Some Things I Just Can’t Stop Thinking About

Maybe it’s because ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is playing in the background, even as I type.

Maybe because since seeing the movie, I’ve been addicted to the soundtrack.
Maybe because of the letter we received this week from Arpita Nayak, the little girl from India we sponsor through Compassion International.  The letter in which she details the story of the Hindu extremists chasing her and her Christian family out of their home, into the forest.  And how she spent the next few months in a refugee camp.  And how glad she is to be back in school, finally.
Maybe because I’ve been following this blog.  And this one.  And this one.  Anne, Pete and Angie are all in India right now, on a Compassion bloggers trip, seeing first-hand the impact of $32 a month on the lives of kids and their families.
I just can’t shake this country.

Let Your Name Be Lifted Higher

In light of everything we are experiencing and the way we see God moving in our community in recent weeks, it’s important to remember some important things.

God is stronger.

Christ is risen.

You are saved.

There is hope.

There is a way out.

This song has gripped me since last night. I know it is a message we need to hear, a song we need to sing.


There is Love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner’s cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm and through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You’re my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

After Easter…

Wondering how you’re feeling this week…

It’s Tuesday, a little over a week past Easter.  Spring break is a mere memory, and the drudgery of routine has returned.  You’re counting down the days until the end of school; you’re holding out hope for a change in your circumstance; you’re grinding your teeth through the patience required of you in these days.
You’re waiting.  Existing.
Remember this, as you wait.

Double Dipping On A Sunday

Great day today.

Totally disengaged from the planning of a Sunday experience, I attended two.
After I slept until 8:30.  On a Sunday!!!  Woo hoo!!!!!
We headed first to Hope Church on Patterson Avenue in Richmond.  I was excited to walk in and see a) a fiddle player and b) a banjo player on the front line of the musicians.  Balanced with two electric guitars, bass, drums and keys, it was a great lineup.
It was a simple service.  The vibe of the entire place was terrific – the “official” greeters were well-balanced, but the “regular folks” in the hallway were most impressive.  When we walked up to the coffee bar (some of the best coffee in Richmond, by the way!  Very impressive for church coffee!) and responded to the “Free Cup of Coffee for Our Guests!”, people responded to us with gentle introductions and smiling faces.   The building itself – the architecture, the decor, the colors – was really impressive and very, very comfortable.
Loved the music, the intimate feel of the room, the relational vibe of the teaching pastor, the media, the program.  We were led – quite comfortably – to the communion table, and it became a very holy moment for us.
Had a chance to chat with the pastor afterwards; walking out, I had a novel thought:  If I wasn’t at PCC, I’d go here.  It just felt that good.
We scooted back to PCC to catch the second service, and had another terrific experience.  I was very disengaged this week, so much of the service was fresh for me.  The band was great, the production values were excellent – lighting, media, sound.  The message was striking.  It occured to me that from my perspective this morning, I got it.  No wonder people keep coming back to this church.  Brian’s message – on a very difficult topic – was so undergirded with sensitivity and honesty and openness, without any churchy answers or platitudes.  The invitation that never came was implicit – you can trust us.  We get it.  We’ll walk with you.
I was proud of my friends, the people I serve with day in and day out.  But I was thrilled to get a glimpse of how my church is functioning in the kingdom.
And now, back to real life.

Doing Church The Way God Called Us To Do It

Home.  Sitting in Panera waiting on results from a local show choir competition.  Here, engaged, but not really here….

Feeling convicted about my “Dear 21st Century Church” post.  Seems like I either didn’t explain myself very well or there was something bitter running through the entire thing experience that leached through.  In spite of three edits, I didn’t see it.  Still not sure what it is.
I don’t want to offend or be a stumbling block.  I took the post down.
And then I read this today, from Perry Noble’s blog, which is far more powerful than anything I could ever dream up to say about any other church experience.

“One of the things that I always teach here at NewSpring Church is that we do not have the corner on the market when it comes to a movement of God. We aren’t doing church “the right way.” We aren’t doing church a better way. We are doing church the way God called us to do it…and if another church is doing what God has called them to do and people are being reached, lives are being changed, sin is being repented of, the excluded are being included, teenagers are discovering their potential in Christ, marriages are being restored and children are learning about Jesus and so on…who in the world would want to criticize that? (Answer – satan…just in case you were curious!)” – Perry Noble

Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?
I’m sorry.