Monthly Archives: May 2011

Is “going on missions” a misnomer?

The biblical definition of mission seems to involve a mindset of “sentness” more than it does going somewhere else. Consider Raymond J. Bakke’s quote of a popular a sending text,

“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness” (Isaiah 52:7)

Right before he opens this can…

So often we use this text to talk about going to faraway missionary jungles. Wrong. This is an urban evangelist’s text. It talks about proclaiming the good news to Zion. If the city is reached, the ends of the earth (v.10) will hear about it. (A Theology as Big as the Cityp.79)

Agree or disagree? Inner city ministry or overseas missions?

Pray for Al Merrick

Al has been in the ER since this morning. (Here is Britt’s original tweet).

As if he needed any introduction…Al is the legend and founder behind Channel Islands Surfboards. He’s also my pastor’s dad, and a man of God. One of the reasons Reality’s network of churches exists is because this man began praying for his city decades ago.

We would now appreciate your prayers on his behalf. I will update this post at the bottom of the page as soon as I know more details.

[Update] He is still still in the hospital getting more tests. His heart and vital organs look good, and a spinal tap is next.

[Update #2] Al will be in the hospital for a bit. The doctors are baffled. There is the possibility of a viral infection of pericardium or some bacterial infection.

[Update #3] Al is out of the hospital. They think he had a viral infection of the pericardium. It’s all better now! Thank you for praying & supporting!

Linkage 5/30 (articles I thought worthy of consideration)

  1. Justin Taylor posts on how to read a book, some good advice for slow readers, and the joys of sticking with it.
  2. Joshua Reich has some advice on reading as a leader
  3. Joshua Caucutt outlines a theology of social media
  4. Kevin Hendricks on why the church has lost its cultural innovation
  5. Perry noble offers hopeful insight about college students
  6. Benson Hines grills the way college ministries spend their summers
  7. Scott Williams asks “Did Oprah Find Jesus?
  8. How an Introverted leaders acts by Thom Rainer
  9. And lastly… John Piper interviews Rick Warren on doctrine
Thoughts? Chime in.

I’ve been obsessing over what God thinks about worship.

In my search, I recently opened the New Testament to look for some of the more blatant passages on worship. What follows is a thumbnail shortlist of some the intricacies our corporate worship should involve. I would love your thoughtful reflection on this.

  • Let doctrine lead to worship (Col.3:15-17)
  • Let truth lead to worship (John 4:23)
  • Let His glory lead to worship (Rev. 4:11)
  • Let his power lead to worship (Rev. 4:11)
  • Let awe for Him accompany worship (Heb. 12:28)
  • Let reverence for Him accompany worship (Heb. 12:28; Eph. 5:18-21)
  • Our worship must be acceptable (Heb. 12:28-29)
  • Jesus makes our worship acceptable by ransoming us with his blood (Rev. 5:9)
  • Let our worship be Christ-centered (Col. 3:17)
  • Let our worship be authorized and made possible in Christ (Eph. 5:20)
  • Let our worship be authentic (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)
  • Let our worship come from thankfulness (Heb. 12:28; Col.3:15b,16; Eph.5:20)
  • Let our worship have feeling (John 4:23)
  • Let our unity be through the worship of God in Christ (Rev. 7:9-10; Col.3:15-16)
  • Let us honor and submit to one another in our worship of God (Eph. 5:21)
  • Let our worship of God edify each other (Col. 3:16)
  • Let our worship of God in Christ be filled by the Spirit (Eph. 5:18)
Do we experience these things together? What other profound ways do you experience God with other people?

What type of sermon works best? [a poll]

These questions have been killing me!! Now, I know some of you will say “Lazo, just be led by the Spirit and go with the flow,” and to some extent, I do…but too much “flow” can also be tantamount to excess gasoline being pushed through the engine upon ignition. My dad called this “flooding the tank.” It results in a car that neither flows nor goes. And that’s not what I want to do with a sermon. Since most of you listen to me in person or on this blog, I want to reasonably consider the things that help us with this thing called communication. So here are some questions…

(check all that apply)

Most of you know my affinity for polls as well as my notorious “give-me-a-show-of-hands-if…[insert provocative statement]” Well, this is no different. If you think about it, it’s actually a classic reciprocity…

  1. you give your thoughts; I consider them in my next sermon.
  2. I give a sermon that communicates more clearly; you benefit from a clearly delivered sermon, and BOOM!–we all be #winning.

