Monday, November 30, 2015

Prayer for Those Going Through Transition

Transitions in life are something we all go through. Many times and in many ways. Here is a prayer I wrote this morning for people going through transition.

Dear God,

Transition happens in life.

Sometimes I choose change. 
Sometimes change is chosen for me.
Sometimes it is predictable. 
Sometimes it is totally unexpected.

Transition is happening in my life.

I am taking an exit and looking for the next entrance.
I am saying goodbye to people or to normal or to a stage of life.
I am not sure what I should do or where I should go.
I don’t even know my next step or the step after that.

Be present with me in the time of transition.

I move into this new season of life with both excitement and anxiety – I need You.
Help me heal from any hurts.
Let me be grateful to You for the people who have shaped and formed me.
Thank You for the many life experiences that have brought me to where I am.

Lead me and guide me in this season of transition.

Saturate my life with grace so that I may mend, enjoy, and dream.
Shape my mind with wisdom so that I may grow.
Fill me with courage so that I don’t let fear limit my future.
Bless me with friends who will walk with me as I move forward in life.

Transition me from where I am to where You want me to be.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Esther's Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving paper is just another paper for Esther

Trying to sample our smoked birds

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Prayer

Here is prayer to pray privately or with your people on Thanksgiving. It would be great before your Thanksgiving meal. I hope it is a blessing to you and I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear God,

Create in me a thankful heart.
Develop in me a grateful mind.
Give me an appreciative spirit.

Two people I am thankful for

I confess feelings of jealously toward the actions of others.
I confess feelings of envy toward the possessions, attributes, and skills of others.
I confess feelings of greed that have caused ungratefulness in my life.
Create in me a thankful heart.

I have focused on what I don’t have rather than what I do have.
I have taken for granted many of your blessings.
I have wanted more than I have needed.
Create in me a thankful heart.

For Your fellowship. For my family. For my friends.
I give you thanks.

For a warm bed to sleep and good food to eat
For clean water to drink and a clear mind to think
For comfortable clothes to wear and a life to share
I give you thanks.

For your grace for my mistakes
For your power when I am weak
For your love when I am alone
I give you thanks.

For your presence and promise in times of grief and trials
For your hope and light in days of despair and darkness
For creating the unique person I am
I give you thanks.

For laughter and smiles and hugs and most tears
For the ability to embrace and to be embraced
For recovery, restoration, repair, and reconciliation
I give you thanks.

Give me an appreciative spirit.
Develop in me a grateful mind.
Create in me a thankful heart.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015



The sky gets dark at five o’clock in the afternoon. The middle school kids ring the Salvation Army bell in front of the crowded store. Colorful lights decorate houses and trees. Ads about Black Friday clutter the newspapers and televisions. Santa Claus is already making his initial appearances. The cookies. The cards. The carols. The movies. The songs.

It’s hectic. It’s joyful. It can be stressful. Andy Williams once sung a song that it is the most wonderful time of the year. He was probably right.

Yet something is missing. Someone, actually.

The world holds its breath. We are wired to know better. Bright red and green lights are no replacement for the light of the world. Getting good deals on perishable possessions is no comparison to the best deal we will ever and forever get. Santa Claus is no substitute for Jesus.

The Latin word is adventus. Today we say Advent. The ancient church used this four-week period to prepare to celebrate Jesus entering the world. Life would never be the same again. Neither would death. Something to celebrate for sure.

Advent Prayer

Dear God,

I walk down paths of pessimism.
I drive down streets of despair.
But I know Hope is on His way.

I receive criticism from others and others don’t listen to me.
I respond with indifference and apathy.
But I know Love is on His way.

I practice comparison and feel insecure.
I have been injured by hurtful words and actions.
But I know Joy is on His way.

I hang out with companions named stress and anxiety.
I long for balance and harmony.
But I know Peace is on His way.

I invite You more and more into my life.
Give me patience as I wait and expect.
Let me listen to what You believe about me and how You believe in me.
Fill me with hope, love, joy, and peace.


Monday, November 23, 2015


During the daylight I feel unaccepted for who I am. My appearance. My age. My beliefs. My body.

