In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for April, 2010

Love, Love

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 29, 2010

as always- when i get together with the boys of the cabal, it is an inspiring time.  it is amazing to see how God is taking all of us in this group in some crazy directions.  a brief list: one move to seminiary, 2 engagements, 1 baby on the way, 1 new position on church staff, one move to florida for minstry training and my move to berlin.  God didn’t leave any of us out.  it will be inspiring to see where we all land and to see how God is using us in a year from now.

aside from me being able to share some of my berlin story from this last trip- we were able to discuss some of 1 john 4.  of course it’s all about love.  we spent a good deal of time talking about how much of a struggle it is at times to love people.  and if we are specifically called to love people because of the love of God and our relationship with Him, then how do we ensure that we do that?  we talked about repentance and forgiveness and of experiences in reconciling with individuals that we have not loved well.

i then challenged us to go a little deeper than that even-  while making sure we are loving people is an important and already enormous task… i stated that i think it’s even bigger than that.  love is not merely one of the commands of God- like do not commit adultery, or do not lust, or steal or any of the rest-  it is rather, an essence of being out of which all other obedience to God stems.  we are obedient to the will of God and our life and actions are in line with His understanding of the world because of the love that we experience and possess due to our connection with God.
take a look at verses 1 john 4:15-18:

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

in this you can begin to see the weight of this.  first of all there is a perpetual interaction between God and us- the abiding flows back and forth.  secondly, the fact that the kind of love that is spoken of here is one that allows us to ‘have confidence on the day of judgment.’  this is a bold statement and one that takes the love that is spoken of here far beyond the kind of ‘let’s all just get along and be nice to each other’ kind of love.  this love allows us to stand before the Holy and righteous God- with confidence.  this love must be significant…  and then, we were reminded of what Jesus said in john 15.  if we are truly loving and laying down our lives for each other- our obedience and sanctification will flow- and we will be the true new creations in Christ- that we claim to be.



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April Showers

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 27, 2010

it’s been quite  a whirlwind getting back into the flow of things and life in dc.  life certainly did not skip a beat here in the district since i was gone.  ncc is rockin and rollin with tons of stuff going on- everything from new staff, to new bustling locations, missions trips coming and going, and the list goes on.  so fun to be part of such a vibrant community.

i’ve spent my first few days back just trying to get adjusted to sleep and work- and of course catch up with tons of people- from roommates to co-workers and beyond.

after i get my footing back though, there are a lot of things to get into order.  first big thing is prepping for uganda in june.  it is going to be here before we know it and there are still some logistics to get worked out.  i’m excited about being able to bond more with the team in the coming weeks as we prepare to go.

other than that, i’m trying to figure out how berlin transition is going to work out.  coming back from berlin (and the extended stay in tuebingen due to the volcano) is always tough- trying to balance what is happening here and where i am going there.  mike (my co-worker in berlin) and i have a little bit of debriefing yet to do- then next week i’ll have the debrief with some ncc leadership.  i’m excited to bring back a really good report and continue to seek out what the next steps in the process and plan look like.  we definitely need some miracles along the way- but hey- our God loves doing them, so we’re in good shape.


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Joshua 9-10

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 22, 2010

today i was on blog duty at fromgardentocity.com

i posted on the daily reading which was joshua 9-10.  go check it out, and jump into our bible reading plan!


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Asche-Kampf- Part 2

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 21, 2010

so the plan this morning was to head back to the stuttgart airport to try to get on a direct flight to atlanta on standby.  i was supposed to get there at 6:30 to get on the list and then wait until 11 to see if i made it…
luckily, i checked the website last nite before heading to bed and they had already canceled that flight.  so bad news- no flight home- good news, i didn’t get up at 5am for nothing.

so now i will just wait until saturday, when i have an officially re-booked flight on klm.  i am not going to keep this back and forth craziness up for the next two days- instead i will sit back, work from here and enjoy tuebingen and the surrounding area for another few days.  God has blessed me with amazing friends here in this town that i can crash with for the rest of the week.  in a way, it is not that bad at all.  i really love this place and it has been good to catch up with old friends.

aside from that, it is very quiet here- which has also allowed for me to find time to think, reflect and process some of the last two weeks- to be honest, it is probably more efficient for me to do that kind of stuff here instead of being in the midst of the bustle and craziness of dc.

but i am in a way ready to get back.  i miss people- i feel a little out of the loop- and i am not able to witness and enjoy all the great things that are happening at ncc these days.  i guess in a way it has been partially good prep of what is to come- when i’m really living here again full time.  so far the trip has been very successful in two very clear ways: first- in the networking and the contacts/relationships that have been built.  second- in further confirmation that this is the right thing, but that God is going to take it on His pace and in His plan.


