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What Pastors Talk About in Bed

(Note: At the risk of revealing our deep, inner dorkiness AND getting spammed with one million terrible emails, I still chose that title. So brave!)


Me: I know you want to go to sleep, but I need to ask you a really important question. It’s really, really important.

Steve: Okay, hit me.

Me: If you could only have – for the rest of your life with no exceptions whatsoever – three books of the Bible, which three would you choose?

Steve: That’s a terrible question.

Me: No, it’s a great one because it will make you prioritize!

Steve: Okay. Psalms. A gospel – probably John. And Revelations.

(Pause)

Me: Um…Revelations? (Pause) Really? Are you sure you don’t want to re-visit that choice?

Steve: No. It’s the perfect choice because if I only had three books I’d want to know what’s coming.

Me: Hmmm…I don’t know that Revelations ever makes “what’s coming” much clearer for me.

Steve: Yes it does, you just don’t like it. Also, it tells us so much about worship. And also, these are my choices, Bo. Leave them alone. What are yours?

Me: Definitely Psalms. A gospel – probably Luke.

Steve: Luke? Why not John?

Me: Because Luke has the Christmas story! I couldn’t live all the rest of the Christmases of my lifetime without the Christmas story.

Steve: But John has “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” and that’s like your favorite scripture.

Me: I know. Sad. Really sad. I’m going to miss John so much. Maybe I could borrow YOUR copy of John?

Steve: No way, sister! You said THREE books only. You said NO exceptions. Borrowing would violate the whole arrangement.

Me: ARGH! This is a terrible question.

Steve: You still have one book left.

Me: (Sigh) I know . Let’s see. I guess Galatians, because I’m reading it right now and it’s changing my life.

Steve: Yeah, but you said it’s changing your life because you’re also reading Deuteronomy. Are you keeping Deuteronomy?

Me: NO! I don’t want Deuteronomy!

Steve: But it’s all about the generations.

Me: Shoot. It is. I want Deuteronomy!

Steve: How about we go a different way here? How about you tell me which books you COULD live without.

Me: Well, I guess maybe 1 & 2 Chronicles because it’s a lot of repeat from Kings…but then we have no “If My people which are called by My name…” We need that verse in America to survive!

Steve: Okaaaaay. Well, how about the Samuels?

Me: (sitting up, aghast and appalled) Are you kidding me right now (tm: Lindsay Parnell)? The story of Israel’s transition from judges to kings? It’s a stage-setting story. Foundational. Essential in every way!

Steve: (Yawn) Okay, Bo, we’ll keep the Samuels.

Me: I suppose – if push came to shove – I could let go of Esther, because it’s kind of isolated and not essential to the rest of the Old Testament.

(Pause.)

Steve: “For such a time as this…”

Me: Blast! This is a terrible, terrible question!

Steve: I think I have a fever and I have to speak in Oneighty tomorrow.

Me: I’ll be quiet now. But I’m keeping Esther.

So…it was an enlightening discussion and when I opened my Bible the next morning I wanted to kiss every single page. I also decided to memorize more.

Now, Steve and I wish to pass our misery along to you. Three books. Three books only. For the rest of your life. What will they be? (It’s way harder than you think. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re very decisive or unmarried so you don’t have someone else messing up your choices.)

Happy choosing,

Bo

P.S. Today is Steve’s 46th birthday and I think this post just proves what a terrifically patient and amazing guy he is. Happy birthday, wonderful husband…I love you more than words can say!

April 22, 2008 - 11:08 pm

Katie - Because I have nobody to throw out reasons why not…

John (even if just for chapters 13-21)
Psalms (for sure!)
and…
Heb-RomEphGalJamSamGenEstRuthIsaJerLukeRevMark-rews.

Hey, it’s a book!

April 23, 2008 - 12:19 am

cass-a-rooh - worst question ever.

i feel like that’s asking a soldier, gone off to war, falling more in more in love with his pretty fair maiden by her letters, to pic only three that explain why he loves her.

so with that in mind i will just say that i LOVE that you and Steve had this conversation…and someday when i have someone to argue the point with PERHAPS i will. =)

April 23, 2008 - 3:41 am

Kristin Bryan - 1st of all – I laughed really hard, mostly because this is something equally ridiculous as most of Luke and I’s conversations.
2nd of all – I am TRULY appalled that you even CONSIDERED taking out the Samuels.. I would have to have 1st Samuel..
so..
1- 1Samuel, God spoke to me about being a teacher through these books, and you can’t throw out a book that provides vision.

