celtic straits

stories from life's pilgrimage

About Brad

Who is DR. BRAD STRAIT?

brad-ghanaWell, I am a husband, a father, a pastor, a counselor, and a professor.  I love to write, paint, garden, teach, and take pictures. I am a hyper-extrovert who gets recharged hanging out with people. I love traveling, and have learned from and laughed with people all over the world. I also have chosen to be a Christian Mystic. Or a Mystical Christian. Not sure which is best. This means, at the core, that I try to know and experience a living Jesus each day. More about that here.

More of the basics: I have many jobs and roles. I have a doctorate in theology and serve as Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Englewood, Colorado. I teach Leadership and Spiritual Formation at Denver Seminary. I also have a degree in Counseling, and years of practice in marital and family counseling.   I work with families and individuals, specializing in intimacy and relationship issues. I have written broadly on spiritual intimacy, and co-authored Leadership Training Guide: A Resource for Pastors, Elders, and Churches (Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Livonia, Michigan; 2007). I am a Chaplain alongside several fire and police departments, and served twelve years as Chaplain of the House for the Colorado House of Representatives. My real flowers and fruit: I have been married for 33 years to Cathy and have three beautiful, grown daughters.Zasowski859

This talks about my roles–about what I do–but not about how I do what I do.  So, may I offer a deeper look? Everyone needs a set of standards by which to anchor their compass and set their sails. If you want to know me, read my post: “Strait’s Rules of Living Well.”   This is how I try to live life, offered with some comments and explanation. These have coalesced over time, learned bit-by-bit from experience, great mentors, personal dumb choices, numerous broken bones, and the wisdom of world travel.

You can also learn more about Cherry Creek at www.cherrycreekpres.org. This soaring red-brick church is filled with faithful people who are committed to helping everyone they meet, both in Denver and around the world. We believe that the church exists to serve others (not just the church members) and we have invested ourselves into food ministries, basketball and sports camps, quality community childcare, relevant teaching, and no-strings loving relationships.  We call this, “missional living.”

As a church, we are a strange blend of people from many backgrounds. We have historically deep roots, love traditions and liturgy, and think a bunch about the world we live in. We love the Bible, and strive to teach in a way which is relevant to daily life.  We love music of all styles and types, from choir to contemporary worship to jazz. Sundays are often a gentle collision of “high church” and “real people.” We love to laugh and to learn, and admit we don’t have all the answers.  Even so, we love God, hopefully more and more each day. Faithfully, He is shaping us into something better than we were before. If you’re ever in Denver, feel free to come and worship with us. Our web site can give you a taste and allow you to listen sermons by me and other gifted Pastors.

54 comments on “About Brad

  1. Jan Britt
    July 23, 2012

    I think I like you. Having just read of the miracle in Aurora, and now about you, I have decided to get to know you better. I am 65, retiring in one week. The next chapter is starting, and I don’t have a clue how it will be written. But I am “intimately” acquainted with the Author and my Beloved. And I have embraced His mystics (Fenelon, Jesse P Lewis, Watchmen Nee, etc.) for years. Yes, I am looking forward to your blog….and becoming acquainted with another mystic. Selah

    • Brad Strait
      August 6, 2012

      Selah. Love it, An ancient Hebrew musical term of unknown meaning. When I find it in Psalms, I read it as, “Pause, reflect and listen.”

  2. Marji Stevens
    July 24, 2012

    I love your writing. I am an artist and psalmist. I’ve also been called a mystic – but I have not called myself that. I became a widow (after 40 yrs) in 2007. This event turned my life upside down. God has kept me steady and creative through it all. Blogging has been an incredible blessing to me, a way to touch others, while remaining home to care for my 95 yr old mother-in-law. Thank you for your blog – I will keep reading.

  3. Susan Taylor
    July 24, 2012

    As a United Methodist pastor of Starrsville UMC in Covington, Georgia, I am a firm believer and teach of God’s prevenient grace. I join you in praising God for this miracle for Petra, and I continue to pray for all of those whose lives have been forever changed by this tragedy.

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      Bless you, Susan. My father is a retired, God-honoring Methodist pastor. And one of my best friends.

  4. Audrey
    July 24, 2012

    Brad: Just one of the b’zillion folks who has visited your blog today. It looks like today is a life-changer for you. Praying the peace and love of Christ over you as you navigate this sudden phenomenon of fame and continue your duties as pastor.

