Monday, September 17, 2007


Throughout the past 3-4 years I have gone through periods where I read like crazy and then take a break and don't read quite as much. Right now I find myself in one of those book-crazy times. My newest book is an amazing book by Matthew Barnett called "The Church That Never Sleeps." The book is the story of a pastor in L.A. who has started a church that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The church operates out of an old 15-floor hospital in downtown Los Angeles and uses each floor for its nearly 200 different ministries.

One ministry that they have started is called Adopt-A-Block. What they do is send out about four people per street block to minister to that block each and every week. Every Saturday these people will visit their block and simply love and serve the people there as much as they can. They will go door to door meeting the residents and showering them with love. They will serve them in whatever way they can, whether that means mowing lawns and raking leaves, playing with kids and passing out toys and candy, or spending time with the elderly and just talking and listening to stories.

Barnett talks about how this program has radically altered their neighborhood as they have built incredible relationships with their neighbors, found out the needs of their community, and seen hundreds of people flock to church services from the area because of the radical love of these Jesus followers.

I dream about making that kind of impact on Sioux Falls, SD. I badly want to change our community for Jesus Christ and see people turn over their lives to a new way of living. I will be talking with our staff at Asbury about how we could implement this ministry in our own neighborhood. Pray for me, our staff, and our congregation as we seek to be the gospel in a world of need.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

We Don't Give A S*#^

My previous post was regarding a Derek Webb song that I had preached about in anticipation of seeing him in concert at LifeLight Music Festival. Now after hearing Webb sing and speak at the festival, I am all the more encouraged about the ministry he is trying to accomplish and the way he is staying authentic to the way God made him through the process.

Near the end of his set, Webb began to talk and I knew he was going to say something controversial. He did. He was talking about knowing that God's will for our lives is that we 'love God and love our neighbors' and that right now in the world, our neighbors in greatest need are the people in Africa. He went on to state that by looking at the church today, it is apparent through our actions that we "don't give a s*#^ what is happening in Africa." Derek just let the phrase ring out silent and you could obviously tell that there were a lot of people offended in the crowd. He went on to say that the problem with Christians is that we get angry about the wrong things, that we were angry with him for saying a word, but not angry that thousands of people die in Africa everyday.

While I am not inherently a huge fan of swearing and choose not to swear in my own life, I thought it was brilliant how Webb got our attention and then hammered us with the gospel. We DO get angry about the wrong things. I get offended if a Missions committee meeting at church goes 5 minutes late, but I don't get angry that thousands of kids go to bed hungry every night in my own hometown.

I want to be someone who doesn't just think about helping the poor and doing God's work, but who actually joins God in ending the injustices of our world. I want to know the poor and oppressed of my community and actually fight on their behalf. I want to actually live out the gospel of Jesus Christ.