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Asche-Kampf- Part 1

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 21, 2010

(uploaded from an earlier offline post on 4/20/10)

on a bus ride back from the stuttgart airport toward tuebingen.  it is a shuttle bus from the city to the airport that meanders through a bunch of tiny swabian villages that belong to districts like stuttgart, boeblingen and tuebingen.  it brings me back to 11 years ago when i had my first experience of living in germany.  there are a lot of memories in this place-  so in spite of being stranded from getting back to the u.s. i feel blessed that it is happening here, and that i have good friends to take me in and care for me (and are genuinely happy for me to be here).

it’s pretty unbelievable to me still that volcanic ash is having such an effect on the world.  puts things into perspective i suppose.  i’m just happy that i do not have any major things going on this week that i have to be back for- i’m sure there are people in much worse shape- who are stranded in more difficult situations- or are missing significant life events.  perhaps a wedding- or funeral- someone may pass away on this side of the pond and another life might be given in birth on the other.

so i am grateful that i have the luxury to travel back to a home- and on the way enjoy the beautiful scenery o the swaebische alb…
these are the moments that last and create memories and points of reference.  it will just be one more mark along the road of life- one that has taken me all over the world and continues to lead me into new places.

now, back to siamese dream as we pass through waldenbuch…


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Posted by justicetabernacle on April 19, 2010

waiting to hear more news about a big cloud of ash.
kind of ridiculous in a way, if you really think about it- but i’m hoping that i can still fly out as planned tomorrow from stuttgart via amsterdam, back to dc.

who new that a little volcano explosion could cause such worldwide chaos…

my hope is that by 11:30 am tomorrow, my flight will be back in order-  i’m watching german news about it on tv as we speak.  they are showing all kinds of things, from new test airplanes to weather balloons.  it is almost like one big joke.  either way- i will be happy to land safely tomorrow at dulles international airport.


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Auf der Autobahn

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 18, 2010

(from earlier today)

this would be my first blog post ever written from the autobahn… unfortunately i’m not able to actually post it in real time- but it still counts.  heading down the a4 through the beautiful landscape of thuringen with two new friends, david and Claudia.  they were heading down from the summit back to the city of koblenz and i decided to take the drive with them, since i’m flying back from stuttgart.  it is really nice, as it’s saving some good money, and is much nicer than driving with a ride-share with strangers.

the two of them are lovely people- and they will be eventually planting a church in berlin that strives to reach out to the international crowd of business people, politicians, and other people of worldly influence.  they will spend about a year in the u.s. training with a network of churches in milwaukee, wisconsin.  i’m also talking to them about getting them some time in dc and at ncc- as i think our context will be really helpful for them.

it is also great to be able to drive seven hours with some folks who can talk theology and forms of church.  it’s  been a helpful time of debrief and reflection from all that we experienced at the summit as it was truly an amazing week- watching churches and pastors from the u.s. interact with german church planters in berlin.

the most significant moment for me was a point as i was sitting in my seat- and all of the church plants had made a poster with information about what they were doing and prayer requests, etc… and i sat there and gazed upon them all- and it just hit me- a true moment of enlightenment about the weight of what was happening.  and i thought to myself- ‘you are sitting here in a room, with all of the new church plants, of one of the biggest denominations of christianity in germany (outside of the state churches) in the capital city, and probably one of the most influential cities in europe and the world.’  that is significant.  that is something that you can link to the book of acts.  wow…


