Thursday, August 31, 2006


I just finished watching the greatest tennis match I've ever seen. Andre Agassi (36), playing in his final US Open, beat Marcos Baghdatis (21) in a 5 set match that lasted almost 4 hours. Agassi is probably not as good physically, but he refused to lose. His will and determination carried him through...

I want to develop the same determination in my life--as a husband, a father, a friend, a be the absolute best I can be at all I do. I want to be able to look back and say I gave everything I had in loving people and sharing God's love with them, in both my words and actions. Each night I look back over my day, sometimes feeling like I accomplished a lot; other times realizing I wasted time and opportunity, watching TV and being lazy...

I probably shouldn't write at 1 am, I'm too tired to think of anything profound. Looking forward to going camping this weekend; Brady's first camping trip! It's supposed to rain a lot.

Things are moving along at church. Lisa and I are almost finished with some documents and plans that will help us work through a lot during the next month; then things should begin to take off.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A great Sunday

I need to write more often. I think I'm still a little nervous about putting stuff out there for anyone to read (not that anyone's really reading this; the only comment I got on a recent post was from someone I don't know who was sharing his poetry, and I think trying to get some business). I know writing about what's happening at church will be helpful, at least for us!

Yesterday was a great day at church. We had a good group in the morning; and worship was fantastic. My partner Lisa preached the best sermon I've heard in a long time, about God's people being imaginative. I wish we were recording our services; hopefully soon. Our friends April and Nuc led music and did great as always. We are so blessed to have them as part of our church family!

Josh, who had been leading music for us, resigned yesterday. Josh was with the church when we came on board. He's a great kid; but his ideas and desires for worship are different from ours, and he recognized that he would be happier somewhere else. I hope he will stay connected in some ways; he is a great photographer and has been really helpful.

Last night we had dinner and communion, followed by some music and discussion with Harp 46. Another awesome experience. It was so powerful sitting around the table (12 of us) taking communion and sharing a great meal and fellowship. The music was amazing!

Lisa and I are putting the finishing touches on some documents that will help clarify who we are and where we are going--mission and vision statements, core values, beliefs, and comittments, and a plan for our first year. Then we take all this to the people of the church and ask people to get on board as we move forward. I know the biggest challenge for some will be changing the name of the church (or adding on to it). We're narrowing down and asking for some divine direction on that decision!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Learning from my son

This has been an exhausting week, mostly in the emotional/spiritual sense. Dealing with a lot of church stuff that is really draining. I think we're doing ok; moving forward, working hard to do what we believe God wants us to.

The joy in the midst of this is my son Brady. Jamie is working full time; wrapping things up before she quits her job. Ashley is visiting her father; so I'm home with Brady during the days. He can wear me out; and when he naps I'm ready for a break. But 45 minutes later I'm standing at his crib, missing him and ready for him to wake up. I am so filled with love for him. He is "talking," making lots of beautiful sounds. His smile melts my heart. He is asleep now and I long for him.

If this is the kind of love God has for me; I never really got that before now. Even though life is crazy, and I'm about 150 emails behind, and work is piling up; I am so grateful for my family, my ministry, my co-pastor (who has picked up all of my slack while I'm playing Mr. Mom), my friends, and most of all my God.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A long day

Today was a rough day. After church we had a listening session with the folks at church (mostly the older folks). It didn't go well. Most people were polite, but 3 or 4 were very harsh in their complaints. One was rude and sarcistic toward me, several times. He would throw out accusations and complaints, then when I tried to respond, he shook his head and laughed. After three times, I'd had enough, and said, "I'm going to ask you to stop laughing while I speak or please leave the room." He left. We tried to get the meeting back on track, prayed together, and left.

I felt lousy. Angry at being so disrespected. Disappointed in myself for losing my cool. All this on the heels of a great message about unity from one of our trustees.

The day did get better. Got some good feedback from a couple friends. Jamie was very supportive, as were my co-pastor and her husband. My friend Chris came over and had dinner with us; we watched some of the Redskins game.

So even in the midst of a messy day, I still see God. I still sense His love. I ask Him to help us make progress through this situation. I hope tomorrow's a good day!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thoughts on vision of our church

Here is our purpose statement (still a work in progress):

We strive to live out the mission of Jesus as an imaginative people engaging in whole-life worship and authentic community.

The following comes from the message I shared this past Sunday:

Whose church is Fair-Park? We often live as though the church is ours—those of us who are followers of Jesus and members of the church. But that’s not right. The church, in a universal sense, and locally, is God’s, and God’s alone.

Why are we here? We are not here to get fed spiritually. We’re not here to catch up with friends and hear the latest gossip. We’re not here to find a comfortable place to gather. We’re not here to make ourselves feel better. We’re here to worship God. We’re here to turn our focus from ourselves to Him. We’re here to humble ourselves before Him and ask Him to shape us, grow us, fill us, and use us.

For whom does Fair-Park exist? It doesn’t exist for me, or the people I like, or the community that gathers here each week. The church exists for people who don’t know Jesus. We come to worship God, and know him better, but also to be equipped so we can help others know Him as well.

