News Feed: Friends Bring Stuffed Monkey to Life

News Feed: Friends Bring Stuffed Monkey to Life

Meet Seattle Monkey. I found him on the back shelf of a gift shop in the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, right after my husband and I arrived for our vacation.

I had to have Seattle Monkey. I had to take his picture with the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport sign.

And so it began.

Our vacation was a 7-day trip along Highway 101. At every stop, just because we found it entertaining, we took pictures of Seattle Monkey. At night, I would post the pics on Facebook, just to see if anyone was paying attention.

At some point during the week, Seattle Monkey developed a following. How cool is that?

Here’s how it went on Facebook:

Some people “Liked” Seattle Monkey. A like said: “What a cute monkey.  I like him.” And that’s as far as it went, but likes are always good.

Some people left a “Comment” about Seattle Monkey. A comment said, “I like this monkey enough to encourage him!” A comment is a little more of an investment than a like.

And then…some people…”Shared” Seattle Monkey!! A share said, “I love this monkey!! My friends have got to see him!!”  Shares indicated Seattle Monkey was a story worth telling. The story-worth-telling brought Seattle Monkey to life!


As a pastor and a communicator, I can’t help but wonder…

What if the church is like a stuffed monkey?

If you “Like” your church, you’re saying, “I have a cute church.. I like it.” And that’s about as far as it goes, but likes are always good.

If you “Comment” about your church, you’re saying, “I like this church enough to be encouraging.”  A comment is a little more of an investment than a like.

But what if…you “Share” your church?  A Share says, “This church has been such a big deal to me!  My friends have got to experience this!!”  Sharing your church indicates your faith life is a story worth telling. The story-worth-telling brings your church to life!

It’s about more than just social media, but social media is a good place to start. Please…share your church’s posts every time you see them.

And then, consider sharing your church.

See ya there!

Seattle Monkey Gallery

Love Like A Dog

Love Like A Dog

disappointed dog

I knew something was wrong the minute I walked in the door and he didn’t say hello. Oh man, it was gonna be one of those nights. With a frustrated look, he rattled off his list of complaints:

You’re late again.

I’m hungry and there’s nothing to eat.

It’s been three weeks since you’ve walked with me.

You know, you really take me for granted…

I wonder what it would look like if our dogs loved us this way.

I wonder what it would look like if every single one of us…loved like a dog.


Get Off Your Donkey

Get Off Your Donkey


“‘The moral of the story,’ I quipped, ‘is that you have to get off your donkey to help somebody.'”
– Reggie McNeal, Get Off Your Donkey! Help Somebody and Help Yourself

This worship series at Church Venture has been so much fun!  And…such a challenge. The story of the Good Samaritan calls you out.  When faced with the beaten and broken, whether strangers or family or culture, will you walk on by? Or will you Get Off Your Donkey and help somebody, which in turn will help you and help us all?

Hold on to your donkey, because it’s not just a question of what you will do…it’s a question of who you want to be.

The hardest part of the dismount is that moment when you let go and let your feet hit the ground.


What’s Ticky-Tacky?

What’s Ticky-Tacky?

I can’t get that song out of my head!  Every Sunday in April we used it as our worship countdown.  And the song just parked itself in my life and won’t go away.  “Little boxes on a hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky…”  It’s the funnest song to sing. Especially driving around the suburbs with your windows down. ‘Cuz I’m just that cool.

But you can’t make a politically world-changing drive through the neighborhood without all the facts.  So, what’s ticky-tacky?

Turns out ticky-tacky is the whole point. It’s the stuff they used to build suburban tract housing in the ’60’s when the song was written.  It’s cheap. It’s low quality. Basically, it’s crap.

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Or, said another way, don’t let the ticky-tacky keep you in a  box.


Don’t Speak

Don’t Speak

“Out of the silent abyss a sound is formed: people hear what was not heard before and are changed by the sound from loneliness into love.”
– Eugene Peterson, Living the Message

I have a friend who has a habit of throwing one-liners at me that catch me off guard and make me laugh. He is intelligent with a dry sense of humor and an uncanny way with words.  Its a lethal combination; one that demands people listen. People want to hear what he has to say.

Funny thing is…he won’t speak up unless it’s quiet.  To him, the noise of our culture is not worth the bother to speak louder. I have learned that I sorely miss out when I fill our space with words of little consequence.

LM Sunrise

Genesis 1:2-3 (MSG)
Earth was a soup of nothingness,
a bottomless emptiness,
an inky blackness.
God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
God spoke: “Light!”
And light appeared.


God spoke.

Don’t make a sound. Then you can listen to your mind unwind and your soul explore the infinite; the abyss.




Little flame in a glass jar, contained.
Dancing, reaching –
Dark center empty, fueling bright.
Eyes changed, reflect;
Half closed, blur rays.
Stillness of the room receding.
Little flame in a glass jar,
The heart of its space.