    • Brad Strait
      July 27, 2012

      Oh, my. How right you are, Audrey. Thank you. I wish no fame, except as a Servant. A prayer: “Jesus, help. Please make me smart and pure today. Amen.”

  5. Honie Briggs
    July 24, 2012

    Our family lived in Greenwood Village when our son was in high school at Cherry Creek. We didn’t have a church home really, but we sometimes attended Mission Hills Church and through that connection, we were made aware of Petra Anderson and subsequently your blog.

    I don’t have a religious affiliation, finding churchianity to be too much for me, I grew up in Baptist churches, I prefer a less legalistic attitude toward my life, my faith, my beliefs –
    I must say, the recent comments on your blog have given me pause. I greatly admire you for the Christ like way in which you responded to the angry, confused people who have chosen to use your post as an opportunity to vent/rant/accuse. I noticed the comments are now closed, and since mine weren’t posted, you are probably very overwhelmed by so many, I decided to let you know here on your about page, how your post touched my heart. Peace to you.

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      Honie, this little note means a lot to me. I have several thousand comments unread, and it became untenable. Thank you for finding a way out of the log jam. I sense God is working in you. Peace to you, too

  6. Patricia Craig-Austin
    July 24, 2012

    Dear Brad,

    I am going to be praying that you cross my son’s path there in Denver soon. If you would care to send me a private Email I will tell you the long story. The short story is that he’s transplanted to Denver from Michigan to get his PhD. He hates Denver, can’t wait to be done. He’s angry with God over many things, although I can’t quite figure out why. Will you please pray with me that if you are meant to reach my son for Jesus’ sake that God will bring you into my son’s life?

    Patricia Craig-Austin
    Michigan

    p.s. if you’d like to find me on FB, search my name as shown above. You are welcome to send me a message if God so leads.

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      As God wills it, I would love to meet him.

  7. Tom Edwards
    July 24, 2012

    Thank you for your blog about Petra. Amazing!! Also, I read your article about being a “Christian mystic”; I’ve tried to describe my journey with Christ over the past 45 years and think “Christian mystic” says it well. Thank you, Brad!

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      So glad for company!

  8. D.K. Strait
    July 24, 2012

    Just found your blog through Air 1 radio and found it quite interesting. Keep me posted. By the way, your name rocks.

    • Brad Strait
      July 25, 2012

      No bias?

  9. Crystal Perry
    July 24, 2012

    I am an elder at Faith Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Quincy, Illinois. My family is praying for Petra’s continued recovery and praising Him for His divine providence. Thank you for your marvelous blog!

  10. Becki
    July 24, 2012

    Is this the Brad Strait that grew up in Aurora?

    • Brad Strait
      July 25, 2012

      Yep. Given the premise that I have really grown up…

  11. Sandy Collum Sandmeyer
    July 25, 2012

    Just wanted you to know that I re-posted your post on Petra. WONDERFUL! God bless you!

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      Thank you, Sandy.

  12. Judy Goos
    July 25, 2012

    Hi Brad. Thank you for this powerful blog. Rick Krump kindly sent me the link to your blog through facebook. My daughter and close, close friends were there that night and my husband, a United Methodist pastor, and I were in the parking lot. I am grateful to hear this story, another miracle of God’s prevenient grace. Judy Goos from South Jr High.

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      Blessings on an old SJH Rebel. Wow. God. Has carried me along way from those halls. And you,too, I presume.

  13. Jeremy Hepoposky
    July 26, 2012

    Brad, yesterday I rad your post about Petra, and I was elated about the blessing she received, re-posted about it on and today I got a vitriolic reply from a friend of a friend, who sent me a link from MSNBC, I think, where a doctor stated that there is no congenit defect in Petra’s brain.

    “Her brain was no different than anyone else’s,” he said. “What made her so fortunate was the trajectory of the bullet as it passed through” he allegedly said. I am so perplex. How should we, as Christians, reply to a brother that interacts with us in such a way .. ?

    • Brad Strait
      July 26, 2012

      On Petra: As more information comes to the family from the doctors, we gain better language to express what happened to Petra. The Petra post now has an update dealing with all this.

      But did your friend read what Petra’s doctors said about Petra’s injury? They are now calling it a miracle, too. Take a look.

      The blog was not written to reveal a medical report to the world. It was written to tell of one family’s struggle through the Aurora shooting, from one pastor’s position in the ICU. Information in the blog was as we received it and “put it together” as a family from the doctors.

