ri·par·i·an -

rəˈperēən, rīˈperēən


1. relating to or situated on the banks of a river.

While we were hiking along a stream in Colorado just outside of a city, we came across a sign.  It read:



Lands along rivers and streams

are called riparian areas.  These green

ribbons of life comprise less than 5% of 

Colorado’s total land area, yet 90% of

Colorado’s wildlife species use it.


In other words, these are these thin ribbons of life that comprise just a very small fraction of all the available territory, but help sustain the overwhelming majority of all life.  

My mind immediately went to Henry Blackaby and his epic treatise, “Experiencing God”.  The quote everyone references from that book is…

“Watch to see where God is working and join him in His work.”

Not where God is being shouted the loudest...

Not where the largest crowd has gathered…

Not where is contemporary Christian culture is the most articulated…

Not the traditional places where folks who believe seem to be…

But, instead, where God is really working.

Where do you see transformation of life occurring?

Where are people and companies becoming different as a result?

Where are the stories of clarity, change, and life transformation accumulating?

Where are people visibly changed by their involvement?

Where can you say that life is sprouting up and sustaining like a riparian zone in a parched land?

Most of my Christian life has been about the appearance of a changed life.  Listening to the right music, reading the right books, and hanging out in the places that would allow me to identify as a “Christian” (literally, one who is following Christ).  The wrapper, veneer, the very appearance of my life was pretty tight.

But the transformation the gospel offers, that was far from me.

I was a new creation in an eternal sense, but inside, if I am really honest, nothing had really changed.  I was still the same exhausted, uninspired, and discouraged dude.  I read about a new heart set within me and living waters of hope and life.  I just wasn’t really finding it as I flipped through all the channels that traditional contemporary Christianity seemed to offer.

Turning my gaze from the places where life was supposed to be found, to the true riparian zones, has changed everything.  Turns out, they occupy a very small percentage of the Christian landscape, but offer an overwhelming majority of the truly transformational life available. 

I’ve lost the energy to go through the motions.  I’m not really interested in playing Christianity any longer.  I, like Jerry McGuire, “Have lost the ability to bull$#!?”.

But now...

  • I have infinite energy for people who really do want to change their lives.
  • I am incredibly invigorated by leaders who really want to change their businesses.
  • I am involved in 5% of the things I used to be involved in, but I feel like they are the things where I see 90% of the life happening.

I run with a growing tribe of leaders that are interested in doing more than just talking about their faith and admiring their problems.  These folks are living the life of Jesus, addressing their problems, and changing lives.

I feel like I am surrounded by the 5% bringing the 90%.  I have never felt more invigorated or alive.


  • Do you feel like you are finding the riparian zones, the small sliver of contemporary Christianity where 90% of the life is being found?
  • Are people gathering around your business, around you?  Are people acknowledging the change in your life and the culture of your organization?
  • Can you truly say you are experiencing the abundant life the gospel offers?  It is truly available and it is really simple…it just isn’t easy.  Let me know if you are interested and I’ll share with you how we are finding that life.