Saturday, July 25, 2015

One of the Reasons I Love Our Church

Jesus has a special place in his heart for children. His many teachings about the priority of children and young people is both clear and compelling: Children and youth are not only our future; they have an essential place in the Kingdom of Heaven today. WE love kids because they are God’s and because they are ours!

The vision of The Water’s Edge is: To be a church who relentlessly pursues a transforming relationship with God, generously extends hope to the hurting, sacrificially serves our families, and radically invests in the next generation.

High school students getting ready to leave on their mission trip.

This summer we have been living out that vision!

Our middle school and high school mission trips were amazing. Fifty-five students and fifteen adults gave 2,500 hours of service to residents in Loveland, Colorado and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

To the fifteen adults: Thank you for living out our vision. Most of you gave nine days of your summer, a week of vacation, and hundreds of dollars to serve our families and radically invest in the next generation.

To our fifty-five students: I am grateful for each of you. You said “no” to things like the conveniences of home, sports, and activities and gave 12% of your summer to serve others and intentionally grow in your relationship with God. Thank you for showing us all about commitment!

Kids of all ages having fun at Vacation Bible School.

Vacation Bible School was a wonderful experience. It was exciting to be a part of this every night. We had an averaged 172 kids each night and 78 volunteers for a total of 250 people per night! I spent time each evening witnessing the children being so excited and dozens of adults joyfully serving. As a parent, I am so thankful for all the adults who served with excellence and compassion. You are serving our families and investing in the next generation.

Fall Kick-Offs 

It’s crazy to think that school starts in two weeks for most of our children. Many of the sports teams are already practicing. As parents, we work hard to prepare our children academically and athletically for college or whatever comes after high school. My dream has always been and will always be that our children are spiritually prepared for college They will need it.

Both the youth and children will be having their fall kick-offs in a few weeks. The church is prepared for our best and biggest year yet in 2015-2016. I encourage all our families to participate in the many ministries offered to our students and their families. Also, the church is providing some great resources on our app and in worship. These spiritual exercises are great for families to use to grow closer to God and each other. 

The best is yet to come… 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

First and Last Time Ever

I never won any thing at golf before and don't expect or even hope to soon.
My team was 17 under at Iron Horse. About 2% of this fine score is because
of me. 2% might be a little generous. It was fun though!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pennies and Pie

Bought a bunch of pennies for missions and to keep pie away from my face.

I didn't buy enough pennies. At least it was key lime pie.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lauritzen Gardens

Lauritzen Gardens is such a wonderful place. A great value too.

Looking at the waterfall.

David hydrating up.

Path through the gardens.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I remember January 1st, 2009. My alarm went off at 5:30. It was cold and dark. I threw on some warm clothes and packed up five or six coolers with Gatorade and water. No ice. The coolers were to keep the fluids from freezing. I drove around southwest Omaha and placed the coolers in strategic locations.

New Year's Day Marathon Runners, 2009

A friend came over at 7:00. She is more like a little sister. I’ll call her Jennifer, but her real name is Nicole. A few others joined us too. We ran a marathon that morning. The 26.2 miles from my house, to Lake Zorinsky, around Lake Zorinsky, down 180th Street, to the Pumpkin Patch, and back to my house took a solid three and a half hours. I remember talking to Nicole much of the time.

We did that a lot on our runs. Sometimes we were silent and that was good too. She lives in Colorado now. I just talked to her the other day. It took me back to those early mornings around lake. We trust each other. She wouldn’t tell me what she tells me unless she has faith in me: I won’t tell others what we talk about, I will comfort her and / or challenge her, and I will accept her for who she is and who she isn’t. We have a true friendship—one where both parties in the relationship are convinced they are getting the good end of the deal.

Trust is developed over time. Through talking and listening. Through being present. But ultimately, trust is given. That is why it’s called trust. The moment we trust somebody is the moment we give somebody permission to break our hearts. But it is also the moment we open up the giant doors named Intimacy and Possibility. Economics has a concept of risk and reward. You don’t get the reward without the risk. The philosopher knows that Intimacy and Possibility aren’t possible without trust. 

The great tragedy of life is when Intimacy and Possibility don’t happen because Trust isn’t given. Yeah, the one who withholds trust is protected from hurt, but simultaneously they are denied intimacy and possibility.

The same principles apply to our relationship with God. Prayer is talking. Prayer is listening. Prayer is silence. It has to do with trust. If we didn’t trust we wouldn’t pray. Trust means we don’t just believe in the existence of God. Trust means we believe God will do what God says He will do. 

Jesus asks us to be his friend. Only the key called Trust will open those giant doors of Intimacy and Possibility. And once those doors are opened, we will be the one who discovers we are getting the good end of the deal.