So vote before it closes on Friday, and check the answers to see what others posted!


The blog got a little retouch. Hope you don’t mind.

It’s the photographer in me trying to die hard. (Let me know if there are any difficulties).

Help me NOT turn into a self-centered blogging suckerfish

Ok, I’m just gonna be real with this.

I’m planning on using this blog for a long time. As an introvert, I feel I can process stuff a lot better when I type, and when I’m bouncing things off a community of people I know (or am getting to know), it often takes me to sweet places of introspection that I never would have considered by myself. I’m hoping this is also true for many of you. Some make fun of blogs, but they help me wrestle with things, not alone. That’s the beautiful thing about community, even if an element of it has to be virtual. :-)

But I also don’t want to be “that guy” who gets sucked into selling himself by blogging about mindless self-promotion all the time.

I’d like this to be a place where similar-minded people can intersect real issues in the real world with what we believe about God, our worship, our church, our mission, and our Gospel.

As silly as this may sound as we’re surrounded by a world of self-serving technology, I want to serve you on here, and I want us to serve each other.

So this might be a shot in the dark, but since you are the ones I gladly interact with, I need your help by answering these two questions as honestly as you can…

  1. What would you like to see on this blog?
  2. What would you not like to see on this blog?

This blog will be shaped by your thoughtful responses. I’m thankful for those of you who continue to read and contribute. Game on.

The wounds of a friend

As you may have heard, Harold Camping has rescheduled the apocalypse. There are thorough treatments of this fiasco by others more qualified than me which you can read. Some of my favorites include a reminder of the victims to false teaching that deserve more of our attention than the false teacher (not to mention our mercy), a list of things we can learn from the mess, and a post exhorting us to handle the controversy a little more graciously next time.

Next time…being October 21st: (article here)

The nation still isn’t recovering from the media coverage of this eschatological onslaught, and we already have a sequel? (or a triquel)

But what unsettles me the most from the article was that a man close to Harold Camping had the opportunity to gently rebuke him in love, and steer him from further catastrophes, but instead, gave him a word of encouragement tat was tantamount to a pat on the back. That was all the inspiration Camping needed to continue falsifying the Scriptures and leading people on….all the way to October.

When the Scriptures lovingly state that “faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov. 27:6), I believe an attempt is being made to refocus our attention on our need for accountability and teachability in community. Christianity is no solo project, and making monumental decisions simply reiterates the reality that we need as much guidance as we can get. It also suggests that if you are in a position to lovingly correct a friend, DO IT.

Have you ever gotten a sound piece of advice or wisdom that ended up saving you from a mess?

Gossiping the Gospel

Last night at Adorn we saw the sheer effectiveness of the disciples in John 2-4 to generate buzz concerning Jesus simply by testifying (gossiping) about how he transformed their lives. But what is the buzz about Jesus today?

A failed doomsday, a silly band of Christians, and an unending slough of rapture jokes.

Yet blogger Phil Cooke uncovers something amidst the worldwide mockery that I think is noteworthy for us,

This morning, [Harold Camping’s] story was on the front page of the Los Angeles Times – and most likely every other major paper in America.  His story leads CNN and other news networks today.  His story is being talked about on Twitter hashtags, blogs, social media sites, and on the street.

Why?  Because Harold Camping and his followers really believe their message. When that happens, you’re not afraid to spend money, creativity, passion, and energy to make sure your story impacts people’s lives.

It’s just a shame that it’s the wrong message. And even more of a shame the rest of us have done such a poor job of getting the right one out.

How can this situation be redeemed? Is it even possible to generate buzz about Jesus without it ending up being silly? How?

The Kiln Sessions

We recently held our first half-day workshop on worship ministry, and worship leading in the life of Reality Santa Barbara|Carpinteria|Ventura. We are still uploading all the workshops and clinics, but we thought we would post some of the main sessions online so that they would be made available. These are the three done by Dominic Balli, Stan Sinclair, and myself, on the dynamics of being in a band.

I highly recommend listening to Dom’s piece on Sharing the Pie. That was a hit for band dynamics that every single person that plays on a worship team should understand. The introduction to worship is a 30-minute breakdown of our philosophy of worship ministry at Reality. Listening is a workshop aiming to help musicians compliment each other in a worship setting. We hope it blesses you!

You can listen to and download them at

(We apologize, but the workshop with Dom on following the Spirit got cut short. There’s still a good eight minutes on it though).


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