Category Archives: Beer

The Local (c)hurch and It’s Push Toward Un-Christlikeness

I was going to add a picture referring to the “build the wall” camp or “keep the refugees out”, but the pics and amount of ignorance toward these subjects sickened me even more, which just solidified the reason I felt compelled to write this brief post. So I will start with this:

I sit here at my computer feeling brokenhearted and struggling with where I see the evangelical church in America has evolved, especially in the past few years (since the past 20 years is the only time I really paid much attention to the church in America). The political climate has now infiltrated the minds of those who consider themselves conservatives as well as liberals, and both sides have seemed to have totally lost their ever-loving minds, in my opinion of course.

I see a person in the White House who says he believes in God and says words that claim to be a Christian, and regardless of his actions and words, and if they actually look anything like Jesus, many  who say they are evangelical Christians just blindly look past the completely un-Christlike behaviors of this man and line up to not only vote him in as president (and support that vote to the end) but follow his every lead along the way regardless of the dissension and separation it has and does lead to on a daily basis in America.

I see people who call themselves liberal, or simply not the “conservative” right, spend an inordinate amount of time bashing, cursing, and ranting to and about anything that feels to them like conservatism or Christianity, never with the intent to make a difference or get to know others who think differently than they do.

Or how about the millions and millions of dollars donated to GoFundMe to “build the wall”, when those dollars could help someone in your local community feed their kids.

And don’t get me started on the gross amounts of money being spent to build the local (c)hurch kingdoms instead of commissioning their people with that money to go into their communities and be generous in love and deed. “If we build it, they will come” and give us more so we can continue to grow our kingdoms. Just gross…

I may be a bit biased because I come from many years in the depths of the deception, but all sides share fault here. “Sides” create division, and division breeds hatred and fear – thus is the state of America as we know it!

Fear and hate in the local (c)hurch have led to chants of “build the wall”, and “refugees are not welcome”,  but what I see is a man, Jesus, who compels those who truly follow his lead to simply love…and sometimes that love is uncomfortable and may require a little courage! Unfortunately, the word “love” doesn’t describe much of what the local church and it’s members have become (simply look to social media and you can find exactly what many evangelicals are against, but not much of what they are for unless it is sharing the #blessed life, that is as fake as the smile on the posed faces). Fear and hate are driving forces in many, and like so many other generations from our past,  they do so in the name of God, but that’s not a Jesus I would follow….and it’s not THE Jesus I do follow either! Maybe it is time for the local (c)hurch to do some soul-searching to discover The Church in which Jesus called us all to become – one that leads with love and grace!

If you happen to call yourself a follower of Jesus (or not for that matter), simply go to the words of the New Testament in red and read what he said. Look at who he hung out with, broke bread with, extended grace to, and loved. Then look in the mirror and you just may see the reflection of the ones Jesus rebuked the most – the religious whose only intentions were of their own kingdom, one in which power and greed, along with fear led their actions and behaviors! The kingdom of God that Jesus describes to us is in us and can only be found through love, acceptance, inclusion, grace, and peace. That kingdom is led with love and grace, not hateful words and walls!

The conservative “right” and the liberal “left” need to come together in the rational “middle” and share a beer or coffee and have a conversation!

We can do better! We HAVE to do better! How?

Maybe the next step is to actually sit down with someone who thinks differently than you and talk. Build a relationship and if you have differences in opinion, great! We have all but lost the ability to disagree with someone and also be friends! And that is what the political climate, religion, and media (social or big media) in this country have created – separation, hate, and division. But we have a choice!

We can choose love! We can choose grace! We can choose to disagree and still love! Connect with people, care about others…then and only then will the idea of Christlikeness return to the local church as well as the idea of love and grace to our local communities we live regardless of our political, religious or other belief!

Lead with love!



Total Surrender is True Freedom

When you hear the words “Total Surrender” when it relates to following Jesus, what comes to mind?  Many years ago for me the idea of total surrender meant that I must give up all the stuff I really enjoyed if I were serious about following Jesus – music, sports talk radio, hanging out at bars drinking beer and throwing darts, playing golf, etc.  At that time I felt that the things that I was overindulging in were the problem, but the problem itself was much deeper.  It was rooted in the fact that these activities were taking up a lot of time and a higher place in my heart than my relationship with God, my wife and my kids.  My priorities were way out of balance and my relationships were showing it.

Early in my faith journey, the time where personal discipleship truly began taking root, I needed to make some drastic changes in my life, but didn’t know what to do or how to grow.  So with very little guidance, I simply gave up the things I saw as detrimental to the relationships that mattered most.  For me, without guidance, that was exactly the right thing to do as it helped me focus my energy and faith in a way where priorities simply worked themselves out – God first, then my wife, kids, etc.  You see, without a mentor, someone intentionally walking alongside me in my early faith journey, the places I was hanging out were not healthy places for me to spend a load of time.  However, if I had a mentor, I truly feel I would have seen an opportunity to extend the relationships I already had in those areas of my life to a spiritual level, inviting others in on the journey of faith I was embarking!  Hindsight is always 20/20, but I feel God is showing me these things to share with others beginning their faith journey as well as with those who are willing to make a difference in the life of someone who is beginning to navigate this journey of faith!

Surrendering ourselves is allowing God to best be glorified through our lives; and your life may be best utilized in a bar or on a golf course!

