Ancarrow..the blog

Welcome to "Ancarrow...the blog," a place for us to share some random thoughts as we help start new churches in MD.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Moving Revelations.


Here are some things I learned during the process of moving to MD:

1. I did not use Mayflower to move....because if I had, I would have left town on time. While I was exceedingly grateful for the extra time with friends, I was not grateful to have worked really hard to prepare a house only to not have a moving company not show up until 48 hours later. I will, however, give Kudos to the driver George, and the movers themselves, who did an awesome job upon their arrival.

2. Movers love to talk Football. This was nice for me.

3. One mover thought I looked like David Caruso. This was a welcome departure from "Opie."

4. Sheetz is still the best "all in one" stopping place on the Interstate.

5. The items given to me in the Northview "office warming" part of our Xmas Party make me look like a creeper (Jar of Pickles, ceramic bunny, random pictures of Restoration movement preachers)

6. Moving is never simple. Period.

7. I cherish sauces and spices, perhaps more than I should. This is why a bag of them travelled to Maryland with me.

8, The X - wow. It was a great final Sunday with students & sponsors on 12/5, and I will really miss those students.

9. #8 is also true with the collection of friends we connected with over the course of our final week. Anyone wanna move to MD? if it's a perk to you, there is currently no snow on the ground.

10. Road trips always make me dig deep into the ipod. This is why I rocked Young MC's "Bust a Move" while I was drive through Columbus.


Things are coming together here. to hear my first sermon at Revolution, check out www.revolutionannapolis.com or visit the Itunes store.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Annapolis...For Lease


video
Here's a description of my first weekend, via video vlog, that I made for the NCC church body. Forgive my lack of editing skills - perhaps future videos will be fancier.

If that doesn't sum up my previous week at Revolution, then the sign below will. For starters, I'm fairly certain that Coldwell Banker owns half of the city of Annapolis.

I've been looking around the city for signs like this one. Leaving messages - waiting for calls back - looking for the perfect office space. I've actually found a space I really like - stay tuned to see if it becomes the future offices of Revolution. While my wallet will be thankful for semi-permanent office space, I must say that I've enjoyed getting to make various area coffee shops my makeshift office for hours at a time.

For our family, here's some stuff to pray for:
1. That our house in Danville would sell.
2. For monthly supporters to continue to come on board .
3. For a smooth transition for Amber and the girls; friends, community, etc.
4. For a smooth transition at NCC with a new youth minister.
5. That Scott would connect quickly with friends and co-workers,and would effectively serve Revolution quickly.
6. For emotional and physical health for our family.
7. For Revolution Annapolis - which is now a month old.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Launch Weekend: A Recap!

REVOLUTION HAS LAUNCHED!
This past weekend marked the first "official" weekend of services for Revolution Annapolis. Though we've been helping (as much as we can from 10 hours away) to prepare for this event, it was an amazingly surreal experience to join this team in launching this new church.

For me, launch was an incredible time to step by and watch how God brought the people who make up this church together. Since I was meeting most people on the launch team (those who were committed to helping start the church) for the first time, I found myself hearing all the different ways that God was leading people to Annapolis. Some are Marylanders who share my love of crabcakes & corn on the cob; others are transplants who were unable to find a church. Some others moved (or are moving) to Annapolis to help start this church. As we unloaded boxes of sound gear and children's ministry "walls," it was surreal to know that God was using all of us, and our individual stories, to make his name famous in Annapolis. Amber and I felt a quick connection to many on the launch team, and look forward to many more days of proclaiming the love of Christ together.

The launch itself was an amazing event. As you can see from the pics, an empty hotel ballroom was filled with people on Sunday morning. All in all, there were 269 who attended our launch.

Josh preached about a Revolutionary Jesus, who defies so many of the pictures of Jesus we've created for the sake of our comforts. In a place where these false pictures are often embraced, I pray that we would be agents in making this revolutionary Jesus known to the state of Maryland.

While it's irrelevant to the rest of the post, I must tell you that the afternoon consisted of watching the ravens with a bowl of Grandma Utz potato chips, and then a crabcake dinner at Mike's , directly on the water front. I am going to like living in Maryland again.

Before I left town, the staff of Revolution gathered to evaluate, review, and figure out a plan for moving forward. While there's much to praise Jesus in conjunction with launch, our staff also feels a great burden for those who God has brought us. As we move forward to future weeks, pray that many who checked out Revolution would come back. pray that we could connect them to other Christians who would model Christ's love, and that they, in turn, would be display a revolutionary Jesus to the world.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Here comes the Revolution...


