I suck at this…and that’s OK…

If there is one thing that I have learned about blogging, is that I suck at it. I always have these amazing thoughts and ideas and “what if” questions and tell myself that I am going to write about, and then watch them trend and go viral. Then I get distracted and start playing candy crush.

Over the last few months, I have taken on some personal challenges, (no I didn’t resolve to blog more) however I did begin to meet with a life coach. I knew this was something that I wanted to do, and finally got the nerve to reach out to a friend of mine who was working with a pretty cool organization. He started out by telling me that I needed to take the Strengths Finders.  It was one of the most enlightening times in my life. We went through the process, and I discovered a lot about myself. But here was the biggest thing: Most of my life I have been told to work on all the weaknesses in my character and life. But very few, if any, people have told me to focus my attention on my strengths! I have spent so much energy trying to be someone that I am not, that I have totally ignored the strengths that I naturally possess…for instance, I am:

  1. Positive
  2. Relator
  3. Strategic
  4. Activator
  5. Futuristic


I am not:

  1. Consistent
  2. Harmonious
  3. Analytical
  4. Deliberative
  5. Disciplined

I have focused so much energy on the bottom 5 and have pretty much ignored the top 5! Now here comes the irony of all of this. When I learned to pour energy into what I am gifted in, the bottom 5 strengths have naturally risen with the tide! You know that old adage, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” This has proven true.

Recently,  a position opened up in my department. I thought I might be good at it, although I wasn’t sure of all the details of what the program did. I applied. Now in my past life, I would have tried to convince the hiring manager that I was perfect for this job. This time, I simply slid over my strengths and said, “This is who I am. If you think that I would be right for this position, then this is who you are getting.” I can tell you that for an instant, I thought about selling myself to fit the position. But I stayed the course and trusted the process. Instead of trying to squeeze myself into a role, I simply relied on how God had made me, and rested in that! There were no lies, or manipulation. I rested in my strengths…I got the position.

Since then, I have continued this process with the team that I am responsible for. I have applied the strengths to our team, and we are able to learn the same language. It’s a process to be sure, however we are learning that by recognizing each others strengths, we can work interdependently with each other, instead of being in a toxic “it’s all about me” environment.

One of the biggest problems in our culture is lying. We lie or twist the truth to try and get what we think we need. We lie to ourselves, our bosses, our families simply because we have not been given the permission to be ourselves. When you find out who you are, the stress of trying to be something you are not will wash away. You can really have fun with how God made you!

We’ve also applied this in our home. It has given us a language in which to speak with each other. We know our strengths, and that helps us recognize how we think about situations…it’s helped my marriage and my relationship with my kids…

I suck at being consistent. I suck at being disciplined. But I am pretty good at being positive! I am pretty good at seeing the future and help others get there! I think I’ll stick to what and who God made me, maybe you can too. Being who you are can set you free. It may sound odd, but it’s true, and that’s OK.

At KeyStone, we are going through another amazing study of the Enneagram. This is incredible as it unpacks the 9 types of humans in context of interacting with other fascist of strengths and weaknesses. Wherever you land, find out what makes you unique. Find out what makes you…you. When you do, chase it down and never regret being someone you’re not!




What Would You Say?

Every Friday morning, our church doors are open at 5:30 am for anyone who wants to come and pray.  We pray for our city, our people, our church, and a myriad of other issues that may arise during our conversation with the Father.  Today started just like most other Fridays.  I would love to say that I jump right out of bed in the early morning hours, but that would be a long stretch of the truth.  I usually have a convincing debate in my head, and begin to make up all kinds of excuses of why I deserve that extra hour of sleep.  Nevertheless, I force-ably swing my legs over the side of the bed and just get moving.

I am never disappointed in the decision to get up and get moving. The times that we have in prayer are never the same, but always rewarding. This morning was a little unusual in the way that we started. There was about 30 minutes of people silently praying and meditating, sipping on coffee, and walking around the room. Others were sitting quietly by themselves, connecting with the Father in their own way.

When the silence finally broke, there were the encouraging words to stay focused on the things that God has asked us to do, to honor His word, to exalt His name…all really good things. I began to hear my prayer in my head, the same words that I have prayed in times past like; “Oh God, fill this place with Your glory.” and “Oh God,  touch your people and help this church grow.”and “Oh God, please bless the works of our hands.”  Then  I stopped. I began to hear the words as if they were spoken out loud. It’s not that they were bad, or untrue, or wouldn’t sound good to the rest of the pray-ers in the room, it’s just that all of a sudden I imagined the Father sitting in the room with us.  I thought, “Are these the words that I would really say to Him if He were here?” “Do these words even make sense?” “Am I treating my Friend like some magician to come and wave His magic wand and make things better?”

