"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Saturday, March 31, 2012


(most of this was written awhile back, part 2 is coming)

That’s me, I feel as I have lost my “faith” in many ways. I still believe-but now that’s something deeper. It is probably safe to say that most believers don’t/won’t understand what I am talking about. It is hard to explain but I will try. For many (I know, not all-but exam yourself), faith is about church or denomination or that feeling they get on a Sunday morning during “worship”. That’s not me. I could care less about denominations; it’s about what you believe. And church, I go not for me but for my wife and kids. Personally I would rather be working than standing around talking to people about nothing. And there are some you just don’t want to talk to. I am at a place where all the “Hi, how you doing?” pleasantries turn my stomach. Fact is, most don’t care. Once I’d like to say “pretty s!@#$y, how are you?” and see how many actually stop and catch it, or if they just keep walking, smile and say “that’s good”.
In a lot of ways I am not sure if I have really lost my faith, or I have just finally really found it. In Crazy Love, Francis Chan says, “…the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity.” This statement is so true, especially after being back to Zambia again. In our culture and in our churches we worship the god of materialism. We have become so confused about what are needs and what are wants, most everything has become a need. America (including our churches) is a land of idol worshipers. If you disagree with me let me ask you: do you see joy, pure joy in this country in our churches? Answer is NO. Why? Because I would dare say we are not truly worshiping GOD- we are worshiping our stuff. It might be our vehicles, homes, toys, even our church buildings, etc., you can fill in the blank. Look around. We are angry, bitter, tired, disrespectful, and so on. And that is just in our churches. It is because we have lost/forgot/maybe have not known our first love. The One who pursues you with a violent passion, a love that cannot be quenched. One who never gives up on you even when you have given up on yourself.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WELL, I'M BACK (in more ways than one)

What can I tell you about my return to Zambia?  It was an amazing trip.  It was a healing trip.  And it was a hard trip.  God had a lot planned for this trip and likewise, so did satan.  The spiritual war that took place during this trip was intense.  And it was not directed at any one person but at each and every one of us and our families back in the states.  There were 2 separate groups on this trip.  One was made up of young adults 17-32 and most were single (we were with them the last portion of the trip).  My group consisted of a Detroit cop, who also was on SWAT. There was a guy who was retired prison official; he worked with the criminally insane.  There was one female, an older gal with a young heart and who is a massage therapist.  Then there was me.  I was referred to as the redneck from Minnesota that had more guns then all the other guys combined.   Our team was unique.  The director of Africa’s Child was there, he has been in law enforcement and been a pastor and his sister (who lives there and oversees the guest house, cooks for the teams and does a lot of other things).  She is a gal that has the most infectious laugh.  The thing that stood out about these two is they love the Zambian people and the Zambians love them.  They have worked very hard to build relationships with the people not based on giving them stuff but on investing themselves in their lives.  I have seen NGOs and mission organizations become welfare to the African people just as the same many in this country have become dependent on the gov’t here for welfare, always looking for what you are going to give them next, always wanting more.  God has given a huge vision for Africa’s Child, a vision that only God can accomplish.  What they do right now is what they call medical advocacy.   They have partnered with some orphanages to help them in treating illnesses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, measles, malaria, and whatever else arises.  It is a hard job because the fact is a lot of babies/children die do to the lack of medical services.  They do what they can and sometimes the only thing you can do is love them right into the arms of Jesus.  We spent several afternoons at an orphanage that was run by the Church of Christ.  They had over 70 kids under the age of 4.  One house/building was just babies, another was the toddlers and the 3rd was the special needs.  They were the kids with HIV, TB and other special needs such as downs syndrome and cerebral palsy.  I spent most of my time is this house just loving on these kids.  Some might wonder why?  Thing is, I felt a connection there because I saw myself.  When I was born I had a double cleft palate, I was a special needs baby.  Really no different than these kids except I was born in a country with the medical help I needed. 
In the mornings after we had breakfast we would head over to guest house for morning devotions and then head out to one of the compounds.  They are just different areas of town.  The way to best describe the one we went to a couple of times is to say it is comparable to a slum/ghetto in the states; it is the poor of the poor in town.  The difference is I always felt safe; the people were friendly and the people were filled with joy.  We would just walk around and play with the kids and visit with the adults and pray.  I really enjoyed it, walking through there.  We went through that same compound at night and it becomes something else.  It is when the demons come out to play.   The place becomes very dark and evil.   We went in to see and pray for the women caught in prostitution, women who are only trying to feed their children.  It was difficult to see some of the children of these women just sitting outside their homes/room while mom was inside with someone.  Before you judge these women let me ask you: how far would you go to feed your children, get them medicine when they are sick?  Would you sell yourself into slavery to save the life of your child?  Thing is they don’t realize that when you sell yourself to satan he takes your children as well. 
In the evenings after supper we would debrief about the day.  What we saw, felt, what perceptions that we held previously that turned out not to be true.  The debriefing time was for everyone to process together and share what they felt God was doing.  The morning devos and the nightly debriefing were always a time where there was an equal mixture of laughter and tears.  God did some amazing things during these times together of being completely open and honest with each other and with HIM.  It didn’t take long to see that God had put this group together and satan was going to do whatever he could to disrupt it.  God wanted me on this trip for many different reasons.  The biggest one for me was HE was going to make my heart whole and new again. I just had to give up running and let HIM. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Brian was busy doing some work around the house before he left. He replaced the floor at the front entry (he put in a new door too, so is working on putting up new trim).

