Bobby J

As a former homeschoolee who was raised in my early years on Bob Jones Text, and who finds the uber conservative/fundamentalist school quite disturbing, I got quite a kick out of this blogger who found a close connection between Bob Jones and Gay Rights.



the exhilarating beauty of vulnerability

tonight was a brilliant portrayal of the power of community.
our life group is taking what I feel is a healthy approach to the 40 Days and not just regurgitating the sermon, but applying it immediately.

Thus, tonight we opened by reading Nehemiah 4, and discussing what areas of our walls were in need of repair and where we could use others to stand guard with us. Sharing honestly about what areas of our lives feel exposed to the elements was powerful. So many ventured into the dangerous waters of vulnerability, and it deepened the group immensely in just an hour. Then, each couple shared an area of their wall that is broken in their relationship and how they could use their friends in the group to stand with their marriage/engagement.

The brilliant thing Nehemiah does when the people are tired and worried about attack is to not only station others with them, but is to point again to the greatness of God. So after sharing where we felt exposed and in need, we meditated on Psalm 145, listening to the passage read in both male and female voices. It was so powerful to have the greatness of God rise above the text and move from my mind into my heart and begin to shape my will.

Following our meditations we prayed for each other, and it was good.

as i lay me down to sleep

With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold.

excerpts from a Greek Orthodox prayer to Saint Prokopios, the Confessor of Decapolis.
I want to allow sorrow deep into my heart that they may shape my life in such a manner that I bear fruit. this prayer reminds me of Nouwen.



jon marette was flipping through his cd case and I saw the unmistakable cd art for Aerosmith's "9 Lives," album. Such a goodie that was overshadowed by "Pink," being played to death. enjoying listening to it tonight.

Andrew Sharp and Dolla Bill follow Jesus....fo real

Gills...that one was for free....Matty and I will come back with a vengance, and our jumpshots.

btw Gillis...you really need to start a blog... 4 reasons why,
1. you have a unique perspective on the church as it relates to the world that folks need to hear
2. you are smart - we need more smart folks blogging (i really drag the blogging world down)
3. you can introduce us to good music
4. a profile picture of the best looking Gillis, by that I mean Heather of course :)

initial musings

a few notes from lent thus far...

i woke up this morning after dreaming about sportscenter and analyzing the events which happened in the highlights. I clearly needed to fast from sports.

Hebrews 10 speaks of holding to the hope we profess....I want to talk hope with people more often, to dream about what God will do both in this age and the next.

I'm glad Pavi is at Heritage. I'm hoping he'll be a catalyst for some real change. His arrival is one of the things that makes me sad about leaving staff. I feel like I could learn a lot from him. I'll see what I can milk out of 3 months. that sounds a little selfish. I'm learning how selfish I am these days. that leads to today's devotional.

Warren's line, "real love is making your problem, my problem," is easy for me to think about when it comes to inner city ministry. However, it is not so easy when it comes to Hannah. I expect her to be like me and often invalidate any of her problems because I don't feel they are legitimate. I don't understand why she feels the way she does, so I leave her in the dust by demanding she change (feel differently about a situation). Boy am I a jerk.

God, help me to take the time to get behind Hannah's feelings and come to understand what drives her, and when I don't understand to gracefully allow her to navigate her way through situations uniquely.


Door to Door Jesus

Check out this video from my boy, Luke O.
All you evangelicals out there should get a kick out of it.

an intriguing director

The director of Pan's Labyrinth was interviewed by Tavis Smiley last month. I really liked some of his thoughts including his perspective on the parables here. I feel like the perspective he has in developing his story could apply to preaching as well.

del Toro: I tried to create, like, a fable or a parable about something. “Cronos,” and this one, to an extent, is about a choice, disobedience, immortality. Our dealing with mortality, which is a much better subject.
And I try to layer them very carefully, very densely. And then if people watching them like a Saturday night movie, that’s fine by me. If they wanna study them a little more, I put things in there that they’ll find.

