Tuesday, June 26, 2012


In 1989 the Cubs and Giants were in a series for the National League Championship. My wife and I were living in the San Francisco area at the time. A friend called who had 2 tickets to one of the games at Candlestick Park - I hadn't seen my team - the Cubs - since moving away from Chicago years before. It ended up a terrible day. Earlier in the day I had 4 wisdom teeth out but was determined not to miss the game. Upon arriving in my Cubs shirt I was surrounded - not a Cubs fan to be seen - by Giants fans - they were only too happy to rain insults upon me the entire game - insults that increased with every round of beer they drank. My mouth was too swallen to give any response. The Cubs lost as I sat isolated in a hostile world!

Last weekend a good friend treated my son and I to a Diamondbacks/Cubs game up in Phoenix. Despite being born in Seattle I have successfully raised my son to love the Cubs and we were thrilled to get to see them although I wondered if I would experience a similar reception as I got at Candlestick. Not so - as we sat waiting to meet our friends, Cub fans - one after another arrived at the stadium - my son had on his Cub hat and shirt and was frequently greeted and encouraged the the steady stream of blue shirts. I am sure the stadium was 1/3 or more cub fans. We relaxed, cheered and felt quite at home ... as we watched the Cubs lose again.

I Peter 2:11 says that we are "aliens and strangers" in this world - other places tell us that we are of "God's household" and "citizens of heaven." What does that look like here? It can mean that we sometimes receive hostility - Jesus said to expect it. It doesn't mean we are to be antagonistic - the verses in Peter which follow tell us to "keep our behavior excellent" in the world. It doesn't mean we can just be about heaven and disengage - our calling is to engage and serve and love here and now! I am not sure how this all gets lived out but i do know that even while being involved, serving and living here - I am not to become rooted here - I don't think I am supposed to quite get comfortable. A stadium full of like minded Cubs fans is not where God has placed me - although I have many along the way that are an encouragement and we can walk together - ultimately this is not my home -  I am a pilgrim - a stranger, an alien. I have found that when I get too rooted here - my calling to mission is actually dulled. When I embrace being a pilgrim - my passion for mission is increased.

Monday, June 11, 2012


It has been close to a month since I updated this  - I would excuse it by saying I have had too much work but then I would be revealing how badly I listen to my own advice considering we just completed a 4 week series on "A Theology of Work"! We discovered that work - vocation - is integral to the image of God - that we participate in His creative and redemptive work as we work - that His redemption has broken the curse and finally that we always begin first with REST.

For this post I was looking up in my concordance the word for "cultivate" as used in Gen 2:15. I found the word and the proper reference and checked the number next to it - #5647 - I turned to the back of the concordance but accidentally looked at #5447. It said " burden ... load." I  panicked thinking I had misled the church - perhaps what we all thought was true - our vocations are just a heavy load! Fortunately I discovered my error and turned to the correct entry - yes - just as we had studied... the word for cultivate - the vocation God gave to Adam - is sometimes translated - WORSHIP. I must admit - particularly last week - I viewed my vocations as a load or burden to carry rather than offerings of worship. But as we learned from Luther - God is hidden in our vocations - as we find Him moment by moment - there are unending opportunities to grow, serve and worship.

I received a prayer request from a someone in the church yesterday. He asked for prayer during a very challenging time at his job - his request was that he would not just survive the challenges - he wanted to thrive in them. This is letting our vocations be worship and God is glorified - not necessarily by getting it right - but rather turning to Him again and again and again and again.