      In the mean time, people will believe or attack or dialgue, as they choose. We seek to reflect the Lamb.

  14. Elizabeth Taylor Glenn
    July 26, 2012

    Thank you for sharing the post on Petra! It is beautiful ! What an amazing God that we serve! I still have chills and tears from reading it! I look forward to reading more of your blog. Thank you again! I am truly moved!

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      Blessings to you.

  15. Jessica Gargus
    July 26, 2012

    Saw a friend last night I hadn’t seen in years, and she shared your blog with me. Petra’s story is amazing! Thank you for sharing.

    My family suffered a tragedy about 18 months ago when my grandparents were shot and killed in their home by a stranger. I know for many it will sound crazy, but we actually had confirmation that there is life after death and that Heaven is REAL!

    I have been struggling with how to share our blessings and the events that followed their murders.

    My heart is breaking for the lost souls who have posted on your blog and others who refuse to accept that there is more after this life.

    • Brad Strait
      July 27, 2012

      Sad about your loss. As to faith, we can only speak the truth in love. Everyone then must walk their own road. I am glad that heaven is so real for you, and that your heart feels something for others. Keep it up.

  16. justdan93
    July 27, 2012

    You have an amazing blog here. I’m sure that you are working hard daily. Keep on doing it!
    P.S: If you’ll be interested or you’ll just want to read some articles at economics than take a visit at my blog(http://justdan93.wordpress.com/)

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      Thanks.

  17. Ellen Harbin
    July 27, 2012

    I looked at a gorgeous sunset last night…mesmorized in my driveway by the beautiful creation of the Creator [so there’s no misunderstanding…I do not live in a beachside house…I live in the middle of a state shaped like a mitten…[sidebar: I grew up in Livonia, MI and was on staff at Ward EPC in the 80's] anyway…as I sat in awe at what the hand of our Great God does in a sunset I was quickly taken back in my mind to your blog [that showed up on my newsfeed of facebook] and reflected on how the same Hand that formed that gorgeous flaming sphere on the horizon is the same God Who guided a bullet through the brain of a young lady. May His Son continue to be glorified through this unbelievable act of prevenient grace. Thank you for sharing this miracle story, Pastor.

    • Brad Strait
      July 27, 2012

      As one who married one from the mitten, I get it. Some of the prettiest places I have seen in the world are in Michigan. Thanks for the insights.

  18. Steve
    July 27, 2012

    Dear Brad, Please just keep reflecting the LAMB. HE is what matters. He is the one who brings people through all of the trails of life and the aim is to bring them through it all as better persons and not bitter persons!

    • Brad Strait
      July 27, 2012

      Thank you. I like the “better-bitter” language. Pray that I might be more wise and more surrendered, like the Lamb.

  19. Nancy
    July 27, 2012

    Brad, It was so nice to get a first-hand account and not just newscasts. God bless Petra during her full recovery. I am mom/grandma to the Craigs, who passed this story on to me. I passed it to a friend at church and now it’s gone out to the whole church. Thank you for listening to God’s leading.

  20. Jeremy Hepoposky.
    July 28, 2012

    Brad, I discovered your blog only recently, and I really love it. I have a request for you, and it is something that is really close toy me heart. I have some good friends that are Christians, homeschoolers, well meaning parents, people we have known for 6 and then some years.
    Sadly, they seem to leave their life in fear, and today I received from the wife, that is an avid blogger, a sad confirmation of this. They have “bought” hook, line, and sinker, into the newest conspiracy theory that President Obama has personally organized the Colorado shooting, in order to have the pretest to “take all guns away from the American people and put them in concentration camps” . I do not need to comment that… How do I approach them, and how do I even try to explain to them that living in such fear and paranoia is a work of the enemy ?
    This fear and distrust of everything outside the walls of their homes, has become their God, apparently. I keep receiving emails from them about Obama’s secret army that will control America, about black trucks that will carry people in concentration camps all over America, and how we all need to be ready. This is free-fall paranoia, with on end in sight.
    I refuse, *refuse* to live in this state of fear. My God is bigger than any man made scheme, and I know He will prevail. I have seen Him perform miracles in my own family. While I still struggle with my own issues that I want to give to Him, I am actively working to refuse any lie put in front of me by the enemy. I would love to be able to approach this friends from a position of love, and explain to them that His love and His provision for us are bigger than any conspiracy theory that is out there. thanks for all you do.

