In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for November, 2008

Tuesday Morning Staff Devotional

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 25, 2008

every tuesday morning we have an all staff meet up and devotional.
we share wins together, pray and rotate on sharing a word-
so this week i was up-  here is what i shared with the team:

Devotional  11/25

1 John 3:11-19

This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.  We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.  So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.  Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion-how can God’s love be in that person?

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.  Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

I love the way John writes.  I wish I could read and understand the old Greek, because if it is this beautiful in English, it must be even more so in the original form.

It is interesting in the passage that there is talk of the story of Cain and Abel.  At first it’s like… what??  Then he brings us back in verse 15 and allows it to all make sense.  He weaves in this ancient story from early in the creation to articulate something today; that a lack of love can be made equivalent to murder.

He then goes on to articulate this beautiful deduction about how we are to live our lives as brothers and sisters:

Let the world hate us because we are righteous- And this righteousness flows from love- and love is laying down our lives for one another-  and this is what it truly means to be compassionate toward each other.

Also embedded in the verses I shared are what I consider two mandates we are given in Christian life:

-If we love each other it proves we have passed from death to life.
-Our actions show that we belong to the truth.

We must embody these two things as leaders of NCC.
It has to start with us, so that we might model it.
It has to be part of our reality, so that all we dream of, create and execute is driven out of these mandates-

Then, when criticism and hatred come- we will be able to clearly delineate between the truth and the lies- the light and the darkness…
The world hating us has nothing to do with being relevant or irrelevant- it has to do with the fact that the enemy hates God and all the righteousness that comes from Him-

Let’s continue to live out love and allow our actions to align us with the truth.  If not, then we are merely false teachers- talking about Christ, but not truly embodying the Truth, which is Christ crucified and resurrected, displaying perfect and ultimate love.



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Ethiopian Thanksgiving

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 24, 2008

well, ok, that title is deceiving- but it does capture the essence of my day yesterday.

first off, we had our 3rd annual in service thanksgiving banquet. each year we rent out white tablecloths, fine china, silverware, etc. and host a thanksgiving meal in the basement of ebz. we are able to treat around 85 people with table service, most of whom are homeless around the union station area.

we decided with intentionality that we did not want to create another soup kitchen meal for these guys, rather provide something that really gave them a feeling of respect. it is one of the most beautiful things we do each year-

right after that i transitioned to an ethiopia missions trip meeting. i received 42 commtiments to go- wow. looks like we will take two back to back trips-
craziness, but God is good and is really motivating people to step up to the plate this year. we are encouraging through our aone:eight initiative, to get ten percent of our congregation on a missions trip this year. more on that initiative later- along with a link to a cool new site we are creating! can’t wait to see it.


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Dear President-Elect Obama…

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 20, 2008

at the suggestion of my aunt- i wrote a little note to president-elect obama today.  she said i should drop him a line to let him know i’m here if he needs anything.  🙂

kind of funny- i was once very much engaged in politics and actually ran for youth governor in the state of illinois.  i made it all the way down to the final election in springfield, only to succumb to the southern canditate-

over time, i have become a little disillusioned with politics and have shifted my focus to help mobilize the church to overturn the ills of our society.  if we really lived out our faith and the teachings of Christ- what would this world look like…  i’m guessing like the Kingdom of God-

hmm, did Jesus say that?


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Annual Review

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 20, 2008

i had my first annual review this morning with hz.
definitely weird filling out numbers on how you rate your own performance- but what i did love about it was going through some of the essay questions about strengths, weaknesses, portfolio, etc.
since i transitioned from intern to full time after the first of the year last year, my portfolio was not totally laid out clearly.  this year though, things will be laid out more- and i am really excited about some things that i/we will accomplish this year.

it was fun to write out some goals to accomplish this year- both practical and vision oriented.
excited to see what happens.