2- Hosea, couldn’t live without “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,and bring her into the wilderness,and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyardsand make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me My Husband, and no longer will you call me My Baal. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”

3- Psalms – because really, where would be all be without the Psalms?

4- a sharp knife to hold other people hostage until they fork over THEIR 3 books

April 23, 2008 - 3:43 am

Kristin Bryan - I would also like to add that I have discovered from this post why Luke and I are not pastors.. most of the time our “bedroom conversation” consists of one of us saying something and then going back and forth saying ridiculous things that rhyme with it.. and this can go on for hours.
We clearly don’t have spiritual enough bedroom conversations ๐Ÿ˜‰

April 23, 2008 - 9:57 am

keri schulz - First – The Gospel of John. Mainly, because it contains my favorite verse: “(21:12), Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ what’s better than breakfast with Jesus??

Second – Acts, because, the cool thing about Acts is, that in Peter’s sermon (ch 2) and Stephen’s speech (ch.7), you basically get a synopsis of the entire bible. It’s like cheating…
and, this book shows me in real-life-flesh-and-blood-style what a crazy abandoned life consumed by the Holy Spirit can look like. Even death seems meaningful for these disciples.

Third – psalms seems to be the common denominator, but for me, it merely comes down to the fact that I can’t really even open my bible without ending up reading at least one.

(since I have no husband to discuss these things with…the questioning voices in my head will have to suffice – “are you kidding? you didn’t pick ephesians? it’s hands-down the most marked up part of your bible.”
– good point, but if I’m getting only 3 books, at least john, acts, and psalms have lots of chapters…
“what about Galatians? It wars against the huge part of you that tries to earn everything.”
– definately…still…refer to previous answer – only 5 chapters in galatians.

“obviously, you care about quantity more than quality!”

-it’s the inspired word of God! It’s ALL quality. how bout more quantity of the quality??

“you win.”

enough of my schizophrenic bible arguments…now the world wide web has a window into the crazy mind of Keri Schulz…

it’s been fun.
miss you all from California. but..I did get a pretty sweet tan this weekend, and enjoyed disneyland last tuesday…just saying…in case anyone wants to visit!!! ha.

April 24, 2008 - 4:38 am

Jessica Carpenter - First of all… Keri, you bum! It’s been raining in a biblical sort of way here. Dumb. But green.

Here it is…

Luke-(7:37-38- “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.”… and I’m just saying, at the end of 17:9 Jesus says “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.” which sounds totally sass and awesome.)
Romans-Practical Christianity
Isaiah-God’s character
Proverbs-Wisdom
Psalms-Passion
I picked 5, because I don’t have a husband to keep me accountable yet! Don’t worry, when I start dating I’ll have him give 2 books the ax… but till then, I’m enjoying all 5!

April 24, 2008 - 5:34 am

Kristin Bryan - Jessica,
When you start dating you hold on to all 5 of those books! When you get married you might have to compromise a little, but don’t give up your books for a measly boyfriend ๐Ÿ˜‰

April 24, 2008 - 8:33 am

The Amazing Tara - 1. Psalms. How could I LIVE w/out all of those amazing promises!? Faith grows by hearing, and hearing by the word of God! It just wouldn’t be the same to read Exodus out loud to build faith. Pshahhh!
2. A gospel. For sure Luke! Because of Zach and Elizabeth, and Anna, and Simeon, and this great little verse…” Because of God’s tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
3. I can get my books in every single stinkin translation right?
4. 1 and 2 Kings. The books are basically one! And I love to see how God worked in the lives or ordinary people and some got it right and some didn’t

April 24, 2008 - 9:36 am

bolovesjoe - Oh my goodness you guys are great thinkers! Katie and Jess get called for violations for being over the book limit (loud, obnoxious buzzer noise here.) Cassie – aw…that’s such a nice analogy. I want to know which letters he picked!

Kristin – if this is evidence why you and Luke aren’t pastors, it’s also evidence of why Steve and I should work at Starbucks or Home Depot or something.

