In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for May, 2010

The Promise of God

Posted by justicetabernacle on May 24, 2010

how quickly we forget the promises of God- and even more so, the promise of God, the one made to abraham so many years ago.  we are dug into the book of acts in our bible reading plan, and with that, we are intertwining the epistles into the story where they fit.  this is a really fun way to read through the book of acts- because the epistles really elaborate what is happening in the time-line of the early church.

today- we started with the first three chapters of galatians. and it was a wonderful read this afternoon.  i think it is probably because it is so theological- and i enjoy a good theological debate.  in this letter- paul is addressing the jews that thought that the new gentile converts to Christ, had to be circumcised under the parameters of the mosaic law.  so paul not only comes to the defense of the gentiles to state that it was not physically necessary- but utilizes the opportunity to also give a larger lesson and teaching of what the new covenant in Christ meant.

basically- he states that the salvation that comes through faith in Christ is really just a continuation of the promise that God gave to abraham (who was justified by his faith) and that the law was added and the Scripture was imposed to ‘imprison everything under sin.’ (galatians 3:22)

this is truly amazing if you think about it.  the fact that Christ, the one who came to fulfill the law, also brought forth the continuation of the great plan of salvation through the promise of abraham- therefore God, never wavered from His plan and promise- even one given so early along in the story of genesis.

this is why it is so important to understand that Christ always was and always will be.  that is why it is so vitally important to understand the great narrative of the whole bible.  for more expertise on this- see hz’s blog on this on the fromgardentocity website- also, you can search the posts on her personal blog that focus on the story of God.



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Discerning Direction

Posted by justicetabernacle on May 20, 2010

i had a wonderful day of combined off sites today-  the first was a ministry breakfast with other members of team d to discuss several things in regard to the direction of discipleship at ncc.  we discussed logistical things like calendar and rhythm, but also deeper theological issues such as baptism and small group leading.  it is so inspiring to work with such passionate and smart individuals that take their job and calling seriously- but ones that are also open to debate and wrestling through tough issues.  in the end we all come out more blessed- and the congregation that we lead hopefully benefits as well.  it’s also nice to hit up a dive diner to accompany the talks.

in the afternoon then, while fasting lunch, i went off to find some quiet space for prayer and reflection.  i will have some big meetings next week with mike, who is flying in from berlin, to talk logistics and transition for the summer as i prepare to depart for berlin.  these will be some key discussions, which will have big implications about what my life will look like over the next couple of months.  ‘ich bin sehr gespannt’ as the germans would say.

while out there- i just tried to be quiet and listen- something that is hard to do sometimes- and so i laid down on a park bench and watched the sky through huge, lush trees in the senate park.  as i gazed into the blue illuminated sky i noticed something.  it was quite breezy out and what was interesting was the clouds way up above were moving along a path at a very quick pace- and they were heading south/southeast… however, down below, where i sat, the flags and trees were clearly blowing north/northeast… and it struck me- and i believe the Lord revealed something to me- and it was that His stream and will were the clouds above, moving at a steady pace- in the stream of one consistent direction… at the surface level of the earth however, the wind was blowing haphazardly in the opposite direction.  and i think He was assuring me that though things on the surface may seem chaotic and that there may appear to be currents that are pressing in opposition- that His will and His plan are well underway, never wavering, never ceasing- and that if i can make it up past all of the blowing and bustling on the surface and step into a deeper stream of His will and presence, that i will find myself caught up in His perfect, righteous and sovereign plan.

i love it when God speaks through His creation… and i have found now, several times in thinking through stuff related to berlin, that He is speaking specifically in that way.  so i’ll take it, indeed.  He is good.


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Ministry Ambivalence

Posted by justicetabernacle on May 14, 2010

ministry really creates a tension in  your spirit.  there are often conflicting feelings- positive and negative.  there are feelings of great success coupled along with feelings of complete inadequacy.  there is an ebb and flow to everything from your attitude- your work ethic- your personal assessment- and your overall measure of success.

maybe it’s just me, because i feel like i am what i call a ‘moody worker,’ but i definitely have to press through in moments.  at the end of the day, i do indeed get into streams of great effectiveness and efficiency- but far too often it is coupled with procrastination and complacency.  anyone who is in a position or job that requires self-motivation understands this to some degree.

ultimately however- in the service of the church, and working within the expanding boundaries of the Kingdom- there is a steady and unending flow of both grace and motivation.  whenever a lull strikes, there is usually a deficit of spiritual disciplines… whether in prayer, or in the reading of the bible, or general lack of rest, quiet and reflection.  so a reconnection to God and community with others will extinguish flare ups of laziness-  stories of others’ success- movements of God- or even times of tragedy and despair, can rock us out of what at times feels like meaningless treading.