Tavis: Yeah. To your point now, are there messages here that you are trying to deliver? Because you could obviously do a film that is just entertaining, or to your point now about choices and about morals and about mortality versus immortality. You trying to send a message through “Pan's Labyrinth?” Messages?

del Toro: Well, I think that when I was a kid, I'm an ex-Catholic. And when I was a kid, I would go Sunday church, and I would be mostly interested in the parables of the bible. They really took me. And it’s not so much disclosing a parable as it is bringing it forth as a point of discussion. I don't have a point that I need to drive in, but I do show the different destinies of characters that are confronted with a choice in the movie. And those that choose to obey, and those that choose to disobey. And contrary to the classical fairytale, I'm in favor of disobedience.


Reconciling Prophecy and Humility

"Humility is difficult for people who think they are, or want to be, 'radical Christians.'

Humility is difficult when you're always calling other people – the church, the nation, and the world – to stop doing the things you think are wrong and start doing the things you think are right.

Humility is difficult for the bearers of radical messages.

When we're always calling other people to repent and change, it's not always easy to hear that message for ourselves.

I want to suggest that there is a real and very deep tension between humility and the prophetic vocation."

Jim Wallis

Wise words from Jim that anyone with a prophetic voice should cling onto. Moving into urban ministry I've run across a lot of community development folks that have an "our way is the only legitimate way," mentality and can invalidate anyone who practices differently. Usually these community developers have great things to say, but they alienate themselves from the people who desperately need to hear from them because of their arrogant and tactless stance. The funny thing is that so many people doing quality community development work got there by first doing mercy work, the very work community developers now decry. (Mercy work is the gateway drug to community development) I wonder if having a humble prophetic voice in this arena wouldn't sound more like an invitation than a declaration.

PS: a quick differentiation between mercy work and community development sounds like this.

mercy = Doing for. IE: A Soup Kitchen or a Clothing Pantry. (Valuable ministries that are needed for people to survive - especially relevant among the homeless -, yet do nothing in terms of transformation and in many cases enable people or cause them to build a dependence on a service)

community development = Doing With. IE: Opening a thrift shop that is cooperatively owned by neighborhood residents and employs them -- Recruiting benevolent landlords to invest in property and rent them out near cost to allow folks to save to purchase their own homes.


Jesus the Liar

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his Word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:10

I don't know that I've ever considered the idea that I am framing Jesus as a liar when I disregard confession and claim a false holiness. This is a challenging verse. I don't think I want to be in the camp that calls Jesus a liar. I've always focused more on verse 9 which is his promise to purify us should we confess, not this verse.

In light of that last verse read these words from David.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

Cool Connection. David acknowledges his weakness, the truthfulness of God, and the rightness of God's Word.

Joining with the Saints

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of lent. This beautiful, simple season of restraint which allows further room for the voice of God is a favorite of mine. Each of the past 2 years has launched a significant movement in my life.
During my reading in 2005 God pushed me towards establishing a Sabbath.

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day,if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable,and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. "The mouth of the LORD has spoken

Last year during my trip to London and Rome with Chris I felt God pushing me towards urban ministry and sensed that it was time to wind down my commitment to Heritage. I also recognized that I loved Hannah and was going to marry her. Who knows what this year will bring.

During lent I like to make adjustments in 3 areas.
1. I abstain from something that could potentially master me to hand over lordship of that area to Jesus. This year it is alcohol.
2. I cut something out of my life to create space for extended times or prayer, meditation, and and reading the scripture. This year it is any sports. No sports on tv, the internet, or the radio. Total abstinence.
3. I fill the new space I have with a new habit. This year I will be reviving the habit of reciting the Jesus prayer and the Lords prayer 100 times. each morning when I wake and at night before I sleep. Repitition has a powerful impact on helping me stay humble and expectant. I'll also be reading the Divine Hours as often as possible.


New York, New York

Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

"the Office" quotes of the week

"poop is raining from the ceiling, poop." - angela

"your welcome." dwight


Weekend Wrap Up

Friday night I watched "The Constant Gardner," again with Matt. What a stellar movie. The movie is like a slow burn, you don't realize how much its impacting you until you are considerably into it, and before you know it, the fim has left its mark. It is a love story masked in the template of a global conpiracy. The movie has a surprising amount to say about both love and the current impact of large corporations on the impoverished in Africa. Throughout the film you see the love and courage of Tessa (Rachel Weisz) awaken her husband Justin (Ralph Fiennes) from a life bound by policy and inaction to a desire for truth and transformation in a world being drained of life for the sake of the wealth and power of a few. Check it out.

