Soul gardeners

Life is messy and not a 5 point plan! Jesus gave us wonderful metaphors to navigate the mess. We are an African couple committed to the Gardener. Our passion is tilling and working the soil of our lives and gardening with a community. We live in South Africa and we are praying for God's direction in our lives.


God is awesome. It is good to travel and extend my limited vision of God's activity - He is at work in the whole world folks! Wednesday evening we met a lot of cool people. One of them Trey, stayed with a couple in South Africa that poured their lives into ours - coincidence - I DO NOT THINK SO!!! God is the Master Weaver; continually mixing; connecting and working on His global collage.

I am meeting people who love God and have a lot of interesting thoughts and ideas. I feel humbled by the cloud of witnesses - it is exciting to be alive, right here right now.
Have a good day, and live for God,
Notice our God today, be a detective of Divinity.


My wife is the best!

It's our fifth wedding anniversary today. My wife is a wonderful woman of integrity and passion, she is definitely the best gift ever.
We are in San Diego at the Emegent convention, meeting a lot of interesting people.
It's raining here - got to go now - breakfast is calling our names.

+++God thanks for your gifts, help me to be a gift to others +++


Long time no blog!
We spent some time playing and praying. Yesterday we snowboarded in 4 feet of powder - it was amazing!

I am reading a fascinating book called Desert Solitaire an amazing book by an ex-park ranger in Utah; he worked in Moab before it became commercialized. The book stirs me, here are a few of his and my reflections:

He reflects on an evening when he sat outside and enjoyed creation, after which he uses his flashlight to write a letter to himself.

The flashlight, or electrical torch as the English call it, is a useful instrument in certain situations but i can see the road well enough without it. Better, in fact.
There's another disadvantage to the use of a flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate man from the world around him. If i switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can only see the small pool of light witch it makes in front of me; I am isolated. Leaving the flashlight in my pocket where it belongs, I remain a part of the environment I walk through and my vision though limited has no sharp or definite boundary.

What activities am I engaging in that separates me from the world around us?
- the internet, books, movies, endless discussion about church and God instead of with God. Trying to discover my niche or target market!!!!! A vision that has very sharp and definite boundaries.
- oooohhh I have to confess.

He then uses the flashlight to turn the generator on, he reflects:

The engine sputter, gasps, catches fire, gains momentum, winds up into a roar, valves popping, rockers thumping, pistons hissing up and down inside their oiled jackets. Fine: power surges into the wiring, the light bulbs inside the trailer begin to glow, brighten, becoming incandescent. The lights are so bright I can't see a thing and have to shade my eyes as I stumble toward the open door of the trailer. Nor can I hear anything but the clatter of the generator. I am shut off from the natural world and sealed up, encapsulated, in a box of artificial light and tyrannical noise.

What is my generator?
What produces artificial lights and tyrrannical noise?

A few days ago a few of us brainstormed (my brother has a variation called a blamestorm) on evangelism at our church. In our discussion we came to the obvious conclusion that we have to build relationships with people who are loved by God and don't realize it yet. But, there always seem to be a but (and butt) - our lives are so filled with the program generator of numbers, activity and services for Christians, that we are shut off from the rest of the world. Question : Have you hung out with tax collectors and sinners this week? Listening, touching and loving them? I want to, but I will have to turn the generator off!

Edward Abbey continues:

Once inside the trailer my sense adjust to the new situation and soon enough, writing the letter, I lose awareness of the lights and the whine of the motor. But I have cut myself off completely from the greater world which surrounds the man-made shell. The desert and the night are pushed back - I can no longer participate in them or observe; I have exchanged a great and unbounded world for a small, comparatively meager one.

God, help me to readjust to the wild wonder of your Kingdom. Rip me out of my man-made shell. My stupid definitions of success, my preoccupation with myself, my meager attempts to save face,save me from myself. Help me to be wildly abandoned to your endless activity and reign. I love the way you love me. Amen


I am studying leadership today, using the word and my friend Eugene Peterson as a guide:

I love his comments about leadership in spiritual communities and his recommendations for reading:

Christians are quite serious in believing that when they gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, really present and absolutely sovereign. God creates and guides, God saves and heals, God corrects and blesses, God calls and judges. With such comprehensive and personal leadership from God, what is the place of human leadership?
Quite obviously, it has to be second place. It must not elbow its way to the front, it must not bossily take over. Ego-centered, ego-prominent leadership betrays the Master. The best leadership in spiritual communities formed in the name of Jesus, the Messiah, is inconspicuous, not calling attention to itself but not sacrificing anything in the way of conviction and firmness either.
In his letters to two young associates-Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete-we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and his letters shows us how to do it right.

