In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for October, 2009

Off to Chitown

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 28, 2009

so i was blessed with another amazing ‘convergence’ in this discerning process on berlin. last week, the father of an ncc-er was in town visiting his daughter and had a meeting with pmark. i happened to run across the two of them in the office that day and mark introduced us. we ended up heading downstairs to ebenezers to share a coffee and talk about life and ministry- specifically the berlin project.

so it turns out that this guy is in charge of the great lakes region of a denomination and has relationship with a lot of the people that we have been talking to and working with in berlin. additionally he told me that one of the berlin church planters that we met with in august was going to be in the u.s. to attend a church-planting roundtable session with ed stetzer. he invited me to come and join them and so off i go.

i’m excited about the opportunity to talk about planting, but also to reconnect with this pastor from berlin. in the final weeks before the decision deadline, it will also good to be out of the day to day here in dc and hopefully get some clarity on the issue while back home. either way- this is a great blessing, and i’m excited about what will come of it all.



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Holy Detours

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 27, 2009

last nite at alpha i talked about prayer- what it is, why we do it and how God answers. it was the first time that i did a full on 45 minute teaching. i thought that it went well and i hope that it was meaningful for some people. the script for alpha is already pretty much written out- so it was definitely a challenge to ‘own it’ myself and put passion behind it.

one of the points that i made, was that it is good to get into the routine of making prayer the first thing that you do when you wake up. getting into the habit of making your first thoughts of the day directed toward God can really be beneficial in starting your day off right. not only is it a tangible way of ‘putting God first’ but it also sets the tone for the day. it prepares your eyes, ears and heart- that you would encounter and notice all of the things that God would have you notice.

so of course, this morning i was very mindful of taking my own advice. and well, it certainly worked. tuesday is staff meeting day and it is the one day that i absolutely need to be in the office at a very specific time. so i stood and waited for the bus, only to see that it was running late and the only way i would make it on time would be to walk (in the rain, by the way, thanks d6 line)

so i took off walking and as i got down about 3 blocks, with a rob bell podcast in my ear, i noticed a woman yelling and causing a ruckus. i popped out my headphones and looked down the street only to see a group of about 5 kids wailing on somebody, beating them up violently and others standing by. it was quite a distance away and through a lot of traffic, which impeded me from running over to intervene- not to mention, the mob was about 10 people. so instead i dailed 911, waited for the police to come and pointed them in the right direction. i took a few moments to pray and then hurried off to work.

ironically the podcast that i was listening to was on forgiveness and rob was talking about revenge- and how it always is dangerous and always escalates. and i can only imagine what the impetus for this fight was. was it revenge? a lot of violence that goes down in my neighborhood is rooted in gang and turf wars. it is this sort of ‘you did this to us, now we’re going to retaliate’ kind of thing- and rob is right- it always escalates and becomes more and more violent. it is a vicious circle. and the only true antidote to stand in and stop the process is Jesus’ teaching of turning the other cheek. it is the anti-revenge model…

i pray that these kids could find this sort of revelation-


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Posted by justicetabernacle on October 26, 2009

this evening i get the privilege to serve the ncc community by teaching this week’s alpha course at ebenezers. every year, we run the alpha course twice- and try to incorporate some live speakers from the staff throughout the 12 week course.

this week the focus in on prayer… and while the talk’s main points are scripted, there is a lot of room to personalize it with your own stories, quotes and illustrations.

i’m looking forward to sharing with the group- and i do indeed consider it a privilege, because it is through alpha that so many people begin for the first time, or are renewing their spiritual journey.

pray for me as i talk about prayer… 🙂


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Joshua 8:5

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 22, 2009

this is for me- and it’s from monday-
i think it’s pretty noteworthy.
more on that later…


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Creation Care

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 21, 2009

well, i don’t even know if i can put this experience into words, but i’ll try, because, well this is a blog after all.

a few weeks back, i was invited to meet with some folks from the evangelical environmental network. this is a non-profit organization that is mobilized to raise awareness among churches about creation care and the environment. they also work on some policy initiatives.

based upon friendships that i have made there, i was invited to attend a dinner that was based around a meeting of several different people and organizations centered around a new partnership that was forming. i was kind of just an objective observer, you might say. what is this partnership you ask? well it is certainly one of the most unlikely ones that i could have ever imagined… it is the christian coalition of america and the national wildlife federation… yes, you read that correctly.

so, last night, i sat there, with folks from places like world vision, food for the hungry and others, jaws dropped, listening to things that we never would have thought possible. the presidents of both organizations applauding each other for the willingness to have a conversation about ways to work together in the future to cut the drastic effects leading to climate change.

it was surreal indeed- and full of noteworthy moments, that if it were not so unprecedented, would have been awkward- but there was a sense that people were happy to be in a place of progress, so they just went with it. like for example, when we had to pause and delay the start of the meal because the coalition wanted to say the pledge of allegiance before we prayed and ate… and the hotel staff was scurrying around trying to track down an american flag… or at the end of the meeting, and people were asked to join hands and pray, lifting up a wide array of requests and words of gratitude… and finally, what might have just been the cap of it all- the president of the coalition requesting that we sing and leading us in an a cappella version of ‘God bless america.’ i aint lyin’…

today the event was capped off by a lunch meeting with senator lindsey graham. he explained to us a new course for bi-partisan work on the environment- which he had hoped both the ccoa and the nwf could get behind and mobilize their networks of people to support. all in all it was an interesting few days.

only in d.c.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on October 20, 2009

humility seems to be a recurring theme in my life and prayers lately.
last friday at our staff prayer/fast, i shared what i thought the Lord was speaking to us through our union station predicament. (see my last post)

now, this morning, i gave one more reminder. i was up for leading our tuesday staff meeting devotion. i read out of 1 peter 1:23-2:3

the message in this text is that we have two lives happening simultaneously. one is the biological life we have been given through our parents. the other is the spiritual re-birth through Christ. both of these things require nourishment and develop growth, and i think there is an important lesson here.

because the ‘new life’ occurs within the context of the old dying one, there are things that work in opposition with one another. in the passage, peter writes about five characteristics that have been developed through our sinful old life.