As I began to meditate on these thoughts,  I realized that most of my prayers would sound ridiculous if I were speaking to Him as a friend.  Where did this odd way of speaking come from? If He is truly with us, then He is really listening, and He wants to have a conversation with us.  If I were to approach Him from this point of view; what would I say?

The odd religious words faded. The King James version rhetoric ceased. I was able to connect with Him as a friend, and I simply said,  “Is your heart happy? Are you happy today? Are you pleased with what I am doing with my life, and the gifts that you gave me?” “Am I allowed to encourage You? The source of all encouragement? Do you like that?  Is that OK?”

Things shifted for me this morning, and I could almost literally see Him smile and say, “Yes, I love what you are doing,  I am pleased with your life. I love the way you are using your gifts. Nothing brings my heart more joy than to see you take risks for me, and trust me, and talk to me, and have adventures with me. I love that you ask questions, and that you are not afraid of not having all the answers. And yeah, I like to be encouraged.  I am proud of you, and thanks for spending some time with me this morning.”

I’m not sure I have ever really connected to Him like that before. I’m not sure the church has.  I think that we look at the Father as some distant icon,  and need to address Him like an old English professor using words we wouldn’t normally use when speaking with our friends.

If you could connect with Him in this way, what would you say? You might be surprised at the reality of this truth.  He is here, and we have total access to Him.  You might be surprised at what you would talk about. Start a conversation with Him. Let’s see where it goes!

Is Church Planting Really the Answer?

Easter, as we know it in the Western Church, has almost become more about who has more plastic eggs spread out in a field and who can give away the most prizes to kids who already live in absolute opulence, and who can outdo the church down the road with helicopters, horse rides, bouncy houses, and a myriad of exhausted volunteers that hope that what they are doing has a lasting effect on someone, or hopefully will draw some of these people into their church building on a Sunday morning with the hopes that they make a decision for Jesus, fill out a card, get baptized and eventually be a part of the cycle that has gone on since D.L. Moody….breath…rather than truly celebrating the reason we are all here in the first place. (Nothing against ol’ Dwight)

I’m not mad,  I’m not even a little jealous,  it’s just that the more I see our American version of church play out,  I wonder if it is really making a long term impact on our culture. I see the that Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, and I just want to help the brother get dressed!

Is planting churches really the answer? Is it having the effect on our culture like we think that is should? Or more importantly, like Jesus said it should?

On Easter weekend,  I was driving around on some streets hear in our city that I haven’t spent a lot of time on. I saw at least 4 new church plants represented by the familiar sandwich boards that we have all become accustomed to; dotted on every corner to give the greatest advantage to the passing cars.  It was rather comical after seeing one new church try and use the same corner for their boards as another one. Hip Church was pointing one direction and Cooler Church was pointing in the other. This is when it dawned on me,  “Is planting churches really having an impact on our culture?”  After all,  aren’t we supposed to making disciples?

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Lonny, aren’t you being a little hypocritical since you came here to plant a church?” yes, I suppose in some ways I am,  This is why I hope the tone of this isn’t critical but from a disposition of humility, and from what I have learned in trying to plant a church.

When, in my mind and heart and actions,  I stopped trying to plant a church,  which basically means developing a marketing strategy just a little better that the one down the street,  and started creating a space of true community, I saw something really amazing happening.  I saw people reaching out and caring for one another. They were taking meals to people who were sick without even having sister so-in-so set up the meal train. They were taking children into their homes so that worn-out, single moms could catch their breaths, they were getting together in their homes for meals, and games, and prayer, and fasting without even being asked!! WHAT IS GOING ON? They were praying for revival in their own hearts, and families, so that true revival could catch fire in their neighborhoods, and schools, and businesses. Suffering in the body was becoming our greatest teacher! It was something that no one had ever taught us! While we as a church were in this weird, hidden, liminal space; we were learning to lean on each other, people with true pastoral gifts were stepping to the plate visiting people in the hospital, caring for the sick, and loving on the marginalized.

