Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I love to watch the snow fall- especially in the evening... From indoors... With a fire in the fireplace...

Okay, I'll admit it: I like snow once or twice a season (it's a plus when it happens the way I described it above) but after that, I'm really just waiting for Spring. So, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I'd like to visit a place where it snows- see it, play in it- and then go home.

Reality, however, woke me up this morning to find five inches of new, wet, heavy snow on the ground with more falling. I suppose I could have climbed back into bed, pulled the covers up over my head and told myself, "I don't want any more snow, so it can't be snowing." I suppose I also could have stood at the window lamenting all the bad weather this town has experienced in the past 6 months thinking, "It's not fair."

I am anxiously waiting for Spring. But while it is very true that I don't think there should be any more snow this Winter, it's also true that I'm not even remotely equipped to make that decision. And, come to think of it, I'm also not equipped to talk about what is "fair." After all, there are several things about life that aren't "fair," (particularly in the area of God and eternity) in which I am relieved that I don't have to get what I deserve. Besides, denial and self-pity won't get the cars and porch cleaned off or the sidewalks shoveled.

The only response which accomplishes that result is action. So even though I'm still waiting on the Spring, I got dressed and got to it, remembering that Winter doesn't last forever.

But in that brief moment, it wasn't an easy choice, even though I clearly knew it was right. Precisely because I'm waiting for it, the big snow seemed to somehow make Spring more implausible- as if it might not actually happen. It was temporarily defeating. Waiting seems to trigger a unique combination of thoughts, emotions, and physiological effects in most people- especially when the wait is ongoing.

Waiting tires us out and wears us down.

Don't think so? While waiting for something, have you ever used the phrase, "I'm so tired of..."? Or how about this one: "I can't take this much longer."

When our emotional batteries get drained, our judgement can be compromised. I believe that more than a few poor choices have been made out of a desire to end the waiting and find closure. In order to avoid this situation, we need to find a source of renewal; a way to keep our stamina while things are on hold.

Waiting is a theme that is literally found throughout the entire Bible. Jacob waited seven years to be allowed to marry Rachel, only to be tricked by his father-in-law Laban into marrying her older sister. After re-negotiating for Rachel's hand in marriage, Jacob worked an additional seven years for Laban (Gen. 29:16-30).

At the age of seventy-five, God promised Abraham (then called Abram) that he would be "a great nation" (Gen. 12:2). After receiving that promise, Abraham waited twenty-five more years until God gave him a son, Isaac, through his wife Sarah.

And in Acts 1, after the resurrection and just before he is "taken up before their very eyes," (v.9) Jesus tells the eleven remaining apostles not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there instead for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Okay- so in this case He actually tells them it will happen in a few days. But when they ask if this is the point when He will "restore the kingdom to Israel" (something for which the Jewish people had been waiting a very long time) Jesus responds by telling them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7). I'd say that roughly translates to "nobody gets to know that, you'll have to wait and see."

In each of these examples, they chose to act while they waited. Jacob negotiated for Rachel's hand in marriage, and then continued to work for Laban until the terms of that agreement were met. Abraham trusted God's promise that he would be a great nation, so he left his country and set out on a journey to a new land. The apostles returned to Jerusalem, joined together in prayer and chose someone to take the place of Judas.

So where did they find the stamina to do those things?

Isaiah 40:27-32 says, "Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God'? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." (NASB version)

Interestingly, sometimes "wait" in v.31 is translated "hope." These verses, compare Israel with a person waiting for some kind of resolution. In frustration, the cry goes out, "I'm so tired of this! Don't you see me God? This isn't fair!" But, they are reminded that God does indeed see everything, and he never gets tired. And they will find the strength and renewal they need to endure the waiting if they will put their trust and hope in Him.

Life is full of waiting, for both the mundane and the very serious. Waiting to check out. Waiting for lunch time. Waiting for that file to download. Waiting for the light to turn green. Waiting to find out if you got the job. Waiting for those test results. Waiting to see if the surgery was a success.

It's likely that you are waiting on something right now. It may be wearing you down and draining your strength.

Do you need renewal?

Where will you go?

In Him We Live,


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The sun was shining, and I was surprised at how warm I was getting. It was not particularly hot, but my load was heavy and awkward. About halfway up the hill, we paused for a moment on the gravel road and I turned to take in the view behind me. Looking out past miles of pasture and grassland, my eyes met the horizon and fixed on the mountains that stretched out as far as I could see in either direction. Turning back to our burdens, we started again up the hill.

