Sunday, December 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
- Finishing well at Revolution. We are eager to begin working on this new church. However, we are working hard to leave well in Annapolis. The move into the elementary school (logistics & volunteer team expansion) was my last "major" project. There are, however, ongoing loose ends to be tied up. This will continue to be a balancing act, as Revolution deadlines are already beginning to intersect with new "the Church with no name in Baltimore" deadlines. The lack of a name demonstrates one of those deadlines. We love Revolution, and are committed to finishing well.
- Enjoying Baltimore. Rhythm and routine are important to all families - but we feel that's especially true of us. We knew B'more very well before we lived here, but are discovering new things we love about the city every week. This will only further refine the kind of church that is planted here in 2013.
- Being a good neighbor. We are trying to learn the names of the people on our block. We're figuring out who is outgoing and loud. We are learning who doesn't like the "new" side of the neighborhood. While this process can sometimes be daunting, it's also pretty fun.
- Hosting a home group. Each week, there is a group of us gathering to study God's word and live in community with one another. This has been a huge blessing.
- Getting involved in the community. There are a variety of ways to do this. I've coached soccer, Amber is active with the PTO and has applied to substitute teach. We frequent some restaurants and coffee shops, trying to figure out how others who live here perceive the community.
- Talking about Baltimore City & the new church with whoever will listen. In the past month, we've been able to connect with big & small crowds in a variety of places from the Northeast to the mid-west. Some times, it's yielded the sounds of crickets. Other times, it's yielded prayer. It's even brought us a few potential team members.
- Hating the Steelers. It's Steelers week, you know. I always, and still do, loathe the black and gold, despite the respect I have for the organization. 2 of the next 3 Ravens games are against the Steelers. The Ravens D isn't what it was, and Flacco is inconsistent on the road. The next three weeks are for the division. GO RAVENS.
- Getting away. As this year comes to a close, I realize that I have run at a blistering pace. While I traveled much, I rarely took time off. I've been trying to remedy that a bit before we are in full-on prelaunch mode. We'll get away this weekend to celebrate Amber's birthday, and will spend some time with family over the next few weeks.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
We officially started this journey two years ago. I can remember when Tim, Josh and I sat at Panera the day after launching Revolution Annapolis, wide-eyed and exhausted, thinking, "what are we going to do now?" Faces have changed, teams have grown, and I'm now just a little over two months away from the full time work of venturing out to start a new church. There is so much to celebrate. Some days, I think we're starting to figure it out. Other days, I know we're not even close.
Maybe it's because my time at Revolution is coming to a close. Maybe it's because I haven't written in two months and I don't feel like writing another blog about how October was strange in its massive amounts of travel, the death of my grandmother, and the preparation for Revolution's move into a new facility.. Maybe it's because I don't want to spend my time thinking about what to name the church in Baltimore (if this was easy for some of you church planters, please share your secret). Regardless of my motivation, here are my favorite Revolution memories so far, in descending order:
5. Feed 40K. There have been bigger feeding events since, but the line of people continuing to come in the door will forever be burned into my brain. While logistically it was my worst nightmare (as a details guy), in my heart I've never been so overwhelmed by seeing people come together to do something.
4. Preaching my first sermon at Revolution. Largely, I remember this because when I closed my eyes to pray, an angry, intoxicated man rushed the stage and threw a note at me.
3. A night of LR when Dr. Kenny Camacho used American Transcendentalism to clarify doctrine.
2. Revolution's first baptism service. I can remember being blown away by the spontaneous applause in the room .
1. Two friends standing in front of the church sharing how God saved their marriage.
Revolution has many more great moments in its past - and plenty of other great moments to come. Happy Birthday, Revolution Annapolis
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Here's what we love so far.
2. The O's. By the way, it's almost September - and the O's are still alive!
4. Emery enjoyed her open house and is excited about school.
Here's what's hard so far.
1. Figuring out where we fit in with the neighborhood. We have met other families, but none are on our block.
3. As of today - the Honda. It needs major repairs (Head Gasket -boo). Decisions need to be made.
Pray for us in these ways:
1. To build a rhythm as a family that allows us to finish well at Revolution while engaging our new neighborhood.
2. Cultural Agility
3. Wisdom, vision, and discernment as we begin the next phase of our plans for 2013.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
We need to share a few more pieces of furniture with the rest of the world prior to our Aug 1 move to Baltimore. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to declare them yours.
