Wednesday, February 19, 2020


  Metal Mission of Knoxville has officially kicked off phase three of our journey with God.  Previously, I have written about how MMOK came into existence. To read our origin story, click here .  Since then, amazing and unexpected things have happened.  

      When Victor Griffin, Skyler Denny and myself began MMOK, we believed our ministry would be, primarily, in the clubs and to the music community of Knoxville.  If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans!  

        God steered us into a direction none of us envisioned and MMOK became, primarily, a homeless outreach in downtown Knoxville. In the beginning, a handful of us went downtown, each week, and stood under the bridge with a few sausage biscuits and some coffee.  We felt like we could do more and prayed.

          After a few weeks, we noticed a ministry had set up tables on a vacant lot around the corner from where we were standing and we decided to set up on the same lot and see if we got chased away by the police or whoever owned the lot.  To our surprise, no one ever asked us to leave.  

       Week after week, our presence grew and so did those coming to serve with us, yet, we still felt as if we were missing something important.  

    At the same time, we continued to hold our Night in the Word events at The Open Chord music club.  A Baptist pastor from Rutledge TN, Eric Warren, and his wife Angie came to a couple of our events, fully expecting to hear wonky doctrine.  Instead, Eric and Angie felt a call from God to get on board the Metal Mission train and see where the ride took them.  

    The Night in the Word events came to an end but the commitment to serve God continued as we remained faithful to His call in the homeless community.  The vision for Metal Mission expanded and we incorporated.  By this time Pastor Eric and Angie were fully on board, literally as Eric and I became co-chairs of the board of directors of Metal Mission International.

    Our weekly homeless outreach was continuing to be blessed, yet we still felt as if something was missing. From our feelings of dissatisfaction, The Fringe was born.  We had been praying, and even making inquiries, about a place to hold services downtown when God clearly spoke to us and said, "I already gave you a place to hold services downtown."  We realized, the empty lot we served breakfast on was to be our church.  

     We announced our plans to the folks we served on the street, to much enthusiasm.  Pastor Eric and I began to alternate weeks, preaching messages, relevant to the community we were serving. 

You Gotta Serve Someone

   As we were faithful to this new endeavor, God was stirring our hearts for more. Week after week, we preached and wondered, "what's next?"  God stirred, we prayed and we waited, or maybe God waited on us to get up and move.  

    Collectively, and this is how we know this was a God thing, we knew it was time to hold regular church services, in addition to what we were doing on the street.  I began to look for small churches, near downtown, where we could cheaply rent space on Sunday afternoons.  

      Meanwhile, God had other plans, as usual!  My wife, Chrissy, met a lady, Rena at Grace Community Church in Fountain City, which is about 15 minutes from where we serve the homeless.  As Chrissy shared about our ministry, Rena, made the comment, "you guys should start a church."  Chrissy said, "funny you should mention that," and explained we were in the praying stages of finding a place to meet. Rena asked my wife, "Why don't you see about using this church, they would probably just want you to clean."  We prayed, excited about the possibility, and reached out to the Elders of Grace Community Church.

    The leadership of GCC has been more than gracious to us and our ministry vision.  The last week of August 2019, Metal Mission of Knoxville kicked off The Fringe with our first service, as our ministry outreach to the homeless became The Fringe Downtown.

      The Fringe, currently, has two pastors, Eric Warren and myself. We share the preaching responsibilities.  The teaching is expository and each of us teach through a different book of the Bible.  

     All of our messages are online, on both the Metal Mission of Knoxville Facebook page and on my YouTube channel .

     Our mission has remained the same, to reach the lost and minister to those who identify with the fringier side of life. 

Jesus wants you to come as you are but loves you too much to leave you that way

   Who is welcome?  Anyone who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Christ's love. Everyone is welcome, but don't expect to always be comfortable as we believe God's word, handled correctly, will challenge us to be who God wants us to be.

     If you are looking for a place to grow and serve according to your design, MMOK's The Fringe may just be the place for you!  We have plenty of opportunity to serve, we believe in allowing you the freedom to serve as God leads, not according to our perceived needs.

         The Fringe may be a place you can come grow with us as we seek God to change us and our community.

          What does God have in store for us next?  We do not know, but we are anticipating great things.  