So what happens when we stop trying to plant a church and begin to invite people to be a part of this family? We make disciples…When I asked my Friend, “Is planting a church really the answer?” He was quiet for a while. I asked Him again. Still no answer. Finally,  a couple of days later, I got the answer, I felt like He said, “You. You are the answer. Harlan Hobson is the answer, as he works with people at Goodwill, and loves them unconditionally even though they believe completely differently than he does. Joe and Sheena Courtney are the answer, as they gather people into a space where they can be real and share a meal together.  Darren Keiffer is the answer, as he invites people that won’t normally come to a church service around a poker table in his basement and talks about his three beautiful girls, his wife Erin, and how to parent and husband,  and juggle a full time career. Carl and Amy Holmes are the answer as they serve our kiddos and visit people graciously in the hospitals. Gary and Lisa Black are the answer as they serve the next generation on the mission field, teaching them the true meaning of simplicity. Daniel and Katherine McCray are the answer, as they invite people around their table for a meal and encouragement and teach couples how to pray for one another. You are the answer, you are the hands and feet.”

I know it’s vague, it’s sounds pretty simple. But that is the answer I got. I love that Jesus never criticizes what other people are doing,  He always asked me,  “What are you doing?  How are you being Me here on the planet in the time that I have allotted for you?”

I’ll be honest. Making disciples looks like a lot of different things to a lot of different people. One thing is for certain. Making disciples isn’t fast, it’s a lifetime investment.

On Easter, (we meet on Saturdays) we had a night of worship, with the opportunity to take communion with our families and pray and let the Holy Spirit do what He loves to do. We were not disappointed. People were healed, encouraged, loved, and most importantly knew about the unchanging power of resurrection. My sister and nephew were with us, and for the first time ever, I got to sing with my nephew…I asked him if he knew the song, he said, “never heard it before, I am just going with it!” I had communion with my sister for the first time in about 30 years! Then on Sunday morning, people from our church were gathering in their homes for meals, brunches, community, playing catch, playing basketball, watching our kids grow and play together, and sharing our lives with one another. For us, the evening ended with a Colorado style bonfire, (in a controlled fire pit) talking about the day, the lives we are living, and the powerful love of Jesus.

This is what I am looking for, and I didn’t even know it. Life on life as my friend Brock always reminds me of.  If you want to plant a church, I am sure that Jesus won’t mind.  Just keep in mind that what really changes people is not your light show, smoke machines, fancy graphics, catchy, tweetable phrases, or even the strategically placed sandwich boards. What people remember is grabbing a ball and glove and talking about life. It’s the everyday, mundane moments that are littered with encouragement and love.  This is what changes people. This is what will change the world…You, loving like Jesus did. You will change the world.

Want to see what the power of you loving others can do?  Watch this: https://vimeo.com/213000451/5521328d6a


14 things I’ve learned (and still learning) as a church planter.

My family and I left the security of a great family,  awesome church, exciting job, wonderful home, and and incredible community to pursue the adventure of church planting.  This was something that through a series of events was Providential and not of my own accord.  Although, I tend to have wanderlust,  this was something that I felt God was calling us to do.  After several confirmations,  and a resounding yes from my wife,  we packed our U-Haul and headed west to the most beautiful city I had ever laid on eyes on- Colorado Springs.  Colorado  wasn’t really on my radar,  I have to give credit to someone else for that,  but however we got here, here we are.

It’s been 4 years since we planted KeyStone Church, and if life lines up with a college degree, then I have been on the fast track to a doctorate in what to do and not do in church planting!  If you’re a church planter out there,  then maybe some of these things will make sense to you.  If you’ve ever thought about planting a church,  then maybe some of the lesson’s I’ve learned can help you navigate these tricky waters. Whatever the case,  I thought I’d write down a few things that I’ve learned as a church planter.