6 Drawer dresser - originally purchased from Value City Furniture. Dark Cherry "Caribbean Breeze" finish - Made by Progressive Furniture, Inc. Mirror is detachable. Dresser dimensions are 5 1/2 (w) X 2 1/2 (h). Mirror dimensions are 3 ft, 7 in (w) by 3 ft, 3 in (h). Bed frame is a queen size sleigh bed - mattress & box spring NOT included. Head board is 4 ft. tall.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
- Meeting Josh at an Assessment; getting a job I wasn't looking for 25 miles from where I wanted to plant.
- Northview accepting, celebrating and supporting that move. (and continuing to)
- Our House in Indiana selling
- Revolution at one service. Revolution at two services.
- Meeting Jeanne, John, a crew of people from UA, and others, all who challenged me to think differently.
- providing a great network of friends at Revolution
- a fireside chat at an Orchard Retreat that breathed a ton of courage into me.
- Providing partnering churches for a 2013 church plant.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
- ON HOLD: 6 DRAWER-DRESSER - http://baltimore.craigslist.org/fuo/3126770431.html
- ON HOLD: SLEIGH BED (Can be separate or w/ Dresser, see pic in link above)
- SOLD: TREADMILL- http://baltimore.craigslist.org/spo/3126710191.html
- BROWN LOVE SEAT - http://baltimore.craigslist.org/fuo/3126864609.html
- CREAM LOVE SEAT - http://baltimore.craigslist.org/fuo/3126896066.html
- CREAM CHAIR - http://baltimore.craigslist.org/fuo/3126901264.html
Friday, July 6, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
This has been my biggest struggle over the journey of church planting. I didn't have to grow to love my location. I've loved Maryland all my life. My biggest journey is this: what do we have to offer ANYBODY - (them, us, rich, poor, black or white). It's not that I don't know my giftedness; this feeling isn't some exercise in false humility. Simply put, the journey to church planting has been an opportunity to pull the curtain back from the daily "churchy" life we were living and ask ourselves: "what impact are we really making?" Are we busy shuffling another group of Christians from one church to the next - trying to create the best show of preaching that "feeds" the loudest group of people on the communication card? Or, are we really helping people under the gospel, exposing the fruitlessness of idolatry and the hope that is found in Jesus.
Whether it's in the context of the "safe" suburbs, or in the vastness of the "scary" city, there's a huge difference between being a church that celebrates the solution and being a church that acts like it is one. The failure of EVERY man-made institution to address the real needs of a city in dignity based ways is obvious. May our new church be not just another man made institution.
Friday, June 1, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Amber and her friend Kim went to the Orioles game this past Monday night
(Unfortunately, with the O's having played 17 innings the day before, they
didn't see much). Having just returned from a trip to NYC, I decided to take
Emery and Reese out for dinner. On the ride to California Tortilla, their
current flavor of the month, a conversation arose about our move to
Baltimore. As we talked about the relocation, slated to happen this summer,
Emery proceeded tell me all about her impending Urban life.
Emery's most excited about living within walking distance to the Science
Center, the Aquarium, and Camden Yards. She loves the city and the "cool"
houses. She loves how close everything is, and that there is no shortage of
fun things for her to do. She loves that she'll be close to Annapolis, so
that she can still see her family and friends that are nearby. She also
likes that there's a California Tortilla on Pratt St in Batlimore, and that
Berger cookies are made there. At current, she's least excited about not
having a garage or a backyard anymore. She's also a bit worried about how
often she'll see her friends in Annapolis. The idea of a new church is
shocking - mainly because she simply cannot imagine that there are people
who do not know about Jesus.
There you go: church planting through the lens of our five year old. Truly,
Emery's sentiments mirror my own. There is so much for us to be excited
about over the months to come, and much along the way that must be placed at
the feet of Jesus. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
TO START, Please check out this video from Unearthed Pictures.
As for the rest of this blog. I wrote this a while ago - but never published it. Since it's Human Trafficking Awareness Day, I thought I'd share this. It's longer than a blog should be, but give it a try, particularly if you're unaware of the extent of this injustice.
Let's begin with a quick quiz:
Girls and boys are sometimes lured or kidnapped into sexual trafficking – TRUE
There are always dads who possess the “special set of skills” required to rescue their kids from this atrocity - i.e. Liam Neeson in "TAKEN" – FALSE. IN FACT, FAMILIES ARE SOME OF THE ONES DIRECTLY RESPONSBILE FOR THEIR CHILD BEING IN SLAVERY.
Here’s a few more hard stats (http://love146.org/sites/default/files/the_problem.pdf):
Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries.
