In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for December, 2010

The Light

Posted by justicetabernacle on December 23, 2010

i love the poetic beginning of the book of john.  it’s one of my favorite portions of scripture…  it is beautiful, encouraging and powerful.  i was reminded of it while listening to a good german artist named xavier naidoo (and his side project- söhne mannheims).  he is a soul/hip hop artist.  what i love about him is that he sings primarily in german (a rarity in this english-saturated, global-pop market)  however, sometimes he does have english, rap interludes where he has guest artists chime in with a couple of solos.  they  are usually intertwined into the greater song.  i just heard one of those interludes, and the lines made me think of john 1.  so i will juxtapose the two- the lyrics first, then the scripture.  it’s a good christmas reminder- about who Jesus is- and what He really represents in our midst.  powerful, life-giving, death-destroying light!

söhne mannheims- ‘dein leben’

Can you see the Light, do you know the Light
When it shines are you one that was blessed with life
Do you feel the time, or is it in your mind
Because my father came to give sight and heal the blind
Come on my people now, I know you feel it wow
It’s the awakening, the chosen will be spiritual
God bless the child in everyone of us
It’s the coming of Christ, and in God we trust
Out of darkness, where the demons dwell
In this darkness the devil casts an evil spell
Yea he telling lies, watch who you listen to
Watch what you say, because you never know who’s hearing you
Can you see the Light, do you know the Light
Will you recognize Him, when you stand in front of Christ
When He holds your hand, will you go with Him
Chosen are the few who stand strong without trembling

john 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

In Reflection

Posted by justicetabernacle on December 20, 2010

so when i first moved to berlin, i knew that the week of christmas would be a kind of initial point of review and reflection.  i’ve been here for just under six weeks now and that is certainly hard to believe.  looking back however, even though i will always push myself to think that there is a little more that i could have done- i am pleased with how things have unfolded up to this point.  and as i sit and think about all that i have done since arriving, there is indeed plenty to see.

nonetheless, the work is at times a little difficult to quantify.  but the beautiful thing about faith and truly trusting God is that we can rest knowing that He is in fact using our efforts in a manifold way that we could not construct ourselves.  this is comforting and staggering at the same time.  but most importantly, in that it is a fact and reality of how God operates, we cannot allow for it to impede our zeal and reckless abandon.  we must hold this reality in its proper tension- keeping ourselves from being deceived by a work-based righteousness, yet not becoming complacent.  the fear of God must compel us to always strive for a deeper knowledge and understanding of Him and the mission He sets before us.

and just in case i was forgetting that this morning- i was led to matthew 10.  thank you for the reminder-


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Great Berlin Winter

Posted by justicetabernacle on December 16, 2010

maybe it’s a bit creepy- but when i’m in berlin and it’s freezing cold, for some reason, when i’m walking around the city i think about the second world war. i think about the long winters, and how freezing people must have been- both the soldiers and the prisoners. and cold is something that would seem to unite people. like, when you see someone else shivering, the chill just binds the soul because in that moment there is a unifying factor- but in war, even if that bond was made, it was never realized. instead it served as a furthering element of distance.

all that to say- cold is on my brain. probably because it has been record cold here in berlin for december. and what does one do when it’s freezing outside and one is new to a city and doesn’t have a huge social network? that person reads kierkegaard! ha- here are some interesting quotes that i found from him (my favorite philosopher)

From- Works of Love: Some Christian Deliberations in the Form of Discourses-1847

“When it is the duty to love the men we see, then one must first and foremost give up all fanciful and extravagant ideas about a dream world where the object of love is to be sought and found; that is, one must become sober, win actuality and truth by finding and continuing in the world of actuality as the task assigned to one.”

“It is human self-renunciation when a man denies himself and the world opens up to him. But it is Christian self-renunciation when a man denies himself and, because the world precisely for this shuts itself up to him, he must as one thrust out by the world seek God’s confidence. The double-danger lies precisely in meeting opposition there where he had expected to find support, and he has to turn about twice; whereas the merely human self-resignation turns once.”

