As Jesus followers we are called into the Kingdom Life. This blog will help us converse and learn what that means. It will contain thoughts on Scripture, Sermon Reflection, Leadership Training and interesting reads. -Pastor Jeff

Friday, December 25, 2015

In a Moment, In a Manger

It changed
                as the radiant beams of God’s Glory
                                Leapt up
                From the most humble of circumstances
God’s Invasion of Grace

In a moment
In a manger

God punches through
                the veil that appeared to divide
                the Divine from the Down-Trodden
                the Holy from the Lowly
                the Eternal from the Time-Bound

In a moment
In a manger

God Himself
                In Son Jesus Christ
                Dawns the Fragility of Flesh
                                Everything Changes

Because in that moment
In that manger

God would no longer be thought
                Only…for us
                Now…God with us
                God Himself
                                In Son Jesus Christ
                                Walking miles and miles
                                In the worn-through soles of our shoes
                                In the tattered garb of human frailty
                                Through the broken shards of earth-born living

In a moment
In a manger
Distance spanned
Division Eclipsed

The King from on High
                Had now come low
                Condescending to us
                                And we…
                Accosted, scandalized, captivated
                By the simplicity
                                Of the One that Comes
                                Not as conquering ruler
                                                Suffering Servant
                                                As lowly peasant
                                                As One…like us
                                                As One…for us
                                                As One…with us

Who in a moment
In a manger
Wearing our Flesh
Filling our Fragility
Sanctifying our Skin

                In Coming to be as we are
                Makes possible
                                Our coming to be like He is

Yes Holy…
For this Invasion of Grace
Is not complete
In a moment
In a manger

                This moment is the set-up
                For moments to come
                                Of teaching
                                                Sending…of God Himself
                                                In Spirit
                                                That he is no longer
                                                Only God for us
                                                And God with us
                                                But now…God in us

For the One who in a moment
In a manger
Who takes up flesh
Now takes hold of our flesh
Inhabiting our fragility
Laying waste to our resistance
Invading our Space with His Grace
Filling up our Broken Cracks and Empty Places
                With the Glory
                the Radiance
                the Majesty
                of His limitless Grace
                So that in all things
                In all ways
                At all times
                We might become like
                The One who stooped low
                To become like us

In a Moment
In a Manger
Everything Changes
                And that…

                Is the Christmas Miracle.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hope Through the Thick Cloud of Depression

Has it settled in like a thick cloud again?  It’s denseness, at times both suffocating and restrictive. 

There are moments…when…every…breath…feels…labored.
When the haze makes seeing beyond this present moment nearly impossible.”

Is it piling up?  When it was just one or two things you thought you could handle it.  But now it feels like everything.
            All at once…
            No let up…
            Really…again.  How much more can a person take?

“Where’s my bed, my bottle, my blanket and remote.  Maybe if I just wait it out here.  Forget about it…sleep it away, drink it away, wish it away…
            it’ll go away?

But no, the thoughts – they are relentless.  Even in your exhaustion the thoughts keep coming. 

“Make them stop, will they ever stop?  I’ll do anything to make it stop…”
            “I didn’t mean anything?  Don’t worry, I mean it’s crossed my mind, but doesn’t everyone have that thought?  I’m good though, really.” 
But are you?

It’s thick this cloud.  You really can’t see, beyond now, beyond here…
“What did you say?  You say you are there for me.  Wait, I can’t see you through this cloud.  I’m afraid if you are waiting for me to reach out…you might be waiting awhile.
                                                                                                Man, I can’t breathe.”

“But I’m not the only one that can’t see you, you can’t see me.  You see me, but you don’t see me.  You see me fake laughing at work pretending to be ok.  You see me cheering on my child at the ball game not knowing that later that night I’ll wish I was dead, feeling like a failure as a parent.  You’ll see my smile at church that hide the tears trying to break through.  You don’t see me, partially because I won’t let you…partially
            Because you won’t let yourself.
            You don’t know what to do with me.
            How to talk to me.
            How to walk with me.
            What it means to love me.”

What can be done? 
            …but be gentle.
                        Don’t be trite.  It may not be better tomorrow.
            Care enough to love me through it.
            …but be patient.
                        Depression can make me sound like a jerk sometimes.
                        I didn’t mean to snap at you.
            Care enough to reach through the fog.
            …but don’t let go.
                        I need you, even though I’ll tell you I don’t.
            Care enough to tell me of God.
            …but not of his anger.
His love.  Remind me that God’s not impatiently waiting for me to get my act together, but with every tear drop, he weeps with me.  Tell me that He is holding me –as you hold my hand.  Cause in that moment, God is what I see in you.  Tell me that He is safe…that he can take it, my fears, my failures, my regrets, my worries, my past, my present, my future, my…
            Care enough not to give up
                        To sit with me in quiet when I need it.
                        To endure my awkwardness – believe me it feels worse for me.
                        To laugh with me in those moments when the light breaks through.
            …but be tender.
And let me love you back.  Please don’t let this only be about me.  That just adds the guilt.  Share with me.  Let me be there for you.  As much as it is possible.” 

