The Evolution of Kineo

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Kineo. This was the name of a church plant that I pastored for 5 years. It’s a name loaded with meaning to me personally. It’s bigger than just what Kineo Church meant to me. It’s a Greek word that means “to move” or “to put in motion”. I have a good friend who mentioned this quote below years ago and it ‘moved’ me:

“If you claim to stand in a rushing river, yet you are not moved, then you are not standing in a rushing river.” Unknown

This impacted me greatly, as I was someone who claimed great things about God, who He is, and what it meant to be a worshiper of God, yet I was unmoved and uninspired most of the time in life. The word Kineo came to mind when I looked up what the phrase “to move” meant in Greek literature. This first ‘moved’ me years ago, and continues to move and shape me to this day. So I wanted to share with you the evolution of what this word has become to me.

Kineo. It is not really an entity, although I often dream about a non-profit called Kineo. But even if it ever becomes an entity, it is more of an idea. Kineo, “to be moved”, is not concerned with the type of movement that explains the “How do you become successful” questions, nor is it the kind of movement that answers the “What do you do” type of questions. No, the movement of Kineo to me is an ethos (look up what ‘ethos’ means in a dictionary if you have to… there’s no shame in that… I had to do that when I first came across the word). Kineo is an ethos which is radically committed to answering the “Who are you” and the “Why do you do what you do” type of questions in life. Kineo is a new way to be human; it’s an habitual spirit of a community of justice and love, displayed in what it desires and how it behaves.

Kineo is a call to move.

To listen.

To see.

To stand.

To hold.

To fight.

For the vulnerable.

For the marginalized.

For the broken.

For the grieving.

For the lonely.

Kineo is a corrective voice to the dominant culture, to help open eyes and ears to voices and stories that have been lost in the wreckage of Western development. It’s a corrective voice for entrepreneurs of the future to consider a new way of business and profit, of shared values and community engagement that gives birth to new types of partnerships. It’s a corrective call to break the silence of the powerless, and to pave new ways of success and healing from trauma. It’s a corrective voice to the old forms of the gathered church to consider alternative communities: slow, organic churches, neighborhood parishes, shared living communities, communities that rediscover the power of proper lament, rest, and the sacramental life, but not dismissing the old forms either. It’s a corrective voice to the consumer model of living that has left sabbath on the dusty shelf of life. 

It is within this idea, this ethos, that Kineo was birthed. It’s been my desire for this ethos to penetrate hearts and minds, to begin to take shape in neighborhoods and businesses, families and faith communities, cities and states. It’s a movement with no real form, and is already happening regardless of myself or this blog post. It’s an underground erosion of the soul that moves people to begin alternative ways of doing life, caring for the marginalized, regaining hope, experiencing beauty, resting and playing, and boldly loving which brings about change.

Will you be a part of the movement? It requires great costs. It demands you drop the act and begin to be honest with who you are. It’s terribly scary and will wreck your status quo agenda in life. But it’s essential for those who are longing for more. It’s your choice. This is your world. You’re shaping what it’s like every day you’re alive. Join the invisible movement today! Tell me about your “Kineo” story. I would love to hear.

Finding La Querencia

Last summer marked the beginning of a new pace in life, well, at least an attempt for a new pace in life. I’ve struggled to understand sabbath in my life for over a decade. I think I’m just now scratching the surface of its purpose. And so it was, that last summer we were able to take 2 months off from life, rent an RV, and cram Amy and I and our 4 kiddos into a small space and drive. Crazy? Yes! Necessary? Absolutely!

We traveled around the country chasing good weather, family, and friends who were intentionally living out the mission of God in diverse contexts. This was a trip of a lifetime for us, a trip where I began my search for la Querencia wherever it is God has me. 
It was last summer when I first read a copy of a book called Slow Church, and there is a chapter where Smith and Pattison talk about sabbath rest and they quote the American author Barry Lopez, writing about the Spanish word querencia which is sometimes translated as the “haunt of wild hearts”:

“[He] describes la querencia as a place on the ground from which one draws strength of character.”
It is clear to me, after another season of being able to serve at a Young Life camp and another 2 months off of routine life in Phoenix, that sabbath rest is really resting in who Jesus says I am… He was meant to be our querencia. He’s the one who truly gives rest that strengthens my character. 
In a world full of busyness that drives us to live at a pace that is not based on a biblical worldview; and a culture that “forces” us to eat whatever is placed before us (or is cheapest and easiest to buy); and a society that has placed work and money at a level that turns people and places into commodities to be consumed… we are in desperate need of alternative lifestyles that display a different kind of pace, a different kind of patience, a different kind of work ethic… all of which are not possible if we are not a people who know how to rest and trust during the seemingly “unproductive” days of rest.
Time. It is time once again this summer that has reminded me that God is not in a hurry and rest is a way of trusting Him in the midst of a world that feels like there’s not enough time in the day. Time reminds me that we are living in eternity now before God. Time reminds me that God shows up in the now; he dispenses grace, mercy, forgiveness, reveals beauty, and matures us in the “now”. Time allows us to enjoy moments and to have fun, but it was not meant for us to base our lives on or to drive into a pace of life that drowns out real life. 
Learning to live in the present, pacing myself, eating slower and being more aware of what I am eating are all being sharpened and awakened as I slow down, rest and trust God in the seemingly “unproductive” now. 
This second summer trip is the result of a commitment to live differently. The difference… hopefully it’s a new kind of sabbath, a sabbath that leads me to places of Querencia that I believe God wants me to inhabit with him daily. A Querencia that was always meant to charge up God’s people to live holistically productive lives which means a healthier pace, more responsible eating, divine rest, more fun, deep healing, and a holy patience with work, people, and life in general.
So for today, I’m finding my Querencia with my daughter Mia at Magic Mountain screaming our heads off, feelings sick, and eating churros! 
  

Beyond Normal

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Beyond Malibu is an extraordinary place. It’s named after a Young Life camp called Malibu, situated about 100 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a beautiful club-type property on the corner of the Jervis and the world-renowned Princess Louisa Inlet. It used to be a retreat center back in the day for very wealthy patrons. Rumor has it that even JFK and his family visited there.

If you know Young Life camps, you would know that when they acquired the property, they eventually made it one of the top youth “play-houses” in the world. It’s full of cedar decks, built on multiple levels, with shops, a large game room, a gym, a pool, and a myriad of water sports/activities, all mixed with lots of energy from work crew and summer staff volunteers and blaring music, all while being surrounded by beautiful towering mountains that go from sea level to over 8,000 ft.

This place is beautiful as you can see in the photos below…

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And so it is, that at the corner of Jervis and Princess Louisa, there lies this beautiful gem of a property, but a couple miles back, deep in the Princess Louisa, tucked away behind a small island, nestled in the trees that crowd the shore line of this part of the world, is a base camp for the mountaineering/adventure camp called Beyond Malibu, named because you must go “beyond” Malibu, beyond all the comfort and provision of “normal” civilization, to find a new way of experiencing camp.

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At Beyond, there aren’t the same amenities that Malibu has… there’s no electricity except for the kitchen/barn area that is hydro powered from the water coming down from the glaciers. There are no flushing toilets, no snack bars, and no game rooms to fill your free time with. To sum up Beyond, it’s work, rest and people.

You work your tail-end off to prepare each week for mountaineering campers who will go up into the glaciers with guides for 6 days, for an experience with Jesus like no other. The work that it takes to get the base camp ready to send off trips is unbelievable, and the work often takes you past the point of exhaustion, so that when it’s time to close off the work day, rest comes very easily.

It’s also a great detox program for the consumer driven culture of the West that gets what it wants “now”. No electronics for kids, no numbing devices or activities are available to escape the reality of boredom at times, no snack bar to grab a quick snack between meals as hunger breaks into your life around 3pm, and comforts from home are far away as a new normal is slowly embraced.

Beyond Malibu is beyond normal.

What is experienced at Beyond is a way of life that confronts the type of cultures that most of us come from. It forces slowness. It demands patience. It creates wonderful community, especially after the forming, norming and storming process takes it’s course in relationships. It allows space for meaningful conversations as no one can travel in their metal boxes alone from one place to another. Beyond slowly works into each person a certain level of vulnerability that allows hearts to be exposed and known.

Isn’t that what we all really want… to be known? Maybe the first time you hear that phrase, you would say, “That is not what I really want!”, until you sit with the reality of not being known. We were created for this new normal, the Beyond-type-of-normal. A way of knowing that makes social-media-type-of-knowing look like child’s play. It’s a way of knowing that forces you to be honest with who you are and how you really feel in life. You can’t pretend in this environment.

The Beyond normal is a new normal that I believe we all need to some degree, as life can only hold us up for so long as we identify ourselves by “what we do.” We weren’t created to answer the question, “So what do you do?”. We were created to answer the question “Who are you and why do you do what you do?” The “what” is usually answered as you learn about the “who” and the “why” of a person.

