Monday, February 23, 2009

hope is always

Since I started substitute teaching a few months ago, I've heard a lot of interesting things come out of students' mouths. Most of which is followed by me saying, "Under no circumstance is it ever appropriate to use that word to describe anyone or anything."

You can use your own creativity to fill in the blanks. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't. Anyway, I'm sure your imagination would fall far short of what they can conjure up.

So, you can understand my surprise when I heard something that grabbed my heart. In a good way.

In a recent class discussion about a short story, middle school students were describing the mood created by the author. One soft spoken, shaggy haired kid offered this assessment: "The story is tense, scary and dangerous all the way through. But even though you feel afraid, hope is always present."

And there it is.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009


Been thinking a lot about weddings lately. This week 'the story' discussed the 'water into wine' miracle of Jesus, as he gave a glance of his glory at a wedding. Sunday night Sarah and I visited greenleaf vineyard, another church plant in Chapel Hill, where my new friend Rodger Otero gave an excellent sermon on the parable of the wedding banquet. And a couple of weekends ago I had the honor of officiating the wedding of close friend and former student Jimi Moore.

I'm swimming in wedding imagery. And it's deep water.

This union-- two into one through love-- is a small glimpse of a larger story being told through Scripture. It is more than a ceremony. It is mystery and theology all dressed up in tux and gown.

Weddings wake in us ancient memories and early longings. They remind us of the God who fell in love at first sight in the garden. Who proposed to His people through Abraham. Who literally wrote His love in stone by way of Moses. And when looking for a perfect way to communicate His love, He calls His Church a beloved bride and names Himself the strong groom.

It's no mistake that the whole story is bookended by a wedding. It begins with a husband and wife in perfect union with God and each other. It ends with a wedding feast at the restoration of all things.

Weddings whisper the hope of a God who gave all He had to win our hearts and secure our rescue. This is the kind of Love that turns submission into strength and surrender into victory. The kind of Love that embraces sacrifice as its most eloquent articulation.

The kind of Love we have always hoped is real.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

carolina / duke

This is a special day around here. It's not Christmas in Carolina, but it's pretty close. You can taste excitement, breathe anticipation.

With the gravitational pull of a Death Star tractor beam, 'The Game' locks onto every conversation, every train of thought, and drags it in.

It's classic. It's epic. It's Carolina-Duke. There is nothing like this in sports. Yeah, I said it. Nothing. A national rivalry between neighboring giants.

To prepare for tonight, do yourself a favor and watch this video. Consider this clip your pre-game warmup. Like layup lines for the soul. It captures the moment and meaning in image and word. It's written by Fred Kiger, a teacher from my high school, and one of my new favorite writers. His passion for the game, especially 'The Game', is pure and poetic. You can almost smell the Carolina pines in his voice.

So, suit up in your favorite shade of blue. Sip a little Cheerwine or your momma's sweet tea. And soak up the best that basketball has to give us.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

the story

Tomorrow we are starting an open Bible Study through the book of John. We're calling it 'the story: a journey in the life of Jesus.' We'll meet every Tuesday night at 7, upstairs McAlister's Deli on Franklin.

Why Franklin Street? Because it is one of the coolest places on earth. And it also happens to be the historic heart of Chapel Hill. A crossroads of culture where eclectic masses merge. People ask if we have a target audience. Nope. But we have a target place. Give us Franklin Street.

Why a restaurant? Because there is something about a shared meal and a table. The early Church broke bread together frequently and intentionally. Nothing like a little sweet tea to grease the wheels of curiosity and conversation.

Why a Bible study? Because discipleship is about following Jesus. Being rescued by his love and shaped into his image. Our goal is to orient our community, from its earliest days, in the story of Jesus. And explore what it means to live and love like Him.

Pray for us tomorrow night. We want to tell the Story, and help Chapel Hill find her place in it.

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