Going Back to Guatemala


In the very near future, I will be heading to Guatemala with folks from Christ UMC and Our Savior Lutheran Church for a week of missional service with Tom Heaton, Dave Burns, and all the folks at Mission Guatemala

I am excited to return and see firsthand the amazing ministry and progress that has taken place at Mission Guatemala. I was blown away at all that had been done a year ago. I can only imagine what I’ll experience this time around. 

Tom posted today that tomorrow will be the two-year anniversary of Mission Guatemala. Due to the hard work of Tom and Dave, Mission Guatemala has accomplished more in two years than many mission organizations have accomplished in 20 years. 

The hungry are being fed. Shelter is being provided for those without adequate housing. The sick are being healed and cared for. It’s almost like these guys take Jesus seriously!

Mission Guatemala is truly putting the powerful words of John Wesley into practice. Wesley said, Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Last year, I was moved, humbled, challenged, restored, and renewed during my time in Guatemala. While digging what seemed like a never-ending hole to help provide a home for a family who had lost their home, I realized how I take for granted all that I have.

Also, while in the hole, physically worn out from pick axing, digging, and lifting the dirt out of the hole, I realized something…This is what it’s all about! Jesus didn’t intend for us to simply look on others with compassion and empathy…He intends for us to do what we can! For some, that may mean a monetary donation. For others, it may mean digging a ridiculously deep hole. For others, it may mean dedicating time to prayer. And, the list of ways to help goes on and on. The bottom-line is this…we are all called to do something!

I’m returning to Guatemala in part to help continue the good work of Mission Guatemala. For as long as I am physically able, I deeply desire to return to Guatemala to do what I can to help bring about a greater good for the people of Guatemala. 

 However, and this might be selfish, but I’m eager to return because of the ways in which Tom, Dave, and all those with Mission Guatemala impacted my life. The folks at Mission Guatemala…and all those we came into contact with…left a lasting impression on my heart and mind. 

Now, one doesn’t have to travel to Guatemala for this experience. There are opportunities right outside your door. Heck, for some of you, there are opportunities within the walls of your own home. The important thing is to open our eyes…to be aware…and then to respond by putting into practice those words of John Wesley. 

“Do all the good you can!”

Why Yes, I am Going to OUTfest!


Later this afternoon, I will head to downtown Lafayette for OUTfest. It’s been on my calendar for quite some time. I’ll be joining friends (and mabye some colleagues) to spread a little bit of love with those gathered.

Yesterday, someone asked me a simple question, “Why would you go to OUTfest?”

Sadly enough, due to my line of work, this question did not come as a surprise.

My answer was fairly simple. I am going to OUTfest because the love of God in and through Jesus Christ does not discriminate…God loves all. God’s love is not withheld from anyone. God’s love does not discriminate due to age, race, nationality, gender, sexual preference, political party association, religion, socio-economic status, etc. God is love. And, God loves all.

Therefore, as a Christian, my call is to love. My call isn’t to judge (I’m still working on getting the plank out of my own eye). My call isn’t to hate (pretty sure Jesus said something about even loving our enemies). My call is to love…to love God…to love my neighbor…to not withhold my love because I may not see eye-to-eye with you on any number of issues. My call is to see beyond that…because each person I come into contact with was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. So, I need to see beyond our differences and simply see a loving Creator inside all people.

I believe that our love falls short when we cling to statements like, “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Too often, we make statements like this and do a great job of hating the sin…and a poor job of loving the sinner. And, have you ever noticed that the “sinners” are always people who struggle with things we don’t struggle with. I haven’t heard “love the sinner, hate the sin” used in reference to gluttony.

As a Christian, I believe that love wins. And, in my view of Christian love…there is no room for all of the -ism’s we’ve created (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.). There is no room for bigotry and hatred. There is only room for love.

And, when I speak of love…I believe in a love that has no room for “buts”. You know what I mean…the, “I love you, but ________” statements that we too often make. When we qualify our love with a “but”, we run the risk of making our love invalid. Once we say “but”, we take the risk of the person failing to experience our love and only experiencing our judgment (because that’s usually what follows the “but”).