Keri – It totally loved getting to view the debate in your head. But I hope you won’t have to argue with yourself for TOO long.:)

Tara – it’s a lot of fun for me to picture you reading Exodus out loud. And did you know that 1 & 2 Kings used to be a continuation of 1 & 2 Samuel and they were all known as “the book of the Kings” so I think that you could actually get 4 for the price of 1 there, depending on who’s keeping score and whether or not you’re using a Hebrew Bible.

April 25, 2008 - 3:24 am

Helen - Impossible question…impossible answer…

Could I just choose two? The Old book and the New Book…ha!

But if I had to pick three…definitely Psalms…Philippians because I would have to learn about joy since I was without the other 63 books…and finally…hmmmm…for this week it would be John…

Aren’t we blessed…I can’t imagine not having His Word as close as an arm’s length…makes me want to weep and pray more for those that don’t have access to the Living Word.

I think you could have the title of a bestseller…for sure!

April 26, 2008 - 7:21 am

becky sipe - blog updated and ready to read!!

http://www.becky-blogs-here.blogspot.com

April 28, 2008 - 10:56 pm

Tori - Wow, I see my future as exactly that.:) As for the books Psalms cause what else am I supposed to read when I’m scared at night? Deuteronomy because of 10:10-11 “‘Go,’ said the Lord to me, “and lead the people on their way, so that they may enter and possess the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” This means to me Tori you’re a pastor in the making. And-uh-oh…Acts has Stephen possibly my favorite person for many reasons, but John has Jesus calling all his disciples and knowing who they are even when they don’t. Oh dear.

April 28, 2008 - 10:57 pm

Tori - This is a terrible, terrible question.

April 28, 2008 - 11:25 pm

bolovesjoe - Yeah, not only is it hard to choose, now you’re also going to have to figure out how to pastor a bunch of people using only three books! That’s even less than Joshua had! Still, I believe in you, Tor. ๐Ÿ™‚

Beautiful Battlefields

Psalm 11 I’ve already run for dear life straight into the arms of God. So why would I run away now when you say, “Run to the mountains; the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to God. The bottom’s dropped out of the country; good people don’t have a chance!” But God hasn’t moved to the mountains; His holy address hasn’t changed. He’s in charge, as always, His eyes taking everything in, His eyelids unblinking…not missing a thing.

This was a tough week. But one morning before sunrise this little scripture showed its face and it was brilliant and beautiful in about a million ways. Here’s a bit from my journal:

In hard times, people will say: Run! Get away from the trouble! Flee and save yourself! The problem with that plan? God hasn’t gone to the mountains. He doesn’t flee. He doesn’t hide from trouble – in fact, He uses trouble as His most wonderful window display. And when I run from the hard thing or the the tough relationship or the difficult situation, I may actually be running from God.

And in related news…

I Samuel 18:30 Whenever the Philistine warlords came out to battle, David was there to meet them – and beat them – upstaging Saul’s men. David’s name was on everyone’s lips.

Saul – in his frantic attempts to kill David – actually keeps unwittingly positioning him for victory, increased strength and wild acclaim. Wow. Saul would have been smarter to just closet David away in a safe, quiet spot in the kingdom, away from the battlefield that would prove his strength and his God.

Many people will say “pick your battles”. I’m learning that as long as I’m hidden in Christ, my battles can pick me and I’m still going to be right where He wants me. And right where He wants me – no matter how dangerous – is always safe.

So, here’s my decision for the coming week and I empower you to hold me accountable: no matter what, no matter who, no matter how hot the battle – I will not run to the mountains or the mall or to Food Network (my favorite place of escape). I will not lose heart or shrink back or let fear nibble away at my faith. I will stand and believe and say “Bring it on, Saul! If God is for me, who can…who possibly would dare…to be against me?”

With beauty in sight,

Bo

P.S. Food network? While not a worthy escape is still a remarkable achievement of television genius.

April 21, 2008 - 4:50 am

CI - How similar our experience’s must have been last week. Circumstances perhaps different, but the natural instinct to flee to some place ‘safe’ was/is so real. Thanks for the perspective of seeing that often I am running away from the very thing that I need. I am believeing for a better week and a heart that is deeply rooted and rested in the safety of my Ultimate Shelter, Father God.