During the nighttime I feel unaccepted for what I have done. My failures. My flaws. My jealousy. My juvenileness.

When others don’t accept me for one reason or another, remind me that my worth doesn’t come from an imperfect person--it comes from a perfect God. 



Sunday, November 22, 2015


Today WE sponsored 220 Millard families so that their kids will get Christmas gifts. Also provided over 100 Thanksgivjng meals for families in Omaha. Such a generous church.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Benjamin and Grace were 4 - 0 today and won the championship tonight. Benjamin also won the award for best speaker. No word on if he won the award for best bow tie.

Friday, November 20, 2015


These are going to be so good.

The cages are ready for next year.

I shared some of my cabbage with the rabbits

Thursday, November 19, 2015

WE Commit

Commitment. It’s about as misunderstood as often as it is misspelled. Many are afraid of commitment. Others conclude commitment limits choices and therefore limits life. And others are afraid of failing—so we think that not committing reduces our chances of failing.

Sunset at The Water's Edge

Commitment isn’t the opposite of freedom. Commitment is the beginning of freedom. Freedom isn’t the ability to choose between many things or people or situations. That is chaos. And chaos isn’t freedom.

Freedom is simply the ability to truly be oneself. Nothing more and nothing less. And that is where commitment comes in. Jesus says that true freedom is achieved when we are committed to God, to others, and have an appropriate level of commitment to ourselves. 

The Water’s Edge is about commitment. We exist to help people commit to God and others. We exist to commit helping each other raise our children together. And we exist to commit to helping hurting, poor, marginalized, and oppressed people—right here in Omaha and all over the world. 

WE decided, from day one, WE weren’t going to just be consumers of a religious product, but participants in the Kingdom of God. Religion isn’t just part of our lives; Christianity is the relationship which drives all other areas of our lives. The Water’s Edge isn’t about what God can do for us; The Water’s Edge is about what God does in us and through us. 

Today is the last day of our From The Ground Up campaign. It’s been a journey. The From the Ground Up leadership team, the building team, and the church leadership team have demonstrated what it means to be committed to God, each other, and our community. The time, the effort, the prayers, the sacrifice, and the commitment are all inspiring. To date, 40 families have committed $1,400,000 toward our building. That is $35,000 per family!

Reaching our stretch goal of $2,500,000 isn’t going to be easy. Nothing in life worthwhile is ever easy. People are going to have to give at levels we haven’t given before. But the people of The Water’s Edge have risen, responded, met, and surpassed every challenge and obstacle WE have ever faced. This challenge will be no different. 

Tomorrow is also the first day of the rest of our lives together. WE will keep loving and serving God, each other, our city, and the world. WE will follow wherever God leads us as WE remain committed to God, each other, and the world. 

The best it yet to come… 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Drove 3.5 hours to give a 3.5 hour talk yesterday with a 3.5 hour trip home. Beautiful drive.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Prayer for Peace

I wrote this a number of years ago after the shootings a school in Connecticut. I just changed one word from the original. I hope you find it helpful.

Dear God,

In places like Somalia and Sudan – Syria and Paris
Bullets fly - Children die - Parents cry
Give us Your peace

Broken hearts. Lives too short. Fear of life and fear of death.

Give us Your peace

Tears fall down our cheeks like rain from the sky
Knots in our stomachs and sleepless nights
Worries about tomorrow competes for space in our minds with regrets from the past
Give us Your peace

Restlessness, impatience, annoyances, intolerance, frustration, and anger
They fill our lives like melted snow floods a fragile river
Give us Your peace

Prince of Peace – Take our burdens and give us rest.
Wonderful Counselor – Show us the way to peace.

Through the deepest valleys. In the darkest places. During the times we are alone.
Show us the way to peace

Peace with You
Peace with others
Peace with the world
And peace with ourselves
Give us Your peace

Dysfunction, dismay, and despair – They exist in the world.
But You have overcome the world
Help us to be overcomers who embrace Your peace

We give You our fears
Our hearts are no longer troubled because of Your peace

You are God and Your peace surpasses all understanding
Guard our hearts and our minds                                                  
Teach us once again that Your presence is greater than our struggles.
Give us Your peace.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Celebration Sunday

Today is Celebration Sunday. Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a banquet. When the father’s younger son returned home—the father threw a party. A big one. Then there was a wedding feast. The invited guests were too busy to show up so the Master sent the servants out to invite the masses.

