Dream: Threeway Trash Thrash


I am in China working for Caltech
Like I did in the early 1990s
[at the Beijing Electron Positron Collider that built the first Internet link there]

I think I am still a student
But it feels like modern times

We are working in some major industrial plant
Or perhaps a city
Maybe even a Muniversity [hypothetical Learning City]

I was sent there to help our professor
Who oversees their sanitation systems

He has done some amazing work
He added, like, a second trash dropoff line
Inside an existing building
Nearly doubling throughput
At virtually no cost

But he hasn’t been communicating
The top brass is worried
It may be time to pull him back

He never wanted this job
But now he seems to be clinging to power
It doesn’t make any sense

So I really have three assignments:

  1. On the surface, I am there to help him
  2. My bosses primarily just want to know what the heck is going on
  3. And I am wondering if I should replace him

He has been avoiding me for days
Finally I manage to corner him
On his way to the cafeteria

Another person seems to have had the same Idea
A Chinese woman
Probably a local
Her bosses probably have similar concerns
I wonder if she has the same triple assignment

We buttonhole the professor
Pleading with him to let us help him

He’s unfailingly polite
But strangely evasive

I finally realize
He is at war with himself

At one level
He is surprised to discover
He loves this job
The chance to make a concrete difference
The power and authority
Living abroad, free from distractions

At another level
He hates himself for getting sucked in
He is supposed to be a science professor
Not a sanitation executive
He is neglecting his research
And graduate students
Not to mention his family!

Yet he somehow got addicted to this crap job
During what was supposed to be
A short term assignment
Of just a few months

I finally ask him point blank
“Don’t you want to get back to your research?”

We are in the enormous cafeteria now
He is so flustered
He throws scalding hot coffee
All over me

It is probably an accident
But he and I both know
It doesn’t look good

I could easily spin it
As him physically assaulting me
And have him called back

I don’t want to do that
I just want to understand
What the heck is going on
What he truly wants
How I can help

He finally
Does too

Please pray for me
Our tiny little church
is going through a massive transition
The risks and opportunity
are great

God seems to be opening
long-closed doors
for me to speak into leadership

The spiritual warfare is intense
So pray carefully
Thank you

TC-1d2: Defining Discipleship


Thesis Club Submission to Jeff Hubing

Draft 2 (previous version)

Big Idea

Making Disciples of Jesus
is about spreading His Kingdom
by manifesting the Fruit of the Spirit
for others to enjoy
via the deliberate practice of submitting every thought, emotion, and reaction
to Christ

Target Audience

Anyone who wants to become a disciple of Jesus

Challenge Statement

Our current understanding of discipleship is primarily built around human role models: e.g., Pharisees, Philosophers, Pietists.

While those have great value, they fall far short of the abundant life promised by Jesus (John 10:10). Too often they can end up strengthening our Self, rather than denying it (Mark 8:34)

Proposed Solution

  1. God’s purpose is to love us into becoming like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29)
  2. The best measure of our Christ-likeness is how consistently we manifest the Fruit of the Spirit for others to enjoy (Galatians 5:22-23)
  3. This requires a community that helps us graciously recognize when and where we fall short (1 John 1:7)
  4. Only the cross of Christ — through repentance, grieving, and forgiving — can heal the deep wounds that most hinder the flow of His Spirit (tbd)

Dream: The Agony of Hope


“We have forgotten — or perhaps never really understood — what it means to trust that God is in control.
Politics matters.
But we have forgotten that good political leaders were supposed to be our gift to the world.
Now we think they are something the world has to give us, so we can truly practice our faith — or feel good about ourselves.
So whenever we see a leader — inside or outside the church — who doesn’t seem to honor our truth, we are filled with anguish; and act like God has abandoned us… ”

Music Playlist: The Agony of Hope

With Bill Breck
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TRG-S6E2d3: Teach Each Other


Join us on The Great Reset (via Zoom or YouTube Live at Tue Dec 8 1PM PST) as we strive to discover how imperfect people can help each other Love More Like Jesus.

Question: How can the Body of Christ come together to heal relationships, when the authority structures we rely on to resolve conflict are themselves part of the brokenness?

Perspective: By mutually submitting ourselves to the Word, the Spirt, the Body, and Christ’s Blood.

