Monday, November 21, 2005

Hittin the Road

I'm headed out for a week of R&R this morning. Tricia and I going to drop Hope off with the grandparents, and then we are off to Manteo, NC to stay at a great B&B called the Cameron House Inn. It is in the Outer Banks where we spent our honeymoon 5 years ago this December. Our new daughter Maddie will be born in just three weeks and our anniversary is just 4 days after the birth so this is the last get away and early anniversary celebration. After our time in the outer banks we are back to Va Beach to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents, and then up to Gloucester VA to celebrate with Tricia's parents, and then finally back to NOVA.

What's cool about this trip is that the B&B was a gift from my previous church, and the money that we have to spend on the trip was a blessing from the folks at History...two years worth of pastor appreciation month! I'm so blessed to be in full time ministry...the people God has continually put me around have been absolutely amazing. Sometimes its easy to complain about the sacrifices of ministry...but I'm convinced that its the best kept secret....I have the greatest job in the world! I tell people that all the time...think about it...reading, talking with God, Starbucks, people, music, worship, creativity, nothing ever the same...awesome!

So, I'll miss being away, but really cherish the time with my family...

Happy Thanksgivng to you all!

matt...out

Thursday, November 17, 2005

mysticism keeps men sane...

Bob posted this quote by John Mayer about performing:
"There's a deep responsibility to move every last soul in the room."
Bob went on to apply this to ministry and ask:
"I'm wondering if we've forgotten the mystical element to the Christian experience and we're giving people great information and helpful hints for life, but we haven't moved their souls..."
I think this is such a challenging balance we have to undertake. Leaving something a bit mysterious is often much more difficult. There is such a push in evangelical Christianity to explain it all...

Chesterton says this in his Orthodoxy:
"Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity." (p. 23)
...
I think people actually welcome a bit of mystery, we should strive to identify with that. Chesterton goes on:
"The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight....He has always cared more for the truth than for consistency."
Another reminder to me that being in ministry can take me away from being an "ordinary man."

Thanks to Bob and John for stirring the pot...

Friday, November 11, 2005

today is....

11/11

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Potential Leaders

A great question from Maxwell's Developing the Leaders Around You:

"Am I selecting this person because of obvious strenghts or because I don't see any glaring weaknesses.
When you look at a potential leader and don't see even one great strength, don't choose him for equipping and development - even if you see no great weaknesses. As tempting as it may be to select that person, don't do it. Why? Because if you do, you are asking for mediocrity."

Wow...that one hit me between the eyes. I think its challenging, especially in contexts like church plants to want to lean towards keeping everything sane. Things seem so out of control most of the time, there is a dangerous temtation to develop leaders who will steady the boat. Choosing leaders that have gifts but have growth areas in other ways makes us work harder as leaders and mentors, but the hard work is worth it.

Maxwell also points out though that character is a non-negotiable in all this. If that is the blaring weakness then, no dice.

O' to be finished......

I'm having a pretty good day. I just finished a couple of things that have been sitting unfinished for quite a while.

1. Finished reading A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren. Started it a while ago, but in the mean time started too many other books...so it was slow going. It was an interesting read. One of those books that made me cheer at one moment and want to throw it against the wall at another moment. Many of the things that he said I think are needed criticisms for the place we find ourselves in the Church right now. The tough thing about criticism is that sometimes for it to truly be effective it often has to come across as an extreme. McLaren is truly dancing on the fringe...not ready to say that he has jumped over the edge (like many have), but he is dancing on the fringe. He often comes across as sounding very universalist...which I absolutely loathe...such a wimpy position in my mind. But he speaks of pushing through universalist tendencies as well as modernist tendencies into something emergent....that doesn't look like either...a generous orthodoxy? I'm still digesting. One thing that he said at the end of the book that didn't sit well with me is that he referred to universalism as a sort of chemotherapy, that is dangerous and harmful, but perhaps necessary to get us to the next place....hmmm. Anyone else read this one?

2. I also just finished a writing a song that has been in the works for quite a while. I started it last Christmas...it is my first legitimate Christmas song, and I wrote it initially on the piano. Now I don't play the piano so it was great for getting my creative juices going in a new direction, but it didn't hold up over time to finish the song
because my piano skills are seriously lacking. (insert your own leadership/ministry application here) So this year I finished it on the guitar, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with the folks at History this December. Its public debut will come from the mouths of the History Kids.

I love finishing stuff...makes me want to start more...hmmm

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


My good friends Stu and Jess came to visit at History. Stu one of my favorite songwriters of all time. His band is called "one clear call" You should book them for gigs...www.oneclearcall.com


My daughter Hope is the little girl on the far right. This is one of her first moments in a structured teaching environment where she is hearing about Jesus. Amazing...looking at this picture it really helps me understand why parents value great children's ministry. I was so excited for her to show me her scribbles on her little worksheet. God's got big plans for this little lady!

Fire, Metal, Pottery, and Me

I was talking with the Lord the other day and just going through some things that were on my mind, and He reminded me of something. The image of fire in scripture is often used with metal. Doximadzo is the greek term for burning out the impurities (totally from memory...so correct me if I'm wrong). The idea is that the metal gets heated up...turns soft, and the impurities rise to the top and the metal is left pure. This idea is applied to our lives = sanctification...and so on... The key here is the metal gets soft

Then there is the other image in scripture of God as the potter and us as the clay. (Romans, and other places) A great one for worship songs, and one that really resonates with me. Well I realized something as I was praying. Sometimes I try to redirect the fire that the God is using in my life to soften my "metal" and turn it on the clay. I have a tendancy to say to God, "Nice job! I'm done now! Let's throw this one in the furnace, add a nice glaze, and lets marvel at your handiwork!"

Problem is, that removes Him from the equation for the rest of my life...then I'm just good for sitting on the shelf and looking pretty. God wants to get his hands dirty in my life. To keep adding water (the Holy Spirit) to my clay and continually be involved in my shaping. This keeps me dependent and him in charge...wet clay is pretty floppy on its own.

So my goal is to ask for more of God...if its fire He gives me...point it at the metal...if its water He gives me...point it at the clay...but in all things...stay soft.

sorry for the abstract post...just needed to dump a bit! :-)