It is estimated that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world, many who have been enslaved through being trafficked. This is more than double the number of Africans enslaved during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
These numbers make trafficking in persons the 2nd most lucrative crime in the world. The first is drug trafficking. (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006).
1. Poverty –
Both globally and locally, human trafficking tends to happen in areas of abject poverty. Sophie, a girl whose story is feature in the documentary “Baht,” was sent by her parents into the arms of traffickers, who had lied to Sophie’s parents by telling them that she was going get a waitressing job in Bangkok. Families who are worried about feeding their children are prime real estate.
Iknow some people who are beginning to help by creating “exports” for certain at-risk areas. Others are using microfinance to help. We knows of a group in Cambodia that has started a Kids Club that meets on their property. In giving these students a meal a day, and teaching them a trade, they are giving them opportunity to contribute to their family.
Fair trade and living wages matter. Abject poverty matter. Unemployment matters.
Fair trade and living wages matter. Abject poverty matter. Unemployment matters.
Here's the heart issue.
Here's the heart issue.This is simple supply and demand. Traffickers and pimps have to market what sells. If cheeseburgers were illegal and exciting, and elevated to a warped status in a culture, I'm convinced they'd sell them instead. Sex sells, especially to a culture that believes that whatever feels good behind closed doors is both edifying and no one else's business.
James 1 and Romans 1 both speak to sin’s insatiable appetite. Rescue houses and safe houses for trafficking victims are necessary - but are a band aid, at best. So long as guy and gals think it's okay to drive into they city the suburbs and have sex with a women who has been robbed of her dignity, her passport and her hope, who has been hooked on drugs by a predator "boyfriend" and lured into this trip - the issue will continue.
One of my friends tells a story about a time she was in Southeast Asia. She came upon some westerners, a father and late teenage son, about to purchase a young teenage girl from a brothel. As she approached the men, she heard the father say to the son, “Now Son, remember that this is okay here…but not at home.”
Pornography slowly makes people into products. It took a western father and son, and tricked them into thinking that this little girl, who is being held against her will, who is daily beaten, drugged, and then raped, is not a person with a soul.
The porn industry, worldwide, makes more money then the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL COMBINED….more than NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX COMBINED.
Pornography creates an appetite that gets harder and harder to satistfy. It distorts sexuality to an unrecognizable version of its intended purpose. It promises much, and delivers little.
Most (especially men) approach pornography with a “who does it hurt” attitude. What happens in the bedroom or hotel room, after all, is our business, right? After all certainly everyone is paid, and certainly everyone wants to be there. What if we looked at it another way:
The lady (or guy) that you’re looking at, getting pleasure from, is somebody’s mom. She’s somebody’s sister. She’s somebody’s daughter. There’s guys right now who are driving from the suburbs into the dark, seedier parts of their cities, exploiting a lady whose name they are never forced to know. But they are known, or were known, to some one.
Pornography’s greatest lie is: no one gets hurt. No, a person is not trafficking a female every time they look at porn. But they are creating and sustaining an economy. Additionally, porn warps your own sexuality. Many of us have a hard time understanding sex tourism right now – but many who are the chief supporters of it now once had that same thought. The desire for gratification takes people anywhere they can find it. This is what connects pornography to trafficking.
So, what do we do?
The church was way too silent during the last great slave trade. Too many Christians, to support their way of life, turned a blind eye to reality - and chose to stand idly by while people were robbed of their dignity in the name of profit. At the same time, it was the church who began to recognize that people weren’t products: men like Wilberfoce, who took unpopular stands to restore dignity.
I’d love to see stiffer laws, harsher punishments, firmer regulations from international governments on this issue. All of this is a good start. I am convinced that the local church can make the biggest dent– a body of believers who are ready to stand for the defenseless – willing to restore dignity to others, when other would exploit. As we see as God sees, we will do as God does. We will love how he loves. We will not just turn a blind eye to the plight of others.
Here are a few “freedom fighters’ that could use your support today .
1IJM (International Justice Mission)- http://www.ijm.org/ -
2.The Samaritan Women’s Home (Baltimore, MD) - http://thesamaritanwomen.org/
3. Rapha House - freedomforgirls.com
These organization could use our support, both volunteering and financial.
1. Pray. For a great list of what to pray for on this issue, click here.
2. Think globally. Be aware of what brother and sisters all over the world are dealing with and facing.
3.Model Biblical Sexuality. Christian guys and gals need to stop making excuses for their sinful behavior. Kill the addictions and make sure you're not part of the problem. Additionally, help those who are struggling with this addiction.
4.Read. Learn. To start having your heart wrecked - check out Daniel Walker's God in a Brothel