Saturday morning I had a make up class because of Wednesday's snow and found that I enjoy class so much better during that time. My ability to focus on financial management was far superior than when I arrive at class at 6pm after a full day of work. I also think it helps that my work week is complete so I don't have anything hanging over my head.

Sunday was a cool day for me in that, I got to sitback at both Storytellers and Crosstrainers and listen to 2 solid teachings. Hannah shared Sunday morning and hit the ball out of the park while teaching through the Good Samaritan. She did a great job putting a fresh twist on the story, being vulnerable from her own life, and encouraging good interaction with the kids.
Sunday night, Andy Holt shared with the boys of Crosstrainers on sex. He did a great job of engaging the guys right where they were at, challenging them through the scripture, and being provocative with a purpose. Lines like, "you can use your penis as an instrument of righteousness," and "your penis size doesn't define you," are great launching points for transformative conversations with 15 year old guys in this area.

Also, I think some of my bball skills are coming back. good weekend


--Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. -- Proverbs 16:32

This is a hard one for me to believe sometimes. Coming out of Pastor Brian's message yesterday I was really challenged. His hypothetical area for spiritual change was patience, which happens to be the very thing that I need growth in. Thanks BJ...

I've been studying passages on patience today. Oftentimes I feel like being patient means giving up, both in relational conflicts and career decisions. I want to win and move on to the next thing, oftentimes leaving a trail of dead in my path as I abandon love and commitment for accomplishment.

-- A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.-- Proverbs 19:11

-- So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. -- Colossians 3:12 (The Message)

Challenging - Encouraging - Healthy Passage of the Day

Reading this passage today was powerful on many fronts - one it lays out a practical Christian ethic, it really simplifies the big focuses we should have.

Care for each other and the stranger -fight injustice - live purely - honor your commitments - live simply and contentedly - trust in God's presence - find faithful men and women to emulate - stay focused on Grace, not the rabbit trails of religiosity - follow in Jesus' sacrificial footsteps - put our hope in the eternal promise of a recreated earth - let Jesus' message and deeds always be on the tip of our tongue - look for ways to bless people - be responsive to leadership - pray

-- Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you. "So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Pray for us. --

Hebrews 13

I had to answer these questions today

1) something you envision God doing in 2007
I envision God pruning me a lot. Using the rigors of all the pressure on me now to both push me to personal transformation and also refine my ability to understand what is important and what isn't.

2) your plan to grow in your walk with God:
Studying the book of Colossians and writing a personal devotional over the next 3 months. Focusing on Silence, Word, and Action
a. Silence: Taking the time to confront sorrows and sin by allowing myself space to be silent, uncluttered by tv or internet.
b. Word: Taking the realities that confront me in silence to friends and mentors who can encourage me and push me towards spiritual maturity
c. Action: Choosing to be intentional with how I spend my time, being active in addressing sorrows and sin, and partnering with God in what he has called me to instead of just being busy.

3) a personal goal for 2007:
a. Find a Job – Get Married – Graduate College – Move into an Impoverished Neighborhood
b. Give up all things ESPN

March 30th will be electric

Ferrell, Heder(Napoleon Dynamite), Arnett(Matt's boy from Arrested Development, and Amy Poehler in an epic tale from the figure skating world. View the trailer here


dumb move

so i was playing the best poker of my life tonight then I pulled one of my stupid gambling moves where I threw all percentages out the window and took a chance. not the way to play when you want to win $200.00. I had played for over 2 hours, outlasted 10 people at that point, and was winning hands consistently, but i got bored and wanted to have fun with a hand which for me always equals losing. so, i basically gave my money away to Matt and he didn't even win - that would have made it easier, being his birthday and all. dang you Matt! One day I'll be pateint and play smart, then i won't kick myself all night. this is why i only play poker once every couple months.