In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for January, 2010

The Ten Commandments

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 27, 2010

i was led to exodus 20 this morning- which is the part of the bible that contains the ten commandments.  when’s the last time you actually read them?  here they are:

Exodus 20: 1-17
And God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

now often around parts of scripture that get a lot of attention, like the ten commandments, we sometimes fail to see the other meaningful text surrounding it.

in this case, there are a lot of interesting things that are going on.  first of all, the fact that God speaks so directly to Moses is always captivating.  but what is really amazing in this encounter is that God allows for the Hebrews in the desert to also encounter God.  in chapter 19, it specifcally states that the Lord will descend upon the mountain (mt. sinai)  in verses 10-11 it says:

the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.”

is this messianic prophecy?  it wouldn’t be the first time that God appeared in the sight of the people on the third day-  and when Jesus appeared on the third day, his resurrection- He was there to completely fulfill the law that was given right here in Exodus.  very cool stuff…



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A1:8 Blogging

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 26, 2010

i’m blogging again this week over on aoneeight.org/blog.

it’s going to be crazy with leadership retreat planning- but i’ll get a few posts up for sure.

i just wrote some thoughts on justice and mercy in regard to the earthquake in haiti.  it is a passion point for me- that we are reminded of our call as a church to acts of mercy- but also of justice.


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Miracles and Focus

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 26, 2010

our tuesday morning staff meetings have really been taken to a new level of late.  we have been sharing some amazing wins as well as gathering together for some great times of prayer and encouragement.

this morning was no different.  pmark also shared a wonderful miracle that we experienced as a church along with some vision for the future.  and vision is one thing that we certainly do not lack around here.  there is going to be a lot of big things that the Lord is going to do in the next year, but also over the next ten years.

the sobering part of it for me is always the idea that in spite of us- God is moving.  and it is not something that we can spark or hinder- we can merely participate or not.  and it’s when you see how amazing He is and the awesome things that He is doing, that you get that feeling of Holy fear and you absolutely do not want to miss out.  and this is the ‘fear of the Lord’ kind of stuff that gets you on your knees for gratitiude but also for repenetence- and you ask God to refocus your heart and mind on the things of Him.  sometimes it takes a miracle for us to recalibrate our attention, and spur us on to obedience.

He will build His church- we can align ourselves to Him and help that process, or ignore it and miss out- creating our own mere finite empire of nothingness.


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Suffering and Anxiety

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 20, 2010

matt chandler’s preaching has been very influential to me over the past year, as i know it has for many others.  his voice has been a great supplement to my spirit from outside my community here in dc- and i have appreciated the podcast-discipleship.  with that, his recent illness has impacted me and i have been faithfully praying for him along with so many others around the country-

i have continued to follow the story at the village church as it progresses and enjoyed the fill in teaching by the other pastors and elders there.  yesterday i listened to several messages from the time in the aftermath of matt’s tumor diagnosis.

the messages, which are clearly reflecting the situation concerning matt’s struggle, have been very apropos for me as well-  though i am not personally fighting through illness at the present moment, there has been a bit of anxiety and fear that has been creeping into my spirit lately… so the messages, especially the one on anxiety, have been of great encouragement.

the best of all however, was the sermon from dr. john piper on suffering entitled ‘subjected in hope’ on december 27th. it is a bit heady- but it is in my opinion, one of the best explanations of suffering i have ever heard.  in times like these, when there is a corporate questioning over isolated things like haiti, or ongoing things like the orphan, slavery or water crisis- it is a message that could provide some clear perspective on what is really going on in the world.

the bottom line is, that God is great- things went awry- and He is currently setting it all up for greatness once again…  there is a powerful paradigm shift when you view the world through the macro lens of God’s amazing plan.