Beyond gets past the “what you do” in life and gets straight to the “who are you” and “why it is you do what you do.” We need this new normal to invade our lives so we can truly know and truly be known. This is where meaningful relationships begin. This is a hot bed for the transformational change many of us have been longing for in our lives.

Thanks Beyond Malibu for offering a Beyond-type-of-normal experience!

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An Anniversary Reflection

It was the summer of 1996. I had just graduated high school in May and soon after I went off to a work crew assignment at a Young Life camp in British Colombia called Malibu, I know, rough stuff, but somebody had to fill the role.

That summer most of the friends I made were from Dallas, and at the end of the assignment in June I thought Dallas was the new place for me. I moved out there to make a new home for myself and lived in a house with a few  friends who were in Young Life. Everything I owned I packed into a 1985 Toyota Corolla and made trip to the Lone Star state. I had one cassette tape at the time and my car stereo had no antenna, so I wore out an old Plank Eye album. Packing everything you own and driving somewhere is an exhilarating experience. If you’re ever bale to do, I highly suggest it!

Fast forward to the first week of September now, that same year. I found myself unsettled, uneasy, and empty. Dallas was fun, but it wasn’t home, and I was fighting to make it feel that way. The fight ended that week and I realized there were things in Phoenix that I hated, but I was running from them instead of facing them. There were mountains I didn’t want to climb and thought if I ran far enough the other way, I would lost sight of it all. I found out that’s not true. I chose to face the mountain, even though I didn’t realize the cost or what that would mean until much later in life.

So I packed up my Corolla again with everything I owned and made the trip back home with Plank Eye. It just so happened that the weekend I arrived in Phoenix was the same weekend of Young Life’s leader weekend retreat in Prescott. So I passed right through Phoenix and headed up to Prescott… Young Life is a large part of what home is for me.

That weekend I was in the for the surprise of my life. You see, there was this really good looking girl in Young Life I used to hang out with before I graduated, but she was a tier or two above me on the marketability scale. I liked her, but never gave it much thought about making a move to put my ego on the line to ask her out or anything. But this weekend, the weekend I chose not to run away anymore, was going to change my life.

I found myself in the same small room with and a handful of others learning about something I don’t remember. My mind was fixated on her, but I wasn’t going to let my body or my eyes show it. Every now and then I would wander my eyes over to where she was sitting, being careful not to let her see me look at her. But about 5 minutes into our time there, I looked her way, and realized… she was looking my way!

Our eyes met and locked into one another, love music began playing in the background, and wind started blowing through her hair… No, not really, that was just what my mind was thinking of though. She had a calm happy smile and waved at me and I waved back with sweaty pits, a nervous smile, and sweat drops building up on the side of my nostrils as if I had just had some really hot salsa. I thought to myself, “She waved! What does that mean? Is she just being nice?” I was so excited and nervous at the same time.

Then a sort of game ensued. We kept making eye contact and full on flirting was in play. I couldn’t believe it. I came home to face my fears, but this was a different fear to face. “The best looking lady in Young Life, the most eligible bachelorette, was flirting with me!” I thought to myself. “How do I not mess this up?”

There’s not enough time to explain all that happened after that, but one thing’s for sure, I was hooked and couldn’t stop facing that fear of rejection. A few months later I was sitting at a Wendy’s just before Christmas, 1996, looking into the eyes of Amy Roth as we both told each other that that we both wanted to be a ‘thing’!

May 29th, 1999 we made our love official and covenantal. It would take a while before I would see the value of making a promise, but now that I see it, it means much more to me than I ever thought it would. She has loved me at times only because she promised to love me, not because I’ve been lovable or even worth loving. This has been life giving to me and I know my covenantal love for her has been life giving to her as well.

We labor to make our love fun and passionate, not just covenantal. But sometimes when it is not what it should be, the covenant keeps you in the game. In this season of life, I am the source of the lack of fun and passion most of the time, and am grateful for my wife of 16 years who has loved me in beautiful and hard ways and has lovingly spoken life and truth into me and our marriage.

Happy Anniversary Amy Skeens. I’m thankful you chose to commit to me and chose to do life together. May God give us grace for another fun, passionate, and covenantal 16 years.

