Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chick movie of the week

Is it OK that I enjoyed a movie for teen girls? I just watched 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants' and really liked it. In a weird way, it reminds me 'The Joy Luck Club,' one of my favorite movies of all time. The stories of the 4 friends are well-plotted and the performances of 2 of the young actresses are truly impressive. A good rental for any girl looking for a clean film about sisterhood.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Name

I was beginning to think we were going to remain a nameless church. I know that God doesn't need us to have a name to move as He desires, but a name is pivotal to our identity. And if you look at scripture, names are pretty stinking important. Over and over again, God changed people's names (Abram & Sarai, Saul, Simon to name a few) when He commissioned them or they underwent a huge life change.

So, we were back to needing a name for our newly born church. Last night 3 of us sat around and just brainstormed. We talked about Emerson's campus and what purpose we perceived our ministry would serve. We threw out words we love. We talked through scripture. We referenced books. I don't even know how long we talked, but we kept landing on the idea of community. We didn't want to use that word per se, but the idea of it was central to our body. So we got out the thesaurus and looked up 'community.'

Boston is a place where people keep themselves out of community but desire to have it so badly. Generally, community here is sought through worship of sports teams, musicians, and political ideals. Where does one go to worship and/or discuss these things in this city? The pub. That place is everywhere here. Cheers may have been a dramatization, but more often than not, the pub is a gathering place for Bostonians. I think it may be the strong Irish and British heritage of this place, but I swear half the restaurants here are brew pubs. People love to sit around, talk, watch the Sox, and have a pint--the essence of community.

So, that's how we got to our name: The Church Public. It harkens back to history and the 'publick house' (aka pubs). It declares the anti-exclusivity of our body of believers. It shows we don't have any secrets. It speaks of our community. (And we can call it 'The Pub' for short!)

I have to say it was a pretty sweet time working together to come up with a name, especially since none of us were satisfied (or could agree on) a name prior to that. We're pressing forward with plans for start-up, including a website, print materials, and doing a survey of students on Emerson's campus. We're going to be spending more time there as a group by attending events on campus as a team, as well as inviting students we've met through Good News Fellowship to come to our Sunday night meetings. Finally it feels like we're really starting. Praise God! It seemed like a long time coming, but I know it was all in His timing. I can't wait to see what amazing things come along as He goes before us!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Romans 7

I've always loved the book of Romans. Ever since I was a child, I've loved it. Chapter 7 has resonated with me for a long time. And chapter 7, verse 14-25 is me tonight. I'm at war--I do the things I don't want to do and don't do the things I do want to do. I desire to be a good witness, but I'm SO weak! Being here is's a mission that isn't safe for me, but yet it's what God calls me to. I'm so guilty of not seeing the dying souls all around me, being lulled by being a 'good person' or a 'nice person.' I don't see enough of myself 5 years ago in who they are. I don't have the empathy of a person compelled by the love of Christ to minister. I want the end of chapter 7 to wash over me--it's only CHRIST in me that can do good. HE IS THE REASON WHY I LIVE AND MOVE AND BREATHE. HE IS THE HOPE OF GLORY! God, rend my heart for these people so I may live a holy life before them that can only be attributed to YOUR strength!

Here's the verses in the New Living Translation:
14The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. 15I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. 16I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. 17But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.
18I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. 19When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.
21It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22I love God's law with all my heart. 23But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 25Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What makes you get up in the morning?

I had a day today that made me want to jump up and down, just thanking God for allowing me to be alive. Do you ever feel like that? I'm not really sure what made today one of those days, but it felt like I was doing exactly what I was created to do. On my drive home from work I was praying, thanking God for the day, and He said that the joy in my heart is how He feels when His children are finding pure delight in Him. Wow. I think being able to get a glimpse of God's heart was worth more than 1000 todays strung together.

Emerson's the other way...

I had several pics to upload at once, but I can't get Picasa to put them in the same post. Technology can be a pain sometimes.

Well, here I am in Concord, MA, birthplace of the transcendentalist movement and the American Revolution. Lots to ponder...and it was a really gorgeous autumn day.

I'll try to get the rest of those pics up tomorrow. They're more from the daytrips JMurph and I took to Concord and Salem.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Professional development?

So I'm kinda sorta getting a promotion at work. Early last week one of the corporate VPs came to me and said they were restructuring the school and wanted me to become more supervisory. I don't think this is going to mean a change in title (for which I hold the world's record for the longest--Assistant Clinical Director of Training and Residential Services) or pay, but it comes down to a vote of confidence. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have a group of people you respect professionally tell you that you do good work. And at this point in my life, that's a pretty big deal.

Monday, January 16, 2006

4 Days in Nashville

For those of you who don't know, I volunteered at Passion for the second year. It was an entirely different experience this time around--it wasn't fraught with life changing decisions or dramatic object lessons. It was more about serving when I didn't have anything more to give, so that He could fill me up. It was about becoming aware of my own selfishness and preconceived notions about God's mission for me in Boston. It reminded me that His plan here is bigger than I can ever ask or imagine.

I stood on a street corner and talked to people. I handed out hundreds of lunches. I laughed. I cried. I was in awe again. I think I know what David Crowder was getting at in Praise Habit. Life as worship...maybe that's a lesson that goes beyond taking a leap into uncertainty. Maybe that's the foundational lesson for everything else of value.

I'm finally joining in on a near-dead fad...

Welcome to my blog! Hopefully I'll be vigilantly posting interesting thoughts and pics here. I want to keep everyone updated with prayer requests and information about the church planting community in the city. Feel free to comment and start a conversation. Enjoy!