Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Raining....Musicians

Moving up here has been awesome, but I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the task of building a team of committed and talented musicians from scratch in a community where I knew no one. I knew that it would only happen with patience, support and lots of prayer.

Well we prayed, and were patient and I have to admit that I have had more than a fair share of patience and support from Ben in all of this, but things are finally starting to move a bit. This past Thursday we had two new musicians to fill key spots on the team show up for practice. They gelled quickly with the team, and were willing to spend a couple of weeks getting to know us and set up before we cut them loose in front of the congregation.

What is interesting to me about all this is how I have interacted with God in it all. I have certainly been praying, but I so often struggle with having faith that God will actually pull through...I mean I do have faith, or I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing, but sometimes it doesn't translate to my emotions, or even to my head, and once again I have been startled by God's provision.

I want to be a man of giant faith...but I am fearful of that desire, because I think that God will continually put me in places where faith is necessary...I hate those places, but it sure is fun when He comes through.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Probably the most significant thing that has marked my ministry and my growth in ministry has been the presence of older pastors and Godly men whom I have sought out or who have sought me out to invest in my life and mentor me in ministry. I can't express what a tremendous difference this has made. I just talked to one of them last night...

Sometimes I let this priority in my life slide, and realized last night that I hadn't talked much with some of the essential voices in my life in while. It is such a breath of fresh air to hear from someone who has been "through it" and has a vested interest in seeing me succeed and grow. In turn, its my goal and prayer that I can do this in other folks lives...If I'm not doing it, then in many ways I feel like I am squandering the investment of those who have poured into me.
One interesting thing that I have learned through the years that I have spent in mentoring relationships, is that each guy has his specialty. (duh...I know...but its good to remember sometimes) I think this what the Bible means when it says there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. One voice in my life is an incredible pastor, teacher and shepherd, another is an incredible church planting strategist and coach, another has his PhD in theology, others have been great in guiding my personal discipleship. I realized today that I have not yet had the opportunity to spend time with an older worship leader that is like minded, but will stretch me. So I think I will pray for this...I have met with other leaders...even more experienced leaders, but I haven't found that one that clicks with me.

I emailed Matt Redman today and asked him if he would take the time talk with me for an hour every 2 months. Don't know if he would ever respond to something like that, or if I even had the right address, but I figured it was worth making the "ask." I'm going to pray that if it isn't him, that the Lord will bring the right man to speak into my life in this area.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

British People are Better at Everything

Ok...they have us whooped with cool old buildings, great song writing, cool accents that make even the most ridiculous people seem cool, and fun government meetings where people shout and cheer and where wigs...well not sure about the wigs....

...anyway...they are also good about making a tough situation fun...check out this link for a great laugh! [here]

link via Ginny

A Jack Merrill I know where my wife get's her talent.

A Trip Home

Spending the day home alone today. Just got back from making the rounds with Hope and Tricia to see the grand parents. We went to Va Beach first to see my parents, and had an amazing dinner of crab cakes and asparagus, with carrot and ginger soup as a starter...I love my mom! That was Sunday...we got up and around noon hiked up to Gloucester to see Tricia's parents. Tricia ended up staying with her parents until tomorrow, so she and her mom can make Hope a "candy corn" costume for the Neighborhood Halloween party we are going to next month. (a very cool thing by the way...see ben's blog for details)

While making this whirlwind tour I was really struck by the sense of history that develops in each of our families...we really are creating a legacy. We hear stories from our parents and grandparents, and in turn tell them to our children...good and bad, we need to hear these stories, and then as Christian parents allow God's redemptive story to color and shape our understanding of these stories and how we create new ones for our children.

Walking through my parent's house I my dad (who does photography on the side) showed me a portrait of my grandmother that he did for her was amazing...captured in a rare moment a personality in her that I had not seen in a long time...the picture told a story.

At Tricia's parent's house there are pieces of their family history all over...I put up some pictures below. I also got to see some of her dad's All of this gave me such a sense of connectedness though...and challenged me to be a good steward of this story...and of God's story in it all to my kids...and their kids...and hopefully their kids! :-)

Tricia's parents' house in Gloucester, VA

This is the address marker from Tricia's Dad's family house...

An old lamp from Tricia's dad's family house

Saturday, September 24, 2005

We have a TV in our bedroom

Ok there has been a long running battle between my wife and I over the tv in our bedroom. She likes a peaceful sanctuary, and I like design shows...crud. She is right and I am has driven me to blog in bed so that she can get some sleep. "Trading Spaces is probably a rerun anyway." :-)

Just watched House of Flying Daggers tonight. Amazing. It was decidedly one of the most visually stunning movies I ever seen. Probably doesn't compare to Mark's viewing choice for the weekend, and he had some spiritual things to say, but I thought the movie was amazing!

While crusing the blogs I stumbled onto my friend Justin's blog. He rarely posts, but this one struck my funny bone...and made me sad all that same time. When will we get it?

Finally, the serious thing on my mind lately. I just got back in touch with a friend of mine from college. I had heard that she was doing mission work, but didn't have many details. Come to find out she is living, working and ministering in Baghdad right now. She has an awesome blog, that really puts things into perspective. Check it out and pray for her.