When we had gone as far as the road could take us, we negotiated a small culvert and continued on across country. The buckets made it difficult to traverse the steep incline of the hill, but by now the destination was only a few minutes away. As we neared the top of the bluff, I thought about the objects I was transporting.

I had only chosen a few rocks, but they were significant. Most of them were pretty close in size and weight, but had specific physical characteristics. For example, one was really rough and abrasive- like sandpaper. Another was quite attractive on one side, and black on the other. Every new rock caused me to consider the instructions that were given concerning their selection: "Each should represent a deep hurt someone has inflicted on you; a wound that you continue to carry."

Every new rock made the lesson sink in more deeply.

My final selection was unique. It was a wound that I had carried around for a very long time. No, it was actually several wounds that were all joined together with the common thread of one relationship. I knew it as soon as I saw it. Large, angular and sharp, this rock was as awkward and unattractive as the hurt that it represented.

“That thing doesn’t even fit right in your bucket,” Tamara said. “Are you sure you want to carry it all the way up the hill?” She was right. This one rock was as heavy as all the others combined. And since the diameter of my 5 gallon bucket wouldn’t accept all of the lopsided mass, adding it made the whole load awkward and top-heavy. But that was precisely the point. I didn’t want to carry its weight, but I already was. It was perfect.

We arrived at the top of the bluff, set our buckets down, and peered over the edge of the cliff. The path we followed on our ascent had circled around so that we could see the mountains again. We could also see where we had begun. Ironically, although we now stood 40-50 feet above it, we really weren’t too far away from our starting point. Had we not been carrying the stones, we could easily have made the same journey in less than half the time.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV).”

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:24-26 NIV).”

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12 NIV).”

We just stood silently for a few minutes, looking at the mountains and enjoying the cool October breeze. Then one by one, we took turns throwing our rocks off the cliff. With each toss, we expressed to God that we had forgiven the one who hurt us so deeply, and surrendered the burden of the wound to Him. When I got to my last rock- the big one- I stopped and prayed, “Lord, I’ve carried this burden around for so long that it feels like a part me. But I don’t want it, and I never did. I am surrendering everything about the situation to You, including the person.
After hurling it over the side, I watched as my rock landed on an even larger one at the bottom of the cliff and was broken.

When we can’t forgive, we load ourselves down with burdens that can be much heavier than a bucket full of big rocks. If you’re carrying a weight like this around, take it to the cross and let it go. Life is better with an empty bucket.


In Him We Live,


Sunday, February 10, 2008


Can a blog become a church?

Not sure. But they could share a name...

A little over a year ago, the Convergence blog made its debut. The entry was called "A New Adventure," and it described exactly how I felt. I talked about bike rides when I was twelve, and how I loved to explore places that I'd ever been. I guess I've always been a sucker for a good adventure.

As I explained in that first entry, I could never have described it then, but as I look back on all the incredible adventures, I think those feelings were stirred because I was at a point of convergence. You can see one definition of that word above- every time you log on to this site. But according to, “convergence” can also be defined as “the occurrence of two or more things coming together.” It is a “meeting place” of sorts.

My life in Christ has been an ongoing series of these moments, and the feelings of adventure and excitement have been joined (and possibly intensified) by a passion to share the amazing gift of the Gospel with people who don’t know Jesus. But just when I think my experience, wisdom, or understanding has grown a little, I have been met by new challenges and further sections of the trail, waiting to be explored. Sometimes these challenges appear purely as obstacles to be overcome. At other times they are opportunities.

At each new stage, I am reminded of my inadequacy. I feel like that twelve year old again, hesitating at the edge of the unknown, feeling very small and weak. But in my better moments, I am also reminded that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9. NIV Translation)."

If it is true that a "leader’s inadequacy finds resolution only in the grace of God (David Faust, Growing Churches, Growing Leaders, (Joplin: College Press Publishing Co., 1994), 126)," then it would seem that it is in the facing of these very challenges that we will find our Savior’s gracious hand, guiding us forward in His strength. I am trusting in that strength as I journey toward the opportunity to plant a new church.

It is far beyond the scope of any human to establish a new body of Christ, purely based on their own strengths and abilities. Jesus’ words to Peter in Matthew 16:18 tell us that the church will be built on the rock (petra), in which he refers to Himself. This is in response to Peter’s confession that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God, living with them in the flesh. In comparison we, like Peter (petros), are more like small stones, or pebbles. People need the guidance, power and blessing of the triune God to plant a new church. But people however, do without a doubt have a contribution to make.