      What we do know is, whatever the next step, we want to be squarely in the will of God and we want to promote the unfiltered Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

      If you feel a call to hop on the Metal Mission express, we would love to have you.  We also covet your prayers as we desire to honor God in all we do.

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


      Within evangelical Christianity, we have a myriad of different and often opposing doctrines.  We all agree, I believe, on the fundamental tenets of the Gospel. After that, however, it seems as if everything is up for grabs!  We cannot agree on who can be baptized or even how to baptize for that matter. We cannot agree what is happening to the bread and wine during the Lord's supper. We cannot agree on the proper clothing for church and sometimes, a church may split over the color of the carpet!  

           The funny thing (funny weird, not funny haha) is this was not always the case.   Did you know, once upon a time, believers were all, actually, on the same page? Albeit, it was on the day the church was born, but it did actually happen. Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

        The Bible says when two or more are gathered together in Jesus' name, there He is in the midst of them.  You know what else happens when two or more gather in Christ's name? Theological disagreement.

     One very divisive topic among Christians is the exercising of the gifts of the Spirit.  One believer claims the gifts are no longer in use and the other believer teaches if you do not speak in tongues, you are not really saved.  Obviously, two opposing views cannot both be true.  Both can be false, and in this instance, I believe both statements are false (oh look, now we have 3 views that cannot be reconciled, what joy!!)  

     The easy answer is, "What does the Bible say?" Well, one would think this is the easy answer, however, the fun thing about scripture, when taken out of context, we can make it say pretty much anything we want.  Now, imagine what would happen if we came to scripture asking God to show us what it really says rather than trying to make it say what we already think is true?  

      We all have the same scripture, as believers.  We all have the same Spirit of God indwelling us. So how can we all be so mixed up in our theology? The biggest obstacle we face is our sources of information.  If we are honest, most of what we believe, or think we know, has come from a source outside the Bible.  

      We all have a favorite theologian, a favorite person to learn from, whom we trust.  The average believer gets more theology form a preacher, whether from the pulpit or in a book, than from the Bible itself.  This is a big problem.

       Sadly, we cannot even agree if the Bible is to be taken literally or allegorically.  This, also, is a big problem.  If we choose to go the path of allegory, how do we even know where the path actually lies or where the edges of the path begin?  Some may argue, "yeah, Jesus spoke in parables." Yes, Jesus did speak in parables but He told His disciples this: “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.' 

        I find it ironic the two major parts of scripture most readily relegated to allegory are our origins and our end.  Admittedly, these are also the most difficult to wrap our minds around because we have no experience to which we can relate our beginning or end. The creation account was a one time event and we have no empirical evidence to support nor debunk. The Revelation account is described to us by a man who is seeing our future, with all of it's technology, a man whose greatest technology was an ox cart. The danger is to discredit or discount what we do not easily understand.

      The first thing we must do, no matter what, is remember the command to love one another.  Nothing creates anger and animosity among believers faster than arguing over points of doctrine.  Can we not learn to disagree in love?  Are you willing to allow someone the grace to be wrong?  Are you willing to entertain the idea you may, possibly, be wrong? 

       The best way to reconcile doctrinal differences is to follow Paul's command in 2 Timothy 2:15 - Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.       It appears to me, God is telling us here we can understand scripture and rightly divide truth.  What is hindering us?

       As stated earlier, we all have the same scripture and we all have the same Spirit of God, so shouldn't we all agree?  Here are some reasons why we do not:

     1. We don't read our Bibles for ourselves, we let others tell us           what it says

     2. Many who set doctrines had an agenda

     3. Antisemitism and ignorance of Hebrew scripture led some           early church fathers to mishandle New Testament writing

    4. Using scripture to defend rather than shape beliefs

     Unless you read the Bible with the attitude of a seeker of truth, you will fall into one or more of the traps above.  We live in an age when spiritual illiteracy is inexcusable. We can literally carry a Bible in our pockets through the miracle of technology and phone apps!

     Are you willing to read the Word of God for yourself and allow God's Spirit to teach you rather than a fallible, albeit well meaning, man?  Are you willing to challenge things you have been taught, using the clear teachings and influence of the Holy Spirit, as your guide?  Are you willing to follow truth, where ever it may lead?

    Grab a Bible and a hot cup of coffee, sit at the feet of the Master, and allow God to show you His truth.  I promise you, it will change your life!

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!