Tag Archives: England

Is There Too Much Rocket Science in Church

Last Wednesday night I got back from England and I still find myself processing all that I did and learned while I was there. I am amazed how beneficial my time was in regards to me and my view of church. The picture to the right is of an old church building in Calais, France. Actually it was one of the very few that we saw there. The building is quite impressive and I remember that when I saw it I was amazed. I thought much about what had gone on in that church and found myself wondering what the circumstances were around the time it was built. What is it that makes it so impressive? What inspires the awe? As I ponder those questions I realize it is the complexity and size that inspires the awe. Can you imagine what all it took to build it, the skill and time that it took. Especially considering their lack of machinery that we have today. My mind is simply amazed. I know that it is nothing that I could duplicate or accomplish.

While in Bicester I spent time with a small church, a house church of sorts. The church is in its early stages of starting and growth. The leadership is committed to keeping the main thrust of the church small and in simple groups. Even though they currently have around 20 people a part of the church they are going to multiply into three smaller groups with a larger group get together every three weeks. I was blessed to spend one night of worship with them and during that time I was greatly encouraged and challenged in my walk with the Lord. The greatest thing about the church was its simplicity and with the simplicity the great amount of impact for the kingdom. To do what this small church is doing is not rocket science, anyone could do it.

When considering much of the churches I have been a part of I realize that they are like the picture of the church above. They are complex and awe inspiring because of there complexity and size. I realize that the average church goer is intimidated for one reason or another and think there is no way they could do it. They feel as though the work of the ministry must be left to the professional clergy. There is all the programs we run and the large budget that comes with the programs. Many end up in larger and larger buildings as they grow. The ability of the musicians and the amount of technology involved requires so much money and skill. The crazy thing is that as much significant work of the Spirit happens in the little church I got to go to as the large complex and expensive churches.

Coming away from my experience in England I realize that we make church way to complicated. In Acts 2 it says the early church met in the temple and daily in their homes sharing meals together. That is so simple and yet the models we have developed are so complicated that we read book upon book trying to figure it out. Please do not take that I think that what we do in America is totally wrong and we should jump from the building before it falls. What I am saying is please don’t think that the music, technology and other things we do are essential to being a church. Those are nice things we do but are not essential. Rather we are to come together to help one another grow in the faith and practice the ordinances together. Church is not rocket science it is fellow believers in community helping one another know Jesus more and live out the mission We have been called to.

So friends as we go to church be in awe concerning the work the Spirit did in your life that day through the Word and through other sojourners not because of the complexity and hugeness of the building or of the things that went on in the worship service.

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Becoming a Man

Over the last year I have been away from home on two different occasions. As many of you know Amy and I have four kids, 3 girls and 1 boy. Each time I have been away I used it as an opportunity to help my one son, Noah to become a man. One of my desires for Noah is that he becomes a responsible young man and that he also becomes chivalrous. I want him to know that it is a good and honorable thing to take care of women and to serve them. Even at the young age of six I want him to know that he has a responsibility to his family to care for them.

Each time before I left I had a conversation with Noah about his responsibility to the women of the house while I was gone. That because I was gone he was now the man of the house and it was his job to make life easier for everyone else and to serve the girls. As I shared this with him I took time to tell him what this looked like. I even asked him what he thought it meant and how this looked. To my surprise Noah had a really good idea of what it meant. As I wrapped up the conversation with him I told him that I would be asking him how it was going and how he was taking care of the family when I talked with him on the phone.

Noah is growing into a fine young man! Both times he took his role very seriously and did more than usually around the house to help Amy and his sisters. These are a couple of the things that represent how Noah took on the responsibility. When Amy was doing laundry he would carry the basket of clothes for his her. He also took on the responsibility of collecting all the trash and wheeling the 96 gallon trash bin out to the road. Noah isn’t that big yet so that is quite the job. A final example is the 10 foot bundle of sticks that he dragged to the road after his grandpa cleaned up one of our bushes. I am so proud of Noah and the servant he is becoming.

After each trip I made sure that I got him something that represented the young man he was becoming and to let him know that I was proud of how he stepped up to help his mom and sisters. This fall when I was in Seattle I picked up a sheriff’s badge for him, which he still keeps by his bed. This time while I was in England I decided to get him a Swiss Army Knife. To all those worried that I got him a knife at six, don’t be. The knife is made to be dull so that he can’t hurt himself. My prayer is that these small gifts will remind him of the man his is becoming!

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Becoming a Man


Over the last year I have been away from home on two different occasions. As many of you know Amy and I have four kids, 3 girls and 1 boy. Each time I have been away I used it as an opportunity to help my one son, Noah to become a man. One of my desires for Noah is that he becomes a responsible young man and that he also becomes chivalrous. I want him to know that it is a good and honorable thing to take care of women and to serve them. Even at the young age of six I want him to know that he has a responsibility to his family to care for them.