The son had really messed up. He didn’t just show up at the party. The party was thrown in his honor. They killed the fattest calf. The boy wore a robe and a ring on his finger. The love of the Father is beyond human comprehension. That is something to celebrate. 

The father of the bride didn’t want the food and wine to go to waste so he sent his people to go to the alleys, the county roads, and to even look behind the hedges. Who hangs out in these places? Well…people down on their luck, people going through transition in life, and people who are hiding from somebody or something. They were invited to the party because of the generosity of the Father. 

I could talk about all the things WE have to celebrate. Great things have happened in the last eight years. But ultimately it’s God who invites us to the feast. The sinner. The saint. The hurting. The healthy. And all of us somewhere in the middle. Come as you are. 

We will sing, pray, eat, play, and hang out together. We will celebrate God’s love. We will celebrate God’s generosity. As far as things to celebrate, you won’t do any better. 

WE are nearing the end of our “From the Ground Up” capital campaign. WE get to celebrate our future as well. WE are going to build a church to love and serve people in West Omaha, Gretna, and Elkhorn. I dream of all the lost sons and daughters who will walk through the really big doors and experience that they are loved and accepted because of who God is. I dream of all the people down on their luck, all the people going through the transitions of life, and all the people hiding from somebody or something getting a surprise invitation to the biggest party ever. It’s called grace. 

Right now, a team of our people are doing incredible work in Uganda. This Sunday, hundreds of shoeboxes will be blessed and sent to children all over the world. And, WE will distribute hundreds of grocery bags so that people in Omaha can have a Thanksgiving meal. Ordinary people doing amazing things through an extraordinary God. Another reason to celebrate. 

Lots of reasons to celebrate. God. Our past. Our future. What God is doing in us and through us. Let’s have a party! 

The best is yet to come… 


Friday, November 6, 2015

A Prayer for Our Church

I invite you to pray this prayer as we near the conclusion of our From the Ground Up campaign. 

Dear God, 

I pray for my church. 
I pray WE connect people to God and help people grow in faith and trust in You. 
I pray WE connect people with each other and help people grow in their relationships. 
I pray WE partner with families in raising and discipling children. 
I pray WE love and serve our city and our world.

10:30 Worship at The Water's Edge

Give us clarity about Whose we are and who WE are.
Give us a focus on loving You and loving others.

Let us be a collection of people who prays and seeks You first.
Let us gather regularly to worship You and be taught by You.
Let us be defined as people who are generous with each other and with our neighbors.
Let us be faithful stewards of the abundant resources You have blessed us with.

Do great things in us and through us.
Exceed even our wildest dreams of who WE can become as a church.

Form and forge friendships that will give us support, solidarity, joy, and laughter.
Help us invest in babies, children, youth, and young adults.

Give us the compassion and courage to share our faith and be invitational.
Help us to help one another and be instruments of Your amazing grace.
Give us vision and resources to proactively and radically love all Your children.
Give us goodwill in our community and bless us with new broth­ers and sisters in Christ.

To the lonely, may WE provide community.
To the addict, may WE provide recovery.
To the hungry, may WE provide nutrition.
To the hurting, may WE provide Your healing. 

Give us big dreams and the willingness to take big risks.
May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Teach us again that it is by Your grace that we are saved through faith.
Teach us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You.
Fill us with faith, hope, and love.
And bring us and others to the table where Your saints feast forever.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Summer's Last Stand

Praying is the bridge between our mess and God's rest.

The hill.
Couldn't resist not picking up my feet or using a double negative appropriately.

Even a tree has hope!
If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches.
-Job 14:7

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Reflections from the Deck

During times of joy, thank God.
During quiet times, listen to God.
During challenging times, trust God.