He put a new floor in the bathroom upstairs.

He also put new floor at the back entry and steps.

One of the two bigger transformations was the big girls' room. I wish I had before pictures! He put up sheet rock on the one wall, laid new carpet, painted...

and added the closet space. This room looks so different it's just amazing!

The other major room was our downstairs bathroom/furnace room. Here he put cedar on the one wall, put in a new floor, put in a new toilet, repainted, put a new door to the girls' room and a new door to the living room. We also got new fixtures for towels, toilet paper, etc. Again, total difference in look and feel!

I am SOOOOOOOO SUPER-DUPER blessed to have a handyman for a husband! A jack of all trades! GREAT JOB BRIAN!!!
(so P.S.---he's available for hire!)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

(disclaimer for my wife’s sake :-) I am not one who minces words, nor looks to be politically correct in my ramblings, though she tries to make me! I am just sharing what and where I am at based on my personal convictions and experiences, many outside of this culture. I know that not everyone will see things the way I do-Kelly and I don’t even see eye to eye on a lot of things! As with anything and everything you read here, take and leave what you want, ask questions to clarify and even comment if you disagree! Discuss it with me, discuss with others if you want {it’s best if you have both read it for yourself before you do}.)

Someone told me recently that I need to be more a part of the “body.” I asked did he mean--the body of believers, or the body of the church down the street? And if it is the latter, what does that mean? I have an idea: you teach a Sunday school class (or maybe you just go to one), maybe you stand up when they want you to and sing when you’re supposed to. If that is the case then maybe I am not a part of the body. I do not teach or attend a Sunday school class and rarely do I stand to sing. That is not out of disrespect-I just need to limit distractions-so I sit and look down so I can focus and think. During the Sunday school hour I talk to others about what is going on in their lives; maybe there are marriage issues, maybe personal struggles, just might only be about handgun recommendations for someone. Do I look to be a part of the “church building body?” No. Am I ok with that that? Yes. Because it is not about them (the people watching me), it is about me and my God. The question may be: can others accept that? Interesting and ironic that not more than three weeks later our interim pastor preached on legalism in the church. He shared about not having to do A, B, or C in this or that way to earn salvation or be a “good” Christian. It’s not about the spiritual disciplines that may work for some.

So what does it mean to you to be a part of the body? What “body” are you trying (harder) to be a part of?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

holding back ones heart

Kelly recently brought home one of her women’s bible studies from church for me to watch. I must say it was very good. It was on David, “Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed”. There were many parts that just seemed to speak directly to where I am right now.
One of the areas is “being offended with God,” meaning being hurt by God. And after being hurt, you are now standing there in front of God but you are holding your heart behind you because you are afraid to give it back to Him after being hurt. That has been/is me. I have been holding back my heart from God. When I gave my heart over to Him before, I gave it completely, without question and maybe rather naively. With the faith of a child some might say. And I feel like I got burned. I feel that I have been running away from God for a while now and gone so far away from Him. But He has reminded me that I am not nearly as far away as I think I am; in fact He is right around the corner waiting for me. It is comforting and worrisome at the same time. God has not written me off and there have been times I wish He would, but HE won’t. Part of me wants to give back my heart but I don’t like to do anything half way-it is an all or nothing kind of thing with me. But this time around I am not naive about what it could mean and it causes me to stop and question.
I used to so love to pray, to go to the prayer meetings and just sit and fellowship with my Father. I look in the mirror and ask “what happened to that guy?” the one who used to be so passionate. Where did he go? Is he even in there anymore? I think he is but he is hiding, afraid to put himself out there again. So I look for ways to avoid/escape God. In so many ways I feel I have reverted way-way back, but this is worse because I have seen the other side and I miss it. I know I have a loving Father and everything He does He does for His reasons and glory. Maybe if I knew the whys I could begin to understand but I am not sure that would make it any easier to do what I need to do.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Sad to say more times than not I do. I have said yes to God in some sizable ways and it turned into a living nightmare. At the time saying yes and starting out on that journey was like walking through green pastures by still waters; but before you knew it, you where in the valley of the shadow of death and all you wanted to do was get out and then you finally do and you wind up in the dessert. At first you’re not sure if you like the dessert because it is hot and dry and boring. But it doesn’t take long to realize that it is better than the valley.
I was talking to someone a few weeks back. He had a BIG THING happen to him before he went on the mission field. We were talking about where we are in life now. He said to me, that if he could, he would change it. Even if he knew all the good things that were going to happen because of it, he still would have chosen not to have that BIG THING happen. Because right now, it is really hard to see those good things.
Yes there are times I regret saying YES because I remember what it cost me. And I wonder where would I be and my family be if I had not said YES. What good did it really do by saying YES? Because what I see is the pain that several still live with because of that decision. I often ask GOD…WHY? But I don’t get any answer. That is probably more me than HIM because I don’t know if I really want the answer.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Leaving for Zambia

