I am sitting here feeling like I am in a daze. The pain medications are making it possible for me to sit here, but not necessarily to think well. That means that I am going to point you a the deep thinking that others are doing, because brother, it ain’t happenin here.

Some time back I sat down with one of the missionaries that our denomination has sent out. He is home right now, trying to raise more support since the Euro is doing so well against the dollar. We were discussing the fact that he was having trouble raising the extra money because many of the local churches were actively being more missional, which in their minds meant that they were keeping more of the money for local ministries and outreaches, much of which was being driven by a much more active congregation.

On the end of the spectrum, we find many of the emerging church models. They do not have a building to compete for funds. They also do not usually have a denominational place to put their offerings, if they even take one. They may not even be on most people’s radar so that the missionary could find them to ask for funds.

(Aside): I guess I need to state here that we are talking about one of those denominations where the individual missionary has to raise support rather than the church groups where the pool of funds is distributed by the denomination.

This does not even begin to take into account the issue that is fast becoming a major one in overseas missions. That is, the funding and maintenance of the national who is moved to extend the missionary reach of the other missionaries. The world of missions, you are achangin…

All of that to say this; the reach and style of the church is in change mode. Most of us would agree to that. One of the issues is money. A good post on this is found at Lainie Petersen’s blog.

Another issue of key importance is that of effectiveness in our culture. Church is changing. That is a given. It is rapidly, at least in some of the effective places, becoming a non-spectator sport. The church that is the body of Christ, has never been a spectator sport. It has always been highly participatory. It must be in order to fulfill the picture of it as a body. Brad, over at futuristguy, has a great post on this.

Hopefully, my teeth will be back to whatever we wish to call normal after today’s experience. I do not want to call myself normal ever. That puts too small a sample on normal.

As always, blessings!


I just read a post and responded to it over on Lainie Petersen’s page. She found out that she had Asberger’s Syndrome and is starting to talk about how it has affected her. Her first reaction is that she got mad. At God, at others who did not understand, you name it, and she felt it.

I have gone through what she is going through. Still do when people either ignore me because I am handicapped, assume that all my brainpower was used up by the batteries in my wheelchair, or are just not comfortable enough around me to have a good conversation, just because they have to look down on me as a part of the process…or maybe that is the issue, it is not just a physical orientation. Oops, I don’t think I meant to be quite that strong. Oh well, maybe it is a good thing to get some of my non-shared feelings (don’t you hate talking about feelings, guys) on the table.

I am dealing (all right, I understand that I am slow in this area, but I had to get by my own issues first) better with this. I do not know how much of my original church’s unwillingness to use me in some areas of ministry is related to their issues with my issues since I attended there for 25 years. They knew me before post-polio syndrome and wheelchairs. When I could stand for an hour and participate every week in choir and other activities.

All of this to say that I am feeling Lainie’s pain as she deals with the emotions and other things that come with diagnosis and then dealing with the results. I know that it is harder when you cannot see the issues like you can with some of mine. When I started really dealing with my ADD, at age 50, many people seemed to just chalk it up to another part of the physical. I couldn’t. I had to deal with it as a separate issue including what it might mean to me in earning a living and following God’s calling on my life.

Am I excited that God has allowed me to see His ability to comfort and support us up front and personally? Yeah, but maybe not the way you would think. I have seen for many years that God has used me to take excuses away from others in serving Him. May it always be that I do not stop what I know I am supposed to be doing because of self-doubt and self-pity. For I am the mighty vGimp (careful you do not bite down while your tongue is stuck so far into your cheek, Rich).

I am torn. On one hand, I am tempted to just not say anything about how yesterday went. On the other hand, that would be mean and not reasonable. Those are two things that typically are not used about me and I see no reason to go that direction, so I will bring you up to date.

Yesterday exceeded all of our expectations by a bunch. Danny, my partner in crime and the Senior member of our little troop, had set up seventy chairs in the adult area. And…we had to add about 20 more. Yes, that’s right, we had about 90 adults in our gathering yesterday. We know that quite a few of those were well wishers, and will not be back, but we also know that there were quite a few people that were not there that had told us that they were interest on a more permanent basis. So, we get to wait again and see what and who happens next week in order to get a better picture of who is expecting to make Grace Place a permanent home.

I was really blessed by all the people who were excited for what we are starting! And, I am really looking forward to seeing what is next. I know that part of what is next is moving into the discipleship model that will be my contribution to the pie. I know that we need to begin to gather a communal feeling. I know that we need to pray deeply about how we are going to be involved in the lives of the people that visited our little gathering yesterday.

I covet your prayers! I feel rather small about my preparedness in participating in this adventure. But, I know that it is not me that need to be in the middle of it anyway, it is God. Thank you Lord for your blessings and your opportunities. We are not worthy, except as the fulfillment of your prophecy when you say that you are going to befuddle the know-it-alls by using what they perceive as weakness to be your strength. Amen.

A New Adventure


I am sitting here writing this post in the empty area of the building we are going to use as our meeting place for our new church. Listening to the coffee perk as anticipating the arrival of who knows…God is working!