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      A simplistic reply to a complex situation never satisfies. But let me wade into the breach. At my church, we have many families who home school their kids (and many others who do not). I see the vast majority of these home school families as stable and sound in how they raise their kids, so I don’t think it is necessarily a home school issue. This family you mention might be doing everything well. This is a general response, then, to a wider problem.

      I think many Americans have a fear issue. Politics (be afraid of him!), the 24/7 news cycle (another shooting in Australia or Aurora!), and the speed of life (you should, you must, here it comes!) all pressurize our lives to never before high-flood levels. We live in a time where everything is changing at unprecedented levels. Violence is increasing.

      One outcome of this is fear. Every study on the effects of fear on both adults and children is clear: fear is a significantly damaging thing to us all. While we all want to keep our homes safe, we need to do more than this. We need to teach our families not to fear, too. You cannot trust and fear at the same time.

      Perhaps this is why the Bible is full of a clear message from God: “Do not fear.” Moses, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Malachi all quote the Lord as their nation drifts through fast white waters and difficult circumstances: “Do not fear.”

      22 times in the New Testament Jesus says, “Do not be afraid…” In fact, it is one of his most central messages. In John 14:27 he says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” In John 16:33, Jesus is clear: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

      As well, Peter writes to Christians who are dying for their faith (1 Peter 3:14-15):
      “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”

      So, as we examine walking with God through this life, we can offer some conclusions. (1) Fear is a real temptation in this world. It remains an ever-present human struggle. (2) We have to make willful choices to obey God and “not be afraid.” Our response is our choice. (3) Peace in the midst of trouble is one of the key signs that our Christian faith has matured to deep level. (4) It is the Lordship of Jesus which grants us this peace. He is in charge of the final outcomes. We can chill.

      Instead of feeling fear, we are to be a people of love. Love defines us, sustains us, protects us, and empowers us. The opposite of fear is a sense of God’s perfect love for us. 1 John 4:18 reads, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” My own children need to be taught wisdom and prudence. But never fear.

      Sorry for the sermon. Thank you for caring for these people so much! You have much to pray about, and I will join you.

      Let me end with Strait’s Rule 9: “You can only live your own life. No exceptions.” Blessings.

  21. Rain (@Rain_Asha)
    July 28, 2012

    Hi Brad,
    I really wanted to take a second and say thank you for your reply to my comment; your response was the first thing I have honestly ever heard from someone that was actually insightful and helpful in possibly understanding God’s motives for having me be born with a disability. This is a very long shot, as I am sure you are an incredibly busy man, but I was wondering if you might be interested in potentially carrying on a discussion about God with me via email? I simply ask because the last person I talked to about God in relation to my disability told me that “God would listen to you more and love you more if you quit feeling so sorry for yourself.” This, unfortunately, only made me feel far more disconnected with God, because I really do spend most of my life working at being as positive as I possibly can be, so if God hates me for my moments of weakness well I don’t even know what to say about that.
    I would really love to have a conversation with someone whom could help me understand God better. I find understanding God incredibly difficult, and I think I need some help with that. My Atheist side of my brain keeps getting in the way when I try to understand God’s motives.
    Anyway, I understand completely if you’re too busy, but I would love to have further conversations with you. Let me know. My email is raiinzen at gmail.
    Either way, thank you for the first actually helpful comment about God and disability I’ve ever heard.
    ~Rain

    • pepper
      July 28, 2012

      Dear Rain,
      The person who made such an unkind comment does not understand the character of God. He is a just God, but most of all He is LOVE. Do you have a Bible? If you do, start reading in the New Testament with the book of St. John, then Mark, Luke & Matthew. Note how Jesus interacts with those that suffer. He is the personification of God. These books of the Bible are records if what actually happened while Jesus was on the earth. The answers you are seeking will be a journey, there is no simple answer. However, based on God’s own holy word, He LOVES you more than you can imagine, there is. NO WAY he hates you, EVER. Obviously I am not Brad, but if I can be of assistance I am willing. A Jesus follower & fellow traveler.
      P.S. check out the website, http://www.helpformylife.com it may help.

      • Brad Strait
        July 31, 2012

        And thanks so much for caring, Pepper. You rock.

    • Brad Strait
      July 31, 2012

      so glad, my new friend.

