Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sabbath

I'm terrible at taking time off. Absolutely terrible. Having been employed as a "full-time minister" for almost five years now, I still can't find a good balance. Ministry is not a job, it's a lifestyle. So, on one hand, you're never "off." But on the other hand, I'm no good to anyone as a minister unless I take time for myself and for my own relationship with God (not to mention my family, which I should probably mention).

Claudia and I were able to take Friday off together. We had a blast, and it was very refreshing. Storyline's equipping staff is looking to take a new weekly rhythm this summer--taking Mondays off. This is a dream come true for me, as I have wanted to take Mondays off for years! Here's hoping that this new rhythm can make this balance a little easier.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Website Finished!

We finally finished our new website for Storyline. I'd love for you to go check it out. www.storylinecommunity.com

Monday, July 07, 2008

Centerpieces

I would like to share one of my most favorite practices of our young community of faith: communion. Each week, we share communion together as a part of our house church gathering. Here’s how it unfolds: our time together begins by sharing a meal. At some point during the meal, someone will interrupt the conversations and offer a more formal welcome to our home. One part of this welcome is an explanation of the communion meal and an invitation to participate. Our attention is drawn to the centerpieces on all the tables in the room--beautiful displays with bread and wine. The welcomer will pray for the food we’re sharing--particularly giving thanks for the death and resurrection of Jesus. As the prayer is concluded, our conversations continue, and someone near each centerpiece will distribute the contents to those around them.

Allow me to point out some observations I’ve made having experienced this for about two months now. First, I’ve been struck by the hands that have served. I have seen first-time guests distribute the items without hesitation. Individuals who haven’t been to church in a long time have helped as well. We’ve even had a two-year-old carry around the loaf of bread as people tear off their portion. These happenings paint a beautiful picture of an open table--where all are welcome, all are served, and all are equal.

In addition, I’ve noticed a change in our conversation tone once we have shared. As in any dinner gathering, our opening conversations inform each other about the activities keeping us all busy. But after communion, our questions of each other are deeper. Our topics are more significant. Our concern for each other is more evident.

The centerpiece of our gathering is the Lord’s Supper. Even after the meal is complete and we enter our time of worship, the communion display remains in the center of our circle. And this is powerful. After all, the death and resurrection of Jesus are of first importance in our faith. While we may disagree on other matters of spirituality, the centrality of His death and resurrection is strong enough to keep us together. The power of these events is why we gather in the first place.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reflections From Our First Justice Project

Please read Charles' post from July 2. inthestoryline

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A New "Porche"

My wife and I have had a new addition to our household recently. We are dog-sitting for her parents until we get to see them again in July. Growing up, my family only had "outside" dogs. So, with the exception of my summer in San Antonio, this is the first time I have lived for an extended time with a dog in the house. Her name is Tori, and she is hilarious! It's been fun to have a new friend who likes us so much. :o) Here are a couple pictures. What about your family? Are you an "inside" dog family, or an "outside" dog family? (Notice "cat" family isn't even an option.)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Celebrating Another Milestone

It's official, we have chosen a name for this new church: Storyline Christian Community.

Storyline is a way of referring to the plot of a story. An editor might ask how a detail in a story fits into the larger storyline--the greater plot. We believe this idea describes something profound about life: we each have our own stories, but is there a way they all contribute to something larger? Or to ask the same question differently, does life have a larger storyline appealing for our contribution?

We believe there is such a story. And we want our lives to count. We want our contributions to matter. So we begin to investigate what this greater story is all about, and how our lives might have a role in this storyline.

________________________________________________________________

Why Christian Community instead of church? We have several reasons. But first, please do not misunderstand: we are starting a new church. We love and admire other churches, and we consider ourselves a part of the universal Church (stretching across time and around the globe). We are not ashamed of being a church.

Today, however, the idea of a church has come to carry some meanings we do not desire. For instance, when we use the word church, we repeatedly use it to refer to a place, not a people. The most frequent question people ask me after I tell them we're starting a new church is not "what will you be about," but they ask "where will it be?" We sense Christian Community will communicate better: we are a people seeking Jesus.

Our decision also has to do with our mission context: central Dallas. There are tons of people here who grew up in church, but they no longer participate. Many of them have had bad experiences. And unfortunately, these poor experiences and perceptions get projected on to all churches. Now, I'm not silly enough to assume no one will ever have a poor experience as a part of this new church, but we do hope the striking absence of the word church from our name might serve to communicate that our community is unique from what others may have experienced previously.

And finally, this language is more true to our values. I believe the point of church is living in relationships with others--sharing life together. Our methodologies are built around this conviction, and we're designing our ministry structures to facilitate a culture of genuine relationships. We are about creating community.

______________________________________________________________

And we're so fired up! Our families celebrated yesterday with not one, but TWO dessert samplers at a great Uptown restaurant. I suppose next to this whole church planting idea, dessert might be our greatest passion. :o)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bed & Breakfast...and Airport Shuttle

Claudia and I have joked recently that we're going to open our own Bed & Breakfast. Uptown, Dallas (where we live) is literally down the street from Dallas Love Field. Lately, we have had some family and friends come and stay, leave their cars, and we take them to the airport. We have really enjoyed it, because it's a great excuse to see people we don't usually get to see. And we enjoy having people in our home.

Be sure to read Charles' blog this week on justice (link at right). It will get you fired up!

This weekend, we're having our second big "connection event." We began inviting some of our neighbors last night. We'll be playing ultimate frisbee at the same park where we had the kickball game three weeks ago. The invitation is below.

Please pray this week that we would have the courage to stretch beyond our comfort zones to meet new people and speak boldly with regard to what we're about.

Connection Event Invitation