In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for August, 2009

Ab Nach Deutschland

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 23, 2009

so the day of departure has finally come-
we are off to berlin this evening.

we’ll be there for a week, exploring, praying and discerning if there is potential and a future for us there. i’m looking forward to meeting with all of the different people and visiting all the different sites, hopefully hearing a clear and distinct word and receiving concrete vision for what is to happen or not happen there.

our verses going in are from joshua 8

i’ll expound more upon that later as we discover more-

either way it will be a great trip.
i’m hoping for internet at the hotel to keep updating here when i can.
until then- aufwiedersehen…



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Berlin Prep

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 21, 2009

it’s unbelievable that it’s already the end of august and we are heading out to germany. this plan and idea has been brewing (no pun intended) for almost a year now. it’s quite incredible that the vision trip is upon us. it’s funny how the road of life takes you to places you never would have imagined. and as i was sharing with a roommate yesterday- looking back all the places and people come together to make sense, though at the time seemed random and insignificant to a bigger picture.

so after about six years since actually living in berlin, i will return, leading a team of staff from ncc to investigate potential ministry opportunities there. we’re even going to be working with some of those very people that i met and worked with way back when. that is truly amazing.

in the meantime there is still a lot of prep and packing to do. we had a great prep meeting this morning and i laid out a little bit of the vision and groundwork for the time that we are going to be there. it is going to be a whirlwind, but i think it will be really productive. the team in berlin has done a great job getting people and places lined up. so it is my hope that we will get a vision about the city and our future there. i pray that the Lord speaks in profound and meaningful ways- to help guide and direct our next steps in this whole crazy plan. i can’t wait to see what comes of it…


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Ethiopia is in Trouble

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 20, 2009

there is just so much to blog about these days, and so little time.
i have opened up ‘new post’ like 3 times this week and never made it to actually write anything.

anyway- above all else however, i have to write about last nite. a dear friend of mine, adam taylor, had an amazing fundraiser for an upcoming tenure in ethiopia. he hosted it at the h st. country club for some food, drinks, pool, shuffleboard, and mini golf. a good time to say the least.

beyond that however, he raised a good deal of cash- more than i’ve ever seen in one evening. it is just an obvious sign that a. God is faithful and b. He has big plans for adam in ethiopia.

his story is incredible. adam joined the ncc missions team to ethiopia this spring and was intensely moved by the street kids that live in addis ababa. beza (our partner church there) had a very small startup outreach going on that adam participated in and he was never the same again. after returning to dc and some time in prayer, he decided that he was going to quit his job, sell all of his stuff and move back to ethiopia to help get the outreach to these kids off of the ground. it was a bold and courageous decision- i had the privilege of watching firsthand the progression of this calling, and i am grateful to adam for his step of faith, one that has challenged me beyond belief.

if you’d like to follow adam on his journey and read more about his story- perhaps even donate to his cause- check out his blog at http://ethiopianadam.wordpress.com

ethiopia is trouble with this guy coming… a crazy one, who is full of love and compassion…


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From the Potomac the Heartland

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 7, 2009

so here i sit in des moines, iowa… what day’s journey it was. funny how it took me just as long to get from my house to dulles as it did from dulles to o’hare. add in a connecting flight and shuttle bus and it was a long day to get to this hotel lobby. here for a wedding this weekend with family and friends.

but aside from the landscape change, it was quite a jump from a 2 weeks of craziness and non-stop work for week of justice to quiet. the rest of the crew is arriving a bit later, so i had a long travel day and arrival all by myself. it’s funny how life work in spurts, and it will for sure take a day or two to come down off of the labor high.

it was nice to be on a bus and plane today though, to sit back, listen to some podcasts and try to rest and refuel. good reminder (definitely ordained and timely) to listen to a matt chandler sermon on repentance for the righteous. he talked about the pharisee and the tax collector, and the rich young ruler- illustrating that we must guard ourselves from feeling that we have right standing with God by the things that we do… that this is a religious trap that will ensnare and lead you to complete deception about who God is and what He has done and continues to do- that is to save and rescue.

i was feeling fairly humble after this week’s string of events, but it is always a good reminder that we cannot take credit for the goodness of God- nor is any of our work to ‘please’ Him. it is all about reflecting the goodness of God- and never forgetting the grace He freely gives is not subject to any kind of manipulation we might try to employ.


