Monday, June 30, 2008

He is here...

I wrote this poem after taking a early morning prayer walk around my neighborhood on Sunday. The dichotomies of life around here captured my attention. The reality that Christ is all in all, above, around, behind, before and after all things was made real to me. In each of the parts of the is all in Him in a mystical way. He is the answer to it all, seen or unseen and in the wholeness that He encompasses...I walk, live and minister life.

He is here...
In the rustle of the trees that remind me of the water that laps up on the shore.

He is here...
In the warmth of the rising sun that sheds light over the colors dotting the landscape.

He is here....
In the dust under my feet, in the scent of old pine, that connects me to the flow of time.

He is there...
In the old rocks, the fallen logs, the morning squawk of the black birds.

He is there...
In the crumpled up cheap beer cans, littered across the dew kissed grass.

He is there....
In the litter of careless people, in the shoes dangling from the wire.

He is in...
The palate of colors that are painted on little flowers all over the glen.

He is in...
The soft breeze that cools, the fragrances that are small, only available if you kneel to the ground.

He is here....
Next to the lover’s abandoned clothes, the empty box of booze....the abandoned, the empty and the spent.

He is in it, around it, over it, before it, after it, in the midst of it...

He is Here...and so am I.

Eric Blauer 6.29.08

Sunday, June 29, 2008 a defeated foe

Oh, by the way, I don't know if you've read this or not....

If we “resist the devil he will flee from” us (James 4:7). Scripture tells us that Satan is defeated, disarmed, and spoiled (Col. 2:15; Rev. 12:7; Mark 3:27). He has “fallen” (Luke 10:18) and was “thrown down” (Rev. 12:9). He was “crushed” under the feet of the early Christians, and by implication, under the feet of all Christians throughout the ages (Rom. 16:20). He has lost “authority” over Christians (Col. 1:13). He has been “judged” (John 16:11). He cannot “touch” a Christian (1 John 5:18). His works have been destroyed (1 John 3:8). He has “nothing” (John 14:30). He must “flee” when “resisted” (James 4:7). He is “bound” (Mark 3:27; Luke 11:20). Finally, the gates of hell “shall not overpower” the advancing church of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18).1 Surely Satan is alive, but he is not well on planet earth. It’s Jesus who has “all authority . . . in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Christians need to quit giving credit to Satan for the world’s problems. The world doesn’t need him to sin and make a mess of things (James 1:14–16).

Just a reminder...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

How Pietism deceives Christians...

This is probably one of the best articles I have ever read.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What kind of leader are you...?

“Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrible. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; He goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; And he does not turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, The flashing spear and javelin. With shaking and rage he races over the ground, And he does not stand still at the voice of the trumpet. As often as the trumpet sounds he says, ‘Aha!’ And he scents the battle from afar, and the thunder of the captains and the war cry. -Job 39:19-25

I was talking to a pastor friend of mine and we discussing the trends of late concerning church planting. One of the hot methods now concerns a kind of MChurch like franchising, where the mother church plants smaller services with either the same pastor preaching or video services. Many reasons are given for this approach: better use of finances, reach more people, easier for other leaders to emerge but not carry the whole load of a church plant, helps maintain a unity between mother and daughter churches, allows the new church to access all the resources and ministries of the older church and a host of other benefits.

But as I have pondered the challenges of planting a church by ourselves and our future church planting issue has been stuck in my gut. It has to do with the kind of leaders the franchising model might possible produce.

Church planting is a mix of both heaven and hell. The endeavor calls for a certain type of man. The pressures, risks, battles, needed faith, daunting fears, plentiful challenges and potential opportunities that lay ahead of a church planter require a certain type of madman. The kind of man church planting requires and produces is in my opinion more important in the long haul than the perceived immediate benefits of doing it the easier way and seemingly the more financially responsible way.

I would rather have a handful of men hewn out of the rock of naked church planting than a host of little men that are still hanging onto mommies apron strings. I want to see fire in the eyes of a potential church planter. There has to be a lot of idealism, daring dreams, crazy hope, over confidence, dangerous and maybe even reckless faith to succeed. Men should plant churches not boys.

