In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for September, 2009

A Homeless Man Stole My Coffee

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 28, 2009

so here’s the story… the first thing i thought after this happened, was how blogworthy it was-

i had already had a long morning up until this point. i had gotten up early, fetched two of our homeless friends from the nursing home to bring to church, realized that the passenger window of car i was borrowing was stuck open, and in general was running late. but as i walked in the doors of union station, i figured, what the heck- i’ll get a nice cup of coffee from corner bakery, go in for worship and all would be in order…

so i spent $2.08 on a medium coffee (which is absurd by the way) and made my way down to the theater. i greeted several folks on the way in and thought before going into service- i’d stop in the bathroom to wash the grease off of my hands that was left from my feeble attempt to get the window up…
and for some reason i thought it was a good idea to leave my coffee outside the bathroom on the concession area. it was too hot to drink anyway- and i’d only be a few seconds… and since i was late, there was absolutely no one around.

so i wash up- and after less than a minute, i walk out drying my hands and see a very dirty man, in tattered clothes standing there, my beautiful hot cup of coffee in hand, a mere inches from his lips…
‘hey!’ i yell- it was the only thing that could come out of my shocked mouth… and he froze- and i froze- and said that it was my coffee- to which he profusely apologized… stating that he thought someone had left it. not knowing if he had already taken a sip before i saw him- i told him he could have it… however begrudgingly…

and i have to confess- i was pissed. all of the selfishness inside of me boiled up- i had thoughts like- ‘hey, we give out free coffee and donuts already, he only had to wait a few more minutes.’ i thought, ‘hey, he knew it wasn’t his, why did he think he could just take it, i mean it was hot and full…’ and finally, ‘what the heck was i thinking just leaving it lying around- how stupid- what a stupid morning…!’

then just as fast as my frustration and annoyance came, so did the conviction in my spirit. i thought- what am i thinking? i mean, i’m the homeless guy- i’m the compassionate one- mr. justice… and here i stand- totally stuck in a moment of flesh, cursing over a 2 dollar cup of coffee. and it was a wonderful example of how impossible it is for us to ‘be good enough.’ it was a beautiful humbling moment. me, the guy who has been working to reach out and show mercy to the least of these around the union station area for over five years- is not good enough.

and it is just one more reminder of how much our flesh fights against the Spirit of God in us. that no matter how much we think we are on the right path, we are always just a few moments or events away from having to make decisions in our hearts about following that very Spirit or the flesh. and it is in the spontaneous, unprepared moments, that we get a glimpse of how things are really shaping up inside… and it pushes us to press on, pray and cultivate the true fruit of the Spirit-



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Walk to End Child Slavery

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 26, 2009

human trafficking is modern day slavery. well over a century after the emancipation proclamation was signed, there is more slavery in the world today than during the time of the civil war.

this weekend ncc participated in a walk to end slavery here in dc. there were a ton of local organizations and hundreds of walkers. funds were raised, along with awareness. it was truly awesome to be able to go out and support the event with over 25 nccers. it is an important statement for our congregation and for the body of Christ for us to be there. it is a sign of solidarity and concern. it is truly an answer to prayer that we have become so active and aware over the years.

if you want to find out more about how to combat slavery and the dc event, you can check out the website for today’s walk. you can also continue to contribute and make a donation to the cause. see dc stop modern slavery

here is a pic from a few of us who were there… thanks min-



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The Cabal

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 25, 2009

the cabal is the name that we have adopted for the little clan of men that are meeting every other thursday to discuss heavy theological topics that we hope will strengthen us all in our journeys in follow Christ.

this week we looked at 1 timothy 3– and discussed the various lists of qualifications that an elder/overseer and deacon are to maintain. we looked at and discussed various issues surrounding the text, including:
-the differences between the two lists
-the reason or purpose for the lists
-the details regarding the different individual qualifications
-the contrast and interaction of these qualifications in light of other lists like ‘the ten commandments,’ ‘the great commandment,’ and ‘the fruit of the Spirit

it was, as always, a lively dialog, and in the end, we all agreed that the pursuit of such roles in the body of Christ are unique and challenging… and that such lists of qualifications are not lists of rules, for we know that Jesus was specifically critical of legalistic religion, rather instruments of His grace, in helping us understand what His character is, and how we can continue to live healthy personal lives as well as lead healthy groups of believers…


