Friday, October 21, 2011

Take Two

Two years ago, I attended this conference called Greenhouse which presented the basic ideas behind 'organic churches.' If you go back and look at my post about that night, I had some good things to say about it, but overall I wasn't the biggest fan. I think part of that had to do with the people chosen to train us, and also, to be fair, my own mindset at the time.

With that in mind, I signed up for Greenhouse again. I went the the first part tonight. This time I'm learning from two of the guys that helped start Church Multiplication Associates, which is pretty cool in itself. It's like a whole different experience, maybe because we go off on so many tangents that it really is different material.

I don't know where I'm really going with this other than to say that this weekend I'm giving organic church a second chance, and it may be an idea whose time has come in my personal life. Next week, after everything is said and done, I'll give you some highlights. Until then, have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the change in weather.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Makes Me Sad

Yesterday, I told you something I love about New Orleans. Today, I'll tell you about something that pierces to my soul about living in New Orleans. The image above is the current 2011 murder map for metro New Orleans. Each one of those red flags represents a person, made in the image of God and therefore of immeasurable value, who is no longer with us.

As much as I love this city, life seems very cheap here. This extends from the way that we drive (like we're trying out for NASCAR) to the way that we choose not to think about what's happening on Bourbon Street any given night of the year. I just get tired of reading the news every morning only to learn that someone else was shot, stabbed, or raped.

How did we get here and how can we stop it? I wish there was a quick and easy solution, but there's not.

I'm convinced, though, that any solution needs to include the Gospel. I love because I was loved first. Others don't love because they don't know what real love is. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blues Fest

One of my favorite things about living in New Orleans is the chance to listen to amazing music...for free. After lunch on Saturday, my friend S. and I went down to the Quarter to celebrate the fact that we made it to Fall Break without dropping out of school with a little window shopping. Just on the walk from the car to Jackson Square we heard no less than four bands/musicians playing on the street or sidewalk. And as if the Quarter wasn't enough for our musical needs, we went over to Lafayette Square in the CBD to listen to music at the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. We sat in the grass, eating pralines and talking about life, to the backdrop of soulful music. New Orleans is spoiling me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Thank you to the Healthy Body Project on Facebook for this mental image.
As I was jogging last night, this picture kept popping into my head. That's it. Nothing special or spiritual behind it. I thought I would just share a smile today. Toodles!

Monday, October 17, 2011


One year ago today, I was here.
I can't believe that it's been a full year since I went to Jordan. I remember most of it like it was yesterday. My favorite memories include:
  • Seeing my friends and their daughters for the first time in a year. They were a big part of my life during my first semester in New Orleans. I still miss them. 
  • Walking around the shopping area of Amman and people watching.
  • Going to Petra. It was stinking hot and I just wanted to collapse and give up near the end of the day, but it was an adventure that I don't regret. Expect for the handsy horse guy. I wish I had kicked him. 
  • Standing at the top of Mount Nebo and channeling my inner-Moses. Reading about the end of Moses' life will never be the same. 
  • Taking pictures of the sunset from the roof of the apartment building we were staying at during the evening call to prayer.
I loved Jordan and feel like I might be going back there someday. I just hope it's soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beyond Joy

My friend V was baptized tonight! 

V coming out of the water.
V stepping out with the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face.
I met V when I started working for a coffee shop in New Orleans. Our first day working together was kind of rough. Looking back, I probably deserved all the means glares and brisk words she threw at me. But we got along after that. I started praying for V not long after I met her. I had a feeling that God had something in store for her and didn't want to get in the way of that. Even after I got a new job, I kept going to the coffee shop on Sundays to talk to V for a few minutes.

After Easter, I started attending a new church. One Sunday I mentioned to V that I was coming to the coffee shop earlier on Sundays because I changed churches. As I was sitting there doing my homework, she asked about the details. Turns out that she had been thinking about how she needed to start taking her daughter to church. My church's night schedule worked out for her and she promised she would come check it out.

The first night that she came we were meeting in a yoga studio that had air-conditioning problems. Summer in New Orleans is not pleasant without cool air constantly being blown on you. As I sat there V's first night at church in seven years, I knew for sure she was never going to come back. I was committed to the church and I was having a hard time convincing myself to return until they had AC again. I braced myself for her to tell me that she hated it and would never return. But she came back the next Sunday. And the Sunday after that. And then she started asking questions. And then she joined a community group. And then she professed Jesus as Lord. And tonight she got baptized.

V is a new person. Talking to her even feels different than it did a month ago. And it is all God's doing. As I told someone tonight, God is the one who had it out for her. All I did was pray and tell her what time to show up for church.

Pray for V as she starts her new life in Christ.