I'm excited to say that, starting this Sunday, the image that you're viewing becomes an "official" weekly staple in the city of Annapolis.

Revolution Launches this weekend. I am so excited for this team of people, most of whom I haven't even met at this point. I'm grateful for their hearts, and their commitment to seeing the mission of God carried out in their city. I'm excited to learn from them, and to help where I can. I'll give a report on the launch of Revolution next week. In the meantime, pray for our team, and for the weekend's launch.

In other news, we have a timeline for our transition to MD. It is as follows:
  • November 9-23 - In Annapolis with Revolution
  • November 23- head to KY for Thankgiving, and to share with Fairview Christian Church, who wants to partner with us (praising God for this!)
  • November 29 - December 5 - Our final week at NCC on staff.
Amber will be finished teaching in conjunction with the end of Danville's first tri-mester on November 5.

There's still some details that need to come together in our transition. The biggest is our house. Pray that it sells. We know that this is a hard economic time, but we have a great home. It's hard to be patient...pray that we will submit to God in this, and do all we can in the meantime to get the word out. If you have a friend who would be in the market for a 1400 sq ft, 3br, 2bath home in Danville, please have them take a look.

Looking forward to updating you on the launch next week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A little downsizing

Consider this our "yard sale." As we prepare to move to MD, time will not allow us to have a formal yard sale event. However, as we downsize and pack up, there's some stuff that we want to see find a good home when we head to MD. So, if you have want/need for any of the following items, email me at scotta@northviewchristian.org or scott.ancarrow@gmail.com . You can just have the items (first come, first serve), or could make a small contribution for the items. Whatever is fine. My guess is that more items are to come - check back at a later time.

Toddler - Two person porch swing
Toddler slide & Swing
Firepit
White Dresser (four drawer) – great for kids room
Computer Desk
Black leather recliner (cat scratched, but very comfortable)
Bed – Double bed – mattress, boxspring & frame - SPOKEN FOR
Queen size bed frame
Rocking Chair for nursery/children’s room
Infant Changing Table
8 ft. Artificial Christmas Tree - SPOKEN FOR

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Late night thoughts on National Coffee Day.

One book shelf in my office now sits full cleaned out and properly sorted - waiting for the day when a new youth minister will fill it with books (if Shaver doesn't steal it first). The other shelf is still full stocked with resources, materials and needed things as I prepare and study over these next few weeks. Ahh...limbo.

This seems to be our lives these days. Limbo. Lots of it. As we wait for a house to sell, quotes from moving companies, and our support to come in - we pack boxes in anticipation. Then we go back to our respective jobs, pay our bills, and - some days - seem to feel that nothing has changed at all.

God is teaching us dependence and trust in this season. I must admit, I wanted the crazy cool story of how God sold our house in like 3 hours or something, thus affirming every decision we made immediately after. However, the Lord is refining me, pruning my tendency to trust control and routine over His timing.

And so Limbo continues.

Some specific things to pray for:
1. That our house would sell in the next two weeks.
2. That our fundraising would continue to come in...and that more montly supporters would come on board.
3. Our spiritual health - that we would trust God to provide all we need during this tiem - physically, emotionally, etc.
4. Northview - the selection process of a new youth minister.
5. Our family's transition to MD.
6. Revolution Annapolis - which launches in a few weeks. Pray that details would come together, and that others will come on board with the conjunction of the church's launch.
7. For wisdom in selecting a specific date to move our family.

thanks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Letting Go, Boldly.

After tonight's soccer games, (varsity and JV wins, by the way), I sat down and read Acts 5. Two themes stuck out to me; first, in reading about Ananias and Sapphira, the idea of "holding back" things from God became apparently clear. At the end of the chapter, I read about the boldness of Peter and others, who preached the gospel even when it cost them dearly.

Both of these are themes for us right now as we seek to walk the line between stewardship and sacrifice. We feel so clearly led to MD; but even then, its become clear how much boldness and "letting go" that really is going to require.

All the more, we need your prayers: here's how you can pray for us this week.
1. Pray for us to establish a timeline for moving.
2. Pray that additional financial supporters will come on board to help supplement the full funding of our residency.
3. Pray that our house will sell during these next few weeks, so that we can move in conjunction wtih the launch of Revolution.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm in Labor (day, that is).

It's Labor Day - which, as Darrin Patrick's tweet suggested today, should be re-named "manual labor days." I'm t-minus a few minutes from being right there with him, beginning to pack non-essential items and plan the impending move to MD.