The same little flame caught without grace climbs up a curtain and consumes the space burns with a furry and picks up the pace growing and spreading from place to place smoke choking and deep rumbling roar crackling blistering heat until the only choice is escape from the heart of one little flame no longer contained.

Ashes, dark and cinder smell.
Crumbling deep grey
Whisping away.
Only the smell remains.

Little flame,
It’s best you stay contained.



It’s the first day of the rest of your life, and you’re stuck in a traffic jam.

school traffic

Seems like just yesterday I was teaching your big brother the alphabet, and now I’m learning about a whole new set of letters – FASFA, PIN, MPN, XL-TWIN (UC has extra long mattresses in their dorms, apparently).

There will be a day we careen around this corner pushing 40 MPH, fuming because we rushed through the morning, but for today, I am grateful to have finally come to understand that the time sitting in the car is the valuable time, and comfortable silence can be the best kind of conversation.

Just me and you and your SPOTIFY playlist.

BTW…note that I did not yell out the window as you left the car to begin your HS sophomore year, “Do you remember your bus number honey??”

…and that wasn’t easy.


That’s just not normal marketing.

That’s just not normal marketing.

An unexpected Marketing Team.

“We need to tell all these people!”

Yeah, no kidding Leo.  I think.  It’s not like we haven’t been telling people…we bought T shirts, it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, it’s on the website, we’ve sent emails, announcements…we’re trying!

But then I see the excitement in Leo’s eyes…and I realize…there’s no substitute for joy.

There is nothing in print, video or social media that can even come close to the light someone’s eyes.

It’s like trying to take a picture of the sky.  A good picture represents just fine…but the brilliance of the color, the reflection of the light, the temperature, the sounds, the breezes, and the sand or pavement beneath your feet are all part of the story.

Trying to describe the whole story is like trying to capture the sky.

Washington Park

It’s week 3 of 6 for Summer Impact, 2014.  We’ve hosted a few hundred people from a handful of churches in a few different states.  We’ve eaten together, studied together, prayed & served together, endured weather, exhaustion and grumpiness together, asked questions, developed relationships and created memories together.   AND THERE IS STILL TIME…if you want to sign up for a one day experience, let us know, we’ll hook you up with one of the best days of your summer.

We are selling Tshirts for 10 bucks.  Other than that, this is not your normal day on the beach!

They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well.   Mark 6:56 (MSG)

Want to catch a glimpse?  Check out Summer Impact worship at 1310 Race St. Cincinnati, OH:
July 7 & 10, 7:00 PM
July 20, 6:00 PM
July 21 & 24, 7:00 PM

You might see Leo and his friends passing out flyers around town this week.  You might run into a Summer Impact Team.  If you do, ask them to tell you what they’ve experienced.  You might catch a glimpse of joy.





They say when one door closes, another opens, but I find change to be a messier endeavor.

Have you ever stumbled in a revolving door?

My kids came to realize my utter lack of competency when they first witnessed my attempt at entering/exiting through a revolving door.   There are not a lot of revolving doors in my little town.  We just open ’em and close ’em ’round here.  So when we travel, and there are big buildings and revolving doors to contend with, it’s family fodder to watch me attempt them.

There’s a lot to it, you know?  A lot to consider.  Like…

…who is setting the pace of this contraption?  Is it me on my way in?  Or the guy on the other side, on his way out? (Or vice-versa, if you really want your head to spin!)

…is the space between the dividers big enough for two of us?  Or do I wait until there is room for only me?

…will the darn thing slow down and let me back out?  Or am I going to be stuck in this rotating cycle of social awkward forever?

When one door closes and another opens, it’s so … clean.  But, maybe we all need the walking-through part.  The socially awkward, who’s in charge, how do I manage this contraption, in between time.  Somehow, in the middle of the vortex, a million little things are happening that will bring you to the other side, to someplace new.



I lost my keys.

I lost my keys.

photoIt’s been two weeks, and I still can’t find my keys. I’ve looked though various closets, under beds, in dresser drawers, through laundry. My hubby – who amazes me sometimes! – even went through the kitchen trash. He found coffee grounds, junk mail, banana peels. No keys.

So lately I’ve been pondering locked doors. Because when I come home with no keys, and the door is locked, I can’t get in.  I have to knock and hope somebody hears me and that’s a miserable feeling after a long day, or when you’re standing out in the rain, or when you really need to get to a bathroom after a 45 minute drive and a 16 oz Diet Mountain Dew. I mean…come on…just let me in!

I have literally found myself pounding on the door.

It’s my own home for God’s sake.

Let me in.

I wonder if thats how it feels when you approach a church and, for whatever reason, find yourself facing a locked door?

Just sayin.

“In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah.  I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him.  He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.  I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”  (Isaiah 22:20-22)