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Staff Devotion: Luke 15

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 19, 2010

i was asked to a devotion for our staff this morning.  we huddle up every tuesday morning to share wins, pray and get a word from someone on our team.

i shared out of luke 15:1-7.

this is a fairly common parable that many know and have heard-  but what i wanted to focus on was the part where it says that the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep in the open country to find the one.  did you ever think about that?  he just left them out there, unattended- they could have scattered… they could have been attacked… but in a way, it was as if he trusted them to stay put- to take care of themselves for a bit of time.

as we move into the new year- especially as we look toward our annual leadership retreat, i think we need to continue to stress to our leaders,  that they need to be able to be ‘left alone’ so to speak.  we need to have a level of spiritual maturity that allows for us to be on mission- to find those that are lost, helping bring them back into the fold.

too often churches are focused on the 99- i want us to be a church that is looking for the 1.


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One Busy Friday

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 15, 2010

today is going to be a little nuts.
i’m kicking off my friday with hz to brief all of the campus pastors on our new ‘kaboom’ plan- in layman’s terms, that is our new training and coaching structure for small group leaders.  we’re doing things like taking our training online, getting leaders linked up with coaches, and helping with better connections at all of our locations.  it has been a long process of researching and brainstorming, but i think we’ve created a structure that is going to be highly effective in caring for our leaders better.

then it’s prepping for some filming of 2 portions of leadership 101-  i’m going to talk about the relational and missional aspects to small groups.  it is a cool opportunity for me.

after that, it’s leadership retreat meeting time with the emcees- mr. shradar and ms. giobbi.  that is going to be a blast- they are both hilarious!

finally, it’s picture day at ncc.  we’ll be reshooting our team and individuals for the new annual ministry report, atlas, website, etc…  oh, remember picture day at school…?  ha.

it’s a beautiful sunny, cold day here in dc- life is busy, but indeed good-


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Light and Darkness

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 14, 2010

for our bi-monthly meeting of the cabal group- we discussed 1 john 1.

we spent a while digging into what it means to have fellowship- what it means that God demonstrates himself as a good father- and what the implications of light and darkness had in regard to deception, sin and salvation. it was a great and fruitful discussion as always-

what was even more exciting however, was what then happened this morning. i got up with two of my roommates to have coffee and spend some time together. one of them was talking about their experiences growing up and attending a quaker school- and how they used the language of ‘bringing things into the light…’ it was very apropos to the topic of the passage in 1 john 1, so we found it only fitting to read it aloud.

the main concept that i took away from it- was the idea that alone, as individuals, we will perpetually deceive ourselves in one way or another. either we will walk in darkness and claim that we have fellowship with God (which is a lie)- and because we have no fellowship and community with others, there will be no correction. or we will claim that we are in the light and have no sin, and deceive ourselves, making a mockery of the cross and atonement.  in both scenarios, there is no realization of sin, and therefore no repentance.

it is only when we live in community with one another- having a fellowship of the body together- that a corporate light exists that exposes areas of darkness in one another. this then leads to repentance and restoration to God.

now i am not saying that it is impossible to be convicted in your own spirit about sin and repent of it- however, it is much more difficult to keep yourself from denial and deception, if you keep yourself isolated. this is what i think is one of the biggest challenges of individualistic western society- and it’s effects on the church.  individualism is celebrated and we do not place enough value on and have a good enough understanding of community and its effects on our true understanding of the Gospel.  furthermore, it has given those outside of the faith a false understanding of how Christ set up His church- most do not see the church as a cohesive body, which it is supposed to be, and instead are surprised when they read things like 1 john.

we need to rediscover the core of our faith, which is fellowship with one another, which is what truly allows us to connect with Christ and exist in Him as light.

verse 7 says it best:

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

walking in the light is synonomous with fellowship with one another, because fellowship with one another, leads us to repentance, which allows for Christ to cleanse us from all unrighteousness-


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Uganda Bound

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 13, 2010

i have the privilege of leading our ncc team to uganda this year. we will work with watoto ministries. this will be the third year in a row that we will take a trip- however, this year we get to go to gulu, rather than just kampala. gulu is in the northern part of the country where a lot of the conflict and unrest. the orphanage up there has a lot more of the effects of the war. i’m really anxious to see what God has in store for this new team.

yesterday we had an initial informational meeting on the trip. there were a handful of folks that came, in addition to a large list of email interest. i tried to set the tone early yesterday in the approach and attitude that i try to instill into the teams that i lead. i learned a lot from leading the team to addis ababa, ethiopia last year. i know that it is absolutely intricate to establish the spiritual aspect of trip at the very early stages. this is about Kingdom work- that goes far beyond what we can do with our hands or even our hearts.

so the theme for our trip is going to be colossians 3:1-17. i think that there are 3 key components in this verse and as our trip gets closer, i’ll break down these parts more clearly- i pray that it will help our team stay focused and empower them to do the work set before them.