  1.  Stop trying to plant a church;  start making disciples.  One of the most important phrases that any “church planter” can learn is this:
    “If you start out planting a church,  you’ll usually end up with consumers, if you make disciples,  you’ll always end up with a church.” ~ Mike Breen. Sounds a little weird coming from a church planter, but it’s true.  It will take you longer,  but it will be worth it.  By the way, this is what we are supposed to be doing anyway!
  2. Stop comparing.  I had to stop comparing what I felt God called us to do with what other people were doing.  I was called to do something unique and in line with my gifts.  This is all I can do.  I can’t be someone else…I had to let that insecurity go, and just be who God created me to be. My ego had to die, so will yours,  but you will resurrect as a broken person,  and God likes that.
  3. Get rid of expectations.  I thought that KeyStone was going to be the next Mega-Church that had the spinning globes, cafes, bookstores, flags,  huge entry…you get the picture.  What KeyStone ended up being was small, healthy, strong, and community driven. We grow slow on purpose!
  4. Allow for failure.  One of the pillars at KeyStone is that we will allow for failure.  If something’s not working,  then we give each other the permission to end it immediately.  It doesn’t matter how sacred the cow we think it is,  if it ain’t working,  we get rid of it!
  5. Be Flexible!  Not everything is going to go the way you expect.  I had to bite my tongue,  and allow for change in things that I was trying to accomplish.  Plan on things not going like you thought they would.  It’s OK.  The sun is still going to rise in the morning.
  6. You can’t people please.  Looking back, I can see a lot of this in my life. I had to find the balance of what honoring people (sometimes even those in authority) looked like compared to what listening the the Lord looked like.  I know that I can’t please everyone,  nor is it my call to do so.  You may have to let some relationships go,  or at least put them on pause for a while so that you can clearly hear what God is telling you to do.  People will get mad at you, leave you, and disagree with you,  you will have to get over that!
  7. Stop looking back.  The missionaries of old would burn their ships when they landed on the country of their calling. This is not to say that you can be open to new things that God may call you to do,  but until then,  stay the course.  The grass is not always greener in the other church.
  8. Stay humble, be teachable.  I don’t know everything,  and sometimes,  I don’t know anything. It’s so important for me to be teachable and ever learning. I am constantly learning from people that think differently than I do.
  9.  Keep people around you that challenge you. Contrary to many leadership books,  it’s good to have people around you that generally disagree with you.  This will not hinder your growth,  but actually enhance it.  Surrounding yourself with people who always think like you eventually grows into spiritual inbreeding.  Healthy conflict always fosters growth. Challenge the way you think, it will help you, I promise.
  10. Let people come, let people go.  When I first planted KeyStone,  I was looking for anyone who could “fog a mirror”;  and once they came to a service, I would try so hard to “keep” them. I can tell you that it made them feel uncomfortable, and I felt weird too.  I have learned that KeyStone is not for everyone,  and I had to learn to let them go if they didn’t feel like they  fit in our community. It’s not that I didn’t want them to stay,  I just figured out that there may be a better place for them to grow.
  11. Realize church is not a franchise,  it’s a living organism.  You may have seen the “all-in-one package for church planting” kits!  What I have come to realize is that “one size does not fit all”.  Church is not supposed to be franchise-able.  It’s a living organism that ebbs and flows within the culture that it is in.  When I tried to make KeyStone a Hoosier (that’s a fancy term for people from Indiana) church, I realized quite quickly that it wasn’t going to work in Colorado. People in Colorado think differently,  act differently,  and have a pioneering spirit. Some people call this rebellious,  I like to think of it as free. It’s not that Hoosiers way of thinking is bad,  it’s just not Coloradan! Find the rhythms of your culture and learn to flow with them.
  12. Embrace the suckage!  This is a real phrase here at KeyStone.  Sometimes life just sucks…you can kick against it, try to manage it, change it,  manipulate it or you can simply embrace it.  Pain is a great teacher,  suffering brings us in close proximity of Jesus and the ones He is trying to reach.  At times,  church planting sucks…there’s just no sugar coating it.  Embrace it. You may not be able to change things,  but it will change you.
  13. Have fun! On the heels of embracing the suckage…have fun!  Look,  if you’re not having fun,  then you probably should find something else to do.  It may take a minute for you to realize this,  but I am pretty sure that God wants you to be fulfilled in what you are doing.
  14. Pray, and have people you trust pray for you.  This involves a whole bunch of being real and transparent. You don’t have to have all the answers or feel like you are superman.  Real, transparent, and vulnerable leaders are in it for the long haul.  Once you think you’re on top of the pyramid,  get ready, you’re gonna get your ass kicked.  Be honest with your prayer partners.  Be honest with the people that God has entrusted you with.  Be honest with yourself.


It’s certainly not an exhaustive list,  but it’s some of the things I have learned. Hopefully it helps a few of you out there.

Always be learning,  always be ready to discard what you think you know, but keep what is true.   Always be listening, make disciples, have community; build lifelong relationships.


Get on the DiscipleSHIP!

A lot has been written recently about the discipleship movement, I think it could be because with all of our mega-everything, we have realized that we have done a poor job at making true disciples, which most of the time comes in the hidden and small. We are pretty good at making consumers, (vis a vis Madmen), but we seem to miss it when it comes to giving our life away for the benefit of another.

My wife and I had the privilege of hosting my friend Gary Black’s 50th birthday party in our home this weekend, and as in any gathering with Gary and his family, there is always great topics being discussed in just about corner of the house. Gary’s wife, Lisa and I have had great conversations about life, kids, healing, great midwestern homes…(we both like brick houses with big porches) and the best wines on the planet. This night, our conversation led to true discipleship. In an almost instant, she said, “We need to realize that this thing Jesus called us to do is DiscipleSHIP, not DiscipleCANOE, or DiscipleDINGHY, or DiscipleRAFT! This thing is strong, and slow, and takes a lifetime to build!”