Each time before I left I had a conversation with Noah about his responsibility to the women of the house while I was gone. That because I was gone he was now the man of the house and it was his job to make life easier for everyone else and to serve the girls. As I shared this with him I took time to tell him what this looked like. I even asked him what he thought it meant and how this looked. To my surprise Noah had a really good idea of what it meant. As I wrapped up the conversation with him I told him that I would be asking him how it was going and how he was taking care of the family when I talked with him on the phone.

Noah is growing into a fine young man! Both times he took his role very seriously and did more than usually around the house to help Amy and his sisters. These are a couple of the things that represent how Noah took on the responsibility. When Amy was doing laundry he would carry the basket of clothes for his her. He also took on the responsibility of collecting all the trash and wheeling the 96 gallon trash bin out to the road. Noah isn’t that big yet so that is quite the job. A final example is the 10 foot bundle of sticks that he dragged to the road after his grandpa cleaned up one of our bushes. I am so proud of Noah and the servant he is becoming.

After each trip I made sure that I got him something that represented the young man he was becoming and to let him know that I was proud of how he stepped up to help his mom and sisters. This fall when I was in Seattle I picked up a sheriff’s badge for him, which he still keeps by his bed. This time while I was in England I decided to get him a Swiss Army Knife. To all those worried that I got him a knife at six, don’t be. The knife is made to be dull so that he can’t hurt himself. My prayer is that these small gifts will remind him of the man his is becoming!

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Oxford and Other Thoughts

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Well I have been in England for a little over a week and tomorrow I will get back on a plane to Ohio. I must admit that I could not be more excited to get back to Ohio. Before talking about why there are a couple other tidbits to share.

First my stay in England has been wonderful! The Caton’s have blessed me so much over the last week. The work of God in their lives comes through in their hospitality. The only thing that could have made the time better would have been to have Amy here as well! I have been blessed by watching them love and raise their two precious little girls, who are learning well what it means to love people from their parents(by the way interacting with them everyday made me miss my own children so much). I will always be thankful for any time that I get to share with the Caton’s during this short life on earth!

Second today will be a lot of fun checking out Oxford. Perhaps I might even feel a bit smarter walking around the city! While in Oxford we will go to Christ’s Church and Eagle and Child, a pub that C.S. Lewis and Tolkien spent time hashing things out. There is something about being surrounded by so much history that causes me to reflect and learn lessons from the past. I expect that today will be very contemplative and a day in which I spend time thanking God for so many blessings in my life.

I am thankful that although Steve and Sarah are Americans they have tried to get me to experience much from British culture. Here are just a few of the things that have tweaked my brain in England. They have roundabouts which are fun but then they traffic lights for pedestrian crossings. That is different for me. Then when they talk about pies it probably has meat in it, that was confusing. Houses and living space are much smaller here but yet just like Americans they have more in their little house than they need. Most do not use their Garage for a car but for storage, just like home. Everyone calls their backyard a garden. This seems to sound much more fancy but they are backyards just like home. The final thought to note is that English tea is not all that exciting. I am glad that they have their tea and we have our coffee. There are more but that is enough for now. England is a wonderful place I am better for being able to spend some time here.

Why am I missing Ohio so much you may be asking yourself. Truly there is not a whole lot that is special about Ohio. First I deeply miss my family. I miss conversation with them and I miss their physical touch. I can not wait to scoop each of my children in my arms and give them each a big bear hug. I can not wait to lay down in bed and hold Amy in my arms. I can not wait to share with her all I have learned and experienced while here.

The second reason I miss Ohio so much is because of the church. I am blessed to share my life with so many wonderful people. I am so excited to gather with them on Sunday and then on Wednesday and catch up on life. To hear how things are going and how God has been at work in their lives. I am excited to sit with some of the church and hash through the things I have experienced and how it will impact my life and ministry. A dear brother and sister of mine have moved into a new house and I can not wait to see it. I am so excited for them. Some day my family and I will probably be called away from Centerville, OH and when that day comes although we will be excited our hearts will grieve leaving such amazing family.

As I sit in Starbucks and wrap up this post I am compelled to finish by talking about someone special. Even as I think about this person I am brought to tears because they mean so much to me. Thank you Amy for loving me and supporting me in all I do. You have handled this time with me away with such grace and strength. I know we have missed each other so much but you are willing to sacrifice and take on so much because of God’s directing our lives. You are an amazing woman who lives her life to honor God…Thank you! I love you and will see you in a couple of days!