April 21, 2008 - 8:40 am

bolovesjoe - Cheryl – I’m believing for a better week for you as well…and I’m so excited to have you here for a bit.

April 21, 2008 - 11:51 am

Jessica Carpenter - The real challenge this week though Bo: Not saying anything to those stinking people who don’t know what starbucks’ drinks are called! The nerve of those people… walking in and saying “medium” instead of “venti”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nail maintenance was exactly, precisely why the red had to go by the way! It was unfortunate, because I so enjoyed being esteemed and viewed as “put together” or “marketing scheme victim”. I always forget which it was! Thanks for the great post and just the stinking encouragement to chase God that your life is… you got a little anonymous shout out in my latest post! A fact you’ll want to write home about I’m sure ๐Ÿ™‚

April 22, 2008 - 4:05 am

Naomi Larson - Hey Bo!! How have you been? It’s been a while! How’s the fam? Tell everyone “hi” for me. I need to come visit you again sometime! I miss the ol days when I saw you more…well, sorta…the part about seeing you more anyway! :o)

Much love and God bless!
Naomi

April 22, 2008 - 4:07 am

Naomi Larson - Oh yeah, I don’t know if you can see my email address to reply, so it’s naomi4385@yahoo.com

April 22, 2008 - 11:50 am

Corina Burgess - Bo: I’m with you. I set myself not to run to anything but God. Even when it would be so much more fun to run to Starbucks, but then the coffee gets cold, the lights turn out,they ask me to leave and I’m left to face my giant. So like David, I reach for the smoothness of the stone, place it in my hand and knowing God has been with me before, I throw it…

I love you my friend and wait patiently for a return trip to my favorite place in the world.

April 22, 2008 - 12:22 pm

bolovesjoe - Oh goodness, Corina…you just made me cry and I totally didn’t want to cry today! It was just so wonderful to see your name and read your words…imagine if I could actually see your FACE! If you would make a return trip I would love to share that coffee with you and talk about the giants slain and victories won and battles left to come…much love to you my friend.

Fast Forwarding Faith

“When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.” I Samuel 17:11

“God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.” I Samuel 17:37

Whether we realize it or not, stories are almost always playing out inside our heads and they’re usually about ten minutes ahead of the moment we’re actually living in. We’re cautious with our kids around water, because the story in our mind rolls out to a place where they fall in and can’t get out. We race on our way to work because these mind-pictures move rapidly ahead of real time to the moment we get confronted or fired for being late….and some people would even let that picture keep playing to the point where they lose their house and car because they now have no job and can’t pay the bills. And then they REALLY step on the gas to get to work! It’s not so much the immediate or the absolute that moves us to do what we do, but rather the possibility of what could be as it unfolds in our imagination. And those perceived possibilities are created by fear or by faith…and nothing in between.

Saul & his troops heard the words of the giant and their heads were filled with fast-moving, technicolor pictures of all that could happen in the next ten minutes. Fear poked it’s spiny fingers into the corner of their brains where the future lives and penciled in the possibilities of what-could-be.

Enter David. His picture of the next 10 minutes was FILLED with faith and – dare I say – EAGER anticipation to rumble with that giant! What made the difference? He relied on what he had seen God do in the past and how he had experienced His presence in the heat of battle. I’m sure he rewound and replayed the miraculous moment when he wrestled that bear to the ground as supernatural faith rippled through his memory and into his muscles.

He just knew.

He didn’t know his own strength or his own courage. He just knew his own God, and that gave him everything else he needed. I betcha he could even imagine the feeling of carrying Goliath’s head through the camp and was already planning where he would hang the big guy’s weapons when he took them back to his tent. David let his knowledge of God’s faithfulness fill in all the missing details so that he could clearly envision the exact events of the next few minutes in which a very small rock would to catapult a very large giant into eternity.

When faith paints our picture of the future as it forms in our imagination, anything is possible. When we are able to pull up a fresh awareness of the victories of the past, God becomes bigger than every other giant we’re facing. And that lets us be the size that we are. And that’s just about the best gift ever.

So, how about you? What do the next ten minutes or ten months or ten years look like in your head? Who would you guess is painting that picture?

