranked 38th most post-Christian but my hometown of Omaha jumps off the list at 34. The town I did grad school, Toledo, OH is 35…

Check the list and see where your city ranks. Then get to work and tell someone about Jesus!


Also funny to me last week the remark from someone that because a comedian told them they didn’t need to say grace before a meal, they discontinued the practice. Ha.

First, if a comedian is your life coach or source of Christian teaching, go to church (and I realize most pastors try to be comedians). Next, praying before meals, or other adventures for that matter, are about expressing gratitude to God for his gifts, his provision in our lives. If anything we should be praying more, not less.

Jeremy Writebol gives us a good model, “Prayer at the regular intervals of normal, ordinary life fuel our dependence on God.”

“Praying at a meal is a part of pursuing Jesus in all of life. When eating a meal, give thanks for it. The pattern to implement is this: First, pause before the meal. Second, pray aloud, expressing gratitude for God’s provision of the food. Third, if so desired or needed at the moment, express others’ petitions. Then, eat.”

Read the rest here and get to praying… and eating.


And finally, it is graduation season. Don’t let it get you down. While seasons of transition can at times leave us grieving we can look forward with hope and thankfulness. In fact it is good to grieve, the right way.

Melissa Kruger shares more and it might just be what you need to get through the graduations! Read it, live it.


That’s it faithful friends. Have a great weekend. I will be preaching a wedding and partying with the best of them. Onward with grace and peace.

Worthwhile: April 26, 2019

The week after Easter can be something special. Coming off of Spring Break for the kiddos and ministry movement back to normal after special services and feasts. So here we are with warmer temps and an eye for summer, which will come faster than we know.

Before the weekend hits with its refreshing and rest, read up. A journal worth checking out and a prayer for those graduating from seminary.


Themelios is the Gospel Coalition’s “international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith.”

And this month’s issue deals with some of the conversation around the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit. With pieces from Andrew Wilson and Tom Schreiner it should be a helpful look at the issue.

It is on my reading list and I thought it should be on yours as well. Download it here.


Five years ago today I graduated from Western Seminary with a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. It was quite the journey and the time in seminary was tremendously valuable.

The most meaningful portion of the ceremony was the prayer by Todd Miles for the graduates. Later he published the same prayer as a blog post and it is worth praying again.

So Father, we ask for them that they would always remember the gospel, for it is the gospel that actually dedicates, it is the gospel that consecrates them to service, it is the gospel that has called them, it is the gospel that has saved them, it is the gospel that continues to empower them. Father, may they never, ever forget that.


We ask that you would give them wisdom — wisdom to follow you, discerning hearts to understand the difference between those thoughts that go contrary to the Word of God, and those that have been taken captive in obedience to your Son. We pray, Father, that you would give each of them an attentiveness to your Spirit, that they would depend upon His enablement, His empowerment every day and in every way.

Todd Miles

Read the whole prayer here.


Have a great weekend and remember that Jesus loves you and has carried all your burdens. Give them to him.

Worthwhile January 11, 2019

Into the New Year we have sprung. Funny how it feels a lot like the last year. Political division. Work to be done. Schedules that keep us inundated. And of course the only real place of refreshment and peace, the gospel of grace.

This week two articles worth your time and thought. Both on similar perspectives. One on prayer and what one church, and maybe all of us, mean when we seek God. The second on a new move afoot to move from mere theological continuationism (believing the Holy Spirit works miraculously still today) to the actual experience of it in our churches


From Sam Storms, a reflection on his church’s days of fasting and prayer. At Reservoir we used a couple of quotes from Sam in our weekly prayer meeting as we desire the same things. One key quote:

By saying we seek “God himself” I mean greater manifestations of his presence, a tangible sense of his nearness, deeper and sweeter fellowship and communion with him, a heightened capacity to hear his voice, a movement on our hearts to feel and enjoy his affection for us, and an expanded power in us to enjoy and adore him with greater fervency. In seeking “God himself” we long to know him better, to understand his will and ways with greater clarity, to go deeper and deeper into the character of God, to be set on fire with a more passionate commitment to him and adoration of him. In seeking “God himself” we long for a satisfaction in our souls that is so rich and powerful that it drowns out the alluring and seductive appeal of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Sam Storms

Read the whole piece here.


Next is a quick note from Andrew Wilson about a comment from Tim Challies about the move afoot for Charismatic experience in our churches. Typically Calvinistic churches that believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue today have been reserved at best in the expression of these gifts or even the pursuit of them. But the wind is blowing. Times are changing and more and more leaders are moving from holding a theology to experiencing it.

This is something we have expressed at Reservoir, the desire to be Word and Spirit people not merely holding a doctrinal belief but living in light of it. Come Holy Spirit come.