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Week of Justice: Modern Day Slavery

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 7, 2009

what a closeout this evening. we had a wonderful panel of speakers that gave a great full range of the issues involved in modern day slavery. though the issue of sex trafficking gets most of the press, there are actually more labor slaves than sex slaves. all in all there are more slaves in the world today than any other time in human history.

it was really important to show the wide spectrum of the problem and each of the person presented a different and necessary angle to get the whole picture.

again, the challenge was laid out for individuals to get out and do something with what they heard and learned. using ephesians 3, i challenged those in the audience that were part of the church, specifically ncc, to see their role in the revealed plan of God- that their life represented something vitally important.

i’m excited to see where this momentum will lead, even as early as this coming fall semester. tomorrow it begins with a day of prayer and action. i asked everyone to prayerfully consider how to get involved in one of the issues from the week. to make a call, write a letter, tell a friend, sign up for that cause. it’s in the hands of the people now.

the mystery has been revealed!


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What do Shane Claiborne and Mark Driscoll Have in Common?

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 6, 2009

i’m taking a quick break from week of justice posting here because i came across something that is so worthy of posting. and really, it is not a far stretch from what we are trying to accomplish with week of justice.

i can’t think of two people in the contemporary christian leader world that are more dissimilar than claiborne and driscoll. and i love and appreciate both of them. if you don’t know what i’m talking about, just hit the internet for some video and you should quickly discover what i am talking about.

i come upon something that they both do indeed agree upon. and it is this: Jesus, not caesar, is Lord!

claiborne’s thoughts on caesar and empire are well documented in his book ‘Jesus for president.’ it is in this book that he talks extensively about what the Kingdom of God looks like, and how as adherents to this Kingdom, we will find ourselves peculiar and in direct opposition to the kingdoms and empires of the world.

then, in a podcast that i was listening to this morning, driscoll, in talking through the book of 1 peter, also describes our sole allegiance to Jesus as Lord. he says, that as a roman citizen, your first oath was to state that ‘caesar is lord…’ this was the sort of roman pledge of allegiance. but he said, when you became a christian, your new oath was ‘Jesus is Lord…’ and this put you at complete odds with your culture and society.

now i think that shane would be much quicker to make a literal translation of roman empire and u.s. empire- a leap that i’m not sure driscoll would automatically make. however, the core idea is still the same. if you belong to Jesus- all allegiances to others are secondary, and secondary by a mile. it’s Jesus and the Kingdom of God- and His body the church- above all else- above city and state and country and people and nation and family. and this will get you in some big, big trouble, if you are courageous enough to stand strong in that allegiance. try it, and soon you will see the opposition come- but no matter how much you must endure, the perseverance of holding the name of Jesus the Christ high is a most worthy and holy endeavor.


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Week of Justice: Refugees

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 6, 2009

in order to shed some light on the issue of refugee resettlement, we watched the film ‘God grew tired of us.’ this is an amazing story of the ‘lost boys of sudan’ who fled war by marching together through harsh conditions, first to ethiopia and then on to kenya.

the documentary highlights the specific journey of 3 men who are resettled from their refugee camp in kenya to the united states. there are many moving parts as well as comical. but all in all, it is a wonderful portrayal of the struggles that refugees endure, not only in the fleeing of their countries and homeland, but of their re-adaptation in a completely new society and culture.

the church has a major opportunity here. our faith, which calls us to take in the alien and foreigner, is set up perfectly to respond to such hardship. through further action in working with refugee resettlement agencies, to simple action like being aware and observant, seeing those in the community that might be in need or lonely, the church can be a major player in a refugee’s life.

some of the most heartbreaking scenes in the movie, are those where we see the ugliness and sin of our society- as these men, who look and act differently, are shunned, either intentionally through confrontation, or unintentionally through the mere lack of community and communication that transpires in our cities and streets. it is amazing to see how the simple act of juxtaposing another culture with ours can bring forth truths that cause one to cringe and be saddened.

there is no excuse for our inaction any longer- there is now even the burden of being informed.