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A Journey Towards Unity – Ephesians 4:16

Here it is! Can you feel it in the air? Can you sense something’s changed. Christ kept his word. He never left us. He broke into human history again. This time, as an infection of the soul. A divine breathe from heaven came down and breathed onto humanity. An outside force, different than anything from this world, brought it’s power and made itself known. Fire. Wind. Hearts a-flamed. Souls torn through by a mysterious blowing wind.

Mankind is promised to never be the same. Many will try to grab this power and wield it for themselves. Many will doubt this power and say it’s not real. Many will over exaggerate what this fire is doing. But mark my words, this presence of God, his Spirit, is here, and he has brought radical change, a new way to be human. This is something that you receive, not take. The Spirit is only received through hearts that are soft and surrendered to God’s ways, particularly, God’s way of love and truth. As Pentecost sets in today, we’ll turn our final gaze to Ephesians.

The Connected Body – Ephesians 4:16

16 Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.

As we come to the end of the this week’s journey, we close with a word picture that Paul uses to focus our minds and hearts on what he’s been sharing. He’s not ending the chapter here, but he is tying up loose ends that he began back in chapter 1:

“God put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. The church is Christ’s body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere” (vv. 22-23).

We are the body, under the control of Christ, the captain, our older brother. The word body in Greek is sṓma, which means “an organized whole made up of parts and members.” We are all different and diverse, working together as different parts of a body would work together, being interconnected by other members submitted to the oneness of Christ. As each part plays its role, every joint and member adds its strength and weakness to the whole body, which allows it to grow and mature in the love and truth of Christ Jesus.

So if we are the body of Christ, one body, then we all belong to one another. This means we are not merely called Christians, but “family members” joined by and with Christ, with a mission to make his beauty and worth known above every earthly treasure or passion.

Jesus Christ has a body here on earth called the Church. She has legs to go to the places that Jesus would go. She has arms to do the work that Jesus would do. She has mouths to say the things that Jesus would say. She has backs to carry the burdens that Jesus would carry. She has new hearts to love the people Jesus would love. She has one aim in the world, to make Christ’s body real through displaying her oneness in love. Go into the world, in beautiful ways, showing how much Christ loves.

A Prayer For Us Today

Lord God, you are on a mission and it will not fail. You have displayed your glory through gathered men and women throughout the ages. Bless our gathering today and in days to come. You have called us to join you on this mission to reconcile men and women back to yourself, to call them to a family reunion, a family that was broken and dispersed after the fall of man. We thank you that you never stop pursuing us and that you promise to return to complete the reunion once and for all. Make us one today in Christ Jesus as we imperfectly worship together with only parts of the body, but not the whole. We long for the day we are fully one. Amen.

For Those Who Want To Go Deeper

When Jesus came to the earth, he did not establish a church or a program; he did not write a book or publish any of his sermons. Instead, he gathered people and said, “Follow Me.” God’s reconciliation plan is for us to follow him in relationship, and in the process of following him, we are to build other relationships. The kingdom of God grows and unites one heart at a time.

Are you ready to play your part? Will you commit to building relationships with those across the aisle from you, or with those from another theological camp? Can you commit to getting to know the neighbors who live behind the handful of doors on your actual street? God’s plan is and has always been about relationships. Go ahead, be the body and build relationships with other members waiting to be reunited to the new family. A good start would be to join us today, at some point in the day, at this worship gathering downtown at the convention center. Happy Pentecost!

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A Journey Towards Unity – Ephesians 4:15

Easter is almost over, Pentecost is one evening away. As this Easter season closes, may we be brought under the authority of Christ’s love, love that changes us in ways that are mysterious to us. Today, my desire is to bump up against Jesus in such a way that we experience him as loving savior who has made a way for us to be re-united with our Father in heaven, so that we can not just be children of God, but step into our true identity of being sons and daughters.

The Head of the Body – Ephesians 4:15

Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.

Many people know that the “love chapter” of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13, but did you know that, besides that chapter, the letter of Ephesians has more references to love per page than anywhere else in all of Paul’s letters? Here he addresses the really big issue of unity, which is birthed from love and rooted in truth, namely the love and truth of Jesus.

God’s redeeming purposes are clearly spelled out in the first three chapters of Ephesians, and now we have been seeing how his plan of redemption is ‘supposed to’ play out in the lives of his children. Those who have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world” (Eph. 1:3) are being called to live out the vocation (calling) of that blessing under the headship of the only King, Jesus. And Paul is now saying that the life that is found under the headship of Christ is the life that will learn to speak the truth in love.

