In the chaos of faith, rebellion and obedience

Archive for February, 2011

Security or Insecurity yet Secure

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 25, 2011

lately, i’ve been having a lot of conversations about the tension between building up security and living in faith that God will provide.  i do not plan to get into a huge exegetical assessment of this topic here- as that would take an entire book and more.  but i wanted to post a few reflective thoughts that i had on the matter.

i’m currently reading through the book of romans slowly-  and today i came across this verse.

Romans 10:21
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

though this is in the context of God extending salvation to the nation of israel, it is one of many examples in the bible that show how God is a God that extends His hands out to his people.  and this happens far more often than we will ever allow ourselves to believe.  He gives and gives- offers and offers- screams, ‘I’m here, I’m here…’  but we don’t respond- why?  stubbornness?  hardened hearts?  covered ears?  just normal distraction?  the reasons are many for certain.

but far beyond the ways He wants to speak to us now, the bottom line is that God has already given us many promises.  the most important of those is His incarnated Spirit.  sadly- we confuse His presence and faithfulness in how it directly relates to our happiness and contentment.  this is exactly where we then become derailed.  we must absolutely understand that God’s promises and faithfulness have nothing to do with our perceived dreams, hopes and security and everything to do with His will, glorification and renown.  now, don’t get me wrong- he most definitely births in us dreams and talents and inspiration that align with those things.  but if we understand them as means to an end for our satisfaction, we will forfeit the true gain.

as a missionary these days i have to often walk this line.  it is the balance of what i perceive is hard and sacrificial, and what is pleasure and blessing.  if i were to draw the line between these things in ‘what makes me the most happy or feel most secure,’ i would begin to play a game that interchanges daily realities with eternal ones.  with that- it is easy to get into a polarizing type of situation, where you judge things to be ‘holy’ or not based on if they are easy or not; this is the wrong way to conclude.  instead, it is about being thoughtful and mindful in all things.  there are some situations that are fun and bring joy that are indeed holy- but there are plenty of other things that bring discomfort and strife, which are equally as holy.  our culture, a western one, has taught us from our earliest days that comfort, joy and fun are good and to be sought after, sometimes at any cost or expense… as followers of Christ however, that life-mantra has to be altered-  revised-  renewed-  it should go something like this:  the will, pleasure, and glorification of God are to be sought after, always at any cost or expense…

so, let us continue to play-  knowing that sometimes we will get the grand prize, and sometimes we will get struck down with the sword- (job, philippians 4, hebrews 11)  but either way, God is God and is good above all things.  i pray daily that i have the faith to endure beyond just my words, if i indeed get the sword.



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Fickle Creativity

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 15, 2011

creativity and art are so very fickle.  for those that have some of that lodged deep inside, you know that there is this pervading sense of potential energy.  you can feel something amazing brewing under the surface, but for some reason there is so often a blockade keeping it from it’s grand emergence.

you sit and ‘know’ that it’s there- but what, you are still so very unsure.  the tension builds between just starting, and waiting until it’s been perfectly crafted in the hidden place, far from the audience that will one day applaud it.  so you change locations, change rhythms, change the light, but nothing seems to work it out.  your mood and attitude toward it changes too- you get mad, then dismissive- ultimately, you are saddened due to the great delay that has ensued.

so how do you break free?  i’m sure there are many suggestions and tricks of the trade.  but at the end of the day you just have to recognize that it is not really about you.  you are creative because you are creation.  and there is a steady stream of life that is consistently flowing in and through you.  once that is recognized, you have to pack a bag full of the infant ideas, sling it over your shoulder and jump into that river.  and it’s at that moment you realize the power and speed that was at your disposal.  and with it comes the completely unknown evolution of the content stored up.

finally, you conclude that in the river there is very little control.  and everything that you want to perfect is going to be reshaped and deformed; as it bangs off of rocks and branches.  the only thing that is certain now, is the ultimate delta destination-  and that takes the pressure off.  and it makes that spark of an idea already accomplished before you even notice that it’s there.