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Officially Declared Disaster Area

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 19, 2008

yep, that’s my mind after this weekend/week.
after five days of brainstrom- i have taken a few moments to survey the damage and begin the road to reconstruction efforts.

no, but for real, it is all very good stuff- draining yet exciting.
spent friday, saturday and sunday diving into all things small groups at ncc.  we had all of our zone leaders and team leaders together in rural virginia to think through all of our systems and designs- sharing stories and experiences.  we talked about wins, what’s working, what’s not working.  we talked through this year’s leadership retreat and summer small group experiment.  it was some amazing time together.  on sunday morning i shared the devotional and talked about unity.  i’ll post it later when i get it typed out.

finally, monday and tuesday was spent with the entire ncc staff up in the baltimore, inner harbor.  the two days were spent in team meetings and all staff meetings, thinking and planning for the coming year.  both vision and practical stuff.

today i sit here and begin to pick up the pieces and see what can be made of it all.
what i can say, is that it is going to be one heck of a year in 2009-  and i’m glad to have gotten through the storm, so that i can begin to rebuild something- something that will hopefully make headway in advancing the Kingdom of God.


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Zone Leader/Team Leader Retreat

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 14, 2008

we at ncc employ a zone leader/team leader structure to facilitate small groups. it is a way for us to create a level of support and communication for our small group leaders. a group of ten zone leaders oversee a group of team leaders who oversee a group of small group leaders. this allows us to have a personal touch point for each leader.

this weekend we are getting away to rural virginia to spend some time thinking through our discipleship. we will share wins, best practices, challenges, as well as brainstorm a bunch of different things- from our annual leadership retreat to a summer small group experiment. should be a great time together. and because we are multi-site and not everyone knows one another, this weekend gives our zone and team leaders that chance.

what a crazy fall- i still haven’t even been able to process completely the catalyst conference and my time in the reformation talks in germany… hopefully i’ll have a little down time at the camp this weekend.


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Small Groups, Small Groups Everywhere…

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 13, 2008

what a day today.
first i met with a team from newport news who came up to hang out with the ncc staff, talk about what we are doing, and challenge in us in a game of bags.  we smoked them!  😉   but it was all in good fun.  i think it is perhaps not the greatest testimony that we were so good… may or may not be due to the fact that we’ll pull out the bags set during the work day.

i then popped into the dc meet-up for small groups that we hosted here at ebz.  what a great time for small groups pastors and directors to get together, meet one another, and share best practices and challenges.  leaders of small groups ministry sometimes spend so much time working to ‘build community’ that they never have time for any of it themselves.  what a treat to see so many leaders from so many different kinds of churches, coming together to learn from one another.  i love it when i see that.  praise God.  i think He smiles when He sees us loving and sharing…


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The Smashing Pumpkins

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 13, 2008

got to see my beloved pumpkins for the second time this year.  the show was at d.a.r. constitution hall here in d.c.  definitely an interesting place to see a show.  though the sound was not impeccable, i got to watch from row m which rocked.  i could just sit and watch billy wail and make sounds you didn’t think could come from a guitar all day long.  not to mention observe jimmy c. bang, create drum rolls, and beats in a way that looks effortless.

all that to say- i was happy to have gotten the chance to see them live again.  i’m looking forward to hearing their new album for sure.

oh and speaking of new albums and old school bands… chinese democracy is almost upon us.  thanks axl.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on November 10, 2008

just read through the beginning of acts…
and something popped out at me in acts 4:21

“The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot.”

this is referring to peter and john who were in jail due to the healing of a beggar.
now what is interesting to me is that the council, the ruling authority was heavily influenced in their decision-making, due to a pending riot in the city.

wow.  now, i know there are people that will throw back romans 13 at me, but hear me out.
what would happen, if the church, Christ-followers, would leverage power through potential riots, in response to the unjust handling of our very own?  what could we accomplish if we were to organize well enough to combat injustice through the mere threat of our actions, if the correct or benevolent action was not taken?

this is an inspiring thought.  we need to instill a little fear in our leaders, not in a violent way, but in a way that causes them to think twice.
let us pursue civil disobedience, when necessary, to overcome injustice.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on November 10, 2008

after a long stint by xanga, i am moving on to my own domain.
i have tried to export all of my old posts to here, but that has not worked for me to this point.  thus i have prolonged my writing here-

but i have finally decided that i am going to leave xanga behind and merely link to it- so if you are interested in my old posts, you can find them all there.

i have missed writing and have put it off for a number of reasons.
but i need to be a steward of what i believed in way back when i started blogging.
and i am going to put away all of the reservations and go for it once again.

it is kind of a shame all of the things that have gone by the wayside during this time of silence-
so many great conferences and ideas and thoughts…

but it’s kind of fun to start fresh-
i hope that i will be able to be more determined and committed.


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