Friday, August 31, 2007

Mad Props

Mad props and a huge shout out are well deserved by two guys and their spouses from New Season. We moved office space a few weeks ago to an old haunted house (not really but it looked like it).

Brett Barker and Robert Herron scraped the house by hand removing the three hundred year old lead paint from the outside. They then painted the whole house. It was a huge project taking many hours and I am most grateful to them. I know I speak for the rest of the New Season community as well. And, not only did their spouses allow them to be way for such long periods of time they came and helped with yard work. Thanks Melissa and Kathy!

As we have made this move we wanted the space to reflect well on the church and be well kept. These folks and others helped make that happen. Thanks everybody!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

U2 Message Series

We have just been having a lot of fun with our message series that uses U2 as a jumping off point to delve deeper into the Bible and our faith.

Recently, Amy Umble, from the Free Lance Star newspaper in Fredericksburg did a story on it. She did a great job covering it and provided some great resources for readers to explore further the connection between U2 and faith.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I try to be a courteous driver. I let people in when they are trying to get out onto the road. If a person has their directional on and wants to switch lanes in front of me, I let them. When merging with other cars I follow the "every other car" rule of merging. What ticks me off though is when people do not say thank you. Here I am doing something nice for them and they do not have the courtesy to say thanks. That's ridiculous. Even worse than not saying thanks is when the person just looks at you as if it was their right to be let in/ out or whatever!!

I have to ask myself though do I have to be thanked? Is my being kind to someone contingent on being thanked? I think of Jesus who cleansed ten lepers and only one came back. The Bible never says he "unhealed" the other nine that were ungrateful. The God who sends rain and sunshine and blesses even the wicked does not get thanked by the great majority of people. His love is not contingent on being thanked.

I am not God, but I am called to reflect God and be Christ-like. That means I have to love without any expectation of gratitude. Darn this following Jesus thing!! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Diana is 31

Today, my beautiful wife and life partner turns 31! I still remain her elder as I will be 31 until December!

I first met Diana when she was 18. According to my bad math skills that's 13 years now!! Diana and I met at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. Her cousin was my freshmen year roommate. Diana also started at RMC the same time we did. So she hung around with us and the rest is history as they say.

Happy birthday Diana!!!


Why is it that we human beings feel the need so many masks? Why is it we have to pretend to be somebody we are not? Why is this so especially in the church?

In the church we have had to pretend "I have it all together" when in reality we are going crazy. We have pretended "My marriage is always rock steady" when in actuality it is on the rocks and you are just staying together for the sake of the kids. We have feigned that "I am happy" when we are torn up inside. We have fooled people into believing that our family is altogether when we are more like the Osbournes than the Cleavers.

Thankfully, in Christ there is an alternative. In relationship with Christ we can be who we are. There is no need for masks when we are in relationship with Christ. We do not have to pretend to be somebody we are not or put on aires to protect people's perceived perceptions of us. Instead, because he loves us as we are with all our warts, pimples and wounds we can be authentic. Christ never leaves us where we are and in him a marriage is strengthened, sadness is turned into gladness, and families are held together even in their dysfunction. Even if we would want to put on a mask and seek to fool God about who we really are or what we are really feeling it would be of no use. He knows out thoughts and our hearts.

That is not a scary thing, but good news actually. Because it means he knows all that about us and still loves us and through his life, death and resurrection loves us more than we can ever know.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Personal and Social Holiness

This past Sunday we talked about the difference between personal and social holiness. We believe in both. Followers of Christ are to hold both in tension and our faith is dead when we have one and not the other. Incidentally, we see many churches that are so focused on one and not the other. Some churches are exclusively concerned with the number of notches they can put on their belts for the number of people saved. Don’t get me wrong- it is awesome for churches to help people accept the saving work of Christ. Then there are other churches that are not much more than an extension of the United Nations humanitarian efforts where they are so concerned for the poor and hungry and meeting physical needs they reject the spiritual needs of the people they are trying to help. Don’t get me wrong followers of Christ must do these things as well. It is a matter of balance.

See, it is not enough to just have your heart right. Yes, that is important and we are saved by grace through faith, yet that faith is to be lived with a conscience that lies beyond just one’s inward spiritual dimensions. Yes, we have to pray, grow in a vital personal relationship with Christ, practice the spiritual disciplines, but we must also love our neighbor, care for the poor and feed the hungry. Yes, we have to seek to partner with the Holy Spirit to see people come to faith but we also have to be concerned with the redemption of our communities, our society and the world.

Personal and social holiness is a both/and not an either/or.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Office Space

I am real excited about the move in our office space at New Season. We are moving from our space in a professional center that does not get much traffic to a house we will use for office space that is right on a main road. We will go from about 6 cars a day seeing our sign to about 6,000 cars. I am thankful for this opportunity to raise awareness of New Season Church.

The new office space is an old house that needs a lot of work. We have two guys that have been busy taking off old paint off the exterior to get it ready for painting this weekend. There is a woman from our church who is going to paint some of the inside. This coming Saturday we are going to clean up the yard as well.

We want the space to reflect well on who we are. We recognize that our office will be a first impression for many.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

School of Congregational Development Day 1

Thursday was the first day of the School of Congregational Development. After persons who were not already here made their way here the School started in the afternoon with a time of worship and welcome.

Kirbyjon Caldwell from Windsor Village was up first and spoke about vision and call. This was the first time I have heard and see (because no one just "hears" Kirbyjon you also "see" this guy preach/speak). Kirbyjon shared some ways to either enhance or kill your vision and call. He used Genesis 13 as his text. He said all must ask- who are you following, God or people? You have to have a compass. You have to have capital. You have to have consecration- have your plans been to the altar? And then there is capacity- have you run out of space? Conflict- how will you manage people's perception of your increase? And then composure- since you are called why are you trippin'?

We then broke out into ministry tracks. I am here to learn more not only about being effective in starting New Season but also in the capacity of being a member of the Task Force 250 of our Annual Conference as we seek to develop a plan to begin 250 new faith communities in the next 30 years. Therefore, my track is called "Developing an Annual Conference Strategy." While I am a little out of my league among the others present in this track (District Superintendents, Conference Church Developers and Bishops who are in the track) the track has been interesting.

Bishop Scott Jones of the Kansas area shared about the need for a systems approach in developing a Conference strategy. Craig Miller then shared what some of the elements are of an Annual Conference strategy. One really good part of each session in the ministry tracks is that we then have time to process with other people from our Annual Conference where we are in/ where we need to be in light if what we have heard.

In the evening we returned and began with worship and heard a message from Andrew Conrad pastor of Congregational Care at COR. He talked about new beginnings. Andrew is also a blogger and you can read his blog here. For Plenary #2 where we heard from Tom Butcher from the Executive Office of New Church Development of the General Board of Discipleship. Tom shared about the work of the Path 1 team and the denomination wide plan for beginning new churches.

Following Tom was church planter Steven Blair who shared how his church, FirstLight, was ministering in a postmodern/ postchristendom world. Steven has a heart for his generation and a passion to be engaged in ministry that is relevant and reaching people.