Two things came to mind when I talked with her about what she was doing over there. First...I am a whiner...I just have to laugh at the things that I get frustated over or that I complain about. Hearing what she is giving up for the sake of the gospel, and hearing how her heart breaks for those folks in Iraq, challenges me so much. After all I don't have to worry about car bombs...just terrible traffic. Second...I am so in awe of the greatness of God. He has called me into mission as well. True it is not as sexy or dangerous as Baghdad, but people here in Northern Virginia need Jesus just as badly. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in "church" and forget that we are called as missionaries, partnering with God in His redemptive mission. His plans and goals are not small. He is using the body of Christ all over the world. What an amazing thing to be a part of that, and talk with friends who are in the trenches on the other side of the world.

Well that's what's on my mind tonight...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Some times we don't see...

History Church exists to "make disciples who can make disciples of Jesus Christ," bottom line. The engine that we use to see this happen and to measure our success is small groups. I fully believe in this vision and this tactic to achieve this vision, small group settings are the best vehicle for people experiencing life change. The goal is pretty simple. Meet in small people to grow in their faith, through relationships, prayer, worship, Bible study, and then raise up new leaders and reproduce. A pretty simple and effective system...idealy...

Ben and I were talking the other day about this issue of multiplying generations of small groups and he brought up that the Navigators have never been successful in getting past 5 generations. I wouldn't use that statistic to say the Navigators are not successful in making disciples, but rather that their measurable matrix of official small group multiplication does not tell the whole story.

I met with a guy this morning who was baptized this summer and has been on quite the journey of discovering what it means to follow Jesus. In the few months that I have been on staff here at History I can see tangible and marked change in this guy's life. I had a book out on the table, and he asked what it was. When I told him (The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge), he said "Oh yeah I'm reading a book by that guy" This blew me away...I knew this guy was a reader, but Wild at Heart just didn't seem to me to be a book he would ever pick up on his own, and we weren't doing that book in any of our small groups. As I probed a bit further he told me that two other guys in our guys...had pursued him and asked if he would like to read and discuss this book with him. They had done this all by themselves. Disciples making disciples...outside of our matrix...beautiful.

I think one of the things that necessarily has to happen for our programs to work is that outside of the programs, the vision has to work and has to be part of the culture of the community. This was a great example to me that some of the folks at History are getting it. Its my prayer that not only will the measurable things that we are after by God's direction be successful, but that those immeasurable, catalytic, vision embracing, disciple making encounters between folks will happen more and more. Then Fairfax County will see more of Jesus...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Where I Live

There was a black Corvette parked outside my living room window today. It was beautiful...very soon after I noticed it a man came out and spent the next 30 minutes carefully polishing it with a soft rag. I think he was a friend of my neighbor, because he soon came out and started polishing his Porsche Boxter. There they were, talking and laughing...and caressing their cars.

While this scene was happening just three cars down, another neighbor emerged and walked towards his car. In his hand were two strips of duct tape...ready for action. He walked determinedly to his Geo Metro and applied it to the only spot around the perimeter of the windshield that didn't already have duct tape. Having secured his windshield once again, he got in and drove off.

The other guys kept cleaning and caressing...

This is where I live. It was such a fitting picture of this community. Whether a struggle to just make it, or a pursuit of excess, this is a culture that has "things" on the front of its mind. Our job is to find ways to communicate how the gospel intersects and satisfies both ranges of the perspective.

Lord, You are more precious than silver
Lord, You are more costly than gold

Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds
And nothing I desire compares with You

Thursday, September 08, 2005

i'm a mutt

I just started reading G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, and so far I'm loving it! But it has brought up again some interesting things that the Lord has been stirring in my heart. Chesterton's theology is different from what I would brand myself as (though I would rather not be branded.), but from some of the things I have read, his heart sings in tune with mine. Listen to this:

The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It it the logician who seeks to get the
heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

Awesome! Though at the same time, I would say to him that logic and philosophy can sometimes be the opposite of getting heaven into our heads and instead be poetry of a different kind, grasping at the depths of God that the poet would just skim over with flowery words.

Ok where am I going? Chesterton is a guy that perhaps I would not have read if I got myself pigeon holed into a very narrow theological perspective. I have been challenged lately that while we need to have clear understandings of Scripture, it can be a wonderful thing to embrace our muttness, and continually explore what it means to be a worshipper of Jesus. I would rather be a man who says "I want to know Jesus." rather than a man who says, "This is how it is."

Feels kinda loosy goosy as I write this...and having reread it...doesn't flow so great...but, what the hey, maybe I'm just trying to get my head into heaven.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Just had a meeting today that smacked me in the head once again. We are in the process of praying about what is next for our church, and trying to understand how to best walk that out. Today we met with someone, from whom I was expecting little. As we talked though there was such an amazing sense of continuity of vision that it was a clearly God ordained conversation.

Its funny how suprising it is when God often as I have seen Him nudge, provide, speak, move...I am startled each time. I think that's good.?.

Friday, September 02, 2005


This whole relief effort in New Orleans has been so disappointing. It seems there have been definite holes in the process, but then again there have been some serious set backs as well. This is the time that folks need to step rise above be something more.

Then Kanye West spoke...Usually when people make ignorant comments it rolls right off my back. His comments on the NBC disaster relief concert were ridiculous and out of line. That was neither the place or the time for public critique...his insensitivity to the great need only communicated ignorance and insensitivity and most likely simply served to inflame rather that help.

Be a part of the solution...