I've longed for a moment where this MD thing would begin to feel real. Frankly, it just hasn't yet...despite all the folding of packets and late-night thinking sessions. Today may be the day.

For the past 8 years - Labor day has usually consisted of me using part of, if not all, of the day to plan the X Fall Kickoff. We've done all kinds of things over the years, from concerts to writing a "musical." As I concluded my time doing the same thing today, it hit me, " this is my last X fall kickoff." That, in itself, is a really surreal feeling, since the planning of this event has marked my entire adult life. It's also made it clear to me that the new few weeks will be full of moments like this one - where tears of excitement and joy meet the tears of goodbyes and farewells.

...The crowds recoil, demand our survival, fists in the air, mouths caked with saliva. But you are the one, the spark that was spawned, who picks up the pieces, and passes it on....(Reese Roper, "See the Flames Begin to Crawl")

Back to Labor...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How you can Partner with us in moving toward Church Planting...

As we step out in this next chapter of our lives, there are several different in which we are asking our families, friends, church families, churches, etc to partner with us. We are seeking any combination of the following:

1.PARTNERS IN PRAYER - We would like to ask that you pray for us and that you pass our blog on to as many people as you can, and ask them pray for our family. I will post individual blogs strictly on this issue, and you can sign up for emailed prayer updates by emailing me at scott.ancarrow@gmail.com . As you think of us, please pray for us. there are a million little things to address and take care of over the next few months and years, on top of the hundred big things that remain to accomplish. More and more lately, I am learning that when I put this request at #1, it's not because I'm trying to make myself look holy before I ask you to support us financially. Truly, we need your prayers. If you got our postcard, perhaps put it in a place you look at regularly, and pray for us when you see it.

2. PARTNERS FINANCIALLYIn the the short term, we will use a portion of our overall 5-year fundraising goal of $400,000 to allow for two years salary at Revolution Annapolis, the first church we are helping launch later this Fall. We are hoping that individuals and friends will be a large source of support during this time while we build the necessary partnerships that will allow us to present our vision to churches and individuals for a second church in the Baltimore, MD area . We need to raise a large percentage of this salary before we can even move to MD to join the staff of Revolution.

Probably the best way to support financially is through prayerfully considering being a monthly supporter over the next two years. To set up monthly support , visit the Orchard Group's site http://orchardgroup.org/. Just click on the E-giving link at the bottomleft-hand corner, choose the appropriate payment method, and then choose “The Annapolis Project-Scott Ancarrow” in the first drop-down list. For your convenience, we can also assist you in setting up a monthly EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) from your account to “The Orchard Group”.

If that cannot work, consider making a one-time gift. You may also do this at www.orchardgroup.org Folks from Northview Christian Chruch that are seeking to give this way may give at a special offering on October 17.

If neither works, but you feel like your church may be open to discussing how they may partner with church planting, please contact me so that I may set up a way to contact your or them.

3. PARTNERS IN MISSIONS - Over the next few years, we are seeking individuals who would view our transition as an opportunity to possibly make the same move, thus helping us launch our church with a strong team of devoted members who want to love their city. If you want to live for the glory of God, and seek the good of man, and the welfare of the city, perhaps consider doing so in a place where the love of Christ may not be readily known. If you're considering this, please contact me to set up a time to discuss it further. FYI: As time approaches, there will also be short-term mission opportunities...



a.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Revolution Annapolis


During our CP assessment, Amber and I met Josh & Tim, who are planting Revolution Annapolis this upcoming Fall. As the weekend progressed, so did our respect for these guys. As we drove back to our hotel, we even discussed how cool it would be to be so close to those guys someday, because their vision and attitudes toward church are so legit. I was excited to maybe learn from these guys in the future - enjoying the benefit of another set of mentors in the state upon my eventual arrival.

By the end of that month, we were talking about working together.

This fall, we'll join the staff of Revolution Annapolis. Revolution is a new church launching on October 24. Later this fall, I'll join their staff as a "church planter in residence:" meaning that I'm there to work for Revolution - but with the expectation that someday down the road, we'll leave to launch a new church. It's an understatement to say that we are totally excited to work and learn with this new team. Once again, God is writing a better story for us than we could write for ourselves.

