This blog and web site is inactive until Fall 2013 when being redesigned and relaunched.

If interested, can go to which gets regular updates. Thank you!!

Adventures in Churchland - Finding Jesus In The Mess Of Organzied Religion

This Fall the new book I have written “Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess Of Organized Religion” will be launching with a web site, new blog and various resources available for the book.

If you are coming to this blog, this Fall it will be totally redesigned with videos about the book, downloadable discussion guides, church leader teaching outlines and some other things on it. I will also begin regularly blogging again at that time here.

You can read a sample chapter and see the Table of Contents and foreword that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Queen of Rockabilly – Wanda Jackson wrote for the book there by clicking the title of the book here which takes you to Amazon and you can then look at the “look inside” feature for the book:  Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion

Why I wrote this book….

I wrote Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess of Organized Religion because there are many Christians who feel that we are often misrepresented by the most vocal and negative examples among us. We see this showing in opinion polls like this one which made national news last week. We desire to see this changed and instead to be known as being the kind of Christians and churches that Jesus desired us to be. I wrote this book to help us all respond to some of the most often raised criticisms, such as:

  • Christianity is an “organized religion” and not what Jesus intended.
  • The church is often known as such a judgmental presence in the world today – is that what Jesus really taught?

I also wrote this book to give hope to those who may feel like a misfit in the church and Christian sub-culture. This book is a little more vulnerable and personal for me than my other books, as I share some of my story in this book from the time when I wasn’t a Christian and not interested in church while I was playing drums in a punk and rockabilly band. In a somewhat ironic twist, my life’s trajectory began to change when our band was living in London, England and I met an elderly group of Christians in a tiny church there. As a result, I ended up becoming a Christian and eventually became a pastor. But it wasn’t an easy transition. My entry into the evangelical church world was full of strange and even quite unpleasant experiences which I write about, some of which you may also relate to.

Continue Reading…

This blog is being re-designed right now so all the pages and features aren’t working and some odd things may pop up as we experiment with the design. It will be back functioning on January 1 with new blog posts beginning then.

I am posting and interacting on Facebook regularly



This is my last blog post for a while – as I am taking what is somewhat of a sabbatical. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this in the 21 years I have served on a church staff. I wrote "somewhat of a sabbatical", as sabbatical is supposed to happen every 7 years and is a time of total rest. This sabbatical is taking place once every 21 years and is partial rest. But this is a time period where I will be taking a 100% break from my role at Vintage Faith Church until June 24th. I posted what is happening on Sundays for the teaching in the worship gatherings while I am gone here


For those who want to know what I will doing while on this break – during the first half I will be 100% disconnecting from blogs (reading or writing them), no Facebook, Twitter or email. This will be a time to reflect on life, God and this past season of ministry. I will be going to Hawaii and stay at my friends condo for 5 weeks and this is a time of just rest, praying, thinking, reading and being with family. The photo above is Becky and the girls at the beach by my friends condo from last time we were there. So that will be the same scene we shall be experiencing for the first several weeks of this break. I won't be bringing any church leadership books with me, but will be reading some books ranging from C.S. Lewis's ScrewTape Letters (thanks Andrew for the recommendation) to Ace Frehley's biography (the original guitar player for KISS) and some theology books I have been wanting to read, but haven't had time to.  When we return back home from Hawaii, I will then have a week with Katie and Claire on my own while Becky goes off with her sister on a trip. So that is a father/daughter time which should be fun.

Then for the second half of this break from my role at Vintage Faith Church I will heading up to Portland for part of it. I have for some meetings with George Fox University about the Origins Project that is launching in September and doing some interviews with leaders there. And hanging out with Ricky McKinley, and my brother and some other friends while there. And seeing Roger Water's "The Wall" with Ricky and others while in Portland. Then we will be heading to Santa Barbara and visiting with my friend Britt Merrick (Reality Church) and his family (our wives got to meet at a retreat we were both on, so that should be fun getting the families together). Britt has a very excellent book that I just read the manuscript of called Godspeed: Making Christ's Mission Your Own.  On that trip I will be meeting and interviewing church leaders and seeing my friend Dave Kinnaman while there also. So the second half is a somewhat of a working break, but I won't be back yet in my role with Vintage Faith Church. I will be visiting other churches during this time and look forward to being at other Santa Cruz churches. I rarely get to worship and be at other local churches, so we will be doing that during this second half of the break. 

