In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for February, 2010

Initial Berlin Reflections

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 24, 2010

so what do you do when you land in a foreign country and you are as sick as a dog… cough, fever, etc.?  well not much, except thank the Lord that you are able to stay with a family of people who let you lay around in their house under a blanket.  i’m so grateful that i am not pent up in a a youth hostel.

yesterday i did not have the most productive of days- but today we got some planning for the rest of the time here in and some  good brainstorming on the project.  we talked through potential structure and also how it is that we are going to integrate the culturally relevant business together with the gospel and discipleship.  it is going to be an interesting process and an equally challenging one.  at the moment, we are trying to nail down some core values that will guide us through.

i hope to be able to blog more through the experience.  it will probably get more exciting once i can actually leave the house.  in the meantime however, i am enjoying a few days in the quiet.  hoping to get clarity- to hear from the Lord- to get back to dc with a better understanding of what is to come.



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Jetzt Geht’s Los

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 22, 2010

so today is the day of my departure for the first berlin reconnaissance trip.  it is unbelievable how fast time has gone by to get to this point.  there are certainly a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to the thoughts of leaving this place.  and there are certainly a lot of things that i am praying for and hoping to discern during my time there.

as for the logistics of the trip- i’m going to be in berlin for the first week and a half of this initial excursion.  this will be really all about immersing in the city, looking at it through the  lens of moving there, and making connections with people, pastors and missionaries.  it’s a kind of initial litmus test.

the second week and a half will be spent in amsterdam, meeting with the folks from reach global- our partner in this endeavor.  i’m thrilled to finally have the chance to get to know some of these people better.  they are having their annual european meeting- so i will be experiencing and hearing stories about what is happening in the Kingdom all across the european landscape.

by the end of all of that, i hope to have a few things that begin to emerge-  some new ideas- a narrower vision of what this project is going to become- and a few things that i feel like i need to grow in to be the leader of this project.

God-willing- things will go off without a hitch and the time will be exciting and productive.  i hope to continue to have some time to blog- but i know that time on the road in europe does not always foster the best online writing for me-  but i’ll keep this as updated as i can.


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Godly Men

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 20, 2010

one of the most significant things in my spiritual journey this year has been the resurgence of gathering together with other men of faith, to share about life and faith.  the ‘cabal’ group that i am a part of and that meets bimonthly has been a wonderful experience in discussing deep, theological ideas that spur each of the guys in the group to know God more and better.  we are also able to spend time sharing about what is happening in life and how the things we are discovering can be applied to our unique situations.

in addition to that, i have just started to meet up with another guy to talk about our lives in terms of seeing them as a story…  we have coveted together to spend time challenging each other in a few key areas that we have decided will help us each tell a better story with our lives.  he shared a couple of visions he has for this year, and i will come back from this first germany planning trip with a number of things that i need to develop and work on in this time of preperation before heading off to berlin in the fall.  and he will be there to assist and assure that i am pursuing those goals.

finally, the missionary partner that we are working with in berlin is a guy a little older than me, with a family.  he has a good and gentle spirit and we have already experienced a great deal of synergy in the ideas and visions that we share for the project.  but beyond that, i know that there is a ton that i am going to be able to learn from him- through his life experiences.  he is going to be an invaluable support to me when i move.

all of this to say, that God has finally answered a very specific prayer that i have been praying for some time now- and that is to bring around a group of guys that i can really share in both personal and theological discourse.  i know that my further sanctification hinges on how well i am connected in community with other believers.  so i am grateful for the Lord’s provision.


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Relational Discipleship

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 19, 2010

i absolutely love the gospel…
it never fails- in any instance, act or conversation.
last nite, i had a wonderful discussion about life, God and the world after my soccer game.

there is nothing better than calmly walking through the gospel story over a cold beer-  and actually there came a point of time during the evening where i said aloud- that i had a feeling that the scene and atmosphere in which i found myself, was something that was going to be a fairly regular experience for me in the coming time of living in berlin.

what i love most about the gospel is that even the most abstract thoughts about life and creation can eventually be boiled back down to the fact that God created us in perfect order, unity and harmony- and we messed that up- but there is hope for that all to be restored one day, and it is only through the sacrifice of Christ that it happens.

i look forward to the the challenge of holding on to the gospel in the face of rampant doubt, skeptisim and criticism.  time and time again, i am left in awe of God’s mercy and grace- and His unbelievable sovereignty.


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NCC All Church Service

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 16, 2010

tonite at the lincoln theater on u st. in nw dc we will have our first ever all church service.  ncc is a multi-site church that meets throughout the dc metro area.  we are one church with multiple locations- and though we have many events for leaders that combine all of our locations, as well as having a fluid and integrated small group structure that incorporates all locations- we have never gathered corporately as a body to worship.

all of that changes this evening at 7:30 pm.  it  is a milestone event for us- and what is even more exciting is that it comes in the middle of our ‘vision’ series- where we are casting vision for the direction of our church for 2010- but also looking ahead to 2020.

if you are reading this and you are an ncc-er- see you at the lincoln!