There are so many emotions going on in me right now, it is hard to think clearly. There is fear, apprehension, excitement, joy, sorrow, pain …. Why, because the day that I left….well those scars have not healed completely. It does not take much to make them bleed. I believe God orchestrated this trip (it was not something I asked for) for me so that I may heal. The memories this trip has brought back, most good but some….well if they are in my dreams I don’t go back to sleep. This trip has opened a door that I shut and thought I locked (dead and buried) but I have realized, God has a different plan. One in which I deal with all my repressed emotions so I am able to completely move on and be used by HIM again.
You may be wondering how this trip come about if I was not looking for it. Only one way….GOD
I was contacted by someone I did not know(really). A missionary in Zambia, which I think that we have had a few text and emails with, but that was about it. He contacted me out of the blue and wanted to know why we left and what our thoughts where about coming back. I told him why we left and thought we would never go back and that spiritually I was not in a good place (I was in burnout). I didn’t hear anything from him for some time (I should say that this was not the only person that contacted us, there have been several. Some that where very persistent, until I told them it was not going to happen. Some didn’t seem to care how I was or anything they just wanted someone NOW. So could I have gone back? Yes. I chose not to. Why? Because when I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn’t know who I was looking at and I am still not completely sure, but it is getting clearer). Then out of the blue this guy emails me again. He wants me to come on a trip and see what they are doing because they are looking to grow and expand the mission. Why me? Because what I wanted to do before over there (agriculture, specifically Farming God’s Way) is what they want to do in their ministry. He knew I understood the culture since I lived there and I would have a good handle on what might work. I still was not sure but Kel felt like I needed to do this (for me). You see when I got on that plane the last time, I believed (even told myself) that I will never see this land again. And I loved Zambia. The way we left tore my heart to pieces and I thought it would never completely heal, but nothing is impossible for GOD. I am learning, what man destroys GOD can make new. But it takes time (I’m talking about my heart).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sometimes you got to wonder, am I crazy or is everyone else losing their minds? I watch and listen to the discussions taking place in the "Christian" circles and wonder what in the hell is going on. Pun intended. Everything I have been taught, everything I believe is being questioned by "Christians". Is hell real? And I ask, "Are you really asking that question?" You are a pastor, gone to seminary and you don't know. If you don't know or don't think hell is a real place let me ask you: is God just, is HE righteous? Or is HE only love? If HE is only love than HE is a fool or worse because HE sent HIS SON to die for my sin and yours. Than HE is neither righteous nor just if HE is only love and all people "eventually" get to heaven. If all people eventually get to heaven than what is the point of evangelism? The gospels are pointless. The bible is a joke. But I know that not to be true. There is a hell and a heaven. I believe this doctrine that is being preached is a doctrine of demons (But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1) meant to mislead people from the truth. And that is that there is a judgment day. People don't want to hear that, they want to live their life the way they want now without eternal consequences. The Bible does not teach that. The thing about Satan is he knows scripture and will use a little bit of truth (God is love) but will leave out the rest to lead people astray. That is why we are to be on guard at all times, not from just the world but from what is within our churches. That is exactly what scripture has told us. The question is are you on guard or are you getting caught up in the emotion and hype and going with the flow? If you are, you are in a dangerous place because you are right where Satan wants you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