Believing for the heads of giants,

Bo

April 16, 2008 - 12:34 pm

helenw13 - oh my…I shouldn’t have clicked on…because I have to go join Carl to do our reading together before he turns into a pumpkin…I will read this in the morning…I don’t know what you wrote yet but the first scripture grabbed me because in my last week’s reading…I have been batting around similar verses but from chapter 13….especially how the people hid in caves, thickets, among rocks, in pits and cisterns…
So until later…sorry for the ramble…

Helen

April 17, 2008 - 3:53 am

Kristin Bryan - Consider yourself LINKED.
I added you. http://beintheknow.wordpress.com

there you are!

April 17, 2008 - 6:14 am

bolovesjoe - Helen – I hope you got to Carl in time!

Kristin – likewise!

April 17, 2008 - 6:31 am

Taylor - Bo! Thank you for your ever encouraging blog and fresh looks at a great story!!!
Taylo

April 17, 2008 - 10:42 am

helenw13 - Hey Bo…yes I did get to Carl in time…the very patient one…great post…and it is good that I waited because I read this account this morning…I just marvel at how matter of fact David is when he tells about the bear…the complete awareness of what God empowered him with…

I heard a teaching this mornning by Beth Moore and it was about the Alpha and the Omega…the One who was, who is and is to come…her point was that we need to be living in the “is” but we tend to be distracted by the “was” and the “what is to come”…I do it all the time…my daughter got a radical haircut today…didn’t know until she took her softball helmet off…and immediately my mind when to graduation 30 days away…much farther than 10 minutes…I want to live in the here and now and trust God for the next minute let alone the next month…that’s enough rambling for now…

I love your take on David…thank you!

Helen

April 18, 2008 - 11:16 pm

bolovesjoe - Helen – your Beth Moore comments – and a phone call from my mom recently – reminded me of the spot in The Shack where they ask Mac where he lives most – past, present or future. The realization that when we travel to the future, we most often don’t take God with us was really important to me. And it’s interesting because we preach “vision” so much which I think is good as long as it positively effects our now. But if it keeps us living in a faraway land and missing – or even resenting – the potency of the moment, then I think it can be dangerous. I’ve dealt with all kinds of young people who are so focused on their big future that they have disdain for the smaller more “present” things that will actually GET them there. Argh.

Okay – stepping down off my soap box now because I’m really hungry, not because I’m out of passion for this subject. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh – also – I totally empathize with you on preparing for graduation in 30 days. Tori finished school in January, but she graduates in June and I just can’t believe it. In this area, I’m definitely dragging my heels to leave the past.

April 19, 2008 - 6:03 am

Kristin Bryan - Bo, sorry to say it.. but you typed in the link wrong.. you can’t actually get to my blog through that link ๐Ÿ™‚
it’s wordpress.com not wordpress.org

April 19, 2008 - 10:35 am

bolovesjoe - Thanks, Kristin – fixed it! Also: com vs. org = the bane of my existence.

Observations.

Slight temperature inflation. Brave buds break through on the giant lilac trees around my house. Tulips push green stems through the still-resistant earth. Strawberries in the produce section… anemic looking, but still strawberries I think. Winter coats fade, flip flops emerge (woo – flip flops!) Summer movie previews. Bulbs and plants and fertilizer and hoses come out of hiding at Costco. Bikinis huddle together for warmth at Target. Six emails from my husband remind me of summer vacation. The grill sheds it’s winter clothes. CLC students want to date.

Signs of Spring.

Ready, ready, ready,

Bo

April 10, 2008 - 12:35 am

cass-a-rooh - and then it snowed.

i love all your observations, i couldn’t help but have two favorites;
“Bikinis huddle together for warmth….”
and
“CLC students want to date”

April 10, 2008 - 2:00 am

Tracy - My kids just had a snowball fight and I’m still taking Hot baths every night to warm up. I kee hoping and hear rumors of 70’s this weekend!! I see the buds on the trees as well and hope they don’t freeze and die before spring:) I’m with the CLC students I want to date too!! LOL

April 10, 2008 - 6:54 am

Kristin Bryan - oh man, dating is overrating.