We had a good laugh about the tongue in cheek statement, and then I realized the truth in what she was saying. Of course, she was honoring her husband for the years of time and pain and patience that he has invested in generations over the years. My heart heard her words, and they echoed in the truth that I was trying to say. Discipleship isn’t a thing…it is The Thing…it is The SHIP that we all need to be building.

My mind wandered to the great “ship” movies I have seen over the years, from “The Perfect Storm” to “Poseidon” and of course the most infamous, “Titanic”. I thought about shows like “Deadliest Catch” and “Wicked Tuna” and how these vessels are able to withstand incredible storms. I thought this is how true discipleship is.
When we take our time, invest our lives in each other, we are able to build amazing “ships” that can withstand the most dangerous and treacherous seas. I also realized that it wasn’t always the biggest ships that withstand these storms. It is the design of the ship, and the wisdom of the captain to keep her off the shoals. Do you see how this all ties into DiscipleSHIP? We need family. We need kitchen table conversations. We need community, you know, the real kind, where you can really be real…(that was really redundant!)

This “Sea” called life has recently began to blow up a pretty good storm. I see a lot of blogs and articles and posts of people living in fear. And out of fear they do and say some pretty stupid things, especially believers. I think it is because our lives look more like inner-tubes floating down a Tennessee creek than a Ship that can withstand the torrential storms of life. 
Ask yourself, “Have I really reproduced disciples the way that Jesus did?” I can tell you that you will have to slow down, and throw out all your “How to make a disciple in 9 months” books. Discipleship is a lifelong calling. It requires your life. But I can promise you there is nothing more fulfilling than spending your life building the DiscipleSHIP!

Simplify: De-Clutter

In his book  An Unhurried Life  Alan Fadling writes, “If you had one word to describe Jesus, what would it be?” He then goes on to say, “Relaxed”.

I have to admit I have never thought of Jesus as relaxed, but then as I read through so many of his stories, through that lens, I realized that this word fits him perfectly.

Imagine  Jesus anxious, or worried, or running behind because he was late for an appointment! I think we know in our heads that Jesus was always on time, and never in a hurry, there’s even a few songs about it. But do we really realize that he was modeling the best life for us? Have we been able to translate his life to ours? 

In our series, “Simplify: Living in the Rhythms of Jesus” we began to unpack this unhurried, simple life that Jesus showed us.

Think about it, he was in no hurry to start his ministry. He told his brothers it wasn’t his time, (John 7:4-6) He was in no rush to heal the synagogue leader’s daughter, (Mark 5:22-43) And perhaps the most famous stories of Jesus modeling of an unhurried life, was in the death of his friend Lazarus, where Jesus delayed two days before reaching him. (John 11:1-43)

As the new year begins, many of us have made commitments to change something in our lives. I hear the word “simplify” the most. It has become a movement of sorts, with Tiny Homes, and smaller spaces all the rage, we seem to have a cultural shift in living a simpler life. One that can slow down to enjoy the simple things, rather than racing to our deaths.

John Ortberg states, “…hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.” As with all things, life change begins with a mind shift.  A different way of thinking. Hebrew people would call this, “Tearing down the high places” or “having a change of heart.”

As we move toward this life change of living simple and unhurried, we must start with a fundamental change of heart. De-cluttering your life is not simply cleaning out your closets, it is cleaning out your mind. It is allowing yourself time to sit and think and contemplate, and meditate. It is unplugging, and musing on the mysterious. It is catching the first rays of the day, and taking in the last moments of a sunset. It is so many things that require nothing of you, just moments of…sit.

Think about it, many of us are uncomfortable with just sitting, we must be doing something. DOING things has become a habit, it gives us our identity. We are embarrassed when we are doing nothing. So we tell ourselves that in order to really matter, we must be busy about something.

Consider Mary and Martha. Martha was busy “doing” Mary was enjoying Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42) This is fun to teach on, but rather hard to implement.

Please don’t think that I am suggesting that we sit all day and accomplish nothing, an unhurried, simple life is just the opposite. When we take time to slow down, we actually become more productive! Don’t sprint past Jesus when we are supposed to be walking with him. 

What takes up most of your mind space? Are you able to de-clutter your mind by taking time to enjoy the things around you right now? Do you find yourself always in a rush, late, or running behind? Perhaps the de-cluttering of our minds will enable  us to live a more productive, healthy lifestyle. Jesus seemed to think so. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Cluttered mind

How are you de-cluttering this year? Look around you. What are some things that you can release? Once you have been able to de-clutter your mind, the rest of your life will become simpler, more healthy, and in actuality, more productive!




