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The God Card

I was talking with a couple at lunch yesterday and mentioned how I don’t usually like it when people throw “The God Card.”

What I meant is that the statement, “God told me…” immediately cuts off conversation and puts others in an awkward spot. Either they agree with you, or they seemingly go against God.

Far too often, I’ve seen the God Card used as a form of manipulation by religious leaders. It can lead to control rather than conversation and followship rather than ownership.

Jesus, who could have thrown the God Card at will, took great pains to educate and reason with people so that they would grow in their wisdom and knowledge of God and his values. He discipled and grew people up rather than just controlling and moving them around.

There are times, however, when a person truly does believe that God has said something or told them to do something. And it seems that sometimes a person needs to let another know that they feel deeply convicted about a decision based on a time of prayer or fasting.

Maybe in these situations we still need to spend some time reasoning with others (like Nathan did with David) and we still need to have grace and humility – after all, we’re not Jesus and we can be wrong, misunderstand things or have a piece of something that will fill out as time goes on.

Maybe, when we feel that God is saying something to us, we should have God inspired conversation rather than just “Play the God Card.” I’ve always thought that we’re one step away from pride and becoming the Pharisee… and there’s nothing we should be more careful and humble about than invoking the name of God (just see the first 2 of the 10 Commandments!!)


I really like this quote that I ran across last night.

“Our communities — the poor, the hungry, schools, businesses — must be different because our churches exist.”

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Posted in: Quotes


Yesterday I showed a satirical video clip of Jesus.

I posted it on the blog over a year ago, but I thought I would repost it as I’ve had several requests for it since yesterday.

Satire can be a beautiful thing… I think the value of this video is that it shows us how ridiculous it would look if Jesus acted the way we often portray he would act through our critical spirits, comparisons and obsession with judging others rather than loving and helping them.

Enjoy… and remember, “Love wins.”

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Posted in: videos

The Bunny

This Sunday at Antioch we’re kicking into a new series on the book of 1 Peter.

I wanted to start on Easter Sunday because the beginning of 1 Peter is an amazing and simple picture of just the gospel. No frills… just what the good news is.

We tend to try and dress the gospel up with a lot of our own stuff. We add little traditions and fun little cultural things.

Accordingly, the theme for Sunday is, “It’s not about the bunny.”

(Nothing derogatory meant toward bunnies… just that the gospel and Easter are squarely about Jesus and not rabbits).

I’m looking forward to diving into 1 Peter week after week from now through sometime this summer. There’s nothing quite so cool as seeing the context and the development within an amazing book of scripture.

Full Circle

My parents always spent time talking with my teachers when I was growing up — all the way through high school. Often times I wasn’t allowed back until my parents had met with the teacher.

Today, I had my first meeting with a teacher as the parent.

The difference, of course, being that Mary Joy’s teacher loves her to death. Either way, it still has a kind of funny life coming “full circle” feel to it!!


Posted in: Family, journal


I’ve been thinking alot about community lately…

Community is what always excited me most about being a church planter and moving to Bend. I told Tamara when we got married that I wanted to put down roots and find some people worth growing old together with.

So I guess thinking about community means that I’m thinking about who’s worth knowing when they’re old and I’m old. It’s not always easy figuring out who’s going to still be fun at age 80 :)

I’m also putting a lot more time into thinking about community at Antioch. Churches are really nothing more than a group of people or a “community.” What we do at the staff and office level will either help facilitate the development of relationships or it won’t. We’ll either be good at building community or we won’t. My prayer is that Antioch will only continue to grow as a safe and warm place to fellowship.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a lot of cool connecting things coming down the pike… new community groups, marriage retreat, summer bbq’s and, of course, family camp 2008!!

Moody / Summer Intern Program

Below is the cover of the intern brochure for our summer intern program at Antioch.

The name is taken from Numbers chapters 13-14 where the nation of Israel sends out spies into the land of Canaan. Some came back excited about what God had for them… and some didn’t.

The Negev Circuit Internship Program is really unique in that it doesn’t view interns as cheap labor. Rather, the program is designed to help college age students discern God’s calling in their lives and to help them leave “excited about what God has for them.”

