Archive for December, 2007

Commentary: You can’t take Christ out of Christmas – Roland S. Martin

Here is an excellent commentary on the Christmas Season By Roland S. Martin. Worth the read…glad to see this on CNN.

Commentary: You can’t take Christ out of Christmas

He raises some good questions…

What if families decided to forgo gifts, and instead, used their shopping days giving back to those in need? What if more of us went into our closets, grabbed old toys and clothes, repackaged them, and provided them as gifts to those without? Instead of gorging on food, what if we used some of the dough to feed those who are in need?

I think it’s important not to lose your identity as a consumer during the Christmas Season (or in any season).  I fall into this trap too.  Even with my kids, I want to give them lots of presents at Christmas.  But I also want to open their eyes to the idea that we can help people too.

Merry Christmas!

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james part 2 – to trust? or play the skeptic?

Ben and I set out on our homeless lunch thing again today. We had an appointment to pick up James, our lunch was on all our calendars. Ben and I had a little wager going on whether James would show or stand us up (like Donald did). Ben was right, James did follow through on his word. James was waiting on the corner for us – hands crossed, bright yellow gloves + military green trench coat.

We had a great lunch with James. We learned more about his complex story. Her are some random bullets…

  • Today was the first day in 2 years that James has had a cheese steak.
  • He was able to get his medication from the VA.
  • He’s about to get his “daddy’s” house in Laurel. He’s waiting on all the legal stuff to go through.
  • His dad died last year, right before Christmas.
  • He’s going down to Georgetown today, to get his birth certificate.
  • He likes jazz and gospel.
  • He gets help from the friendship house.
  • He wants to buy my kids some Christmas presents. (I’m all for that!)
  • He is a lieutenant, and was a sniper in the marines.
  • He sweeps the parking lot of the Hertz rental place near the Wilmington train station. And they let him sleep in the garage there.
  • He has seizures.
  • He has cancer.
  • He has no family in the area.
  • He holds honor in a high place in his life.
  • He likes to salute….

lieutinant-james-2.jpg

In all of these details, James is a really likable guy. Our biggest challenge with James is trust. He’s given little reason not to trust him. So far, he’s been a man of his word. Still, his story has holes. And it’s outrageous on many levels. It’s easy to play the skeptic and point to the inconsistencies.

Ben and I both agreed that we are rooting for James, and we’ll do what we can to help him. We have another appointment on Wednesday, to take James to the DMV so he can get his ID. The plot may thicken yet!…

Teach us to love like you love, Jesus – unbiased perfect love, selfless perfect love

Trying to see past circumstance…

grace is always a surprise

I was reading a devotional this morning by Stormie Omartian. He (I mean SHE – thanks Char!)  said this about Grace…

Grace is always a surprise. You think it’s not going to happen, and it does.

I like her description of grace. It reminded me that even though I may not realize God’s grace on any given morning, it’s there – ready to surprise me. I’m thankful for the grace God has extended to me today, amazing.

It’s really windy today.

james – a conversation

Ben and I set out on our homeless lunch thing again today. We got denied by 3 guys, then decided to go to the Sunday Breakfast Mission to check out the scene. We were in the parking lot walking to Ben’s Jeep and this guy flagged us down. Actually he ran us down. James was convinced he knew us, and he tried to convince us that we had met before.

James had a really complex story about needing to get medication @ the VA hospital, he was just diagnosed with acute prostate cancer yesterday.

We offered to take James to the VA hospital to get his medication, but he said he just needed $14 for his co-pay. I think he realized he wasn’t getting $14 dollars from us, so he changed his request to 75 cents so he could have his jacket cleaned. Not kidding, that was the change in his request. Ben was generous enough to give him the change from the coin tray in his Jeep. Then, somehow (it’s still a little fuzzy) James scored a $5 bill from me. Good for him though.

We asked James if he wanted to meet us for lunch and he said he did. We said we’d meet him right here next Monday, he had to borrow a pen to write it in his calendar.

It surprised me that a homeless guy would have a calendar. But he did. And he wrote down our lunch date for next Monday – 12/17/2007 – 12:15 PM. I saw him write it down (with the pen I gave him).

This guy said way too many outrageous things in 5 minutes (like that he has a metal plate in his chest and that his right testicle is being removed on December 27, and he hopes they can save the left one, and the list goes on…) I can’t wait to sit down with him over a meal.