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Are Christians better at making atheists than disciples?


TGR Friends, we have discussed how the Christian Church is often the worse example of demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ. This article is an opinion piece that echoes that sentiment and offers some interesting insight to why Christians may be making more atheists than disciples.

TGR-S5E6: Questionable Authority


This week on The Great Reset, Ernie argues that his apparent incompetence and immaturity is actually part of a brilliant plan to demonstrate the need for more Christ-like models of authority.

TED Summary

In this document, Ernie:

  • Claims the authority structures he grew up with were built around the Law
  • Acknowledges that they were (and are) necessary
  • Believes those same structures hinder us from becoming mature in Christ
  • Redefines The Great Reset in terms of searching for more robust authority structures built around Grace,
  • Hopes that Season 5 shows us what that should look like
  • Welcomes pointers, examples, suggestions, and corrections
  • Apologizes to anyone he has confused, misled, or offended along the way

Draft 1, 14 Nov 2020

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The Post-COVID Church


Right now, most churches devote at least six-sevenths of their budget, staff, and attention to what happens on Sundays, and at most one-seventh to helping the congregation follow Jesus the other six days.

Can you imagine what we might accomplish if we flipped that on its head, and invested 85% of our treasure into the rest of the week?

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Christianity Beyond, Draft 1


Bringing Heaven to Earth. One Cross at a Time.

[Update: see my background thinking in Draft 2]

Christianity Beyond is a movement of ordinary people who are learning how to make the same kind of extraordinary impact as the Jesus they love.  We honor all the ways people have sought to follow Jesus in the past and present, but dare to go beyond that in order to demonstrate to a watching world just how good and worthy Jesus is.

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AORTA Adolescence: The Perpetual Practice of Growing into Christ


It may be too late to have a happy childhood, but it is never too late to have a turbulent adolescence!

We as a society have lost sight of what it means to grow up. And that’s a good thing!

The gift (and curse) of the Enlightenment is that each of us must answer the question: who do I want to be when I grow up?  It is tempting to envy our ancestors and traditional cultures who had well-defined “markers of maturity”, e.g., marriage, mortgage, and making money.  There is enormous security, stability, and support in having society validate who you are supposed to be.

But there is also enormous danger, especially for Christians.

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Processing Anger


Until my twenties, I was almost never consciously aware of my anger.  Over the last few decades, learning to identify and process my anger — especially towards God and people I love — has been a critical skill in enabling to break through spiritual strongholds and grow in maturity.

I still (and always will) have further to go, but at least I’ve started developing healthier habits for dealing with my anger.  I am writing this down to remind myself, and hopefully help others who may have similar struggles.

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Cavern of the Bells: A Parable


“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface…” — Genesis 1:2 

At first, it seemed there was no sound or light of any kind. But as my senses adjusted, I heard a faint tinkling of bells. Straining my eyes, I saw tiny patches of light scattered around the walls of the cavern, flickering in and out.

I walked closer. I saw a rainbow of light erupt accompanied by a marvelous chorus of music. I watched breathlessly as the singing lights — perhaps fireflies or pixies — became caught up in some sort of eternal dance. I was speechless, wondering if the dance would become strong enough to finally push back the darkness…

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D-Church Panel: Redesigning Church in the Digital Era


Live Event hosted by Analog.

  • Thu, April 27, 2017
    6:30 PM – 9:30 PM PDT
  • Google Mountain View Campus: LMK-2 Diller
  • 1883 Landings Drive Mountain View CA 94043 US

Update: Podcast audio now available.


The modern church was born in the era of broadcasting: mass-market publishing, sound systems, radio, and television. These technologies enabled it solve certain tasks (e.g., teaching, worship music, announcing and producing events) incredibly well.  However, by making some problems much easier to solve than others, those same technologies can subtly influence what we focus on and what we ignore.

We are now entering a new era of digital communication, with greater interactivity, richness, and immediacy than could have been imagined thirty years ago.  What are the implications for learning, evangelism, discipleship, and outreach? What new problems does that enable us to solve?  Which traditional problems and solutions can be profitably revisited? Can all these changes lead us to a deeper understanding of what God truly wants the church to be?

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