I just finished up a series called “The Hard Things” in our church. We tackled the issues that we as believers wrestle with, and cause tension in our lives like Jesus and politics, miracles, prayer and other things… Through the journey of this series, we discovered that a lot of what we have been taught collides with what we believe and what we have actually experienced.

“When you sit in tension, beautiful things happen.” Donovan Steinberg

For all the efforts that we spend in trying to get out of tension, the best things happen when you sit in them and try not to escape… beautiful.

“No stringed instrument can be played correctly unless the strings are under tension.” Kevin Rose


I just launched a new series is called, “Simplify: Living in the Rhythms of Jesus”. Of course, the night I was going to introduce this series we had to cancel service due to a quick winter storm that blew through…hmm…probably a good sign.

I thought this would be an appropriate message for this time of year, when we are scrambling to buy the perfect gift, making sure we spend enough money on each person, and worrying if they like our gift or not. The stress around the holiday season is multiplied exponentially, when in actuality it should be about family, time, adventure, and living a better story. Remember what Jesus said, “Take my yoke (Hebrew for lifestyle) upon you, and learn of me….and you will find rest for your souls”  Jesus

What are the things in our lives that are causing more stress than they are worth?

My cousin Josh just did something that I am so proud of. He traded his high tech smart phone in for a simple flip phone…his reasoning? The “Smart Phone” was taking up too much of his time. He found himself on it all the time, checking FaceBook and other social statuses, playing games, and surfing the web. This left little room for the things that really mattered to him: Family, Life, and real productivity.

I wonder how many languages I could have mastered by now if I were to take all the time that I’ve invested in conquering levels on “Angry Birds” or “Candy Crush” and spent them on things that really mattered?

“Do our kids really need another plastic race car, fake toy dinosaur, or video game? What they really need is culture, travel, adventure, and a better life story.” Brock Meyer

Can you take a look at the things in your life that are supposed to make it easier, and it reality it steals more time than it’s worth?

If you think this is about tech bashing, or living a life without technology, then you are missing the point. Technology is inevitable, that box has been opened, and it will increase as we roll along. The true message in this is “Can we manage our time, resources, and families in balance? Can we live simple lives and in reality live freer?”

“Instead of piling on more stuff this Christmas, we want to invest in experiences. so our kids have  adventures, stories.” Brock Meyer

I’ll be honest with you, this is going to be a challenge to speak on. I am plugged in to the “grid” just about as much as one can be. Ironically, the message of simplicity is being blasted all over our church FB page…which is connected to just about every other social website out there…weird.

As a pastor, I have asked God to always give me “fresh ideas and messages” to give to His people. He pretty good about fulfilling this request. But in doing so, I have to be taught, challenged, and changed by the very messages that I bring…I’ll be honest. It sucks sometimes…

I’ll keep you all posted on the progress of our simplicity. There’s really nothing new under the sun. People were busy with the “stuff” of life in Jesus’ time just as they are now. the key to true life fulfillment, is to live in the rhythms and patterns of Jesus.

“It’s all about freeing yourself to live the purpose of why you are here!”            Brock Meyer


I’d love to hear the ways that you are simplifying your life…Please feel free to leave comments!

Prudence: The Fourth Pillar

I’m trying to space these thoughts out a little, seems like it gives us time to digest and really take to heart this journey to discover the 7 pillars of wisdom. If you have been reading these, then you know by know that this has been a holy crusade, if you will, through the book of Proverbs to discover what Solomon meant when he said, “Wisdom has… hewn out her seven pillars…”

To” hewn out” is to carve out of something…something strong enough to sustain the building of the pillars.

“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” This is the foundation on which everything is built…Fear of the Lord: “To live a life in awe of God”

This is the beginning. When we can live a life in the utmost awe and glory and happy of God, then we can begin to understand the true heart of God, (Yes, I said Happy of God!)


Here’s a quick review:

Integrity: It is the future of who you are, do what you say and say what you do!

Humility: Walking in True Identity

Honor: Value Relationships over Title or Position

Prudence: To possess insight and sound judgment, to be able to discern the entire scope of a thing.

It’s not a surprise that Prudence is the “middle” pillar. The Fourth of Seven. It sees what has been and what will be.

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence {sound judgment, insight}; I possess knowledge and discretion” Proverbs 8:12

St. Ignatius said this,

“Prudence has two eyes, One that foresees what one has to do, the Other that examines afterward what one has done.”