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing." -Isaiah 51:1-3

Cities, nations and churches need leaders that have learned that God is bigger than their fears, He makes a way where there seems to be no way. We need Davids that will tackle Goliath's and take heads. We need leaders that "Snort, paw and laugh" at the battle. Men who hear the battle cry in their spirit and long for the flashing of sword, the spilling of blood, the crashing of battle. We need spiritual leaders who won't fall into the potential traps that lie in ministerial success, or suffer from visionless leadership. Leaders who will fight against becoming dismayed, depressed or dejected by the many voices and situations that seek to imprison or castrate them and turn them from Stallions to Geldings. You must be a bucking Bronco to get free from all that will seek to keep you in the pen or that will seek to break you.

[Inserted later...]
I would add that the imagery I am using here speaks nothing of outward means...but of spirit. All the imagery of horse, man and rock speak of internal things. Outwardly we are not called to dominate, fight, conquer or prevail in a triumphant's the meek that will inherit the earth. We are Jesus followers that know how to have "faces set like flint" but at the same time we walk in a way that isn't full of cigar chomping bravado or boot soaked militarism. There is a lamb that is a lion and that is the true heart of a leader. We are both lion and lamb...dove and serpent. It's a reality that is first and foremost spiritual.

The battles that await church planters won't be won by a quality of men who won't risk it, friends, finances, future, security and reputation...and even their very own lives.

Anything less than future churches deserve.

Unless a grain of wheat falls....

"My church here in Los Angeles began with the calling of four people who moved to the end of the street where we now live seeking an answer to this question: “Do you love your neighbor as yourself?” And when I think of the stories that have filled sixteen years of following Jesus here, it is remarkable to see how very consistently our community has been called to die. And not in the “Oh, there will be some suffering from time to time” kind of way but in the day to day, hour by hour choosing of other over self."

Read the whole post here: "Missional: To dwell and to die"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nature's horror...

Ok, I can not imagine would freak me out...the fear of falling in that mass of Sting Ray migration, gives me the chills.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Red and Yellow, Black & White...

Karen refugee child
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. -Exodus 19:5

One of the challenges and blessings of urban ministry is the issue of building a church that reflects the Kingdom of God not just the culture. In Christ we are not divided by color, economics, language, sex, age or nationality but in this world...we often are. You would think that living in a community that is racial diverse would mean that we are more racial accepting...but the truth is prejudice and bigotry exist in the hood as well as the suburbs. These challenges are real and the tensions that are present can affect the mission of God in a neighborhood like ours. People gravitate towards the known and often fear the unknown. The call of Christ includes being the representatives of a different kingdom that embraces, celebrates and loves all of God's children, red and yellow, black and white as the old song preaches. Jesus said there was a blessing for those who would walk as "Peacemakers" in their communities. But that road isn't always easy...a look at our national history reflects the trials and tribulations of the way.

But nonetheless we as Christians must advocate, work and pray for the manifestation of the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. And that means our churches should strive to reflect that reality in our outreach and growth as a body. That means at times we will come face to face with the powers and principalities that work to divide, sow fear, breed hate and chop up humanity into waring factions that speak against one another and spread ugly stereotypes with gossip and malicious slander. It's ugly to see and hear and its prevalent in our neighborhoods. Wether we want to accept that or not. In these last few years as we have had the privilege of serving the incoming refugees from Burma, I have witnessed this ugly blight in our town, in our hearts and in our neighborhood. I find myself being an "advocate" for those who are different, for those who are unlearned, for the child and for the adult who is struggling to fit into a strange land that has odd laws and customs. I've sat in the court room and watched the justice system wrestle with cultural issues that are new to Spokane. I've wrestled with employers that cheat workers, work them hard and pay them for only part of their labor. I've heard bigoted remarks and outright racist comments from ignorant and ugly people.