April 10, 2008 - 6:55 am

Kristin Bryan - ๐Ÿ˜€

April 10, 2008 - 7:13 am

bolovesjoe - I will take ANYTHING associated with spring at this point. Any hint of weather over 40. Any small blossom. And, yes, any sort of date at any sort of place…especially if that place happens to be SUNSHINEY. We tried to pretend that we were in Cabo today when we were actually in LaRosa and it almost worked until we had to go back to the office.

And Kristin, I think you’re jaded because you dated an actual CLC student (right? Was he still in CLC?) and that’s just a whole other ball game. Maybe you could mention that to our current CLC students. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

April 10, 2008 - 8:32 am

Katie - Um, I’m sorry – which city are you living in? Surely not the one that saw 2 inches of snow yesterday! ๐Ÿ™‚

April 10, 2008 - 8:33 am

Katie - And…one could argue:

CLC students want to date. Signs that the year has just started. Haha – I actually made myself laugh out loud while typing that one! ๐Ÿ™‚

April 10, 2008 - 12:38 pm

Tara - haha! I remember CLC and the horrible crushed that I had to get over. Good times, let me tell you.

April 10, 2008 - 8:56 pm

bolovesjoe - Yay, Katie – I laughed out loud reading it so we’re all happy!

Tara – good times, indeed. I totally remember you talking to me about that but I can’t – for ANYTHING – remember who was the object of the crush. That’s either the result of old age or the grace of God. Oh wait! That wasn’t you! Seriously, it was someone else. Okay – I’m gonna go with old age.

April 11, 2008 - 11:13 pm

Kristin Bryan - Yeah, oh man. what a nightmare! My advice, wait until you are long long gone from CLC to date. That’s good advice spiritually AND naturally (if I do say so myself!)
Honestly though, I was talking to a younger CLC student the other day who just wants to get married, and I realize that I got married pretty young by the worlds standards, but I had finished college, and lived on my own for 4.5 years.. and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. But when I tried to talk to them about this, and tried to get them to see that the season that they’re in is priceless.. they pretty much just said “no I want to get married”
I wanted to say.. “BOYS SMELL, AND CLEANING THE TOILETS WHEN YOU LIVE WITH A BOY ISN’T FUN, AND THEY SNORE, AND HAVE A REALLY HARD TIME PUTTING THEIR DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER!! Relish the time that you have to live with girls” (and I even have a husband that does WAY more around the house then most)…
But I didn’t.. I just said “don’t miss out on what God has for you now”.. they’ll figure it out themselves.

Katie, I laughed really hard too.. way too hard considering I’m sitting in my office..

April 11, 2008 - 11:13 pm

Kristin Bryan - oh and Tara, I can’t relate.. I NEVER had to get over any crushes ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jesus, Love Songs and Antipasti

Over the weekend, Steve and I went to hear Corey and Whitney play at Makahna’s and something remakable happened. Truth be told, we were just going to do what good parents do: support our kids at their gig. But when we got there we found the restaurant was filled with friends from Whit’s work, people from our church and from the young adults group that Corey leads. Throughout the evening, everyone moved from table to table, hugging and talking and trying each other’s food. I caught little audio scraps of conversations going on all around me…people talking about life and work and friends and the God that holds all of it together. I shared an incredible antipasti plate with the person I love the most in the whole world while we listened to music about love and loss, sung by people we adore.

And then this moment happened. This miraculous moment. I sat there in the swirling goodness of it all, fighting tears, as I realized: “This is God. I can feel His heart beat, His love of relationship, His longing to be with us as we are with each other.” I kept hearing the beautiful words “where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Why is He there? Not out of obligation to the verse, but because – just like me at that moment – He wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. I’m discovering that Jesus really loves to have dinner with friends.

For too long, I have kept God framed inside the halls and walls of a building and haven’t accurately recognized His presence moving through the moments outside of the meeting we traditionally call “church”. Church absolutely is gathering to worship at a specified location…because there we find Him and love Him and grow in Him. But church is more. More real and more simple and more messy than that.

And it’s also less.

Less defined, less intimidating, less linear than that.

I don’t think we should worship or fear the dichotomy in it all, I think we should just go ahead and let God leak out of our meetings and into our restaurants and houses and streets. I suspect that it’s exactly this kind of pervasive and powerful force that will overrun the gates of hell.

Believing for more and less,

Bo