Allow me to paint a picture for you:
I knew a man in my old neighborhood. He was an old leathery-faced balding biker with facial tattoos. He was the kind of guy that when you saw him, and his scowl heading in your direction, you thought about crossing the street, just in case. I met him at my old church’s neighborhood food pantry. Once you got to know him, you found out his wasn’t that bad. He was headstrong and had a temper sometimes, but he could also be quite sweet in some ways. He was also drunk or high around us too many of those times to count.
Including on Sundays.
Continue reading “The CHF Articles: Secure In His Righteousness”
Yesterday, I went for a walk during lunch.
This walk took me places I hadn’t been in a long time. Working near your childhood home will afford you that luxury. As I passed buildings, new and old, it reminded me of my youth and how my friends and I ruled this kingdom by walking its borders, pushing the boundaries of our land further out as we got older. There was a time when I felt like I knew every nook and cranny of this familiar landscape. I knew every escape route to safely excavate ourselves from the looming judgment of any disapproving adults ready to pounce on our fun. There were tiny pockets of “forests” in this concrete jungle, that gave us enough of an illusion that a jungle existed here, perfect for a rousing game of manhunt. Continue reading “Simple Nostalgia”
As I continue to see where God is leading me, here is a sermon I gave, yes me, this past Sunday. Hopefully I conveyed the idea that Jesus overcame those temptations, not just as an example, but as righteousness applied to us.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” -John 1:43-46
I know it’s hard for some people to put aside old ideas and notions about Christianity, Christians, and church in general. It’s a dug-in skepticism that’s born from a life of bad experiences, and even worse Christian jargon and teachings. It’s pushing back against all of it.
Continue reading “The CHF Articles: Come And See”
This is less a memoir and more an event, but it fits with the theme. Along with so many new things I’ve learned about church, church planting, God and how he might encourage me towards serving in different areas, this was a bold and scary step for me.
This was my first sermon ever.
Come and see…
With the new year fast approaching, I wanted to give you one more article from the church plant memoirs. This is less an article, and more a plea. A month ago, my pastor encouraged me to take the pulpit from him one Sunday evening this coming January. I’m reluctantly agreeing, with the caveat that he have a sermon prepared just in case. Though I’ve spoken briefly at men’s ministry events, this will be the first time I’ll be preparing and preaching a sermon on a Sunday. Everyone has their first time, and at 48 years old, this will be mine. When I started helping with this church plant, preaching was the furthest from my mind. Of course, I never thought I’d be driving into the city on a weekly(sometimes more than weekly) basis to help out with a church plant. The plans of man versus the plans of God and all that jazz. Right? Continue reading “Church Plant Memoirs: A Plea for Prayer”
As of this writing, New York City has once again become the target of a terrorist attack. By God’s great mercy, no one was hurt severely. With that thought in mind, New Yorkers, in a kind of defiance to those who would seek to strike fear into this great metropolitan city, got back to being about their business rather quickly. This attack, unlike others, will end up as nothing more than a historical footnote, but we also know this probably won’t be the last attack. Still, we move on, living our lives, going to work, shopping, etc… Continue reading “Church Plant Memoirs: Terror and Vulnerability”
I’m about to write something that will be probably be unpopular. Amid a great cloud of witnesses that get the grace of God that I am fortunate to count myself lucky to be a part of, I’ve decided to write a little about works. In fact, a specific work. Yes, I said it. I’m going to write about law, the “imperatives”, the “do” in light of the “done”. If I’m lucky, I’ll annoy people on both sides of the argument in regards to doing the law vs resting in grace. Take it for what it is.
Continue reading “Here We Still Stand and Beyond!”
I wish I was better at seeing the bigger picture. Or maybe, I wish I was simply better at seeing the larger scope of its beauty.
My wife took a trip with her sister to San Francisco, and while there, she had the opportunity to visit Muir Woods. She was amazed at the size and age of the trees there. She showed me pictures of it all, and they were majestic, but all I could see were trees. Maybe my wife has a child-like wonder about these things that I don’t have. I don’t know. My default mode is to see a picture, but it’s not very often that I see the grander scale of what that picture represents. I’m guilty of that in many areas, including what I see and read in scripture.
Continue reading “The CHF Articles: Finding Satisfaction In Desolate Places”