It sees what needs to be done, and it sees what that deed has accomplished. Prudence can also be compared to being shrewd or witty in any given situation. It’s being able to see what others cannot about a certain thing.

Have you ever known someone like this? Someone that could see what was and then see what is coming because of a certain action? Perhaps we can see this in the life of Joseph. His ability and gifts brought the greatest nation on the earth at the time to be prepared for something that could have been incredibly catastrophic. We need the gift of prudence, certainly in our lives today.

We live as if we can do anything we want, without considering the repercussions of our actions. We can take any number of issues today that are plaguing our world today. “Do not move the ancient boundaries” Proverbs 22:28 In other words, when we start messing with things that have been written on the hearts of men by the Creator, we have no clue what will happen to culture or society when these things are tampered with. It’s like removing the rudder from a ship and expecting to be able to navigate treacherous seas. It cannot be done. “You are meddling with powers you cannot possibly comprehend!” ~Marcus Brody from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Prudence sees this. It can detect what will happen when we start messing with boundaries, things set in place by the ancients. There is a reason that these things are in place. The key is not to simply move them, but to find out why they are there in the first place. 

We could make a laundry list of these boundaries.Killing the Unborn, Marriage, Sex, Drunkenness, Gluttony, Not having sex with your step mom…(Yeah it’s in there). We have spent a lot of time lately telling the american people and the church for that matter that these things are wrong and shouldn’t mess with the boundaries that God has set for His people, But what we haven’t spent a lot of time on is the reasons why…God wants the Best Life for His people. These boundaries aren’t meant to bind us, but rather set us completely free! Prudence sees this.


God is giving us more than a long list of DO NOTS. Since He is our Creator, He knows how we should live. Why would the creation shake it’s fist at the creator? Prudence understands that “for every action there is a reaction” I think Einstein must have had the fingerprints of the creator on his heart to be able to come up with that statement.

“The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.” Proverbs 14:5

Most of our Prophetic voices today seem to carry the gift of Prudence. They can see what must be done, and the results of what has been done. We can look to the history of any nation and see that sometimes the prophets were adhered to, and the results were amazing. Then other times, nations would not heed the word, and were punished and sometimes even completely destroyed.

Make no mistake, we are not immune to the same justice that ancient nations have experienced. Most of you who know me know that I believe that there is always hope. There is always the promise of redemption and restoration. But lately I fear as though we have completely lost the gift of Prudence. To be sure, America is not immune to the judgement of God. Most of the loudest voices seem to think that Government is the answer. Yes, I get it, trust me. I know that good government is healthy for the people. But this is about 4th in the list of priorities that we need to be focusing on. God is always teaching us to build a colony of heaven on earth, That’s really what the nation of Israel was supposed to be. A mirror of how God wanted his “own special people” to live. While I believe that government is essential and established by God (I mean he is carrying it upon his shoulders) this is not the ultimate answer. Unless we learn to govern ourselves, we can vote D or R or I or the whig party, it won’t change anything!

Prudence…is isn’t talked a lot about today, but so needed. Pray for the gift of Prudence, “for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young”

“The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.” Proverbs 15:24

Here are some closing thoughts:

Without Prudence we cannot see what must be done.

Without Prudence we cannot see what has been done.

Don’t move the ancient boundaries, we don’t know the repercussions if we do.

Culture and society are built on fundamental truths by God, govern yourself first.

Two-faced head fire and ice statue

Prudence: Be able to see the whole scope of a thing!

The Fourth Pillar


Honor: The Third Pillar

What is Honor? Why is honor important? Is it something to be earned or bestowed or both?

IN the series of the Seven Pillars, Humility is strategically placed before honor.

Proverbs 15:33 “Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.”

Honor therefore is placed upon someone when that person has walked through the pillar of humility. There is no other way to truly be honored.

Some people try and earn honor or even take honor because of a position they hold. They cannot receive real honor because they have taken the short cut to honor.

Honor is Forged in Secret. 

Honor never has to blow it’s own whistle, it is forged in secret, when no one knows, and when no one is looking. It shapes men and women when they are alone, and when no one knows they exist. The person who is usually touting their own successes never really receive true honor.  They have their reward in their own mouths.

You Know People You Honor

Honor isn’t demanded, it’s bestowed upon the one’s who have walked in the way of brokenness and humility. It is the badge worn by those who have spent time in battle; for those with scars and those who walk with a limp. No one has to demand honor of this kind of person. There is a simple humility about them. They never have to tout their accomplishments or be the “one upper” kind of person. That person is really just insecure.