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Church

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Amy, Alexa, and Emma had a girls night last night and sent me this crazy picture! As a father away from home I am so grateful to get pictures like this that allow you to see your family is not only okay but doing great while you are away from home.

As I woke up and looked at this picture that was waiting for me I could not help but be thankful for the church we are a part of. This week when I would call Amy there have been numerous times that the church has been there or been encouraging Amy in some way. They have done things like staying the night with her, watching the kids, going out to eat, including her and the kids in mother’s days plan, and just plan hanging out. These things have made the trip go much faster for Amy and helped the kids have a lot of fun. These are truly the things that make the bride of Christ so beautiful and amazing. Praise the Lord for not only saving me but also bringing me into a new family.

I know for some the church brings back painful memories for some reason or another or it brings back memories of long and boring services. To the second I would say I am sorry that you have not been able to experience the beauty and wonder of the bride. To the first I apologize that you have been through such a painful ordeal with the church. To both I would encourage you to go back to the Bible to see what it says about the church and what it is to be like. Then begin being the church recognizing that it isn’t a service or social club but rather it is us who have come to Christ. When we come to know and trust Jesus not only is our relationship with God restored but we are also given a new family that we are to invest in. Be the catalyst that gets your church loving each other more and gets them to spend time together doing the things they do in everyday life. Do something as simple as invite someone to dinner this week.

Lord thank you for the Bride that my family and I are a part of. Thank you for the church I have been fellowshipping with this past week in England. I have learned much and been encouraged to grow with Jesus more.

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Calais

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Calais, France. We took the Sea France ferry from Dover. You could not walk on the ferry so we took bicycles which made for a bit of a frightening experience. I would not say that the ferry is a cyclist friendly experience. Wait till you see some of the pictures. This picture is from the ferry as we left Dover looking back on the white cliffs.

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Last night and tonight we are staying in a nice little hotel that is next to a beautiful park. While in France we are spending time walking and praying. The town is quaint and I love seeing the differences between the US and France. One thing I love is that motorcycles are everywhere here. I would fit right in! The strange thing is the language barrier.

Last night Steve and I ate at a restaurant and the waitress spoke no English. Steve is Better at saying their words so I did a lot of pointing and hoping that she understood. The meal was great and took quite a while with the multiple courses. I guess it was about 10:30 pm when we finally left dinner to walk back to the hotel.

Steve and I have had a blast talking about ministry. I have been challenged to think deeply about life, groups, ministry and church. I am already so thankful for this experience and what i am learning! This afternoon we are doing some reading, journaling and praying.

Thanks for all your prayers! So far I have really enjoyed and France and love listening to the French speak!

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Joining in Prayer

This morning I arrived at the Dayton International Airport to begin my travels to England at around 10:15 am. Amy and I enjoyed breakfast at Panera after dropping the kids of with our church. She dropped me off quite early so she could get back and worship with our church and kids.

This morning there have been a couple random thoughts in my head that I wanted to share before talking about prayer needs. The first is about the days that Amy and I dated before marriage. Believe it or not it was a simpler time when anyone could walk down to the gates at the airport. A few times we would end up at the Dayton International Airport and watch planes come in while we talked and such! By the gates it was always so quiet and peaceful. I am so thankful for Amy and have been so blessed by God to be one with her. Our love continues to grow and mature.

The second thought was a lot less meaningful. Remember a few months ago when they changed the way they did security checks and started using an xray like machine. I went through one today for the first time. I had thought some about it and was like wow they are going to see me naked, ha! Anyway I went through and saw what they do and the pictures they see and was like, wow people like to make a big deal about everything! People are just silly. In the end it was nothing and I was sad they didn’t see my smiley face boxers I wore for them! Just kidding!

Now on to the point of this blog post. How it is you can join me by praying for this trip:
1. Praise God for how he provided for this trip. Just yesterday I got confirmation that all was taken care of! Thanks Lord!
2. Pray for Amy and the kids while I am away. Pray for nice weather so the kids can be out running around and playing. Pray for the kids (especially Emma) that they will be okay without my presence. Pray for Noah as he will be the man of the house while I am gone. Amy is amazing and I know God will encourage and strengthen her by His presence and by His church and family.
3. Pray that I will be able to be an encouragement to the missionaries in England. I want to be used by God to refresh them and encourage them with fellowship.
4. Pray that God will give me wisdom in asking question about the culture and ministry there and how those things can help ministry be effective in Centerville.
5. Pray that God will impress on me deep conviction if Amy and I should begin to pursue ministry abroad.

God is amazing and I know that He has fruit to be birthed from this trip. I am so thankful for the love and support that you all have given me and my family.

Thanks for your prayers! I look forward to sharing with you all when I get back.

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