“Uh-oh. Brian is writing again” read Kelly’s facebook status the other day. I guess I am. I just wish it wasn’t in the middle of the night when I am supposed to be sleeping! It’s good, at least she thinks so. I am starting to feel a little fire in the soul again (did Someone just breath?). Lots of different posts coming up-some will be completely new as I process and get ready to go to Zambia for a short trip (and some closure perhaps?), some were written over the past year and now edited, some we’ve written together. I am not going to tell you which is which :) ‘cuz it doesn’t really matter anyway. Some will make no sense to you at all; some may shock you; some will resonate in a way that you can’t explain. Just bear with the ramblings of a wounded, weary soul trying to reconcile things, longings, questions… I am just one who is trying to reconcile where I have been with where I am now and questioning what things look like…can you handle my questions and where I am? What I say? (Although, as far as I know I am on no one’s required reading list…haha). Yes, I am asking myself too, can I handle where you are at? God created us, God LOVES us, and we are working out our faith in our own time and own processes, and I guess, some more publically than others. No, I usually don’t think about if what I am going to say will offend you or anyone else. I am NOT a writer; so when I get up in the middle of the night with the same thing going through my head over and over again, and I can sit down and a post just comes up, I know it isn’t so much me. If I have to sit and struggle to come up with anything, I usually don’t; I won’t try that hard. I talked about it once here. Sometimes I just feel as if I am supposed to say something, regardless of the outcome.
About a year after coming back from Zambia, I had a talk with a guy who just said “thanks a lot”. No idea what I did-or which one thing he was referring to anyway! But he specifically brought up this Watchman post. He knew he was supposed to be doing that in his church, and he wasn’t. Because of that post, he finally decided to do it. And guess what? It cost him; cost him a lot-a church family and a job to start with. As painful as that was though, he KNEW that was what he was suppose to do/speak out-he knew he was the watchman, and if he didn’t say what he was suppose to, it was “on me.” I haven’t talked to him lately, but I have complete trust that God is taking care of him and his family right now.
Painful, hard, pointed…whatever words you want to use. Sometimes you just need to say what you need to say and let God take care of the rest.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"the show"

Oh boy, now you’re wondering who I am going to offend (I know my wife is!). Might be a lot of people but hear me out first. I see Sunday morning “worship” as a show, I do. And I am not alone in it. But I want to explain so you can see where I am coming from. I understand that there are a great many people that get a great deal out of Sunday morning worship (I have as well at times), I am not here to discount that. I just want to show you a different perspective (one that I am not alone in). Let me ask you, where did our current Sunday morning worship come from? What was it born out of? Answer: the popular Christian music industry (look at the music we sing). Our Sunday morning is not a lot different than going to a Christian music concert (complete with stadium seating and the best singers and musicians we got). It is entertainment plain and simple. Yes, there are some that view it as worship and I think that is very sad because I don’t think they know what worship really is and never will as long as they can be entertained (and get that warm fuzzy feeling). Am I saying you cannot worship in that kind of setting …No. What I am saying is we are and will continue to sell everyone short if this is all it is ever going to be. Oh yes, I can hear some tell me already, “You need to have grace for those that are not where you are.” And I can only say that I hope they never have to be on the same path I have been on and be where I am at. I don’t write this as someone with some sort of spiritual superiority (I don’t need to be reminded who I am, I know). I write this as someone who sees things and has the stupidity/courage (you chose) to say them. I want the best for everyone, period. Really, I am not looking to offend people but it is going to happen when you chose to be honest and write what is in your heart. And if that means knocking over the apple cart to do it, I’m ok with that. I really am not looking to make enemies, only to challenge your thinking and want you to want more than the world has to offer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The other day I was talking with someone about church and I asked him if they went anywhere. His response was, “Yes, wherever we decide on Sunday morning.” They had been to most of the churches in town and have not yet found a church home. I told them where I went but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. As it turns out, they had been there. He told me the building was really nice and the service was fine -and this is where I could feel the “but” coming on- so I said “but” and he finished, “it felt like a show. When I left I felt like I needed to go over to the Catholic Church so I could pray and be with God.” Wow…. Just sit and mull on that for a few minutes. What might be sadder is that I don’t disagree with him and yet I am still there. (Not really for me-it is for my kids, right or wrong, I don’t know). I didn’t get a chance to tell him about the church I attend on Sunday night.

It is small and honestly it is a bunch of broken, messed up people that have decided to be honest about where they are. There are not many secrets here. Honestly, most of us didn’t even want to do this and start getting together. I look at it now and realize that God stepped in and decided that it was time and that we were ready even though we were telling ourselves (and some continue to tell themselves) that we are not ready. Thing is HE sees the fire inside you. It is the one you/I have been trying to put out so God can write you off. The problem: He sees the fire is just about getting to the point where you are going to lose control of it and HE sees it and has been waiting. Waiting, because HE knows you cannot put it out, once that fire has been lit…. It will NEVER go out…..EVER. It does not matter how hard you try (and God knows how hard I have tried), you cannot put it out. You can knock it down for a time, even get it down to hot coals and no flame, but all GOD has got to do….. is breath on it.

Any good blog post, I think, should generate some discussion. This one may have provoked the wrong discussion. While I can’t speak to what this other guy thought was a “show”, I know what I meant, and it is not about any one person, my church or even about any one church. The majority of churches in America would get my vote as showy. “The show” for me is anything that is a distraction for me from what I am supposed to focused on.
The point of that paragraph was to segue into what I feel is my “church home” and what God is doing there.
I am sorry if you were hurt by my comments, I certainly could have fleshed them out better so my meaning was more clear the first time.