Afterward, Ben and I had a really challenging discussion on what to do when people ask for cash. This is the first time in all our encounters where we’ve handed out a little cash. I’m wrestling with this a bit. Probably because I’m cheap.

We talked about the over/under if James will show next Monday. I gave him a 20% chance of showing. But it is on his calendar….

one clear choice

Here is the prayer God gave me today…

God, give me one clear choice – that is awesome.  And help me to follow.  Amen.

This was spurred on by two things:

  1.  A breakfast meeting with Jon (who totally spurs me on, & maybe instigates a bit too).
  2. And by the lyrics of James Blunt.  (God can work mysteriously, right?)

On Blunt’s new album there’s a song called “Same Mistake“.  I don’t completely understand the song, and I don’t necessarily think it’s theological.  But the lyrics do capture my prayer to God right now…

I’m not calling for a second chance,
I’m screaming at the top of my voice.
Give me reason but don’t give me choice.
‘Cause I’ll just make the same mistake again.

is technology helping the church?

Is technology a killer? Is it killing the church? Or is it killing true worship?

Especially when it comes to worship, I wonder if technology (overall) is helping people connect with God on a fuller spectrum? I wonder what God’s take is on all the things we’re adding to worship?

Below is a link to the opening of one of the Hillsong Conferences.

I love the song Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve. And I love the song Amazing Grace. And I love the chorus Chris Tomlin added – My Chains Are Gone But I never expected to hear the 3 songs merged together. That’s how the 2007 Hillsong conference started.

If you have nothing to do for the next 12 minutes, watch this version of Amazing Grace. I’m sure John Newton never imagined this. It’ll at least make you think. About 11 minutes into the video Chris Tomlin shows up, with his humble redeeming smile. I love that guy. I love the look in Chris’s eyes towards the end of the clip. It’s like he doesn’t know quite what to think. It’s like he’s thinking, “What am I doing here?”…which he probably was.

Hillsong Conference 2007 Opening
Uploaded by ajchz

I found this here.

Is technology killing the church? I don’t think it’s killing the church, in fact I think overall it’s helping. But when it comes to worship – sometimes simple is better.

HBC – 25 years of worshiping together

worship confessional header

Libby and I started attending Hockessin Baptist church (HBC) in 1998. We’ve had such a great time worshiping there. The place is very alive to God. People are real, and it’s a place that real spiritual healing happens on a weekly basis.

I LOVE leading special services. I had the opportunity to help lead our 25 year anniversary service a few weeks ago. It was such a blast to be in the presence of God, celebrating what he’s done over the last 25 years – and looking ahead to what he will do through His little piece of the body @ HBC.

I believe He will do great things. Even this coming year I’m excited of what He will do. I’ve been talking to Jon and Rick about a worship idea I have. I have this vision of HBC getting together on a monthly basis to worship in an informal setting. Right now it’s called “Embers”….the idea is to have a place where we can come together and be free to worship God, practicing different elements of worship. I’m really excited about it. I’ll be talking more about my ideas later.

Here is the set list from the 25 year anniversary…

Set #1

  1. Here I Am to Worship (D)
  2. You Are My God (D) – I love this song, it proclaims that “early in the morning we will rise to meet him.”
  3. Ancient of Days (E) – I think I said something like “this is the song that helped us find our funkier side”.
  4. Great is Thy Faithfulness (C)

Set #2

Set #2 was neat because we started with How Great Thou Art, then ended with the chorus of How Great – “Then Sings My Soul…” by taging it to How Great Is Our God. The idea was to have book ends to the set. I love when things come full circle.

  1. How Great Thou Art (G)
  2. Blessed Be Your Name (A) – Joanna has a great post on this song here…read it!
  3. Jesus, All For Jesus (D) – Brett has a great post about this song here…read it too!
  4. How Great Is Our God (G) – resolved to “Then Sings My Soul” for the book end.

I love worshiping God with all my friends @ HBC. We have such a great group of people.

If you go to HBC, chime in on something you love about our body of believers….


author – Terry Foester

I'm a family man at heart. I admit my world revolves around my wife Libby and our 3 hooligans...Eli, Eden and Silas. They are easy to love. I'm trying to learn to love the rest of you. I also like to ask questions.

Give Herman One Dollar

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