We think this is an amazing opportunity for our family for several reasons:

1. Joining the staff of Revolution Annapolis will provide Scott with the valuable learning experience of the blessings and challenges of starting a new church.
2. Scott's
gifts and ministry experience can assist Revolution Annapolis in starting a new church
3.
Revolution Annapolis has the DNA of the kind of church Scott and Amber want to continue to see reproduced in the Baltimore/Washington area.
4.
Being in Maryland will allow Scott and Amber to wisely steward the resources of their supporters by networking two years prior to their launch as a new churchRevolution Annapolis desires to be a reproducing church

You can view what Revolution is doing in Annapolis so far by visiting : http://www.youtube.com/user/REVOLUTIONannapolis , or www.revolutionannapolis.com .

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why MD?

So, of all the places in the country to take part in church planting, why Maryland?

A few possibilities:
  • Buck Showalter is going to change the face of the Orioles franchise....
  • There are no good crabcakes in Indiana
  • Scott is just really homesick
  • Peyton is in the last decade of his career - so I better have a back up plan when these twelve win Colts' seasons are over.
Nope. None of these factored in the decision. Not even the crabcakes!
  • Impact the area of our nation’s capital…impact our nation.
  • As part of the I-95 corridor, The area is a gateway to some of the most influential cities in our country. Combined, Baltimore and Washington make up the 4th largest metropolitan area in our country.
  • The Northeast is gradually become more and more “post-christian,” having just passed the Pacific Northwest as the area of our country with the lowest percentage of “Christians.” Ironically, this is also the home of 20-25% of our nation’s population.
  • There is a need for growing churches to match the growth of population in this area. 16% of Marylanders are involved in a church of any Christian denomination. 8.7% belong to an evangelical church. In Maryland, there are 1079 people for every 1 church. Due to Population growth, 181 churches would have to open this year in Maryland to match the attendance percentages of the year 2000

There is a tremendous opportunity ahead of us in the state of Maryland. Being from Maryland, I always thought to myself, "Man, I'd love to go back to the coast and do something." However, until recent developments, nothing seemed to affirmed by God as we prayed about it or thought it through; that is, until now.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Start New Churches?

One of the questions we've been asked, and one we've even asked ourselves in learning about church planting, is: WHY START NEW CHURCHES? When I was a student at KCU, church planting was stereotyped as the kind of thing reserved for disgruntled Christians or international missionaries. At the time, I had no interest in the idea at all. Now, church planting is all the rage....which frankly, made me more nervous being part of church planting at first. Yet, here we are, desiring to plant a church...

So, WHY START NEW CHURCHES?

  • New churches take the gospel to new or lost places. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commissioned His followers to go out into the whole world and make disciples. In the New Testament we see this modeled for us by the apostles. They would arrive in a town convert some and a new church would be born.
  • Starting new churches has been proven to be the most effective way to reach pre-christian people. It is the same strategy that the apostles used almost 2000 years ago. We believe that a large part of this is due to the “new” factor. New things get more attention. New things draw people. People who might not ever grace the door way of an established church will come to a new church - just to check it out.
  • Planting new churches is the quickest and most effective way to spread the gospel. We are planting with a goal of reproduction, both for the new church and for new churches we will help start. Established churches, especially those who are struggling or declining, tend to get lost in politics, or in the "we've never done it this way before."
  • There is a desperate need for relevant and growing churches, even in the "Christian" USA. In 1900, there were 28 churches for every 10,000 Americans. In 2004, there were only 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans. Of these, How many of them are actually preaching the gospel? How many of these are effectively being the hands and feet of Jesus? That's not for me to say...regardless, there are about 300 million people in the US who are completely unreached.
  • Statistics show that over the past 16 years church attendance on a whole in America has decreased from 20.4% to 17.5%. Unfortunately, for many, Christianity is more of a "nationality" than it is a total life focus. Many claim to be Christian, but many less pursue Jesus as a disciple. Many have began to understand that outside of being a disciple of Christ, and living out His hope, church is just a lame hobby.
This is the heart behind what we're doing. We want to be part of something that is is "fresh wineskins" for a generation who has grown disillusioned by what they perceive about Christ. We hope others will be excited to partner with us in that process.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A good tired.

Thursdays are pretty cool. After the 2nd long day of the week (Sunday & Wed ususally go about 12+ hours), Thursdays are one of my days to unplug and hang out with my girls. The day is not without it's difficulties. I'm rarely well-slept, and two children under five need constant attention and entertainment. There's the lunch, the naps, and inevitability that my children will find a way to expose their humanity to me. Nonetheless, Thursdays never leave me without a moment where I have a story to tell. Today, it was Emery rocking out to the new Jimmy Eat World single in the back seat ("My Best Theory" - catchy number), and Reese falling asleep in a walmart shopping cart. At the end of the Thursday, I often think to myself, "I'm a good tired."