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A Look Back- A Look Forward

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 9, 2011

returning to berlin after such a blessed visit to dc is tough to put into words.  though it was a short little visit back to the east coast, it certainly had a lot of meaningful moments.  i feel compelled to write about a few of them.

leadership retreat-
what can i say about this?  a lot… i think that it was the best leadership retreat ever.  it was the 10 year anniversary of this ncc all-leaders event.  the theme was ‘all in’ and in my opinion, we never hit the theme better than we did this time.  mark, heather and joel all nailed the main sessions and the breakouts were just as powerful.  of course who can forget the special performances and videos- my return in oktoberfest style, magic tricks, the gambler, and the list goes on and on-  of course jeremy and amanda as the emcees were phenomenal.

a few other notes on leadership retreat-  i was personally moved as pmark shared out of joshua 8.  this was one of the verses that impacted my decision to move to berlin for ministry.  in my short talk after the berlin video, i shared a bit about it.  just as joshua was given ai as he pointed his javelin toward it, i believe God gave me a promise that He would move once again in berlin.  this was then followed up by amanda praying for me (and making me cry, thanks) and then steph and the band, rocking the song ‘wunderschön.’  it was a powerful declaration of worship over the city- and i believe that it broke down spiritual strongholds in that moment.  steph’s prayers and proclamation were anointed.

friends and family-
i already shared about this in the last post, but i will just reiterate how thankful i am for all of the people in my life in dc.  they were such an encouragement to me during my time there and showed that i am not forgotten even though i am out of sight.  i was grateful that there were so many birthdays and parties and the like to be able to see a lot of people in a short time.

berlin transition to phase 2-
maybe i am prophetically speaking that out.  during my time back, i talked to a lot of people about us being in phase 1 of the project, and my hope is that we will soon be transitioning into phase 2…  this would include the answering of the prayer to find a german business partner for the project.  once that happens, we can really begin to move on finding the location and building for the project.  i am also believing for a new apartment that is going to fit in with the phase 2 part of life that is to come- meaning that it will be close to the project and full of good, loving people who are full of generous and sharing spirits.

a new community of believers-
right before i left for dc, i felt the Lord calling me to gather together the people that are drawing in close to me here in berlin-  those who are seeking God.  so i am thinking through how that might look like- perhaps a bi-weekly gathering of sorts.  i think that will be a big step of faith for me.

at the end of the day- i am very grateful for my situation.  to be able to live and work in berlin and at the same time stay connected to my spiritual life in dc.  it  only confirms my already very firm belief in the global Kingdom of God. amen to that!  of course it is tough at times, and there are many that i do miss- i know that there are new songs to be sung here in germany-


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The Close-Knit Family of God

Posted by justicetabernacle on February 2, 2011

it has been a really meaningful time being back in in dc- spending time with my ncc family.  and it just has reminded me that though there is the global family of God, which is expanding the Kingdom together- a kind of extended family.  but there is indeed something unique to your local community.  and this visit has really established firm in my heart, how much i love and am loved by the people here.  it is very evident to me how much of an impact there is when you are in one place for six plus years.

the thing that i think has been the most influential to me, is the fact that i really think that there is a realness to the things that we are doing.  maybe that sounds a little strange or abstract- but in fact, it is the exact opposite.  it is not abstract- it is real.  this visit is showing me that we are not just doing some strange, out-there, spiritual thing, but rather, we are engaging in real life things.  that what i am doing in berlin is actually linked to what is happening in dc.  now this sounds a little simple, or might cause one to say, ‘of course it is.’   but i think sometimes you can get caught up in the macro-vision and ideas, and lose the sense of the here and now- the touch, taste, and smell of the whole thing.

maybe i am just still reeling from an amazing leadership retreat-  but even that, i am trying to really hold captive- to make it about real life and not about a spiritual experience- there is something deep and spiritual in all that we do, because we are bearers of the Spirit-  we have light and life and truth wrapped up inside of us-  and that causes us to have the potential for great, daily impact.  and i am becoming more and more convinced that our daily decisions to recognize this and act upon that fact is the single most important action we can take in service to the Kingdom.

so today, my eyes are open, my heart is full, and i am ready for what comes my way this day.  i hope that this is the start to a new, more frequent, reality-driven, faith advancing viewpoint on life.


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