Giving up the stuff we enjoy in order to follow Jesus was never His plan; His plan involves Total Surrender of our selfish desires to His will for our lives, yet living our lives right where we are now in a way that glorifies Him in our thoughts and actions.  The type of music I listened to, the bars I hung out in, or the golf courses I played on were actually a big part of who I was, and exactly the type of places where God could be glorified by a sinner like me who was saved by the grace of Jesus Christ.  The problem was never the activities, it was making these activities a priority in my life over the relationships I needed most.


So if you are early in your faith journey, have been a follower of Jesus for a long time, or are simply investigating the man Jesus, God really does desire for you to develop your relationship with Him first and foremost – to become His disciple.  Building a relationship with a good mentor is a great way to grow and learn to navigate this new found life in Christ, and is the example Jesus used to reach people when He walked the earth as well as the model He shared with us to begin making disciples.  As you continue to grow and become His disciple, God’s desire is that you would begin making disciples as well.  In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commissions us to go and make disciples.  This is a great reason to continue the relationships we had when we were seeking out our selfish desires (for me, bars and golf courses)…what better way to glorify God than by living out our transformed life in front of those we have had relationships for years!  And in doing so, maybe God will provide an opportunity to begin sharing your testimony of change with those who already know your past self and have witnessed the radical diference in your life.  Of course if the places you hang out are unsafe or unhealthy for you in any way, you will need to use discretion…I am not saying to keep yourself in unsafe conditions, but I am saying to listen to God and discern whether or not you must walk away or simply change your focus and priority.  Again, a good trusted mentor can help in guiding you as well!

Surrendering ourselves is simply allowing God to best be glorified through our lives; and your life may be best utilized in a bar or on a golf course!   When our priorities are clear, a little beer or golf may be the avenue that God desires for you to make an eternal difference in the life of someone who desperately needs a Savior!  Don’t just think about surrender as a sacrifice…live a surrendered life that frees you up to love others in a way that only you can love them…in the places where you are free to be yourself, and the places where others are free to do the same!  God doesn’t want to simply change your behaviors; He wants to transform your life!  Your life, as well as mine, is a mosaic of relationships where Jesus can be made known in conversation over a beer or a game of golf…and to God be the glory!


Pub Theology – Speaking Life the Way Jesus Did

Pub Theo

Pub Theology…Really?

Yes, really!  A thousand times Yes!!!

I recently had an incredible opportunity to be part of a gathering of people worshiping and talking with the good folks from Pub Theology Indy (  I have often felt that some of the best conversations about God, life, success and struggles happen when we let our guards down and just hang out in a local bar or coffee house!  This visit proved that to be true once again.

When my wife and I arrived, we entered the room where the sound system was being set up and people were floating around entering conversations.  I ordered a beer and my wife ordered a glass of wine as we sat down in anticipation of a great night.  We were quickly able to meet the people of Pub and had some amazing conversations with them about life, calling and Jesus.  Yes, you can worship and talk about Jesus in a bar over a beer!  My feeling has always been that this kind of environment would be where we would find Jesus hanging out if He were back on earth in human form seeking to bring real people into a relationship with Him.

The mix of music was great and The Flying Toasters played a great worship set!  The Pub Pastor (Daron) presented the gospel in an appealing way that drew people into a conversation and let them choose where to take what they heard about this man we love, Jesus!  I must say that this was a refreshing gathering of people sold out for Jesus and meeting people where they would hang, not expecting them to come where we usually gather for our creature comforts!

This post is not about critiquing the “performance” or “presentation” of a Christian message by Pub, it is simply written as an example of one way to reach people with the gospel in an environment where trust and relationship can be built quickly with guards down.  When Jesus left us the great commission (see Matthew 28:18-20) He said to go into the entire world and make disciples who will in turn make disciples.  He didn’t say to go to your local synagogue to get fed or let the priest or pastor regurgitate the message for you while you sit comfortably in your seat with little or no intent to engage the world…He said to go out and build relationships with people where they are comfortable.  Remember the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22:

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

Paul’s words are a great reminder to us that Church must happen outside the walls of our local congregational outposts.  Real conversations occur when we are not deceiving others (or ourselves) by acting like we have it all together, as if everyone is getting along great, and are enjoying a richly blessed life, etc, etc.  By the way, a richly blessed life really does happen when we are being completely open and honest with God and doing life with others while dealing with our struggles head on!  Many times we grow the most when life completely sucks and we feel there is nowhere to turn…we then enter a conversation with someone who begins walking alongside us, helping to navigate through the circumstances of the struggle, always pointing back to the Savior in the process.  I have found that those conversations happen naturally over a meal, a beer or coffee when the defenses are down and the act of having it all together has been dropped.  Pub Theology offers just that…an environment where you come as you are, enjoy some beer, some great music, and a real conversation with Jesus Christ in the center of it all!  I will say it again; this is the kind of hangout that I feel Jesus would have wholeheartedly attended!  I can envision the party Jesus attended with Matthew and his buddies being very similar to the Pub gatherings (see Matthew 9:9-13 and Luke 5:27-32)…and who were the only ones looking down on that gathering?  The Pharisees – the self-righteous, religious people on the day!  Unfortunately, there is still a lot of “pharisaical” thinking going on in judgment of these type outposts where followers of Jesus are heeding the words of Paul, and the life of Jesus, and reaching people where they hang out!  From my experience with Pub, and the many conversations I have had in bars and coffee houses, Jesus is being preached, God is being honored and the Holy Spirit is moving in some incredible ways when movements like Pub Theology occur all over the world.  Faith, Hope, Love and Beer…what a mantra to live by!