Honor isn’t Demanded, it is Quietly Earned

I have met many people who, because of the position they hold, automatically think because that position is held or has been given (and in some cases taken) they demand honor to be given to them, however they have never been forged in secret. I can tell you that it is very difficult to honor someone that hasn’t walked through the halls of humility and the liminality of obscurity. The Hebrew word for Honor means Heavy or Weighty. It is defined as a responsibility, and it requires the shoulders of one who has been tested through the fires of humility.  So should we honor those who obviously haven’t walked the way of humility? It has always been said that we should honor the position that one holds, but not necessarily honor the person that holds it. I am not sure how to make that distinction. If we honor the position and not the person, are we then being hypocritical or do we simply go through the motions of honor, when we really know the person hasn’t really earned it? Again, it’s like the elephant in the room. Everyone seems to know that honor hasn’t been bestowed on such a one, but we seem to continue to go through the motions anyway. I am reminded of the show “Band of Brothers” The initial leader of Easy Company was an idiot and everyone knew it, they followed him to some places that put their lives in jeopardy, but it was because of the position that he held. However, honor and respect was really given the soft spoken Major Winters, and in time, he proved to be the real leader, and the men honored him. It didn’t mean he was perfect or didn’t make mistakes, it simply meant that he walked with a certain robe of humility, knowing who he truly was.

It seems the theme of honor is always in the context of what has been given,

Proverbs 29:23 “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”

Never taken…

1 Peter 5:6 “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

Humility: The Second Pillar

As we begin the New Year, I was reflecting on all the things that we have learned together as a small church plant at KeyStone. One of the hardest lessons I believe is the Lesson of Humility.

Humility, contrary to what many think, is not the living a life like Eeyore the donkey on Winnie the Pooh, wandering around with a down in the dumps attitude looking for his tail. But rather true humility is understanding and knowing your true identity in Jesus. 

This is tough for us as recovering Pharisees, we were always taught that, “…no one should think of themselves more highly than they ought…” yes this is true, however, in context, Paul is really saying that we shouldn’t want to be something that we are not! True humility is being exactly who God created us to be. In contrast, Pride is trying to be someone that we are not created to be. Think about it, Satan said he was going to ascend to the throne that was not his, do a job that wasn’t his, and be someone that he couldn’t be. Pride is what got him kicked out of heaven. Pride is being something you are not created to be! And Pride always comes before a fall.

Here are a couple of truths from our teaching in the context of humility being the second Pillar of Wisdom:

“True Humility is knowing what you do not know, its a true genius that admits he knows nothing”~Albert Einstein

“True Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less”~ C.S. Lewis

“True Humility does not know that it is humble. If it did, it would be proud from the contemplation of so fine a virtue”~ Martin Luther

“Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in due season he will lift you up in honor”~ 1 Peter 5:6

1.We always think that humility is some act of self deprivation. In reality humility is understanding our correct position in God:

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:6

When we understand that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then we can have a handle on what true humility means. Jesus became sin for us so that we no longer are bound to sin, but can now operate in the freedom that His salvation brings.

2. We have a self-responsibility to be humble: 

1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves...” 

James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” 

It is our responsibility to stay in a place of humility. We can’t by some means of osmosis lay our heads on the Bible and expect it to transform our lives, no more than we can expect to be people of humility by not practicing it every day. It is a discipline that requires us to constantly be reminded of who we are in Christ Jesus. Remember what Jesus said,

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” John 15:15

Being people of Christ is more than a label, it is an identity. Being part of the family of God is more that being a number or a member at a church, it is literally being the Church wherever we go. It is recognizing Whose we are, and where our true identity lies.

How do we Humble ourselves then?

1. I know this is redundant but: Recognize your real identity in Jesus

A person of true humility doesn’t have to be someone they are not

Pride is False Identity

False Humility is trying to imitate someone else’s identity, it is trying to bring unwarranted attention to yourself because of your lack of knowledge of who you really are

2. Take Responsibility

Stop blaming others for our own lack of identity. Forgive those that have wounded you, it sets you free!

3. Pray

I know this seems simple, but the best way to stay humble is to constantly admit our need on our Savior. Prayer reminds us of this. Since God already knows what we need before we pray it, why would He tell us to pray without ceasing? It is to constantly remind us of our absolute need for Him.

This is getting a little long, so I will wrap it up with some benefits of living a humble life:


Proverbs 3:34 “The Lord mocks the mockers, but gives grace to the humble”

2. Riches, honor, and a long life

Proverbs 22:4 “True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.”

3. The enemy must flee

James 4:10“Humble yourselves before God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” 

Humility: Knowing who you really are in Christ!