It should be an interesting time period for me, as I have never taken this long of a break from the ongoing role of local church leadership. I am not burned-out by any means, so this is not a burn-out-I-need-a-break time. Almost the opposite, as it has been a pretty sweet and fun time in our church and we have so many things in the planning with adding on two more worship gatherings, bringing on some new key staff and we have had an amazing surge of healthy growth this past season. So it is sort of a proactive time of getting away for both rest and relfection on how I am really doing which seems to only be able to get that from stopping for a while from all the activity of life. I see this break as a learning, visiting other churches, working on some outside of Vintage Faith Church projects and minsitres I am involved with – so both a rest but also learning time period and emotional refreshment from backing out of the normal weight of ongoing resposibility to gain some emotional refreshment and perspective. 

Continue Reading…

(I am writing this out and linking to this from an email I will be sending our church this week. So a lot of this post is for Vintage Faith Church with the upcoming teaching schedule). 

We finished our 4 week teaching series Everyday Missionary  on Sunday. I did a wrap up about the how the dream of our church is to be a missionary-community-training-center-base here in Santa Cruz. It was stressing that church buildings are good and can be used for mission, and that Sunday teaching is good and important and that we can have good music and bands and lighting etc.  but that those things aren't the primary goals, but only part of the whole missional strategy to see healthy and new disciples made.

I have seen some who tend to go to an extreme and say we don't need buildings, or that we shouldn't have preachers or bands on Sundays or anything "attractional". I don't agree with that philosophy, as many do have preaching, bands and buildings and can still be very missional provided that Sundays is not seen as the spectacular "attraction" for people to be at for the goal. But instead,  it is the followers of Jesus who live their lives during the week as missionaries who are the "attraction" by Jesus in them. And then Sunday meetings come into play as most people will then desire to come to a Sunday meeting and Sundays are important (at least in our strategy as a church). I showed this video on Sunday to emphasize this: 



Everyone also got coat hangers as they left this past Sunday with a image of Jesus on them (which would take too long to explain) but it was emphasing the reminder that every day we are missionaries in our lives whatever we do.

This Sunday was also my last Sunday teaching at Vintage Faith Church until July 8th. I am taking a sabbatical, my first ever in 21 years like this of vocatonal on a church staff ministry. I will post more on that and what I will be doing before I leave for sabbatical on Monday. But wanted to post the Sunday teaching while I am gone which I will be linking to from an all-church email I will send out this week.

While I am gone, what is happening on Sundays teaching-wise is:

March – April: Smart Love: life together in the way of 1st Corinthians 13 – my friend Jon Talbert from Westgate Church in San Jose will be teaching a 3 week series going through 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Jon leads an amazing ministry called Beautiful Day and has been a good friend for many years. 

April and May: The Hole In Our Gospel: we will be going through a 6 week series somewhat based out of the book, The Hole In Our Gospel which was written by the president of World Vision. We have had some planning meetings for this series and will doing a bunch of very interactive things for truly trying to grasp the depth of the needs of the world and the suffering, hunger and injustice out there. Nathan George, who is part of our church and the leader of Trade As One will be kicking off the series and ending it. We also will be having one Sunday where we show the film Journey To Jamaa. I wish I was here for this series as it is an important one.

In June:  Kristin Jensen and Joe Bishop will be teaching a 4 week series (they are determing what it is right now). 

July 1 – Margaret Feinberg will be with us. I am so thrilled to finally have Margaret at Vintage Faith Church. She is a really good friend and has been to The Abbey before at our church, but not here on a Sunday. So Margaret will finally be with us and so glad our church will get to meet her.  

July – The book of Titus: I will be back and teaching through the New Testament book Titus. I look forward to this as Titus isn't a book that normally seems to get taught a lot. So I will be going through the 3 chapters in 4 weeks. 

