Saturday, September 28, 2013

Camp Fontanelle Zip Line

Thanks to our friends Derek and Trent at Camp Fontanelle for the fun morning.

David Before His Journey

Benjamin wasn't too excited about this little activity

Friday, September 27, 2013

WE Lead

We have a great ministry starting in the next week. It’s called WE Lead. In six years our church has grown from a dream, to a small group, to a worship experience, to a church. 

Today, we do mission work all over the world, we have dozens of small groups all over the city, we have hundreds of students who call our church their home, and we have three worship experiences in two locations.

As our church grows our pool of leaders needs to grow as well. 

The Water’s Edge needs men and women to lead us: 
  • As we help people develop their relationship with God 
  • As we help people grow in their human relationships 
  • As we help families raise children to become spiritually mature followers of Jesus 
  • As we serve and love our city and our world
  • And as we move from being a church in rented facilities to one in a permanent location 

WE Lead is for you: 
  1. If you want to grow as a follower of Jesus 
  2. If you want to develop as a servant and / or leader of others 
  3. And if you want to find your place in the church and do your part in leading The Water’s Edge as we write our exciting next chapters. 

We are going to explore things like: 
  • How to pray and have meaningful Bible study 
  • How to be grateful and generous 
  • How to lead teams 
  • How to invest in other people and share our faith in practical, authentic ways
  • How to take your next step as a servant leader at The Water’s Edge and in our community 

We will have two groups: one will meet on the first Thursday of the month and the other will meet on the first Monday of the month. We will gather from 6:30 to 8:00 seven times from October to April. You will have some small assignments between sessions to help you grow. 

I have been praying three things happen: 
  1. Participants will make some new, lifelong friends. 
  2. The church has a new pool of equipped and excited leaders who are eager to serve in an area they are passionate about. 
  3. And most of all, I hope participants can look back over this time we are dedicating to God as a time in our lives that we experienced some of our most significant growth as a follower of Jesus. 
Email Nick Baker at if you are interested in participating. I can’t encourage you enough to join us. 

The best is yet to come… 


Thursday, September 26, 2013

gods at war: gods of money vlog

A brief history of The Water's Edge and a preview of Sunday's worship experience.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

gods at war: gods of love sermon

This week's sermon on gods of love. It looks at Jacob, Rachel, and Leah.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday in the Park

The OFC Arsenal got a win this afternoon. Happy coach and happy defender.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Love is Not All You Need

The year was 1966. Two bands, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, were household names. They were writing and singing songs that would define a generation. 

God Only Knows What I’d Be Without You by Brian Wilson is known as one of the best love songs ever written. It is at once simple, passionate, and elegant.

If you should ever leave me 
Though life would still go on believe me 
The world could show nothing to me 
So what good would living do me 
God only knows what I'd be without you

Here, There and Everywhere by Paul McCartney and John Lennon is another of the great love songs of the last century. 

To lead a better life 
I need my love to be here 
Here, making each day of the year 
Changing my life with a wave of her hand

The songs are almost fifty years old. But the human belief remains the same: when we find our true soul mate, most everything wrong in our life will be healed. That we are nobody until somebody loves us. That our life can’t be heading toward completeness without the love of another. 

All people need to know the following truths: Humans are made for a far deeper and more profound love than any human relationship can offer. No human being is qualified for the role of savior and when we place this role on a spouse or a child or a friend they will be crushed by the weight of our expectations and we will be disappointed. 

The point isn’t to love people less. The point is to love God more. And by loving God more and experiencing God’s love more—we can be more loving to people. We can love others not through our imperfection but through God’s perfection.

Here’s the deal. Jesus is the bridegroom. Our brother. Our friend. He is the One who saves by grace. The gods of moralistic religions favor the successful and the overachievers. But Jesus came to the world to accomplish salvation for the weak, the unloved, the lonely, the hurting, the broken, and the blessed. He has the only set of arms that will fill our heart’s desire. 

Colossians 3:1-4 

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. And you will share in all his glory. 

The best is yet to come… 


Monday, September 16, 2013

gods at war: gods of pleasure

I'm grateful to Brad Krebs, Nick Baker, and Chad Schuchmann for speaking when I was our of town on Sunday.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Three Thousand Words

This morning's run

En god tilførsel av norsk middag pølse a Ingebretsens

David and two of his cousins - Alex and Hannah

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Twelve Years Later

I write this on September 11th. It’s a date on the calendar I’ll always remember. I was working at a Psychiatric Hospital in Cherokee, Iowa twelve years ago. It was a part-time job. I was a Chaplain. My full-time job was serving a church in a nearby city. Professionally and personally, it’s a day I won’t forget. 

I worked with patients who were bi-polar, depressed, or schizophrenic. We watched airplanes crash into buildings and giant structures fall. We witnessed people’s hopes and dreams crash and fall even harder. Our world seemed less secure than the day before and it was. We also saw courage at its absolute best. We experienced solidarity as perhaps never before.