the fact of the matter is, that the world is moving perpetually- and whether we are in denial of it or not, things are happening all around at all times.  God is present- speaking- scheming- arranging- all in sovereignty… and if we would be more diligent in opening our eyes, ears and hearts- shed our human comfort and routine- there would never be a moment of dullness or malaise- rather there would be bountiful color, richness and splendor- because that is the essence of our God… and He is the one whom we serve and have our being.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on May 12, 2010

got the chance to see the movie ‘the square’ last nite at e st. cinema.  it was a great film from aussie brothers nash and joel edgerton.  dark, yet with hints of uncomfortable humor, the film shows the downward spiral of guilt, fear, paranoia, deception and all the rest of the most depraved parts of our souls.

the film is well made and the story is pretty tight- and due to its downright realistic nature, you are forced to enter into the story and feel the emotions and weight of the human condition- in a most fallen world.  there is sadly little redemption.

after encountering artistic experiences like these, i’m always fascinated by the way that art can create realism that actually makes real life less fake.  it shakes us out of our tedium and forces us to think more deeply about our existence, our decisions and the ramifications thereof, and our purpose.

so- good work australia.
oh, and how could i forget to mention the absolutely brilliant short film called ‘spider’ that lead off the feature film.  it was also done by nash edgerton.  amazing.


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Posted by justicetabernacle on May 9, 2010

i am never more amazed- never more grateful to God- than when i get a moment of clarity in my mind and spirit.  it’s a combination of conviction and of grace all wrapped up into one.

what i’m talking about, are those moments when you have been on autopilot- and you are just coasting- and all of the sudden, you get a window into a deeper aspect of your life and your existence.  you realize, that though you have been aware of God’s presence and existence, you have not really been tapping into the full access and power that is available through direct connection with Him through the Holy Spirit.  and it’s when you are shaken a bit and realize this- there is a level of conviction that you feel.  a feeling of, ‘how in the world was i surviving on my own…?’  and there is always a certain level of grieving that happens in my spirit when i realize this.  but then the best part comes crashing in to follow… it’s that moment that you realize that God is not going to punish you for marginalizing Him-  rather, He is ecstatic to have you back.  it’s a loving and graceful re-acceptance-  a ‘welcome back’ that does not celebrate the absence, rather affirms the repentance.
it is the love that is not resentful… (1 corinthians 13:5)

what a gift- what patience.


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Music Bonanza

Posted by justicetabernacle on May 4, 2010

it’s been a music and concert bonanza these days.  that’s a good thing though- cuz i’m a music buff- always have been.  so on this thursday i’ll head to a show with my sister and that will make 4 shows in 7 days  🙂
that of course also led to the purchasing of 3 new albums… nice.

like many people i’m sure- music has accompanied many moments throughout my life- and there are a lot of significant memories that are attached to a variety of different artist.  this is especially true due to the fact that i traveled so much and lived in so many different places.  lots of train rides in europe and quiet nites in any number of apartments in germany, chicago, indiana, and dc… and, well of course the occasional extended period of time in the car.

music is a sweet gift from God- and it is evident all throughout scripture that music has been a part of our humanity for all time-  it’s amazing that we are able to use the gift of music to give back to Him and to worship Him- that it goes beyond our own entertainment.

with that though, there is something in the wiring of our soul that connects notes to emotions- to heart.
what a beautiful thing it is-
and what amazing gifts artists are to all of us.  it is one of the things that i am most excited about berlin- to be able to give a platform to those that create art and music…

so- this is to music (revolutionary coffee cup raised)
and to the artists- keep making deep and meaningful tunes.
and if you want to use a piano- that’s fine by me too…


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Back into the Crazy

Posted by justicetabernacle on May 3, 2010

after spending three weeks in germany- one week back in dc has pretty much brought me back into the full swing of craziness.  this city is so fast and ncc is equally on pace.  there are just always so many things going on.  i mean, this weekend alone, we had fundraisers for 3 ncc missions trips.  not to mention services and a number of other events.

it’s fun though- and definitely keeps life from being boring.  i’ve continued to have good conversations about my trip with people and hope to be able to continue to move forward with the project in berlin even here on the home front.  tomorrow i get to sit down and update pmark and heather about where we are with it all.  God is definitely on the move here in dc and around the world-  it’s so great to be part of a community that is moving and active and alive.

looking forward to this week especially though- since my sister is coming to visit me in dc for the first time in 6 years.  we’ll have  a couple of days together and i’m looking forward to it.  it will be cool to show her a little bit of my world here-


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