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Week of Justice: The Deaf Community

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 5, 2009

we had a milestone during the week of justice last nite, as we dedicated an evening to the deaf community. this was the most hands off event that i was involved in this week, as i allowed the american sign language small group from ncc to run with whatever vision they felt would be most helpful for bringing awareness to the deaf community.

and this was a very good idea for me to do. the group put together an amazing presentation of information, and it was done in an interactive simulated way. as people entered into the space at ebenezers, members of the group handed out earplugs. from the very beginning of the event, silence abounded. it was a moving start to a great evening. there were videos (all in closed captioning) about the history of the deaf, as well as some signed and subtitled interviews of deaf individuals in our community.

we wrapped up the evening with a powerful question and answer time, where both the hearing and the deaf could ask questions, inquire about challenges and struggles and begin to break down some barriers. i really likened it to a discussion where deep and meaningful racial reconciliation happens. you could actually feel the tension easing-

this was a huge win for all of us at ncc. i’m excited to see how this plays into a greater progression in the way that we reach out to and embrace the deaf community here in dc, but also our efforts worldwide, where the deaf suffer even greater injustice.


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Week of Justice: Enacting Jubilee

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 4, 2009

last nite we had a great time presenting and discussing on jubilee- both around the world through things like debt cancellation, and here at home by enacting principles that allow us to live more simply.

hayley hathaway did a great job summarizing the landscape of debt around the world and how the dynamic between rich and poor countries plays out. check out more, and her organization at jubilee usa.

as for my part- i tried to get the people to expand their imagination about what sabbath and jubilee could look like in their daily lives here. we went through an adapted reading of leviticus 25, dissecting parts of it and applying it to today’s society. it is a bit of a stretch to envision some of these principles in a crazy american lifestyle- but i challenged people to dream and imagine a little bit.

it is truly amazing how much we can learn about the character of God and the intentions that He has for the world through the reading of such an old text. however, i believe that the universal principles that are laid out are very adaptable to the way we live today. is it easy? absolutely not! will it entail some restructuring of our lives? absolutely! but in the end, if we seek to do it in community with other believers and see it as a core mission of the church, to radically shift the way that we think about money, sharing and redistribution of land, property, goods and services- we could once again rise up and be a great testimony to the goodness of God- which was in fact, the very reason the law was given to the ancient hebrews.

can we lay down our cynicism, apathy and laziness- and try to imagine for a minute what jubilee and sabbath economics could look like today?


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Week of Justice Kickoff

Posted by justicetabernacle on August 3, 2009

yesterday evening was an amazing time together to kick off the 4th annual week of justice!
we had a review of our a18 neighborhoods experiment with small groups here at ncc.
we had leaders share testimony about their experiences using the curriculum and inspiring their groups to serve in the city and around the metro area.

the basement of ebenezers was decorated beautifully with pictures from outreaches-

we also had two performances, one from a choir and the other from a group that is teaching local girls in the rosedale neighborhood ‘high school musical.’ both of them will be performing this weekend (sunday the 9th) at the atlas theater on h st. ne.

i kicked off the night sharing a word about the theme ‘mystery revealed’ out of ephesians 3.

Tonight we proceed with a presentation by myself and hayley hathaway from jubilee usa about international debt cancellation and american consumer debt.

i hope that the great vibe and spirit that started last night continues to permeate the events throughout the week. there is a lot of great momentum right now at ncc, and it’s been fun to soak it in and try to help move it along-


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