I've seen people ripped off, stolen from and pushed around because they didn't have the knowledge or the courage to seek help. I've watched doctors reject patients and been brushed aside by uppity professionals that seem to be more concerned about their time than care for patients. In the end it's a struggle that is very discouraging but only steels my resolve to serve the dream of God more and more in this little corner of the city.
B-Ball camp 08
When I see this picture from our Basket Ball camp last week, I am deeply thrilled by the multiple colors represented. Many people say they don't "see" color but the more I am around people of different racial backgrounds then me...the more I realize they do. Being the only brother in the room...can be an intimidating challenge no matter how many people say they dont notice skin color. My hope and prayer is that soon it will be so normal to walk into church and see all kinds of nationalities represented...just like heaven will be. This last weekend we had a big soccer game here at Underhill park, it was the Chin refugees against the Karen refugees, all from Burma. Three of us white dudes from church played on the Karen team and a couple of white people played on the Chin team as well. It was a awesome time to see all these cultures mixing together, playing and laughing and making memories together in East Central. I look back on that with pride and pleasure, knowing that God is letting us experience more and more of just what kind of life eternity will be like...right here, right now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Diamond Lake Fun...

I took the kids and one of their friends and our Dog Kona up to the Lake on Tuesday. Here is a short video of some of the fun we had.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jacob's Well's Summer BasketBall Camp

bball camp 4.JPG
Our churches summer B-Ball outreach for kids is in full swing this week. Our fantastic kids ministry team are putting on a great VBS like program that includes Basketball and various sports themed sessions in a 15 minute rotation through out the evening.
We had about 60 kids total go through the camp last year, this year we had over 50 the very first night! It's slow work around here but the ground is yielding up good fruit under the faithful leadership of Bill and Sue our Kid's ministry leaders at Jacob's Well. Their love for God and children, creative ideas and persistent, spiritual leadership have been such a blessing to our church and this community over the years of service here in Spokane. They have labored diligently at a couple other churches over the many years and we are blessed to have them on our team.
One of the great things to watch each night is the way the volunteers love and encourage each kid, some who have never even played basketball. We have some great people who pour out their time and energy into these wonderful children who deserve to be lifted higher by the adults around them. The outreach is a mix of help from all kinds of gifts like cookie makers, juice pourers, Band aid placers, story and song leaders, coaches and drill leaders and of course cheering parents. With positive attitudes, loads of praise and a hug these kids will go home having enjoyed themselves, learned some skills and been creatively exposed to the truth of the gospel in ways they can relate and understand. Great job team!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Permit Class

Here is a shot of our churches "Permit Class" for refugees that want to learn how to drive and be prepared for the test. So far around 25 people have been there. We have a fantastic team of volunteers who have tackled the ESL (English Second Language) part of our work with the incoming refugees. Between the Tutoring class and this Permit Class, they are neck deep in the challenge...thank God for loving, serving Christians that take time to lend a helping hand to those in need. We hope to include a once a month "Car maintenance" class that will help refugees learn all about cars and the general maintenance that is required to keep one in good shape. So if you are interested...let's talk. All basic knowledge is new knowledge for most of them...from what is an air conditioner, to pumping gas, oil changes, cruise control, tire presure, etc...plenty to teach.

Spring Cleaning...

Spring cleaning was taking place in full force on our church block. With a bunch of people, we were able to mow, hedge, blow, power-wash, clean, hang and basically get the block looking really sweet for our upcoming Basket Ball Vacation Bible School outreach this week. Micah got to man the power-washer and help prep the building for next weekends painting. We are going to finally get rid of the Barn red and help make our facilities more of a asset than an eye sore.
Chris and Wes tackled the real hard work of cleaning off the years of grime. As we were cleaning, a guy from a local ECO-Friendly company was driving by and stopped and asked us if we were going to paint the building. We said yes and he told us about a great deal they have on recycled paint through his company for $10 a gallon with a 5 year warranty, so looks like a possible good deal and another way to save some cash.
In this neighborhood there is always lots to clean is Linda and Rob tackling a pile of garbage in the back of the building. Many hands make light work...or at least a bit lighter.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This is a real man...

“Be on the alert, stand firm in he faith, act like men, be strong.
Let all that you do be done in love.” 1Cor. 16:13-14

With Father's Day coming up and being in the town where the actual holiday originated, I thought I would post this video.
I can not think of a clearer example of the above verse. My hat is off.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lies...all lies.

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

Too many pictures I bet...and I think I used the word "boobs" once...blasted!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm speechless...