God should be the one Consuming us!

Here are some insightful thoughts from Darren on the biggest threat to church:

in the US per capita income increased 95% between 1968 and 1998 – but in that time giving in churches decreased by 20%. In the same period average levels of savings have plummeted and the level of the average persons debt have sky rocketed. [more]


I wrestled with this quote today :

Meeting the Enemy
Thomas Merton

Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy
is an enemy of God just because he is your
enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy precisely
because he can find nothing in you that gives
glory to God. Perhaps he fears you because he
can find nothing in you of God's love and God's
kindness and God's patience and mercy and
understanding of the weaknesses of men.

Any thoughts?


Lord of the Rings Rock!

Last night we started a 2 week series on the Two Towers - we focused on Gollum.
Gollum was Smeagol, a hobbit before he was corrupted by the ring. When Gandalf tells Frodo the sad story of Smeagol turned Gollum, Frodo reacts:

I can't believe that Gollum was connected with hobbits, however distantly,' said Frodo with some heat. 'What an abominable notion!'  'It is true all the same,' replied Gandalf

Sadly we usually react in the same way when someone in our community turns Gollum - we distance them by disbelieving that they are also created in the image of God.
We all have the potential of turning into Gollum, in fact our culture is a 'generic Gollum producing machine'.

Gollum was so corrupted by the ring, that he passed the point of no return - he could not help himself, once again in the words of Gandalf:

He (Gollum) hated the dark, and he hated light more: he hated everything, and the Ring most of all.‘What do you mean? Said Frodo. ‘Surely the Ring was his precious and the only thing he cared for? Bit if he hated it, why didn’t he get rid of it, or go away and leave it?‘You ought to begin to understand, Frodo, after all you have heard,’ said Gandalf. ‘He hated it and loved it, as he hated and loved himself. He could not get rid of it. He had no will left in the matter. (The Shadow of the Past, p.54)

This sounds a lot like Romans 7 where Paul talks about the times he do the things he doesn't want to do and neglect to do the things he desires to do, he ends that realistic scene in the Bible like this:

Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord - Romans 7:24

Another theme we explored was Frodo's change of heart towards Gollum. In the Fellowship of the Ring he made the statement that it was a pity that Bilbo didn't kill Gollum. Gandalf rebuked him for that statement saying that he should not be too 'eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it.'

In the Two Towers Frodo calls Gollum Smeagol - and as he speaks his real name, Gollum changes as if he remembers something of his normal self. I love the dialogue in the movie:

Frodo: You were not so different from a Hobbit once were you... Sméagol?
Gollum: What did you call me?
Frodo: That was your name once, wasn't it? A long time ago.
Gollum: My... My name... Sméagol.

We are called as a community to encourage each other through the discipline of remembrance. 'Do you remember that you are called Christ's child? God loves you."
Let us stop calling people names and start the process of divine remembrance!
Frodo lives the ancient command of Jesus out in his attitudes towards Gollum:

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Matthew 5:43-47

Who is the Gollum in your life?


Had a good week! God is good. Spent some time visiting with Kevin and Lori, Kevin is the leader of the band Cede. They have a great dog, Cooper. We ate some great food, watched some Cris Farley stuff and talked about church. Lately I have been thinking that if I/we was/were as preoccupied with Christ like we are with church - then we will come to some answers on the church.

Today is a Sabbath day for us - we will chill, play and pray.
Last week I had the opportunity to have dinner with Erwin McManus - he pastors Mosaic in LA. It made a great impact on me, I'll chat about it later. I'm thinking of e-mailing him and asking him a few questions - any questions you would like to add?


My question of the day:

Can we really call community authentic if we have to use a microphone for communication or prayer?


If it is assumed that speaking is sufficient for the proclomation of Christianity, then we have transformed the church into a theater. We can then have an actor learn a sermon and splendidly, masterfully deliver it with facial expressions, gesticulations, modulation, tears, and everything a theater-going public might flock to. Soren Kierkegaard

I lost my comments over the weekend, if you would like to leave a comment just click on it :)

The function of community?

Last week I spent some time with a guy who doesn't like himself - at all. He believes he's bad and worthless, even though he knows that God loves him. We chatted about the significance of names and how name giving was linked to a person's character in the ancient days. As we had the discussion I got an inspiration (a dream).... Sooo, I have a dream. A dream that everyone in my community and outside will here their real name. What if I lived in such a way that my friend will know and experience that he is loved?