Based on the purpose and vision we have received from God, we exist for the art community in DC area. There are thousands of artists out there—musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, actors, directors, photographers, designers—many who know Jesus, yet aren’t plugged into church, because churches aren’t equipped to help them to use their gifts in worshipping and connecting with God.

There are millions of artists in our area who don’t know Jesus; artists who have never had someone enter into their life, their world, and share the love of Jesus with them. We as a church exist for those people. God has called us to be the church that will connect with artists; and become a creative, vibrant, exciting place to connect with God and people.

Not all of us consider ourselves artists. But each of us has the potential for incredible imagination and creativity. We want to be a church that helps people discover how to use their God-given creativity to worship Him and to be a blessing to people.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Discussions and debates on blogs

I've been sucked in to reading and responding on Steve Camp's blog. I think Steve is an interesting guy. I respect his music, but was kind of surprised when I found his blog and read his views. I read a post he wrote asking, "Why hasn't anyone within the EC ecumenical movement... publicly called for the church discipline (Matt. 18:15-20) of Brian McLaren for his aberrant and heretical theological error?"

I had to respond. Well, I didn't have to, but I was so bugged I did. I didn't get far; Steve is not too open to others' perspectives. I went back tonight and posted again. You can read the whole thing at

Here is an excerpt from my post:

You accused me of not thinking. I have thought more in the last 5 years, as I have searched and questioned and wrestled with Scripture, and faith has become more real and honest and evident in my life; then in the previous 20 years, when I simply believed what I was told to believe.

You are making blanket statements not about individuals, but anyone you consider part of the group you don’t like. I’m really surprised at your sarcasm and prejudice, especially when you implore others to use polite and gentlemanly behavior.

You do a great job of quoting verses to fit your arguments. I’m sure you will have a scathing response to me, filled with verses to refute what I’m saying. I won't go there with you. It's a waste of time, and I don't think it's a productive use of Scripture. I don't think it's how God wants us to use Scripture.

I love Jesus. I love the Bible. You and I see the BIble differently. No two people are going to see everything about it in exactly the same way. While I agree that Scripture is God's Word; any interpretation or understanding you or I have of Scripture is potentially fallible. I believe we are to do the best we can with it, constantly asking God to help us, not condemn and ridicule people because we believe our understanding is right and theirs is wrong.

I believe the Bible is God’s primary way of communicating His love and plan for His people; not a weapon to beat people into submission to our own views. It is a living and vibrant book, full of wisdom and story and mystery, not a set of rules with which to judge people and whip them into line.

I believe the Word, and the Holy Spirt, are powerful enough to point people to Christ. God doesn't need us to make sure everyone else is interpreting and understanding everything exaclty as we think they should.

We should teach, encourage, exhort, challenge; but in a spirit of love and humility, not condemnation.

And again, it’s one thing to disagree, another to accuse one of heresy.

How is this an invitation to discuss? You have your mind made up; anyone who shares a different perspective is ridiculed. You don’t want to discuss, but debate.

I really would like to discuss. I’m not bailing on discussion, as you accused ECers of doing on an earlier blog. I’m willing to talk, and listen. True dialogue means listening with respect; not just pushing one’s views and slamming others'. While I don’t agree with you on a lot; it is clear you have studied Scripture, and I think there is a lot I could learn from you, and in dialogue with you.

I’d really like to hear your views on this N.T. Wright lecture about authority:

I know what kind of response I'll get there; I'm curious to see if anyone else has some feedback.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Great Idea if you have kids

My friend Ed gave me a great idea that I have put into action. I bought two note-takers Bibles (wide margins, lines at bottom)--one for each of my kids, and I use one in my quiet time/reading. As I read and pray, I write notes in the Bible--thoughts on certain passages, hopes, dreams, prayers, advice, challenges, encouragement, stories, memories...When they are older I'll give the Bibles to them. The idea is to give them God's word, filled not with commentary and study helps, but with words of love (and hopefully some wisdom) from their dad.

My father died young (56). It would have been so cool to have something like this, where he shared his life and faith with me. If you have kids, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't; it wouldn't be a bad idea to start and get a jump on the future!

On another note, tomorrow we have an important meeting with the trustees of the church. We'll present some of our plans and proposals. If things go well, we should be able to really get moving on some things next week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome to my life

Here goes my first post. I've journaled for 25 years; but never in public. Scary. Thanks to my friend Josh for the idea. I'll start with something simple; the title of my blog. It describes how I often feel. Shocked that I am in my 40's (a decade that not long ago seemed old!), yet I still feel like a teenager much of the time (and my wife would say I often act like one!). I hope I'm more young-at-heart than immature!

My life changed drastically 11 weeks ago with the birth of my son Brady. (I have a 10-year-old daughter, Ashley; but she was 7 when I got her, and already well-trained!)

My capacity for love has grown incredibly. I am so filled with love for my two children, and can't fathom that the love God has for me is infinitely greater than that. Wow. I am so grateful! I highly recommend parenthood!