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Eyeball Deep

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 14, 2010

i feel like i’m buried at the moment.  of course it is in things that are beneficial to my growth and faith- but buried nonetheless.
the time in berlin, specifically the summit on church planting and partnership has been a great experience thus far- but it has been at times overwhelming.  it is one of those things where you begin to really see how small you are and how big the plan of God is… and that causes you upon a teetering line of feeling hopeless and perpetually unfulifilled and being totally at rest, knowing that all pressure is off if you just play your faithful role.

this of course sounds easier than it is- as it is difficult at times to discern what faithful role means…

so i will continue in the fleeting days of trip number two, to really hammer down what it is that God is speaking- what He needs me to learn and take back- and where it is that He is showing me i need progress in before getting back here full time.  it’s a fun adventure, and i’m trying to soak it in as much as i can, because the process is as meaningful as the destination… because in the end, there is no destination, when in Christ, because He was and is and is to come- so in essence,  you just are… all the time.


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Old School

Posted by justicetabernacle on April 13, 2010

being back in berlin has resurrected a lot of thoughts and memories.  and to be honest, it is almost scary, some of the things that have come back to mind and even people that have returned to the scene.

on sunday, i got to hang with two people from the past, which was great.  first of all, an old valpo friend lisa, who studied with me in tuebingen for our jr. year abroad.  we had not seen each other in 11 years…  she is now living and working in berlin, so we met up for coffee and cake.  it was so fun reminiscing on the past and catching up on life-  we both have definitely had quite a decade.  we talked about people from our program and some of the funny stories we shared in the past.  it was very cool.  she is also a faithful Christian and it was fun to be able to share with her some of what the plans for the project are.  she may even have a good connection or two-  i never put anything past God these days.

then i went off to the berlinprojekt– a newer church plant here in berlin.  their evening service in kreuzberg was very cool and reminded me very much of my days at steiger.  and sure enough, as i’m sitting there waiting for everything to start, i look over and there is a girl sitting there that i met in karlsruhe at steiger in 2006.  turns out a friend of hers was also there that i had met during that time.  so we chatted for a while and caught up on life.  they are both also in berlin now, and will be great connections to have upon returning in the fall.  that is one small world for sure.

finally, topped off the nite by getting to hang with my friend austin, who is, with his wife, living here in berlin as a missionary.  they were here in 2003 when i was helping with campus ministry and working out at the human rights center in potsdam.  we talked about life and ministry and shared stories.  he has quite a story behind him-  i really appreciate him and his wife, and look forward to having them around when i move.  they will surely serve as a great support to me in the transition process.  he’s just one of those guys you can be around and be yourself and get in a good laugh.  definitely a must in ministry…

so that was one day and 3 crazy convergences of people, from 3 very different phases of my life.  and it was almost like a little mini decade in review- right before my eyes.  and i came away from it completely grateful- because it just showed me how faithful God has been to me over the years-  and showed me how significant people and individuals really are- i am thankful for the journey He has brought me on thus far and looking forward to seeing what he will make of the years to come.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on April 12, 2010

i feel like i’ve hit a point of nomansland (translation of subject line) on this trip.  it’s one of those points, where after a week of being somewhere, you start asking yourself what is happening…?  trips like these are interesting, because on the one hand there is a lot planned and you feel like you are constantly moving and doing stuff- but on the other hand, because everything is a bit random, you get a sense that you are not really accomplishing much.  it is a bizarre kind of feeling.

but i know that we have already made a lot of great progress this time around- and there is a whole other week to go.  tomorrow the berlin summit will begin which is linking american churches with berlin church planting.  it should be exciting to see and watch and participate in.  we are not officially presenting, but i will sit in and network and make meaningful connections, both on the german and american side of things.

the weekend is still up in the air- the plan was to go and visit steiger in karlsruhe, but i just found out that one of the main guys there will not be in town, so we have to figure out if that is still going to happen or not.  i really want mike to see and experience what is happening there.

my prayer for the rest of the week is that i can re-orientate my spirit.  that i can get some quiet time for reflection and make sure that my spirit is in the right place as we move forward with all of this.  i think it’s important to seal some spiritual experiences directly here in the city- to sort of put a stamp or mark on it.  because i know that there will be rough days ahead- and on those days, when i’m living here, asking God what i am doing… He will need to have some places and some moments to point me back to as reminders and encouragement.

pressing on-


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