OUR DAUGHTER LUCY

Amy and I weren’t ready to adopt.  Lucy wasn’t ready to be an orphan.  I guess that makes us a good fit. 

Allow me to introduce you to Lucy Joy Martin, Amy and I’s daughter, Harper Glory’s little sister.  

18 months ago we filed our initial paperwork starting the adoption process.  Since that day we’ve been asked the same two questions over and over.  

1. Why are you adopting from China?  

2. How’s the adoption process going? 

I’ll answer them in reverse order: 

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3 THOUGHTS FOR POST-ELECTION DEPRESSION

Campus was eerie this morning.  Quiet.  Sad.  Shocked.  Apathetic.  In Awe.  Hungover.  Something.  You could feel it.  

The lady in the elevator with me cried while streaming Hillary’s concession speech.  She didn’t hide her tears or support.  She didn’t even use headphones.  

The line at Starbucks was filled with disbelief and stories of “where were you when Trump broke 270” comments.

This afternoon a protest/yelling match broke out in the center of campus.  A Trump support group had red “MAGA” hats and signs and passerby’s shouted at them. I heard one girl yell, “Why do you hate me?” 

For a lot of people, today is a tough day.  

From a guy watching, here's one thought and two observations: 

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5 CONFESSIONS AFTER 10 YEARS OF CHURCH PLANTING

On Friday, I celebrated the anniversary of when I moved to Pullman. 

On Saturday, I officiated my 22nd wedding. 

On Sunday, I sat in the hospital at midnight, with my dear friend while his wife was in surgery.  

Those two events—back to back—properly sum up the last 10 years.  It’s been hell and it’s been heaven.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

I’ll never forget driving into Pullman, WA ten years ago.  The Palouse is charming in the Fall.  The pink and yellow sky, the golden wheat fields, the bright leaves and cozy coffee shops make the town feel like something between Lord of The Rings and Gilmore Girls.  

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3 WAYS TO FIGHT FEAR

If you want power, create fear. 

Create so much fear that people become paralyzed and worried and stressed and conspiracy theorists.  Then—and this is key—step into the fear you created, and offer yourself as the only one who can fix it.  

It’s fear language... followed by Savior language.  Day after day after day.

Are we statistically safer than ever?  Yes. (allegedly)

Does it feel that way.  No.  Not even close.

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THE SECRET TO MINISTRY SUCCESS

My dad works in the oil-field.  He tries to get as much work done as possible before the sun comes up, because in Texas, when the sun comes up, the world turns to molten lava.  

I sit in a chair all day, drinking coffee and typing.  Or talking to people and attending meetings.  I lead leaders and try to push forward a movement, all the while having no movement.  Every evening my FitBit indicts me.  

I’ve been in Texas for the past couple days and I’m already reminded of something.  This maybe the most helpful secret to have in your ministry tool box.  And it’s not vision casting, strategic planning, leadership leading, prophetic preaching, or financial forecasting, the secret to ministry success is: 

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4 THOUGHTS ON EXCELLENCE IN WORSHIP

Two things we rarely “objectively” talk about are….  excellence and capacity.  

It’s hard to be honest about someone’s lid (capacity) and even harder to judge someone’s excellence (good-ness) in worship.  

Because… We’re Christians and we can’t talk about this, it’s judgmental and harsh and rude and anyways worship is supposed to be “all of life” and “everywhere and everything” and “spontaneous” and “heart-felt” and “pure” and “personal” and “sacred”, how dare we JUDGE it??? What is this, America’s Got Talent??  That kind of talk has no place in the church…. 

….. or does it?

Why are we so afraid?   

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4 FAVORS FOR GOOD SPREADING STORYTELLERS

SOME FACTS: 

I live in a world of 22-year-olds.  

I’ve had three of them give me Snapchat tutorials. I still don’t get it.  

Facebook was born my senior year of college (2005).

In my social media life, Myspace has come and gone… RIP.  

Instagram/Twitter/Vine/Periscope/Skype/YouTube/Pinterest/etc. are everywhere. Everywhere. 

SOME FEELINGS:

This new social world has created a certain type of person. Let's lovingly call him/her: A 22-year-old, optimistic, bright eyed, world changing, hashtag adventure seeking storytelling hippie meets hipster with a camera. 

I love it. Really I do. I believe in them. Our future needs them. I follow them online.  

But in this overly connected “social world”, there’s an interesting trend I see.  

This idea of “spreading good” is being spread everywhere. Which seems good. Right?

Being a “Storyteller” is a pursued profession. Also good. Right? Everyone loves stories.  

To overstate the trend: Being a good storyteller, spreading good all over the world, is the life so many twenty-somethings want.  Which is great, right?  

The difficulty is answering, “What is good?” and “What is your story pointing to?”

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5 WAYS LEADERS HINDER WORSHIP

Last week, right before church started, our band gathered to say the traditional, “God we pray you’re with us, we pray for no distractions, for your presence to fall, for us to remember our parts, and for the computer not to crash like it did last week, etc.”  

We do this every week.  So do you.  

In our setting, if we’re not careful, we hustle to get ready, we rehearse until the last minute, then throw up a Hail Mary prayer of sorts.  

This got me thinking about the larger “preparation” we do for worship and how often times we are hindering our experience by limiting what we do to performance and execution.  

Here are 5 common ways leaders hinder worship.  

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5 SONGS YOUR CHURCH SHOULD BE SINGING

When contemporary worship popularized in the 90’s people were writing what later was jokingly called, “Prom songs to Jesus.”  

Many of them said something along the lines of, “I want to know you/love you/worship you/sit with you/dance with you/hold you/breathe you in/have coffee with you/touch you/stroke your beard/feel your heart/wash your feet/walk with you/etc.”  

I don’t think it was all bad, but it’s fair to say—to some degree—substance was lacking.  

Especially in contrast to the great hymns that had 6 verses of jam-packed theology.  Not all hymns are great either, but at least most of them were trying to say something.  

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