In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for June, 2009


Posted by justicetabernacle on June 25, 2009

yes sin- this is an ugly and unpopular word around our culture these days. most people don’t really enjoy talking about this topic. a lot of people don’t believe in it. some see it as a manufactured idea on behalf of religion to control people. it’s often associated with a laundry list of actions, and the list goes on and on.

but sin is really a core fundamental idea to the christian worldview. within the context of this worldview, sin is merely anything that detracts us from our original purpose of worshiping God and experiencing perfect harmony with Him.

most people today want to see others as being genuinely good. they think, yeah, we have some issues from time to time, but all in all people, given the right circumstances, people have the capacity of being good. and while i also believe that there is a level of good that can come from all, in the eyes of a perfect, holy and glorious God, the best we can muster up is no where near what He knows as good.

it is our small understanding of God that really keeps us from truly seeing our true size (smallness) and over-exaggerating our obedience and goodness. and because we inflate our own actions, opinions and goodness- we do not see the need for a redeeming character- this is why the longing to see Jesus the Christ- a Holy intercessor on our behalf- is not present in our culture- because if there is no sin- there is no separation from God. and if there is no separation from God, there is no need to be reconciled back to Him. so for those who don’t believe in sin- of course Jesus doesn’t make sense or seem necessary. there is no arguing that- Jesus is only necessary, if one sees the need for redemption.

this is why- in the end- preaching the Gospel of Jesus to today’s culture, without dealing with the idea of ‘sin’ is futile in the end. the two cannot be divorced…



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A18 Neighborhoods

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 21, 2009


today the ncc summer semester kicks off!

we have over 80 groups meeting in the dc metro area. this time around we are using one sermon-based curriculum for every group. this will keep continuity with the theme as well as prepare everyone to serve their neighborhood.

we are asking every group to be involved in a practical project, ongoing or one time. i’ll be organizing and keeping track of them all. this is a really important step in our ncc discipleship process. we are hoping and praying that this experiment will be a great success in helping people get a bigger view of what following Christ is all about- not about what the church can do for individuals, but that we would rather be on mission, as Jesus called us to do-

for more info on the groups that are meeting- check out the link here:
ncc small groups

also- check out heather’s sermon from this weekend- should be posted shortly here…

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Local Life

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 15, 2009

i recently found a cozy home in a local establishment in my neighborhood. it is an interesting place that feels like home. there is something unique about becoming a regular somewhere- and it is amazing the kind of community that you can build in a very short time. over the past few weeks i have met everyone from police officers to street hustlers. no matter what though, you discover that if you have an ear to listen, you can find out a lot about people. and i think this is a critical place for disciples to be.

this is really the basis of our new small group initiative this summer. to get people out of their inner circles and engage their neighborhoods. there is no doubt an instrumental place for strengthening the inner core with other believers- but at the end of the day, we need to be out, as incarnate voices of hope in all areas of life… it’s a sad day when christians are either seen as inward, circles, impenetrable by outsiders… or voicing their disgust about the culture. neither are models that Jesus displayed. how did we get there? it’s time to reverse this trend.



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Total Church

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 11, 2009

reading through sections of a book called ‘total church’ by tim chester and steve timmis. we got it as a free gift from the advance 09 conference.
check out this line- i think about this all of the time, but it was articulated perfectly here:

“Indeed part of our evangelism to the rich is our evangelism to the poor. We subvert their preoccupation with power and success as they see us loving the unlovely. We expose their self-righteousness and selfishness as they see us eating with outcasts. They begin to see Jesus living through us.” (pg. 73)

this is like spillover blessing, when reaching out to those seen as marginalized in society. it is like a double portion of Kingdom effectiveness, as the Holy Spirit is allowed to work efficiently in these instances.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on June 11, 2009

i’m really excited about the recalibration of my thinking these days as we gear up for the ncc summer semester of small groups. we are doing a church-wide curriculum (a departure from our normal free market style) this summer focused on neighborhoods- and serving them.

as i wrap my mind around how this is going to play out- i am forced to reflect on how far we have come as a church in this arena. not only in physical action, but in mindset and purpose.

but things like serving the poor, evangelism, and community building really entail deep theological reflection to accompany the obedient action. it is interesting to try and wrap your mind around phrases like ‘blessed are the poor.’


