In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for November, 2009

Chicago Bound

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 24, 2009

life has certainly been crazy-  just told hz that between berlin-bible-and boom (as in kaboom) my head’s swirling around like crazy.  it will be a great and much needed break for a few days this week.

my work schedule changed so that i can fly back to chicago earlier tomorrow- so i’ll start the standby game at some point in the morning.  hopefully i don’t have to wait all the way until 7:30 pm when my original flight is supposed to go.

either way- it will be good to be home with family and friends-  getting some good rest.  i’ll blog as i can, though normally, i’m pretty offline when i’m there.



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In Service Thanksgiving

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 24, 2009

on sunday after the retreat, we had an another amazing year for the homeless thanksgiving feast at ebenezers. it is one of the biggest highlights of the year for our ministry and for our friends. it is a really unique experience.

the thing about our approach is that we don’t just do the event soup kitchen style- with an assembly line and styrofoam plates. we rent fine china and silverware, glasses, linen napkins, and centerpieces. we even hire a harpist to play live. here’s a glimpse of what it looks like:

photo credit: karen keyser

i remember when this idea first came up to do it that way; i struggled a bit to be honest. i felt like in a way, that it could come across as patronizing- or give a false sense of elegance… but over the years, i have been proved wrong on this. instead, the event creates an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming. it produces a feeling of honor, not privilege. and i think that it is a good example of God’s nature- that is one of excellence. and the people respond in humility and gratitude. and when we opened up the floor to have people shout out things that they were thankful for, the flood of beautiful remarks makes the whole event worth it. for most, this is the most ‘familial’ thanksgiving that they will get to experience. and it is a blessing to all of those involved to share in that community.

for what it’s worth, i gave a short devotion out of ephesians 2:12-22. where it talks about how Jesus came to break down the walls of hostility between the jews and gentiles, by extending his redemptive grace to everyone. my message and prayer to the crowd, was to take on that same spirit and utilize the time together, to break down other walls and barriers in their lives, and to let that be a testimony of Christ to the outside world.


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66 Books of the Bible

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 23, 2009

so team d has been tasked to come up with a one year bible reading plan that makes sense with our sort of ncc rhythm of calendar- an ncc liturgical view so to speak.

so hz, chris h. and i all huddled together for the second time to think through how the bible is arranged, what some major themes are, and how that works into the feel of the year. after that, we had to do some serious number crunching- so that there was a somewhat proportionate amount of reading throughout the year. we came up with the weeks and numbers of chapters- definitely more work to be done in breaking down the individual weeks further and piecing together an actual reading plan. but first it goes through another round of creative team tomorrow.

it has been a really cool process and changes the way that you look at the bible. we just hope and pray that it is a good plan that will inspire people to stay the course and get through it all. it’s been a privilege to work with the others to expend some brain power on this project! we’re all really excited about it… almost a nerd-like amount to be honest…


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KaBoom Retreat

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 23, 2009

it was quite a crazy weekend.
we had kaboom retreat and talked a little bit about our new coaching structure- but the majority of it was us just listening and learning from an amazing teacher, dave buehring.

dave was a pastor to hz back in her nashville days, and continues to pour into her life. she invited him to speak and share with our team and what a treat it was. he taught on ‘the ways of God’ and ‘finishing well.’ they were both extremely deep and challenging sessions. i think all of our leaders were challenged, both individually and corporately.

i also shared out of jeremiah 18, and said that we were, as a leadership team, in one of those moments, where the Lord is being patient- and that we can look at the road we are on and repent in the places that we need to. that we need to seize the patient moments that God grants us and reflect upon our lives and our leadership.

we then had a time of quiet prayer and reflection and then communion. i thought it was a great and fitting way for us to end our time together. it was my hope that we would leave there more united as a team and continue to not see our roles as jobs, but as integral parts of advancing the Kingdom of God. i hope that it is a moment that we can look back upon- a place of an altar.


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Jeremiah 18

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 20, 2009

i already tweeted this, but it’s blogworthy. this morning i woke up prayerful, considering what to speak to our leaders this weekend. and i was led to jeremiah 18 on my bus ride into work. upon arriving in the office, i hashed through it a little more and in a few translations. i read through it’s cross reference in romans 9… i began to take notes on some of the ideas.

then, i took a break- and i signed on to twitter- and there was pastor joel and jonathan shradar going on about what…? yes, jeremiah 18. now that is some Holy Spirit for you- and now i am excited and feel even more empowered to share from it tomorrow.

so, now in just a few hours, we depart for rural virginia- to retreat and do all things ka-boom… i’m really excited about the new coaching and training model that we’ve come up with.