The announcement to begin the process of moving to Maryland has been a "good tired" as well. Telling our Danville friends, even those who have known the day was coming when we'd step out to a place we want to love with the love of Christ, has been draining. Telling students and families who I've seen through good and bad times was the most nervous I've been about anything in a long time. The impending days and the details to sort out sometimes seem quite daunting...but at the end of the day, we know we are stepping where we are being led.

In the days ahead, I will begin to use this blog to keep you, friend, family member, or curious bystander informed on the journey that the Ancarrow family is facing. Stay tuned to see further details on where we're going, what we're doing, and how you can help.

Today,feel free to do the following:
1. Check out the quick video on "why MD?" to the right of this post.
2. Please pray for us in the following ways:
A. Endurance to face the details of the upcoming months.
B. A smooth transition to Annapolis.
C. A great new youth minister for Northview in Danville.
D. That funds would come in as they need to
E.Pray for unity and protection in marriage and family as we take this step.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the upcoming months...and if I ever get an iphone, I may just post video of Emery rocking out in the back seat.

blessings,
Scottt (and emery - who has been on my lap from mid-post)

Monday, May 10, 2010

What kind of player are you?

In sports, there are great players, and there are there are great-skilled players. After years of coaching, I see a huge distinction. It's fairly easy, with the right skill-set and the God-given talent, to be best player on a poor team. What's more difficult is to be a person who, in the face of difficulty, or when everyone is not of the same talent-caliber, makes their team and teammates better. Everyone is rising to their leadership.

For example, I was, by no means, the best player on any soccer team I played on. I never lived in that illusion. When pieced with random "I've been playing club soccer since I was four so that my mommy and daddy can feel better about their own inadequacies" types of players, some would take the opportunities they'd been given, and use it to make me better. Their footwork improved mine. Their shots created opportunities for me. It was a good fit. They may yell at a mistake someone made here and there, but it was rooted in the encouragement of helping us be the best players we can be.

But then there were the "stars" that would just scream. We existed for them. They'd cry at officials over every call. They'd cut everyone down at halftime. They screamed a lot...but motivated no one. In short, they're just talented divas.

The same is true for the body of Christ. Are we the players that improve enhance our brothers and sister's walks with how we come alongside them, or are we too busy whining about how stupid and wrong everyone is, and how we're the only ones who "get it."

I am hoping to be the latter this week. May you do the same.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hello Seattle....

Now that I am back on Eastern Standard Time, I have began compiling my thoughts about my most recent Missions Opportunity with the high school students from the X.

This year, we worked with an organization called Network Tacoma, (www.networktacoma.org), and organization that is basically helping families who are either a step away from, or a step out of, being on the streets. We helped flip and clean out some apartments for families who would struggle to get apartments otherwise.

There was one project that took all week - the cleaning out of an apartment from someone who had been evicted. None of our were prepared for what we found in the place (some of which I cannot mention here, so that I may remain employed). Food had been left out where it was on the final day they left. The smells were appalling. The evidences of children living in this place at one point were heartbreaking. And, just when you thought you had found the "worst of it," there was something else to turnover or move that was even more saddening.

Seeing the chaos of this person's final days in an apartment is only a small taste of the chaos and torment this person lives with daily....

I wrote this in my journal following day 2 -

"pill bottle after pill bottle, a book of morman, a WOW worship CD, and drugs: this is a person looking for something to bring hope to their hopelessness. Jesus, where would I be without you?"

It's easy to have an opinion about what would have fixed this person's situation. Maybe a bigger government with more "health care options?" Maybe a job opportunity, or a hip cool, church with a rocking worship pastor and some crazy cool preaching. Maybe if there were more "family values" on the west coast?

Here's the truth: apart from Jesus, we live in darkness. Our hearts are prone to do dark things, and it's a slippery slope from my current situation to the desperation of the situation we found ourselves observing in Tacoma. We are a people who are looking for hope, and will worship a variety of things until we find it. In the process, these things enslave us.

My nuclear family, college education, and work ethic give me some benefit in this world...but they do not give me unfailing hope that the gospel offers. Lord, may I not rest in the former things, but rejoice in the latter.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sour Grapes & the Madness of March.

I had the perfect setup: I was pumped full of coffee, my jersey was on, friends were gathered, and I had ordered over 150 glorious wings of differing taste and spice level. I was even comfortable rooting for a team that my grandfather swore to hate beginning in 1984. The perfect to setup to celebrate a second Superbowl for the Indianapolis Colts, and my favorite player, Peyton Manning.