Has it settled in like a thick cloud again?


Is it still hard to breathe?

            But it’s less lonely here now, knowing you are close enough to see through the haze.
            It’s less fragile here now, knowing God’s hand holds me.”

But what’s different…what was done?

“You cared.
            And reminded me…
                        God cares.
            In that moment…

            That was just enough.” 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bringing Gifts to Jesus

Bringing Gifts to Jesus

On Christmas Eve all across America, churches will fill with worshippers eager to celebrate the coming of Christ into this world.  Bridgeway, we will join those thousands for 4 services at our 2 Campuses, 3:30 and 5:00pm at each campus.  The theme of this Christmas Eve will be, in keeping with our Making Peace Series, “Bringing Gifts to Jesus.”  We will be focusing on the journey of the three Magi and the gifts they carried to Jesus. 

However, beyond a message, you will have a special opportunity to “Bring Your Gifts to Jesus.”  This year, we will be taking a special offering in all four services.  NONE, I REPEAT, NONE will stay at Bridgeway.  I’ve identified three projects as part of our Nazarene Network of Global Partners to bless with what I’m praying will be somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 dollars.  Each of these projects will receive an equal amount of whatever comes in the offering. 

Project 1:  I have a close friend, a real Peace-Maker, that is serving as a Global Missionary in Australia, planting a church that is attempting to deal with the Global Refugee Crisis in Brisbane.  Australia is a hub of immigration and their church wants to stand on the forefront of engaging those that have been displaced from their homes.  Emman and Jade Chapman and their two children, Caleb and Savannah Zoe are evidence of the sacrifice of Peace Makers. 

Project 2:  Education for Children IN Syria.  Our Global Ministries is engaged in educating the young children in the war-torn country of Syria.  This is our opportunity to engage the work of Jesus instead of listening to the talking heads on TV. 

Project 3:  The Global Refugee and Immigration Fund for the Church of the Nazarene.  This fund helps missionaries all across the globe to engage the Refugee Crisis.  Friends, we have boots on the ground making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.  We have a chance to join this Kingdom Work. 

I would like to challenge you to start praying now.  How much might God challenge you to give during this Christmas Season to impact the mission of Peace-Making in this world?  Bringing our gifts to Jesus is a way to make that happen. 

Let’s see God astound us on Christmas Eve with an offering like Bridgeway has never before seen for the purpose of giving it all away to our Global Partners. 

Thank You 
Pastor Jeff 

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Hate fuels Hate
Violence begets Violence
Evil prompts Evil
This is the dance of the devil
Who lures us in
To the very actions we loathe
We become participants
In Fear
In Irrationality
In Bigotry
In Thought
In Glance
In Spreading the Death-Dealing Agenda of the devil

We cling to our reasons
Political Ideology
And Religion
Yes…Religions of Violent Propaganda
And Demented Yearnings for Armageddon
And forget
Dismiss as untimely, unsafe, unproductive
The words of the Savior…who we attempt to protect
With our “Merry Christmas”
And Nativity Scenes on Public Ground

Who suggests that 
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Cross-carrying trumps Sword-Wielding
Love conquers Hate
And Sacrifice is made Holy
In Advent we proclaim Peace
From our pulpits in church
But cry out “kill the bastards”
From the streets
We are getting permits to pack instead
Of getting on our knees to pray
We post
We tweet
We meme
But…refuse to deny ourselves
Take up our cross
And follow the one
Who reaches out in risk
Shares tables with betrayers
Crosses bridges with the outsiders
Forgives the unforgiveable
Whose agenda is Life and Love
Grace and Peace
Hope and Transformation

May God Break the Fear in our Hearts
With the Perfect-Love of Christ
May we refuse to
Dance with the Devil
Choosing Hope
Instead of Hate
Instead of Loathing
Instead of Fear-Mongering
Instead of Bigotry
Instead of Reactionary Evils

It’s that kind of love
That could get us killed
But we might be
In good company
With the One
Whose Love Triumphed
Even in Death.
Or it could
Be the difference
Between the brutality of today
And the blessings of