If you have been following along with the scripture journey this week, one thing you may have noticed is that Paul does not give us a list of do’s and don’ts, nor does he offer any easy suggestions as to how we are to mature and walk in the oneness that is already ours in Christ. What he has done, however, is offer us an invitation. Indeed, he has exhorted us to be radically changed by Jesus’ grace through knowing and experiencing the oneness of God through the body life of Christ (the Church).

Now we are being reminded that this change only happens as we are conformed to the head of the Church, Jesus Christ. This is impossible on our own, and we are sure to not be changed on our own as we stumble through obedience, but the pursuit and desire to love and be truthful is the very means by which we begin to be changed. Jesus sees hearts; hearts desiring to love and live in truth. He doesn’t major on behavior, because if hearts are changed, love and truth follow.

We are being urged by Paul to align every aspect of our lives under the authority of Christ Jesus; he is the final say. It is Christ who has established one new humanity, and it is only Christ who can lead and direct enemies to come together as one body, so that the world will know him. Although diverse and at varying levels of maturity, we must always demonstrate before the world our unity in Christ, as much as it depends on us.

A Prayer For Us Today

Father, you graciously sent your only Son to earth. He submitted to and obeyed your will and gave his life as a ransom for many. You sent the Holy Spirit for the empowerment of the whole body, working together in harmony under the head of the Church, Christ Jesus our Lord. Make your name known throughout all the earth, as we labor to be people of truth and love. Amen.

For Those Who Want To Go Deeper

Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, the head of the Church. As leaders come and go, even among many hierarchical traditions, we are to honor Jesus above all others. Have you honored traditions and leaders more than Jesus? Is submission to Jesus difficult for you? Do you struggle with Jesus having the final say in your life?

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A Journey Towards Unity – Ephesians 4:14

Many people are afraid of the slippery slope of unity because there have been many pursuits towards unity, by well (and surely some unwell) intended believers who have let the idea of unity become greater than the God of unity. Today, we turn our gaze once again to the orchestrator, the conductor if you will, and to keep the symphony theme going, the very source of all the diverse instruments that are used to play together in harmony, Christ Jesus. If He is lost in all of our pursuits of unity, we will never have unity.

The Armored Body – Ephesians 4:14

Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent.

There is a danger is desiring unity at the expense of losing Jesus as the center. There is also danger in thinking that our ways are the best ways, and everyone else has missed out on God’s purpose for the Church. Many of the church divisions of the past and present end up forming churches and parishes that often look nothing like what we learn from the apostle Paul.

Jesus clearly called out the religious leaders of his day. In fact, it was always the leaders with whom Jesus was angry— those who were out to make money on the weak, the emotionally fragile, the naive, the ones who were full of guilt. Jesus called them a brood of vipers, hypocrites. They had an outward appearance of holiness, but their insides, their hearts, were far from God (Matthew 23).

God has equipped the body of Christ to withstand the schemes of the devil and the trickery of those who do not want Jesus, but prefer profit and selfish gain (those who suffer from the “me” and now” syndrome we discussed in the previous post). God wants the Church to grow up, rejecting hypocrisy. We must not be known in the world as those who say holy things with their lips, but live deceitful lives. God desires that we recognize the counterfeits and resist them, so that Jesus is the One who is followed, not denominations, movements, or church leaders.

Paul knows this will be a struggle within the Church, and this is why, at the end of this letter, he speaks of the Church arming herself, not with a material armor, but a spiritual armor to combat the real enemy, the rulers and authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:10-20).

Putting Christ at the center of our pursuit, and allowing Him to stay the center of our pursuit are two different things, and we must be intentional to labor towards both. Christ is Lord, we are not. May the journey towards unity lead us closer to (and more intimately united with) Jesus and not our ideas of unity.

A Prayer For Us Today

Lord Jesus Christ, we are all susceptible to lies and schemes that twist the truth. Grant us grace that we would have the wisdom and discernment to see counterfeits and run from them. Help us as we labor toward maturity and the building up of the whole body, so that we are not children tossed and broken as if by the waves of the sea. We don’t want to bring shame upon your name through our actions. Purify your Church, remove corrupt leaders, and bring us to unity in your Son, for your glory. Amen.

For Those Who Want To Go Deeper

The ways of the devil are tricky and he desires to disrupt the life of Christ’s body, the Church. Is there trickery in your life that you need to confess and move on from? Bringing things to light in love is always the best way to combat the schemes of the enemy (1 John 1:5-10).

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