God bless uganda…


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A New Week Begins

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 12, 2010

the new work week is upon me and there is a lot going on around here at ncc. finishing up group entry stuff for the spring semester- organizing some stuff for the leadership retreat at the end of the month- and the list goes on and on.

we had another great staff meeting this morning. there were a lot of good wins from last week and the weekend. finished up with a deep time of prayer again, and it is something that i think is doing a world of good for all of us. i felt energized and ready for the tasks ahead. it’s amazing the amount of grace that we get from the Lord. there have been some weeks of late, that i didn’t really feel prepared for the job spiritually. but God keeps no record of this, if we really begin to realign ourselves with Him and seek Him. so i am going to go with it today and hope that this is the beginning of a new, intensified season of seeking Him.

finally, tonight is the first meeting for those interested in going to uganda in june. i’m getting more and more excited about this trip and trust that there will be a good team that forms. i pray that the right folks get signed up and committed for this challenge.


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Some Thoughts on Psalm 51

Posted by justicetabernacle on January 8, 2010

i have spent some time meditating on psalm 51 this morning. and i absolutely love the way that david structures this prayer. this is said to have been written after he was approached by nathan the prophet in regard to his affair with bathsheba.

have a look at it here

he begins by stating some of the promises of God and exalting His wonderful characteristics- mercy, steadfast love… then he moves to an uninhibited recognition of the sin and depravity of his heart. and it’s not an ‘i know i did wrong,’ rather it is an elaborate, honest assessment of the depth and breadth of the evil that abounds. there is a sober and clear understanding of the situation and condition. there is a thorough appraisal of the relationship between his own spirit and God’s- and the way that the two properly interact; submitting to the fact that his own is inferior to the greatness of God’s. in that, he longs for reconnection.

my favorite portion of this whole prayer however, is in verse 13. it is here that there is shift. david moves from the posture of repentance to one of proactive mission. it transitions from what only God can do, to what david now must do. it is an intentional response to the forgiveness he receives. he does not merely accept and hoard the forgiveness and mercy that he receives for himself, rather he vows to take the good news of God to other transgressors who are under the burden of guilt and sin.

i don’t know why this hit me so hard- but i think that it is just such a challenge for all of us. far too often, we receive and hoard the good gifts of God. we think that the whole act of repentance, the interaction and exchange, happens merely between us and God- and that it is the end of the story. we feel forgiven, redeemed and safe. but in fact, the story is to never stop there. God’s grace is not only for us- but for all- and it is His expectation and plan, that we help share, by the testimonies of our lives, the goodness of God.

if we sit idle and take in God’s forgiveness, not teaching and spreading it out to others, then we are only gluttons- filling up on the goodness of God for our own appetites, which crave right standing with Him. and if this is the attitude of the heart, then it is really full of selfishness and pride- revealing the fact that we believe our relationship with God is the only important thing.

instead, david says that a humble and contrite heart (verse 17) is what God desires, and possesses Himself. forget the sacrifices- forget about your own act of repentance. if you think that it is because you repented of your wickedness, that God forgave you, than you misunderstand His grace- as you repent, your sin is indeed blotted out, but at that very moment, God is already ahead of you preparing the next act of forgiveness to those who encounter you and your experience with mercy. God is not dwelling on the act of forgiveness between you and Him, as if it were some momentous act in history- rather, He is on an urgent mission to reconcile others back to Him. it is the only thing that He cares for- and it is the purpose of our lives- to assist Him on this great mission.

all things, the sin and the forgiveness of it, are for His glory. because through those things, His great love is on display, allowing others to see His goodness and return to Him.


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