Benjamin, Twelve Years Later

Benjamin was just over three months old at the time. I saw him and Amber in the late afternoon. It didn’t seem fair this was the world he was inheriting. 

I didn’t stay at home for long. We had a worship service at the church that night. The sanctuary was usually filled with laughter and joy and grace and hope. That night only tears and sadness were evident. Grace and hope will still present. Nothing can ever make them vanish. Nothing. I told the people a time has never existed when we need God more than we need God today. 

Twelve years later I’m even more convinced of that truth: A time has never existed when we need God more than we need God today. 

It’s amazing to see God intersecting with people’s lives at The Water’s Edge. Our small groups started this week. I am already hearing stories of grace. A missions team has just returned from Oklahoma City and another one is preparing to head to Uganda. I am hearing stories of hope. Just a few nights ago, WE launched our new Sunday evening worship experience: WE at Night. It was a great night and an excellent start! Our youth groups have launched for the year. Between the two middle and the high school groups, we have over one hundred students and dozens of volunteers who are growing weekly! Our food drives are done of the year. We collected over 10,000 pounds of food for hungry people right here in Omaha. Our new sermon series – gods at war – has started and over the next five weeks we’ll continue to look at what it means to put God first in our lives. It’s great to see God at work because a time has never existed when we need God more than we need God today. 

It’s September. The summer months of June, July, and August have ended. You wouldn’t know it with the hot temperatures. Those months are typically financially challenging for churches and The Water’s Edge was no exception this summer. As our ministry expands our generosity needs to expand as well. I want to invite you to help The Water’s Edge finish the year strong financially so that our vision is resourced and that our impact on people’s lives and our community continues to expand. 

The best is yet to come… 


Friday, September 6, 2013

A Day in the Park

My running partner for a few moments

Summer was enjoying her last stand

Great colors today

Running by the stream

Me - Before it got hot

The road to absolutely nowhere - sometimes a road worth traveling

I refresh tired bodies and I restore tired souls. -Jeremiah 31:25

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Knew the Day Would Come

When Nebraska joined the Big Ten, I knew the day would come. I grew up in northwest Iowa in the 1980s. My family and most of my friends cheered for the Hawkeyes. We saw them make the Final Four in basketball, win many national championships in wrestling, and make the Rose Bowl three times in a decade. The names were legendary: Lute Olsen, Dan Gable, and Hayden Fry.

And then one day, I met a girl. I guess in her early 20s she was technically a woman. It was the 1990s. Our studies took us to the South. She was from Nebraska. Iowa had fallen on hard times. So I become a Husker fan. Purists would say I jumped on the bandwagon. I would argue I married into the family. Just in time too. In cites like Lexington, Kentucky and Atlanta, Georgia, we celebrated three national championships four years. 

I still cheered for Iowa too. They didn’t play Nebraska so there wasn’t a conflict of interest. In the early part of the 2000s, Iowa won a few more Big Ten Championships. I wasn’t the only person cheering for more than one team.

Then on November 25th, 2011, it happened. I woke up. It was the day after Thanksgiving. I was still full from turkey and sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts and pumpkin pie. Nebraska and Iowa were finally playing. Amber and I were going to the game. I had to choose on this day who I would cheer for. I could only cheer for one team. I looked in our closet. It was a nice enough day. I found a white long-sleeved t-shirt. And then the moment came: I picked a red fleece with a big N on it. My red trail running shoes. And a black hat with a red N front and center. 

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. –Joshua 24:15 

In life, we can only have one god or God. Only one. No more. Either gods we have created or God who has created us. God tells us His desire in the First Commandment: 

You shall have no other gods before me. –Exodus 20:3 

Many of us find ourselves saying: I knew that day would come when I would have to choose between my god and God. Achievement, career, money, social standing, a relationship, security, sex, food, beauty, a social cause, or success can rival God for the primary place in our heart. Over the next six weeks, we will look at our American idols and counterfeit gods, and seek to restore God to the primary place in our lives. And we will cling to the promise of Jesus: 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. –Matthew 6:33 

The best is yet to come… 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

gods at war Intro

Our new series -- gods at war -- starts this Sunday. A new worship experience, WE at Night, launches Sunday as well at Palisades Elementary School at 6:00.

Buy the book, gods at war by Kyle Idleman

Buy the book, Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Photos + Recipe

Esther at Platte River State Park

Whiskey-Lime Cedar Plank Salmon

This was our meal tonight. A filet of Icelandic salmon purchased at Whole Foods. I marinated it for ten hours in 3 ounces of whiskey and 6 ounces of limeade. I soaked the cedar plank in cold water for ten hours as well. After the ten hour soak, I brushed olive oil on top of the fish and covered it with a rub from the Pike Place Fish Market. I preheated the cedar in the grill for three minutes. I cooked the fish on the cedar for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees to an internal temperature of 135 degrees. It was about perfect.