Last night, I sat in and participated in a group that is seeking God in the renewal of downtown Tacoma. Not the physical pieces, but the spiritual pieces that populate the area. They are working with the local churches and at the same time, encouraging the creation of a house church network. God is working!

I was praying this last week about the many hats that I wear. And wishing that I could trade in one or two in exchange for the ministry one getting bigger. And then, thinking about the fact that I feel called to be at least mostly a tentmaker. Ah, the pulling and pushing that happens when we strive to follow Jesus.

I will try to get back to this later today and update everyone who reads this on what happened. Did anyone come?

Peggy tagged me with the 10-20-30 meme just as I was heading into the weekend of the Franklin Graham Festival which is now a historical fact rather than series of tasks to perform. I put it off so long that now when I comment, there is no one left to tag, so I guess I will do this and then let it lie…

10 Years Ago (1997) – I was coming to grips with the first stage of empty nest syndrome. It is not as tough on guys as women I think, based on my wife’s experience, but have my oldest move 2300 miles away and never really come back except to visit was the start of a stage.

20 Years Ago (1987) – This one is interesting…at least to me!  I was in my second job as a programmer (mainframes) and working on my MBA. I was also in the process of learning about PCs since I could already see the handwriting on the wall that PCs would eventually be able to replace most of what mainframes were doing at the time.  Besides, COBOL was already getting old…like me.

30 Years Ago (1977) – Married just over a year to my lovely (still) wife. Our first child was on the way.  I was frustrated in my work in the Christian radio station. Passed over again for promotion to Program Director. I was seriously bummed. Looking back on it, they were right.  But, what 25 year old wants to admit that?

There it is Peggy, I guess we can be ‘older’ at the same rate.

This morning I read a post on Alan Hirsch’s blog that tweaked many of my buttons. In a good way, of course.

Bonhoeffer believed that the only way to truly comprehend the revelation of God in scripture is by approaching it with the pre-commitment to obey it. For those interested in weird theological terms, he calls this ‘tropological exegesis’ or simply ‘tropology’. Bonhoeffer can therefore speak of discipleship as a ‘problem of exegesis’ and goes on to say, “By eliminating simple obedience on principle, we drift into an unevangelical interpretation of the Bible.” So, if we never obey God we can never understand or follow him. Simply believing right doctrine is not enough. As followers of Jesus, we have to start obeying long before we know and understand much of Him whom we obey. More than that, if we take obedience out of the equation, we cannot even hope to truly understand the bible. Calvin can claim that true knowledge of God is born out of obedience, and to obey takes us to the path of action, of praxis, of goodness.

You may read the rest of the quote here.

The point here is; if we do not approach Scripture with the intent to obey, then we cannot glean that which is intended from the Scripture in the first place. It was written in order to help us recognize and practice those things which are inherently part of the path towards God through Jesus Christ.

Hmm, there is quite a difference between reading Scripture with the intent to make it through the book every year, and reading with the intent to obey. One of my friends, Paul, would say that this is one of the major pieces that Christendom is missing, especially with the current emphasis on hierarchy and preaching. For me, this alone has caused me to slow down, way down, in my daily reading. Context is great, and I do read for continuity as well. Content is better especially when you also understand the context.

May we always connect with our Lord with the mindset of obedience.

I have often said everytime I look in a mirror I realize that God must have a sense of humor. This may not sound like a big deal, but I could not have said this without crying 40 years ago. Yes, I am that old…

Being handicapped in a sports and looks-minded culture has been an adjustment to say the least. When I was young, even after becoming acquainted with Jesus, what others thought and did about my looks and abilities meant a lot. At least it did until I ran into people that looked great on the outside, and had many of the things that I thought I was missing, and realized that they had their own issues. Some of them much more serious than trouble getting around and looking a little different than they did.

The more time I spent around others, many of whom are successful in their own eyes, the more I realized that what I had, Jesus as my friend and mentor, relationships in serving Him, opportunities to bring joy to others, and a great family, were beyond the best. And yet, there is always the perception of others when we interact. So what.

This is what. There seem to be two types of people in the world. Those that avoid me and those that don’t. Sounds profound? To me, it is. Because when I find someone who does not avoid me, it speaks to their comfort with themselves. If they are comfortable that they have something to offer to others, they typically are not uncomfortable around me. If they are not confident in their own skin, they have difficulty, because they think that I probably am worse off then they are. If they cannot help themselves, how could they possibly have something to say to me? No matter the cause of their self-esteem, in an initial meeting, they non-verbally tell me a lot about what they think of themselves in relation to the rest of the world. And, their comfort level in their own skin.

Is the virtual gimp different. Only at the skin level. Do I still worry about my family, my friends, those that God has put within my sphere of influence? Without a doubt. We are all on a journey. We are all offered different tools to make that journey. May God grant us all the tools we need to make the journey He has placed in front of us. Whether it be friends ( of which I have been blessed with many), or family (I love mine with all of my heart!), or acquaintances, these are the players of record for our journey. May I (we) remember and pray for each and all of those we have around us as we journey! For I am the Virtual Gimp…