Truly we have treasures in clay pots...the mystery is dazzling to see when it breaks out in such beauty and unsuspected glory.


You can't look me in the eyes,
You're tears flow and baptize my way forward,
The words you don't say, scream louder than your silence.

What you don't like about me,
wars against what I give you,
and you hate it so.

We come to this dance and all of us want to be chosen,
but no one is crazy about the music we are playing.

You can melt me with the strings, the keys and the beats,
you can make me a puddle and form me up again,
by words that pull me like strings on a marionette.

Cover your face, recount the many disgraces,
take me to your unholy places, where we try to forget the faces,
that grimace, wince and displace us.

I can melt you,
set you on fire,
reach down into you
and conjure that slow burning desire.

All in a day, a moment, a year or a decade,
it's all wrapped up in what I've been saying,
praying and forever dreaming of erasing.

I'm tired of worrying about what you're into buying,
selling, weaving, pleasing or continually trying.

My pictures want to come home,
songs for no one,
just words etched on the inside of a coffin.

the gray in my beard isn't meant for shaving,
the wrinkles are traces of places to revisit, to forget,
to no longer point towards.

What's living if it' all about something that's not,
instead of something that is?

In the's really just the beginning.

-Eric Blauer (6.10.08)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Destiny's Show on June 6th

Destiny is my 13 year old daughter, you can visit her music site at Red Letter Catastrophe (

Killswitch Engage - Rose Of Sharyn

This is a hard core song that has some great lyrics and images, especially towards the end of the video. Granted I know that it's not going to be most readers choice of style or sound but I got a real soft spot for fists full of metal, especially when they find a way to express truth in a way that doesn't sound so chruchianity cheese whizNumb and broken,
Here I stand alone,
Wondering what were
The last words I said to you
Hoping, praying that I'll find a way
To turn back time,
Can I turn back time?
What would I give to behold.
The smile the face of love,
You never left me,
The rising sun
Will always speak your name.

Numb, i'm broken
Here i stand alone.
Wondering the words,
The last words i said to you
It won't be long
We'll meet again...

What would i give, to behold
The smile, the face of love?
You never left me
The rising sun
Will always speak your name

It won't be long, we'll meet again
Your memory is never passing
It won't be long, we'll meet again
My love for you is everlasting.

I mourn for those who never knew you
I mourn for those who never knew you

It won't be long, we'll meet again
Your memory is never passing
It won't be long, we'll meet again
My love for you is everlasting.

It won't be long, we'll meet again..
It won't be long, we'll meet again..
It won't be long, we'll meet again..
It won't be long, we'll meet again..

Friday, June 06, 2008

Prayer of Peace in Tokyo or Spokane...your choice.

Prayer of Peace, the film my brother made on the struggle for freedom and the suffering of the Internally Displaced People of Burma is showing at the UN Refugee Agency Film Festival in Tokyo or you can see it at Jacob's Well on Friday June 20th at 7PM.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Confucius says...

" need to just rest. People need to solve their own problems and get on with their lives." -Micah (8 years old)

My youngest son told me this yesterday while we were in the public bathroom. I guess he felt that is where God needed to speak to me.... :)

When love comes to town...

If your gospel isn't touching hasn't touched you.
-Curry R. Blake

I had the privilege of praying with a neighbor to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior last night. A man who said he wasn't churched, was desperate to find God and in deep need of a God who can deliver and save. In the conversation he mentioned "seeing me often" and "how I have waved to him". It's amazing how God works through simple people, in simple ways.

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily. -Sally Koch

I find it quite satisfying to see this kind of fruit as we pass the two year mark living and working in this neighborhood. The challenges and opportunities surround us daily to witness for Christ in word and deed but it often takes a lot of seed planting and watering to see the harvest.

Work as if everything depended upon work and pray as if everything depended upon prayer. -William Booth

Living in the rest of a Sovereign God's hand and yet prayerfully soaking the region with the Spirit birthed words and works is critical to wrestling forward in such deep spiritual sand. Ministry here is a delicate balance between longing for all that God has for us; but not getting stuck in neutral because we have not chosen by faith to walk in what He has already given.

All of it is worth it in moments like last night...seeing the lost calling out to Jesus.
To God be the glory!