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 fortifies us for any difficulty 

 fortifies us for any difficulty 

Nothing better than being in the thick of wedding season with her as my date.

(the Tim Keller quote I read when officiating)

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. 
To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. 
But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. 
It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.

Tim Keller – The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

(Photo by Colette)

Impress them on your children

Impress them on your children

I spent a wonderful decade in Youth Ministry. (Pictured are students from my last year as youth pastor before becoming a senior pastor).

Back then we had a lot of fun along with talking about faith, community and service. But now, some of my proudest moments are seeing what they’ve become – watching them get stretched by serving others, seeing how they’ve learned to be honest with others and themselves. This weekend I’ll be joining some of them to celebrate the marriage of two of the students Ashley and I were especially close to. I’m really proud of so many of them for who they’re becoming.

Right now I’m leading my own youth group of 4. (It’s true, I practiced on other people’s kids first) But I’m also watching www.Goshen.Church Youth Group starting to grow and form, and I’m maybe more thankful for youth leaders, mentors, coaches and parents now than ever before.

(and if you’re in the picture… thanks Jennie for putting this book together, know that I prayed for you by name before posting – I’d love to catch up sometime)

“Being Reformed”

“Being Reformed”

A lot of my evangelical friends assume that “being reformed” is mostly sitting around talking about how God determines coin flips – or something in that theological vein.

But, the fact is that “being reformed” means being a part of church accountability. (covenant networks across states and countries). “Being Reformed” means that celebrity pastors don’t call the shots, that local churches are somehow accountable to other local churches, that groups of churches make decisions together. And it’s a lot of work and it’s a hassle. And it can sometimes hold back a lot of the entrepreneurial energy and creativity that has propelled the evangelical machine.

But accountability is also healthier in the long-run. That less flashy leaders have to work within systems and be transparent, and work at distributing power in ways that avoid abuse and protect those who whisper. (This week I’ve been “being reformed” a lot… and it’s painful and time-consuming to help other pastors and churches work though decisions – but I’m convinced that it ultimately builds a stronger kingdom of Jesus.)

(pictured is the 1,300+ page agenda for our bi-national assembly called “synod”. taking place this week.)

Small Consistent Investments Add Up…

Small Consistent Investments Add Up…

Tonight we’re missing CADETS and GEMS due to summer break. It ended without fanfare, but I’m so thankful for these programs that reach around 40 boys and girls and their families. I think a lot about the several kids who don’t have dads or moms investing in them and am soooo thankful for godly leaders who serve and lead unselfishly and sacrificially in helping keep the sorts of vows good churches make at baptisms – for the church community to help raise kids together. I’m convinced moments like these are under-celebrated but will change the world for the better.

Lego Land

Lego Land

We went to Legoland on Monday, and I think one of my favorite parts is watching the thousand of families all trying to spend time together and do good things for kids. (I don’t like that they’re in line ahead of me but) I think there’s a lot of hope for a culture that is collectively trying to do good by their kids.