So, no matter what your view of homosexuality may be, it is my prayer that our words and deeds will communicate the love, grace, mercy, and compassion of God.

If you’re in the Greater Lafayette area today, meet me downtown and share God’s love with all of our brothers and sisters!

I’ll Go Crazy

Sometimes I find myself having irrational thoughts. I’m sure none of you ever struggle with that…

However, when you hear the kind of irrational thoughts I have, you might find yourself comforted in realizing that you simply are not as crazy as this guy.

My irrational thoughts normally focus on elevators and public restrooms…these are two things I am pretty sure the Creator is against. They are just wrong…and don’t waste your time trying to convince me otherwise…because I know I am right. But, today, my irrational thoughts are focused on my future.

I found myself thinking about how “I’ll Go Crazy” if the Bishop and Cabinet ever sent me to a church where it was expected/required that I wear a suit on a regular basis (meaning, definitely on Sunday mornings…and encouraged during the week).

Now, this is irrational, because I have great confidence in our Bishop and the Cabinet. I am convinced that they know me well enough to understand that “I’ll Go Crazy” if I were ever appointed to a congregation that is simply looking for a cookie-cutter, suit & tie guy. It would be a bad fit for me and, more importantly, for the congregation.

This is also irrational because I am a pretty straight-forward and honest guy. I’m one of those, “what you see is what you get” kind of guys. I have always been clear with various churches that “if you want someone that will…a) follow ALL the rules, b) go with and never challenge the status quo, c) wear a suit, d) stay out of trouble…well, I’m probably not your guy.” So, it would never get to that point…at least I don’t think it would (Dear Cabinet, please do not see this as me issuing you a challenge! Thanks!).

There are numerous other reasons why this irrational. Yet, today, I’ve been kicking around ideas about how I would respond if this were to happen.

So, I decided that, if the bizarre were to happen, and I ended up serving a congregation where it was implied that it was essential for the pastor to “suit up”, I would take my lead from Chris Isaak.


The dude knows how to dress!

I’m pretty sure that if I started showing up to a church wearing suits like Chris Isaak’s, I’d be asked to stop wearing suits.

Of course, I wouldn’t stop at the suits…I’d grow out my hair and style it like Mr. Isaak. I’d also write my name on my guitar. I’d also do my best to sing and talk like him. I would essentially become a Chris Isaak impersonator!

The whole thing would be an attempt to remind people that “the suit does not make the man”.

At one church I previously served, I was asked, “Why don’t you wear a suit or at least a tie when you preach?” My answer was simple. “Well, first off, that’s just not who I am…and I’m not going to pretend to be someone that I am not just to make someone else happy. And, most importantly, I really don’t think Jesus cares about whether or not I wear a suit and tie. I’m pretty sure he’s more concerned with my heart, my thoughts, my words, and my deeds. But, of course, I could be wrong.” And, the person respected my answer.

In reality, I’d probably just “robe up” and wear my untucked shirts, jeans, and Doc’s underneath.

So, thank you Chris Isaak for helping me find a way to deal with my irrational thoughts today!

The Best of You


While reading Colossians 3 this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Foo Fighters.

In what is probably my favorite Foo Fighters song, “Best of You”, Dave Grohl asks a brilliant question, “Is someone getting the best of you?”

Ah, that Dave Grohl really knows how to ask a great question! Those of you who know me well are fully aware of the fact that I am a sucker for all things Foo. There is just something about Grohl and the Foo Fighters that my inner being can’t resist. Most likely it’s the distortion…or the heavy pounding on the drums. Whatever it is that draws me to the Foo, when I hear a Foo Fighters song, I simply stop and listen.

So, while reading Colossians 3, I paused to listen to “Best of You”. The energy of the music really gets me going. The passion of Grohl’s vocals grasps my attention. And, the depth of the lyrics…especially the question, “is someone getting the best of you” makes me think.