August: Proverbs - will be a month teaching through various Proverbs from the Old Testament. 

September through December: The Sermon on the Mount -  we will be teaching through the entire Sermon on the Mount from the book of Matthew. We don't want to rush through this, so will be spending almost 4 months on this incredible section of Jesus' teaching. 

My next post will be my last for a while and I will be disconnecting for 6 weeks entirely from Facebook, blogging, checking emails etc. Then back but doing research and visiting other churches for anotehr 6 weeks before returning to my role at Vintage Faith Church. I have not scheduled any speaking engagments either for 12 weeks while the sabbatical is happening. So will be interesting doing this as it is definetly a break from my normal patterns of life. I'll post this weekend with more on sabbatical thinking and plans. 



The day we put faith in Jesus we become missionaries, whether we realize it or not. We are starting a new teaching series this Sunday called "Everyday Missionary". We will address myths about what evangelism is or isn't and teach how every day of our lives we are on mission as missionaries. 

I think we need to reframe how we define "missionary" though, as well as reframe what "evangelism" looks like. So that will be this what this series is about. Charles Spurgeon has a blunt quote about this saying “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor”. Here's the full context of that quote from 1873: 

“If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself. You will be whispering it into your child’s ear. You will be telling it to your husband. You will be earnestly imparting it to your friend. Without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent: your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of His sweet love.

Continue Reading…






I will be on sabbatical and will miss Catalyst West Coast this year, but been to it a couple of times and spoke two times at it, and it was always, always a wonderful event. Not just the speakers but the whole experience and meeting people and vibe of it. My friends Rick McKinley and Britt Merrick are speaking and Erwin McManus and so many others – so wanted to post a quick post as there is a discount of earlier registration happening if you call 888.334.6569 to speak to a Catalyst Concierge, or register online at You can use Rate Code FOB for an additional discount off your ticket price.

Wish I was there, but I shall be in Hawaii at that time not on Facebook, email, Twitter or anything for the first half of my sabatical. I have never taken a sabbatical in 21 years of ministry like this. So looking forward to sabbtical although will miss Catalyst West Coast and will have to watch the DVD's later on. And Rick McKinley likes being called "Ricky" so you can call him that when you see him. 



Ehud eglan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Ehud then approached him…and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it."  

- Judges 3:20-22 

There are a lot of deaths and murders in the Bible (which are all horribly sad when they happen) but the peculiar details revealed for this one is fascinating. Ehud is a judge of Israel and he is left-handed (we read about that in Judges 3:15). It was because of this, is what caused Eglon to be caught off-guard.

Since Ehud was left-handed, it would be natural for him to strap his dagger on his right thigh. Since most people are right-handed, Eglon’s guards would be less careful about checking what to them would be an awkward placement for a weapon. So it wasn't expected to be coming from where it did. 

Then to have the blade sink so far into the belly-fat it didn't come out and then as his bowels discharged due to the stabbing is quite descriptive. The story continues with more interesting description of how after the stabbing and Ehud escaped, that Eglon's guards were waiting outside and didn't come in because they thought Eglon was going to the bathroom likely because of the odors released from the bowels discharging from the stabbing.

It reads in Judges 3:24 that the guards said:

“He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead."

This story stands out to me as I had a test in seminary where the question was "Who was the left-handed judge?" as there is only one place in the BIble which mentions someone was left-handed and this is the story. Ehud, the left-handed judge who stabbed Eglon and his belly-fat closed over the blade and his bodyguards thought he was going to the bathroom. The Bible is filled with odd little things like this. 

*For those wanting to know the origin of why I began these Wednesday-Weird-Bible-Verses started read here

Google+ and Facebook

January 19, 2012 — 1 Comment

for those going on Google+ and want to connect there  

It seems that more activity is happening on Google+ lately. I am still not sure how to be working with both Google+ and Facebook. It will be interesting to see how it turns out over the next few years. 

My Facebook is   http:/



Samson"If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

- Judges 16:17