Wednesday, March 28, 2007

breaking news... the gathering is not dead

i have been thinking a lot since new orleans and even during the trip. i have been really trying to figure out my current spiritual journey over the last 3 or 4 months. i have been on quite the roller coaster over the last two years. i think your wife leaving you for her personal trainer (got to love 24 fitness) can have that affect on you. (just thought i'd be blunt and let the world know, just in case you did not know) wow. i really did not think i was going to be so blunt and open as i started writing this post, but oh well.

we had a great meeting at pablos house on sunday night with a group of people that had been a part of the gathering and some who even began to follow christ through oikos. we were discussing the launch of the house church network. we even had some other people who have been having similar thoughts about church and what it looks like biblically. as i looked around the room, i saw a great group of people that have never left each other, even though we officially ended the gathering. these people were at the gathering and have continued to meet, read scripture, pray for each other, support each other and be a faith community even though we had no official name to gather under except jesus. so i came to the conclusion that the gathering never ended, it never failed, it was alive and well because i think if i read scripture that the 'church' is not the building, a place or time people meet, a name, but it is the people. if we want to get theological... it is the body of christ. what i saw sunday night was the gathering. it was even more pure, because it was gathered with no agenda but to love god and love people.

we began to explain the vision of the house church network, which is really taking the values of the gathering and emphasizing its original intent of small is better. the groups eyes were lit up with excitement. we explained a desire to live out this passage of the early church...

Acts 2: 42 - 47
They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity � 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

in my opinion and i think jesus would agree, that church was never intended to be about gathering together in a building on sunday mornings to receive a pep talk so i can try and not sin for the rest of the week. the church is about us being interconnected and dependent on each other as we follow christ and his teachings. and as we are interconnected and loving our neighbor as ourselves, other will be so intrigued and desire to follow also. but it seems we value the large, we value hiding in church and not allowing anyone into our business. we value pointing out the faults of everyone around us and not noticing how despicable our own lives are and how full of pride, greed, materialism and hate. all of those things that god does not desire to be a part of our lives. but hey, what about those homosexuals... we need to stop them. shut up and stop being such a prideful arrogant bastard and maybe someone will stop long enough to listen to you tell them about jesus. as we develop this house church network, we strive to intertwine our lives together and take jesus' teaching and allow it to affect every aspect of our lives. we hope to continue stand next to each other as life sucks some time and is great some time. share a drink and cry when it sucks, but celebrate and laugh together with the joys (i.e. our childrens' birthdays, job promotions, weddings, and so much more).

i know i am no where close to what christ desires for me... i need to continue to shed those things that hinder me from allowing god to really use him in his kingdom, but i am glad to know that i finally opened my eyes to see that the gathering is not dead but is alive and well. thank you pablo, sonia, tiffany, laura, armando, james, art, teresa, michelle, danielle, kirby, jon, manuel, and all the rest that still intertwine our lives for the love of jesus and the mission of his kingdom.

Monday, March 26, 2007

kades 6th birthday

Kades 6th Bday Party

we had a great time at my house on saturday celebrating kade's 6th birthday. i cannot believe that he is already 6 years old. he had a bunch of his friends and family over to the house with the traditional bounce house being the center of attention for the kids in the backyard and the tri tip and chicken was the highlight for the adults. i am now currently in the process of assembly all of the lego star wars collections that he recieved. you can see from the pics that we were succesful on a a few of the smaller ones and i will keep you updated on the x-wing that we are beginning to assemble. it was a lot of fun and a big thanks to all of you who came out and made kade feel very special. if you click on the pic above it will take you to a photo album of the party. i hope you enjoy.

new orleans web album

New Orleans Spring Break

Friday, March 23, 2007

team dah... we are better than y ou.

here is team dah... we are better than you. i will explain later and post some other pics from the trip and a couple of stories and thoughts. but just wanted to give a shout out to team dah that will be arriving back to clemson some time today. it was good to serve alongside of you. peace.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

hangin sheet rock (drywall) in new orleans

i have been in new orleans since last thursday and it has been tremendous. i have seen a lot of pictures over the last two years, but it way different to be walking around and meeting people who have lived through the disaster. i have met countless people who have lived for the last 19 months in trailers that were not made for long term housing. i have spent most of my week at a single mom's home. jaime lives there with a few other family members and with her son eddie. eddie is full of life and reminds you of the ability for children to overcome difficult situations much quicker than adults. he is more interested in us playing catch with him than actually having us fix his home. as you may be able to see from the pics, this home was 4 feet under water. jamie purchased the home after the storm, because her home was totally demolished and had so many different chemicals there was no hope to salvage it. so she bought this home and is living in it while trying to fix it up. our hope is to dry wall most of the house before we leave on thursday. but since, we have to move there stuff in between hanging pieces and cleaning i am not sure how far we will get.