It was promising...they looked great for a while. I got got excited and then...

they ripped my heart out.

I've lost some heartbreaking games as a player, and later as a coach. I've cheered for some really bad teams (Long-standing Orioles fan right here) in my time, but this one made me sick. I stayed away from ESPN, ESPNRADIO, and readied myself for the barrage of "Manning hating" that would happen all around me. It was watching a team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It was the reversal of all the fourth quarter comebacks that Colts fans have just come to expect. And I, the fan, had no game check or vacation to medicate my pain. While I snapped out of it fairly quickly, I still get frustrated thinking about it.

You may be saying, "hey Scott - February called, and it wants its headline back." Here's my heart....we're approaching March Madness, another great sporting event. Unless you're my intern, who cheers for North Carolina or whoever else is winning, you may have a team of choice. There's a good chance that team is going to let you down this month...

Some are Hoosiers...waiting for the 2nd incarnation of coach Knight, minus the choking thing...oh, and while your down, let me kick you by reminding you of what happened the last time IU was in a title game (Fear the turtle)


Some are Boilermakers...and you've watched a hopeful season crumble in the wake of a knee injury.

Some are Bulldogs...and there's a great excitement about how far you can go.


and lastly, some are fans of whoever may win them the office pool (and yes Lindsay, I'm prepared to lose to you, and my wife, and three other wives, again this year).

All around the country, with sporting events, we'll take a good thing, and make it a god thing...and that'll be a bad thing. I did it a month ago with the Colts, and, if I'm not careful, the Madness of March, and an eight game maryland winning streak, will sweep me away into placing worship in the wrong place. For those who will scoff at us and say, "yeah, we told you, it's just a game," you'll do it with money, relationships, comfort, status, popularity, or a variety of other things.

Sports are great at reminding me that people make terrible gods, as they cannot deliever what they promise. In all the madness of march, marriage, or your job, remember the one who can promise (and not fail you) - "NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All the World is Mad

In wake of the devastating pictures of Haiti, the craziness and chaos of "health care reform," and the era where people claim to like Jay Leno more than Conan O' Brien, it's easy for many to throw their theological hats into the ring; postulating, prognosticating, and evaluating where God is in times of chaos. After all, wouldn't a good God gave save and protect us from all of this? look around - It's hard to escape tragedy. My vacation time this December was immersed in it; hurting friends, broken people, desperate parents of hurting kids, and the anger and shock fully - bloomed patterns of addiction. In quiet moments that followed conversations and phone calls, my joy was stolen, and I pull up my hood and try to escape the world as I quietly mumble to myself the words that I hate to hear myself say: "I deserve better than this...I've done so and so, for so and so, for so long...I need to get away"

Yiikes. Did I just say that? Do I deserve better? I'm guessing you've been there...

We are brimming with cumbersome, murderous greed,
And malevolence deep and profound.
We do unspeakable deeds, does our wickedness know any bounds?

Something's gone terribly wrong with everyone;
All the world is mad.
Darkness brings terrible things; the sun is gone -
What vanity! our sad, wretched fires.

We can't medicate man to perfection again;
We can't legislate peace in our hearts.
We can't educate sin from our souls, it's been there from the start.

But the blind lead the blind into bottomless pits,
Still we smile and deny that we're cursed.
But of all our iniquities ignorance may be the worst.
(Dustin Kensrue/Thrice - "All the World is Mad")

The gospel exposes the idea that "I'm good on my own," or that my actions alone will bring me consistent, eternal peace, as what they truly are: lies. No amount of "can-do"-ness, long hours, or clean language can earn my that hope. Apart from Jesus, I continually contribute to the chaos and ugliness of this world. As believers, we cling to the promise of Jesus in John 16:33 - "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In the end, my hope is not in stable earth, stable governments, or an NBC without Jay leno (still hoping though). My hope is in Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who bring the hope of being made new to our suffering and momentary troubles. This hope changes the way that I suffer and endure...for I deserve nothing good apart from Him.

In the meantime, tragedy must be times where we remind one another that "it could have been us," and sometimes, "maybe it should have been us." Rather than flippantly tooting our horns on religious broadcasting, or fill out blogs with "better us then we" remarks, we must bring the gospel to bear with our time, our talents, and our treasures. All must be used to point to the madness of the world, and the hope of Jesus in the midst of the madness.



SA