That we might live lives that encourage not deflate, bringing out the best in others. I, and I would venture to say 'we' so easily forget that "Christian" means Christ's - it would be so cool if we could be a community rhythmically echoing what God modeled when he said to Jesus "This is my Beloved Son in whom I am pleased". If you are reading this I want to tell you that you are invited to be a Beloved Son/Daughter of the Living God. Take a ,moment reflect on this thought:

So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family - calling him "Father, dear Father". Romans 8:15


A friend e-mailed me the following:

Here are some signs that you won't find anywhere else in the world except in
In a restaurant in Zambia:"Open seven days a week and weekends."
On the grounds of a private school in South Africa:"No trespassing without
On a window of a Nigerian shop:"Why go elsewhere to be cheated when you can
come here?."
On a poster in Ghana:"Are you an adult who cannot read? If so, we can help."
In a hotel in Mozambique:"Visitors are expected to complain at the office
between the hours of 9.00 am and 11.00am daily."
On a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo:"Take note: When this sign is
submerged, the river is impassable."
In a Zimbabwean restaurant:"Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to
see the manager."
A sign seen on a hand dryer in a Lesotho public toilet:"Risk of electric
shock. Do not activate with wet hands."
In a Botswana jewellery shop:"Ears pierced while you wait."
On one of the buildings of a Sierra Leonne hospital:"Mental Health Prevention
In a maternity ward of a clinic in Tanzania:"No children allowed!"
In a Malawi hotel:"It is forbidden to steal towels please. If you are not a
person to do such a thing, please don't read this notice."
A sign posted in an Algerian tourist camping park: "It is strictly forbidden
on our camping site that people of different sex, for instance a man and
woman,live together in one tent unless they are married to each other for that purpose."
In a Namibian night-club:"Ladies are not allowed to have children in the bar."

Windshield wipers and God

It's snowing today in Colorado Springs - finally. Earlier I drove on the interstate to meet a friend downtown. The roads were treacherous and wet, my wiper fluid empty. Sooo I'm having the classic 'attempting to clean the window without water routine'. It did not and will not work! The more I wiped, the more trouble I inflicted on the car. After a few minutes of futile dry wiping I only had a 2x2 inch clean spot and drove on the interstate, not only endangering my own but also other peoples' lives. I arrived at church safe and relieved. Later in the day I bought some fluid and it washed my problems away.

Engaged in my stupid cleaning attempts I thought that this is a perfect picture of what sin is. It increases when we apply self-effort just like the empty fluid mechanism. Furthermore it clogs our vision and deters the ability to see things clearly. When I'm in this state I also put people in my community and other communities at risk. Anyway it's still snowing - tonight I will chill out and play some PS2.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22


I am so sore today! Yesterday Lollie and I started the body for life program. We exercised yesterday using weights and boy does it pain, imagine ropes tied to your limbs and two horses running in opposite directions!. Our new exercise goals force us to wake up at 6:00!!!!! That's very hard for us, night owls that we are. Our new schedule gives me some time in the mornings to read and reflect with the Spirit, weird for me but refreshing - I usually do it during the day (normal hours).

The program is for 84 days, today is day 2.
This morning in my reflection I got the idee of running some spiritual exercises parallel to the physical ones - I'll be digging into Foster, Nouwen and Thomas. Hopefully I'll burn fat, get rid of flab and have energy for God.

Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.


Sometimes the membrane between the supernatural and natural EXPLODES. Last night was an explosion at Pierced. God, in His mercy encourages us every now and then with something truly remarkable, hitting the pause and record button on our hearts.

Justin, one of the guys who accepted Christ in our community was baptized last night and he shared his testimony - the story of God's fingerprints in his life. He invited a band of his friends to celebrate his death and new life in Christ. When he shared the story of transformation, God used it powerfully to touch other people in our community, awakening a hunger in all of us.

God the Master Storyteller at his best, taking obscure and ordinary things and using it to create a remarkable epic!

It awoke a hunger in me for Christ for following Him with everything in me, to live the new life as an adventure - dangerously!
Jesus thank you for the change you are authoring in our lives, help us to follow hard after you
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!


Last weekend I spoke about Life Together at Woodmen.

Sabbath. A beautiful word and a wonderful rhythm to live. Today is our first real Sabbath day in 2 months, we had a lot of friends and family visit from Africa - it was really fun but also hectic. Today I feel like my soul is breeding again, it is catching up with my body's frantic pace. Time to play and pray - it is PRECIOUS.

Yesterday we hung out with 2 gold medal olympians at the OTC. We are working on a series in April at our community called Pierced, they will share their stories and we will share God's invitation to spiritual practices. I asked them what they liked doing most in their off-time. The answer - Recovering, sleeping, chilling out - they cannot continue in their training without it, neither can we.

I'm currently reading A is for Abductive and I like it for the most part, also on the reading list:

The Younger Evangelicals
Digital Storytelling

God is good.