Tomorrow – Saturday Jan 2 2010 I will be serving once again in a church.

Gayla and I will be teaching a 13 week class at Bridge City Church at 10:00 AM

Bridge City Church is locted at 2816 SE Harrison Street Milwaukie
OR 97222.

Our class is called Why Grace Matters Most and we will be using Philip Yancey’s excellent book What’s So Amazing About Grace? as a resource.

My involvement, the content and the timing of this class is significant to me.

The timing is significant because I spent about 9 years involved in the planting and pastoring of three churches and each of those three churches started on the first Saturday of the year they were founded. WindWorks Fellowship 2000, Pathways Church of Maple Grove 2002, and Compass Community Church 2005.

Saturday Jan 2 is the first saturday of 2010 and this evening I realized that WindWorks is 10 years old  Saturday and Pathways is 8 years old Saturday.

I went online this evening to FTD and sent both of those churches flowers to be delivered on Saturday.

Like the apostle Paul I planted churches and when I think of the churches I started and the people in those churches I think of the words Paul wrote to the people in one of the churches he planted. Phillipians chapter 1 verses 3-11.

That text Phillipians chapter 1 verses 3-11 begins” I thank my God every time I remember you”

To everyone I have planted with I agree with Paul! I do thank God when i think of you.

For me to be serving in a church and having the start date be the same as (first Saturday of the year) the churches I started is pretty weird.

It’s also weird to me that I am going to be serving in a church once again.

I used to think I would not be involved in a church ever again.

We Moved to Portland in the Fall of 2004 to plant our 3rd church – Compass Community Church. That church plant did not make it and in the process of its dying I burned out and crashed pretty hard around Easter 2007.

Recovering from that experience/failure  and all of the pain that went with it took quite awhile. I am definitely not the same person I was in the Fall of 2004. Heck I am not even a Christian anymore. I gave that up to follow Jesus.

I know, I know – I have been told that you can’t follow Jesus and apply his teachings to your life without being a Christian. The Catholics said the same things to the Waldensians during the Inquisition before they executed them for the crime of wanting to follow Jesus without being Catholic . (Google it if you don’t know the history)

Please know that my past 10 year journey left me with the sense that Christians and Churches were pretty unappealing (to me).

Now when people ask me about my religion I will tell them that I try to practice  an Ancient Way Warming Fire Faith. Of course then they ask “what is that?”

I tell them that I try to apply the teachings of Jesus, His Ancient Way to my life and it is my hope that my faith will be like a Warming Fire, like a camp fire  -pleasant and warm and appealing. I tell them that I think that the teachings of Jesus are pretty good and that they can help us to become more whole in every aspect of our lives.

The fact that I have healed enough to even serve in a church is pretty amazing to me!  ( I still don’t find Christians and Churches very appealing)

I would not have made it this far without the guys who have stood by me. I have been part of a men’s group ( Westward Brothers) since before Compass passed. We meet twice a month to help each other follow Jesus, deal honestly with the brokenness in our lives and pursue wholeness. Thanks guys! see you this Sunday!

We meet the first and 3rd Sunday of the month in Newberg.

In fact I am now in two different Westward Brothers Mens Groups. One in NewBerg OR and one in Milwaukee OR. I started the one in Milwaukee OR this past Fall.

It has been exciting to see that the principles and perspectives we developed in Newberg not only produce healthy life changes in men in Newberg they are transferable and  now I meet the first and third tuesday evenings of each month with some  great guys I am getting to know better and better!

Lastly the content of the class we are going to be teaching greatly amuses me because when Philip Yancey’s book came out in 1997 It really helped me personally. and later I led out in small group that went through that book and that beautiful experience of seeing people come to understand God’s Grace definitely  impacted me and made it easier to answer God’s call to pastor.

So I am back where I was more than 10 years ago going through the same material I went through then. At least the book has a new cover now so it feels like a new book when i look at it!