pandora music player

Living in the world of cubicles now, I am discovering things I would have never ever discovered before. Like streaming internet radio.Now most streaming internet radio is congested with advertisements for Geiko every five minutes, and their repetition of Ashley Simpson is nearly unbearable. However, due to diligence, I have found the greatest thing to ever happen to music.


Pandora is a player by which you set up stations by selecting one of your favorite artists, and then Pandora gives you many great songs to listen to it that are within the same genre. For me this is great because I have a few bands from various genres that I have no idea what other good bands there are (bloc party, bob marley, bobby darrin). And because I created a “bloc party” channel now I know about great bands such as Elefant and We Are Scientists. So not only am I using Pandora in my cubicle at work, but its playing constantly in my office at home as well. There are no commercials, the interface is incredibly easy to use, and you can create as many different stations as you want. Vegas radio is absolutely terrible and I have a really hard time finding good new music now that I don’t live in Seattle. So this is how a random pastor from a small Midwestern town can have such an eclectic taste in music.

Seriously, take 15 minutes and check out pandora, you won’t be sorry.


Things I have actually said to Tucker this last week.

Because I spend my life holed up in my office working on this paper, I spend crazy amounts of time home alone in isolation with no one to rant to except my dog.  He usually is very supportive of my paper writing process as he lays underneath my desk on top of my feet for hours on end.  Then when I need a break I get his tennis ball and throw it down the stairs and make him go fetch it, over and over, so far I have gotten him to do it 16 times before he refused to come back upstairs.

Occasionally, as I am screwing around on the internet I find something that blows my lid and I have no one to tell except Tucker.  He will usually perk up and listen intently for a few words he knows such as; sit, lay down, walk, hungry, or ball.  If I do not say those words I am sure he is just happy I am not a crazy person who is going to beat him.  So here are a few of the things I have said to him.

1.  “Tucker, can you believe that Ms. Spears has done the impossible?  Made K-Fed look like the more fit parent for a young child.”  I mean hell, you can not tell me that if you had a child and you had to leave them for the weekend with brittney or Kevin, you would leave them with brittney.  Hell no, I would be going to K-fed in a heartbeat.

2.  “Tucker, why do Broncos players keep dying?”  This is sad, but if I had a “my name is Earl theology”  I would think someone in the Broncos organization really did something awful in the recent past.

3.  “Tucker can you believe that news stations have aired over 114,000 Anna Nicole Smith segments since her death?”  Yeah this is just pathetic, I mean a crazy ex-playmate dies and we (America) gather like vultures to garner pleasure from this story.

4.  “Tucker can you believe the guy from Titanic found Jesus!”  Now this is just fun to tell people, it makes it out as if Mr. Cameron has come to love Jesus, but this is not the case, he simple has refuted the resurrection and  make a lot of money in the process.  There really is a deep undercurrent in our culture right now that is anti-Christian.

5.  “Tucker can you believe that the Knicks might make the playoffs!”  This is truly astounding, and I think Isaiah should get to punch Simmons in the face if they do.  I think that would be fair, and I would pay to see it.  Now who is the depraved vulture that wants to get entertainment from the suffering of others.

6.  “Tucker I know you can hear this, but Andy Stanley is doing a great job with the series on temptation called Pause.”  Yeah, Yeah this is just as bad as Steve McCoy admiting to digging Nick Lachey, and Ashley Simpson.  But I gotta be honest, his series has actually be very good and even convicting for me to listen to.  He does a good job at being missional, confrontational, and pastorally loving all at the same time.  Go Stanly.

So yeah this are things my dog and I have been talking about.  He tends to agree with me to often, even when I am sure I am wrong.


Joe Lunardi just released his latest BRACKETOLOGY.


And I just did a dance around my cubicle.


just like Devin, only different

Devin Hudson has a great post up about Choosing Who You Loose. In it he talks about intentionally choosing what you will talk about, or really how you will do church, in order to keep those who are really on board with the gospel essentials. I really encourage whoever in the world reads this blog to check out what Devin says, it’s pure gold.

Currently I too, even though I am simply building a core, am in the process of loosing people.