The best is yet to come…


Saturday, July 11, 2015

High School Mission Trip

Here are our senior high students getting ready to head to Green Bay for their mission trip. I invite you to pray for them.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Truth and Grace

I just saw my siblings last weekend. We don’t all get together much. Our lives are lived in Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and Nebraska. I’m the youngest of the group. We grew up in a crowded farmhouse with one bathroom and no shower. There always seemed to be more than enough room—but we would occasionally bump into each other once in a while—literally and figuratively.

The best trails to take are the toughest trails.
They are the most rewarding.

It still isn’t always easy. Calendaring can be a problem for us. My schedule doesn’t help any. We have all changed in the past few decades: what we believe, what we emphasize, what we practice. But we are siblings. Nothing quite like a brother or a sister. We are companions. We make each other better. Always have. Always will.

Grace has a brother—his name is Truth. They don’t always get along. But they need each other and make each other better. 

Paul paints a beautiful picture of Grace. She is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), we are saved by her (Ephesians 2:8), and she is greater than our sin (Romans 5:20). Grace isn’t a theological concept for people like me to discuss and debate. Grace is a person. Jesus is sufficient, Jesus saves, and Jesus is greater than our sins. Jesus is Grace. 

Jesus said Truth will set us free (John 8:32). Jesus also makes it clear: He is the Truth (John 14:6). Truth is not an ethical imperative nor is it an ethical argument. Truth, like Grace, is a person. The same person. 

Truth without Grace can be dogmatic and incompassionate. 
Grace without Truth can be enabling and vague. 

Truth and Grace walking hand in hand is rare these days, but when it happens it is as beautiful as beautiful gets. Jesus was Truth and Grace: simultaneously caring and courageous; bold and benevolent; empathetic and prophetic. 

He gave Truth and Grace to Pharisees and the Sadducees. He gave Truth and Grace to his twelve disciples. He gave Truth and Grace to sinners of all varieties. Truth and Grace is who He is and therefore Truth and Grace is what He did. 

We are a large church and a theologically, sociologically, and politically diverse church. I wouldn’t have it any other way because the Kingdom of Heaven—according to the beliefs, words, and actions of the One who fully embodied Grace and Truth—is much more diverse than any church any of us could ever dream of. 

Walking down the road of life with both Truth and Grace isn’t easy and Jesus makes no implication otherwise. There will be some bumps along the road, for sure. But we are companions and we make each other better. On our journey with Truth and Grace, we will pick-up things like freedom, sufficiency, forgiveness, and salvation. It seems to be a journey worth taking. 

The best is yet to come… 


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Photos on the Run

Waterfall, Platte River State Park

Running in the rain, Prairie Queen Trail

Friday, July 3, 2015

Rejection, Sunrises, and Hope

Being rejected is so painful.
Too much stress wears us down.
Our responsibilities exceed our resources.
We want peace but find ourself in pieces.
But each morning something wonderful happens.
The darkness is replaced by light.
Hope and healing happens.
It's a new day.
So beautiful and full of possibilities.
Today only happens once.
Make the most of it.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Freedom and Independence

Independence Day. What we are celebrating? Why do we celebrate it? And where does God fit in all this? 

You know the drill: Neighborhood parades, BBQ, swimming, and sitting with the dog during the fireworks trying to convince her that the world is not coming to an end. Not much reflecting on why we get the day off.

I love history. Especially early American history. The passion of the people for independence and freedom is inspiring:

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! -Patrick Henry 

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. -Nathan Hale 

We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. -Benjamin Franklin 

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. -George Washington 

Independence and freedom are not the same. Independence means, for better or worse, we get to make the rules. The mistakes we get to live with are generally our own. Pre-Independence, the problem was taxation without representation. A few hundred years later, we still have taxes—gas taxes, income taxes, estate taxes, property taxes, sales taxes—to name a few. But instead of a king in London making the rules, a majority of citizens have decided such taxes are for the common good. Independence isn’t always perfect, but it sure beats the alternative. 

Freedom is different. Someone can be independent, but not free. The young adult may live by herself and be independent of her parents, but she is not necessarily free. She probably has some sort of debt, a boss, a landlord, and / or demanding friends. She makes her own choices, but has obligations and habits that strongly determine the choices she makes. She is independent, but is she really free? As a country, we may make our own rules, but because of things like a huge debt and nuclear weapons, we are not totally free.

There is another sort of independence and freedom that matters ultimately and it is another sort altogether. It isn’t represented by a flag, but by a cross and a cup. The flag represents freedom to worship the King who embodied the cross and the cup. At the end of the day the flag doesn’t offer the freedoms matter the most: forgiveness, hope, courage, faith, peace, joy, and salvation. A person can live in an independent democracy and suffer a personal life of oppression while another can live under a dictatorship and experience personal freedom: not because of the flag, but because of the cross and the cup. 

This weekend, be grateful for independence as Americans and embrace the freedom God gives. 

The best it yet to come…