January 26, 2004, 6:27 pm
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I had a weird sort of experience today. I spent some time in a community coffee house this morning – a place where I’ve begun to develop some relationships. Then I went back to the home office to get some other work done, and I then underwent what I can only describe as a spiritual warfare encounter. It kind of came out of nowhere, but it was the most spiritually intense feeling I’ve had in quite some time. It reminded me that this thing that I (we) are engaged in is not an easy task, and it goes beyond what we can see, taste, and touch. I’m thankful for prayer.

January 26, 2004, 8:43 am
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God, you are the ultimate loving Father. Please be with my friends Jason, Brooke, and Paige today as they receive your gift of a new family member today.

January 21, 2004, 12:23 pm
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I know that I’m late to this particular aspect of the conversation, but lately I’ve been reading N.T. Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God. At present I’m slogging my way through the introductory material before he actually starts talking about the New Testament and the people of God. This introductory material is long and thorough and academically heady. And yet, it’s really important, because it talks about the importance of story. We who follow Christ do so according to a grand Story that has been passed down through the ages. It is something that we hear and filter through our own understandings, which is where the heresy usually takes place. And yet, it is a still a simple and yet profoundly powerful Story.

A couple days ago, while sick in bed, I watched part of America’s new Messiah‘s show. He’s preaching his gospel to America . . . and selling a lot of books. During this show, one of his disciples claimed that her life had been changed forever by this man, and that she is compelled to share his message with as many people as possible. She has started a community of followers in her hometown, and claims 70 new converts already. This is a movement that is happening all over America. I have no beef with this man or his followers. I just find it interesting that the masses are following with such fervor. People are looking for a story to believe in, to invest themselves in. They are longing for meaning and for faith. The Nielsen ratings are plentiful, but the talk show hosts are few.

January 18, 2004, 9:07 am
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Another Sunday morning, and I’m sitting at home, quietly. The whole concept of a church planter who doesn’t “go to church” still weirds me out sometimes, but I’m o.k. with it. This stuff is hard, though. It’s hard because I’m facing my own inadequacies, other peoples’ questions about why I’m doing this, and the clear lack of evidence that this was a very good idea at all. The other night I heard the life of a church planter described like this: “In the beginning, the church consists of one guy walking around his house in his underwear with a bunch of ideas.” It’s a funny thought, and while I’m not given to walking around in my underwear (God forbid I should walk anywhere near a mirror and see myself), I certainly can identify. I’m beginning to wonder how long this phase lasts . . . and how long it’ll be before I give in to the thought that maybe this was a bad idea. I realize that this post sounds terribly depressive and like it’s coming from a gloomy place – I don’t think it does, though. I’m just having a moment of attempted objectivity.

January 16, 2004, 11:17 am
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I went to a little church planters discussion thing last night with some folks affiliated with the Acts 29 Network. Pretty cool. I’m always encouraged when I spend time with other planters. There are some things I really like about A29, and some things I really don’t like. But either way, it was well worth going to. Cool people.

At work this morning I met the wife of a church planter nearby. Didn’t get to talk much, but I’m hoping to run into her again and make a connection with her husband.

January 15, 2004, 11:37 am
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Here are some random thoughts I’ve had recently . . .

1. What’s the deal with Howard Dean? Don’t know much about his politics (don’t care really), but he’s sure got the peoples buzzin’.

2. Sloppy hair – the kind that I used to get in trouble for having when I was a kid – is cool now. Michelle keeps yelling at me to get my hair cut, but hey, sloppy hair is cool. I’ve thought about shaving my head, but there are three problems with that:

a) I have a full head of hair. When I see guys my age with shaved heads, I usually wonder if it’s because they’re balding.

b) A shaved dome would show off the lovely scar from where the doctors used 10 staples to put my head back together about eight or nine years ago.

c) I might frighten small children.

3. I listen to way too much public radio.

4. Pop music these days (yes, I include “alternative rock” in this category) pretty much sucks. There are a few decent bands and artists, but so few and far between.

5. A turkey sandwich is quite tasty with cranberry preserves on it.

6. I hope Peter Jackson wins the best director Oscar this year.

7. This is my new life verse.

8. Seven thoughts is probably enough.

January 13, 2004, 12:32 pm
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I had a hard time sleeping last night. I was going to be getting up for work at about 3:45 this morning, so I really needed some sleep, but I’m pretty sure a God thing happened. I was pointed in some directions that kind of surprised me as I just layed back and thought things through. I’m willing to do things God’s way in this whole church planting thing, but sometimes it’s a little weird. At any rate, I’m at a point where I need to make some decisions about my short-term future. I’m praying and trying hard to stay open to where God wants me.