I believe that a healthy, thriving church can be rooted in a simple process. It can be birthed, grow, and reproduce by focusing primarily on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. This process can be seen not only in the life of the church as a whole, it can be observed and measured within the context of the individual disciples that make up the larger body. This process can be expressed in a simple mission statement that encourages the believer to “Love God, Live in Community, and Serve the World.”

Love. Live. Serve.

I do not feel worthy of this amazing opportunity. But I know that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2Corinthians 4:7 NIV Translation).” When I replace my frailty with God’s strength, what is left is the potential to see, as author Randy Pope says, “a place where the presence of God’s power is demonstrated with such force that the community in which it exists is marked with an indelible spiritual imprint (The Prevailing Church, (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002), 20).”

The thought of seeing such place become a reality is in itself a point of convergence. As a matter of fact, "Convergence" is again one of the best words I can think of to describe what I'm talking about. Just imagine: the opportunity to establish a body of Christ, built on a simple process that invites believers as well as the spiritually curious to "come together" with the living God into an ever-increasing relationship.

Now that's what I call Convergence.

In Him We Live,


Friday, February 1, 2008


This is not the entry I had planned for today. Maybe that one will make it in next week.

Music is a big part of my life, and has been for as long as I can remember. Long before I understood anything about music theory, I recognized that there were certain elements in music that had a strong affect on me emotionally, and sometimes even changed my mood.

I have always listened to the words, too- and I mean really listened. By the time I was ten, I could easily (and accurately) sing along with most of the music that my parents listened to, both in the house and on the radio in the car. Much to their relief, I was still too young to understand what some of the songs insinuated (i.e., I thought Star Land Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" was about a cookout on the 4th of July, since they kept talking about "making sparks ignite," and "skyrockets in flight.")

In my life, God has often used this love for music (with a now increased understanding of lyrics) as a tool to remind me of His presence and get me thinking about His Word. Sometimes it's just one line from a song that digs deep into me. (And it hasn't been exclusively "Christian" music, just in case you're wondering.)

Yesterday however, He used worship music. I had my mp3 player on as I worked on other stuff, and decided to listen to the song "Fuel." You may know the opening lyrics: "You are the fuel our spirits burn; the oil, the light, the flame the fire, we are burning..."

Then it was the song by Hillsong United, called "Look to You": "As I look into the sky above; Wonder how my life has changed; Wonder how Your love, it came to me; As I look into the sky above; All my fears, so far away; All I hear is heaven calling me. So I look to You; So I look to You. No one else will do; No one else will do."

I began to think to myself, "These are songs that declare a total dependence on God- they indicate a life that acknowledges Him as the ultimate source." I then decided to listen to "Look to You" a second time. This time though, a piece of John 1:3 came to mind: "Through him all things were made..." The rest of the verse is, "...without him nothing was made that has been made."

Then it sort of expanded to Colossians 1:13-20 which says, "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." I was thinking of the next part specifically:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created:"
(When I looked it up later, the power of the whole verse practically knocked me over.) It continues, "..things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."

From there, I thought about a Vineyard music song from the late 90’s, which we've been singing lately at worship gatherings called "You are in Control." It starts out, "You are my shepherd, I have no need; You lead me by peaceful streams; And You refresh my life. You hold my hand and You guide my steps; I can walk through the valley of death and I won't be afraid. Because You, are in, control. You, are in, control. Yes Lord You, are in, control. You are in control..." I probably don't need to mention that my thoughts were turned to Psalm 23.

Sooo... why share that story today? In an effort to be as transparent with you as possible, I'll just lay it out: I think I'm supposed to.

I had something completely different in mind for my entry this week, but by the time this impromptu worship experience was complete, I was left thinking about who God is: the Creator and sustainer of everything that has ever been or will ever be. About all God has given to me: existence; hope; salvation; the very life of His Son. And about how He is totally in control of everything, but won't force himself on anyone, desiring instead that we choose to freely give Him the authority in our lives that He, by all rights, could demand.

I love music. But despite all its good points, music is not the focus of this entry. More accurately, music in this story plays the part of the vehicle which provides transportation to the real focus: An encounter with the Living God.

Has God been trying to remind you of His presence lately? He's not limited to music. God can use anything from medieval literature to muscle car restoration to get someone thinking- if they are willing to pay attention. You see, God's only "limit" is self-imposed: He will not allow Himself to push beyond someone's free will. We must choose to listen.

He still desires that we choose Him.

In Him We Live,