Dabbling vs. Mastery

I love to dabble.

I like to pick up little things and try my hand at them, and I love to learn. Nothing feels off limits, so it is lots of fun to dabble.

I dabble a little in web coding, and dabbling is how I learned to play guitar (and drums, for that matter, although I totally play like I learned through dabbling). Graphic design, which I’ve done now for almost a decade, started out as dabbling.

In college, I dabbled in teaching myself Russian. I’ve dabbled in golf, enjoying the game and the serenity of getting out in gorgeous weather and picturesque landscaping. I never got to be any good, but I dabbled.

I was made very aware of this tendency this week while exploring our new neighborhood. I left my apartment owned by a Turkish woman (who, for the record, is the best landlady we could have ever imagined), went down to get a haircut from what turned out to be an Italian man (I’ve dabbled in Italian), and we went to the park where we met another mom, who moved to Germany four years ago from Poland.

I’ve been so aware of the multi-cultural nature of Germany this week. And as someone who loves different languages, I desire to talk to each of these people in their own tongue.

I found myself, barely in Deutschland for a month, pondering how I would pick my next language.

Aiming for Mastery

Dabbling is fun, and there is always the excitement of a new thing, the first feelings of success utilizing a new skill. But mastery is harder.

Mastery means seeking to break through those challenging moments. When the language ceases making sense and you find yourself asking “but why?” only to have native speakers tell us “because that feels right,” mastery requires us to lean into that confusion.

Mastery requires you to ask questions and actually do the hard work of understanding and committing to the answers you find.

Dabbling is the easy and fun, but now I need to focus on mastery. Mastery of German, specifically. I need to quiet that desire to jump tracks and go to something else, hunker down, and learn German.

Just German (for now).


All of the people I mentioned above have been in Germany for multiple years and spoke German, making learning “their” language less crucial. But really becoming fluent is hard, and it makes your head hurt, and you end up exhausted at the end of every day, and pushing through those things is the only way to achieve mastery.

Not just German

The more I thought about this, the more I thought about how much we do this in life, specifically in our spiritual lives. I’m particularly prone to dabbling, but I think many of us are as well because it it easier than dealing with the tension.

In our spiritual lives, it is easier to depend on the church to “feed” us than to get up every morning for prayer and Bible study and feed ourselves.

When things get tough at our church, do we jump ship to a church down the street where more is offered, or do we stick it out and see how God works?

Do we seek mastery of our theology? Do we ask questions of Scripture and do the hard work of reading and categorizing and seeing how Scripture answers those questions?

When faced with challenges to our belief system, do we just shrug it off (“It’s just a faith thing.”) or do we go seek to resolve the challenge that people raised?

Do we jump from song to song and experience to experience, looking for new spiritual highs to carry us over to the next one, or do we hunker down and make sure that we are 100% certain about what we believe and why we believe it?

Are we ready to give an answer to anyone that asks about the reason for the hope that we have, as Peter commands believers to be (1 Pt. 3:15)?

I love to dabble, and I hope that love won’t go away. In a world where God has created so many wonderful and fascinating things, why should anyone ever be bored? I love that we can go find things out about the world and, in turn, about God.

But today I want to encourage you, as I am encouraging myself in this new season of life, to resist the temptation to dabble in the important things.

Pursue depth.

Seek mastery.

Seek the Master.



Our first German Presentation

Today we had our first presentation that was to be all in German.

We were guests with Eide and Helga at their church planting group’s annual missions conference, the theme of which was “Gott sei Dank,” or “Thanks be to God.”

Seeing as we have LOTS to be thankful for, as we have watched God syrectch resources and provide for us over and over, we were happy to oblige.

As usual in these sorts of situations, I was a day late and a dollar short in the photography department, and I forgot to have anyone take a picture if us on stage.

Stay tuned for video of the short (about 2-3 minutes) presentation, which we will post here on the blog when we get a copy.

Thanks for your prayers and support. We are so thankkful!



Investing in God’s Economy

“Kingdom Economy” is not an economic term that Warren Buffett probably uses all that often.

In fact, I don’t think that you’ll see a “Kingdom Economics” section in the WSJ, or be able to check your “Kingdom Interest” on your next 401k quarterly summary.

But recently, we got to visit Revolution Church in Louisville, KY, where they were talking about Kingdom Economics.


Kingdom Econ v. Earthly Econ

Rev. Brian Ebel’s message when we visited Revolution was one of grace. In Matthew 20, we see the parable of the workers in the vineyard. A vineyard owner goes at all different parts of the day and hires hands to work his fields that day. At the end of the day, he begins with those hired last and pays them the same as what he was going to pay those who had worked a full day.

In our economy, we say that such practices are not fair. We are an economy based on merit, but God’s economy is built on grace.

In fact, the first workers hired in the parable are the first to grubmle about this very problem. “We worked longer and harder than them! Surely we deserve more pay!” To which the owner replied, “what business is my generosity to you? Didn’t you agree to work for a day’s wage?”

We want God to notice us for what we do for him. We want to puff ourselves up as the “best Christians,” whether that means we are the most tolerant, or the most generous, or the most dedicated at church functions, or the most studious. We don’t want to accept that the deathbed conversion can receive the same grace as the lifelong servant.

But God’s economy is one that pours out great riches to all who trust in him.

Created for Good Works

There is a second side to this message, however. God is not partial based on the amount of work done, but make no mistake: God called us to good works. He called us to work in his name and “cultivate his harvest,” so to speak.

Just as the vineyard owner hired hands to work his fields, God paid the ultimate price in sending his son to die for our sins, so that we might work for his purposes and become his servants, ambassadors, and stewards.

Our job is to use what we have to cultivate a harvest. In the big picture, the faithful will find finances fleeting. What will matter is the work done for the harvest; how many people will know Jesus for eternity because of what we have done on this earth?

My hope in sharing this is to encourage you as we’ve been encouraged. Keep serving, and try (it’s really hard sometimes) not to compare your work to that of others. And spend every day doing the job for which you were “hired:”: to cultivate souls for lasting relationships with Jesus.

In the end, putting some of our earthly resources to eternal rewards will entirely reshape our eagerness for reconciliation.

In light of this sermon, I want to call you to action. If you are reading this post, right this instant, you have opportunity to invest in God’s economy. You can partner with us financially here. You can also partner with us relationally by having us to your small group, introducing us to your friends, and encouraging your families and friends to pledge what they can to our ministry.

Germany (and Europe) need churches. They need the gospel, and they need Christians who have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God to proclaim reconciliation.

Please pray for us, and please do what you can to invest in God’s work in Germany and partner with us.

Your gifts will bear an eternal reward!

Viele grüße,