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Posted by justicetabernacle on September 24, 2009

reading a new book with the other members of team d here at ncc. heather, chris and i will be reading michael frost and alan hirsch’s newest book ‘reJesus: a wild messiah for a missional church.’

just read this in chapter one, and it’s blogworthy…

“Jesus was a wild man…”

they go on to quote a quip by an archbishop that was reported to have said:

‘everywhere Jesus went there was a riot. everywhere i go they make me cups of tea.’

i love it!


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Posted by justicetabernacle on September 24, 2009

“love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength…
and the second is equal to it…”


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Robin Hood

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 23, 2009

i had the opportunity to sit in a luxury suite at the nats stadium last nite- fully catered table and fully stocked fridge-

a buddy of mine had the tickets through his work that were given to him by a certain credit organization that will not be named here 😉
it was a pretty ironic setting for the two of us to gather to talk about the church and capitalism and all the ills in between…

so we ate, and drank and tried to hash through all sorts of complexities- never fully solving the worlds problems, but scratching the surface a bit.

by the way- the nats succumbed to the dodgers 14-2. oh the nats…


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Posted by justicetabernacle on September 22, 2009

we have committed to running alpha at ncc and it is one of the most successful things that we do.  we are a few years in, and it has truly been a great way to get new people plugged into community and give them the room to ask hard questions.

alpha is a twelve week course about the basics of the christian faith.  it is centered around a meal and discussion.  it has topics like who is jesus, how was the bible written, what’s the deal with the Holy Spirit, what about the church…?  and the list goes on.

this past saturday i had the privlege of praying for and commissioning the new leaders of the alpha groups.  we run them at all of our 5 locations.  i spoke out of colossians 3:12-17

i challenged them to be patient in their conversations- knowing when to speak and when to listen. i challenged them to be prepared to have grace and forgiveness on their hearts and lips, as they serve people. i’m excited to see all that is going to come out of it this time around…


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The Lord Speaks

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 18, 2009

i know it’s not the most refined science, but often i feel like God speaks to me through the bible by dropping verses in my mind-  specific books and chapters and verses…  it is not always perfect and i certainly do not claim ultimate perfection on this, but i do give it some value, in that i have had enough experiences with it that has proved true and useful, that i simply cannot ignore the impressions.

so yesterday was one of those moments.  just mintues before heading up for a debrief meeting with the pastoral staff here that went on the berlin trip, i felt a nudge toward james 4:10-17… specifically, 13-17- and here’s what it said…

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

i shared it at the end of the meeting with everyone and it was absolutely apropos. i mean that is a heavy few verses and speak very specifically to our situation. it is a great reminder that we have to stay in humility and realize that our best plans are feeble efforts. that takes the pressure off- but is perhaps the hardest thing that wars in our spirits. surrender and humility- the core of creation and reconciliation.


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Theology Quiz

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 17, 2009

every now and again i like taking those really broad generalized theology quizzes… so i took one today. it was interesting to compare the results from two years ago. here are the results from june 07 and september 09.

June 12th, 2007
Emergent/Postmodern 71%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 71%
Neo orthodox 68%
Classical Liberal 50%
Reformed Evangelical 43%
Modern Liberal 39%
Fundamentalist 39%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 36%
Roman Catholic 36%

September 17th, 2009
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 71%
Emergent/Postmodern 64%
Roman Catholic 46%
Neo orthodox 46%
Reformed Evangelical 43%
Modern Liberal 39%
Fundamentalist 39%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 39%
Classical Liberal 39%

the analysis goes like this.
my top spot stayed the same- wesleyan, but no longer shares the same percentage with emergent, which dropped to 64%. neo-orthodox and classic liberal both dropped significantly, whereas roman catholic increased. the middle %’s of reformed, modern liberal, fundamentalist and charismatic pretty much stayed the same. now what does that all mean….? 😉

courtesy of quiz farm.


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Old Testament Prophecy

Posted by justicetabernacle on September 15, 2009

ezekiel 25

not sure why- just there…


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