Seeking The Welfare of the Temporary City

                My family spent a few days with Mission Arlington and Mission Metroplex this week. FBC Waco’s youth were there working with Rainbow Express.  Meredith is a volunteer in our youth ministry, I am their pastor, and we want our own kids dealt in early so we made some calendar time and went. We love Jamie McCallum and our youth.  Watching my daughter watch Tillie Burgin was a gift I’ll treasure.  It was a great experience.

                Mission Arlington is a fantastic group of humble and very normal people. They don’t try to act like angry prophets or heroes. They are joyful and loving. They take a genuine interest in the kids that come to volunteer and labor for their spiritual formation.  If you are a student worker I can’t recommend a partner in ministry more highly than Mission Arlington.

                I carried a bag full of helpful ideas away from our experience. There wasn’t anything novel about the ministry. They do ancient things well. They have fleshed out a missional lifestyle that is attractive and contagious. Tillie Burgin says more profound things accidentally than most of us pastors do on purpose. She was teaching from Hebrews on night and was focusing on God’s sturdy trustworthiness when she tossed out a reference to 13:14 – “For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” I know the context of the verse is about Jerusalem and the importance of Jesus’ death taking place outside the city but the extension of the principle was pretty amazing. Here was a lady pouring out her life for a city she was convinced had an expiration date. She, like Abraham, was looking for a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  She seeks the welfare of a temporary city while looking toward the city illuminated by the face of Christ. This approach makes a profound difference in the way we engage the mission of God. I can think of three immediate implications:

1.       It encourages humility.

2.       It encourages hope.

3.       It encourages two winged engagement (social ministry and evangelism).

Help me think about additional implications. Email or comment on



The Serve


I am a sports fan. My hands down favorite is baseball but I also enjoy football and college basketball.  I have some friends that are crazy about tennis.  I have a hard time sharing their enthusiasm but I am happy that it makes them happy. They seem to believe that tennis is as existentially important as baseball. Maybe they are right.

 I recently read a piece about the importance of the tennis serve that I thought was instructive. The writer said that consistence is more important than placement or power. The serve is a ritual. I know from pitching a baseball and serving a racquetball how true this is. You must do the same thing over and over and over - magnificent monotony.

Serving Christ and community requires the deep magic of ritual. We dip our fingers in the wash basin. We take up our cross. We climb on the altar – again and again and again. God’s grace empowers this because we experience the Spirit’s presence and power in the midst of the serve. The Spirit lifts the cross and washes feet because the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.  God is very Christ like.

Summer is a good time to begin or renew the Spirit fueled, Christ forming, ritual of service. Our church has sent teams to West, Texas and the Mississippi Delta. Our students will spend a week at Mission Arlington. Church members will work in various community ministries.  Pray that a lifetime rhythm of service will start with a pile of new folks. If your wash basin is dry and your cross is lying in the dust recommit to the grace of service. You will find the Spirit there.


Alleluia Worship Conference Baylor 2013

I am happy to be part of this worship conference and hope to see a few friends. I'm not sure I am comfortable being a clinician - will have to figure out what that means.


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