We’re pretty excited about the partnership with Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where we will be able to present the program and leave booklets with the various department heads. Linda Janney, our Middle School Director, is heading out the weekend of April 11-13 to Chicago to meet with students at Moody.

If you would like to receive more information about the program, are interested in being an intern for the summer or know of someone who might want to come “play with us” in Bend… e-mail and we’d be glad to help you out!!


Posted in: Antioch, interns

Rwanda Video

Ben Edwards put this video together of the day he spent in Rwanda on the recent Africa trip.

It shows an orphanage run by a woman named Naomi… who seems to be one of God’s amazing people in this world.

Ben made the presentation for the national convention of wedding and portrait photographers in Las Vegas this month. It is being shown by a renowned photographer based in Bend to thousands of photographers as a motivational piece about how they can use their craft to make a difference in the world.

It’s amazing to watch how God is using Ben and his experiences in Africa to touch the lives of others…

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Posted in: africa, videos

New Look

Gary just hooked the blog up with a little facelift (thanks to Ben Edwards for his pics).

I was given the advice to remove the family picture to protect them since there are a lot of crazies out there on the internet.

I’m starting to feel the writing itch more and more lately (it comes in spurts for me)… so it’ll be fun to start throwing some energy into writing on the new “Garyized” layout!!


Posted in: blogging

Rick McKinley Video

The sermon video for Rick McKinley’s message at Antioch in January evidently wasn’t working on the iTunes video podcast.

It’s now up and working.

Either search “Antioch Church” in the iTunes store or click here to get to the video podcast.

Parking Job

Kim Hunt is our Director of Arts at Antioch.

This was Kim’s parking job today.

Just in case you can’t figure it out… that white line directly underneath the middle of Kim’s car is supposed to mark the parking spot.

I guess what they say about artists is true (I figured I’d leave off the blonde joke)!!


Posted in: journal


When I get tired my favorite place to go is to the movies. Something about the dark atmosphere being easy on my eyes and getting lost in a storyline that is better than sleep for me.

So… the question. What does a guy do when there are no movies out worth seeing??

I know, really deep thoughts…


Posted in: journal

Vision Sunday

Sunday we’re giving a kind of “State of the Union” talk with reports on Africa, the partnership with World Relief, the partnership with Moody Bible Institute (more on that later) and everything else but the kitchen sink!!

There’s been so much happening lately that I can’t wait to be able to catch everyone up to speed.

More than anything else, I love talking about vision and dreaming big dreams. This time, it will be especially fun because of all the things that God is already doing!!

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Posted in: Antioch, vision

Children’s Booklet

I’m pretty excited about the new Children’s Ministry booklet that Gary worked up with the help of all the gals.

It is so important for people to have good information at their fingertips. We might value children more than any other church, but if we don’t communicate it then people won’t know.

Anyway, make sure to stop by the kids ministry area to pick one up or e-mail us at if you’d like us to mail you a copy!!

"The News"

We went public this morning with our “news.”

We’re expecting baby #4.

It was a little bit of a surprise and we found out 30 minutes before Tamara had to drop me off at the airport to leave for Africa a couple of weeks back (not the best way to process the information :)

Anyway, call me pessimistic, but I’m pretty sure this means our 4th girl!!!

P.S. Is anyone putting together a March Madness pool… I feel strangely drawn to sports right now!


Posted in: Family, journal

King Leopold’s Ghost

Here is an amazing book that I just finished reading through.

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa.

It not only tells the dark story of King Leopold’s Congo, but the beginning of the modern human rights movement, which developed in the face of it.

It is a fascinating read if you are interested in either African History or the history of Human Rights movements.

Ben’s Blog

Ben Edwards is one of the best photographers I’ve ever seen (and one of the neatest people I’ve had the privilege to know).

We were lucky to have Ben with us in Africa.

Click here to visit Ben’s blog. He has posted a lot of pictures and stories from the trip.

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Posted in: africa

Long way home…

Bujumbura to Nairobi, Nairobi to Entebbe (spent the night and had a crazy experience with “The Russians”… ask me later), Entebbe to London, London to Seattle, Seattle to Redmond.

Glad to be home.

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Posted in: africa

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