I have lost people who came and thought my preaching was too brash. I have lost people due to scheduling conflicts. I’m sure I’ve lost people who don’t like me or the style of the church. I have even lost people who have never come.

Most of this is due to the way we have set up church. Both the preaching and the service are designed to catch a certain group of people, and to let others go. I have been talking with my buddy Travis (also planting a church in Las Vegas) about this lately, and he has encouraged me to hold that line tight, and never compromise. One of my core convictions is missional leadership.

My idea of missional leadership is simple. As the gospel infects, and affects the people who come to DOXA, it should cause them to respond in kind. Respond in song, respond in tithes and offerings, and eventually respond through service. So if there is art to glorify God at church, it is becuase someone is painting in response to the gospel. If there are service projects, its becuase someone wants to love and serve in response to the gospel. I will not individually ask a single person to step up during this core phase, all I will do it preach and challenge from the pulpit. This is missional leadership becuase it is organic to the community. A church never has to worry about being culturally relevant if it is constantly engaging non-Christians with the gospel and challenging them to serve God with their lives as a response. If a church is doing this, then they will by default be reprensenting the gospel to their culture. For this reason I will never “bring in” a worship guy. No, God will raise him up from our community. This sounds all nice and great on a blog post, but how do you do church with no worship? The answer: you allow the hole in the service to be there so that a person is compelled by God to fill it.

The main reason for this is missional, but a secondary reason has to do with commitment. I don’t want a person to be committed to me, I want them to be committed to what God is doing through DOXA. If God calls them, they are serving him. If I convince them, well, I am no god to be worshipped or followed. THIS IS SO FREAKING HARD (especailly for those of us with Campus Crusade backgrounds, who individually challenge people like Jack Bauer interrogates people). See, this is intended as a filter. A filter to keep all the people God wants, and to let all the people God doesn’t want to fall through. Here’s the problem with that:


That was what I said this afternoon, and have said it many other afternoons (mostly regarding the people who haven’t even come). I am stuck with the harsh reality that God picks teams much different than I pick teams. I would have had me wait until I was 35, had so and so do worship, and so and so do admin, have so and so do youth, and in roughly 21 years we would have seen Las Vegas repent, shut down, and do things the way me..I mean God wants. But see, God’s ways are different than my ways. He is picking his team not me, and really its my fault for deciding to do church in a way that would expedite that process. See I’m loosing people too, but unlike my friend Devin’s situation, they are not the people I would choose to loose.


young guns

Mark Driscoll has a new article about the young guns who have made a phenomenal impact on the church.


I know what you’re thinking, “This should be really encouraging for you Matt.” Well, not quite, did you see that list? Those are some huge shoes to fill. Most 50 year olds I know will never even hold a candle to those guys. Encouraging, uh, well perhaps. Challenging and convicting? You bet.


learning from the best

I like to do one of two things while driving into work. Listen to Audioslave or Adam Carrolla. I don’t know what it is about Audioslave but when I listen to the amazing riffs of Tom Morello in melodious bliss with the scratchy voice of Christ Cornell I just get put into a great mood. This is always a good way to start my day. On the days that I don’t feel like I need a rhythmic pick me up I listen to Adam Carolla. Adam is the smartest and funniest man on radio, and has surrounded himself with great complementary players. Its like he looked at what Jordan did on the court, and decided, “Hell, why can’t that work for radio?” The best way to sum up Carolla is to say that he everything you wished Howard Stern was: funny, witty, sarcastic, and only mildly crude.

Yesterday Adam explained the filter by which he puts all activities in his life through. Activites as big as getting married or buying a house, or as small as buying a cup of coffee or making fun of the obese man he saw drinking a quad venti caramel macchiato with extra-extra whip cream and caramel at Starbucks. It is quite simple, Carolla says he will only do an activity if it; a) makes him happy, or b) makes him money. Should he send that nasty e-mail to his co-worker? “Well it won’t make me any more happy or richer,” he thinks, and therefore he declines to do it. There is a reason Adam Carolla is as successful as he is: he’s a freaking genius.

Think about the pure logic behind that statement. Machiavellian it may be, but smart also. As a person that loves Jesus I see the obvious pitfalls that this logic will take one to, of which I feel no need to go through since they are painfully obvious. What I would like to say is that this idea of a simple filter by which we send all the activities is our life is brilliant. For the Christian the filter would also be obvious: a) does it glorify God?, and b) does it bless my neighbor. Obviously one would need to be spirit-filled to even carry the motivation to do what this filter asks, but what a great spiritual discipline for the mind. Romans 12:1 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, or as I like to say, the reprogramming of your mind. This spiritual discipline is what I like to call reprogramming our filter.

The reality is that most of us use Carolla’s filter, but when put in the hands of a tremendously smart and hardworking man such as Adam Carolla of Bill Gates, this filter produces success. The bum begging for change on the freeway also uses this filter, he just thought that methamphetamines were a good choice the way that Ron Burgundy thought milk was a good choice. We must learn to renew/reprogram our minds to where every action passes through the filter of a) does it glorify God, and b) does it bless my neighbor. Obviously there is more to the renewal process as we can only understand what glorifies God and blesses others as we learn more about those things as communicated through the Bible. But that is a different spiritual discipline altogether. The filter can be used even with the tiniest bit of Bible knowledge. Just a thought.


a good reason to plant a church

This past Sunday I found myself walking through the neighborhood of DOXA’s gathering roughly 15 minutes before people would show up to eat, praying that God would intervene. It was probably the biggest crisis I have faced as a young church planter. That day I woke up and put the finishing touches to what I thought was a great sermon. I then called a few people who had expressed great enthusiasm in the church plant. People who had made comments to my wife and I such as: “I can’t wait until you guys plant a church,” and “I will definitely be a part of what you do,” even more, “I think this is exactly what we are looking for,” and from this past fall, “Why can’t you start today?”. But Sunday marked fourth straight week of these people not calling me back. My anger began to grow. For years we have prayed for these people, and the lost people around them. We have had them in our living room, and heard their complaints about the church. How did my anger manifest? I wore a t-shirt instead of a collared button-up, and harbored resentment in my heart (I know, I’m such a bad-ass).

Well if this weren’t bad enough when I got to the house to set-up, my wife was nowhere to be found and unable to reach by phone, while the other person who helps set up was sick in bed. Now let me explain something about our set-up: I have no idea how to do it. So there I am at 5:30 (people come at 6) with my good buddy Derek cooking, and a pissed off demeanor that no one is coming, and a living room that has not been set up. The worst part: I desperately needed my wife. I needed her to give me a hug (no offense to Derek), I needed her to listen as I shared pastoral frustrations, I needed her to smile at me, pray for me, and really just be there. AND SHE WON’T ANSWER HER PHONE.

Then, the next day I got sick. From 3pm until the next morning I slept and laid around with my dog, while having a sore throat, a throbbing head, and a stomach that would tell me it was hungry one minute and that it wanted to throw up the next. When my wife got home at 8pm she dropped everything to help me. Normally when I am sick I just want to be left alone, which is the opposite of my wife who wants to be babied. She made me a bath, and as she was leaving to go do something I asked her where she was going. She responded that she was going to watch TV, and then asked if I wanted her to stay. YES, I WANTED HER TO STAY. I wanted her to be near me, to laugh when I make fun of myself for being sick, to smile at every word I say like she always does. I just wanted to be around my wife.

I tell those two stories about my wife to summarize what’s been going on in my life these past few weeks. I am simply wanting and needing my wife more than ever. When we used to work for Campus Crusade we would always lament that we were around each other too much, and needed a clear dichotomy between our work and personal lives. Now we have that, I find myself thinking about her all day, dreaming about simply snuggling on the couch and watching Best Week Ever, and coveting our Saturday morning walks together. Not only this, but I am so aware of how much I need her. No one believes in me like she does, and no one serves me like she does. No one knows how to gently tell me that I shouldn’t say or wear certain things, and no one’s words of affirmation mean as much. She has become much more precious, beautiful and wonderful to me since we have started this church plant. If that’s not reason enough to plant a church I don’t know what is.