The Cheap Seats


A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to do something pastors seldom do in their own church:


It was a special Sunday, Children’s Sabbath, and our children were running the whole show (with expert help from our staff).  I was, for once, superfluous on a Sunday morning so you know what I did?

I sat up in the balcony.

Each week I watch this crew of folks who choose to sit in the balcony.  Lots of kids, laid back parents, folks who seemed to take things a little casually.

I decided I wanted to see what it was like to just be a spectator–an audience member up in the cheap seats, so I climbed up, sat down, got comfortable, and discovered that I was wrong about the whole thing.

I was wrong about worship in the balcony.  I hadn’t fully realized that it was a holy place of worship just like any other place.

If I truly wanted to do “nothing” that Sunday, I was in the wrong place.  There was nothing superfluous up here.   No audience members or spectators.   Only worshippers in our balcony.

In fact, the unique perspective added to the experience.  We were hovering down over the worship leaders and the rest of the congregation — I’d call it an angelic perspective.

We stood and sang at the hymns, we prayed at the prayers and we listened to the sermon, just like anybody else. But from our vantage point the whole sanctuary was laid out before us.

It was quite beautiful, really.

I always wanted to sit in the “cheap seats” because it looked like fun.

Turns out it offered the richest of worship experiences.

Have a Great Week,



Your next turn.


New Year, new office.

Sort of.

I wanted to fit a round table in my office for small meetings, and it required me to move some things around.

Most notably, my desk has shifted across the room, and is turned completely perpendicular to its old orientation.

I love it.

Now I can see out the window instead of having it at my back.

It’s giving me a whole new outlook on 2015!

Ever hear someone say: “I made a big change in my life!  I totally did a 360”?

That is, of course, absurd, since that means turning around in a circle, ending up where you started.

I’ve heard many others say, “I’ve done a whole 180 with my life!”

Which is admirable.  Some folks need to stop what they’re doing, do an about face, and head back the way they’ve come.

Not me.  I think I’m more of a 90 degrees kind of guy.

I don’t want to abandon all forward progress.  I don’t want to just retrace my old steps.

But from time to time I do need a shifted perspective, a new outlook.

A different angle on things.

What about you? What’s your next turn?

Remember the Byrds hit, “Turn, Turn, Turn”?

“To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn.
There is a season, Turn, Turn, Turn.
And a time to every purpose under Heaven.”

Those words, adapted from Ecclesiastes, remind me it’s good to take a turn from time to time.

If we could treat the course corrections and rearrangements of our lives as spiritual disciplines, we may find ourselves (literally) in a better position to be disciples.

That’s a notion that warms my heart, these cold early days of 2015.

But it’s something to remember…

even when it’s 90 degrees.

Have a great week,



Seeing Double



Today’s devotion comes largely courtesy of a cool post from

Click on the link below and you’ll get to look at pictures of famous landmarks — taken from two wildly different perspectives.

Take a look and then come back here!

Beautiful and fascinating, right?

(I love all of the images, although the Roman Pantheon shot through the doors of a McDonalds made me cringe.)

Wouldn’t it be cool to see everything with both kinds of perspective?

An up close, vivid shot, perfectly framed,
and a distant wide angle shot that sets things into their proper context?

Think about how much more accurately we would perceive the world around us.
As if one eye were a microscope and the other were a telescope!

We’d be much more in tune with the world around us, and our place in it.
We’d be equal parts subjective and objective.

Most of all, we’d perceive the beauty of life with much greater clarity.

It’s entirely possible to do this!

In fact, this is a gift given us through faith.

If we look at life through the lens of faith we develop a kind of double vision.

We tap into a spiritual kind of eyesight beyond our own physical seeing.
We learn to see through God’s eyes as well as our own.

Like any skill, faith-seeing is something we must develop.

We practice through prayer, centering, and desiring to be part of the Kingdom of God.
As we progress, we begin to see the Big Picture, the world as God may see it.

We begin to see how beauty extends beyond the end of our noses.
How each small piece of life connects with the other pieces.

Shadows become more 3-dimensional.  Colors become more diverse.  The scope of life widens.

Our definition of beauty deepens.

. . .

Seeing double is how we see beyond ourselves.  How we catch the vision for the whole of God’s Kingdom.

Seeing double is how we innovate, how we become spiritual entrepreneurs, how we know our task as disciples.

You can do this.  See for yourself.

All it takes is a little faith…

and a little perspective.


Have a great week,