**these things are all matured characteristics developed in the old life. and through the maturation of these characteristics, pride is developed and thrives.

on the other hand, the craving of spiritual milk is a posture of dependency- a dependency on God for spiritual growth.

now, because we don’t physically change, it can be difficult to discern the old and new- that’s why he says “rid” and “be done with” the old characteristics- because the matured fallen way of thinking will not allow for the new humility driven posture of craving and crying out; which will appear weak to the old way.

therefore, peter reminds us to think upon the first taste of God’s goodness, which will inspire us to the new cravings of the spirit. and this will lead to spiritual growth in the new life.


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Union Station

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 16, 2009

so i have yet to blog on some of the biggest news we have been dealing with here at ncc over the past week. in the business of traveling, etc, i have not had the time to give it a worthy post.

during catalyst last wednesday evening, pmark pulled us all together as a staff to announce that union station had revoked the lease on the theaters there, permanently and immediately. this meant, that as the theater closed, so would our operations there as a church as well.

this came as a huge shock, at least the immediacy of it, to all of us. there was silence, some tears, and of course some encouragement. this past sunday morning was our last day of meeting at the theater there, after 13 years. we will temporarily move our services to ebenezers coffeehouse.

since then, we have had all hands on deck for logistics, but beyond that, we have corporately gone into a season of fasting and prayer- not only for the immediate situation, but for guidance on what is next.

so this afternoon, the staff decided to fast together and meet to pray. we had a time for personal prayer and then a time to share and reflect what the Lord was speaking to everyone. 2 chronicles 20 is something that came up and it is our chapter to move forward no.

however, the word that i got was a combination of ezekiel 25 and 26 and 1 john 1:5-10. and i asked that as we look forward and pray for guidance, that we would not ignore the ‘warning’ or ‘discipline’ that God might be trying to communicate to us… a message about humility. that we would be sure to examine ourselves, confess and repent anything that might have been out of line in regard to our situation at union station. it was a hard thing to bring up, but pmark commended me for the boldness to speak a tough message… and we all took it seriously, got on our knees, and asked for God’s forgiveness in any areas where we may have been in sin against Him or been proud. this, i believe, could have been the most important thing that we could have done- and it might just allow for the Lord to open up His favor in moving us forward.

i’m excited to see what is going to come of this situation. i think that it can be an integral moment in the life and future of ncc.


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Calvin in the Capital

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 16, 2009

the trusty group of men i have been meeting with every other week ventured over to the world of northwest dc to attend one of the ‘calvin in the capital’ events.

the speaker was reverend ken jones, a reformed pastor from compton, ca (yes, the dr. dre compton) and presented on calvin’s anthropology or the doctrine of man. it was a very interesting and highly academic presentation on calvin’s ideas. the main points of his talk were the following:

1. the imago Dei
2. the union of the two adams
3. the eschatological vision of man
4. broader implications

i thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and subsequent q&a session, not to mention the nice reception afterward. we then headed out for a pint to discuss all of the implications of the talk and of course ventured off into many other topics. i appreciate those guys.


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Where I’ve Been

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 15, 2009

i know that i’ve been mia for a few days- but it is all for good reason. i meant to leave a message before i left because i knew i’d have very limited internet.

first stop- atlanta, ga…
our entire team at ncc went down for the catalyst conference. it is always a great time of renewal and excitement. the teaching there is amazing and inspiring. i usually get my spiritual butt kicked several times. this time around it was rob bell and matt chandler. both had tough, straight shooting messages to church leaders. it was refreshing.

then it was back to dc for a day to help facilitate services at union station (more on that later) and then back off to florida. had a few days or rest and relaxation in siesta key. i love the gulf- it was 90 plus every day. it was also full of memories from the times that i would go down that way to visit my grandparents as a kid.

so now it’s back to the office and a very cold rainy day in dc. i’m excited to get caught up with everything and hopefully put some of my new found excitement and revelation into practice. we have a lo going on around here at ncc… from a18 missions stuff, to rethinking discipleship, and more.

should be a full and interesting fall-


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Animals and the Environment

Posted by justicetabernacle on October 6, 2009

one of the things i enjoy most about my job is connecting with people who are doing some very interesting things here in dc on behalf of the Kingdom. the people that are typically steered in my direction are those who are working on justice related issues.

today i was able to connect with some individuals from the evangelical environmental network. they were discussing their work in promoting ‘creation care’ among churches and believers. their ideals and the way that they try to approach the issue was very reminiscent of when i met with the woman from the humane society. the idea that there are some core things in our theology, like mercy and self-control, that can and should be integral in our character. if they are, then they will have natural consequences on the way that we look at things like animals and the planet.

just to remind you about the food dilema- here is the the link for the humane society mini-doc on factory farming.

if you are interested in a more feature style doc- check out food, inc.
i personally have not yet seen it. so that’s my disclaimer 😉


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