From- Practice in Christianity- 1850

“Alas, for Christ himself understood as no human being can understand how difficult it is to become a believer. He is suffering here also; he wants to save all, but in order to be saved they must go through the possibility of offense—ah, it is as if he, the Savior who wants to save all, came to stand almost alone because everyone is offended at him! The mystery of sufferings, as no human being can comprehend it or them: to be oneself the sign of offense in order to be the object of faith!”

From- Journals- 1851

“If the Church is “free” from the state, it’s all good. I can immediately fit in this situation. But if the Church is to be emancipated, then I must ask: By what means, in what way? A religious movement must be served religiously—otherwise it is a sham! Consequently, the emancipation must come about through martyrdom—bloody or bloodless. The price of purchase is the spiritual attitude. But those who wish to emancipate the Church by secular and worldly means (i.e. no martyrdom), they’ve introduced a conception of tolerance entirely consonant with that of the entire world, where tolerance equals indifference, and that is the most terrible offence against Christianity. […] the doctrine of the established Church, its organization, are both very good indeed. Oh, but then our lives: believe me, they are indeed wretched.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Gamut of Theology

Posted by justicetabernacle on December 9, 2010

so it snowed again yesterday, quite heavily here in berlin, which caused me to enjoy another day holed up in my apartment. a city that causes you to be fully dependent on public transportation is a beautiful thing- and berlin is great in that regard… but on snowy, cold, days you really think twice about embarking on any kind of day excursions.

so, in my time here in my cozy room, i have done a lot of reading and podcasting. one of the things that i have been trying to do is get a wide-spectrum of ideas flowing. with this project on the horizon, i really feel like i need to have a good and broad handle on everything from theological worldview to practical ministry. between working with other pastors and church planters to the every day berlin resident, there is a lot of room for a plethora of ideas. i think that it is going to serve me well to be well versed in a lot of different streams of thought. in this, it is my hope that God gives me a greater revelation of Himself- that in my quest, i would find a deeper connection to Him through reading and listening to people much smarter than me- not to mention those that have far more life and ministry experience.

so here are a few things that have crossed my desk, couch and computer these days:

alan and debbie hirsch’s book- untamed: reactivating a missional form of discipleship simply brilliant.
matt chandler’s podcast- series on colossians- parts 12-14, grace driven effort, when violence is ok, 3 streams… wonderful approach to sanctification
greek orthodox church of america- online papers on theological topics.good getting back to my roots!

on the docket:

michael lawrence’s book- biblical theology: in the life of the church- a guide for ministry… fellow capitol hiller

check out any number of those- definitely some good quality stuff- of course, it’s all secondary to the bible. can’t beat that-


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A Reminder

Posted by justicetabernacle on December 6, 2010

i was riding on the u-bahn the other day and i had this overwhelming thought- i often have a wandering mind on the train- and it is a time that i think God speaks to me, in that sort of ‘pray without ceasing’ kind of way. so sometimes when i get these little revelations, i actually have the frame of mind to write something down… sadly not always. and i wonder how many good words and pieces of advice and knowledge have gone lost because of my lack of discipline to capture them… *sigh* but then i remind myself that God is faithful and if it is worth noting, He will most likely re-visit the subject. anyway, all that to say, i did write something down the other day. and at first, i thought that it was good enough to have it in my journal, but then i thought that it might be worth posting here as a more public kind of reminder… because i think that it is absolutely vital to my experience here.
so here it is:

from 12-4-10 on the u1 u-bahn

‘if things do take off in berlin with this initiative and people ask how we did it- i want to be able to merely answer with:
we love Jesus
want to serve and worship Him
and we are just being ourselves

there is no gimmick or secret.
we just do what we think we’re
being called to as christians.’

wow- that seems really underwhelming after such an introduction…
but in its simplicity is a deep and foundational truth.
and it is a simple truth that has to always remain at the core of what happens here. it has to be all that we are about. because our faith is simple- but deep and powerful- because Christ is powerful.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »