so when I started at Heritage in June 2001 there were about 12 of us on staff including interns. We took this staff photo today which includes 32 people and we are missing about 8 other staffers. It has been cool to be part of something growing. it is forcing me to grow faster than i want to. but, i love how each person on staff brings something fresh and unique to the team and awakens us to new possibilities for the church.

the gathering

hey everyone, tonight our gathering will meet at 7 at the Mansion for an evening of worsship/contemplation/listening. we won't be eating dinner together tonight until we break our fast for communion at the end of the night.


pondering creation

so this just came through on an email that goes out to students from a national evangelical student ministry. i'm not sure i am comfortable with it. the reasoning just seems a bit poor. adam's story is our story, the story of the human race. does it have to be a specific person? don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily saying Adam wasn't a literal person. I just think the argument isn't the best and not just on the Adam piece. also, the attitude and sarcasm which accompany the message don't give students a good picture of how to engage in an actual personal conversation with somebody on the issue.

First off, let's get to the heart of the issue. The Creation account in Genesis is either literal and true, or symbolic and false. We can't have it both ways, folks. So let's start with the idea that it's symbolic and mainly consists of figurative language. A nice idea, but one made up by people wanting to reconcile scientific “evidence” with the Bible—so naturally they came up with a way to make the word “day” possibly mean an “age” or long period of time. The truth is that you won't find an honest Hebrew scholar that sees Genesis as symbolic.

Oh, and a couple other things. If Genesis is symbolic, then Adam and Eve are characters on par with say, Bugs Bunny or Hercules. But if that's true, then what do we do with this verse?

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. (Romans 5:12)

In my mind, it's sort of hard to build a case for original sin stemming from a make believe character. I think it was tough for Paul to imagine that too, which is why he believed in a literal Adam—therefore, a literal Genesis. Notice too that Adam's sin brought death into the world—but wait a minute…if evolution is true, then death started a long time before that—which (once again) makes Paul out to be mistaken.

So now we have a problem. If we believe that the Genesis account is literal and true, what do we do with all the “evidence” that shows for sure it couldn't have happened that way? Because, of course, the scientists were there, right? And they caught it all on a tape, which you can check out at Blockbuster. It's called “I Filmed the Big Bang, but I did not film the Adam and Eve”… (note: this is sarcasm.)

No, they weren't there, and neither was I. So I guess both of us are looking at “theories,” and I just can't go with any theory that paints the God who gave us brains in the first place out of the picture.

So here's the picture. The Bible explains the origin of life, the universe, and everything as a six day miraculous series of events. Is this scientifically possible? Nope. Not from a human standpoint, which is maybe why it took GOD to do it? Imagine, a supernatural Being doing supernatural things…who would have thunk it?

Which reminds me, don't over think this issue. Better to use your brainpower on better ways to love God and love people, which is the greatest idea ever to evolve on this planet, wouldn't you agree?



sweet love in the process

the way Richard Ashcroft sings these words gives me shivers. Can't get enough..

so I'm prepping for this week's CT and as I'm studying Hebrews 11, this passage keeps jumping out, thanks Jim B.

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

may our lives of faith speak volumes long after we've fallen asleep...


big ben and the vatican

can't wait for March 9th - 19th.
I will fly to London and hang with Chris and his brother Tim until the 13th. Chris is working with a community seeking to restore the homeless in London, which I can't wait to learn from. I'm horrible at long distance communication and Chris is my oldest friend, so it will be great to have 10 days to catch up on life and dream togehter. plus, we will eat at some great pubs and hopefully hear some good brit rock. Then Chris and I will hop a plane to Rome and explore the city for 5 days. I can't wait to eat and drink great italian food and wine, explore the forum, pantheon, and vatican city. Tim, I will finally begin to put our plan we hatched on our long drives into action.

anyone have a digital camera I can borrow?

pondering John and the friendly skies

Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right." John 7:6

I've been hanging out in the Gospel of John for a little while...it has been so good for the soul....obedience, the Spirit, the major opposition he faced, and the timing of God have been the four big things jumping out to me.

I got to fly with Cisco today which was awesome, i loved taking off and landing, he does well as a pilot. sadly, as we were approaching the Marysville airport I started to get crazy motion sickness, and when we touched down it wasn't pretty. made the back half of the trip a little rough, but it was beautiful getting the chance to soar in the sky with Cisco and Diddy.

last night had a great conversation with the guys of our gathering....lent will be a sweet time this year. i'm excited to journey through it with our group.


our gathering

tonight the gathering will be split guys/girls. guys will meet at the Mansion and the ladies will meet at Kim Lewis' home at 7, pass the word.


new questions and old friends

last night was real solid, Brian Gillis came into town and we had a great time catching up at Damon's after church. It is good to be in conversation with someone who knows me well and to hear about the future that God is awakening for him. I could use a lawyer friend :)

Yesterday, Nate England and I went running, we were attempting 14, I made it 10 - it was so frickin cold, my body physically shut down, just stopped running... I was so cold that my nipples were actually stinging, thats cold. I was longing for Los Angeles the whole run, I'm glad our marathon isn't til April...and will be in Nashville. I'll need to pick up that extra mileage this week.

This NextGen Celebration Weekend went fantastically. Anna Rimelspach's prayer during the 11am service this morning just dropped me to my knees. it was so powerful, I love her heart. Tom and Mike both had solid messages to share and were really themselves. I had a lot of fun with my piece, it was one of the few times I've shared where I didn't incorporate a lot of my own stories. if you want to give it a listen or podcast it for later consumption it should be here by tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

This verse from this weekend is going to hang with me for a while...Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great 1 Timothy 3:16


sounds of silence

well, how can i begin to share about the last week?
Monday, I had the neat chance to meet up with Matt B and Jon M, looked at a cool little apartment in University Village. It would be a blast to live with those guys, although it would be my first time in an apartment. I like the prospect of living closer to the city, I will miss the 1.7 mile commute to Heritage....We'll see what happens.

Then Monday night was rather moving, the Sigur Ros show grabbed my heart, took it up and down and all over the place. Quite powerful, see them live if you have the chance.

I had my first ever Valentine's date which was pretty awesome, brought a little more meaning to the day. Hannah looked amazing, I did feel a little bit like I was going to prom, when I picked her up her mom snapped a bunch of pictures. Barcelona was quality as always, with live music as a bonus and a Jenn and Cisco sighting. Following dinner we came back to my place for a Hawaiian themed night cap complete with tropical drinks, fruit, the best imitation of Hawaii I could create in our front room, and "50 First Dates." Definitely a meaningful night.

Wednesday I finished another class at MVNU, it feels good to be moving forward, although I need to find my motivation again.

Thursday morning I had the privelege of speaking at Central's FCA which was a lot of fun. TJ and I had a solid time together, I'm enjoying our friendship more and more. I do really miss CT and all my friends there. Taking a week off always causes me to feeel so disconnected. I can't wait for Sunday night.

Speaking of Sunday, this weekend is a "Celebration of the Next Generation." If you have the chance to attend Heritage our high school team will be leading worship, I'll be sharing the message along with Tom F. and Mike B. And my boys Grant and Matt are taking the plunge and sharing a live testimony, It will be hopping.


soak it in

sigur ros tonight!


good 24 hours

Hustle & Flow was good, I came close to crying twice and I loved the creation of the music. Its definitely not a movie which challenges the lifestyle of a pimp, but it does a good job of showing the realities within it. The acting was great. Anthony Anderson totally surprised me, every role I see him in normally consists of him playing the big clumsy/goofy black guy, but he had a great turn in this, refined that character well.

I had some great conversations with young and old, along with meeting a lot of new people during all the services this weekend and Pastor Brian had some quality things to share about love, it must be defined, demonstrated, and duplicated. he was rocking the aliteration. simple, but good - communion was real meaningful. I also really enjoyed the short but sweet time with the adult leaders of CT tonight, I love my team - they all bring so much to the table, and what can you say about Team Carl! I had a great surprise when I got to spend some good time with Hannah tonight, didn't think i would, then our schedules worked out. She watched the Chili Peppers Live at Slane Castle dvd with me, listened to me gush about them, and is still with me. she must like me.


hip hop story

starting "hustle and flow," I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with it. i've been wanting to watch it for a while.

Jack Bauer Torture Report

Jack Bauer Torture Report

Check out my friend Noel's site -- If you like 24 you will enjoy it, plus there are torture report banners you can steal for your site.

all city pics

tj took some cool pics from the dialogue time at the all city worship night. it was definitely a great evening pursuing God with extended family.


grammy letdown

I was looking forward to the Kanye/Foxx and JayZ/Linkin Park combo's during the Grammy's tonight and I got off school early enough to see them. Sadly, both were just mediocre. Kanye and Foxx's was a little better, but they only teased us with the start of TOUCH THE SKY. The JZ/LP combo didn't even get to the NUMB portion of their song, instead bringing McCartney out on the stage, I understand the gimmick with the the whole white album/black album thing and the DJ Danger Mouse Grey album, but still, just let the boys rock.

On the bright side, my car is in the driveway and tomorrow morning I'll pickup the tags. heck yeah! And as a reward for getting a car Hannah is baking me an apple pie from scratch tomorrow night. Not a bad deal.

Alright, i took a break from homework, need to get back - trying to get ahead for next week.


on the tip of my tongue

Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
Psalm 119:175

found this while browsing through a journal from summer of 04, it is a good prayer. I might begin to pray this in the morning and take a break from, "the Jesus Prayer."

sweet answer to prayer

Thursday I will be sporting my new 1992 Honda Accord complete with a sunroof!! My Legacy didn't have a sunroof, that was hard. I'm excited for this one. Thanks for your prayers, God definitely answered them. His provision is good, tomorrow I'll pay the gentleman and Thursday I'll have my tags!!

I may just drive to the ocean for the heck of it Thursday night, just to drive, I will need to cruise for a long time. It has been far too long.

Healthy Group Life

Smitty's thoughts on life groups in our pastors meeting right now (gotta love wireless)

3 keys for good life groups, what do you think about them?

1. Healthy life groups require the leader to always cast vision about the greater good/purpose of the gathering. Always keeping the vision of the kingdom out in front of the group, whether you are having dinner, studying the Word, or worshipping.

2. Develop Participating Members (committed followers of Christ and partners with the goal of the church / basically, discipleship, just HCC's phrase for it.)

3. To get done what they came to get done

Life Groups need to be committed to the big work of the Kingdom and the personal lives of its members. Each member needs to see the heart of God, and as they encounter the heart of God that will bubble over into leadership for the Kingdom.


Daily Gospel Reading....

"At that time, Jesus got out of the boat,
immediately the people recognized him, and
ran about the whole neighborhood and began to
bring sick people on their pallets to any
place where they heard he was. And wherever
he came, in villages, cities, or country,
they laid the sick in the market places, and
besought him that they might touch even the
fringe of his garment; and as many as touched
it were made well. "

Let us be this frantic for Jesus and carry the belief that he fulfills the Jewish prophesy that the tassels on his garment will bring healing for the world.

oh my goodness

what a great weekend...

stole away with 11 great friends to a couple beautiful cabins in the mountains of MD. We hit the slopes of the Wisp Ski Resort, I was reminded of what a mountain was. Gosh I miss them. I was able to handle the black diamonds better than ever, boarding with Diddy and Ryder definitely pushed me. At the end of Saturday afternoon I was heading down the steepest slopes at my own choice. It is great to be forced to grow at something, peer pressure can be the best thing. I loved getting to cook breakfast and dinner together and eat with one another while being warmed by the woodstove. We enjoyed pancakes, eggs, chicken, potatoes, beer, and wine (Tim, the Honeymoon was great as always). The poker battle was fantastic, although I didn't fare so well (foiled by Hamp again!!) I have a great group of friends who are so relaxed and at ease with life, even when ski's are stolen of ribs are bruised or broken. I like hanging with folks who can enjoy themselves even in the midst of a bittersweet life.

On top of all of it, my heart is definitely being awakened by Hannah. Being with her causes me to want to follow Jesus with all I have and make space for the transofrming work of the Spirit more than ever. I so appreciated how she jumped right in with my friends and was at ease whether with or without me throughout the weekend.

I'm going car shopping tomorrow, pray for me - need something by this Sunday.



welcome back Mary J. Blige, be without you , gets it done


1:30 on a sleepless Monday night

Reading 1 Corinthians 13 tonight....it is a pretty startling picture of what love can be.....the part that really hit me was the last sentence, love never ends. As silly as it may be I think one of the most profound lyrics from the past few years is found in, "Hey Ya," by Outkast, if nothing lasts forever, what makes love the exception? I think that is a very legitimate question, especially with the way we've seen "love," end again and again.

Reading the passage you have this amazing picture of the possibility of love. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It's as if paul is saying that over and against every imaginable situation love can sustain, it can push through, there is nothing too dark which can keep love from dying. But, this seems so contrary to what we see before us everyday. I wonder if the problem is that we don't tend to realize that this is what love can grow into, but that it takes work in spite of our feelings and circumstances, and that even above working on our faith we have to devote ourselves to it daily. always rethinking what it means to really love, always on the lookout for how to love, always giving space for God and people to speak into our relationships....

I mean if God is love. I mean he actually embodies it completely, it is not just a trait or an aspect of him, than as reflections of him, with his spirit moving within us we have an amazing capacity to express love as it is meant to be. And his greatest expression of love on the cross, was "love in spite of..." our sin, our marginalizing him, cheating on him, our neglect, our taking his love for granted (all the reasons relationships breakdown). So the good news for us as reflections of him is we are capable of this kind of love, right? That is what i loved about Eternal Sunshine, the idea that, "in spite of," all the hurt and everything they knew they would have to face with each other they were willing to love. In the beginning, God knows all our junk, but he looks past it to who we are, to all the things he wants to enjoy with us, to his desire be in relationship with us, to have us be part of his dreams and aspirations for the world, and to see us fulfilling our true potential. If you look at it, God's hope is stupid and fatalistic, because we can't possibly live up to all we should be, but his hope and belief don't allow him to give up on us and continue to pour out his love on us, because he isn't afraid of our brokenness or being hurt by us, and forgives and forgets. How awesome is it that he pushes our sin as far away as the east is from the west, never bringing it back up as ammunition in an argument or to guilt trip you, but he remembers and holds onto all the little things we do which bless him and others and blesses us now for those while still storing up treasure for us for later? What if that was the mark of a relationship, one that dealt with hurt, than let it go, and instead looked for ways to enjoy all the good things about a person and lavish them with gifts, encouragment, and affection?

Now, if God is love, and love is the most important thing, something we are capable of embodying and we are in a spiritual battle, not with flesh and blood, what is going to be the one thing demonic spirits attack? it has to be the capacity to love and to express that love publicly, right? Because when we love, in that moment God is best represented and there is no way demonic spirits want God to be seen. It has to be their prerogative to lie to us that its not worth it to forgive again, to go the extra mile, to expose our heart, to put the other person first, to apologize, to express love passionately and affectionately.....

Passionate expressions which show love, a love that reflects God's are one of the most spiritual expressions available.....in that moment we are giving and recieving something of God's love and awakening ourselves and everyone around that there is potential for love. This is something I am incredibly thankful to my parents for, they helped awaken me to the possibilities of love. they always kissed in front of us, gave each other massages, caressed each other, and still do, 24 years into their marriage.

it's awesome to think about the possibility that there is a love that never ends....and that it is available for us to experience....



i was asleep by 1 last night!!! this could mean that sleep is returning to my life.....waking up this morning I was wondering if after Jesus' return he will give us a year to just "be," where we can catch up on all the sleep we've missed before we begin partnering with him on the New Earth. That would be nice.