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Posted by justicetabernacle on February 12, 2010

the sun has finally come out for two straight days and the snow has subsided.  it was definitely a rough week around here.  urban cabin fever is not something that is for the faint of heart-

God has worked and spoken though, in some of the corners of the malaise- inspiring some introspection deep in icy banks.


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Our Stories

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 9, 2010

i shared a little bit at our staff meeting this morning about stories.  pm talked a little bit in the message this weekend about my story at ncc- how i started off as a volunteer, seeing a need to serve the homeless community, and being faithful to that calling.  but as time went on, i made a shift in careers by going to a discipleship training school in germany, then became and intern, then part time staff, then full time staff- and finally now having the opportunity to lead the team to berlin…  it is a long and nuanced story.

what i shared however, is that testimonies like mine are a bit of a paradox.  on the one hand, it really brings out an awe and reverence for God and how big and sovereign He is- and how unique my story and path is.  on the other hand though, it is really not anything special at all- it is the norm.  God wants to and is  writing a unique and nuanced story for each of us.  it just so happens that all too often, we never look around to see it.  we miss the miracles and the provision.  we miss the calling and the faithfulness of God.

so what i shared this morning is that we need to help people identify what it is that they are a part of.  we need to help our people understand that God is doing big things in all of our small lives.  part of the discipleship of our people is helping them have open eyes and hearts to the things that they are a part of already and seize the opportunities in front of them.


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Snowpocolypse in the Hood

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 8, 2010

so i just could not blog about this, because it was just too classic…
it was a crazy snowy weekend in dc as most know and well, it is clear that this city has issues during a storm like this.

it was fun to be able to bond with the neighborhood a bit though, which is a core value of our house anyway.  so we got out and shoveled some sidewalks and stairs of those around us-  it’s the practical revolutionary stuff that i was writing about last week.

the best story however, came from a little trip to our corner market.  one of my roommates and i ventured over and the little store was open, but not letting people in.  the owners, an elderly asian couple, were tag teaming- with the old man shuffling around getting what people wanted and the wife ringing it all up.  this of course caused a line to pile up out the door.  the funniest part however, was that you had to yell through the bullet proof glass door what it was that you wanted.  and what we found out was this- in our neighborhood, on a snow packed evening, at the little local store, only the best and most vital items are being purchased.

we stood in line, with all of the folks yelling through the glass, sometimes multiple times, for the following things:

‘i need a pack of menthol cigarettes’
‘gimmie that bottle of zinfindel’
‘can i get one of those powerball slips’

hahaha- and on and on it went- beer, wine, cigarettes and lottery tickets- throw in a 99 cent soda or bag of chips and people were getting all of the necessities to survive the lock in!  we laughed… hard.  and, well… then- we bought a pack of yuengling and sierra nevada.


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The Simple Way/Conspire

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 5, 2010

shane claiborne has been one of the more influential teachers from afar for me and my walk with Christ over the past few years.  his passion to serve the poor, live simply and in community, and help raise awareness both inside and outside of the church about what following after Jesus really looks like in our world today, has been nothing short of inspiring.

his community, the simple way, has experimented this year in releasing a quarterly publication called conspire, which consists of articles, stories and various forms of art to invigorate and celebrate the efforts of Christ following communities around the world.

this time around, i submitted an article for the coming spring addition.  it is some reflections on my story and the way that the berlin initiative kind of came about.  we’ll see if they use it-  if they do, i’ll send around the link- if not, then i’ll probably post the story here at some point.


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Stoking the Revolutionary Heart

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 4, 2010

i got the chance to get together with a guy yesterday who is contemplating quitting his job and really following his passion to go after what he feels God is calling him to do- to minimalize his life, to serve the poor, and make a difference by breaking out of the norm.

as he shared, he talked about how when he moved to dc from college that he had high hopes of living simply, serving, and displaying all the things that he wrote about in his papers… but then… like with many- life happened.  and as the job came, and the responsibility, and the routine, all of the sudden he was stuck in a life that he did not seek out, in what seemed to be overnight…

how does that happen?  how do we go from ‘irresistable revolution’ to 9-5 madness?  i’m not sure how to nail it down specifically, but what i do know, is that it takes resolve, courage and a alternative plan to get out of it.  so we talked through some things- some steps to take initially.  and in a way i found it interesting that i was the more cautioning voice, but not in a way of talking him out of it, but to be sober and methodical.  this was not to have him reconsider, rather it was to assure that through the process of breaking away, he does not become disillusioned.  because on paper it looks great.  in your spirit, you want it to change everything overnight, but in reality, there is due process that must occur if you really want to reach your ultimate goal.

in some areas are there radical steps that need to be taken…? yes indeed.  but more often it is the things that take longer and we have to be patient in and persevere in that really help us succeed in living differently- set apart from the world- the way that God calls us…

it was refreshing to see someone realizing the state of things- and wanting to make a change. may God be with him…


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