Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tornado vs. Home

Five minutes from my home. It all happened just five minutes from my home. Many of our friends from Willowbrook were in the path of this deadly tornado on Sunday, May 25th. A large number of homes are completely gone and so is the life of a little two-year old child. What a tremendous loss. One moment life is wonderful with blue skies, and the next minute - well, gone.

I was reading up on tornadoes the other day and I found something quite interesting. Most experts suggest that when a home is crushed by a tornado, most of the damage comes from the pressure that "builds up inside of the home," causing it to implode. Most of us think that strong winds are the primary forces behind the destruction of the homes, but actually it is a combination of wind and pressure inside of the home.

Okay...Brad's putting on the pastor's hat. With this information I started thinking about the church. Often times we measure the health of the church by what comes "into" the church. But the more I thought about it, the church when it is at its healthiest, is actually a church that "implodes" and forces its way out upon the community. It's as if so much spiritual pressure is being built up inside the four walls that it forces its way out - implodes.

I'll bet you never considered a tornado having a spiritual dimension. And yes, like always, I'm probably stretching this metaphor a bit. But there is some truth in this. So, I'm asking God this question: What is the barometer reading in our church (Willowbrook)? Is enough godly pressure building up to that we will be forced out to do damage on evil forces? Or are we more than comfortable to stay within the four walls of the church? Something to think about today?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Heartache - Prayer is Needed

Last night my heart fell to a new level when I learned the news that Steven and Mary Beth Chapman lost their 5 year old daughter, Maria Sue, to a terrible accident at their home in Franklin TN. Steven Curtis Chapman, 45, has won 51 Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association and five Grammys. We have used many of his remarkable songs at Willowbrook. Please keep this family in your prayers as they go through easily one of the most demanding losses anyone can imagine, the loss of a child.

To learn more, please go to:

Psalm 121

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Break Through

Have you ever had one of those moments in life when it all became quite clear to you? I call this - a break through moment. Sometimes a break through moment comes to us when we're not even expecting it. In fact, I would suggest that most of our break through moments happen in life when we least expect it, like through a back door. Maybe you're reading a book and "pow," a statement just grabs you. Or you are talking to a friend at lunch and "zam," their words penetrate your soul. It's a break through moment. A special connection point.

Well, I had a break through moment about a week ago when I heard a pastor share at a conference these amazing words:

In the early church, when the first church started in the New Testament, the entire community was all about "SERVICE." Unfortunately, today most people in the church are about "SERVE US."

"Zap." God kicked the door wide open - and his words penetrated into my heart. It was a break through moment for me.

Because of this, I felt a strong nudge by God to initiate a new Life Talk Series that incorporates this message about serving. I believe it is one that God wants our church to hear. It was a break through moment for me. what about you? Have you had any "break through" moments lately? Something that made you pause to reflect or perhaps even change the course or direction of your life? Let's hear them if you got them.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I love this TRUE story

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - With two runners on base and a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University uncorked her best swing and did something she had never done, in high school or college. Her first home run cleared the center-field fence.

But it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed first base, started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.

She crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said she would be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the umpire said, a pinch runner could be called in, and the homer would count as a single.

Then, members of the Central Washington University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count - an act that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs.

Central Washington first baseman Mallory Holtman, the career home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked the umpire if she and her teammates could help Tucholsky.

The umpire said there was no rule against it.

So Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky's legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. The three headed around the base paths, stopping to let Tucholsky touch each base with her good leg.

"The only thing I remember is that Mallory asked me which leg was the one that hurt," Tucholsky said. "I told her it was my right leg and she said, 'OK, we're going to drop you down gently and you need to touch it with your left leg,' and I said 'OK, thank you very much."

After I finished reading this thing I thought, "Wow...this should be the church." We should look around on Sundays and during the week to locate the injured and give up our own wants and desires to serve their needs. The real home run in this story happened after the hit!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Round Peg in a Square Whole

I think these things only happen to me. Scenerio: I order a part for my laptop computer last week. To make a long story short, this part will allow my laptop to process video and to help assist Willowbrook with our Sunday morning services. The guy on "EBAY" assures me that it will work with my Dell Inspiron computer "operating" system. I shell out the dough! Guess what? The part comes six days later and I place the new mechanism into my computer only to have my computer alert me that "it does not recongize the software and that it will not work with my operating system." Quick email to the owner and, in a Christian way, I share how unhappy I am (boo-hoo...cry baby Brad). He basically says, "tough luck." Now I am in the process of returning it and going through all of that jazz.

So, instead of calling myself a "dork" for trusting this guy on Ebay, I begin to spiritualize it. I begin to think, "How does this situation line up to God's principles in our lives?" What can I learn from this? Bingo! It is all so clear now. God created each of us (He built us - He developed our operating system). And when it comes to our moral life and moral values, God's operating system in our life should "reject" those values that do not represent God's components. Tadda!! Unfortunately, sometimes we get clever and think that we can use parts that are not compatible with God's software. Result: Total frustration and ugly pride on our part.

So, do you have a thought on this? Does your life resemble mine (please, no!)? Where do you find the greatest amount of frustration in your life when it comes to worldly pressures? Weigh in on it.