A question to ponder . . .

How many times did Jesus point to himself, his wants, his “must-haves” instead of pointing to God, loving self, loving others, and simply Loving?

“What do you mean you have loaves and fish? I prefer lamb.”

“I prefer drums, not flute and tambourine.”

“You want me to stand while I teach? I’m exhausted, I prefer sitting.”

These things sound ludicrous, right?

Silly things that Jesus never said.

But we say them. Just in different ways.

“What do you mean you don’t say the Apostle’s Creed? I’ve said that all my life. I’m finding another church.”

“I prefer hymns like Have Thine On Way, Lord and The Old Rugged Cross. You sing WHAT in worship?”

“A high school is not a sacred worship space.”

Jesus didn’t make demands for himself. Jesus “did.”

He worked with what he had.

He went TO the people, where they were. He did not park himself on a hillside at 10 am every Sunday and expect them to come to him.

One of the fine lines we have as Christ followers is to determine what it means to love ourselves, to take care of filling our own souls, but also to care for others, to seek the “one sheep” that doesn’t have the value of being in the herd.

A colleague started a new worship service, hoping to reach an entirely different demographic of people. For a while, it went really well. Then attendance dropped off, and sometimes there were more worshippers on the worship team than in the auditorium seats.

After six months of preaching to some foam cushions, he and the leadership team decided to pull the plug. They targeted a different night of the week and revamped the entire “offering.”

If the amount of hate emails he received had been indicative of butts in a seat, he would have never changed the service. Folks were vicious. This was my first taste of what could potentially happen when folks feel like the balance between their desires being heard and trying to reach those not yet engaged is askew.

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but I really do mean it with every ounce of sincerity and intent.

When you became a part of West, you plainly were willing to live into the tension of tending to your own soul but being constantly willing to do what it takes to take the message of Love and transformation beyond who we already know.

Basically, you live by seeking the lost sheep.

I know you make sacrifices, and you do it with such grace. You make a difference in the Kingdom of God. It’s why we are a viable church despite our challenges.

Please meditate on the passage below. You are the shepherd.

Thank you.

Grace and Peace,



Luke 15:

1-3 By this time a lot of men and women of questionable reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.

4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.