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Advance 09 Themes

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 10, 2009

over the past few days i have had the chance to talk to people about the conference and think through some of the themes.

-the Gospel is the centrality of our faith
-there are many idols in our lives and ministry
-we need to be very honest, transparent and open in our assessment of both of these two points

yesterday someone asked me what the biggest takeaway was…
i think the most impacting idea that came out of it was the fact that God is perfectly righteous and glorious- and that we were created to worship Him- and anything we do in life is either in response or rebellion to that- and the rebellious times can even look ‘religious.’ so it is imperative, even in ministry, to constantly be checking the heart and motivation. that is the most difficult thing in life to do- and something to which we can only rely on the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit…


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Back in the District

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 9, 2009

so i have been mia a little of late. i was not able to blog from the conference (partially because i enjoyed being offline for a few days)
if you want to read some reviews of the conference, check out my counterpart ‘will johnston’s blog.’ he is a blog master… he said he’ll have them up tomorrow.

the conference was amazing though. not for conference sake, but i did feel like the Lord had a purpose for me, and for the rest of the guys who were there. not only were the teaching sessions very meaningful, but the time spent with the group of guys was invaluable. we had a house to stay in while we were there, and this allowed for a lot of great late nite discussions about what we heard- of course it ended up meandering into deep theological debates, which is always good for the soul.

all in all, i found a great appreciation for the other men on the trip. it is always good to get out of your routine with some new people and focus on the reality of your life and soul. sometimes those things go hidden in the chaos of the day.

i’m sure as i hash through my notes again and revisit some of the sessions, i will have more thoughts to post here. and of course, if you want to check out the teaching yourself, they have posted all of the audio of the main sessions here! what a generous blessing…


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Advance 09

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 3, 2009

heading down to raleigh/durham tomorrow morning at 6am for the advance 09 conference with a group of guys here from ncc. i’m looking forward to the conference itself, but beyond that- hanging out with some cool leaders.

i’m sure between the two 4.5 hour drives, conference breaks, and late nite hangouts- there will be a lot of meaningful and fruitful discussion, debate and growth.

if i have access, i may be blogging throughout the next few days from down there.


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The Range of Theology

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 3, 2009

there is a wide range of theology within the church- in case you didn’t know. as i gear up for the ‘advance conference’ this week, i’ve been reading up on and listening to some reformed and calvanist theology. there will be plenty of that as we hear from driscoll, chandler, piper and the rest.

to counter-balance however, i spent some time reading and listening to some orthodox theology. the biggest thing that i came across yesterday in the orthodox realm was the issue of the scriptures. the orthodox church is very critical of using anything except the original text for discernment on theological and doctrinal issues. they see the usefulness of the translated bible for spiritual supplement and introduction to new cultures- but are true to the original language text as the final authority on theology, as they believe that it alone is the inspired Word of God.


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God Is… Spirit

Posted by justicetabernacle on June 2, 2009

great message at ncc this week, as we continue on with the ‘God is…’ series. this is part of an annual series called ‘one prayer’ with churches across the country collaborating on messages. it was inspired by craig groeschel and the folks at lifechurch.tv in oklahoma city.

my favorite illustration from pmark’s sermon this week was when he said:
‘have you ever been in a situation before when people are standing around talking about you as if you are not there, but you are there? i think that’s what it must be like for the Holy Spirit… He’s like, hello!! i’m right here!!’
that’s a paraphrase, but hopefully makes the point. i thought it was quite funny and true.

the bottom line is that a lot of people forget about this third person of the trinity. but without the Holy Spirit, we are truly lifeless. in 1 corinthians 6:19, paul writes that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. no longer, in the new covenant of Christ, does the presence of God dwell in the holy of holies, behind the curtain of the physical building of the temple… His presence resides in us. and those who do not yet recognize or pronounce Jesus as the Christ, are still temples, waiting to be filled with that presence. this should revolutionize the way that we see ourselves and others, both siblings in the faith and those who stand outside of it…


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