My favorite point of the song is when Grohl sings:
Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
The life, the love you’d die to heal
The hope that starts the broken hearts
You trust, you must confess
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

The question is a great one. Is someone getting the best of you? We could take this in a couple of ways.

One way of looking at this would be to ask if someone is simply draining the life out of us…getting our best to the point where we are at the end of our rope. You know, the people who inflict pain, cause us to lose hope and faith, the people who break our hearts…If that is so, there are things that we need to do in order to “fix” that.

Now, of course, as a pastor…my mind always goes to the question of, “is God getting the best of you?” It’s a great question. One that we all need to spend some time pondering…and then adjusting our lifestyle that God will indeed get our best.

However, I think we need to ask this question in all areas of our lives.

Is my spouse/partner getting the best of me?
Are my children getting the best of me?
Are my co-workers getting the best of me?
Are my friends getting the best of me?
Am I giving my best or what’s leftover?
Am I giving my best or am I simply going through the motions…doing enough to simply get by?

“Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.” ~Colossians 3:17

I believe if we are doing all things in the “name of the Lord Jesus”, that will help us strive to give our best. If we love our spouse/partner “in the name of the Lord Jesus”, he/she will get our best. If we interact and love our children “in the name of the Lord Jesus”, they will get our best. If we work “in the name of the Lord Jesus”, our employers and our colleagues will get our best. If we are present and available to our friends “in the name of the Lord Jesus”, they will get our best.

So, who is getting the best of you?

“Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.” ~Colossians 3:23

Chick-Fil-A and Missing the Point

So, today is the day when we are to do one of two things:

  1. Boycott Chick-Fil-A
  2. Support Chick-Fil-A

All of this is a result of Dan Cathy’s comments on gay marriage.

Not that you asked, but here’s my two cents…

I think the whole thing simply misses the point.

In calling for a boycott of Chick-Fil-A, people have just given rise to Chick-Fil-A supporters (a.k.a. mostly conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist Christians). Gay marriage opponents now have a cause to stand behind…deep fried chicken patties served on a bun with a pickle and waffle fries. Had there not been the call for a boycott, most of the folks standing in line at Chick-Fil-A today would not have even been aware of Cathy’s comments and would have been chowing down on a Whopper at Burger King instead.

In calling for people to rally around Chick-Fil-A, gay marriage opponents are most likely creating a deeper division between the two sides. It’s hard to convince someone that you truly love him/her if you are going out of your way to support someone who has hurt him/her.

What Cathy said was insensitive and probably inappropriate. However, he has a right to believe and think those things. A business has the right to be a conservative Christian business that makes decisions and supports various organizations that are consistent with their values. It doesn’t make it “right”, but they do have that freedom.

The boycott will not change the practices and beliefs of Chick-Fil-A. In fact, it will probably convince company executives that they are doing the “right” thing. The outpouring of support for Chick-Fil-A will not demonstrate love to our gay brothers and sisters.

I’m pretty sure Jesus was known for saying, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35), and not “They will know you are my disciples by your waffle fries.”

Now, some will say, “We are simply loving our gay brothers and sisters by letting them know they are wrong.” Really? It’s just one of those, “I love you, but I hate you” kind of comments. Maybe someone should tell you to “put down the greasy chicken and fries because I love you and I don’t want you to be a glutton.”

The bottom line is this…As a Christian, I am called to love God and my neighbor. I’m not sure participating in a boycott or Mike Huckabee’s Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day is really consistent with either of those two greatest commandments.

So, no, I won’t eat at Chick-Fil-A today. And, no, I won’t stand outside holding a sign pointing out the obvious. Instead, I’ll go home and eat some leftovers. Then, tomorrow, I’ll go to Chick-Fil-A and use up some of my coupons for free food. Seriously, we have at least 5 coupons for free meals at Chick-Fil-A.

But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.   If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?   For even sinners love those who love them.   And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same. Luke 6:27-32