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Weekend Speaking

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 18, 2009

i’m excited about having two speaking opportunities this weekend. first i will lead a devotional thought at our ka-boom retreat (formerly zone leader/team leader retreat) i look forward to getting a word from the Lord to share with this amazing group of leaders as we look forward to a new era of training and coaching at ncc.

then on sunday, i will get to share at our annual thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. we go all out and serve dinner family style, rather than assembly line buffet. we literally serve our guests and share the meal together- all out fine dining style with a harp even. i will share a short word to the group- a moment i look forward to every year.

praying these next few days, that God would speak to me on what He wants to convey this weekend.


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Team D Off Site

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 16, 2009

so team d (discipleship) had a great off site day today at the national cathedral. we had some time for personal reflection, but also spent time brainstorming operation kaboom, ncc year through the bible, leadership retreat, and plenty of other random things… we had a great lunch at cactus cantina and a funny time at the evil starbucks.

we ended with a discussion of the first three chapters of ‘rejesus,’ the newest book from alan hirsch and michael frost. we are reading it devotionally as a team. it gave us some great insight about how to bring all the things that we do back to Jesus. it is a timely read as we rethink discipleship and leader care, as well as a church wide bible reading plan.

it is so nice to love the people you work with- and having time to get out of the office and be productive together. love hz and chris.


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Nights of Justice

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 13, 2009

if you add a k to the front of my post title, it sounds like a cheesy band name…

anyway- i just wanted announce that we will be kicking off our nights of justice initiative this saturday. the idea came out of a desire to engage nccers throughout the year and expand the idea of the week of justice that we do every summer. it was our hope, that along with the a1:8 missions projects, we would be able to facilitate some more awareness raising about some of the issues that are currently plaguing our world.

this weekend, we will kick off our events with a new documentary from international justice mission called, ‘at the end of slavery.’ we will follow it up with a q&a panel.

it is important for the church to be aware of such issues- for it is our duty to loosen the chains of oppression as we follow Christ. and if the church would rise together to concentrate on the things the gospel speaks to clearly- we could overturn a lot of darkness.


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Staff Planned

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 12, 2009

the past few days have been extremely busy for ncc. we had our annual trip up to the inner harbor in baltimore, md for our staff planning retreat. it is a two day cluster of brainstorming, meetings, personal planning and prayer- all to set course and make some plans for the upcoming year.

it is truly amazing the way that the Lord has used this gathering in the past to spark ideas that really have set major initiatives into motion. every year, there are a few key ideas that are conceived there, and it is certainly no exception this time around. i won’t mention a lot here since there is a lot of fleshing out yet to be done before we unveil some of these things, but i can say that there is a ton on the horizon, and it is all really good stuff.

finally- i just have to state that i think the staff is in a really good place. i think each member of the team is going through a little bit of a personal revival in some way shape or form. i have talked one on one with so many people that are either rethinking how they do things in ministry or even life. it is a healthy sign to see people who take seriously their personal growth and put the things that they do on the altar now and again. in addition to that, i think we are in a good place as a greater staff. i feel like there is great chemistry on the team and a lot of mutual respect- which is vital for cohesion in mission.

so i’m coming out of chesapeake inlet inspired and encouraged- it’s going to be one crazy 2010…


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Daily Bread

Posted by justicetabernacle on November 4, 2009

last monday i taught about prayer at alpha and one of the things that i focused on was what is best known as, ‘the Lord’s prayer.’ it’s called that, because it is what Jesus taught his followers to pray during the sermon on the mount.

and i want to focus specifically here on one of the lines that i think is interesting- ‘give us this day our daily bread.’

now at first read, it seems like this is a pretty simple part of the structure of the prayer. it is the part where we ask God to provide for us, right? in a way yes, but i think that the implications of this can mean different things to different people in various places. let’s look at two different scenarios:

first of all, for a person in the developing world who may be in constant search for scarce resources to provide for basic nutrition- it can be a very literal prayer of, Lord, please provide for my sustenance today… and not only me, but those around me in my community. in this way, the prayer can be applied very literally.

but what about for the person who has enough? what about us, in the rich developed world? is it just a lip service prayer? i think there are two ways of applying this part of the prayer to our lives. first of all, it can be a prayer of humility. asking, even if we think that we have enough (or indeed already do have enough in our cabinets, refrigerators and pantries…) we still can pray that the Lord gives us our daily bread as a way of recognizing His provision and our reliance upon Him.

the second implication for us however, is a little more tricky. and it is a concept that i am borrowing from shane claiborne and john wilson-hartgrove from their book, ‘becoming the answer to our prayers.’ when we pray for daily bread, it can actually be a prayer of restraint. it is a check on our spirit that we do only collect that what we need for the day. much like the story of the miraculous provision of food from heaven during the exodus, the Lord instructs them to only collect for the one day and one day only. it was a test of faith.

so next time you pray the Lord’s prayer, think about what it means to some to actually have to pray for daily bread- then think about the restraint that you could show to help that happen for others. there is enough food to go around for everyone, if we would all only take what we needed…

let’s think about restraint and sharing, as we build our faith.


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