the people are so appreciative of the numerous people that are volunteering in this community. we have people honk and wave at us all the time. i met one lady that just walked up to the church when she saw the group to ask if we could help her parents that are about 70 and were attempting to fix their home by themselves. this group has been here numerous times since the storm and said that each visit more stores are opening and more life is being visible. a few more children playing in the streets. there still is a long road home, but some are determined to make it. they will not leave and they are thankful that some people have not forgotten about what katrina did to the community. and the usual statement is that the only people that seemed to not have forgotten is the people living out the kingdom of god. i am thankful to be here and hope to return and hang out with them over the summer possibly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

late night thoughts

i have been working on uywi stuff and have had way too much coffee. so i decided to start reading some articles on-line that i have been meaning to read. i remember an article that was recently published called the "five streams of the emerging church" by scott mcnight. i had looked over it quickly, but wanted to read it more in depthly as we are beginning to start this house church experiment in alhambra. i do consider myself more aligned with those in the emerging christian conversation or a red letter christian. i think it was more ... i stumbled into the definition and saw that i was already in this category but did not really have language to define it. enough me and me trying to discover who i am and not really caring how others feel about it and back to the article.

the five streams are the following ... 1. Prophetic 2. Postmodern 3. Praxis-oriented (how the faith is lived out) 4. Post Evangelical 5. Political.

you can read the article to get details about each of the "streams" but a couple aspects jumped out to me as i was in thought about the house church network. in the third component of praxis-oriented, it hit a key strand to our ideas about the network. the house churches that are launched should/must have a missional component to the community that the house church is located. it should be striving to better understand what it means to love our neighbor and have that as high of a priority as meeting in a building or location. our spiritual act of worship should be tutoring at a school, serving at a shelter, a garden, the police station or where ever there is a need for the purpose of us being the hands and feet of Jesus. we need a theology that changes the way we act and not just worried about how we think.

i am tired, so if i write any more in will probably not make sense and i will not even understand it myself. so i will try and blog about this more later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

new orleans bound

i was hanging out with archie honrado today. he is a ywam guy that has just got back from some time in ensenada mexico. he was saying how good it feels to get out of our normal life and serve in another area. i was excited, because thursday morning myself and chris (a good friend) will be heading to new orleans to serve with a ministry called go tigers that i blogged about before in the lower 9th ward. i have seen tons of pictures of what katrina left behind and how nothing has been done to help so many families. i am truly ready for my heart to be broken. i will put up some pics and try to post from new orleans.

Monday, March 12, 2007

bona speech at the naacp awards

this was on a few of my friends pages... jeremy and john liotti, but had to post for those that do not wander over there. i was teary eyed by the end.

house church network

since we closed the gathering down, an evening service that we ran for awhile for people who were not really interested in a tradition church service, but wanted a faith community that valued the community aspect. i have been trying to figure out what to do or where to go for "church". i had been attending a small group at pablo's house every other sunday. but a new year's resolution was to find something that i can take my boys to as well. the current bible study met on the weeks that my boys were not with me. pablo, sonia and i met and were discussing the book "the forgotten ways" that i had been blogging about and were trying to determine a few things. what does a truly organic church look like that is focused on taking people deeper, being missional in your community and bringing people into the Kingdom of God. we decided that we should experiment and take the bible study to a new level and create it into a house church network.

the house church model has a lot of things that we truly wanted the gathering to be about, but got lost in trying to create a larger gathering. we value the small intimacy of smaller groups and the value of developing leaders to lead and be active in the community. so at the end of the month, the experiment will begin. so if you are reading this and have been apart of sunday nights get ready for the next experiment. haha. you know we will be a knocking.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Evan is Back in Preschool

evan was booted from preschool back in november. he has been chilling with me, his grandma's house or joya who has a home daycare. he has been needing to jump back into preschool to be around other kids and be better prepared for kindergarten. he made it through day one yesterday and i have not been called yet today. i am hoping that he will listen and not make too much trouble. he is such a great kid, but just has that temper that blows up sometimes. we will keep you informed.

Where did J-Lou go?

i have been mia from the blogging world, because i have been busy. i think i have like 2 - 3 posts that are in me, so will try to get them out throughout the next two days. my first post will be on my 2nd year as the manager of the orioles or as the kids and some parents call them... the OREOS. oh well. i have 13 great kids... 2 girls and 11 boys. we have been practicing twice a week til games begin. we had picture day this last saturday, so it was fun to see the kids in their uniforms and if you can tell from the team picture that some how evan makes his way onto the team. he is the one in the front row... and the only one with the orange jersey. the parents were cool and let him be in the picture. hope you enjoy the pics and more to follow throughout the season.