  22. john bradbury
    August 2, 2012

    Brad, I have read the Article about Aurora and am so pleased the young lady is making a recovery. I dont intend to get into philosophical arguments about God and the way he works etc..the article is uplifting..but I have to ask is how can you call this a joyful movie? I quote one movie review… “The Dark Knight Rises features ultra-violent scenes of torture and death that are too intense for younger kids used to the nearly comic, stylized action violence of other superhero films. A disturbingly high body count is achieved via massive explosions, kidnappings, neck breakings, shootings, and hand-to-hand combat. While there’s not a lot of actual blood, there’s tons of death and mass destruction.” Not seen it myself and dont intend to, but im given to understand that one scene shows robbers killed one by one as they finish their part in a crime by being shot in the head…..hardly “Joyful”. Why a six year old should be taken to watch this at Midnight defeats me…..

    • Brad Strait
      August 2, 2012

      John,
      Sometimes I don’t communicate as well as I would like. While I enjoyed the movie as a “guy flick”, I didn’t find the Dark Night movie joyful, and had no intention to give anyone that idea. I agree with you. Only because the good guy has more firepower than the evil one does the movie end well. But it does reflect our need, or hope, as people that good will ultimately triumph. This is not my idea of uplifting. Personally, I would not take a young child to see it. On a related note, I am joyful that God works in dark places. And I love movies, and find going to movies a joy most times, as well.

  23. my comment on th euflifting sentiment was aimed at your article and not the film :-)

  24. Emma S
    August 15, 2012

    I have stumbled across your blog through a link on a friend’s facebook page. Thank you so much for your gentle and unassuming faith; you show such kindness in what you write – not so often the case in social media. You have made me smile on a very wet and dreary British summer afternoon.

    You have also inspired me to explore some more of our history on this beautiful island – I have never even heard of Rievaulx Abbey! There are so many wonderful places to explore. I will have to seek it out before the summer holidays are up. Thank you.

    • Brad Strait
      August 15, 2012

      Thanks so much! England is one of the most beautiful countries I know.

      • Emma
        November 28, 2012

        Thanks again for the signpost to Rievaulx Abbey. I convinced a friend we should go on holiday to Helmsley so that we could visit and I’m so glad we did – what an inspiring place. I caused us to wonder what it would have been like in its heyday, then the following day we visited York Minster and (aside from the tourists) perhaps received a glimpse of what it once must have been. To me it seemed as a ‘thin place’, the presence of God almost tangible.

  25. Rachel Meeks
    August 26, 2012

    Nominated you for a blogging award here: http://doilooksick.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/our-first-blog-award-the-sunshine-award/

    Thanks for being awesome!

  26. Kara
    September 2, 2012

    I’m so disappointed! Since I found your blog, I also discovered your church online and the last two Sundays I listened to your sermons — but today when I went to the site it had been “revamped” and there is no way to listen to the sermons! Are you guys going to fix that? I hope so, I was really looking forward to hearing some of the ones I saw! I have been blessed by the word I heard, and I just really hope I get to hear more. Thanks:)

    • Brad Strait
      September 2, 2012

      Our new site should be up fully in a week or so. Sermons should have an obvious button. Thanks for reading and listening. Let me know if you need anything.

  27. Wes Jensen
    September 23, 2012

    Pastor Strait sermon about Onesimus this morning transported me right into the room where Paul was writing the letter. The blessing of spiritual brothers was so clear. When you said that a Bishop was named Onesimus I choked up. the more I hear you preach, the more I am blessed. Wes

    • Brad Strait
      September 23, 2012

      Thanks, my brother. God is a great and good Sovereign. You encourage me.

  28. John Sacoulas
    January 31, 2014

    btw, I use your posts in our non-profit magazine from time to time. I hosted concerts in your facility back in the mid 80’s I think. I attended Colorado Christian University and now publish with my wife the Ozarks Christian Voice magazine. You can also see it on line at http://www.OzarksChristianVoice.com I enjoy your stuff and I am sure our readers do as well.Go Broncos!

  29. James Webber
    April 27, 2014

    Brad, I am James Webberk and I have just discovered Christian Mysticism and am very interested in further understanding. I saw a YouTube by Ted Nottingham and was “blown away” as they say. I know you are bombarded but I am led to send you a note. God works that way, you know. God bless you for all you do for the Kingdom.
    Yours in Christ,
    James Webber

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