Thursday, December 4, 2008


James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

If we do not practice these things, our religion is flawed.

A lot of Christians do not like the word "Religion". It brings visions of pharisees and church pews and hymnals. Of halls filled with the smell of bake sale and quilt. Little old ladies who hold a Kleenex for hours. Preachers who shout and sweat from the armpits (I sweat from there I must admit). It brings thoughts of rules and ceremonies and stain glass. Of baptismals behind the stage with paintings of Jesus standing among sheep. I grew up in these churches. Hated them. Now miss them sometimes.

My mom used to drive a broken down Ghetto Van to River Rouge (Little Detroit) just picking up shoeless kids and taking them to church and to children's activities at church, which is funny because imagine if a person in a big van with no back seats at all pulled up in front of your house and let your child in to the back of a van where they would sit on the floor and go God knows where. It was a different time then. She did this 3 times a week. She also bought a clown suit and practiced some tricks for the kids, just because she loved Jesus. I used to hate these memories. Not now. What a servant she is. Today, she puts on church services for the elderly confined to nursing homes. This is true religion. This is the face and hands of Jesus.

It isn't about getting bigger buildings, or drawing more people to fill enough seats to justify building a bigger building. It isn't about church dogma or denominations. It is about getting your hands dirty for the sake of Loving our God. The God that makes the stars also hears our hearts break and uses others to show us just how much He loves us.

I needed to be excited today. I didn't sleep last night which is usually a precursor to a bad day. I got up, took Caeden to school and went to school. On the way I was listening to this song called "Hold My Heart' by Tenth Avenue North and the Chorus says:
Could the maker of the stars, hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life is all I am, right now I can barely stand,
If your everything you say you are, will you come close and hold my heart

I heard it before, in fact a hundred times, but this time it drew blood. My eyes filled with tears and I cried all the way to school. For some, you may think this is lame. That's OK, I never minded being lame. I hope you get lame someday too. But I needed it because it was a reminder that there are times that God seems to be on the other side of the galaxy. But the same God that made all things is so in tune with how we feel and hurt and rejoice, and He is here to hold us up. Like a doctor who puts his hands inside the chest of a heart patient and pumps his heart for him, God repairs us.

Sometimes I need some tears to remind me what my religion and job as a pastor is all about. It is about my hands, not my mouth.


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  1. Caeden is so real that it is crazy sometimes. I hope he never changes that part about him. Yeah.. Nana is very cool. My mom also does crazy "Jesus" stuff that gets of my nerves from time to time, but you are right... It is the sort of stuff that changes people. I used to get annoyed a few years ago when my mom would cook food for 4 houses on the block in the summer because they were hungry. I would ask her what the heck she was doing. She said, "I'm a doin' what I'm supposed to do." Yeah, sometimes weird is right and natural is wrong. I'm glad and encouraged that both of our moms do 'crazy' stuff for Jesus. Also... you should miss those churches! Those are the kinds that I growed up with too. I love 'em! Cheese-ball songs and everything! Mine even had a banja!

  2. Love the label.

    Love the photo. To me it is so beautiful. But, Caeden's comment did make me laugh.

    I also love how lame you are. May we all follow in your lameness.

  3. This post is amazing. Things have changed in many, many ways. We need the good old duct-taped vans back in this world.

  4. ...churches of the heart, not contained by walls or trappings, turn outward to serve like your Mother has. She got it right.

  5. Thanks Jason. My wife and I have been reading your for a year now on Myspace. Funny.

  6. i have felt overwhelmed by God a lot too lately. i may have even been lame a couple times. ... don't tell anybody though. a hard core thug like me can't be lame. my image will be destroyed.