Location, Location, Location

I’ve been taking in Eugene Peterson’s memoir entitled, “The Pastor.”  It is a wonderful book with rich language, meaningful stories, and it seems to be enriching my soul.

All of his books on pastoring are inspirational and resonate with my deepest longings for my vocation.  If only I wouldn’t become distracted by my own ego.

Peterson encourages pastors to be local and know the land God has called you to.  (I’m also reading a book entitled: “The wisdom of stability: rooting faith in a mobile culture.”  I’m sure I’ll unpack some thoughts from that another time.)

Here is a quote from Eugene’s book “Under the Unpredictable Plant” that touches on the importance of being local.

“It is in the nature of pastoral work to walk into an alien world, put our feet on the pavement, and embrace the locale. Pastoral work is geographical as much as it is theological. Pastors don’t send memos, don’t send generic messages, don’t work from a distance: locale is part of it. It is the nature of pastoral work to be on site, working things out in the particular soil of a particular parish.”

Am I present?  Am I local?  Or am I lobbing blessings from a distance?


This past weekend was Easter weekend.  This is the weekend we celebrate that everything changed – that renewal and restoration of all things is on the march!

Typically Easter weekend is a time to gather to celebrate, but thanks to an amazing team of leaders we were able to also serve our community practically.

On Saturday, the day before our Easter celebration, a huge group of Watermarkers served 101 family units a warm meal, gave helpful give-aways, listened to people’s stories, had fun with kids, handed out personal care items, and also provided a food truck with fresh food.

This day was a smashing success because:

  • We were able to make personal connections with people who found themselves in need of a hand.  It wasn’t just about the stuff – people listened, cared, and shared time together.
  • Watermarkers led the way.  Under the fantastic leadership of Becky Staal, our InCommunity ninja, Watermarkers stepped up and gave leadership to all the key areas.  They did a tremendous job and many of the folks receiving assistance commented on how well things went.
  • New Watermarkers served.  I saw a lot of newer faces serving!  It wasn’t the just the same committed crew.
  • Practical needs were able to be met!  Personal care items, medicine, food, and even gas cards were able to be utilized to bring hope.  Thanks to all the Watermarkers who generously helped make that happen!
  • We were able to be the presence of Jesus!

I feel like our faith family is at our best when we are looking beyond ourselves and banding together to offer relationship, hope, and service to folks in our community.  This “Great Saturday” made “Easter Sunday” all that more special as we celebrated the fact that Jesus is alive and His Kingdom is repairing all things!

Thanks to all who participated!

Learning from an Ethiopian brother.

While in Ethiopia we had the opportunity to have lunch with Pastor Yohannes Girma.  He is known as Pastor Johnny and is a dynamic and humble pastor and worship leader.

He shared his story of coming to faith.  He grew up in the faith, but became disenchanted by church/religion. One night while playing guitar and singing with his brother the Holy Spirit touched him and moved in his heart.  He began to talk to people about Jesus and wrote worship songs and started a church.

I was inspired by his vision and focus.  He is seeking to:

  • See people experience spiritual transformation through Jesus.  His belief is that if someone is changed by God then everything can change.
  • Strengthen families so that they can be a blessing to the church family and the wider community.
  • Strengthen people economically by helping them follow their dreams and provide micro-loans that give people the opportunity to provide for themselves.
  • Develop the wider community and provide key services to assist the community.
  • Be involved in national development (impact and serve the nation.)

He spends time regularly investing in men and professionals to develop them as leaders so they can lead smaller groups of 20-30 people.  His heart is not to create professional Christians, but to help develop Christian professionals.

During my time with Pastor Johnny I was challenged to dream bigger dreams, invest in people who can invest in people, and continue to see that Jesus truly makes all the difference!

I thank God for the chance to meet with an Ethiopian brother in the faith and to learn from what God is doing in and through him.

Here is a video of Pastor Johnny leading worship.  (In blue suit playing guitar.)

Let me see your eyes!

I have a tension.  My daughter enjoys talking to me in the evenings and I like to get to my “ME” time when they are finally in bed.  (I know I’m selfish.) Once she was talking to me and I was grunting and nodding along and standing at the door with my ear into her room, but I was looking away.  She kept talking louder and I told her to not speak so loud.  I told her I was listening.  Frustrated, she finally just said,

“Dad let me see your eyes when I’m talking.”

I heard her, but I wasn’t truly listening.   She wanted my attention and my focus, because it communicated value.  Hearing wasn’t enough – she wanted me.

I’m trying to be an apprentice of Jesus and I’m challenged and amazed at how Jesus took the time to lock eyes and give his undivided attention to people.  Jesus was busy, he traveled constantly, he was surrounded by crowds and pressing needs.  He above all, deserved some “ME” time.  However, he took time for all kinds of people to really see them… really understand… really love them.

Could an “interruption” today, be an opportunity to be like Jesus?

Who today will need to see my eyes and have my attention?

A bloke is coming to hang with Watermark

Kim Hammond, an Aussie missionary to the United States will be joinging us this Sunday morning and evening. Kim is serving at Community Christian Church and is the National Director of Forge.

We are excited to have Kim join us this week and I look forward to brushing up on my Aussie slang and learning more about how to be on mission with God right where I live.

Join us Sunday in the flesh or online LIVE at 9:15 & 11 :00 am at Grand Haven High School.
Then join us Sunday evening from 5-7 pm at the Community Center in Grand Haven for Core Focus.