About

About the Blog

Welcome to my new blog – where I think out loud about all of the things I like to think about. I see this blog as a way to (a) encourage and challenge people, (b) sharpen my own thinking by committing words to a page, (c) hold myself accountable to wise friends by making my thoughts public, and (d) develop and maintain friendships with people all across the blogosphere.

I do welcome and encourage comments and dialogue; any and all thoughts are welcome, so long as they are offered in a respectful tone. In particular, I ask that you treat other guests with even more kindness and gentleness than you’d offer me. There is of course no tone of voice in blogging, so be mindful of how you might be heard. I’m more than fine with disagreement and constructive dialogue, but don’t be childish. If you are mean-spirited, I’ll remove your comments and try to contact you in person to explain why.

About Me

I currently serve as a Life Groups Pastor at Real Life Church in Santa Clarita, CA. I love to hang out with my wife and our friends, read, play and watch sports, wear my purple shirt in Lakers game days, and enjoy great weather. I grew up in Tulsa, OK, with my mom, four sisters, and a brother (who are all awesome). I sensed God “calling me to ministry” in HS and went to Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO. Joplin rocks, and OCC taught me to love the Bible deeply and read it intelligently. At OCC I met my wife Beth, who truly is my closest friend. After graduation we moved out to California, where I started working at RLC and attending Fuller Seminary; Beth teaches 8th grade Bible and Drama, and even though she’s hard core her students adore her. After finishing Fuller I came on full-time at the church and we have been here since.

I don’t know what else to say here. I’m trying to think about what I’d want to see in an “About” section, but I’m drawing a blank. Recently I wrote a book called Jesus in 3D. My goal in life is to see Jesus clearly and follow him faithfully. My primary current interests are what the “gospel” really and truly is, what Jesus accomplished in his death and resurrection, and how the church in 21st century America can best point forward to God’s coming kingdom. To get all fancy on you, I am learning to live and share a biblical gospel from within an alternative community committed to radical discipleship and engaging in incarnational mission. If that doesn’t make me sound pretentious, I don’t know what will. But it’s my dream nonetheless.

Thanks for stopping by.

5 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi. I live in Santa Clarita as well, and wonder what you mean by “alternative community.” Do you mean your church? A community house? Something else?

    Thanks,
    Sarah

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Welcome! Sorry I haven’t responded to this – I took a blog hiatus for a few months. Great question, btw!! Basically I’m saying that the church (big picture) is called to live as a community in a way that is different from the world around them. Hmm, okay, that’s vague too. Let’s take a specific example – politics. In our culture we are often pushed into one of two corners – Right or Left. The church is called to be a community that offers a third option – the politics of Jesus. Sometimes that means we’ll look more like the Right and at other times the Left, but the point is that we are a genuine alternative.

    I guess it’s a fancy way of saying that we are called to live differently from the society at large, and that our life together as a community serves as an invitation for others to step out of the rat race and pursue a different way of living.

    I think what we’re trying to do (or should be trying to do) is parallel to what Jesus did. He challenged the Roman empire with the kingdom of God (and got killed for it). Unlike the Jewish priestly regime of his day, he did not compromise with the Romans and their injustice. But unlike other Jewish groups (revolutionaries, etc) he didn’t advocate trying to overthrow Rome in the boring old standard way either. And contrary to popular current opinion, he didn’t just set up a “spiritual kingdom” that is all about what happens “in our hearts” or what happens in the next world as opposed to this one. He called together a kingdom community that would challenge the kingdoms and communities of this world by living according to a different story, a different logic, a different way. Instead of accommodation or revolution, this community loves her enemies and seeks to overcome injustice through creative nonviolent action (see Matthew 5.38-42). In this way he offered an alternative to the sadducees / priests and the zealot types. Instead of shunning “tax collectors and ‘sinners’,” etc, and coming up with all sorts of religious regulations and whatnot, this community obeys Torah from the heart and to the full in a way that accomplishes the original intent of taking care of the needy and pursuing reconciliation. In this way he offered an alternative to the Pharisees.

    I am being very general here, but does that help flesh out what I’m saying?

    As for the last bit of your question, “the church” thus conceived can take many social forms – traditional church, house church, communal living. We hope and pray and work toward our current church being faithful to this mandate, though we obviously fail in some respects.

    Are you familiar at all with our church (Real Life Church). If you come, be sure to introduce yourself – I’d love to meet you!

    Michael

  3. Dear Michael,
    I read Jesus in 3D. Thanks so much! It gave me much better picture of Jesus.

    On page 67 you write: “…Jesus came not to restore individuals but the family of God….” This same Jesus is taking his church back!! I just discovered, on the internet, the phenomenon of “simple churches”.
    This video “Tidal Wave” is about them: http://vimeo.com/4521963.

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