advent

Today is the 1st day of Advent. I remember as a kid going to church during the advent season, my favorite part was the lighting of the candle. It meant Christmas was coming. It meant each Sunday was in preparation for Jesus birth. There was high anticipation, excitement and life. The advent season for me as a kid meant lots of family get togethers, winter break, by birthday, Christmas and more. I am not sure if I truly understood the meaning of it, but the culture and practice of it made a huge mark on my life.

This season press into what advent is all about, looking to Jesus and His coming into the world. Take time each night to light a candle and pray this benediction. This benediction is from Celtic Daily Prayer, and is one that I have repeatedly prayed during the advent season.

God of the watching ones,
give us Your benediction.

God of the waiting ones,
give us Your good word for our souls.

God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and suffering ones,
give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls,
that we might rest.

God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and suffering ones,

and of the angels in heaven,

and of the child in the womb,

give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls,
that we might rest and rise
in the kindness of Your company.

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Black

Today protesters in Ferguson, St. Louis, Chicago and other cities protested Black Friday and the shopping craze that it has become. Some protested against people shopping like mad immediately following the trial of Darren Wilson, while others protested against the commercialism that this day brings, and only a day after Thanksgiving.

Man, I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have laid down on the shopping mall floor or stood outside with a sign peacefully sharing against commercialism. We have a voice, and we need to use it. We cannot just sit idly by as injustice goes on around us. We have to speak up, regardless of what others around us are doing.

I wish I could have been there during the civil rights marches. I wish I could have stood on that bus next to Rosa Parks as she refused to move to the back. I wish I could have marched with Dr. King as he peacefully demonstrated agains racism. We have the freedom and the right to stand for what we believe is true and just, what are we doing with that freedom?

I am not dogging shopping, nor am I against shopping the day after thanksgiving for a sale, but at what cost? Lets not live out lives based on sales, bargains and culture, lets live our lives based on the word of truth, Gods word. Lets live our lives out of a conviction to make the world a better place and set the example for the generation coming up after us.

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justice

This morning during our staff prayer time we were praying for peace, specifically surrounding the situation in the USA of racial tension. 2 days ago a grand jury did not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for any crimes related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. Leading up to this decision and now even more after the decision there has been protests marked by violence, anger, and fear.

Today, we prayed for peace.

Peace for Michael Browns family.

Peace for the citizens of Ferguson, MO.

Peace surrounding the racial tension that is in so much turmoil.

Our prayer is that truth would come into the light, as would lies. Our prayer is that change would happen, apart from violence. Our prayer is that the Church would lead the way to this peace, directing people to Jesus, who is the bringer of peace.

Continue to pray for the people of Ferguson, specifically the police and the families of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson.

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mars hill

“Good and upright is the Lordtherefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” Psalm 25 ESV

This morning I woke up and read Psalm 25, mostly because it’s the 25th of the month and each morning before my feet hit the ground I read the Psalm for that day. I was struck by verse 8 as it reminded me of a song that I used to sing when our family attended Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I couldn’t shake the song or the verse, so when I got downstairs I played it as I got the kids ready for school. You can listen here.

I was saddened by the recent and not so recent events that have brought Mars Hill Church and specifically Mark Driscoll into the spotlight once again. I am broken over the sin, the hurt and the deception caused to many from the eldership of the church. In some ways it’s not surprising what has happened, but it still sucks (for lack of a better word).

Our family began attending Mars Hill Church in 2004, when it was just a small congregation of 1100 people. We attended for about 3 years  in a time when our family was going through a lot of brokenness and pain. When I look back at those two years I see some of the things that caused the most recent events at the church, but I mostly look back  and remember the healing and health that came into our family as a result of our being there.

In that place we met Jesus. Through the worship and teaching we grew, healed, and were prepared for what God had for us next. We learned how to study the Bible, how to empower and release leaders and mostly fell deeper in love with Jesus. We are thankful for those times and we have no regrets from our time there. Even in the bad and the broken their can be healing.

We just wanted to point out some of the good things that have come out of that church and hopefully will continue to come out of that church for many years to come. Thank you for the times where you brought the word of God into my life Mark Driscoll. Thank you for the times where you led us in Worship Tim and the other worship staff. We will continue to pray for you as you go through this season.

Peace.

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2014-01-21 17.16.51Last week I arrived home after spending 8 day’s in the Philippines. Myself, along with a team of 13 were in the Philippines as a part of the Steps of Justice typhoon relief outreach. When I think of the trip a few words come to mind, here is my summary:

  • Overwhelming- It was overwhelming to see the disaster that Typhoon Yolanda brought.
  • Rustic- We slept on the floor in a church with no electricity, bucket showers and under mosquito nets. At night the rats would be running by our heads, and over our nets in order to get food.
  • Humbling- It was humbling to be in a place with so much destruction, yet so much joy. The people of the Philippines are strong, and find the joy of the Lord in all things.
  • Fun- The team was amazing. I think one of the things that kept us together was the humor and the family that we created as a team, I am truly grateful for all of them.
  • Salvation- We saw 11 people give their lives to Christ. They prayed and said they want to become followers of Him. Our prayer now is that the YWAM staff in Tacloban follow up and disciples these new Christians.
  • Nausea- We took a boat for 3 hours to get to the Island we worked on. There were around 250 people on the boat, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that about half vomited dude to bad seas, including half our team.
  • Broken Hearted- We were broken hearted when we heard the stories of people who had lost everything in the typhoon. Men who had lost their families, people who had lost their homes, and workers who had lost their livelihood.
  • Privileged- I feel privileged that I got to go on this trip. The trip was funded by two individuals, and their places of work that matched their gifts. Gods provision is always amazing.

I am not sure if we will continue to go back to the Philippines as a ministry, but one thing I do know is that this trip changed all the lives of those on our team. We were not only used to bring hope and restoration to the Filipino people, but we also saw the lives of each person on the team changed. This trip was a short term trip, with long term results.

Thanks for your prayers, they are always necessary.

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